Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

More Chocolate, I know...but I just have this great LOVE for the stuff!  Although, I do have to tell you, tomorrow I start detox.  No more sugar until New Years Eve.  I’m giving it up.  :)  In honor of that grand announcement, I celebrated my final night of chocolate allowance, by making this.  I loved it.  Imagine it with Vanilla Ice-cream, melting over hot cake and a little caramel drizzled on it.  Heavenly, I tell you...just Heavenly.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
8 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, milk or dark chocolate  (use good quality)
5 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup flour
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler or in a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Leave to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until light yellow and the sugar is no longer granular. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in a little of the chocolate mixture. You don’t want the eggs to scramble under hot chocolate, so go slowly until all the chocolate is mixed in. Mix in the salt and vanilla. Add the flour a ¼ cup at a time until it’s all well combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. 
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes exactly.  The cake will not be firm in the center, but it will start to pull away from the sides of the pan, and look dry on the top.  Cool in the pan before carefully turning out onto a serving platter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Easy Biscuits

I really try to stay away from bread, but I love a good, buttery biscuit with homemade jam.  These were yummy.

2 cups flour
1 TBSP. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 TBSP. white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly.  Gradually stir in the milk until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 15 to 20 times.  Pat or roll dough out 1 inch thick.  Cut biscuits with a large cutter or glass turned upside down.  I just use a pizza cutter and cut into squares.  Place biscuits onto a baking pan and bake for 13 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.  Brush with melted butter.

Sweet Pork Salad

This has got to be one of my hands-down, favorite recipes!  I love this salad.  It does take a little prep work and time to prepare, but it’s worth it!

To make the sweet pork:
Boneless pork ribs, roast or loin, marinated overnight in 1 1/2 cans of coke (not diet coke) and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  The next day, drain the marinade and put pork, remaining 1/2 can of coke, 1/4 cup water, sprinkle with garlic salt in the crock pot on high for about 4-5 hours or until it shreds apart.  Double the liquid if you need to, depending on how much pork you are making.  When pork easily shreds apart, drain the liquid and shred the pork.  

In a blender, blend 1/2 can of coke, 1 can diced green chilies, 3/4 of a 10oz. can red enchilada sauce (medium spiciness) and 1 cup brown sugar.  Pour over shredded pork in your crock pot and cook on low for 2 more hours.

Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 TBSP. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 TBSP. fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan, combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender.  Remove from heat.  In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro.  Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

 Black Beans and Corn:
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 TPSP. fresh, chopped cilantro

In a skillet, cook garlic and cumin in a little olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it.  Add beans, corn, tomato juice and salt.  Continually stir until heated through.  Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.

 2 large, rip avocados, smashed with fork
1 large tomato, chopped
garlic and salt, to tasted

 Cilantro Ranch Dressing:
1 packet traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, and diced
1/2 - 1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded

Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

 Corn tortillas, cut in strips and fried in oil until crisp.

Pico De Gayo:
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Green onions, chopped
Yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic
Sprinkle with Rice Vinegar to taste
Add Salt, to taste

Mix all together in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair

We had Warren’s parents over for dinner and Warren made this yummy Basil Chicken.  It’s a really light, healthy, delicious meal.  

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
6 cups chopped tomatoes
5 cups boneless chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil - it takes a lot of basil!
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Angel hair pasta
Oil, for sautéing

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until it is al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken, basil, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Reduce heat to medium, and cover skillet.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft.

Toss sauce with hot cooked angel hair pasta to coat.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

Lettuce Wraps

Warren and I both love the lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang’s as well.  I found this recipe online and decided to try it.  It isn’t exactly like P.F. Chang’s, but it’s really good.  I had to make the sauce recipe twice.  The first time I followed the recipe exactly and I didn’t like the sauce.  I added and left some things off the second time.  It tasted MUCH better!  Here is the recipe how I made it.  I doubled the chicken, but you definitely don’t need to double the special sauce.

oil, for frying chicken
Chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
Water chestnuts - 1 can
Mushrooms - about a cup
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
Iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 TBSP. soy sauce
2 TBSP. rice wine vinegar
2 TBSP. ketchup
1 TBSP. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. red chili paste
2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Stir Fry Sauce:
2 TBSP. Soy sauce
2 TBSP. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.  Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, red pepper, garlic and red chili paste and sesame oil.  Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.

