Desperate for Dessert

During the whole pregnancy I have not been much of a sweets lover. I mean I can definitely eat sweets no problem but I just don't have a craving or draw to sweets. Last night, however, I really really wanted some moist cake. I didn't care where it came from as long as it was moist.

I called Joseph since he was out running errands and picking up parts, etc for the kitchen and asked where he was... Kearny Mesa. No real cake place around there. I told him that I really wanted some cake and he didn't know what to do...

So I took matters into my own hands and went in search of an easy, simple & fast cake recipe that didn't need much prep and didn't lead to lots of dirty dishes (Joseph was working on hooking up the sink in the kitchen so I didn't have a sink to do dishes in... the garage sink was already full with dishes...).

I had an idea of what recipe I was looking for since I had made it before. It's a microwave mug cake that takes about 5 minutes to prep... and cook! If you are in need of a chocolate cake fix and don't have time to make or buy one I'd suggest this recipe to tide you over. I do enjoy adding the chocolate chips because it makes it that much more chocolaty and moist. I do warn you though that it doesn't taste exactly like chocolate cake but it curbs the craving.

Source: Many sources if you google 'microwavable chocolate cake' but I took this recipe from this blog.



Chocolate Microwavable Mug Cake
  • 4 tablespoons cake flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

Mix the first three ingredients thoroughly in a mug.

Add the egg and beat in. Add the liquid ingredients and combine until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Let stand for 30 seconds before eating (it will be hot!). You can either dump the cake onto a plate or eat it right out of the mug like I do!

*warning* the cake does rise in the mug (see picture below) however it will not spill out :)

I Love Surprises!!!

Guess what I came home to? No guesses? Ok... here it is:



Now if you can't read that it says that I won some chocolate cake mix and chocolate frosting from Cherrybrook Kitchen! I also received a cute little spatula too. The best part? I didn't even know I won. Now I'm sure I got an email update from Blake Bakes telling me to go comment on his blog about how much I'd love to win this fabulous prize and I'm sure I did that but I somehow never caught on that I won!

I gotta say... with a husband with a food allergy (allergic to nuts) I am always looking for allergen-free products so that I know he's safe. Now if the kitchen remodel would only be finished I could whip up some cake with this mix. Maybe I'll be able to make it for book club on Wednesday :)

And I just looked at Blake Bakes to see when he announced the winners and it looks like everyone won! Isn't that the greatest?

Waffle Mania

I love waffles. Have I ever mentioned that? I am sure I haven't. It's just so easy to whip up a fresh batch of batter and cook them on the waffle iron. And if you love waffles like I do, you might appreciate this recipe a bit more. I've had it for a while. I became a fan of these last December right after I first joined Weight Watchers. I ate these as a dessert sometimes covered in 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip lite. What kind of waffle, might you ask, would serve as dessert too? Pumpkin waffles! Perfect for the fall or winter and super tasty and fun.

Since I don't currently have an oven or stove I decided that I needed something warm for breakfast. Than Joseph asked me to get some bagels from Einstein Bagels. How could I resist a husband who's working so hard to give me the kitchen of my dreams? So I set aside my craving of waffles and went to go get breakfast.

As soon as I got home I was absorbed in finishing Midnight Sun and 12:30 rolled by quickly. Joseph asked what was for lunch. Waffles immediately popped into my head but I knew he wouldn't want any. So I grabbed him a pot pie from the freezer and set out to hunt down the ingredients for the recipe and my waffle iron. I set up shop in the garage and started cooking. Boy were these good!

Source: Weight Watchers



Pumpkin Waffles
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (I used 2% due to a lack of buttermilk and lemon juice)

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and next four ingredients into a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Combine egg, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin & milk in a bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray; preheat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per waffle onto hot waffle iron, spread batter to edges. Cook 5-7 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat with remaining batter.

5 servings, 2 waffles per serving
4 points per serving

Warming Up

With the cool weather that has finally hit I decided to make something warm and comforting for dinner. I had to be smart and had to use what ingredients I had in the house. That's pretty hard right now since we're remodeling our kitchen and I've all but used up the contents in the freezer (saved a lot of money over the past two months not having to go shopping as often). So I knew we had potatoes, cream and cheese on hand. What better than a potato cheese soup?

We are limited to just a few cooking options at our house right now. So it was either the BBQ, rice cooker or slow cooker. I chose the latter. I searched my GR for some inspiration and found a cheddar, potato steak soup on Carrie's Cooking Adventures. With a few tweaks due to the ingredients I had on hand I came up with this...

Source: Carrie's Cooking Adventures



Potato & Cheese Soup
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled & diced (or cut into thin strips)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1/2 box water (used chicken broth box to measure)
  • Spices (I used s&p, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb and some Tony's Original Creole Seasoning)
  • 1/4 pound of marble jack cheese
Peel potatoes. Dice, or thinly slice and than cut into strips, potatoes and put them in the slow cooker. Pour in broth and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Throw in the spices (I didn't measure... just literally threw in a bit of everything).

Cook for 6-8 hours (I cooked for 7 hours) on low.

