Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Posts

There is a cool new stat feature on blogger (check your blogger dashboard) where you can easily check how many people check out your site daily, what countries they are from, etc One of the most interesting things to me was seeing what the most popular posts have been since I started this food blog. Here they are (in order):

Have you made any of these?

Chicken Tostadas

My sister has been raving about this recipe and I see why. This is one of those recipes that you have to make- it was delicious!! If you have any faith in Bites, make this recipe!!

1 medium white onion
1 pound tomatoes, quartered
2 large garlic cloves
1 or 2 fresh serrano chiles, stemmed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
6 large radishes, halved and sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 rotisserie chicken, meat coarsely shredded (4 cups)
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 (1-pound) can refried beans, heated
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1/4 cup crumbled queso añjo (aged white cheese, also called cotija) or ricotta salata

Accompaniments: sliced serranos; lime wedges

Preheat broiler.
Cut half of onion into 3/4-inch wedges, then chop remainder. Toss onion wedges, tomatoes, garlic, and whole chiles with 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-sided sheet pan, spreading in 1 layer.
Broil about 4 inches from heat until softened and charred, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toss together lettuce, radishes, chopped onion, and half of cilantro.
Purée tomato mixture in a blender along with one or both roasted serranos (to taste) and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth(use caution when blending hot foods). Transfer purée to a bowl and stir in chicken, remaining cilantro, and salt to taste.
Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry tortillas, 1 at a time, turning once or twice and pressing with tongs to immerse, until golden brown, 45 to 60 seconds per tortilla. Drain briefly on paper towels, then transfer to plates.
Spread tortillas thickly with heated refried beans, then top with chicken mixture. Slice avocado over tostadas and dollop with crema.
Mound lettuce mixture on top and sprinkle with cheese.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This was the cake we made for Jesus' birthday on Christmas morning. SOOOOOOOOO moist!

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix in 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread 1/2 of batter in the prepared pan.
Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl mix 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cinnamon. Sprinkle cake batter with 1/2 the filling. Spread second half of batter over the filling, and top with remaining filling.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro and Chiles

I was totally surprised with Mark said he wanted to make this for Christmas Eve dinner. This is not the type of recipe he usually goes for! A co-worker had brought it into the office and he really liked it. He also needs credit for being the hand model in the picture. It was a perfect salsa for Christmas.

4 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup natural unsalted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)- Trader Joes sells them
Sea salt
2 cups fresh cranberries or frozen, thawed
1 1/3 cups chopped green onions (dark green parts only; about 2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded serrano chiles
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas; stir until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate; sprinkle with sea salt. Place cranberries in processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Add onions, cilantro, and chiles. Stir sugar and lime juice in another bowl until sugar dissolves. Add cranberry mixture and pepitas to lime juice mixture; stir to combine.

Christmas Brunch Casserole

This recipe was packed full of flavors! I didn't have enough bacon so I subbed in some chopped ham.

1 pound bacon
2 onions, chopped
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pinch dried parsley
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. Add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish with the tablespoon of butter. Place potatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon, then add the onions and mushrooms.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and parsley. Pour the beaten eggs over the casserole and top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.


The George Forman Grill is not only just for chicken breasts anymore!

Use ciabatta loaf sliced, brushed with olive oil
Chicken (cooked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
Arugula (optional)
Chopped sun dried tomatoes (optional)

Layer ingredients on bread and cook in a George Forman or Panini maker!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Cheese Chicken Lasagna

Mark loved this recipe! It is not for those trying to lose weight but rather for those getting ready to hibernate this winter :) It was very comforting.
PS- I realize I've been slacking with new recipes lately! I have a bunch in the pipeline for next week!

9 lasagna noodles (you can cheat and use no-boil noodles like I did)
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained WELL
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

This was my attempt to recreate the amazing Tikka Masala we had in Iceland. This is an America's Test Kitchen recipe so it will use about every cutting board/pot/baking sheet you own but it was really, really good. It is very similar to Butter Chicken but there isn't any butter and the chicken is cooked outside the sauce. But the overall flavor was very similar- we loved both!

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

masala Sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chocolate Revel Bars

I CANNOT believe I haven't posted Revel Bars before! Before Texas Sheet Cake came into my my life, this was my favorite dessert. Nikki's family introduced me to them growing up and now they are a favorite in my family!

