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Showing posts from March, 2008

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake!

I had SO much fun with this month's Daring Baker's Challenge! This month's challenge was hosted by Morven at Food Art and Random Thoughts , and you can find the recipe HERE . The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours . I was thrilled when I found out this month's challenge was a cake. That's without a doubt one of my favorite things to make. It is a wonderful cake with raspberry preserves and whipped cream between each yummy a fresh lemony taste! To top it all off, it includes a divine buttercream icing (made from scratch, of course!). I got creative with it by dying the shredded coconut green and placing candy eggs on the top. I ended up with an Easter Egg Hunt cake, which I took to our Easter celebration. The thing that made my cake extra special was the golden, candy egg hidden inside the cake. We gave a prize to the person that got the piece with the golden, huh?? It was such a big hit, that I think it will be

Honey Mustard Chicken with Almonds

***This was another one of those nights where I had to take stock of what was in the pantry and get creative. This dish turned out to be a new favorite! The flavors all blended wonderfully. I simply whipped up some homemade honey mustard sauce and sprinkled the chicken with sliced almonds.*** Ingredients: 4 Chicken breasts 2-3 tbsp. E.V.O.O. Salt & freshly ground black pepper 4 tbsp. honey 4 tbsp. dijon mustard Sliced almonds (I used Italian Parmesan flavored almonds) Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle with E.V.O.O. and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, mix together honey, dijon mustard, and a dash more of salt & pepper. Drizzle cooked chicken with honey mustard mixture. Top with sliced almonds. Serve immediately!

Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Rice

***This has to be one of the simplest side dishes ever. All I did was cook a batch of white, long-grain rice. Once it was ready, I added a few tablespoons of Amore brand Sun-Dried Tomato paste and stirred it together. I seasoned it with salt & pepper and then topped it off with dried basil...simple as that! It's such a great way to jazz up plain ol' white rice. My mom makes it by adding stewed tomatoes to white rice...another variation that's also very good.***

Oven Baked Tilapia with Lemon

***'s been over a week since my last post...I apologize! It seems like I've been making several of my tried and true recipes for dinner this past week. I made the Lemon Butter Grouper, Oven Roasted Chicken & Pasta, among a few others. I even made a second batch of the fresh French Baguettes....YUM. I'm also extremely excited about this month's Daring Bakers Challenge. I cannot post anything about it until March 30th, so I guess I'll have to keep quiet until then. I will only say that it was a huge hit on Easter...I can't wait to share it!*** ***But, now on to the recipe at-hand.... There's a recipe on the side of the Bisquick box that I've used before called "Oven Baked Chicken." I remembered it being really good, and the other night I was looking for something quick and easy to do with tilapia. I saw this recipe and thought, "Why not?!" I jazzed it up a little bit by adding lemon juice, since I was working with fish. The

"You Make My Day" Award =)

I was so surprised when I opened up Blogger today and saw that I had been given a "You Make My Day" award! I was so excited. Sarah, thank you so much for seriously making my day today! =) Please be sure to check out her blog, Sensible Suppers and Decadent Desserts . She's got some amazing recipes, including her Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars ....they look simply divine! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and thanks for reading my blog! =)

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

***It's amazing how relaxing cooking can be. After a long day at work, I really look forward to getting into the kitchen and creating something new, and this recipe fit the bill definitely qualifies as comfort food, in my opinion. It's simply cheesy goodness, if you ask me....LOL. I served it with the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes listed below and some butter & parsley drop biscuits.*** Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake Cook's Country magazine Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.) (I only used 2 since it's just Brad and me) Salt & pepper 4 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup dry sherry 1 1/2 lbs. broccoli, florets chopped, stems peeled and sliced thin (I used a 16 oz. bag of frozen broccoli) 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (I used finely shredded cheddar/mozzerella cheese) Directions: 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle posi

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

***I got this great recipe from a fellow nestie. I had never thought to add parmesan to mashed potatoes, and let me just say that this recipe was fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Annie!*** Ingredients: 3 large baking potatoes 1/4 c. (or so) mayo 1/2 c. (or so) milk 2 tbsp. butter or margarine Garlic Salt to taste Parsley to taste Grated parmesan to taste Course Ground pepper to taste Directions: Scrub and peel potatoes. In a large pot, fill halfway with water and heat on med/high. Roughly chop potatoes into 2" or so cubes, put into water with a handful of salt. Boil until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Strain and return to pot. Mash to desired consistency. Add butter, milk, mayo, parmesan, garlic salt, parsley, and ground pepper a little at a time until flavored to taste and has reached the desired consistency. The texture should be light, fluffy, and creamy, and the potatoes should hold their shape. Be careful when adding the milk, because it can dilute the potatoes and

French Chicken in a Pot

***I came across this recipe in a recent issue of Cooks Illustrated . It sounded wonderful, and it was an excuse to use my new Dutch oven! ;) Let me just say that this chicken was tender enough to cut with a butter knife! It was also very moist. However, if you're looking for a beautifully crisp and brown bird when you pull it out of the oven, this one isn't for you. It makes a much prettier presentation carved and on a platter. Don't judge a book by its cover though! It was delicious!*** French Chicken in a Pot Cooks Illustrated magazine Ingredients: 1 roasting chicken (4 1/2 - 5lbs), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back 2 tsp kosher salt 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, chopped medium (about 1/2 c.) 1 small stalk celery, chopped medium (about 1/4 c.) 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed 1 bay leaf 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (I used dried rosemary) 1/2–1 tsp juice from 1 lemon Directions: Adjust oven rack to lowest pos

