Monday, December 26, 2011

SRC Banana Bread

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday! For this month's SRC I had Baking and Creating with Avril and wonderful blog with a variety of deliciousness! She had a ton of muffin and quick bread recipes, and since I needed something to take to Christmas Brunch, I decided her banana bread would be the perfect recipe to pick! It was wonderful This bread is perfectly breakfasty and not too sweet. Enjoy the bread, and don't forget to check out the Secret Recipe Club, and Avril's blog!

Banana Bread:
1/3 cup of butter, melted
2/3 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp of almond extract
2 large bananas, overipe and mashed
3 tbsps of milk
1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of raisins, heaping

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar until combined. Add in eggs and almond extract and beat until well combined. Add in milk and bananas and mix together. Mix in flour, wheat, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt until just combined. Stir in raisins. Spray a 9"x5" loaf pan with non stick. Pour batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool before slicing. (adapted from baking and creating with Avril)

Happy Eating.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I always heard that chopping your own chocolate bars into chunks, makes much more delicious cookies than using bagged chips. But, until now, I never felt the reason to experiment with this. Chocolate chip cookies are already amazing, do they really need to be any better? Anything can be a bit better, and these certainly were, high quality chocolate and the un-uniform shape of the chunks, plus the peppering of shavings that sort of melts in give these giant cookies a definite grown-up appeal and sophistication without losing it's everyone friendly, endlessly appealing nature. I know I say this all the time, but these might be my new favorite cookie. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
3/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1 1/2 baking bars of dark chocolate (like the Ghiradeli bars)

In a large bowl beat together butter and sugars, on high speed until combined and smooth. Add vanilla, egg and yolk and beat until combined. Add in half the flour, and the baking soda and salt and stir until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour. Chop chocolate into small pieces and add chocolate and the shavings chopping the bar produces and stir into dough. Freeze dough for 20 minutes until firm and chilled. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with non-stick. Scoop dough by 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) and bake 12 at a time on baking sheet. Refrigerate dough that isn't being used until ready to start that batch. Bake for 8 minutes, then lower temperature to 350, rotate tray, and bake an additional 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Let cool before removing from parchment paper. (adapted from Dishing the Divine).

Happy Eating.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Broccoli Sausage Bake

I have an insatiable and unholy love for stuffing. It might be my favorite food ever. In college I used to buy the boxed stuff and make it in the microwave. So this casserole is my new favorite thing ever, because it tastes like stuffing, but is a fairly healthy and well balanced meal. It's full of whole grain (rye), veggies, and lean protein, and it tastes like stuffing, but cheesier. So ya, try and resist this easy and healthy casserole.

Broccoli Sausage Bake:
1/2 loaf of rye bread, about 9 oz
1 head of broccoli
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
8 oz of turkey sausage, without casing, prefiribley spicy
3/4 cup of 2% mozzarella cheese, shredded
1.5 oz of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups of chicken broth

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lightly toast bread until crisp. Chop broccoli, onion, and garlic, and place on cookie sheet. Roast until broccoli is tender, and onions are slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and lower heat to 350. Cut or tear bread into small chunks, in a 9 by 13" casserole dish, lightly sprayed with non-stick, stir together bread, broccoli, onion, garlic, sausage, and cheese. Mix together the chicken broth and spices, then pour over the bread/broccoli mixture. Bake until liquid is absorbed and top is browned, about 20 minutes.

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Continuing with all things deliciously pumpkin (my favorite fall flavor), today I have a pumpkin cheesecake. Cheesecake is one of those things that looks impressive, but really isn't hard to make. You can kind of just throw everything in a bowl and mix it all up and then pour it into a pan. The hardest part is telling if it's done, it will not look done, you still want a little wobble in the center. If you cook it too long it will crack a little, but it will still taste amazing, so not really the worst thing in the world. Make sure you use a spring-form pan, so you can get the cheesecake out with out crushing it. Enjoy some pumpkin cheesecake goodness.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
4 tbsp of butter, melted

Pumpkin Cheese Cake:
3 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, softened slightly
8 oz (1 container) of Mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups of sugar
3 tbsp of flour
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 tbsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 350, with a rack in the center. Spray a 9" springform pan with non-stick spray. Make Crust: Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until moist crumbs form. Press crumbs into the bottom of the pan and bake until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Make the Filling: Beat cream cheese, Mascarpone, and sugar on low speed until smooth. Mix in flour, pumpkin, spices, and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time until all are incorporated in. Put pan with crust on a baking sheet and pour batter into the cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until cheesecake is just set on the edges, and still a little wobbly in the center, about 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool, then refrigerate overnight. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Pumpkin Overnight French Toast

Brunch is perhaps the best meal of all. You can eat pretty much anything, breakfast, lunch food, dessert. Whatever you want! This bread pudding/overnight French toast is a dessert wearing a breakfast robe, and it is absolutely amazing. Serving it with caramel sauce instead of maple syrup truly takes it to the next level of deliciousness. This is a perfect addition to any holiday brunches you might have planned, or simply for a delicious and easy to throw together weekend treat. Throw it together the night before and let the goodness soak into the bread, then throw it in the oven the following morning and enjoy the deliciousness!

Pumpkin Overnight French Toast:
2 cups of half and half
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1 cup of light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of cloves
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of raisins
1 1/2 large loafs of Challah bread

Caramel Sauce:
1 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Whisk together half and half, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and spices. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and put in dish, and sprinkle with raisins. Pour pumpkin mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, bake until firm and golden on top, about 45 minutes. Make the sauce: Stir the sugar and butter in a small pot, over meduim heat until butter melts, whisk in cream and stir until sauce is smooth and combined, about 3 minutes. Serve bread pudding with sauce drizzled on, or on the side. (adapted from Epicurious)

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Does anyone else still have a ton of extra cranberries from Thanksgiving? Or Feel the urge to buy them every time they walk past a bag in the store? I love cranberries, but the problem is, I think, I love them in theory, in actuality, aside from sauce, I have no idea what to do with them. So I began an extensive search for cranberry recipes to rid myself of the bags and bags of cranberries that I "needed" for thanksgiving. This cake is my favorite so far, a deliciously simple and buttery base, with a sweet cranberry topping. It's extremely easy to make, just make sure you grease the pan well in order to get the cake out. I actually used a springform pan for extra cake removing ease.