3 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat together 1 cup butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir into butter mixture. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Pat 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the top, and dot with remaining oat mixture.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

Beef, Cheddar and Potato Pie

When I went to the store, they did not have puff pastry sheets- only shells. So I improvised this recipe and it still tasted great!

2 pounds ground beef
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup dark beer
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a skillet, combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook, breaking up the meat, over medium-high heat until the beef is cooked through and some liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the beer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cheese, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let cool.
On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch round. Place in a 10-inch skillet or deep pie dish. Roll the remaining puff pastry sheet into an 11-inch round. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to the skillet. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash, then place the second sheet on top. Press the edges to seal, then trim to a 1/2-inch edge.
Place the pie on a baking sheet. Brush the top with more of the egg wash and cut an "X" into the pastry. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, tenting with foil if the crust darkens too quickly. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Zippy Egg Casserole

The perfect casserole for Christmas morning. Prepare it the night ahead and just pop it in the oven in the morning! If your family likes things *spicy* than use Hot Jimmy Dean sausage instead of original.

1 pound pork sausage
1 (5.5 ounce) package seasoned croutons
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
8 eggs
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon minced onion
salt and pepper to taste


Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
In a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish, arrange the croutons in a single layer. Layer with Cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, and pepperjack cheese. Top with the cooked sausage.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, half-and-half, milk, mustard, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour into the dish over the sausage. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I love that Mark agreed to pose for this picture, all wrapped up in a Snoogle (generic Snuggie). I love this guy!! Step aside chocolate malts, there's a new favorite drink in town.

3 tablespoons nutella
1 1/3 cups milk

1Put Nutella and 1/3 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
2Whisk until blended.
3Add remaining milk, increase heat to medium-high, and whisk until hot and frothy.

(One Serving)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Menus

Since we've got our luggage sets all packed up for Iceland, I won't be posting a Thanksgiving menu this year! But Martha Stewart (www.marthastewart.com/thanksgiving) and Rachael Ray (http://www.rachaelray.com/food/collections/thanksgiving/) have great menu ideas. Anybody trying out a new dish this year??

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spinach Salad with Hot Salami Cubes

This salad is "manly" enough for Mark :)

1/4 pound hard salami (such as Genoa), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced into rings (I omitted this)
6 cups (about 9 ounces) spinach, cleaned and stemmed
4 eggs, hard-boiled

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the salami and cook until sizzling and browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside the salami, leaving the rendered fat. Add the mustard, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and whisk together to form a thin emulsion. Add the onion and salami and return to medium heat. Cook just until the onion wilts, about 1 minute. Divide the spinach among serving plates. Pour the hot salami dressing over the greens. Serve with the eggs, chopped, if desired.

Enchilada Soup

Totally forgot to take a picture of this soup recipe! Thank you tasty kitchen for the picture! Perfect for a busy day when you want to come home to a great smelling house!

1 can (15 Oz.) Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained
1 can (14.5 Oz.) Diced Tomatoes
1 package (10 Oz.) Frozen Corn
½ cups Onion, Chopped
½ cups Red Pepper, Diced
1 can (10 Oz) Enchilada Sauce
1 can (10 3/4 Oz) Can Condensed Cream Of Chicken Soup
1-½ cup Milk
2 whole Chicken Breasts
1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, Shredded

Preparation Instructions
In a 3 1/2 to 5-quart slow cooker, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of the mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back into the soup. Top with pepper jack cheese and serve. The soup can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips.
Note: if the soup is too thick for you, just add a little more milk after it’s all cooked.

Potato Pancakes with Avocado Mash and Eggs

I had hashbrowns in the freezer so I short-cutted this recipe.

1 1/4 pounds shredded baking potatoes
1 grated onion
4 eggs
2 avocados
Chipotle-flavored hot sauce

Place 1 1/4 pounds shredded baking potatoes in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove any moisture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 grated onion, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Divide the potato mixture into 4 mounds in the skillet and pat into 4-inch pancakes. Cover with a sheet of foil and cook, turning once and adding 1 more tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter. In the same skillet, cook 4 eggs sunny-side up with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil for about 1 minute. Mash the flesh from 2 avocados and season with salt. Top each pancake with some avocado, an egg and chipotle-flavored hot sauce.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad

This salad was awesome- even without the goat cheese! I totally had goat cheese too. :( It's already on the menu again.

