Monday, December 13, 2010

Peppermint Bark Cupcakes

Before jumping in to the recipe, I am still kicking myself for not taking a picture of these adorable cupcakes. Next time, I promise! These cupcakes are so delicious and absolutely adorable. Just ask the lovely ladies of Moms4Moms. I received so many compliments on them, both for their c
cuteness and their taste! It was quite the ego boost. :-)

Peppermint Bark Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 4 mini cupcake pans (this recipe will make 48 mini cupcakes). In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat shortening until fluffy. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar and combine, scraping the sides of the bowl down as needed. Separate eggs, one at a time, saving the whites for later. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each yolk. Carefully add your flour mixture, alternating between flour and the 2/3 cup cold water, mixing until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat your egg whites until they form soft peaks (peaks will fold over). Once soft peaks have formed, add 1/3 cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks are formed (this takes forever!). Once your egg whites have formed stiff peaks, carefuly fold your egg whites into the cake batter. Once combined, gently fold in chocolate chips.

Use a teaspoon to place a little batter in each cupcake wrapper. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool in cupcake tins and start making frosting.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cups confectioner's sugar, divided

In a medium bowl, beat 1 cup of softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 2 tablespoons of milk and 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract. Gradually beat in an additional 3 cups of powdered sugar until smooth. If necessary, add milk, one teaspoon at a time to achieve spreading consistency.

Spoon small amounts into a piping bag and start frosting. If desired, crush a few candy canes and dust the cupcakes with some of the crushed peppermint, and maybe a couple mini chocolate chips.

This recipe makes more than enough frosting for the cupcake recipe above, even you like to give your cupcakes a very tall top hat!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Tart

For dessert this Thanksgiving, I made a Chocolate Caramel Tart. It was my second attempt at it. The first time I made it I followed this recipe. I was underwhelmed at it, mostly because I didn't like the crust. It was just kind of boring, and the whole thing was forgettable. So, in honor of the holiday, I created a new and improved recipe, and I am certain it will be delicious!

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar/regular sugar combo
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add egg and mix well. Slowly add flour, salt and baking soda and combine well. Add pecans and stir.
3. Spread dough into a round tart pan.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until dough is nice and brown.
5. Remove from oven and cool on the counter for 10 minutes.

Caramel Ingredients:Bulleted List
  • 40 unwrapped caramels
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

1. While the crust is cooling, combine caramels and heavy cream in a two cup measuring cup.
2. Microwave for 1 minute; stir. Microwave/stir every 30 seconds until melted.
3. Pour caramel over crust. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Chocolate Ingredients:
  • 1 12oz bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
1. While the caramel is cooling, combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a 2 cup measuring cup. (Make sure it's DRY, as water will make the chocolate seize and it will be unusable.)
2. Microwave for 1 minute; stir. Microwave/stir every 30 seconds until melted.
3. Pour over caramel. Top with chopped pecans.
4. Return to the refrigerator and let it cool for 2 hours, or until set.
5. To serve, remove from refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pop the bottom out of the pan and place on serving platter and serve.
6. Top with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

French Lentil Rice Soup

French Lentil Rice Soup

  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped ham (or chicken), if desired
  • heavy cream or sour cream, if desired
  • chopped parsley, if desired

1. stir together broth, lentils, carrots, onion, celery, rice, garlic, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper in crockpot. cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

2. Remove one and a half cups soup and puree in a food processor until almost smooth. Stir pureed soup back into the crockpot. At this time add chopped ham in the soup and let simmer on " Warm" for a few minutes.

3. Serve soup in bowls, garnishing it with a dollop of sour cream or heavy cream and a little fresh parsley.

This so is so good! Everyone ate two bowls of it the night we had it, and then the boys ate it for dinner again last night. As leftovers I served the soup over some steamed rice. What was left I tossed in the Magic Bullet and pureed until smooth and then served it to the baby. This recipe is a keeper!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Asian Pork on Coconut Rice with Green Beans

Asian Pork on Coconut Rice
Serves: 6

  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce ( Maggi Taste of Asia, mild)
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, finally chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 pork tenderloin
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • sesame seeds and scallions, for garnish
Combine first five ingredients to make sauce. Divide sauce in two small bowls and set aside. Salt & pepper tenderloins and grill. 10 minutes before taking the pork off the grill, baste repeatedly the pork with half of the sauce. When the pork is done, remove from grill and let rest for a couple of minutes. Slice and serve with coconut rice and Asian green beans.

