Monday, February 28, 2011


I have a confession to make.  I cannot make hash browns to save my life.  They never turn out right.  Mr. T on the other hand makes great hash browns.  They are crispy and delicious every time.

Crispy Hash Browns:

3 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
1 lb Russet baking potatoes, peeled and grated
1 white onion, chopped small or grated
Salt and pepper


Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.

While the pan is heating, squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes. Either use a potato ricer or a kitchen towel.  Mix the potatoes and onion together.

When the oil in the pan heats up add the grated potatoes and onion to the pan, in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, lift up one edge of the potatoes and see how done they are. If they have fried to a golden brown they are ready to flip. Use a large spatula to flip the potatoes over.   Continue to cook until they are golden brown on the bottom.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mini White Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes

My mom's annual Valentine's Day Chili party is coming up.  I decided that she needed a Valentine's themed dessert to go along with it.  I wanted to test out my new mini muffin tins so I made some mini red velvet cupcakes with a white chocolate center.  I was going to use Hershey's Hugs as my candy because I didn't feel like chopping up chocolate but the Hershey's Cookies-n-Creme bar was on sale.

Mini White Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes:
(Cake recipe adapted from Paula Deen)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
White chocolate candies, 1 for each cupcake


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 mini muffin tins with liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Press white chocolate candy into the middle of each cupcake section.

Bake in oven for about 7-10 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely

Monday, February 21, 2011

Black and Pinto Bean Chili

Chili is a staple in our household.  I tend to stick with my normal recipe but I had a bag of black beans in the house and decided to try something different.

Black and Pinto Bean Chili:

1 cup black beans, soaked over night
2 cups pinto beans, soaked over night
2 pounds ground beef
2 cans tomatoes with chilies
2 tablespoons dried onion
teaspoon chili powder
teaspoon seasoned salt
teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

In a pot brown the ground beef.  Add spices as the beef is cooking and mix together.  Add tomatoes and beans to the beef.  Simmer on the stove for 30-45 minutes.  Or longer depending on how smokey you want it to be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicken Salad

You can only left over chicken breast for so long without needing to change it up some.  One of the easiest ways to do that is to make chicken salad. 

Chicken Salad:

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 carrots, shredded
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.  It's good as a sandwich or right out of the bowl.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pecan Buttermilk Pie

I feel like I might have an obsession with buttermilk.  Here's the thing... the store only carries one size and I usually only need like 1/4 cup and so I'm left with the majority of the container.  I don't want to throw it away but I also don't need to make a million biscuits.  Here is my most recent buttermilk creation.

Pecan Buttermilk Pie:

1 pie crust (made from scratch or store bought)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl take the beaten eggs and mix in the sugar.  Add the buttermilk, butter, vanilla, salt, and flour.  Mix together.  Place the pie crust in a pan and line with the chopped pecans.  Pour the custard over the nuts and bake for 40 minutes.  At the 40 minute mark reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hot Cocoa

I love hot cocoa.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  I grew up drinking it out of a packet because it's easy.  Little did I know it's just as easy to make it from scratch with cocoa powder.

Hot Cocoa:
(Toll house)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
4 cups milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cocoa in medium saucepan; stir. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup milk to make a smooth paste; stir in remaining milk.

Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired, before serving.

If you wanted to change this around a little bit feel free to add some peppermint extract to the mix. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Black Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

The Linda Blondheim Art Studio is having a soup party this week. One of the soups that they are having is a black eyes pea and collard green soup.  I've never made this before but it turned out fantastic.    Stop by the loft this week and get a sample.

Black Eyed Pea & Collard Green Soup:

1 bag of black eyed peas (soaked overnight and picked through)
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups collard greens
2 ham steaks, cut into cubes (optional)
5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Wash your greens and remove the rib.  You can also buy them in the bagged salad section if you don't want to worry about the cleaning.  Slice them into strips.

In a stock pot on medium heat add the olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic, and celery.  Cook until the onions are tender.  Add the chicken stock, carrots, peas, ham, and seasonings (salt, peppers, thyme, bay leaf).  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add greens and simmer for an additional 60-70 minutes or until tender.