Add cheese to top of soup and cook on high for 1/2 an hour longer. Stir soup and taste to see if any more seasoning is needed. If not, scoop into a bowl or cup, top with more cheese if you'd like and enjoy!

Update: I just tried the soup heated up today for a quick snack and added some bacon... MMMM! (I used the microwavable bacon from Costco).

Simple Favorites

I can't believe I haven't blogged my tuna casserole before. This recipe isn't quite what I usually make but I had to make some spin on it since I accidentally purchased cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of celery soup. I usually go right off of the cream of celery can for the recipe (minus the pimentos... eww) so if you want to stick with traditional just grab a can of cream of celery and you'll be set.

This is one of Joseph's favorite meals. In between trying new recipes I always have to go back to what Joseph likes because too many new recipes doesn't always make him happy. He's been really great with my trial and errors but I can tell when he just wants good old stand by's. This spin was pretty tasty. Can't wait for left overs tomorrow!



Tuna Cassrole

  • 2 cups cooked egg noodles
  • 1 can cream of mushroom (or celery)
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water and add noodles. Cook until done. While noodles are cooking mix tuna, cream of mushroom, peas, salt & pepper & Mrs Dash until fully mixed. Drain noodles and mix with other ingredients.

In a small bowl mix butter and bread crumbs until little pea-sized crumbs form. Spread noodle mixture in an 8x8 dish. Top with cheese and bread crumb mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden. Let sit for 5 minutes and than enjoy!

Hot and Spicy

We finally had some fall weather this weekend so I decided to make some soup. I was going to try a tortilla soup but didn't have the energy to make tortillas and didn't have the gas to go to the store... seriously. I was already on fumes and was too lazy to go to the gas station AND the store :)

This turned out great. It was super spicy because I might have left about 1/2 of the seeds from the jalepeno in the soup but it was super tasty. Too hot for Joseph though because he didn't add sour cream. The sour cream makes it very creamy and the cheese... well... you know how good melted cheese is.



Spicy Chicken Soup
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 anaheim peppers (ribbed, seeded & diced)
  • 1 jalepeno (ribbed & diced... keep a few seeds for heat)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions, garlic and diced peppers in a dutch oven and coat with oil. Add tomatoes, corn, tomato paste, cumin, & bay leaf and saute for 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and chicken breast and bring to a boil and than reduce to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Remove chicken from soup and shred.

Season soup to taste if necessary. Remove bay leaf and pulse in a blender (I did two batches). Add chopped chicken back to soup and garnish with with choice of toppings.

Creamy Cheesy Goodness

I have to tell you that I LOVE scalloped potatoes and ham. It's almost my favorite dish. We had some leftover ham from the beginning of the week (when Joseph decided to cook a 7 pound ham for just the two of us because he was craving ham) so I needed to use it somehow. I've already made a bean soup so it was time to make some potatoes. And I had an excuse to use not one but three of my kitchen toys. I used my mandolin, food processor and dutch oven. Oh what fun!

The pictures definitely don't do this recipe justice. I didn't have time to get out my SLR so my point and shoot had to do for tonight. The potatoes were so good that both Joseph and I went back for seconds. And they weren't the skimpy one scoop seconds, they were full plates! YUM! I cannot wait for lunch tomorrow. Can we say left overs?

Source: Sweet Savory Southern



Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

  • 5-6 red potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
  • 1 Tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or blend of cheeses
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • left over cooked ham, diced (as much as you want to add to your dish... I added about 6 slices)

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. In a dutch oven or other heavy pan melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook 3-4 minutes until the onion cooks down a little. Add the garlic and italian seasoning and cook about a minute. Next add the chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper.

Place a layer of sliced potatoes into the pan, add a layer of diced ham and repeat with potatoes until you have about 1 1/2 inches left in your dutch oven ending with ham.Cover and let simmer about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are slightly tender. Top with the cheese and place the pan into the oven for about 15 minutes. Let sit 10 min before serving.

(mine were very liquidy but still very tasty... not sure what I'll do next time to thicken the sauce up)

Starchy Sweetness

It has been almost a year since last Thanksgiving and I've been meaning to blog a recipe I made for last Thanksgiving. I am not sure why I hadn't blogged it yet but was reminded of the dish at a recent get together with Joseph's family. See, we go to Joseph's parents house each Thanksgiving for dinner and I felt like I wanted to participate and bring more than just the salad last year so I found a great recipe on Food Network for sweet potato gnocchi. I was sitting around thinking about the upcoming holidays and realized that I needed to find a recipe to top the one I made last year... so I am starting my brainstorming now. Any ideas... just post them on this entry!

Getting back to the gnocchi... this was the first time I had cooked with sweet potatos and was actually the first time I had eaten sweet potatoes. Yup... I was a sweet potato virgin. Now I cook many dishes with sweet potatoes as an ingredient and love the flavor and sweetness.

Source: Giada De Laurentis
Photo courtesy of Food Network until I can find mine on the other desktop



Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter

For the Gnocchi:
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/3 cup for the work surface

For the Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large measuring cup to make sure the sweet potatoes measure about 2 cups. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue with the remaining gnocchi.