Cranberry Upside-down Cake:
8 tbsp of butter, divided, softened
1 cup of sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1 3/4 cups cranberries

Pre-heat the oven to 350, with a rack in the center. Mix 6 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add baking soda, salt, and about half the flour and mix until just combined. Then add 1/4 cup of milk, and mix. Add remainder of flour and mix, then the last 1/4 cup of milk. Grease an 8" round pan with the remaining tablespoons of butter (it is important to use all of it, because it creates the topping). Mix together remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg, and sprinkle evenly on top of the butter. Then spread cranberries across the bottom in a single layer. Bake until a fork inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before inverting the cake onto a plate. Serve cranberry side up. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Penne ala Vodka

Vodka sauce is something that I always thought of as being ridiculously heavy, but a little cream goes a long way, to make this delicious sauce smooth and creamy without feeling like you are eating a stick of butter. The spiciness of the red pepper and the sausage go so perfectly with the creamy texture, on bite made me forget I was ever afraid of this sauce. This is a perfect way to "winter" up pasta night, something about the cream and spice just warms you inside out. Enjoy.

Penne ala Vodka:
1/2 lb of penne pasta
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 links of Hot Italian Sausage (optional)
1 small onion
1 29 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tomato
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of vodka
1/2 cup of heavy cream
salt, pepper

Make pasta according to package directions. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown sausage on all sides then remove from pan, and slice, add back to the pan. Dice onions and add to oil, cook stirring occasionally until onions soften about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Dice tomato and garlic and add to sauce, and oregano and red pepper and cook and bring to a boil. Add vodka and stir, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer sauce until pasta is cooked, then turn off heat and stir in heavy cream. Pour cooked pasta into the pan, and stir until pasta is coated. Enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apple Granola Muffins

I love muffins, it's basically a free pass to eat cake for breakfast. So what's better than cake for breakfast? How about cake and granola. Yum! I would never have thought to put granola inside a muffin until I saw this pear granola muffin recipe, but granola really is a wonderful filling and topping for a muffin and makes them a little more breakfasty. You can choose any granola variety you like, but I would recommend one without raisins. I used special K granola. Enjoy!

Apple Granola Muffins:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp of plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp of milk
2 tbsp of butter, melted
1 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of wheat flour
2 tsps of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 apples (1 granny smith, 1 gala), diced
3/4 cup of granola

1 cup of granola
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tbsp of butter, chilled

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners and lightly spray with non-stick spray. In a large bowl mix together eggs, sugar, yogurt, milk, and butter until well combined slowly mix in flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until just combined. Mix in apples and granola. Fill each muffin tin with batter approximately 3/4 full. Make topping: Mix together granola, flour, sugar and salt. Chop butter into pieces and cut into granola mixture using your hands, until clumps form. Distribute the topping over the muffins. Bake until a fork inserted comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Make 18. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, November 28, 2011

S'Mores Bars

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate a super ton of turkey,etc! Thanks for baring with me as I got over my vacation brain (sort of). But here is a delicious way to come back, s'mores bars! I made these AMAZING blondies for my November Secret Recipe Club, and they are from Casey and her blog, Beautiful Disasters. Casey's Blog is full of delicious looking treats, but her brownies and bars are particularly outrageous. I had such a hard time deciding which to make, but I'm so glad I decide to make the s'mores. I decided to truly decadent mine up, by whipping up some homemade marshmallow cream (so easy, and so much better than the jarred stuff). Enjoy these delicious bars (if you aren't too stuffed from the holiday) and check out Beautiful Disasters for more great recipes!

S'Mores Blondies:
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeve of graham crackers)
1 tsp of baking powder
1 salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
2 1/2 cups of marshmallow cream (jarred or homemade)
2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 12" pan. Press half the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan, sprinkle chocolate chips on in an even layer, then top with marshmallow cream, spreading with a spatula dipped in hot water. Then, top with remaining cookie dough, in chunks, leaving some marshmallow exposed. Bake for about 30 minutes, until cookie is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Let cool, then cut into bars and enjoy! (adapted from Beautiful Disasters)

Happy Eating!


Monday, November 14, 2011


Hello!! I am currently in beautiful Jamaica on vacation! I will be back for the week of Thanksgiving! Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Pies

I can't believe I am about to say this, but Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I feel like summer barely ended, and we are halfway through November. But that's ok, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is the best food (and family time) around and I can't wait for all the festivities to start. So, I got started a little early, with some yummy mini pumpkin pies with a graham cracker crust.

12 graham crackers
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
3 tbsp of light brown sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray lightly with non-stick. In a food processor, blend graham crackers until you have crumbs with no large chunks. Add salt, cinnamon and brown sugar and pulse to combine. With processor running, stream in the butter and mix until incorporated. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of 18 muffin liners. Bake until just fragrant and slightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 can of evaporated milk
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of corn starch
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground cloves

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins, a little less than 1/4 cup per muffin. Bake until set but slightly wobbley in the center, about 25 minutes. Rotate once half way through. Let cook and then refrigerate overnight or until firm. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wine Roasted Lamb

I don't just eat potatoes for dinner, I promise. So here is the other half of my Sunday night fall roasting extravaganza. Leg of lamb!! I love leg of lamb, but I don't often by it, because they are so large, what are two people going to do with 7 pounds of meat?! So I was delighted when Whole Foods had half legs of lamb, still with the bone in, and a much more manageable 2 1/2 lbs (which was still enough to provide 2 dinners for 2 people, the leftovers became lamb fried rice, yum). The wine in this recipe soaks into the onions making them totally drunk and irresistible (yes, I called my onions drunk) and goes perfect with the richness of the lamb. A perfect Sunday evening.

Wine Roasted Lamb:
1 semi-boneless half leg of lamb, about 2 1/2-3 lbs
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 small onions
1 shallot
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of pepper
1 tbsp of salt
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of red wine, drinking quality

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Rub the lamb with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then drizzle with olive oil. Put lamb in a 9 by 13 casserole dish. Chop onions, shallots and garlic and put them in the dish around the lamb. Cook for 25 minutes, reduce heat to 325 and pour wine over lamb and onions. Let cook until a thermomater inserted in the lamb registers 140 (for medium rare), about 30 minutes more depending on weight. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve lamb with onions and wine drippings. Enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Standing Roasted Potatoes

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I have all those amazing dishes on the brain, particularly the sides. Stuffing and potatoes, what more could a girl ask for. Stuffing is probably my all time favorite food, but sometimes you just need an amazingly crisp roast potato. These take a good amount of time but they are worth the wait. In addition to delicious-ing up your Thanksgiving table (not that it needs it), they are perfect for Sunday night roasting, my favorite cold weather tradition. And now that the cold has settled in, expect lots more roasting to come.