Coconut Rice:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • jasmine rice

Prepare rice according to package diractions, substituting coconut milk for equilvalent amount of water. Add a dash of salt and one teaspoon of sugar if milk is unsweetened. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

Note: The second time I made this I needed to have enough rice for eight servings, so I used one can of coconut milk and supplemented the milk with some Thai Coconut Curry broth I bought on impulse at the grocery store. It was amazing!

Asian Green Beans

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends removed and cut in half
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • sugar
  • sesame seeds (I use black sesame seeds)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

1. Blanche green beans, drain and set aside.
2. Heat a little olive oil and sesame oil in a saute' pan. Add a little splash of soy sauce and a tiny bit of sugar.
3. Add blanched green beans and red pepper flakes to the pan and toss, cooking until heated.
4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

This meal is one of my new favorites. It's quick and easy, and is pretty forgiving. The only downside? I only had my cell phone camera available to take a picture, and the quality isn't great. Oh well, I never claimed to be a photographer!

Photo credit, Me. Sorry for the poor quality.

Beef, Mushroom, Cheddar & Potato Pie

Before diving into the recipe, I just have to share a few thoughts...

1. This was originally a Rachael Ray recipe. You can see the original here. I changed it up just a tiny bit. Below is my version.

2. Just because a recipe says "Prep Time: 45 minutes", don't take it at its word. Trust me on this.

3. I love my Vidalia Chop Wizard. Actually, if we're being honest, I'm a sucker for all things "As Seen On TV". I have a mandoline, which I also love, but for this recipe my Chop Wizard helped me stay close to the 45 minutes of prep time Rachael claimed. :-)

Beef, Mushroom, Cheddar and Potato Pie
Photo Credit, Me. Sorry it's not great!


  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin and sauteed
  • 1.5 cups carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 small 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 beef broth
  • 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
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a skillet, combine the beef, mushrooms, 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.

  2. On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch round. Place in a 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.

  3. 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.

  4. If you have children, take the left over pastry dough, roll it again and let them go crazy with the cookie cutters. The dough gets tough very fast, but they will have fun for a few minutes.
I thought this was delicious, and Dan liked it, too. It tastes like "Fall" on a plate. Nicholas did as well, which is awesome, since he's three. Matthew, also three, ate a little bit, and then asked for ham and cheese. Ya win some, ya lose some. :-)

Disclosure: I provided all those links because I wanted to. I don't get any money, accolations, credit, etc. from providing them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crispy Oat Cookies

Crispy Oat Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup regular oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating well at medium speed. Add egg, and beat well; add oil and vanilla, mixing well.

Combine flour, soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats and remaining ingredients.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten each ball with tines of a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheets, and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 10 dozen

Jack's Sweet-Hot Party Pecans

Jack's Sweet-Hot Party Pecans

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspooons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups (one pound) pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients except pecans in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to blend. Boil about 3 minutes. stir in pecans and toss well to coat. Spread nuts in a single layer in a jelly roll pan. Bake 45-60 minutes or until nuts are crisp, stirring occasionally. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 4 cups.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 rounded tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 slices ham
  • 4 slices cheese

Using a small pot over medium heat and melt two tablespoons butter in it. Whisk in a rounded tablespoon of flour and cook one minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble and then drop heat to low. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and dijon. When sauce coats back of a spoon, turn off heat.

Heat one tablespoon butter in each of 2 medium nonstick skillets, both over medium low heat. When butter melts, add 2 eggs to the first skillet, keeping the whites separate from one another. To the second skillet, add two slices breat and toast lightly on first side and then turn the bread. Top turned bread liberally with sauce and two slices of the ham and swiss cheese on each slice of bread. Use a spatula to transfer the eggs to the tops of the open faced sandwiches. Cover pan with foil and turn off heat. Let pan stand five minutes to met cheese and set sauce and eggs.