For the Brown Butter sauce: While the gnocchi are cooking melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the sage leaves. Continue to cook, swirling the butter occasionally, until the foam subsides and the milk solids begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Careful, the mixture will bubble up. Gently stir the mixture. When the bubbles subside, toss the cooked gnocchi in the brown butter. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Sweet Halloween

Joseph gets really weird inklings to bake things. The day before Halloween he decided to make sugar cookies. Totally normal, right? He wanted to make them into Halloween shape cookies, bats, pumpkins, ghosts. But than his plans changed as he started looking in our recipe books for a different sugar cookie.

He started looking in our Essentials of Baking book from Williams Sonoma and decided he was going to make cinnamon rolls instead! I was a bit shocked because even I haven't made cinnamon rolls before yet. I was so proud :) And it was the first time he used yeast in a recipe and did a great job!

He made the dough at night and than when I got home I took the rolls out to get to room temperature so that by the time Joseph got home he could pop them in the oven before we went over to the in-laws house. These babies went fast! We have two left to enjoy this morning :)

Source: William Sonoma Essentials of Baking



Cinnamon Rolls


Dough:
  • 2 packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling & Egg Glaze:
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • About 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy (double) cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

By Hand -
To make the dough, in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, eggs, 5 cups of the flour, salt, mace, orange zest, and butter and stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until a rough mass forms. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrap the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, working in the remaining flour, until it is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky

Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll out one-half of the dough into a 10 by 16 inch rectangle. Brush the surface of the rectangle with half of the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at the long side farthest from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.

Cut the log crosswise into 8 slices each 2 inches thick. Place the slices, cut side up, in a circle, side by side and barely touching, on half of the prepared pan.

Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, melted butter, and cinnamon-sugar mixture, arranging the rolls on the other half of the pan. For crisper rolls, space them evenly on the pan.

Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they have doubled in size and are spongy to the touch, 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, place the rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees.

If you have refrigerated the rolls, let them come to room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean, 20-25 minutes (I used my nose to tell Joseph when to take them out).

Just before the rolls are ready, make the vanilla glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar, cream & vanilla until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture thickens slightly.

Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then brush on the glaze while they are still warm. Pull the buns apart and serve warm.

Bones are good!

It's been quite a while since I've cooked a whole ham and had an extra ham bone handy. Well we finally had one so I knew I had to make some ham bone soup. Boy was the wait worth it! This was so good and filling. I couldn't believe how clean the ham bone came out too. Definitely a great winter meal.

Source: My mom



Ham Bone Soup

  • 1 pound navy beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or two-three fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 3 carrots, cut into coins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
I threw all of the ingredients in the crock pot let it go on low all night and all day today. I didn't add the salt and pepper until the end. I prepared some grilled cheese sandwiches on this great rosemary and olive oil bread to dip in the soup and some garlic toast for Joseph :)

Porky Perfection

No recipe here... just wanted to share the wonderful dinner we had Monday night after cooking a honey glazed ham from Costco. It was sooo good. And since we hadn't had ham in more than a year, it really hit the spot. We paired our ham with some garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed haricot verts. I am already planning the dishes we will make with the left overs (it's a 7 pound ham!)

Taco Time!

I was craving something meaty and flavorful today. I had just finished lunch (tomato bisque soup and some chips) and I knew what I wanted for dinner... taco salad! Yup, a family favorite growing up and super simple to boot. I lost the recipe somewhere around the house so I called my mom to get the basics. I didn't reach her so I basically went by memory. I'll update the blog once I get the correct ingredients/measurements.

Source: Family Recipe



Taco Salad
  • ground beef
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • kidney beans
  • enchilada sauce
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • cheese (cheddar or american)
  • Fritos
Heat skillet and drizzle with oil. Strain kidney beans and place into a pot and cook on low. Add onions and bell peppers* to the skillet and saute. Put enchilada sauce in small pot and cook on low. Add beef to skillet and season (I used garlic salt and pepper). Cook until browned.

Chop up lettuce and tomato and shred cheese. Drain beef and add to bottom of a casserole or square dish. Add cheese on top of the beef, then kidney beans, then lettuce and tomato. Top with Fritos and drizzle with enchilada sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: This dish does not do well as left overs so eat up!

* I know for sure that my mom doesn't do this. She puts the bell pepper on with the lettuce and tomato and I'm not sure if she adds onion. But I love the taste of cooked pepper and onion and hate raw :)

Last Minute Dessert

I really wanted something sweet to end the day but ice cream just didn't sound good (yeah, I know, I'm weird when pregnant). So I started going through my baking books and ran across a recipe that fit my guidelines... no more than 1 egg cause that's all I had in the fridge. Well... I ran across a recipe that asked for no eggs AND could serve as breakfast the next day! Yay for me!