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
¼ teaspoons Sea Salt
¼ teaspoons Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts Either Pounded Flat Or Butterflied
10 ounces, weight Bag Salad Greens
2 cups Salad Mix-ins (sliced Carrots, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Etc.)
1 cup Goat Cheese Crumbles

Preparation Instructions
Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic, sea salt and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag, then add chicken breasts. Squish the bag around to coat the chicken, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat BBQ grill or grill pan (or saute pan, if not grilling) to medium-high heat. Grill chicken for 10-12 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until cooked thoroughly. Remove from grill and set aside. Let it rest for 10 minutes or so and then slice thinly.
Meanwhile, prepare the salad by combining salad greens and mix-ins in a large bowl. Pour salad dressing over and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates, top with some slices of chicken and a sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles.
Makes 4 salads.

Spicy Potato Soup

I forgot how much I love this recipe! Make this soup this winter!

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
4 cups cubed potatoes
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Brown beef and onion, drain.
Add water, pepper, potatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer one hour or until potatoes are tender and soup is thick.

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce

It was so fun to make spaghetti sauce from scratch for the first time!

28 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 8oz. tomato sauce
1 6 oz. tomato paste
1½ Tbsp. basil (use more if you have fresh basil)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 medium onion, diced small
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup red wine (I use merlot or Zinfandel, but use good wine)
Water, if needed for thinning sauce
Olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent then add garlic, sauté for 2 minutes, stirring.
Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1½ -2
hours, tasting during cooking for salt and pepper. If sauce is too thick, thin with water. If
you want to add meatballs or sausage, brown them first, then add during last 40 minutes
of cooking time.

Chocolate Cobbler

This recipe is like a huge chocolate lava cake. You can't go wrong with this one.

1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, Divided
1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
½ cups Milk
⅓ cups Melted Butter
1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1-½ cup Hot Tap Water

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.
Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. I prefer my small oval Corning Ware glass dish.
In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.
Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.
Let stand for a few minutes if you can hold yourself back. Serve with homemade ice cream using the gooey sauce to spoon over all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Potato Rosemary Pizza

This was a throw back to one of our favorite pizza-by-the-slice places in Tucson- No Anchovies. It was awesome! Mark rocked the potatoes on the mandoline!

Premade pizza dough
3 medium size firm potatoes
2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small spring onions
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
100 g goat cheese
salt & black pepper

Slice the potatoes thin with a mandoline or with a knife. Place the slices in a deep plate, drizzle them with salt and cover with cold water for about an hour. Drain the water, rinse the potatoes and pat them dry on a towel.

Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (450-500°F). Stretch and flatten the dough until you get the desired size and thickness that you prefer and move it to a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Brush the dough with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover it with potato slices, onion, rosemary, 3/4 of the goat cheese, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the pizza and bake for about 15-18 min until the potatoes are golden and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle the rest of the goat cheese over it and serve immediately.

Teriyaki Meatballs

We halved this recipe and it was plenty for our family of four plus leftovers. I loved how sticky the sauce was! This was a hit with the whole Heaviland clan.

2 pounds ground beef (at least 90% lean)
2 eggs
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

For the sauce, in a medium bowl mix the soy sauce, 1 3/4 cups water, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar and honey together. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup cold water. Set both bowls aside.

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the ground beef and mix well. Add the ground beef and mix until combined. Form ground beef mixture into 1 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and brown on all sides, turning with a pair of tongs. The meatballs don't need to be completely cooked through, just equally browned on all sides.

When the meatballs have browned, pour the sauce ingredients over the meatballs and gently turn the meatballs to coat them in the sauce. Heat the sauce until just simmering and add the cornstarch/water mixture, carefully mixing so as not to break apart the meatballs as you combine the cornstarch mixture with the teriyaki sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce over medium heat, maintaining a constant simmer but not cooking at too high of a boil, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick and smooth (if the sauce becomes overly thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin), about 10-15 minutes, turning the meatballs every two or three minutes to ensure even cooking. Serve over rice or couscous.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Mark's birthday is always a great excuse to find a new mint chocolate recipe!