5 golden potatoes
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Thinly slice the potatoes into rounds (like potato chip shape). Divide potato slices between 6 muffin cups, and place the slices in the cups vertically (standing up). Slice the garlic, and divide between the muffin cups, putting the slices in between potato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Slice the butter into small pieces and put a few on top of each muffin tin. Roast for 1 hour until the slices are browned at the top, then lower heat to 325 and roast until potatoes are cooked through, about 30 minutes more. Makes 6 individual portions. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bacon Roasted Pork Loin

Bacon is magical. It takes something that is already delicious (a pork tenderloin) and makes it truly wonderful. The bacon gets nice and crisp on the outside, while the pork on the inside remains incredibly moist and tender. This is truly the best pork tenderloin I have ever tasted. Even the next day, when I put the tenderloin, sans bacon, on a salad, the meat was so amazing and perfect. This dish looks beautiful, and is super easy to make, the prep takes about 5 minutes. So the next time you need to special up a dish, remember, bacon makes it better.

Bacon Roasted Pork Loin:
2 pork tenderloins, 1 lb each
6 slices of center cut bacon, or other thick sliced
Salt, Pepper
1/2 tsp of rep pepper flakes
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the pork tenderloins with salt and pepper. Push them together and wrap the bacon around the tenderloins. Place in a 9 by 13 baking dish bacon seam side down, sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Chop onions and garlic and and add to dish. Roast for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 350 and continue roasting until cooked just too 140 degrees, about 10-15 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to crisp the bacon. To serve slice in between the bacon slices.

Happy Eating.


Monday, October 31, 2011

SRC - Monte Cristo Sandwich

I am so excited to participate in my first Secret Recipe Club! For my first month I was assigned Double Dipped Life. Double Dipped is full of so many tempting dishes that I had a really hard time choosing what I would make, but ultimately I decided on a Monte Cristo sandwich. I has never had one before and I wasn't really sure what it was (but I love the movie, so I had to check it out). Now that I have had one I can only describe it as life changing. It is a sandwich made on French toast, I don't think it gets any better than that. So check out Double Dipped Life for her monte cristo sandwich and other wonderful eats, and enjoy an amazing sandwich.

Monte Cristo Sandwich:
2 slices of sourdough bread, sliced sandwich style
1 egg
2 tbsp of milk
4 oz of ham
1/4 cup (2 slices) of mozzarella or Swiss cheese
1 tbsp of Jam

Preheat a pan, and spray with non stick. Beat the egg and milk together. Dip the bread slices in the egg, like you are making French toast. Coat both slices on both sides with egg mixture. Cook the bread on one side in the pan, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip bread and top one slice with ham and one slice with the cheese. Cook until the side is browned and the cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes. Spread/pour jam over the ham and top with the cheese piece of bread. Cut sandwich in half and serve. Enjoy! (adapted from Double Dipped Life)

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Curry

I am leaving for a trip to San Antonio today, so I won't be posting the rest of the week. But before I go... Enjoy some delicious lightened up chicken curry. I had been planning on making fried rice, but was just so in the mood for rice that was soaked in sauce (yum) and I happened to have a can of light coconut milk on hand, so this delicious spiced (but not spicy) curry was born. With enough delicious sauce to drown a huge bowl of rice. Have a great week, see you all Monday!

Chicken Curry:
1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp of flour
2 onions
1 parsnip
1 bell pepper
2 tbsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp mustard
1 tsp of Garam masala
1 tsp of chili powder
1 Bay leaf
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of light coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cut the chicken breast into 1 inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Toss the breasts with the flour to coat. Add to the hot pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes then flip. Chop the onions, parsnips, and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until onions soften slightly, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spices, sugar, stock and coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through and the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan Peanut Butter Dip

I love smoothies, and one of my favorite smoothie ingredients is silken tofu, it makes them impossibly creamy. But, I feel like whenever I buy the tofu, I end up getting smoothie-d out and throwing half of it away. When I bought tofu this week I was determined to find other ways to use it, and not to let any of it go to waste. While I was perusing ideas I decided that I would blend some peanut butter in and see what happens, I wasn't sure exactly what I would end up with when I started this, but it is delicious. I started throwing things in the food processor, and ended up with an easy, creamy dip, that is absolutely perfect for dunking fruit into. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dip:
4 oz silken tofu
3 tbsp of creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup of light coconut milk
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1/3 cup of mashed acorn squash (or canned pumpkin)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ginger

In a food processor puree the tofu until smooth. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, squash and spices and process until well combined. Makes about 1 cup of dip, serve with apple slices or other fruit for dipping.

Happy Eating.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Ultimate Chex Mix

Homemade Chex mix is one of those things that everyone makes a little differently, it's perfecly customizable and always delicious. I like to maximize the butter to cereal ratio, to ensure that every piece is coated with goodness. The boyfriend is very particular about what is in the mix (no nuts, no wheat Chex) and so this amazingly delicious hybrid was born. My ultimate Chex mix, it is crazy addictive, especially when it is hot from the oven (or not quite finished baking), which is my favorite way to eat it. Enjoy your delicious fall snacking! And check out what I did with the leftover Chex and pretzels.

Ultimate Chex Mix:
4 cups corn chex
3 cups rice chex
2 cups of pretzels
1 bag of garlic bagel chips
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
4 tbsp of salted butter
3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of hot sauce
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Add chex and pretzels to the baking sheet. Break bagel chips in pieces and add to the chex. Melt butters in the microwave in a small bowl, mix in Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion, and salt. Pour the butter over the Chex mix slowly, stirring the mix to coat evenly. Bake for an hour, stirring mix every 15 minutes.