Bring oil to high heat in your skillet and saute the chicken pieces until done.  Add water chestnuts, mushrooms and onions.  (Chop the mushrooms and water chestnuts into small, diced pieces).  Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes, then serve in the lettuce cups with the special sauce on the side for dipping or sprinkling on top.

Mongolian Beef

My husband invited his life-time friend over for dinner this past week for his birthday and he made him this Mongolian Beef recipe.  It was delicious.  Both he and I are big fans of PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef.  I recommend you try this recipe out.  It’s delicious.
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 TBSP. garlic, minced
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups. vegetable oil (for frying)
2 lb. flank steaks, sliced cross-grain, at an angle
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 large green onions

Make the sauce by heating 4 tsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.  Don’t get the oil too hot.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.  Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens a bit.  Remove sauce from heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4 inch slices.  Tilt the blade of your knife at about a 45 degree angle to the top of the steak so you get wider cuts.  Dip the steak pieces into cornstarch to apply a thin dusting to both sides of each piece.  Let the beef sit until the cornstarch becomes sticky, about 10 minutes.  As the beef sits, heat up the oil in your wok or skillet until it is hot, but not smoking.  Add the beef to the oil and saute for just 2 minutes, or until beef just begins to darken on the edges.  Stir the meat around a little bit so that it cooks evenly.

After a few minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour most of the oil out of the skillet.  Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add the sauce, cook for 1 minute while stirring and add green onions.  Cook for 1 more minute.    Thicken the sauce with a cornstarch-water mixture to desired thickness and serve it over rice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This stuff I am definitely addicted to.  It was love at first taste for me.  Next time I am going to saute some cashews and fry some rice stick and add it to these delicious lettuce wraps.


2 lbs. chicken, diced
8 cloves of garlic
4 shallots
2 TBSP. of fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
Fresh Basil
1 anaheim chili pepper
3 dashes of white pepper
4 TBSP. oil
1 TBSP. of lime juice
1 tsp. crushed red pepper


Heat oil.  Add garlic and shallots, stir constantly.  Add chicken.  Stir fry.  When cooked, add chilies, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and continue stirring.  Add basil and cook until aromatic.  Sprinkle pepper over dish, stir.  Serve lettuce wrap style or over rice, if you prefer.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

This dough is great chilled and sliced the next day to bake fresh.

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins or craisins
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, optional

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add all the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Add craisins and nuts and mix lightly.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a greased cookie pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Thai Curry Soup

1/2 pound rice noodles (pad thai noodles)
2 TBSP. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSP. minced lemon grass
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 TBSP. and 1 tsp. red curry paste
2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP. white sugar
2 (13.5 oz) cans reduced-fat coconut milk
1 cup peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 /2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 (5oz.) bag baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add rice noodles and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking; set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic, lemon grass, and ginger;  cook and stir until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds.  Add the curry paste, and cook 30 seconds more.  Pour in about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, and stir until the curry paste has dissolved, then pour in the remaining chicken stock along with the soy sauce and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, lime juice, and cilantro.  Increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until the shrimp turns pink and are no longer translucent, about 5 minutes.

To serve, place some rice noodles into each serving bowl and ladle soup on top of them.  Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of sliced green onion.

Sukhothai Pad Thai

I came home from work to the smell of some serious yummy food coming from the kitchen.  My husband decided to surprise me with dinner.  It tasted delicious!  Seriously delicious!

1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup of orange juice
1 (12 oz.) pkg. dried rice oodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 eggs
10 oz. of pre-cooked chicken, ut into 1/2 inch strips
4 oz. pre-cooked shrimp, diced
1 TBSP. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. of sweet red chili sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 TBSP. paprika
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups ground peanuts (we did not use as we have 2 children w/peanut allergies)

Directions:  To prepare Pad Thai sauce:  In a medium saucepan over medium heath, blend sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and orange juice.  To make Pad Thai:  Soak rice noodles in cold water until soft; drain.  In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, warm oil and add garlic and eggs; scramble the eggs.  Add noodles and stir until cooked.  Stir in Pad Thai sauce, 1 TBSP. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Stir in peanuts and sweet red chili sauce.  Remove from heat and add chives and paprika.  Serve with lime and bean sprouts on the side.