The recipe I found was a scone recipe in Williams Sonoma's Essentials of Baking book. This is a great book. We've made tarts, pies and muffins out of this book so I knew the scones wouldn't disappoint. These baked up nice and were very moist and tasty. I left out one of the main ingredients because I didn't have any and chose not to sub anything in and they were still amazing. Oh, and did I mention that it took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish? Oh yeah!

Source: Essentials of Baking p. 110



Currant Cream Scones

For the dough:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup currants (I omitted)

For the Topping
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (fine sugar is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse 2-3 times to mix. Add butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon pieces, and pulse for 7-8 times. Add cream and pulse until just moist.

Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and form into a flat circle, 1/2 inches in height. Cut round dough into six equal wedges and place onto a prepared pan. Top each wedge with heavy cream. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over each wedge.

Bake for 13-17 minutes or until golden brown (I baked for 15 minutes and they were perfect). Serve warm. Store in an air tight container for up to two days.

1 Year Blogiversary!

It's my 1 Year Blogiversary today!!! Can you believe I've been blogging for a whole year? I wanted to take this time to thank all of my loyal readers! I know you're out there because I know you're there :) I have to say that starting this blog was one of the best things I could have done for my marriage. It keeps me happy because I get to experiment with recipes and it keeps Joseph happy because he gets fed! Now on to the meal... nothing special for the 1 Year. Just a simple, quick meal on a week night. Here's to another year of food adventures!

Source: My Head



Penne with Meat Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • marinara sauce
  • 1 bag penne pasta
Boil water and add penne.

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onions and garlic. Add ground turkey and brown. Add tomatoes, basil and italian seasoning to meat and cook fully. Once cooked set 1/4 of the meat aside for stuffed zucchini.

Heat marinara sauce in a pan and add meat to sauce until a nice ratio is created (your preference). Cook until the sauce is thouroughly heated and than pour over cooked penne pasta (or pasta of your choice).

Stuffed Zucchini
  • left over meat from meat sauce
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican blend)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut zucchini in half and cut out the core. Chop off what is cut out of the zucchini and add to meat. Once the zucchini is hollowed out sprinkle with cheese, top with meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese again. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve pasta and zucchini with bread or other side and enjoy!

Best Chicken Ever

I was really hungry last Thursday when I came home from work. I needed food and I needed it right away. So I looked around my starred recipes in GR and couldn't find anything that sounded good. So I decided to just jump into my fridge and make the best of what I had on hand.

I ended up with one of my BEST chicken dishes ever. Full of flavor and good till the last bite. And the chicken was just sooo juicy! You have to try this chicken... and just 5 ingredients.

Source: My head



Rosemary Garlic Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Lots of olive oil :) (around 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup)
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken. Mix sliced garlic with rosemary and a good bit of olive oil and stir. Coat bottom of a baking dish with 1/2 of the mixture and place chicken over it. Than top each chicken breast with the rest of the mixture. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until fully cooked. Let rest a bit and serve with your favorite sides.

Simple Suppers

I needed something quick and easy for dinner and it needed to contain ingredients I had on hand. Joseph and I have decided that we need to clean out our pantry, fridge and our freezer to save money. Have you ever shopped in your freezer or pantry? There are tons of things that we forget about in there. I have chicken, beef, turkey, meatballs, potstickers, etc. And the list goes on! So we're going to do it. For a month. Only eating out of our home (except for perishables like milk and veggies).

So I went "shopping" and grabbed some ingredients. What was produced was quite tasty and enjoyable! The only thing I regret is that I was so hungry (blame the baby) that I didn't have a chance to take a picture. But I think this recipe is worth it!

Source: My head... with help from my pantry and freezer

Chicken Parmesan
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • a few slices of fresh mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and start a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Mix bread crumbs, seasonings & parmesan. Brush chicken with egg white and than sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Fry in pan on both sides until golden.

Transfer chicken to a pan coated with olive oil and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Take chicken out and top each breast with 1/2 cup marinara sauce and top with sliced mozzarella. Bake in oven for 10 more minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

I served the chicken with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and baked zucchini. YUM!

Pantry Creations

Joseph and I are really watching what we spend our money on. With a little one we can't go out and buy ingredients every night... we have to plan more (hard to do when cravings just hit). So tonight I went through the pantry and found some things to make dinner with. Than I went through the fridge and freezer to find other great items to mix together. What did I come up with? Check it out...

Source: My Head



Pollo Asado con CalabacĂ­n y Cebollas

  • 1 pound pollo asado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt with parsley
  • 1 box rice pilaf
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 handful shredded cheese
Start box of rice pilaf first following directions.

Heat saute pan and add olive oil. Add onion and zucchini. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook for about 10 minutes and than turn off heat.

Put beans in a small pan and place on low heat. Add cheese. Stir occasionally.

Heat grill pan (or BBQ) and spray with non-stick spray. Place chicken on the grill and cook on each side for about 5 minutes on each side. Once done chop chicken in small pieces and add to the pan with zucchini and onions. Heat up the chicken, zucchini & onions until everything is hot.

Serve rice, beans and chicken mix together. All should be done at the same time for a happy husband. The flavors of this meal were exellent!

Yogurt + Chicken = YUM!