Happy Eating.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Daring Cooks: Moo Shu

Blog-checking lines: The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

This, I think was my favorite Daring Cooks challenge so far. It was absolutely delicious! Not all of the ingredients made it into my Moo Shu, because I got a little frazzled, but it was so good that next time I make it (and trust me, there will be a next time) I won't even bother to add them. The hoisin sauce was AMAZING, easy to make, and made from pantry staples plus it provided plenty of leftovers that were consumed throughout the week. The Moo Shu sent me on a cabbage eating binge like you would not believe. Making the pancakes was a lot of work, and they didn't really taste like anything, they were a good conduit for the meat and sauce, but next time I would happily eat this plain, over rice, or on a store bought tortilla, which would also make this more of an everyday meal (less work). Can you guess when I actually made this, I have been sitting on this post, dying to share it for a bit of time. (Hint: look for lots of cabbage and something else with hoisin sauce). Anyway, enjoy the deliciousness!

Moo Shu Pork:
1 pork loin, about 3/4 lb
1/2 head of green cabbage
1 bunch of scallions
1 package of gourmet mushrooms
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of canola oil
salt, pepper, chili powder

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Finely chop the pork and add to the oil, cook until browned slightly, about 1 minute. Chop the cabbage, scallions and mushrooms and add to the pan. Add the vinegar and soy sauce and cook until cabbage softens, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder to taste.

Hoisin Sauce:
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp (or more) of Sriracha
1 1/2 tbsp of molasses
2 tbsp of almond butter
2 tsp of white vinegar
2 tsp of sesame oil
1/4 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth and combined.

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of wheat flour
1/2 tsp of canola oil
3/4 cup of boiling water

Put the flour in a food processor with the dough blade and pulse a few times. While the machine is running pour in water and oil. Remove the dough from the processor, roll into a ball and cover with a damp towel, let stand 30 minutes. Return to the food processor and run until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Dive in half and roll into a long log, cut each log into 7 pieces, keep dough covered when you aren't using it. Roll each piece into a ball, and then flatten into a disk. Roll the disks out into a 6-8 inch circle. Heat a pan on high heat, then put on medium-low, cook pancakes until light brown spots appear, do not flip. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

I love a good casserole, they are so hearty and filling and can warm you from the inside. I was looking for something creamy and delicious, that wasn't a million calories, when I stumbled across this casserole from Cooking Light, which inspired me to make my own version. I added a substantial amount of broccoli to really stretch the dish and so that I could eat a gigantic portion guilt free. A piece the size in the picture below (1/6th of the casserole) is under 350 calories, a very reasonable dinner portion. So enjoy some deliciousness absolutely guilt free (and eat the leftovers for lunch).

Chicken Tetrazzini:
2 heads of broccoli, chopped and steamed
1/2 lb of angel hair pasta, broken in half and cooked
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I boiled mine)
1/2 tbsp of butter
1 small onion
1 package of mixed gourmet mushrooms
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 cup of sherry wine
1/3 cup of flour
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of reduced fat, shredded, mozzarella cheese
1/4 cups of plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup of Parmesan

First, prep work, cook the chicken, broccoli and pasta (this could be done in advance too). Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with non-stick and add pasta, broccoli, and chicken and mix together. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt butter, chop onion and add to butter. Chop mushrooms and add as well, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until onions soften, about 3 minutes, add sherry and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in flour, mixing constantly, cook for 3 minutes, stirring to ensure flour doesn't burn, this will be very thick. Stir in stock and bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stir until smooth. Add in mozzarella and stir until melted. Pour mixture over the noodle mixture and stir to combine. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Happy Eating.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Chex Clusters

The boyfriend has started asking for Chex mix about 2 weeks ago, something about Fall and the impending holiday season. Chex mix, especially homemade, is dangerous to have in the house (in fact, I'm pretty sure we ate half a stick of butter yesterday, in Chex mix alone). I even just like the way the Chex cereal tastes plain. I did not want to have a bunch of half full Chex boxes around, so I decided in addition to the deliciously addictive classic Chex mix that I would make a salty-sweet (and it turns out even more dangerous) concoction. This is like a cross between caramel corn and muddy buddies, and it is so amazing I had to have the boyfriend pry it from hands and hide it. If you like salty sweet combinations, you have to try this, now. It only takes about 10 minutes to make and there is no baking. Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Chex Clusters:
4 cups of chex (rice or corn)
5 cups of popped popcorn
1 cup of pretzels
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
2 1/2 tbsps of butter
1 tsp of salt

Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with non stick spray. Mix together the Chex, popcorn, pretzels, and chocolate chips in the dish. In a small pan, heat sugar, corn syrup and butter over high medium heat until melted, raise heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the a dark brown, but still liquid caramel forms, about 4 minutes. Add in salt, then pour caramel mixture over the Chex mixture and stir until the caramel is coating all the mixture and the chocolate has melted. Press the mixture down into the pan, and then allow to cool for 30 minutes. Break up into chunks. Store in a air tight container.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beef and Potato Hash

The use everything up experiment continues, and I have to say I feel proud. I have not only managed to make some delicious meals, our fridge is near empty and devoid of perishables, and not because we have thrown out what went bad, but because we have used everything! We really need to go shopping now, but I've learned a valuable lesson in using what you have, and hopefully the dinners from this week can help me to buy less and use everything up to decrease what I waste.

Beef Potato Hash:
2 large russet potatoes
2 yellow onions
2 bell pepper
1 small hot pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp of worchestershire sauce
1 can/bottle of beer
8 oz of ground beef
Canola oil
Salt, pepper, Tabasco

Heat the a thin layer of oil over high heat in a large skillet. Chop potatoes into small cubes and add to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes, then lower heat to medium. Chop onions into small squares and add to the pan , cook until onions soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Chop the peppers (hot and bell) and add to the pan, stir to combine, raise heat to high and cook 1 minute, then stir in the chili powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and half the beer. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to allow beer to simmer, cook until the liquid has absorbed. Add ground beef and stir in. Add remaining beer and cook until absorbed and potatoes are tender. Serve with sunny side up eggs. Potatoes will need to cook about 30 minutes total, depending on how small you chopped them.

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shrimp and Pasta Stir Fry

This week is an interesting experiment, it's called using up all the things in the fridge, freezer and pantry that I forgot I had. We didn't go grocery shopping this weekend because we were suppose to be getting a lovely vegetable box delivered from Pure Organics (I got a groupon). Then the day before the box was suppose to come, they are suddenly out of business (don't worry, I got my money back). I am extremely disappointed that I won't get my lovely fresh veggies, and too lazy to go grocery shopping during the week, so I will just have to see how much I can put the furthest and most forgotten corners of my pantry to work. Fortunately, I still have some leftover veggies. The tomatoes in this are actually from my garden (or the tomato jungle as I like to think of it). So here is a delicious and fridge/pantry cleaning hodge podge of pasta, veggies, and shrimp in an Asian-y sauce.