Pineapple Glazed Pork Ribs

Fall off the bone, tender, extremely flavorful and different from your normal barbecue ribs.

Baby Back Ribs, brushed with sesame oil and salt and pepper, sprinkle LIGHTLY with chinese 5 spice.

Pineapple Glaze:
2 TBSP. unsalted butter
1 pineapple, peeled and cubed
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce
3 TBSP. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 red chili, thinly sliced (or 1 TBSP. red chili paste)
2 tsp. minced garlic
2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

Arrange the ribs in a single layer in a pan.  Cover with oil and sprinkle spices.  Cover with tinfoil and bake at 300 for 3 hours.

In the last 30 minutes of roasting time, baste the ribs with some of the glaze.  When the ribs are done, the pork will pull away from the bone.  Before serving, baste the ribs with more glaze and place them under the broiler for a few minutes to give it a crust.

For the glaze:  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the pineapple chunks; saute for 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook, stirring until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Once it is thick, pour the glaze into a blender and puree until smooth.

To serve, sprinkle w/sesame seeds and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Lentil Tomato Soup

This is a yummy, warm weather soup.  Next time I think I will add some italian flavored sausage to it, but it was yummy just as it is.  If you are trying to eat healthier, this is a great nutritious soup.  I will tell you, my younger children didn’t gobble it up, but the rest of us really enjoyed it.

4 1/2 cups water
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 can (6oz.) tomato paste
2 TBSP. minced fresh parsley
1 TBSP. brown sugar
1 TBSP. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan, combine the water, carrots, onion and lentils; b ring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.  Stir in the remaining ingredients; return to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3/4 cup equals 138 calories, 27 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 8 g protein.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Crusty Parmesan Chicken

Yummy parmesan chicken.  I admit, I pan fried mine in the remaining garlic and butter and then I just sat it in the oven to warm with a little marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese baked on top.  Yum!

4 chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into pieces
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 cube butter
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TBSP. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper

Melt butter and garlic in a pan.  Dry chicken breasts and coat in garlic, butter mixture then dip in bread crumbs and place in 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle remaining garlic butter mixture over the top and bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

Homemade Pizza

Pizza Sauce:
2 cans tomato paste (6oz.)
2 cans water (6oz)
6 TBSP. grated parmesan cheese
1 TBSP. minced garlic
3 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste

Mix together in a small bowl.

5 tsp. yeast, dissolved in 1 cup warm water and 3 tsp. sugar
8 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups warm water

Add flour, salt, olive oil and warm water to your mixer.  With a dough hook, mix until blended.  Add yeast mixture.  Knead on low for 8-10 minutes.  Cover with a cloth and let rise for 1 hour.  Punch down and shape into pizzas.  Dough taste better if you let it sit overnight, however, it can be used immediately.

I prefer rolling the dough really thin and pre-baking it on my pizza stone at 500 for 10 minutes.  Then I flip the dough over and put my sauce, cheese and toppings on, then return to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes longer.

Chicken Alabam

I haven’t made this recipe in a long time, but felt like making it tonight.  My family always loves it.


8 pieces of chicken
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
dash of thyme
5 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken soup stock
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp pimiento 
Dredge chicken pieces with mitxture of flour, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme. Brush chicken with 3 Tbsp of melted butter and brown in oven or shake off excess flour and saute in about 3 Tbsp of cooking oil.
Saute onion lightly in 2 Tbsp. butter for 5 min. Stir in excess flour from dredging chicken. Add soup stock. Cook and stir until thickened. Add light cream and cook until smooth and thick. Add lemon juice and pimento; blend well. Pour sauce over chicken in a 2-3 qrt. caasserole; cover and bake 1 1/4 hours at 325, or until chicken is fork tender. Serve over cooked rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
*I always double the sauce.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spinach Mushroom Enchiladas