So there's always this "it" recipe that everyone's trying. I am ALWAYS late to jump on these recipe trains and it doesn't change with this one.

I thought this chicken was great. I don't do skin so I took off all the skin and bits that everyone else loves in order to enjoy the wonderful, flavorful, juicy meat underneath. Joseph liked the crispiness and juiciness and also enjoyed the flavors. He was surprised that I used yogurt :) I like surprising him!

Source: The Pioneer Woman



Please click on the link above to the exact recipe I used. The only thing I changed was using regular crumbs instead of panko because I was all out of panko and didn't have time to run to the store.

Buffalo Chicken Love

I needed something simple for dinner on Saturday because I wasn't really in the mood to make a large meal. This recipe was right up my alley. Not only did it contain minimal ingredients, we had all of the ingredients at home already!

This burger was slightly hot but tasted great. I loved the coolness of the ranch with the heat of the hot sauce. Just like a buffalo wing only better cause it doesn't have bones. I did sub cheddar for the bleu cheese because I don't care for bleu cheese and thought that the cheddar did a great job.

Source: Sweet Tea in Texas



Buffalo Chicken Burgers
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's)
  • Buns
Mix all ingredients together and grill/cook until done. Enjoy with or without a bun and a nice dollop of ranch or bleu cheese dressing(I used french bread)!

Oooey Gooey Mac and Cheese

I saw this recipe all over my GR when I got back from vacation. It seems as though every blog I follow has joined Barefoot Bloggers. It's a weekly blogging event where they make a recipe from Ina Garten. This one was AMAZING! I think it is the best mac and cheese I've ever had. And I'm a bit of a mac and cheese connoisseur. And this pregnancy has made me love all things carb loaded and full of cheese :)

Source: Ina Garten



Grown-Up Mac and Cheese
  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (I used 2 ounces)
  • 3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (I used 2 ounces)
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled (I used 4 ounces of Fontina)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Crispy Chicken

I was in need for a quick and easy meal this week because Joseph was starving and I forgot to defrost the pork in time. So I grabbed some chicken breasts and flipped through my recipe idea book and found some recipes I cut out of a Good Housekeeping magazine a few months back. I've always wanted to try it with the pears and Roma beans but haven't had a chance.

This adaptation turned out wonderful. I think the sauce would even work well for pork. It thickened up nicely and the chicken stayed juicy. I will definitely be going to this recipe again.

Source: Adapted from Good Housekeeping February 2008



Balsamic Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2-4 chicken breasts
In a skillet heat oil on medium until hot. Add chicken and cook until crispy on both sides. Remove from skillet.

In cup mix broth, vinegar and cornstarch together and add to skillet. Heat to boiling on medium high and than add chicken to pan. Coat both sides with sauce and reduce heat to medium/medium low. Cover chicken with lid and let steam/cook for about 15-20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove from pan, serve with some veggies and rice or couscous and enjoy!

Porky Perfection

I wanted a quick and simple marinade for a few pork chops I had in the fridge so I went through some of my GR posts and stumbled on Mary Ellen's post about her husband's pork marinade. Boy was this perfect! The flavor was bold and tasty.

I used the left overs to make a pork fried rice (will post soon) but if you make enough for left overs you can do many things with this dish. I served it with some garlic cauliflower.

Source: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations



Chili Garlic Pork Chops
  • 1/3 - 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp chili-garlic paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper (I used black pepper...)
  • 2 tsp dried cilantro (I used fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dry vermouth (I used cooking wine)
  • 2 1-1 1/2" pork chops
Mix all ingredients (except pork chops) together and place into a ziploc bag. Take pork chops and poke holes in each side. Put pork chops in the ziploc with the marinade and place in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare any side dish you might be cooking, preferably something that will cook for about 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees (fries, veggies, etc).

Preheat a skillet and add some olive oil. Grab the pork chops after 1/2 an hour and sear on both sides. Don't move pork chops until their completely seared (about 3 minutes). Place chops into an oven safe dish and put in oven with side dish. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Let the pork rest for about 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

Florence: History and Culture

One of the only sites we saw repeatedly in Florence was the Duomo and Baptistery. I felt as if whenever we got lost we ended up at the Duomo. It was basically the center of town so as soon as we found ourselves there we could get back on course. The whole trip was a wonderful experience and Florence was definitely my favorite city.

We saw David at the Academia, toured the Uffizi gallery and took a walking tour of the city to get us oriented and familiar with what we were seeing. The tours were definitely worth the money. We did the Florence in One Day tour only we broke it up into two days with the Academia on Saturday afternoon and the walking tour and Uffizi tour on Sunday.



Here's a shot of the Arno river and the Old Bridge. There's actually a corridor on the top portion of the bridge where the Madici family used to travel from one building to another. This is the only Florintine bridge was saved by the Germans from bombing.



Now into the food. Joseph and I joined my friend Miranda (whom we were staying with in Lugano) and her friend Gavin for dinner the first night. We went to a place that was recommended by Gavin's guide book. It was a great place for our first official meal in Firenze.



