Saturday, August 30, 2008

Day 31 - Recipes 55, 56, a bonus, and a thank you!

Is August really over? What a quick month! I baked/cooked my way through it! I was joking to Monica yesterday that I am going to bake my way through this deployment. Heck... if the next 11 months go as quickly as this month did, Nathan will be home in no time!

Can you believe I made 56 NEW recipes in one month? I am in complete shock by the number. It has been a great month. Out of 56 recipes, there was only one complete bomb. And at least 75% of the rest will be made again. That is awesome success, no?

Thank you to all who have read this blog over the last month. It brightened my day every time I saw a new comment posted. Don't fret... just because August is over doesn't mean I am going anywhere. I am still going to continue this blog and will be posting at least 3-4 times a week.

September holds for me 3 "Daring Baker" challenges (2 past challenges and September's), 5 "Tuesday's with Dorie", 1 "Cookie Carnival" recipe, and the continuing pursuit of delicious new recipes. So please stop by often and leave a comment to let me know you were here! :)

Now, on to today's recipes.....

For breakfast I made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Recipe Girl. I made it into muffins instead of a loaf. These were outstanding!!! I really enjoyed these muffins and will definately be making them again. Wonderful recipe!!!

Dinner was also a hit! I had a recipe for Crock Pot Ribs in one of my folders. I'm not 100% sure where the recipe came from, but it may have been from BabyCenter's Cooking for your Family board. These ribs were amazing! The meat literally fell off the bone! So good! I know it is odd to cook ribs in the crock pot, but Nathan is the one who usually cooks the ribs, so I had to improvise. There is no question about whether or not I will make these again or not. I will even make them for Nathan when he comes home.

I served the ribs with a quick and easy dinner biscuit that has been my go-to fast recipe for a while now. I love making them when I don't have time to get a yeast roll thrown together. I believe it is a copycat recipe for Popeye's biscuits. They are so tender and flaky and are great served with honey.

What a yummy day!!!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bread

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ cups mashed bananas
1 cup milk
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans (or muffin tins.)

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter, vanilla and egg. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 50 to 55 minutes (give it a check at 40 minutes), or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 loaves


Crock-Pot Ribs

8 bone-in country style pork ribs or 2 1/2 pounds bone-in beef ribs

1 cup ketchup

1 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP molasses

1 garlic clove, minced

2 TBSP dried minced onion

1 tsp cajun seasoning

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Place ribs in crock-pot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours or until meat is tender.


Quick and Easy Dinner Biscuits

4 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup club soda

1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix first 3 ingredients together. Pour onto floured surface and pat to 1/2" thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter. Pour half of butter into bottom of 9x13 pan. Place biscuits in pan and pour remaining butter on top. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Day 31 - Recipe 54 "Daring Bakers"

I am so happy it is post day!!! I have been waiting to share this for a couple weeks! WOO HOO!

The August Daring Baker challenge was chosen by MeetaK and Tony Tahhan (recipe can be found at their blogs). The choice... Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé!!! I was so excited about this choice. What a great way to kick off my first month with the Daring Bakers!

There are rules that go along with each challenge and this month was no different. We had to use the choux recipe provided and at least one chocolate element (either the pastry cream filling or the chocolate glaze). I used the glaze and chose to make a vanilla pastry cream, half of which I whipped in some Nutella for a Nutella pastry cream. Let me tell you.... YUM!!!!!

If you have never made eclairs, don't be afraid. Sure, the recipe seems long, but it really doesn't take a ton of time. I was actually surprised at how quickly I was able to make them. I will definately be making these over and over again.

Thanks for a great first challenge, MeetaK, Tony, and the Daring Bakers! I look forward to many more!

Don't forget to check out the DB Blogroll to see what other wonderful variations were made!

Day 30 - Recipe 53

Try something new... that's the whole theme of August, right? I wanted something sweet for breakfast and decided to make a coffeecake. I wanted to make more scones but figured I should venture out and make other yummy breakfast treats. I've made coffeecakes before and I have about 5 coffeecake recipes in my "To Try" file. I settled on Streusel Coffecake from Breakfast Blogger because it had the shortest prep/cooking time. I wish I could say I liked it, but I didn't care for it. It was overly sweet and I LOVE sweets! So that is saying something.....

I am including the recipe because I think if you cut back a little on the topping and frosting it would be better. Although, some of you may love super sweet coffeecakes!

And, by the way, don't mind the horrible picture. I took a bunch and then accidentally deleted all but one. Oops.......

Streusel Coffeecake

1 Cup milk
1 Egg
2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup Butter, softened (not melted)
1 Teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons baking powder
Dash of salt
Take all of the ingredients and mix them together. The butter shouldn't be completely incorporated, and small lumps of butter should be scattered throughout the batter. Set to the side.

For the streusel topping-

1 Cup brown sugar
2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 Cup butter, melted

Mix all of the streusel ingredients together until crumbly. Add a pinch more cinnamon if desired. Set aside.
Pour the coffee cake batter into a greased 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle Streusel topping evenly over top the batter. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Orange sugar glaze-

3 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Cups Powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk

Mix orange juice and milk together. Pour powdered sugar into another bowl. Drizzle orange juice/milk over top powdered sugar and mix until you have a thin icing consistancy.
When the coffee cake is still hot, spread the icing on top of the cake. Let cool slightly, serve warm.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 29 Part 2 - Recipe 52

Easy was the way to go tonight. I watched Lexie and Ryan tonight so that Monica and Travis could have one last date before he has to go back to Iraq. So, with two 3 year olds, a 6 month old, and a 3 month old, easy was the only way dinner was getting on the table!

I made lime chicken tacos, but I don't really know if they should even have lime in the title. Don't get me wrong, the chicken tasted great, but there just wasn't enough lime for it to be called lime. Am I making any sense? This cooked in the crockpot, which made everything easier in general. I really liked these tacos and am glad I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Lime Chicken Tacos

I did put traditional taco toppings on these,

but wanted to show a pic of just the filling. YUM!