I rarely cook anything vegetarian, but I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I love mushrooms, and I love spinach, so this recipe really appealed to me.  The flavors blended beautifully and I loved it!  You could easily add chicken if you wanted to add meat.  I, personally, like it as it is.
1 lb. baby portobella mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
12 oz. chopped fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice minus 1 TBSP.
1 TBSP. chicken bouillon granules
1 TBSP. garlic powder
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 corn tortillas, warmed
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Crushed red pepper flakes

In a skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in butter until tender.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Set aside half of the mushroom mixture for sauce.  Add wine to the skillet and cook for a few minutes.  Add 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt;  Cook until spinach wilts and liquid evaporates.

In a large saucepan, bring the water, lime juice, chicken bouillon, garlic powder and remaining seasoned salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve bouillon.  Stir in the sour cream, cilantro and reserved mushroom mixture; heat through.

Place spinach mixture in the center of each tortilla; roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13 x 9 in baking dish.  Spoon sauce over top; sprinkle with cheese.  Bake, uncovered at 350 for 15 minutes.  Add pepper flakes on top, if desired.

Harvest Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

The dressing is very flavorful and pairs up with the fruit and honey-roasted almonds nicely.  It’s a quick salad that you can throw together that has the taste of gourmet.  

Mixed greens
1 pear, sliced
honey-roasted sliced almonds
Gouda cheese
Pear Gorgonzola salad dressing by Litehouse

Toss together and serve.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix together until fluffy
2 cubes butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar

2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Salt
6 cups flour

Add chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Poppyseed Chicken

Not the healthiest dinner in the world, but it is something that my family loves.  It’s one of those really easy week night dinners.  What I love about it is that I can make it and freeze it.  I love recipes I can double and then throw in the freezer to save me a cooking night later.  I have so many casserole pans from all my freezer meal days, that I just fill up two pans and saran wrap and then tinfoil cover the second pan and I write on the tinfoil the directions and what is inside and pop it in my freezer.  It’s perfect for a day you don’t feel like cooking!

Shredded chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup and 1 pint of sour cream. Pour over shredded chicken.
Mix together with chicken.

Combine: 1 pkg. ritz crackers 
1 cube melted butter 
2 tsp. poppy seeds (opt.)

Sprinkle over chieken. Bake 350 until hot and bubbly. Serve over rice.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

 I had some peppers in my fridge I needed to use up, so I decided to try these stuffed green peppers.  I was surprised how much the kids loved them!  The vote was to definitely add to the blog.  So, here they are...

6 sweet bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrot, shredded
2 stalks celery chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked long grain rice
1 TBSP. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cut the tops off your peppers and remove seeds from the inside.  Place in water and boil until crisp tender.  In a skillet, brown the ground beef and saute onions, carrots, celery, garlic until tender.  Add seasonings, egg, tomatoes, rice and worcestershire sauce.  Mix all together and stuff your peppers.  Top with cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Buttermilk Belgian Waffles

Because I leave every morning at 6:15 a.m., I promised my six-year old son I would fix him waffles today. I went to grab my waffle iron out and then remembered it had broken!  All I had was my belgian waffle iron that I got as a wedding gift 18 years ago.  I had buttermilk sitting in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I decided...what the heck, I’d make some buttermilk belgian waffles.  They were yum!  I’m not a huge syrup fan, unless it’s the buttermilk caramel syrup, but what I DO absolutely LOVE on my pancakes and waffles is homemade sweetened whipping cream and fresh fruit.  I didn’t have any berries in my fridge this morning, so I improvised with my freezer jam.  I told myself this morning that I was going to have a healthy breakfast to make up for all the “bad” I ate this week, but seriously, let’s get real.  This looked too good to not eat.  So, I did....