I had a great meatball dish with mashed potatoes. I started with a yummy vegetable soup but forgot to take a picture. It was filled with spinach and different veggies. Joseph had a great looking steak (also not pictured).



The second day was filled with tours morning and afternoon so we had to grab a quick bite in between. We went with an easy to find place right in one of the main squares (I think it was in Piazza de la Republica because it was close to the tour office). I had a very yummy mushroom and cheese ravioli with a butter and sage sauce. It was to die for!



Joseph had a pesto pasta with tomatoes. This was also a very good meal. I shared his in between bites of mine and would have been happy choosing either dish. Both were very filling and kept us full until our late dinner (no pictures) at another restaurant in town that Rick Steve's recommended. I had a lasagna with bolenese sauce and Joseph had some more beef. The lasagne was very interesting. It was basically just haphazardly layered lasagne noodles with sauce in between. Not the typically layering you'd find in an American lasagna.

Appenzell: Cheese and Beef

Appenzell is also known as Cow Country in Switzerland. We definitely saw more than our fair share of cows and many other farm animals. But it was great fun and very relaxing. We just stepped back and took in the culture and people of north eastern Switzerland.



We were starving (ok, I was starving) when we got to Appenzell so we decided to have lunch at our hotel The Appenzell Hotel. And by the way, our hotel room looked exactly like the rooms pictured. The bed was super comfortable (we each had our own down blanket to sleep with and had super fluffy, soft pillows).

When we scanned the menu we both decided on the same thing right away. Macaroni and cheese, Appenzeller style. This was a simple macaroni with Appenzeller cheese and topped with fried onions. they served it with a side of applesauce.

The Appenzeller cheese was too strong for my stomach to handle. I think that it might be because of the pregnancy but I could barely get down half of my meal. Joseph, however, seemed to have no problems eating his whole bowl.



We fell asleep early the first night and I ended up waking up at 10:30 starving so I of course panicked thinking that I was screwed and wouldn't be able to get anything to eat so late in a small town. But I was wrong. The ladies downstairs were nice enough to make me a sandwich to bring to my room. I was soo hungry I didn't have time to take a picture but just picture fresh bread, sliced ham, appenzeller cheese, pickles and fresh sliced tomatoes with mustard. It was the best tasting sandwich I've had.

The second night we decided to splurge a little and go to a "fancy" restaurant in town. I knew I wanted a meal with meat and quickly chose the roast. It came topped with an herb butter, mixed vegetables and french fries. We were a bit surprised with the fries (instead of potatoes or rice, etc) but it worked.

The meat was soooo juicy and melted in my mouth. The butter was the perfect topping and I put the rest on my vegetables. Any vegetable soaked in butter is always 100 times better :) I know that the meat looks small and the fries take up 1/2 the plate but this was definitely a memorable and tasty meal.



Every fall the farmers bring their cows through town to move them to a graze in a different pasture for winter. We caught the "tail end" of the cows coming through Appenzell on the first day we were in town. The hostess at our hotel explained that usually the farmers dress up in laterhosen and the cows usually have flowers around their necks and on their heads.



Joseph had some fun on the bobsled in Jakobsbad (yak-uubs-bad) before we went on our barefoot walk and after we went on the Jakobsbad-Kronberg cable car (gondola ride up to the mountains). The cable car took us up to a small mountain area where parachutists took off and went down the mountain to the village below. It was great to watch. In the winter this is where they can ski down or take another lift to another mountain.

Joseph refused to go barefoot but I had a great time. I went through grass pastures, rocky paths, paved road and mud and rinsed my feet off at the fountains along the way. It was definitely an experience. And we were rained on a few times during our walk (light showers but warm air). We saw many cows (see first picture above) on our walk and had a relaxing adventure.

I have a surprise I've been keeping!



(If you can't read the lettering it says "I'm Pregnant")

Joseph and I are expecting! I'm due February 26th and just passed the 14 week mark.

I know that some of you have noticed the lack of posts, and then the lack of WW posts. I felt so bad because I didn't want to disappoint any avid readers (if there are any out there...) and really love cooking but this first trimester was pretty tough!

I will still be blogging and will try to keep it somewhat healthy however when cravings kick in... they kick in (hence the previous post with full fat cheese galore!). I haven't had any access to my WW points calculator because I had to call and cancel my WW membership so any posts from here on out will be pointless... haha. You know what I mean.

I hope you will still come to visit as I post more even if they aren't all WW friendly. After the baby I am planning on going right back onto WW to loose the baby weight so I'll definitely need to try out some good recipes then. Over the next few weeks, however, I will be in Europe so I plan on blogging about my food adventures in Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Stay tuned!

Comfort Food

I can't really say much about this meal. It is so simple and always hits the spot for me. Joseph doesn't mind it either :) Sometimes I use a loaf pan and other times I use a pie pan to shake things up...

Source: My head and my mom :)



Sheppard's Pie ala Danielle

Ground beef (or chicken and turkey like I did for this meal)
Salt & Pepper
1 can tomato sauce
Green beans
Mashed potatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese

Boil some potatoes for mashing. Once the potatoes are done (fork tender) mash them, add some milk and butter and season them with salt and pepper. Season and brown the ground beef. Drain and place in the bottom of a loaf pan. Cover meat with tomato sauce.