Shrimp and Pasta Stir Fry:
1/2 lb of spaghetti
1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp of flour
Canola oil
2 onions
1/4 of head of cabbage
1 can of fancy bamboo shoots, drained
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
2 tsp of sesame oil
Salt, pepper, and chili powder
Cook spaghetti to package directions for al dente. In the mean time, heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Slice the onion and cabbage and add to the pan, when it's hot. Cook until cabbage wilts slightly and onions start to brown, about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until cabbage is soft, about 5-7 minutes more. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and chili powder and toss with the flour. Remove cabbage from the pan and set aside. Raise heat to high and add a little more oil to the pan, cook shrimp until browned and pink, stirring once or twice, about 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage back to the pan, and add bamboo shoots, tomatoes, garlic, and cooked pasta. In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin, soy sauce, and vinegar and add to the pasta and veggies and stir. Add sriracha to taste and stir in. Sprinkle with sesame oil before serving.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Honey Cake with Carmelized Pears

Happy New Year! No, I am not crazy, or 3 months early. It's Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. During Rosh Hashanah , people dip apples in honey to remind them of the sweetness of life, and desserts are often made with honey. This year I decided to make a honey cake, but punch it up a notch with some caramelized pears. True it's not apples, but it's another wonderful fruit of the season that adds a wonderful level of sophistication to the cake.

Honey Cake:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of light-brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of honey, plus 1/4 cup for glazing cake
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix eggs and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add honey, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix until just combined. Add remaining cup of flour and mix until just combined. Grease or spray with non-stick a 10 inch spring-form pan. Bake until cake is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and release spring-form. Pour the 1/4 cup of honey on top of the cake slowly and rub in using a spatula or a brush. Top with caramelized pears (see below). The cake (without the topping) can be made 1 day in advance and left at room temperature covered in saran wrap. (adapted from Martha)

Caramelized Pears
1 tbsp of salted butter
1/4 cup of sugar
2 lbs of red anjou pears, cored and sliced
2 tbsp of honey

Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium-low, when melted stir in sugar until combined. Add the pears and stir. Cook until pears are soft and swimming in syrup, about 15 minutes. Add honey, and turn heat to high, cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top cake with pears. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Cabbage Salad

Sometimes, I forget just how much wonderful produce grows in the fall. It may not be as glamorous as the abundant summer crops, but there are a world of new fruits and veggies to locally enjoy. Wonderful root vegetables, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, amazing sweet squash, pears, and of course apples. I love rediscovering all the delicious flavors. I love the first taste of mashed butternut squash, where you totally forget that you are eating a vegetable, and think" how is this good for me?" I love combining them in new ways as well, taking an old favorite, apples and pairing it with my vegetable obsession, cabbage, to make a truly delicious warm salad. I served this over a garden fresh baked potato.

Apple Cabbage Salad:
1 apple
1/2 head of green cabbage
2 tbsp of good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of water
4 oz of ground beef
salt, pepper
olive oil for pan

Heat the olive oil over medium high in a large pan. Chop the apple into small pieces and add to the hot oil. Chop the cabbage and add to the pan. Add the vinegar and stir, reduce heat to medium-low, add water and cook until the liquid has evaporated and cabbage in tender, about 6-8 minutes. Return heat to medium-high and add beef, stir in and cook until beef browns, about 1-2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a baked potato or by itself.

Happy Eating.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Apple Quinoa Salad

It's been awhile since I've shared a delicious side dish. To be honest, I have been making this for lunch, where half the recipe makes a perfectly sized, wonderfully healthy, and amazingly yummy lunch for me. But it also makes a great fall side or salad, filled with the best of the season apples and mushrooms. Plus, I don't know if it's the color, but something about red quinoa absolutely screams fall to me. This salad is good hot or cold, although I prefer it cold. If you are serving it cold, it can be made in advance, just leave the lettuce out until right before you serve it. If you are serving it hot, stir the apples and the lettuce in right at the end, so they don't go soggy. Enjoy a wonderful, healthy, seasonal meal or side!

Apple Quinoa Salad:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of red quinoa (raw)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup of mushrooms, pieces
2 tablespoons of almonds, sliced
1/2 an apple
1 cup of lettuce
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of olive oil
salt, pepper

Bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa and the garlic. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cook until liquid has absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and add mushrooms and stir, cook until mushrooms are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Toast the almonds in the oven and stir into quinoa. Let the quinoa cool. Chop the half apple and add to the quinoa. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Chop the apple and the lettuce and stir into the cooled quinoa. Toss together, add dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Braised Pork Chops

Fall... My absolute favorite season. Chilly weather, jackets, vibrant colors, and warming meals make this season so wonderful. It sneaks up on you overnight, and all the sudden it's time to bust out all those old cooking techniques that haven't been used since last Winter, like braising. Braising, it even sounds warm! This was a new way to cook pork chops for me, and I really loved it, they were absolutely infused with the flavor from the cooking liquid. It's the perfect dish for serving with some rice and roasted veggies!

Braised Pork Chops:
3 boneless pork chops
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of sherry wine
2/3 cups of water
1/2 tsp of onion powder
salt, pepper

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and brown both sides. In the mean time stir together the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, and Dijon. Pour over the pork chops and add the sherry, water, and onion powder. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes. Remove pork from liquids and turn heat to high, and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens, about 3 minutes. Serve pork topped with sauce. Enjoy!

Happy Eating.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Baked Brownie

I have wanted to try this recipe forever. It always looked like the ultimate celebration of chocolate, and I've heard it's the best brownie around. But, something more glamorous came across my computer screen to try, or someone really wanted cookies and it got pushed aside. Finally, enough was enough and I just had to bake it. Wow! These are the most insanely rich, intensely, deep chocolate brownies I have ever tasted. They are just beyond words amazing. Now that I have finally tried them, I'm not sure I'll be able to stop baking them.

The Baked Brownie:
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks of butter
1 tsp of instant coffee
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
11/4 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Stir in coffee and put in the freezer for a few minutes to cool. Stir in the sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Stir in the flour, salt, and cocoa powder, and mix until just combined. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with non stick. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until set in the middle, and a for inserted has only a few crumbs. About 40-50 minutes, it is very difficult to tell if they are done or not, so make sure you check the middle of the brownies. Let cool before slicing. (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker).