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
4 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:  Mix the egg yolks, buttermilk and butter in a bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients and then pour in the buttermilk, egg mixture.  Mix it until combined.  Then, gently fold in the egg whites.  Pour onto a greased hot griddle until lightly brown.  Serve immediately.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

Tonight I decided to go with a meatless meal.  I do have to say, my kids looked at it and said “THIS is what we are having for dinner?”  With absolute confidence, I said “Yep!”.  I thought it tasted really good, although I do have to say, I think pork would taste really good mixed in with it too.  Wrapping it up in a corn tortilla would be tasty as well.  However, for a slimmed down, healthy version, this was a great meal.  I also used brown rice.  Just a warning about the brown rice takes an hour to cook and you need extra chicken broth.  I’m writing the recipe for white rice, so adjust your recipe accordingly if you are going to do the brown.  I loved the avocados on top.  A definite must in my opinion.
Olive oil, for browning
1 large onion, diced
1 TBSP. garlic
1 cup white rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans black beans
1 can corn
3 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 can green chilies (I used fire roasted)
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt, to taste
Fresh cilantro, to taste

In a frying pan, saute the onion and garlic until crisp tender.  Add the rice and saute until lightly browned.  Add the chicken broth and spices and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer until tender.  Add beans, tomatoes, green chilies and cilantro.  Toss and serve.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

These were SO yummy slow cooked over charcoal briquettes tonight.  Yum!
2/3 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
4 TBSP. mayo
2 tsp. steak sauce
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinate the chicken in half the sauce and reserve the other half for basting.  Sear, and then cook over indirect heat until done.

Rice Pilaf

A light, mild flavored rice that goes with just about anything!  I love the wild rice or brown rice blend, but you can do it with any kind of rice.  
1 1/4 cups rice
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried onions
1 tsp. salt
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
Frozen peas and carrots
Pepper to taste

Brown the rice in a little olive oil until lightly browned.  Add 1 cup water, salt, dried onions and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and cover with a lid.  Then turn down to a simmer and simmer on low until almost done.  Add frozen vegetables.  Serve.

Banana Cream Pie

I love a good Banana Cream Pie.  This one is great because it is super easy, yet more rich and creamy than just using a box of banana pudding!  
Graham Cracker Crust
1 small box, instant banana cream pudding
1 cup milk
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint whipping cream, separated
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 bananas

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups graham crackers
8 TBSP. melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Whip together the pudding, milk and sweetened condensed milk.  Put in the fridge.  Make your graham cracker crust by melting the butter and mixing it in with the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Press on the bottom of a pie tin.  Next, whip 1 cup of the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the pudding mixture.  Slice bananas and stir into the mixture and pour into the crust.  Mix the remaining 1 cup whipping cream with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Garnish the top of the pie with whipping cream and bananas.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling

I am posting this recipe for my friend, Coral.  We had them over for dinner and I made this cake.  She loved it and said it would be the cake she would request on her birthday.  I thought the frosting was a tad sweet for my tastes.  Next time I would try more of a simple lemon glaze.  I didn’t get a picture taken of it the night I made it, so this isn’t my picture, but it is true to how it looks.  I promised Coral I would post, so I’m borrowing a picture off the web.  Sorry!  Here you go, Coral!
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 TBSP. poppy seeds
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 TBSP. finely grated lemon zest
12 TBSP. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

For the Raspberry Curd:
8 TBSP. unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12oz. pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the lemon buttercream frosting:
16 TBSP. butter, at room temperature
2 TBSP. finely grated lemon zest
3 Cups powdered sugar
3 TBSP. fresh lemon juice

Cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in a bowl.  Set aside.  In your mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to  and beat until stiff peaks form.  Put the egg whites in a separate bowl.  Add the butter to the mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk and beat just until blended.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites, being careful not to overmix.

Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool Completely.

Raspberry Curd:  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries.  Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer set over a bow, pressing hard to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Frosting:  Beat the butter and zest until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until sooth.  Add the lemon juice and beat a little longer.

To assemble:  Turn the cakes upside down.  Place the raspberry curd in the middle of the two cakes and frost with the lemon frosting.  Garnish with raspberries.  Keep leftovers in the fridge.