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 TBSP lime juice

1 TBSP chili powder

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup chunky salsa

Place the chicken in the crock-pot. Combine lime juice and chili powder and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock-pot with corn and salsa. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until heated through.

*I used frozen chicken breasts and cooked on high for 3 hours. Came out perfectly!*

Day 29 Part 1 - Recipe 51 "Daring Bakers Past Challenge"

As it is my first month as a Daring Baker, I thought I would be double daring and do a past challenge and the August challenge. I completed the February 2007 challenge which was the Chocolate Intensity cake by Tish Boyle. The name really does describe the cake... it is intense chocolate flavor!

It is a flourless cake, so it is more cheesecake/fudge like. It is really dense but in a good way! You only need a small sliver of this cake, but believe me, you'll want more! It was really easy to make, but you need to make sure you cook it long enough. I actually made this cake twice because I had to feed Eric and pulled the first one out too early. I had chocolate pudding instead of cake! :) But, the second one turned out wonderful and everyone loved it.

I really enjoyed my first run as a Daring Baker!

Chocolate Intensity
from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book
makes one 9-inch cake or two mini 4 inch cakes

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 62% cocoa), finely chopped
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brewed coffee
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you’re using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil.)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar and coffee until the butter is melted and mixture is boiling. Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent “scrambled eggs” when combining the two mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.
Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits) and then pour batter into prepared pan. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:

Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.

Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet and put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern.

Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 28 Part 2 - Recipe 50 "TWD Rewind"

I had a few bananas that were getting too ripe so I was off to find something to do with them. The week before I joined TWD, Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen picked the Black and White Banana Loaf. I decided to give that a try today considering I had some bittersweet chocolate leftover from my Daring Baker's challenge (you'll see that tomorrow!).

The loaf is good, but not great. I like bananas and chocolate so I thought this would be a no-brainer. I guess I just prefer plain ol' banana bread! But, I'm glad I was able to make a past TWD recipe and I look forward to trying a lot more! (There are 23 more rewinds to be done!)

Oh, and you can find the recipe on Ashlee's blog!

Day 28 Part 1 - Recipes 48 & 49

I tried two recipes today, both of which were variations of an original.

For breakfast I tried an omlette roll that I found on Dine & Dish. I love finding new ways to prepare eggs, especially if I am having to prepare them for multiple people. I realize that Anya and I aren't exactly a crowd, but I wanted to try it out. I cut the recipe in half and topped it with cheddar and tomatoes. It was fluffy and really filling, probably due to the flour added in the recipe. Was it better than a traditional omlette? No. But it wasn't worse, either and I prefered it over the Ziploc omlettes. I wouldn't make this again for just me, but if I am having company it would definately make the menu.

Next I made a variation on my mom's Oatmeal Quickie recipe. Most people have some sort of variation of this basic no bake cookie, however many I have seen have way more cocoa powder added in. I prefer my mom's version as it has just the right amount of chocolate and peanut butter. I got the idea to use Nutella in place of the peanut butter from Bake or Break. In hindsight, I wish I would've left the cocoa powder out completely. The mixture of Nutella and cocoa powder made it more chocolatey than I would've liked. But, sometimes I get in a frenzy in the kitchen and my hands work faster than my brain. This frequently happens when both kids are sleeping and I am trying to accomplish 80 tasks before they wake up! Anyway... these cookies were good, but for me, nothing tops the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, not even my beloved Nutella.

Omlette Roll


6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked ham, chopped or
9 slices of any deli ham
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Beat eggs and milk until fluffy. Add flour, salt and pepper and beat or whisk until smooth.

Pour into a buttered or greased 9 x 13 baking dish or pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until eggs are just about set.

Sprinkle with chopped ham or lay slices of ham evenly on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Starting at short side, roll up omelet while still in pan. Place seam side down on serving dish.
Cut into slices.

*Can use any toppings you desire! The possibilities are endless!*


Mom's Oatmeal Quickies

Nutella Oatmeal Quickies

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 TBSP cocoa
3 cups quick oats
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
Nuts and coconut - optional

Bring butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa to a boil. Mix remaining ingredients in large bowl; add boiled mixture. Stir well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 27 - Recipe 47

This morning Anya asked for "yummy triangles" for breakfast. That meant that I got to try out another scone recipe! WOO HOO! I'm telling you... I am becoming addicted to scones. I have about 7 more scone recipes in my "To Try" file. Needless to say, you may be seeing a lot of scone recipes in the future!

I found a recipe for Raspberry Orange Cream Scones at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy. I didn't have raspberries, so I substituted cherry craisins. Yes, I realize I could've picked a scone recipe that I did have everything for, but I wasn't that smart! Anyway, they turned out great and were really tasty. The lemon and cranberry ones from day 19 are still my favorite, though.

As always, the recipe......

Raspberry Orange Cream Scones

Sorry the pic is so dark... Don't know what happened!

1 large egg
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange zest
1/4 tsp orange oil
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup dried raspberries

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Stir the egg and cream together. Mix in the orange oil.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

Pour the egg, cream, zest and raspberries over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don't defrost before baking- just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 26 Part 2 - Recipes 45 & 46 (And a bonus...)

Normally I try not to be bossy. Okay, stop laughing... it's true! But, I am going to mandate that you all go out and get the stuff to make this meal NOW. I mean it. Stop reading and go to the store. I am so in love with this meal. So much so that I want to make it again tomorrow. I won't, but I want to!

I found the recipe at Sing For Your Supper. The recipe is Tuscan Chicken and it is oh so good! (It didn't photograph well, but I promise it was delicious!) The only thing I changed in the recipe was the wine. I was going to use chicken broth but felt that the diced tomatoes added enough liquid on their own so I omitted it completely. I served it with Buttery Garlic Bread Ring, a recipe I have been making for years, and a salad compliments of Monica. Erica was also kind enough to bring more of those White Chocolate/Cranberry Cookies that I posted the recipe for at the beginning of the month. YUMMY!