Add green beans to the top of the meat and sauce (they can be frozen, canned or fresh) and top with mashed potatoes. Spread the potatoes over everything so that you can't see any green beans or meat. Cover with a layer of cheddar (I love extra cheese so I really layer it) and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbling.

Since everything has already been cooked (except the green beans and cheese) the dish really just needs to get warmed thoroughly. I love to make this meal with left overs from other dinners. Sometimes I use left over taco meat for a different flavor. YUM! Look at that cheesy goodness...

Juicy & Delicious

I needed something simple for the crock pot for dinner so I decided to go to my favorite food message board, What's Cooking on TheNest. The gals had some great ideas and I finally chose what I was going to make. But I didn't quite make what the recipe said... I made it my own :)

I was very pleased with the results. The chicken was moist and fork tender. I am going to use the other chicken breast in a meal later this week by shredding it and refrigerating it until needed. I'm thinking either some sort of casserole with potatoes and cheese (yum!!!) or some chicken enchiladas. What do you think?

Source: Reservations Not Required



Pull Apart Crock Pot Chicken (as named by Joseph)

  • 2 skinned and boneless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 14 oz can of chicken broth
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & Pepper
Sprinkle all herbs and seasonings on top of chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour tomatoes and chicken broth over chicken. Place 1 garlic clove on top of each breast and place bay leaf in between them. Set to cook on low for 6-8 hours.

My first Meme...

I've been tagged by my friend Alanna! Who wants to hear stuff about me? Yeah, I know... you just want the recipes :)

Meme #1

Yep, gotta list the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let your tagger know when you have posted your answers.

Six random things about me—
1. I was born on the birth and the death of the zodiac (March 20th)
2. One of my close friends just moved out of state
3. I love to hang out at the beach with my dogs and my husband
4. I love to cook but have been so lazy lately that I either take pictures and forget to blog them or make my husband cook instead :)
5. Our house is almost coming together. We have drywall in the garage and next is remodeling the kitchen!
6. I am craving chocolate chip cookies right now.

Next at bat: Miranda, Pilar, Marilea, Jolie, Melissa, Amanda

Meme #2

R is for rules—
1. Take a random picture of something around your house. Then post it with no explanation.
2. Write a haiku using your initals as the start of each line.
3. The haiku is not an option.
4. Is something currently baking in your kitchen? If so, what?
5. Tag 3 people to repost this MeMe, including a link back to who tagged you. Let your tagger know that you have posted.


1.


2. Darkness fades away

Crumbling night sky below

Sunshine glows with hope

3. Ok :)

4. No baking... just cooking some marinara sauce for dinner

5. Miranda, Pilar, Marilea

Perfect and Simple

I went shopping at TJ's this weekend and found some great looking lobster ravioli. Just the packaging looked amazing and I knew I had to buy it. So I threw it in my cart and bought the rest of the items I went shopping for.

We already had dinner planned for the weekend so I decided to try out the ravioli during the week and tonight was the night. After asking around on The Nest's What's Cooking board I decided on a simple browned butter sauce to pair with the ravioli. And I've been craving asparagus so I roasted some for the side.

This dish was rich and savory. The sauce complimented instead of overpowered the pasta. And the asparagus was cooked just right. Don't you just love an easy, quick meal that tastes amazing?
Source: My Head with the help of TJ's



Lobster Ravioli in a Browned Butter Sauce
  • 1 package lobster ravioli
  • 1/4 stick of butter (2 tbsp... I think)
  • 1/6 cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Boil water on medium high. Add ravioli and cook according to package directions (5 minutes). Around 3 minutes into cooking start melting the butter in a skillet and reduce until it starts to brown. Add cooked ravioli and top with heavy pepper. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Craving Comfort

I have been craving something warm and delicious for a few weeks now. I know what you're thinking... aren't most dinners warm and delicious? But it was a different kind of warm... a comforting, make you feel better type of warm. So I went in search of recipes I've yet to try out and found one that I had tried before but forgot to blog about!

This Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of the best soups I've had in a long time. It cleared my sinuses, filled me up and comforted me for days to come (can you say left overs!). Best of all... I got to use my blender again! Lucky me!

Source: Elly Says Opa



Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1" squares (I used whole wheat tortillas)
  • 2 large anaheim chili peppers, diced
  • 1 large poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, diced
  • 1 cup corn (cut from the cob or frozen/thawed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 qts. chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper

In a stockpot, heat the oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and then cook it in the oil, just to brown on both sides. Add the tortilla squares and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp. Add the peppers, onions and corn and stir until they are coated by the oil. Add the tomatoes, cumin, bay leaf and tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavors and cook the vegetables.

Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes, until the flavors have developed and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the soup and slice or chop.

Season the soup to taste, if necessary. Remove the bay leaf and pulse process the soup in your food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary). Add the chopped chicken back into the soup, and garnish with your favorite toppings.