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
36 chocolate mint wafer candies (I only need one small package)

In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

Roast Pumpkin and Feta Risotto

I found this recipe in my search for something to bring to Jaime's Annual Pumpkin Party. It was simple but tasty. It was my first time roasting a pumpkin so I found these instructions to be helpful.

3 1/4 cups peeled, cubed pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1 onion, diced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
6 ounces feta cheese, cubed
salt and pepper
2 cups Arborio rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Brush a baking dish with olive oil.
Place pumpkin in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm. Transfer pumpkin to baking dish, and brush with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan. Cook onion and garlic until tender. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing all the liquid to be absorbed before adding more broth. Continue cooking until the rice is tender to the tooth, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the pumpkin is almost done, place feta on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until the cheese is hot, and is beginning to melt along the edges.
Mash 1/2 of the pumpkin, and stir into the risotto with the spinach. Ladle risotto into bowls, and top with remaining pumpkin cubes and heated feta.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Squash in a crockpot

Nikki gave me the idea of cooking squash in a crockpot. I used these instructions and did mine in the crockpot on high for 2 hours. It turned out perfect!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Individual Chocolate Soufflés

Wow this recipe was SOOOO good! YUUUUUUUUUUUM Thank you Kryssa for the use of your iPhone!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon powdered instant coffee (luckily I had a free sample of VIA!)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and sugar eight 6-ounce ramekins.
In large mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Scald milk. Remove from heat and add powdered coffee, stirring until dissolved.
Stir together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Add alternately with milk mixture to butter mixture. Beat 1 minute on medium.
Divide batter evenly among ramekins.
Place ramekins in 2 8-inch square pans. Pour hot water in bottom of pans to 1/8 inch deep and place pans in oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven and let ramekins stand in water for 5 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water and let cool slightly.
You can serve in dish or invert onto dessert plates.
For topping: beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in small mixing bowl until stiff and spoon onto warm soufflés.

Arroz Con Pollo

Dutch Oven recipe #4

Although this was very good, I had to rate it a 3 because of HOW MUCH WORK it was! I guess I should expect that from Cook's Illustrated but it was ridiculous. I cooked for at least 2 hours and it was good- but not out of this world. I really enjoy being in the kitchen and I can definitely put in a couple hours but it has to be worth it. I'll look for an easier recipe next time.

6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons
Ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice (if you use long-grain add 1/2 c. more water)
1/2 cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, cut into 1/4 by 2-inch strips
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium). Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

(Originally Published in the September 2006 Edition of Cooks Illustrated Magazine)

Chile Verde

Dutch oven recipe #3

I like my dad's chile verde better. In fact, I convinced him to ship me some frozen roasted green chilies from AZ because the canned kind are not cutting it! Once they arrive, I'll make that recipe and post it! But, if next year I'm without fresh chilies, I'll make this again.

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
5 garlic cloves, not peeled
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)- I used a can of diced green chilies
1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 yellow onions
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Pinch of ground cloves

1 Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.
If you want the additional flavor of chiles other than jalapenos, you can add a couple Anaheim or poblano chiles. Either use canned green chiles or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.
2 Place tomatillos, skins included, into blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins, add them to the blender. Add chopped Jalapeño peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
3 Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (or dutch oven) over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides. Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside.
4 Pour off excess fat, anything beyond a tablespoon, and place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. If your skillet is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde, with the sauce and meat, then add the pork back to the pan. If not, get a large soup pot and add the onion mixture and the pork to it. Add the oregano to the pan. Add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meat). Add a pinch of ground cloves. Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)
5 Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.
Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Spanish rice and warmed flour tortillas or freshly made corn tortillas.

Peach/Blueberry Cobbler

Dutch oven recipe #2

2 (16-ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy or light syrup, or in fruit juice, your choice
1 pint fresh blueberries, optional (I used thawed berries that had been frozen)
1/2 cup baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
1/3 cup sugar
Ground cinnamon

2 1/4 cups baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
Cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar combined with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; store in an empty spice shaker jar; shake well before each use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Dutch oven with vegetable oil cooking spray

Drain 1 can of the peaches. Combine both cans of peaches, including the juice from the undrained can, the blueberries, if using, the baking mix, sugar, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Place this mixture into the Dutch oven.