For dessert I served a Jell-O recipe, Cherry Celebration. It took literally no time to throw together and it was so good. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but tonight's dinner was amazing. Make it soon. Please. And invite me over when you do! :)

Tuscan Chicken

1 lb boneless chicken cutlets
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves (5–6 oz)
1 cup fresh pre-sliced mushrooms (rinsed)
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes (undrained)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Arrange chicken in pan and cook 3–4 minutes on one side or until lightly browned.Turn chicken and add remaining ingredients to pan (except cheese). Cover and cook 4–5 minutes or until internal temperature of chickenreaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Meanwhile, slice mozzarella thinly.Remove pan from heat. Top chicken with cheese slices; cover and let stand 2–3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve.

Buttery Garlic Bread Ring

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed and risen

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup parmesan

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp parsley

1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Mix egg through parsley in bowl. Spray bundt pan with cooking spray. Pull golf ball size pieces of dough and roll in egg mixture. Place balls in bundt pan. Allow 30 minutes to rest. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. When bread comes out of oven pour butter on top.


Cherry Celebration

2 cups boiling water

2 packages (4 serving size each) Cherry Jell-O

4 cups ice cubes

3 cups Cool Whip, thawed

1 cup cherry pie filling

Stir boiling water into Jell-O and whisk until completely dissolved. Add ice cubes; stir until mixture starts to thicken. Remove any unmelted ice.

Add Cool Whip and whisk until well blended. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Add cherry pie filling; stir gently. Pour into glasses or serving bowl. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 26 Part 1 - Recipe 44 "Tuesdays with Dorie"

It's Tuesday again and that means it's time for Dorie! The selection this week was chosen by Amy of Food, Family, and Fun. The recipe was Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte. I was really excited about this week because I love chocolate and ice cream! Plus, there are so many different ways you could do this! The original recipe calls for blending raspberries with vanilla ice cream. While that sounded delicious, I was really craving cookie dough. So, I went with that. Let me tell you... it was out of this world!!!

I cut the recipe in half because I knew it would be dangerous. I made it in a 6" pan. I probably should've let me layers set up more before pouring on the next but time isn't usually something I have a lot of! So, my layers aren't perfect, but it made up for it in taste!

Make sure to check out the TWD blogroll to see the other creations!

Day 25 - Recipe 43

I'm a bit bummed this morning. I am ready for September. All I wanted for breakfast was some scrambled eggs. Nothing fancy, no recipe. Just plain old scrambled eggs. But, we are going to Ramstein tonight for a kid thing and so no dinner at home. Plus, I didn't really feel like making a dessert. So, I had to make something for breakfast. Don't get me wrong... I am really enjoying this blog. I love trying new recipes and I actually look forward to posting. I will be continuing this blog for a long time to come. The problem comes from HAVING to make a new recipe for the last 25 days. Most days it hasn't been a problem, but today I just wanted eggs. :) Oh well... there's always tomorrow!

Now, on to what I did have. I found a recipe for mini German puff pancakes at Make and Takes. These were good and very easy. You could top them with just about anything. I had some fresh strawberries in the fridge so that is what I used. Add a little sprinkling of powdered sugar and breakfast was ready.

This recipe makes 24 so cut it in half (or in quarters!) if you aren't feeding a crowd.

German Puff Pancakes

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
dash salt

Throw all ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 24 - Recipe 42

Today was another muffin day. I planned on making dinner, but was invited over to the McBride's and wasn't about to turn down someone else cooking! Hey, everyone needs a break sometime!

These muffins were really good! I used applesauce instead of butter to make it healthier. I love hearty muffins like this!

And on a non-food related note.... Happy 10 year ARMY anniversary to my husband! Thanks for serving our country! I miss you so much and am so proud of you! Can't wait until R&R! I love you, Nathan!

Morning Muffins
from Taste of Home

1/4 cup butter, softened (Or applesauce!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and sour cream; beat well. Stir in the carrots, coconut, and raisins. Combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; stir into wet ingredients. Fold in nuts.

Fill muffin tins and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 23 - Recipe 41

One word for tonights dinner: DELICIOUS! I really enjoyed this! And Erica, if you're reading, this is a quick, easy, dairy free meal! :)

Mushroom Chicken with Zucchini

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
cornstarch (for dusting)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 package fresh button mushrooms
4 small zucchini

Cut chicken and zucchini into 1” chunks. Lightly dust chicken with a little bit of cornstarch until lightly coated. Add vegetable and sesame oil to the wok (or large skillet) and fry chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Add zucchini and mushrooms to the wok and stir fry for a few minutes. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, minced fresh garlic, and ground ginger to the wok stirring to coat and stir fry until mushrooms and zucchini are fully cooked.

Return chicken pieces to the wok and coat with sauce, heat thoroughly and serve over hot rice.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 22 - Recipes 39 & 40

I've got two easy peasy recipes for you tonight. I made a Grecian Pork Tenderloin (from allrecipes) and a Mediterranean Orzo (BabyCenter CFYF). They were both really good, but the orzo was the star of the show. I'm glad it made a lot because I am looking forward to having it for lunch tomorrow. Enjoy!

Grecian Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons dried oregano
2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins

Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and oregano in a large resealable plastic bag. Shake sealed bag until ingredients are well mixed. Taste the marinade for tartness. If too tart, add a little more oil. Not enough zing, add more lime. The garlic and salt flavors should also be up front, yet not overpowering. Place tenderloins in the bag, seal, and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 5 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grate, and discard marinade. Grill tenderloins for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, or to desired doneness.

*Note: I baked my tenderloin at 325 for 25-30 minutes.


Mediterranean Orzo

1/2 lb orzo

1/4 cup olive oil

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped black or kalamata olives

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 21 - Recipes 36, 37, & 38

It's 1 am and I can't figure out how to move the pic, so it's up here!