Garlicky Bean Enchiladas

Garlicky Bean Enchiladas Everyday with Rachael Ray mag ***Hola! This is probably the first vegetarian dish that I've ever really made, and these weren't Brad's favorite for that very reason. He said that they would have been much better if they had chicken or beef in them...oh well. There's always next time! On the other hand, I thought they were really good. I added salsa and sour cream to jazz them up a bit. Even though they don't have any meat in them, they really do fill you up!*** Ingredients: 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced Two 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained 1/3 cup chicken broth Salt Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas 2 cups store-bought salsa verde 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook for 1 minute, then sti

Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce

***If you had asked me what saffron threads were about 2 weeks ago, I would have said, "I have no idea!" I saw Giada make this dish last week, and I was curious to find out exactly what they were. I had no idea that they were so rare or expensive until I tried to find them for this dish. I had to go to several different grocery stores, and I finally found some at The Fresh Market. I lucked out and bought the last jar they had. The saffron added the prettiest orange color to the sauce. The flavor was great without being too powerful....Brad and I both really loved this recipe. I've got some additional information about what exactly saffron is at the bottom of this post.*** Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound chicken cutlets (scallopine) 2 shallots, sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup white wine 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 1/2 cup heavy cream 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-lea

CLICK Photo Contest - March - Metal

Contest Entry Here's my very first submission for the monthly CLICK food photography contest. This month's theme is METAL. You'll find more info about the contest here: This is a shot of my new spice rack. I thought is would be a good subject for this month because of the way the colors of the spices contrast with the metal of the rack. I took it using my Nikon D50 DSLR and the 18-55mm Nikkor lens. The photo below is just another shot that I thought was pretty neat. It shows the spice rack in motion...

Twice-Baked Potatoes

***I got this recipe from my dad....he's such a great cook!*** Ingredients: 3 large Russet potatoes 3-4 tbsp. butter or margarine 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded; plus more for garnishing 1/2 cup sour cream 4 scallions, chopped 4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped (you can also use Bac-Os) ***Also, none of these ingredients are exact measurements. I just eyeball most things like this. So, please feel free to play around with the amounts.*** Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for approximately 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Carefully cut each potato in careful, they will be hot! This is the tricky part - Scoop out the potato from each half, making a bowl or shell out of the skin. Be careful not to scoop too close to the skin...this will make the shell too weak. Place the scooped portions into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add butter, sour

Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce

***Here's another wonderful recipe from Paula Deen. I was craving coconut shrimp, and I saw her make these recently on "Paula's Home Cooking." I got started in the kitchen pretty late last night, but these were totally worth it. The orange marmalade dipping sauce was the perfect addition. The red pepper flakes added just the right amount of heat.*** Dipping Sauce: 1/2 cup orange marmalade 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Shrimp: Peanut oil, for frying 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 2/3 cup water 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined Directions: Add all dipping sauce ingredients to a pot on a low temperature. Heat for 10 minutes, making sure you stir ingredients every few minutes. In a large, heavy pot, heat 2-inches of the peanut oil to 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and bak

Baked Pita Chips

*** These are SO incredibly simple to make, and they're very good....almost like mini pizzas, hah. You can alter this recipe to make as many servings as you need! I served them as a side to the Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken & Herbs posted below, so we only ate 3 pita chips each.*** Ingredients: 1 large piece of pita bread 1 - 2 cups mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded Dried oregano Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pita bread into 6 triangular-shaped pieces. Place pieces on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and oregano. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until pita chips are crispy and cheese is melted. Voila!

Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken & Herbs

***A few nights ago, I was trying to come up with something to eat, and this is what we had. It was one of those nights where I had to take stock of the pantry and use my imagination. It actually came out really yummy...we had the left-overs the next night. I served this dish with baked pita chips sprinkled with cheese and oregano (I'll post those later!). I'm excited that I'm finally getting to the point where I don't have to really follow a particular recipe. I can just get in the kitchen and be creative!*** Ingredients: 2 chicken breasts 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, E.V.O.O. 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped Salt and pepper 1 pound angel hair pasta 1 cup grated parmesan cheese 2 tbsp. dried parsley 2 tbsp. dried oregano Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in an oven-proof baking dish. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt & pepper. Bake chicken for 40 - 45 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Drizzle remaining

Ultra Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

***These pork chops are wonderful! They are from the Feb. 2008 issue of Cooks Illustrated . The ultra-crunchy outer layer is very flavorful. It's also a plus that they are baked...not fried. These are definitely worthy of my favorites list...I'll be making them again!*** Ingredients: 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tbsp) 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp) 2 tbsp. vegetable oil Ground black pepper 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves 1/4 cup plus 6 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour 3 large egg whites 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard Lemon wedges Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to

Grilled Pork Chops with Herbs de Provence

Brad and I went shopping the other weekend, and a new cast-iron grill pan and some Herbs de Provence were among my new goodies. I wanted to try them both out, so I ended up with these pork chops. They were so good, and I was really impressed with the grill pan. It did a wonderful job. This is such a simple recipe, but the pork chops were packed with flavor: Ingredients: 2 Pork Chops Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herbs de Provence Moore's Original Marinade Directions: Marinate the pork chops for about 45 minutes in Moore's marinade. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. You'll want the pan to be completely heated when you add the pork chops. This will help sear the meat and lock in the flavor. Coat pan with cooking spray. Drizzle both sides of the pork chops with E.V.O.O. and sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence. Next, place the pork chops in the pan. Let cook for 8 - 10 minutes. Flip the pork chops. Let them cook an additional 8 - 10 minutes. If needed, keep flipping the pork chops