To make the topping: Combine the biscuit mix, sugar, butter, and milk in a resealable plastic bag. Drop bits of dough, using your fingers, on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crusty.

Braised Beef with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Dutch Oven Recipe #1
Bethany put this yummy recipe in my birthday cookbook. My picture did not look nearly as appetizing as this one from cooking light! I had to cut out 30min of the simmer time because I was running late so it wasn't as tender as it could have been. I think I will try this next time in a slow cooker.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, vertically sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 cup sun-dried tomato halves, packed without oil, cut into strips (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add sliced onion; cook for 7 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in water and next 9 ingredients (through bay leaf). Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 1 hour. Uncover and simmer 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle each serving with parsley.

Thanksgiving in Iceland!

This year Mark and I will be taking off for our first trip without kids over Thanksgiving. We're going to Iceland and my mom will be flying up to watch the kids. I'm super excited to explore a new country with my hubbie- hopefully we will see some Northern Lights. I've never been out of the country for a major holiday and there are things about Thanksgiving at home that I will miss. Like having an excuse to bust out my drop leaf table, my china, praline sweet potatoes and having my house full of friends and family. Lamb is really big in Iceland so maybe that will be a part of our Thanksgiving feast! Have you started to think about your Thanksgiving menu?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Smoothies

How is it possible that I have a pumpkin recipe on my food blog before my friend Angela the pumpkin queen?? I must be excited for fall! These were really refreshing.

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin, chilled
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I left this out and it was plenty sweet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)

Combine yogurt and next 8 ingredients (through banana) in a blender, and process until smooth. Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Veggie Tacos

Thank you Carol for this awesome recipe! You know a recipe is amazing when it's vegetarian and Mark says, "Did I mention these are awesome?"

Olive oil
1 cup of roughly chopped zucchini or summer squash (1-2 zucchini or squash, depending on the size)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large fresh mild green chile (Anaheim or Hatch), seeds and stem discarded, chopped
1/2 fresh jalapeño chile pepper, seeds and stem discarded, minced (or more, if you desire more heat)
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of ground oregano
1 small to medium tomato, chopped
4 corn tortillas (I used flour)
4 slices cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Mexican cotija cheese (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped (okay to include the stems, if small)

1 Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the zucchini, onions, garlic, green chiles, and jalapeño to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Stir to coat the vegetables with the oil in the pan. Spread the veggies out in the pan and then stir only occasionally, until they are all lightly browned. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and oregano, lower the heat to low. Let gently cook for several minutes while warm the tortillas in the microwave.

2 Open the tacos and spoon some of the cooked veggie filling into them. Sprinkle on chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

Yum! This recipe tastes like fall!!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dutch Oven Week

Next week is going to be Dutch Oven Week. I'm going to make a recipe in the dutch oven every day to show you what these babies can do! I'll do pork, beef, chicken, dessert and bread. If you don't have a dutch oven yourself, the one in the picture above is the one I have- 6.5 qt Tramotina. It was reviewed in Cook's Illustrated as a "Best Buy" and I bought mine at Walmart! I've been really happy with the quality.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chile and Lime Steak Tortas

My sister passed on this great recipe. Next time I will use a more tender cut of steak.

Juice of one lime
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound skirt steak, cut into 3- to 4-in.-wide strips if needed
8 small dinner rolls, split
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced thinly
2 cans (4 oz. each) sliced jalapeños, drained
About 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

1. Mix lime juice, chile powder, oil, and salt in a medium bowl. Add steak, turning to coat evenly with marinade. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

2. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Cook steak, covered, turning once, until grill marks appear and steak is slightly pink in the center, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes, then slice thinly to fit in rolls.

3. Open rolls and sprinkle each with about 2 tbsp. cheese. Grill rolls, cut sides up and covered, until crisp and cheese starts to melt, about 1 minute.

4. Fill rolls with steak, avocado, half the jalapeños, and a drizzle of crema. Serve with remaining jalapeños on the side.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Asian Ribs

I'm all about doing ribs in the crockpot. So why not try them asian style??