I am really excited about my first recipe. I had marked a Challah recipe in a cookbook months ago and just never got around to making it. Then last week I saw a recipe for Upside Down French Toast (from Tyler Florence) and it called for Challah. Sure, I could've bought Challah or just used French bread, but it gave me an excuse to finally try it out! It is my first braided loaf EVER and I still need to work on it. Don't get me wrong, it tastes AMAZING! But, my braid needs to be a little tighter.

The french toast was good, too. It wasn't "knock your socks off" good, but I still really enjoyed it. It almost tasted like a caramel apple which is not a bad thing! Plus, I loved the way the sugar coated the pecans. It was a good breakfast treat!

After a day at the zoo, I headed over to the McBride's for dinner. (You'd think they would be sick of me by now!!!). I offered to make dessert and made a cake that I had saved from AllRecipes back when I was not eating dairy. The name is kinda funny (Pig Pickin' Cake), but the cake was really good! It was a piece of cake (HA HA!) to throw together and I even frosted it one handed while nursing Eric! Monica and I were joking about how when you are a mom (and especially when your husband is deployed!) you have to be a master at multi-tasking!

Enjoy the recipes! :)


From "Baking with The Culinary Institute of America"

3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra as needed
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup water, room temperature (68-76 degrees)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup vegetable oil plus extra for greasing
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 2 TBSP cold milk or water)

Combine the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hoook. Add the water, eggs, egg yolks, oil, sugar, and salt and mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 4 minutes. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm plac until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.

Fold the dough gently, cover, and let rest until relaxed, about 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Cover and let rest about 15-20 minutes. Working with 1 piece at a time, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and press lightly with your hands to strech into a 6x10 inch rectangle. Fold the long top edge to the center of the rectangle, pressing lightly with your fingers to tighten the outer surface. Fold the dough in half lengthwise so the top meets the bottom and use the heel of your palm to seal the edges.

Roll each piece of dough into a tapered cylinder 12 inches long. Lay the 3 ropes of dough parallel to each other. Braid dough and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the dough with the egg wash and let rise another hour. Do not cover dough.

Preheat oven to 350. Very gently brush dough again with egg wash. Bake 25-30 minutes or until challah is dark golden brown, shiny, and lightweight.

Upside-Down Apple French Toast

4 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided

4 Granny Smith apples

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Confectioners' sugar, garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a flat dish, crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined then lay challah slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.
Set a 10-inch skillet, seasoned cast iron if you have, over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 8 minutes. While the sugar is melting, peel apples, core and cut into halves. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the heavy cream. Sprinkle in the pecans, dried cranberries and gently press in the apple halves so there is a flat surface. Lay soaked slices of challah over the top so it is completely covered - you should be able to arrange the large slices and small slices so there are no gaps. Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and place into the preheated oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy.
When done, allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes then invert onto a large plate. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, and serve.

Chef's Note: FYI - if your cast iron skillet is not seasoned, the cranberries will react with the skillet and turn black.


Pig Pickin' Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, juice reserved
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

Mix together cake mix, canned oranges with juice, eggs, and oil. Pour batter into three greased and floured 8 inch round pans. Layers will be thin.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool layers on wire racks.

Mix together whipped topping, drained pineapple, and instant pudding mix. Fill and frost the cooled cake. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 20 - Recipes 33, 34, & 35

I am on the hunt for the perfect bran muffin. Anya has recently become obsessed with them and every time we go to the commissary she asks for one. Better than a donut, right? Although she says they are brown because they have chocolate in them! :) Anyway, I really like the ones from the commissary but I prefer to make my own muffins. Today I tried a bran muffin recipe from Joy of Baking and it was really good. I enjoyed the orange zest in them and I am pleased with the way they turned out. I would definately make these again, but I will be on the lookout for different recipes in hopes of finding the PERFECT bran muffin. (Oh, and I used oat bran instead of wheat bran... gotta use what you have!)

Dinner tonight was Green Chile Enchiladas from The Way The Cookie Crumbles and Arroz Verde (Green Rice) from Culinary Infatuation. As ashamed as I am to admit it, this is the first time I have made enchiladas without using canned enchilada sauce. I don't know why I waited so long! These enchiladas were incredibly good. Just don't judge them by the picture.... I can't figure out how to make enchiladas look pretty! They definately took a lot longer to make than when I use canned sauce, but it makes up for it in taste! I loved these! The rice was also amazing. I have never had (or seen!) green rice, but I love cilantro so I thought I would give it a shot. What a great side dish! Definately a keeper.

For the enchiladas, I used a boneless, skinless chicken breast and just boiled it. And for the rice I substituted a can of green chilis for the poblanos because the commissary didn't have any poblanos.

Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups (75 grams) wheat bran
1/3 cup (80 ml) boiling water
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (205 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup (70 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk

Note: You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Place the bran in a bowl and stir in the boiling water. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the wheat bran and beat until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, cinnamon, orange zest, salt, baking soda and powder.

In a small bowl combine the milk and buttermilk.

Add the flour mixture, alternately with the wet ingredients, to the bran mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Cover and place the batter in the refrigerator until chilled (several hours or even overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or else spray with a nonstick vegetable spray.

Fill the muffin cups, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop, about 3/4 full and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Makes 14 - 16 standard-sized muffins.


Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Note: To wet the tortillas before heating and rolling them, I usually hold them under running water for a second. Alternatively, you could brush water on them using a pastry brush.

1 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast (12-16 ounces)

salt and pepper

1 tsp vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons butter

½ large onion, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk plus ¼ cup4

ounces chopped green chiles, undrained

½ cup sour cream plus 2 tablespoons

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar, shredded, plus ¾ cup (3 ounces)

1. For chicken: Adjust oven racks to the lower-middle and upper-middle positions; heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 9-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until oil just begins to smoke; swirl skillet to coat evenly with oil. Brown chicken breast skin side down until deep golden, 3 to 4 minutes; turn chicken breast and brown until golden on second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Place in oven on lower-middle rack. Roast until thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 18 to 25 minutes. Using potholder or oven mitt, remove skillet from oven. Transfer chicken to platter and set aside until cool enough to handle. Pour water into hot skillet and scrape with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Pour liquid into small bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

2. For filling: Melt butter until foaming in medium saucepan over medium heat; add onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1½ minutes. Do not brown. Gradually whisk in milk and reserved water from deglazing. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in green chiles, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Remove from heat, and stir in ½ cup sour cream.