Top sandwiches with chopped hers or choice and serve.

Citrusy Marinade for Pork

Citrusy Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • olive oil, for brushing


Combine marinade ingredients in measuring cup and stir to combine. Place the pork in a plastic bag. Pour marinade over the terderloin and seal. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat an outdoor grill or preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Brush olive oil onto grill and over meat for extra flavor. Grill tenderloin. Allow meat to rest about 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch serving pieces.

Made Rights (Sloppy Joes)

Made Rights (Sloppy Joes)

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 12 ounce beer
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons italian dressing
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 pinches rosemary
  • 1 pinch basil
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Brown and drain the beef, using a towel to pat off excess fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Pineapple Cheddar Bread

Pineapple Cheddar Bread

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon pineapple extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a large mixing bow, sift flour and sugar and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix pineapple, eggs, oil and add to the flour mixture; mix well. Fold in the cheese, nuts and pineapple extract. Pour mixture into a greased 9in x 3in loaf pan. Bake one hour. Cool and turn out bread from pan. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Pillsbury's Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala recipe


  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (2-3 pounds)
  • 16 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Saute' mushrooms and garlic in one tablespoon oil until soft.
2. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Add one tablespoon oil in bottom. Add chicken breasts, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread mushroom and garlic mixture over the chicken. Pour the wine over the chicken.
3. Cover, cook on low for 5 hours.
4. Remove chicken from cooker, place on a plate and cover to keep warm. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water, making a slurry. Slowly add to the liquid in the slow cooker (you will probably not need all of it!). Turn the slow cooker on to High for 10 minutes, or until liquid thickens.
5. Return chicken to slow cooker, and cook another 5 minutes, or until chicken is hot. Serve chicken with mushroom mixute on top, and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

As a meal:

Serve Chicken Marsala with a small side of angel hair pasta and marinara sauce, and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


(Recipe adapted from Family Circle's Hometown Cooking cookbook)

Prep time: about 1 hour
Serves: 6-8


Meat Sauce-
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Pasta Mixture-
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cream Sauce-
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Kasseri (or Romano) cheese


For the meat sauce-Brown the beef and onions, cooking until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are tender. Add the cinnamon stick, tomato sauce and wine. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick and set aside.

For the pasta mixture-Cook pasta according to the directions on the packaging. Drain, rinse and repeat. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Stir in the pasta and set the mixture aside.

For the cream sauce-In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour, salt and pepper and stir til smooth over medium heat, creating a roux. Slowly add the milk and stir until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. In another bowl whisk together three eggs. Very slowly add the hot mixture to the eggs, tempering them.

To create the dish-Layer half the pasta mixture in a prepared 11.5x8.5x2 pan. Spread meat mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of cheese. Top with remaining pasta, and sprinkle with another 1/3 cup of cheese. Pour cream sauce over all, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, and cook for another 15-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. When dish is finished cooking, let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Photo Credit
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon grated key lime zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons key lime juuice(bottled or freshly squeezed)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups loosely packed sweetened coconut flakes (3.5 ounces)
For the Frosting:
  • 5 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped into small chucks
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon key lime juice (bottled or freshly squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Finely grated key lime zest, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold the coconut into the cupcake batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each liner almost to the top with batter. A spring loaded 1/4 cup ice cream scoop works great for this and ensures the cupcakes are all the same size. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a baking rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, carefully and slowly melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.

Frost the cupcakes and garnish with a bit of grated key lime zest. Enjoy!

Source: Food Network

My notes: Best cupcake ever!

Chicken Spiedini

Chicken Spiedini

  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2/3 cup bottled sweet Italian salad dressing
  • 3/4 packaged seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup halved fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped prosciutto
  • 34 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lemon, quartered

1. Marinate chicken in salad dressing for 2-24 hours.

2. Drain chicken, discard marinade. Dip chicken in bread crumbs to coat. Thread chicken on skewers, accordion style, leaving 1/4 inch space between pieces

3. Heat grill to medium. Grill skewers for 10-12 minutes, turning once halfway thru grilling.

4. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add prosciutto and cook 2 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from skewers; arrange on plates. Sprinkle chicken with mushroom mixture, top with cheese. Squeeze lemon to finish.