The recipe below is the rib recipe and then I combined: 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 2 T soy sauce, and 1 t Asian sriracha hot chili sauce to make a sauce to dipping sauce.

1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot pepper sauce
12 boneless country-style pork ribs

Stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and Sriracha in the crock of a slow cooker. Add the ribs; cover and refrigerate. Allow ribs to marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
Before cooking, drain marinade and discard. Cook on Low for 9 hours. Drain cooked meat and shred, using 2 forks.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the beauty products giveaway is...Becky Crowl! I know, I know it seems unfair to pick my own sister but her picture was the best! She got bonus points for making TWO five star Bites recipes for the picture- creamy taquitos and cornbread salad.

Focaccia Bread

Mark said, "This is like bread from a restaurant!" It was awesome right out of the oven. Let me tell you how amazing this would be as a pizza crust. MMMMMM

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Chocolate Bavarian Torte

I've been looking for an excuse to make this cake. My sister's birthday fit the bill! I need to change the lineup in my top 5 desserts because this is definitely moving in. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!

Devil's food cake mix (not the kind with pudding)
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 Tablespoons chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips

Make the cake according to box directions. Cook in 2 round pans. While the cake is cooling, make the cream:
Whip the Heavy Whipping Cream and then set it aside. Combine the SOFTENED cream cheese, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until fluffy. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Cut each cooled cake in half. String or dental floss helps with this. Layer the cake and the cream mixture, starting with cake and ending with cream. Top with chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips. Wrap sides in plastic wrap to prevent cake from drying out. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CSN Product Review

I'm SO excited to get to do a product review for CSN Stores! You guys probably remember that I was contacted last month by a representative from CSN Stores who graciously donated a gift card to one of my readers. Now I have been asked to do a review on one of their millions of products. The hard part now is figuring out what I want to review. They seriously carry everything! As I was looking around the different sites, I saw that they carry modern bedding like the Glenna Jean Sweet Potato crib bedding set (in the picture above) which we have in our nursery.

How many nerd points would I get if I chose this soup can rack? I seriously would love this to organize the millions of black bean, chicken broth and diced tomato cans I have in my pantry.

Another item at the top of my wish list is a nice thermos for hot cocoa. Leaves have already started changing around here which means fun/cold outdoor activities like the Greenlake Luminary Walk and the Zoo Lights are right around the corner. I remember wanting a thermos a few different times last year. I was excited to see they have my favorite color- red!

I'll let you guys know soon what I choose!

Hummus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This was another eat-from-the-pantry meal and it was so so good! We served it to new friends so I have to admit I was too embarrassed to take a picture of the chicken so Rachael Ray's picture will have to do!

One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung out
2/3 cup hummus
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (I used chopped pecans)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied by your butcher and pounded 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
4 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, hummus, pine nuts and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the chicken with salt and place one-quarter of the hummus mixture on the right side of each breast. Fold the left side over the mixture. Using toothpicks, close the open sides.

Place the flour in a wide, shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs in another bowl and place the panko in a third bowl. Coat the stuffed chicken with the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the chicken in the egg, then coat with the panko.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until the foaming stops. Add the chicken and cook, turning once and adjusting the heat as necessary, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Discard the toothpicks and slice each breast into pieces.

Blackberry Buckle

We recently picked a ton of blackberries and so I started looking around for recipes to use them up in. I found this recipe and I wasn't quite sure what a buckle was but it looked yummy. Turns out a buckle is similar to a coffee cake (at least this recipe was). Vanilla Bean ice cream is a mandatory sidekick for this dessert.

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition.
Spread into a greased 9-in. square baking dish. Toss the blackberries with lemon juice; sprinkle over batter. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar and flour; cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over berries.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tunisian Couscous Salad with Grilled Sausage

This was one of the recipes we made with the ingredients already in our house. I gave it four stars because it was really good but Mark would give it five because he thought it was out of this world!