3. For sauce: Set aside ¼ cup of filling mixture. Add an additional ¼ cup milk and 2 tablespoons sour cream and stir until blended.

4. Remove and discard chicken skin. Using fingers or fork, pull chicken off bones into 2-inch shreds and 1-inch chunks. Stir shredded chicken and 1 cup shredded cheddar into filling mixture. Spread ¼ of sauce in bottom of 9×13-inch pan.

5. Lightly wet both sides of four tortillas; place on baking sheet in oven for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Spread approximately ¼ cup of filling down center of each tortilla. Fold in sides and place enchilada, seam side down, in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas until all the filling has been used, wetting and warming tortillas as necessary.

6. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining ¾ cup cheese. Bake on upper-middle rack until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes and serve.


Arroz Verde

2 Poblano peppers
2 cups chicken stock (warmed)
Bunch of cilantro (about 2 cups)
1 onion finely diced
2 garlic cloves minced
tsp. cumin (my addition)
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 cup long grain rice
salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop poblanos and add them to a blender. Add warm stock and cilantro. Blend until well mixed. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over med. high heat. Add onions and cook a few minutes. Add rice and garlic and saute a few minutes more until the rice is toasted. Add poblano mixture and cumin and heat until boiling. Turn down heat and simmer 25 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 19 Part 3 - Recipe 32 "Cookie Carnival"

My name is Cristine and I am a blog-event-aholic. I have joined another group of bakers. I'm pretty sure this will be my last group... for now anyway! Kate at The Clean Plate Club created a group called "Cookie Carnival". Once a month she emails out a cookie recipe and we all make it. Pretty simple! Plus, I like being told what to make! I was that student who loved being told what to write my paper on instead of having to come up with a topic on my own!

It sometimes is so hard for me to decide on something new, especially if that something new is a completely new food for me. Let's throw biscotti in the group with scones. Believe it or not, I have never had biscotti. It just never looked appealing to me. I thought they would be too dry and too crunchy. I would've been perfectly content if I never had biscotti. Until now. Biscotti is AMAZING!!! Sure, it's crunchy, but it's not a traditional cookie. So, if you are from the "soft & chewy" cookie club like me, don't be afraid. Step out of your box and make some biscotti. You'll be glad you did!

The recipe was for Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti, but the commissary didn't have any hazelnuts. I wasn't really in the mood to go searching all over Germany to find hazelnuts, either! I decided to use walnuts instead and boy was it good! I had planned on dipping the ends in white chocolate, but after tasting them I opted to leave them as is. Don't mess with perfection!

Check out The Clean Plate Club at the end of the month for the write up to see what variations others came up with. Thanks, Kate, for a great recipe!

And I apologize for the multiple posts today, but I wanted TWD and Cookie Carnival to be seperate for those who are looking specifically for these posts! :)

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

1 1/2 cups walnuts
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup walnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup walnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground walnuts.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on 2 baking sheets. Bake biscotti until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Store in airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Day 19 Part 2 - Recipe 31

For breakfast this morning I made Lemon and Dried Cranberry Scones (recipe from Fresh From the Oven). These scones were TO DIE FOR! I have fallen in love with scones and these will stay with me forever! The flavor combination was so delicious. Just a hint of lemon with the wonderful craisins and chocolate chips... OH MY! Is it breakfast again? I so want more! Anya told me they were like a big breakfast cookie!

The great thing about this recipe, besides how good it is, is that I have the second disc just waiting in the freezer for the next time I want fresh scones. Talk about making my life easier!!!

I'm also (FINALLY!) posting the recipe for the bread from day 4 and my sugar cookie recipe. ENJOY!

Lemon and Dried Cranberry Scones

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using pastry cutter or 2 forks (or use your fingers) to cut the chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas. Add dried cranberries and raspbeey chocolate chips and toss to coat. Mix 1 cup buttermilk and finely grated lemon peel in glass measuring cup. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until dough begins to form (some of flour will not be incorporated).

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and gather together. Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns. Divide dough in half. Form each dough half into ball and flatten into 1-inch-thick disk. Freeze the dough for at least half and hour or up to a month.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out from freezer and each disk into 6 wedges.Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Cristine's Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

2 1/4 cups flour

Cream sugar, butter and cream cheese. Add yolk and extracts. Gradually stir in flour and salt until blended. Shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

Roll out dough and cut shapes. Bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Do not overbake.

Decorate with buttercream or royal icing. Or use for Nutella Ravioli! YUM!!!


Honey Wheat Bushman Bread


1 1/4 cups warm water

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg.) yeast

2 cups bread flour

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons molasses

COLORING (optional)

1 1/4 teaspoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon yellow food coloring

1 teaspoon blue food coloring

cornmeal for dusting

1. Mix sugar with warm water, then dissolve the yeast in the solution. In five minutes the solution will begin to foam as the yeast begins its gassy dance party.

2. While the yeast is waking up, mix the flours, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl. Mix butter into the dry mixture with your hands. Make an impression in the middle of the dry mixture. Add the honey and molasses into the well. Mix the food coloring with the yeast solution, then pour the solution into the well. Stir from the middle bringing the dry mixture into the wet stuff, slowly at first, then quickly as you incorporate all the ingredients. You will eventually have to use your hands to combine everything. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, then roll the dough into a ball and place it into a covered bowl in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

3. When the dough has doubled, separate it into 6 even portions. Roll each dough portion into logs that are 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Pour cornmeal onto your rolling surface. Moisten your hands then rub water onto each dough log and roll it in the cornmeal. Arrange the rolled dough on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Set the dough in warm spot to rise for another hour or so until the loaves have doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes in the hot oven. When the bread is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the bread with a sharp bread knife and butter on the side. If you want whipped butter, like you get at the restaurant, just use an electric mixer on high speed to whip some butter until it's fluffy.