Happy Eating.


Friday, September 16, 2011

My Favorite Roast Chicken

First, a little business. Congrats to Claire on winning the jar of Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter! Enjoy!

In my September DC post, I mentioned that I made a roast chicken, and used the leftovers from that to make my stock. Not only did I make a roast chicken, but I made my favorite roast chicken. I shared this once before, but it was so long ago, I wasn't even putting pictures on my blog then, so I decided I needed to re-post it. This chicken is absolutely magical, and very easy to make, it's been made so many times over the years, and tweaked slightly from time to time (usually depending on what herbs I have), but it's always delicious.

Roast Chicken:
1 whole chicken, giblits removed
3 cloves of garlic
2 large yellow onion
2 lemons
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Parsley
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper
1-2 cups Chicken Stock

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Chop the onions, reserving 1/4 of an onion, and put in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and inside the cavity. Put in the dish breast side up. Smash the garlic cloves and put inside the chicken, put the reserved onion in the chicken as well. Quater one of the lemons. Put one quarter inside the chicken, unsqueezed. Use another quarter to squeeze the juice all over the chicken. Chop the remaining 1 and 1/2 lemons and add to the dish with the onions. Stuff a handful thyme, rosemary, and parsley into the chicken. Rub olive oil over the exposed chicken skin, and drizzle a little into the onions as well. Tuck the wings in and tie the drumstick together with kitchen twine (truss). Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and add some stock to baste. Bake until the internal temperature is 165 in the thigh, or the little ready thermometer pops, about 20 minutes per pound, stirring the onions and basting with stock occasionally. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving. The lemons (rind and all) in the pan with the onions are completely edible, and taste really good. Enjoy!

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I'll admit it, when I first saw this challenge, I was not at all excited, but I missed last month and decided to just shut up and do it. I bought a beautiful and large (like 7 lbs) chicken, and then the thought of just boiling it to nothingness (well, stock) seemed like such a waste of such a nice chicken. So I thought maybe I'll do veggie stock and roast the chicken. But then I couldn't make chicken noodle soup (which my sick little self had been craving like crazy). So I did some research and discovered, you could make stock with cooked chicken bones. I can have my cake and eat it too! Well, have my delicious roast chicken, and still make chicken stock. It worked so well and both the chicken and soup were so amazing. I think I will do this with all leftover chicken bones from now on, so much more useful than just throwing them out. I am so glad I decided to participate this month, because I learned something new and ended up with about some really, really amazing soup!

1 leftover chicken carcass, bones, skin, whatever you have (not meat) plus the organs (except the liver, it't the dark one)
3 carrots, peeled
3 pieces of celery
1 white onion, quartered
A handful of Parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp of pepper
1 tbsp of coarse sea salt

Put the chicken parts, carrots, celery, and onions in a 10 quart stock pot. Fill the the pot with water until it covers the chicken and the pot is almost full, but leave 3-4 inches of space at the top. Turn the heat to high and add the herbs, pepper, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 4-5 hours (or longer). Strain the soup into a large bowl or another pot and discard the solids.

As I briefly mentioned above, I have been a bit under the weather and so has the boyfriend, so this one was a no brainer, there is nothing quite as comforting as some delicious homemade chicken soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup:
Chicken stock (from above)
3 carrots
4 turnips
3 pieces of celery
3 yellow onions
1 bunch of bok choi
left over chicken meat (I had 1 breast and 1 thigh from the dinner left, and added 2 boneless skinless thighs that were in the fridge)
1 bag of egg noodles, cooked

Bring the stock to a boil. Chop the carrots turnips, celery, and onions into large bite size chunks and add to stock. Cut the bok choi, whites and greens and add as well. Add the chicken in bite size pieces, raw or cooked is fine. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour. Turn off heat, stir in the noodles and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy! This makes about 16-18 servings of soup, plus I had leftover broth/stock (about 8 cups).

For the accompaniment, I'm not a huge cracker person, so I thought I would make a sandwich, but I didn't have any bread so I made a quesadilla instead. It's delicious and very easy to make.

Turkey Mushroom Quesadilla:
1 whole wheat wrap
3 slices of deli turkey
1/4 cup mushrooms raw
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella

On one half of the wrap, put turkey and mushrooms, sprinkle with the Worcestershire sauce. Top with cheese and fold the wrap over in half. Heat a pan or griddle and spray with non-stick. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the wrap is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut in half to serve.

Happy Eating.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Bison Flank Steak

It's almost the end of grilling season, and with all this rain, I don't feel like I have gotten everything out of it that I could. In July, I grilled nearly every dinner, but rainy August was definitely more of a mixed bag. I still had a few things left I needed to grill before it was too late, or too cold really. One of them was Bison. I am already a huge fan of the bison burger, but the past few times I have been at Whole Foods, I noticed they had other cuts, and that they looked tasty. My only other experience with bison, was brought back from a hunt, and it did not smell so great (it tasted fine though), so I was a little timid. One day, the boyfriend went to Whole Foods without me, and he came home with a beautiful bison flank steak. It was perfectly lean looking, and did not smell out all! Once it was grilled up, it tasted amazing, and I'm pretty sure you could serve it and no one would know they weren't eating beef. So, step outside your comfort zone, for a delicious and lean dinner!

Marinated Bison Flank Steak:
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp of Worcherstershire Sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
salt, pepper
1 bison flank steak, about 1 lb.
Olive oil

In a small bowl combine the vinegars, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and mustard. Season a bison flank steak (or a beef one) with salt and pepper. Put in a plastic bag and pour in the vinegar mixture, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Seal the bag and shake until the steak is coated. Refrigerate overnight. Pre-heat the grill. Remove the steak from the marinade and run with a little bit of oil. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side, and then flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, for medium rare. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. To serve, slice against the grain.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Usually, when it comes to cookies, I err on the side of mini. I love bite size cookies. Cookies where you can eat a few and not feel too guilty. These are not those cookies. These are mammoth sized cookies, but they are so amazing, you won't even care about the guilt. They are crispy around the edges, and chewy inside and absolutely enormous. The perfect cookie for dunking in some milk or hot cocoa during all this rain (you may not currently be experiencing this rain, but the cookies are still delicious in sunshine, don't worry). They also look impressive because of their mammoth size, so whip up a batch for your next party, or your Sunday football marathon (I am so excited). Enjoy!