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 cups couscous
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato juice (I just used the juice from a can of diced tomatoes)
1 cup water
1 pound mild or hot Italian sausages or a combination
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tomato, diced (I only had canned)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large frying pan with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic, couscous, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the couscous starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a platter or a large glass or stainless-steel bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, light the grill or heat the broiler. Coat the sausages with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Grill or broil the sausages, turning occasionally, until completely cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the sausages are cool enough to handle, cut them into thin slices.
Toss the cooled couscous with the lemon juice, the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the tomato. Top with the sliced sausages and the cilantro.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Giveaway: Beauty products worth over $75

The last giveaway was so fun that I decided to make up my own! Pictured above is a large amount of products that can be yours: razors, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, etc

To Enter: In the next two weeks, make a 5 star recipe from Bites and e-mail me a picture at: jessieheaviland at gmail dot com. The most creative, eye-appealing presentation wins! The contest will end at 8am PST on Sunday 9/19 (domestic entries only). I'm so excited to see what you guys will make!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cilantro Pesto

This week is officially clean-out-the-fridge week. We're saving up and cleaning up for our vacation next week so Mark and I sat down today and planned meals only from ingredients we have in the house. The first meal is cilantro pesto with shrimp over spaghetti. I made this pesto about a month ago when I had WAY too much cilantro in the house. I froze the pesto in an ice cube tray and then popped them into a ziplock once they were frozen. I really liked the kick of the pesto. If I remember correctly back to when I made this, I don't think I had a serrano pepper so I used a seeded jalapeno.

2 cups, packed, of cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped and seeded serrano chile
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, almonds, onion, chile, and salt until well blended. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
Add more oil as needed for your use.
Makes about 1 cup.
Whatever you don't use, you can freeze. Line a ice cube tray with plastic wrap and fill in the individual cube spaces with the pesto. Freeze and remove from the ice tray, put in a sealed freezer bag for future use.

PB&B Cookies

I LOOOOVE desserts with banana and so these were right up my alley. My mother-in-law also gave a big thumbs up.

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons mashed ripe banana
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon salt at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gradually mix in 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar and beat until thick and glossy, about 2 minutes. Fold in the peanut butter until just blended.

Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, place 16 mounds of the cookie mixture evenly on each prepared cookie sheet. Bake, switching and rotating the sheets halfway, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly on the sheets, then, using a metal spatula, transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the banana and lemon juice.

Spread the banana frosting on the cooled cookies and sprinkle the peanuts on top.

Golden Eggs

My mother-in-law got me a signed copy of this book from a book signing she went to and I've enjoyed it so much. My Life From Scratch is a memoir but has a bunch of great recipes in it. She makes these goodies in egg molds for Easter but they can be made in any baking dish- I used muffin tins. I found this video of her making them to be really helpful- especially when it came to how to cream the sugar and butter. I don't think I've ever whipped things long enough. These are dangerously good. They are a cupcake meets a snickerdoodle meets a doughnut. Next time I think I will just dunk/dredge the tops of the cupcakes.

For the Cake:
Nonstick baking spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups nonfat buttermilk
For dipping the eggs:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed together in a small shallow bowl

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray your molds with nonstick spray (You can use a muffin pan or any other small baking molds.)
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with either the paddle or the whisk attachment, whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This can take up to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your butter. As you’re whipping away, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated into the sugar. You can’t make magic without a lot of patience. So keep whipping and keep scraping.

Add the eggs one at a time, whipping after each one until the egg is fully incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bowl every now and again as well. Add the vanilla. Once all the eggs are incorporated, alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, mixing slowly. After they are well incorporated but not overbeaten, take a rubber spatula and fold the batter a few times to make sure everything is evenly distributed and the batter is smooth. Distribute the batter into your molds, filling each cavity a little less than halfway.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Baking time varies depending on the size of your mold, so check for a very light golden brown color and make sure the cake springs back when you touch it. Unmold your little cakes and while they are still warm, dunk them quickly in the melted butter, then dredge them in the cinnamon and sugar. One warning: people are going to call you a stinking liar. They will not believe that these precious morsels aren’t fried like a donut. But that’s the cost of making magic.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Not to be confused with these grilled shrimp, these are SPICY grilled shrimp :) What can we say? We love grilled shrimp!

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Asian chile paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water

Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, parsley, hot sauce, minced garlic, ketchup, chile sauce, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Set aside about 1/3 of this marinade to use while grilling.
Place the shrimp in a large, resealable plastic bag. Pour in the remaining marinade and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes per side until opaque, basting frequently with reserved marinade.


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