Makes 6 small loaves.

Day 19 Part 1 - Recipe 30 "Tuesdays with Dorie"

This week's TWD selection (Granola Grabbers) was chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking. To be perfectly honest, I considered sitting out this week. I really didn't think I would enjoy these cookies. But, being my second week with TWD, I didn't want to bow out. Plus, the whole point of my joining this group is to bake my way through this cookbook and to try recipes that I normally would shy away from. So, that being said, I sucked it up and made a batch of cookies!

These cookies have a lot of things I love; granola, nuts, raisins. In theory, I should've loved these cookies. But, I only took one bite. They just weren't my cup of tea. I think I may be one of the few TWDers that didn't care for them. :( Anya liked them, though. And, hey, if you're gonna give your kid a cookie, one with wheat germ in it is a good way to go!

Don't forget to check out the TWD Blogroll to see what everyone else thought!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 18 - Recipes 28 & 29

Wow! I can't believe that I am almost at 30 recipes in 18 days! That's awesome! Hmmm... I wonder what the total will be at the end of the month!

Tonight's dinner came courtesy of Pioneer Woman. I'm telling ya... check out her site! She is amazing! While you're there, save the Yogurt Cream recipe. It is beyond words. But, that isn't what we had for dinner. HA HA! We had Farfalle with Zucchini and Soft Italian Breadsticks. The farfalle was delicious. I loved how every bite was full of flavor. So many different tastes and my mouth was happy! Plus, there is the added bonus of it being on the table within 20 minutes of starting. Not too shabby considering most of that was chopping! It made a ton, but I am looking forward to the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I am curious to see what it tastes like cold because for some reason it seems like it would be a good cold dish, too. I'll let you know! Oh, and the breadsticks were great, too. Very soft and very tasty. I will be making them again!

Farfalle with Zucchini

4-5 small zucchini, diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

2/3 cup chicken broth or white wine

1 TBSP arrowroot or 2 1/4 tsp cornstarch

1/2 - 3/4 cup heavy cream

Fresh herbs (I used basil, thyme, and chives)

1 box farfalle (bowtie) pasta

Cook pasta until al dente. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add zucchini. Cook until browned; set aside. Add more olive oil to pan and add onion and garlic. Swirl around, then add tomatoes. Stir in 1/3 cup chicken broth. Mix arrowroot or cornstarch with remaining chicken broth and add to pan. Immediately add cream and stir. Add some water from the pasta if sauce is too thick. Remove from heat.

Pour pasta into a large bowl and top with herbs. Pour sauce mixture on top and toss to coat. Top with parmesan.


Soft Italian Breadsticks

1 cup warm water

3 TBSP soft butter

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 cups bread flour

2 TBSP sugar

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

2 1/4 tsp yeast


1 TBSP melted butter

1 TBSP parmesan cheese

Place all dough ingredients in a bread machine according to manufacturers directions. Select dough cycle. When dough cycle is complete, turn out onto floured surface and divide in half. Cut each portion into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a 4-6" rope. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately brush with butter and sprinkle with cheese.

For pull-apart breadsticks, place dough close together.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 17 - Recipes 26 & 27

It's midnight and I can barely keep my eyes open so I will just post the pics of today's recipes for now and I will get on in the morning to do the write up. Today's recipes are Spicy Mac & Cheese and Nutella Ravioli.

Okay... well now it is 5 am and while I am still exhausted, at least my eyes are remaining open! Hopefully Eric will start sleeping better SOON and I can get some rest. Maybe if I wasn't so crazy trying to fit in workouts at 4 am I would be a little less tired. Oh well.... I gotta get it in somehow! Now on to the point of this blog... food!

I have been eyeing this mac and cheese for a few months now. I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman. I left out the jalepeno because Anya and Lexie were going to eat it, too. Okay, and because I'm a wuss when it comes to heat! To be honest, I will add it next time because I don't think it would be too bad. Plus, I ate a jalepeno popper along side the mac and cheese, so if I can do that one jalepeno in the entire recipe shouldn't be too bad! This definately isn't your traditional mac and cheese, but it was soooooooo good. Monica and I were eating it straight out of the pan while Travis was downstairs BBQing. And, it made a ton, which makes for nice leftovers.

One of my biggest food obsessions has to be Nutella. My BFF from 7th grade, Kristl, introduced me to Nutella almost 2 years ago. I don't know if I should thank her or curse her for bringing this wonderful spread into my life. I always have to have a jar of it in the house and my all-time favorite way to eat it is with pretzels. Or with bananas in a crepe. Okay, or on a stick. It doesn't matter. It is GOOD! Anyway... I have been looking for new ways to use Nutella and I found this recipe for Nutella Ravioli Cookies (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody). It is basically Nutella inside of a sugar cookie. YUM! You can use any sugar cookie recipe you want or even a tube of store bought sugar cookie dough. When I can make it into the kitchen to get my sugar cookie recipe, I will post it. Promise!

Now, on to the recipes before Eric finishes eating. (See, it's all about the food!)

Pioneer Woman's Spicy Mac and Cheese

4 cups cooked macaroni or cavatappi
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 finely diced red onion
Equal amount diced red bell pepper
1 finely diced jalapeno
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cream
1 generous cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Boil pasta until al dente. In a large skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic and vegetables over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add in canned chilies and stir around, then turn off heat. Drain pasta and add it to skillet. Pour on cream, add cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. At the end, add 2 tablespoons butter and stir again. Check seasonings and serve.

Serve with juicy steak, with grilled shrimp, chicken, or on its own.