PS: I apologize for the smudge on the picture, I thought that was on my display screen, not on the lens. And don't forget to enter for your chance to win a jar of Coconut Peanut Butter!

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp of vanilla
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 cups of flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix together the sugars and butter, until smooth and well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add in 1 cup of flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Add remaining flour and mix until just combined, do not over mix. Stir in chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non stick. Scoop cookies by heaping tablespoon (like really heaping, almost 2 tablespoons), shape into a round as best you can (the dough is very sticky) and flatten slightly. Space cookies wide, 6 per cookie sheet. Bake for 20-24 minutes until golden. Makes about 20 cookies. (adapted from Cook's Illustrated).

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coconut Peanut Butter Giveaway + Coconut Granola

After such a wonderful giveaway last week, my friends at Tropical Traditions, decided to host another one! Today I have a 16 oz jar of delicious coconut peanut butter to giveaway to one lucky reader. Tropical Traditions was kind enough to send me a jar of their all natural Coconut Peanut Butter to try and it is delicious. It's only got two ingredients, coconut and peanuts! I love all nut butters, but I try to stick to the all natural varieties for my snacking, and the fewer ingredients the better, so I was delighted to see only two on their label. It's amazingly smooth and creamy for a natural peanut butter and unlike most natural nut butters, you don't have to keep it in the fridge. It's very temperature sensitive, in fact when drizzled on ice cream, it forms a shell coating, like magic shell (do you remember that stuff? Yum!), it also melts beautifully. It's delicious on a PB&J plus I used it to whip up a batch of delicious Coconut Granola (I also used Tropical Tradition's Coconut Oil in this recipe too). You can order your own jar here, if you don't win the giveaway. Good Luck!

This Giveaway will be open until Wednesday, September 14th. This giveaway is open to people in the US only.

First: Like me on Facebook, follow me on twitter, or subscribe to blog (if you already do so that counts too)

Second: Follow Tropical Traditions by one of the following 3 options
Subscribe to our email Sales Newsletter here:
follow us on Twitter @troptraditions
“Like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook (Please no, “I was sent by…” posts or posting a link to your blog, they will be removed)

Finally: Just post a comment here letting me know that you completed steps one and two and your entered.

Good Luck! My recipe for Coconut Granola is below, plus you can check out more great ways to use the peanut butter on Tropical Tradition's Recipe Page.

Coconut Granola:
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1/4 cup of quinoa
1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup of almonds
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsps of Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter
1 tbsp of Virgin Coconut OIl
1 tbsp of honey

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix together the oats, quinoa, coconut, almonds, and cinnamon. In a small bowl put peanut butter, oil, and honey, microwave for 30 seconds, then stir together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, and spray with non stick. Spread the granola over the sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 1/2 cups of granola.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product. I was under no obligation to review it, nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza

This has definitely been the summer of homemade pizza. Ever since I realized the grill gets infinitely hotter than the broiler (essential to pizza making) I can't get enough of the homemade stuff. I have done classic pizzas and healthy pizzas, fancy flatbreads, and now finally one with a delicious crust. My latest discovery, for making the pizza look pretty, is assembly on the grill. It's much easier to get an empty crust onto the grill and assemble the toppings quickly there, than it is to get a fully assembled and unstable pizza onto the grill without collapsing the toppings into the center. So while the last of grilling season is upon us, make sure you have grilled up at least one tasty pizza this summer!

1 cup of warm water
1 1/8 tsp of active dry yeast (1/2 a packet)
2 1/2-2 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
Olive Oil for coating the bowl

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, dissolve the yeast into the water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Add in 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Process by pulsing until combined. Process until dough is soft and slightly tacky, adding additional flour (1 tablespoon at a time) as necessary. Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil. Turn dough out onto the counter and roll into a ball. Put it in the greased bowl, and cover, let stand until dough has doubled inside, about 3 hours (or a little longer is fine), or refrigerate overnight and then let stand on a counter all day and it will also be ready for dinner. When dough has risen, punch down and remove from the bowl. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes before rolling out into pizza shape. Flatten dough into a disk, and then work your hands around the edges stretching the dough into a circle. Lay on a floured surface (preferably a movable one, like a large cutting board) and roll out to desired thickness. I rolled mine out as thin as I could without ripping the dough in the middle, but leaving it thicker around the edge for a delicious crust. Repeat with second dough ball. (adapted from Chris Bianco's Recipe)

1 1/2 cups of pizza sauce, bought or homemade
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste)
1/8 lb of sandwich style pepperoni

Pre-heat the grill. Make yourself a plate that has all the toppings on it. Take the dough and the toppings out next to your grill. Carefully transfer the crusts to the grill. Working quickly, top each pizza crust with sauce, the pepperoni and then cheese. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Using a large grill spatula, check to make sure crusts are firm then rotate the pizzas. Lower heat or turn off grill and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until cheese is gooey and the crust is cooked through. Slice using a pizza roller and enjoy!

Happy Eating!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

If I was one to eat cookies for breakfast (ok, so maybe I am) it would definitely be these cookies. They are like a muffin-cookie hybrid.They have cookie exterior, but the inside is fluffy like a muffin, a delicious banana chocolate chip muffin. They keep really well, better than you would expect for a soft cookie, just seal the left overs in an airtight container for later enjoyment (assuming you have any left). So if you need a post hurricane pick-me-up, that's quick and easy to throw together, try these. Next time I am throwing a batch of these in my emergency kit. I truly hope that everyone is safe and dry from the storm.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 overripe banana
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and position rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars, until smooth. Mash in the banana and mix on high speed until most of the lumps are gone and mixture is fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add 3/4 cup of flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Add remaining cup of flour and repeat, do not over mix, the batter will be more runny than the average cookie dough. Stir in chocolate chips. Line to cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick. Scoop batter by heaping teaspoon and drop onto cookie sheet. Drop 12 cookies, evenly spaced per sheet. Cook until puffy and golden, rotating between the racks halfway though. About 10-13 minutes total. Makes about 3 dozen. (adapted from Food+Words)

Happy Eating.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Tandoori Grilled Chicken

I haven't cooked a whole chicken in awhile, well that's not entirely true. It's just in a different form. Summer's version of the whole chicken, is grilling a whole, split chicken. A split chicken is a wonderful thing, it's just a regular chicken with the backbone removed and chopped in half. Then you can easily grill the two halves, which lie flat on the grill. This is my FAVORITE marinade for the chicken. The yogurt keeps the chicken super moist and it's got a lovely smokey, slightly spicy flavor. You can eat the grilled skin, or pull it off and the chicken tastes amazing either way. The leftovers make a wonderful lunch sandwich or salad topper.