Source: Family Circle Hometown Cooking cookbook

My notes:

Everyone seemed to love this dinner. The chicken had a nice flavor, and even though I'm not a fan of prosciutto, it was quite tasty as part of the mushroom mixture. This is definitely a recipe I will make again. In place of regular bread crumbs I used panko. Also, I used baby bella mushrooms and quartered them. Next time, I think I might add just a few slices of onion and possibly introduce a little white wine to the mxiture and try to create a bit of a sauce.

I served this with roasted broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, Alexia french rolls, and fresh cherries.

Roasted broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are made by tossing veggies in a little bit of olive oil, sprinkling with freshed cracked black pepper, a little kosher or sea salt and roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. If you like a little kick, toss in a few red pepper flakes before roasting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brunch Eggs

Brunch Eggs

  • 2 C grated cheese
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t dry mustard
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 10 eggs, slightly beaten
  • sprig parsley
Sprinkle cheese on bottom of 9x13 dish and dot with butter.
Combine half and half, salt, dry mustard, and pepper, pour half of this mixture over the cheese.
Pour the eggs in over the cream mixture.
Pour remaining cream mixture over the eggs.
Place a sprig of parsley on top.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Notes: You can add chopped ham to this recipe to make it a heartier dish.

Parmesan Chicken & Rice

Parmesan Chicken and Rice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked instant rice
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Add wine, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
Stir in rice and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and parsley.

My Notes:
I haven't made this yet, but I'm not a big fan of instant rice. I plan to cook my rice separately using chicken broth, and add it in at the end. I'll make changes to the recipe to indicate this change if it goes well.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Want to have the easiest recipe for the crockpot ever? Here you go.


4 pound bone-in pork butt


Sprinkle salt on pork butt. Throw pork butt into 6 quart crock pot. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove bone and shred. That's it. No need for liquid. No need to trim the fat first. The only thing that would make it easier is if you didn't have to salt the meat. :-)


We had this last night and I used North Carolina style barbecue sauce (vinegar and red pepper based sauce), and we ate it on hamburger buns with cole slaw. You can make this recipe and toss it in whatever type of barbecue sauce you like and serve it however your family likes it.

Pork Carnitas

  • 3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder (also called the butt)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 5 whole cloves garlic, more if you like garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup beef broth


Use a 6 quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the salt and cumin. Rub mixture all over the pork, then plop into the slow cooker. Add whole garlic cloves. Squeeze on the citrus, and pour the beef broth evenly over the top.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the pork shreds quite easily with a fork. If your meat is still fully intact after 8 hours, remove and cut into chunks, then return to the crock and flip to high for about an hour or two.
Remove bone and shred meat fully and serve.


I served this family style and had everyone create their own dinner. Along with corn tortillas and the fixin's for tacos (corn tortillas, flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, etc.), I made black beans and rice. Everyone made their own dinner, and each meal was unique.

You can make tacos with the pork. You can make burritos (like the ones you'd get at Moe's or Chipotle, complete with rice and beans). You can make black beans and rice and top it with pork. You can eat just the pork.

This stuff is so good. Mmmm. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Source: Crockpot365, with modifications to the recipe by me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Raspberry Streusel Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. To make the muffin batter, sift the flour, granulated sugar, brown
sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together into a medium-size
mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
3. Place the egg, melted butter, and milk in the well. Stir with a wooden
spoon just until ingredients are combined. Quickly stir in the raspberries
and lemon zest. Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full with the batter.
4. To make the streusel topping, combine the pecans, brown sugar,
flour, cinnamon and lemon zest in a small bowl. Pour in the melted
butter and stir to combine. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top
of each muffin.
5. Bake until nicely browned and firm, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. To make the glaze, mix the sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the
warm muffins with a spoon. Serve the muffins warm.