WW points - I know that this was low in points I just don't have access to my recipe right now... will update soon!

Pasta!

I don't know if I've ever expressed this here but I LOVE spaghetti! I don't know why but it's just one meal that always tastes great to me. I can have it every day of the week if it wasn't loaded with carbs :)

I didn't make my own noodles this time but I did make my own very simple marinara sauce. And I got to use my new blender again! Don't you love free stuff??

This marinara was tasty and easy to make. I literally threw everything together in the blender, hit puree, and heated it. I than poured it over al dente noodles, sausage and olives (topped with Parmesan, of course!). Oh, and did you see my make-shift garlic bread... two words: hamburger buns :)

Source: Allrecipes



Marinara Sauce
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I omitted)
In a food processor (I used my blender) place tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine (I omitted).


Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top over pasta of your choice and enjoy!

June/July Recipe Exchange: Summer Favorites

First of all... I apologize for being a day late. I fell asleep early last night and didn't get a lot done! Sorry!!!

Now onto the good stuff. This recipe was perfect for the three-day weekend. It was so simple and tasty. We had a crazy busy weekend but on Sunday I knew that dinner would be a breeze because I planned on making the shrimp and some pasta or rice. We got home from the beach at about 5:30 and were starving. By 6 we were eating dinner!

I served the shrimp with some angel hair pasta so that it would soak up any extra sauce. This was the perfect meal after a busy day.



Tequila Lime Shrimp (Adapted from All Recipes)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons tequila
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook and stir for about 30 seconds. Add shrimp; cook until they start to turn pink, about 3 minutes.

Pour in the tequila and lime juice and season with salt and chili powder. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 more minutes.

Arrange shrimp on a plate and garnish with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. I like to serve it with mexcian rice and black beans. I also make maragitas with the remaining tequila. :) (I served with angel hair pasta and had no margaritas :( )

Our Anniversary Trip: San Francisco Part One



San Francisco was wonderful. The weather cooperated for us. It was slightly windy but mostly sunny all weekend and I even got a little sunburn on the last day! We had a wonderful time perusing the shops and eateries and even ran into a few sweet surprises along the way.

We stopped at Fisherman's Wharf for some fun at Pier 39 and Ghiradelli Square.



First up was Kara's Cupcakes in Ghiradelli Square:




The cupcakes were fantastic. I had a Chocolate Peanut Butter. The peanut butter frosting was rich and creamy and the cake was moist and flavorful. All in all it was well worth the $3 we spent on them :)



And Joseph had a Sweet Vanilla. It was a vanilla cupcake with sweet madagascar bourbon vanilla frosting and he was licking his fingers afterwards :)

Sweet and Savory

I love sweet potatoes. I was introduced to them late in life and think I am trying to make up for the years I didn't have any. I try to make them different ways, sweet, savory, sweet and savory. The simplicity of this side is perfect for weekday dinners.

I made Chicken in White Wine Sauce (sans the Asparagus so the chicken cooked in the sauce a bit) and when the chicken and potatoes were done I cooked the left over sauce a bit longer and than drizzled it over both the chicken and the potatoes. This meal was delicious. I served with a simple side salad as well (gotta get in the veggies!).

Source: My head


Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs and spices and toss some more. Pour onto a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes (usually however long it takes to cook the chicken).

Light and Fluffy

I love breakfast. I think it's definitely the most important meal of the day. So when I saw this recipe I had to try it. And I have a mix to use for weeks to come! This was one of the easiest things to make and I think I've decided to never go back to a package mix again!

These pancakes are light and fluffy and the blueberries give just the right amount of zing. I am weird and top my pancakes with not only syrup but peanut butter as well (instead of butter). But since peanut butter is so high in fat I decided to just stick with syrup (no butter either!). They were great!

Source: Alton Brown



"Instant" Pancake Mix
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.

Use the mix within 3 months.

"INSTANT" PANCAKES:
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
  • 1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired
Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes

Sweet and Simple

I have always wanted to make my own frozen yogurt. It's one of my favorite treats and just hits the spot every time. For Father's Day we went over to Joseph's parents house and brought along dessert. We didn't have enough time to make Angel Food cupcakes from scratch like we wanted to so we semi-homemade this recipe... (Costco sells huge Angel Food cupcakes!)

I had some left over chocolate sauce from a cake I made. The sauce was supposed to be the filling but I used it as a frosting. It's a custard based sauce and the recipe can be found in the Black & White cake in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home To Yours. I'll post the recipe tonight.

I cut up some fresh strawberries, sprinkled them with the tiniest bit of sugar and stirred them for a bit and than left them in the fridge with plastic wrap for about an hour to let the juices come out. I also made fresh whipped cream when we got over to the house... so simple: heavy whipping cream and a bit of powdered sugar!

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz



Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
  • 3 cups (720g) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt (I used full fat vanilla yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla (if using). Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

To make 1 cup (240g) of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups (480g) of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. So, for the above recipe start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.

Makes about 1 quart. I was able to pack this into the empty yogurt carton I had.

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