Tandoori-Style Chicken:
1 Split chicken, about 4-5 lbs
3/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1 lemon
2 tsp of paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and put in a freezer bag. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon and seasonings. Add to the chicken bag, and seal the bag. Shake, and press the bag until the chicken is coated. Marinate in the fridge overnight. Pre-heat the grill. Place chicken on the grill skin side down, and cook for 20 minutes, flip the chicken and cook on the meat side until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, but will vary based on the size of the chicken. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Classic Crumb Cake

Cake for breakfast. In a perfect world, this would always be acceptable. In fact, ever meal would come with a slice of cake. Somehow, I don't think this would help with the obesity problem, so we will just have to stick to special occasions and the occasional piece of this buttery treat with your morning cup of coffee (or afternoon cup, I'm not picky). This is a million times better than the boxed crumb cakes that are so often served, the cake is light and fluffy and the topping is dense, sweet, lightly spiced, and wonderfully buttery. It's truly the perfect breakfast cake.

Crumb Cake:

2 tbsp of canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup of light-brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees, and position rack in the center of the oven. Melt butter for the topping and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl mix together the canola oil, egg, butter milk, and vanilla. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread the batter into the dish using a spatula. The batter will look too thin and this will be somewhat difficult. Take the melted butter for the topping and add to it the brown sugar, spices and flour (all of the topping ingredients). Mix until the mixture is crumb like and combined. Sprinkle the topping over the cake so that it is covered and even. Bake until a fork inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the cake halfway. Cut into brownie size pieces for serving. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Sausage Pasta

Do you ever just crave something really garlicky? I don't know what it is but for me that flavor is the ultimate in deliciousness and the ultimate in comfort food. As this extreme rain seems intent on keeping me away from the grill, I am back to the stove and the oven for dinners. So I decided to whip up some delicious pasta with a fresh "sauce" in honor of the beautiful head of garlic I was staring at, and the brand new bottle of truffle oil gracing my shelves. Roasting the garlic first, makes the flavor shine but not over power and it goes perfectly with mushrooms and delicious, wonderful truffle oil. Enjoy!

Also, congratulations to Deb from knitstamatic, for winning the Coconut Oil Giveaway!

Roasted Garlic and Sausage Pasta:
1/2 head of garlic
2 Pork Sausages
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 lb of spaghetti
5 oz of gourmet sliced mushrooms (1 package)
1 lb of tomatoes
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper
truffle oil (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Roast the garlic (whole and unpeeled) for an hour until the garlic is soft. This can be done ahead of time. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausages. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl. Peel 3 cloves of the roast garlic, smash them lightly and add to the oil. Make the spaghetti according to the package directions for al dente. Brown the sausage on all sides and cover with a lid to cook almost through, about 6 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and add half the garlicy oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften, about 3-4 minutes. Chop the tomato and add that to the pan as well. Add the crushed red pepper. Thinly slice the rest of the roasted garlic and add to the pan. Slice the sausage and return to the pan, cook until opaque through out, then turn the stove off. When pasta is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and add to the sausage, drain the pasta and add to the pan. Pour in the rest of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Short Ribs and Barley

This recipe is a little out of season, I'll admit it. It's a little more fall/winter comfort food, than light summer fare. But it's been raining almost non-stop here and somehow it feels like fall is right around the corner (I can't believe how fast this summer went). This easy, slow cooker feast is so incredibly delicious that I know I will be making it all fall and winter. I bought bone in short ribs by accident and I am so glad that I did, the bones add so much beefy flavor to the broth, and by the time it's done cooking the meat falls clean off the bone. So if it's wet and cold where you are, make this right now, and if it's still summery, definitely keep this deliciousness in you back pocket for when fall comes.

Don't forget to enter the Coconut Oil Giveaway before Friday!

Short Ribs and Barley:
1 medium yellow onion
1 shallot
5 oz of mushrooms, shitake or exotic blend (1 package)
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups of beef stock, low sodium
1/4 cup of dry sherry wine
1 cup of pearled barley, raw
1 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of salt
1 1/2 lbs of bone in short ribs, 2 or 3 ribs
Olive Oil
Salt, pepper

Heat a small pan over high heat. While it's heating, thinly slice onions and shallots and add to a slow cooker. Add in mushrooms. Mince garlic and add as well. Pour in stock and sherry and stir. Add barley, salt and pepper and stir. Run the short ribs with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear in the pan on all sides until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add to the top of the slow cooker and press down into the liquid. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove meat from the slow cooker and pull out the bones, this will be extremely easy. Shred meat. Serve a bowl full of barley topped with some meat.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Sesame Chicken

One of my least favorite things about moving is having to figure out new take out places. You have your go to pizza place, and your never fail Chinese after trying every single place in a 5 mile radius, and then all of the sudden you move and you have to start over. We moved in May, and while we have the pizza situation under control, we are still working out the Chinese. So after a handful of disappointments, I decided to take matters into my own hands. This was delicious! Better than any of the take out places we've tried. I'm sure we will continuing questing for that perfect Chinese takeout (I haven't mastered lo mein yet), but in the meantime this is a pretty delicious (and much lighter) substitution.

PS: Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 32 oz jar of Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sesame Chicken:
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 egg whites
1/4 cup of corn starch
3 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp of sesame seeds
salt, pepper
Canola oil
Heat a large skillet over high heat, and lightly coat the bottom with canola oil. Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the eggs and corn starch in a medium bowl. When smooth, add chicken in and stir to coat. Pan fry chicken, in a few batches being careful not to over crowd the pan. Flip chicken occasionally, until golden all around and opaque throughout, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cook remaining chicken. Meanwhile, make the sauce by stirring together the soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. When all the chicken is cooked return it to the pan and stir in the sauce. Cook until the chicken has rewarmed and sauce is distributed, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with rice or veggies (or both). (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.