Grilled Zucchini

I LOVE grilled vegetables.  Here is a quick easy way if you are in a hurry and just want something flavorful and easy.
Italian Salad Dressing

Marinate your zucchini in italian salad dressing.  Lay right on the grill grates and grill until tender crisp.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is DEFINITELY a family favorite.

Chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into chunks
Green bell pepper, cut in chunks
Red bell pepper, cut in chunks
Celery, sliced

dip in flour mixture (equal parts cornstarch and flour), then eggs, then flour mixture.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Fry in hot oil until browned on all sides.

Flour Mixture:
1 cup flour
1 cup corn starch

2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
2 1/2 TBSP. soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
16 oz. can pineapple chunks, undrained
1/3 cup cornstarch, mixed with 1/2 cup cold water for thickening

Mix all sauce ingredients in a pan EXCEPT cornstarch and cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Mix together the cornstarch and cold water.  Slowly pour in boiling sauce until thickened.  Pour over hot chicken.  Serve.

Zucchini Cake

I’ve made this recipe twice now.  It’s a great recipe for Zucchini Cake.  No one will ever know it has zucchini in it.  
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups zucchini, blended
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, optional

1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered supar
milk, to desired consistency
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake:  Cream butter, then add oil and sugar.  Mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour.  When cool, melt butter and stir in cocoa for the frosting.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until desired consistency.

Zucchini Brownies

I actually couldn’t decide what to make today with my zucchini, so I tried both the cookies and the brownies.  Mine turned out more of what I would classify as cake-like, than brownie-like, but they were delicious.  If you cut the brownies into 24 pieces, they are 4.5 weight watcher points.  

For the brownies:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white flour

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (1 large or 2 small zucchinis)
up to 1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the frosting:
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir. Fold in the zucchini. If your mixture is still very powdery, add up to 1/4 cup hot water (start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there, stirring well after each addition). The batter will be crumbly, but shouldn't be powdery. Add walnuts, if desired.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes until the brownies spring back when gently touched.
  5. To make the frosting: Melt butter and cocoa together, stir and set aside to cool. Stir together milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies. Cut into squares.

Oatmeal Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s that time of year when Zucchini seems to be in abundance.  I didn’t even get a garden planted this year because of our move, however, I’ve still managed to get a hold of zucchini.  Today I tried these cookies.  I really like them because they are not overly sweet, yet soft and chewy like an oatmeal cookie should be.  My daughter is doing weight watchers right now, so I did figure out the points on these cookies.  I got 45 cookies out of this batch because I use a small cookie scoop.  For each cookie, it is 3 weight watcher points (just in case anyone else is interested).  I like to blend my zucchini, it makes it more moist and less obvious it is in the cookie.  If you decide to grate your zucchini, cut your flour back to one cup.  I used half wheat, half white.

½ cup butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 cups quick oats
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small)

1.       Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (or spray them with nonstick cooking spray).
2.       In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa. Set aside.
3.       In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, oil, and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients.
4.       Add oats and mix on low speed. Continue mixing on low speed and add zucchini. Mix until well combined.
5.       Scoop uniform balls onto cookie sheets. (I used a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop.) Bake 11-14 minutes until center of cookie no longer looks wet. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheets before removing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bacon-Swiss Tossed Salad

You will love this light, fresh, tasty summer salad.  I love bacon and the dressing is a little on the sweet side.  It tastes so good with the swiss cheese and croutons.  I’m perfectly content with it as my dinner, but I did make it as a side salad with some halibut.  It tasted delicious.
Romaine lettuce, torn
shredded swiss cheese
bacon, crumbled

3 TBSP. brown sugar
2 TBSP. water
2 TBSP. red wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
dash salt

Mix up dressing and toss to coat the salad right before serving.

Raspberry Bars

Delicious raspberry bars.  Not so good to have laying around though, because if you are like me, you keep picking at them until they are gone!
2 1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cubes butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine (optional)
3/4 cup raspberry jam
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1 TBSP. lemon juice

Directions:  Preheat oven to bake 350.  Prepare crust by mixing together butter, salt, sugar and flour.  Reserve 1 1/4 cups of mixture.  Press remaining mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Take the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour mixture.  Add the oats and pecans.  Set aside.  