Nutella Ravioli Cookies

Sugar Cookie Dough


Chocolate Chips

White Chocolate Chips

Roll out sugar cookie dough and cut into circles. Pipe 1 teaspoon of nutella in the middle of each round. Fold cookie dough in half and pinch edges to seal.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Move to cooling rack and let cool.

Melt chocolate chips and white chocolate chips seperately. Drizzle over cooled cookies.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 16 - Recipes 24 & 25

I almost feel bad sharing these recipes with you today. They are THAT good. I am so full and yet I want to eat more. I must get this food out of my house ASAP.

For breakfast I made Pineapple Cream Muffins. I found the recipe at Bunny's Warm Oven. I made 24 mini-muffins and 6 jumbo muffins. I took the jumbo muffins to Monica's and I won't even tell you how many mini-muffins Anya and I ate. Okay... well I'll just say that there aren't many left! These were so good! Not overly sweet, yet sweet enough. I've never even considered having a pineapple muffin, but these were fantastic! They definately will be made over and over again in this house.

I also made Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies (Baking Blonde - THANK YOU!). Yeah, I know. The name itself is tasty! :) Now wait until you see the pictures. And then you MUST make them. NOW.... go out and buy the ingredients. That is an order! If you can't tell, I am in love with these brownies. I finished making them right before I was heading out to lunch with the McBride's and I wanted to taste one bite. That didn't happen. I am including the picture of what actually happened. I am using all the willpower in the world to stay out of the kitchen right now. Good thing I am stuffed from lunch or else the rest of these brownies would be devoured.

Pineapple Cream Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray.In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix, and stir in brown sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Fold in the pineapple and oil. Add the egg-pineapplemixture to the flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Batter will be thick.Bake @ 425 degrees for 15 minutes.Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator-they taste even better cold!

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

Recipe courtesy of Baking Blonde

3/4 cup butter, very soft (not melted but softer than room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 large eggs 1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl:

4 oz cream cheese, softened 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

5-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups (regular size) cut into 6-8 pieces each

IMPORTANT: Do NOT omit the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. They take these brownies over the top.

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil and lightly coat with PAM cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl melt the two baking chocolate squares in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth and melted after stirring. Do not scortch! Remove from microwave and allow to come to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix to combine. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and wisk together. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Do not overmix.

In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate brownie batter into prepared pan. Evenly drop 1/2 of cheesecake batter in dollups over brownie batter. Run a knife through both mixtures to slightly swirl.
Dollop remaining brownie batter and cheesecake batter over swirled mixture. Run knife through the browine and cheesecake dollups (not all the way through the already swirled layer) to create a swirled pattern.

Bake for 40-45 minutes**, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. Do not overbake or they will harden, if underbaked they will be too gooey. Every oven is different so watch and check these after about 35-40 minutes of baking to ensure propper doneness.

**After about 35-40 minutes of baking (with about 5-7 minutes of baking time left, you just need to eyeball it) gently place cut up Reese’s cups over top of almost fully baked brownies. Finish baking until a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. The Reese’s PB cups will melt but hold their shape slightly. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and serving.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 15 - Recipe 23

Dinner tonight was surprisingly good. I wasn't looking forward to it at all but ended up going back for seconds! I originally purchased the cube steak for a "Cube Steak Parmesan" recipe I had found. But, then I cut out dairy for 3 weeks and ended up looking for another recipe to use the cube steak in. I found "Country Style Steak" on AllRecipes and it was so delicious!

When I first started cooking it I thought that the onion soup mix would overpower the dish. But, I let it simmer away and the flavor just melded perfectly. Don't let the hour cooking time scare you; there really is only about 10 minutes of actual work to do when making this dinner.

Country Style Steak

2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 pound cube steak, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour for coating
1 TBSP flour
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
2 cups water, or as needed
salt, pepper, and garlic salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat cube steak pieces with flour, and shake off the excess. Fry steak pieces in the hot oil just until browned on each side and there are some juices in the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Stir together the onion soup mix and 1 tablespoon of flour; sprinkle into the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until it starts to brown. Gradually mix in the water to make a gravy. Return the cube steak to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Cover, and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.

Serve over egg noodles, potatoes, or rice.

*Note: I did not add any additional salt or garlic to the dish. I sprinkled it with some fresh ground pepper and it turned out wonderfully!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 14 - Recipe 22 & Another Bonus

I fully intended to provide a new dinner recipe tonight, but that just didn't happen! I spent most of the morning working on my August Daring Baker challenge and then took the fruits of my labor over to Monica and Travis. (Side note: Welcome home, Travis! Hope you enjoy your R&R!) What was only supposed to be an hour or two visit turned into a 7 hour visit! They invited me to stay for dinner and I happily agreed. Monica made Chicken Lo Mein and it was awesome! She kindly gave me the recipe, so I am posting it here.

But, since I did not make the meal, it doesn't count as my new recipe for the day. It was about 5 PM when I realized I wouldn't be making dinner so I had to come up with a plan fast. I found a recipe for Froot Loop Clusters at Baking Blonde a few weeks ago and thought it looked interesting. I ran home to get the ingredients (Froot Loops and white chocolate) and hurried back to Monica's to throw them together for dessert. They were incredibly sweet (and delicious!!!) but what else would you expect from sugar cereal and chocolate?

I promise a main dish will make an appearance tomorrow. Now hopefully it will be a successful meal!!!!

Chicken Lo Mein

1/2 lb angel hair pasta
4 1/2 TBSP hoisin sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP finely chopped ginger
1 medium onion, chopped
10 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup sugar snap peas, halved
1 can baby corn
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Cook noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside. In a small bowl mix hoisin sauce, broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch.

Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in wok and add onion, ginger, and carrots. Stir fry 2-4 minutes. Add remaining veggies and cook 2-4 minutes more. Heat remaining oil and cook chicken until no longer pink. Combine all ingredients and heat through, about 3 more minutes.