1 dozen muffins.

Credit: The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook
by Julee Rosso, Sarah Leah Chase, Sheila Lukins
February 1985, Workman Publishing Company, Inc.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cream Drop Biscuits

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add cream, then stir just until a dough forms.
  3. Drop heaping 1/4 cups of batter about 1 inch apart on an ungreased large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are pale golden and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

Chicken with Cranberry Mustard Sauce

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, green part only


Lightly toss chicken pieces with flour; shake off excess. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken; cook about 2 minutes, turning once until chicken is golden brown on each side and cooked through. Add more butter and oil if needed. Remove to a platter; keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add wine, chicken broth and mustard to skillet, scraping up browned bits. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into skillet. Add dried cranberries. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions; cook 1 more minute. Pour sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Ocean Spray

Notes: I like to serve this Cream Drop Biscuits.

Barbecue Chicken Cups


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1/3 (or more) cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the cups of a muffin pan.
  2. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, saute' onion in the olive oil til tender, about five minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Stir in barbecue sauce and dried onion. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat.
  3. Flatten each biscuit, and press into cups of the prepared muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes to the top of the pan. Spoon a portion of the meat mixture into each dough cup.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 3 more minutes.
Notes: I have cut the biscuits in half and doubled the meat mixture to make twice as much. Obviously the cups are thinner, but we didn't notice it. Also, I have used a pre-made pizza dough (Publix makes one fresh in the bakery) in place of the biscuit dough and it's very good!

Barbecue Sauce

  • olive oil
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced (Or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a few dashes of hot sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons Barbecue of the Americas, if desired


Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato paste and cumin; mix in with the onion and garlic.

Add the tomato sauce and all remaining ingredients. Stir until combined and heated through. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, or other seasonings as you see fit. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add more water, a tablespoon or two at a time, if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Note: I did not have molasses when I made this the first time. I used a little honey in its place. I also added the Barbecue of the Americas seasoning from Penzey's spices to give it a little more "kick". I loved this sauce and wanted to eat it with a spoon. It's a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy and with the hot sauce you can make it as spicy as you want!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

I had a couple of requests for this recipe, so here it is!

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast, available in the packaged meats case
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

Thanks to the Foxes and the Smith's for making this for our family after Zachary was born!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beef Potpie Wedges


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • One 2/3 pound pice skirt steak or flat-iron steak, thinly sliced on an angle and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 white mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 package (2 pieces) prepared piecrust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 425. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the butter to the skillet to melt, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. stir in the beef stock, peas and Worcestershire sauce. Return the meat to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens and the peas heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.

2. Unroll the piecrusts and halve them. Divide the cooled meat mixture among the four piecrust pieces, placing a mount on one side of each piece andleaving a small border. Brush the edges of each piecrust piece with some of the egg. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling, pressing down on the edges; crimp with a fork. Brush the tops of the dough with more of the egg and transfer the pies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about ten minutes.

Source: Rachael Ray/March 2010

My notes:

1. I used lean ground beef in place of the steak and it worked very well.
2. The mixture can be used as the base of a shepherd's pie. If you do this, you will want to double the recipe (save for the pie crust) and add chopped carrots (1/2-1 cup). Top mixture with mashed potatoes and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
3. Next time I make this, I will experiment with making this as a traditional pot pie, rather than the wedges. It seemed like a lot of work to make individual wedges for our family.

Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Broccoli


  • 12 ounces rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced (I like chicken & apple sausage)
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions
2. Meanwhile, heat the oli in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onlion, stirring often, for three minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and 1 1/4 cups water and simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture and any remaining liquid and the Parmesan.

Source: Real Simple/September 2009

My notes:
I use about half the pasta in the recipe and double the sausage. I steam the broccoli while the onions and sausage are cooking, add a little of the water I steamed the broccoli in along with the broccoli to the onion/sausage mixture. Then I throw in the cooked pasta and toss it all together with the cheese. Also, I like to use chicken and apple sausage.

The boys aren't big fans of this, but I love it!