In a mixing bowl, mix together raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and lemon juice.  Immediately upon removing crust from the oven, spread raspberry mixture over crust and sprinkle oatmeal crumb topping on the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 22 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ribeye w/Mushroom Sauce

I LOVE the flavor of these steaks with the Mushroom Sauce. 

Ribeye Steaks
Kosher Salt
16 oz. Cremini or Portobella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
4 TBSP. butter
2 tsp. thyme, crushed

For the steaks, dry with a paper towl and lightly season both sides of the steaks with kosher salt and fresh garlic and rub it into the steak.  Place salted steaks in the fridge for at least 2 hours prior to grilling.  Remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling.  Trim off 1/2 inch from the tip of each steak and mince up.  Save for the mushroom sauce.  Brush each steak with olive oil 10 minutes before grilling.  Heat the grill up to about 600 degrees.  Flame the steaks for one minute on each side, using a fresh part of the grill when you flip it.  This will trap in the juices and it makes nice lines on the steak too.  Then move to the upper rack and finish cooking while not on direct heat.  Remove the steaks when done and let them rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.

To prepare the mushroom sauce, add the minced raw steak and a little olive oil.  Brown.  Add the sliced mushrooms and a little salt.  Saute until mushrooms are tender.  Remove mushroom mixture.  Add balsamic vinegar and turn the heat to a medium, high heat.  Cook until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup left in liquid.  Add butter, thyme and mushroom mixture.  Top steaks with the mushroom sauce and serve.

Lemon Cake

Keep this cake in your refrigerator.  It tastes even better the next day.

1 white cake mix
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup instant lemon pudding (made)

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool completely.

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 box instant lemon pudding (dry)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8oz container cool whip
1 cup sour cream

Beat all the ingredients except the pudding.  Then add the pudding and mix well.  Put on top of cake and store in refrigerator.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bacon-wrapped Teriyaki Shiskabobs

These bacon-wrapped teriyaki shiskabobs are a great summer dinner.  I love them served with brown rice and a salad.  The flavor has just a hint of sweetness.  The leftovers keep in the fridge and they taste good diced up on a cheese quesadilla for lunch the next day.  I always use the pre-cooked bacon, but that is because my bacon has to be crisp.  If it chews, its undercooked for my liking.  Brush olive oil on the kabobs a few minutes prior to cooking.  Then flame cook them on each side and they will cook up fast.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 TBSP. honey
4 TBSP. oil
mushrooms, cut in half (unless they are small), I prefer portobella
green onions, chopped
onions, sliced in wedges
6 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
pineapple (I used fresh and brushed a honey glaze on them, but you can leave them plain)

In a large bowl or ziploc bag, mix together the first four ingredients.  Add the chicken chunks, mushrooms, onions, peppers.  Marinate at least one hour, but all day is the best.  Skewer right before grilling.  If using wooden skewers, pre-soak them in water for at least 30 minutes so they don’t catch on fire.

Garlic Wet Rub

I’m finally posting this recipe for one of my favorite rubs.  I love it on pork and beef.  You can double the recipe and marinate in the first batch and then baste on the second batch while cooking, but if you don’t want to spend the time marinating it, you don’t have to.  Just baste it on heavily while grilling and keep basting it on.  I get hungry just thinking about it!  It’s also great if you cut up the meat and marinate peppers and onions and do shiskabobs.  You can also bacon wrap the steak if you want.  

7 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 1/4 tsp. salt
3 TBSP. olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP. lemon juice
3 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. pepper

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend to a liquid paste.  Baste while grilling.