Froot Loop Clusters

16 oz. White Chocolate chips or Almond Bark (or a mixture of the two)

1 TBS shortening (for melting if using white chocolate chips)

5-7 cups Froot Loops Cereal

Line a large baking sheet with Wax Paper or Parchment Paper. Set aside. In a large bowl pour in 5 cups of Froot Loops cereal. Melt white chocolate and shortening. Pour melted chocolate over cereal. Add additional cereal, 1/2 cup at a time, until cereal is well coated. You may not use all the cereal. Make sure they are coated enough to stay in a cluster.

Carefully spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheet into tablespoon-sized clusters.Allow to cool completely on counter or in fridge. Once cooled and completely set store in airtight container in a cool dry place.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 13 - Recipe 21

I was craving something sweet for breakfast and these pancakes hit the spot. I found the recipe on a food blog in the middle of the night and knew I had to try it. Luckily I had everything on hand, except for nuts. I am not one who likes nuts in my banana bread so I figured it wouldn't make too big of a difference for me with the pancakes. While the pancakes were amazingly delicious, they really would've benefited from the added texture nuts would've brought. Next time I will make sure I have walnuts. Seriously, though... why don't I have walnuts in the house???

Here is the recipe. Now off to the elliptical to even things out.... :)

Banana Bread Pancakes

1 1/2 c AP flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 c buttermilk

Heat up a griddle if you have one, or a regular non-stick skillet works great too. Whisk together dry ingredients, then in a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and whisk only until combined (batter will be a bit lumpy like muffin batter).Turn heat to medium and add a pat of butter to cooking surface. Spoon batter onto griddle and cook pancakes.

Banana bread compote:

3 mini or one large ripe banana, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp chopped nuts

In a small pan, melt butter with spice mix for a few seconds until butter begins to foam. Add bananas and saute until browned slightly. Add sugar, nuts and salt and stir gently, being careful not to mash up the banana too much. Compote is finished when the mixture is saucy and caramelized. Top the pancakes with a scoop of compote and whipped cream.

*EDIT* I wanted to add that while this dish is EXCELLENT, I think next time I will cut out the white sugar in the compote to cut back a tad on the sweetness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 12 - Recipe 20 "Tuesdays with Dorie"

I don't know if I have mentioned "Tuesdays with Dorie" yet, so I will explain a little first. "Tuesdays with Dorie" is another online cooking group. Once a week a member chooses a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From My Home To Yours" and everyone in the group makes that recipe and posts about it on Tuesday. I just received my book in the mail and I spent a good 30 minutes flipping through it last night. I am so excited to make many of the recipes! TWD gives me the push to actually use this book. Honestly, how often do we actually cook/bake more than a few recipes out of a cookbook? This cookbook will definately get used!

This weeks TWD recipe was chosen by Dolores of "Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity". The recipe is Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. I was so excited that it was an ice cream recipe! It has been warm here for the last couple days (seriously, we aren't having much of a summer!) so I welcomed a cold treat!

I have had my Kitchenaid ice cream attachment for about a year now and have used it more than I thought I would. But, I have always made the traditional ice creams... chocolate chip cookie dough, butter pecan, cake batter, vanilla, etc. I was looking forward to this recipe because it not only used fresh blueberries, but it called for sour cream, an ingredient I hadn't used in ice cream.

The result was tangy and sweet all at the same time. I really enjoyed this ice cream! I was also glad that it didn't make as much as other ice cream recipes because I don't need sweets hanging around! I took the advice of another food blogger and drizzled it with hot fudge. SO GOOD!

My first venture into TWD territory turned out great and I am looking forward to making more recipes with this wonderful group!

For the recipe, go to Dolores's blog (link above). Click on the TWD blogroll to check out what others did!

Day 11 - Recipes 18 & 19

Today I was a traveling chef. Monica is back from the states and her and the kids are jet-lagged, so I took my cooking show on the road! I loaded up everything for dinner and dessert and went over to her place to cook her dinner so that she wouldn't have to eat out. We had Curry Chicken with Rice and Naan (thanks for the recipe, Britteny!) and Lemon Blueberry Shortcakes.

The curry chicken isn't really a recipe. It is so quick and easy and very flavorful. I cut up some chicken breasts and cooked them in a pan. Then I added a jar of curry paste and about 3/4 of a can of coconut milk. I let the mixture simmer while I grilled up the naan. I am including the recipe for the naan below. I took Britteny's suggestion and ate it as a Naan Taco. SO GOOD!

Dessert was freakin' amazing!!!! I literally gorged myself. I felt so full after dinner, but it was totally worth it! I found the recipe on another food blog. Shocker, I know. But when I am feeding Eric at 3 am, food blogs keep me awake! Anyway, the recipe was for Lemon Blueberry Shortcakes. I decided to make my shortcake recipe that I use for Strawberry Shortcakes and just use Gourmet Girl's blueberry compote. Monica and I just ate in complete silence, other than a few "Oh my goodness... this is amazing" comments. Go pick up some fresh blueberries and make this ASAP!


1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP plus 1 1/2 tsp milk

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 tsp minced garlic

2 TBSP butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch dough down and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls and place on tray. Cover with towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

During the second rising, preheat griddle to high heat.

At griddle side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil griddle. Place dough on griddle and cook 2-3 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with melted butter and turn over. Brush cooked side with melted butter and cook until browned, another 2-4 mintues. Remove from griddle and continue process until all the naan has been prepared.

Lemon Blueberry Shortcakes

2 cups flour
2 TBSP sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is in fine crumbs. Stir in milk until blended. If not completely moistened, stir in additional milk. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Blueberry Compote:

1 pint fresh blueberries, divided

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

In a small non-reactive pot, combine 1/2 pint blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest and juice. Cook over medium heat stirring, just until sugar is completely melted. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and add remaining berries mix and set aside.
Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
3 TBSP sugar

Beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:

Split shortcakes. Spoon blueberries and whipped cream on bottom half. Put top half back on. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired.

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