Chocolate Pudding

June 26th is National Chocolate Pudding day!  My family started celebrating this just last year on a whim.  This year I decided to make our pudding from scratch.  Did I mention it’s Sunday? And I’m fresh out of instant chocolate pudding.  So, you’s either from scratch, break the sabbath, or forego a National Chocolate Pudding Day celebration!  It turned out to be easy and fun.  You just have to be patient for the time that it takes to cool in the fridge.  I’m not so good with patience, so if you are curious, my personal review of the pudding warm, is that it’s still yum!  You do have to strain the pudding, as there will be a few lumps, despite how much you whip it.  We were headed to my parents house for dinner with my entire family.  I decided to throw together a dessert that would stretch out my pudding so that we could share with everyone.  I layered chocolate cake, graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, vanilla pudding and real whipping cream in a trifle bowl.  I also drizzled caramel ice-cream topping in between the layers because I happened to have it in the fridge.  I only let myself eat about three bites, but it was heavenly!  I’ve been really working to stay away from flour, but I caved and did eat a few bites.

1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
5 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, obviously the better quality the better tasting (F.Y.I. I only had hersheys on hand and I thought it was still good.)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler.  I don’t have a “real” double boiler, so I use a larger pan to boil water in and place a deep frying pan on top.  Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a rubber scraper until all the dry ingredients and mixed in and it is smooth.  Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.  Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.  After 20 to 25 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Just so you know, it doesn’t really set up further in the fridge, so whatever thickness your pudding is when you stop cooking, will be how thick it is after hours in the fridge.  If you want a real thick pudding, add an extra tablespoon or two of cornstarch.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grilled Squash and Chicken Salad

This salad is light and delicious and perfect all by itself. 
3 large clove garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup oil (I use light olive)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 2 tsp. finely grated zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 1/2 TBSP. fresh, finely grated peeled ginger (I use the paste)
1 TBSP. finally chopped jalapeno (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
kosher salt to taste
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
boneless skinless chicken breasts halves, pounded to an even thickness
baby arugula
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:  Put the garlic paste, oil, lime juice and zest, cilantro, ginger, sugar, jalapeno and 1 tsp. salt in a small jar with a lid.  Shake to emulsify.

Put the squash and chicken in a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette, and toss to coat.  Grill on both sides in a vegetable tray for the grill, until the squash is barely tender. and the chicken is just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and let cool briefly.  Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Divide among 4 plates.  Cut the squash and chicken into bit size pieces.  Put them in the bowl and toss with the remaining vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Really Good Macaroni and Cheese

I really don't normally make too many things with pasta, but if you are looking for a great macaroni and cheese dish, you've found it!  I can't claim that it's healthy, but I will tell you it's heavenly (if you like macaroni and cheese).
1 16oz. box pasta, cooked according to directions
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. tobasco sauce
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Bread Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. tobasco sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in flour until blended smooth.  Gradually add in the milk, salt and tobasco sauce and whip until smooth.  Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring often.  Gradually add in cheese and stir until melted together.  Pour over cooked pasta and mix lightly.  For the Bread Crumb Topping:  Melt butter, stir in bread crubs and tobasco sauce.  Sprinkle on top of pasta.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fruit Pizza

I needed a summer dessert to take to a family event and I decided to make fruit pizza.  It’s fresh and light and entirely TOO delicious!
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add egg.  Add remaining dry ingredients.  Don’t overmix.  Roll out onto prepared pizza pan.  (I love my pampered chef pizza stone.  I use it to bake all my cookies).  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool.

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. container of Cool Whip

Blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy.  Add in cool whip.  Mix.  Spread on cooled crust.  Top with fresh fruit and berries.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Smore’s on the Grill!

We had some fun experimenting with smores cooked on the grill, wrapped inside tinfoil.  It was fun!  And they turned out great!  You can get a little creative with this and try some of your own variations.  This one happened to be my favorite.  However, I tried chocolate chip cookies, I tried coconut cookies with macadamia nuts (those were my 2nd favorite).  We tried a few different topping choices inside the cookies: Marshmallows, Peanut butter cups, caramel, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips.  Get a little creative and try it out.  Your kids will love it!

Bakery bought chocolate cookies with chocolate chips
peanut butter cups
chocolate chips

Place one cookie on the upside down on your tinfoil.  Place marshmallows on top and broken up peanut butter cups and sprinkle a few more chocolate chips.  Place 2nd cookie on top and wrap in your tinfoil.  Turn your grill down to low and place these on the upper rack on your grill.  Not directly on the heat.  It took about 5-7 minutes for ours to be all gooey.  Yum.