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Showing posts from January, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

***I have a new obsession...It comes in the form of a crunchy cookie that when dipped in coffee becomes one of the most decadent bits of deliciousness that I could imagine.  What is this, you say?  Biscotti, of course!!  I posted a recipe for Dreamy Coconut Biscotti   back a few weeks ago, that really was the stuff that dreams are made of...haha.  I wanted to try another biscotti recipe, and this one for Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti sounded amazing for two reasons: #1.  I recently purchased a big bag of the most beautiful whole hazelnuts that I needed just the right recipe for. #2.  Chocolate - That's the best reason I can think of to make anything! In one bite of this heavenly biscotti, you might get equal parts crunchy goodness from the hazelnuts, and equal parts gooey goodness from the chocolate morsels.  Like any good biscotti, they are incredibly crunchy on their own, but when dipped into your favorite coffee, they become the perfect consistency.  They have the most fantas

Zin-Zen Chicken

***Do you love Chinese food?  I know I do! This recipe from Rachael Ray is like having Chinese takeout at home.  It's packed with amazing flavors - orange, bell peppers, red onion, fresh ginger, Chinese Five Spice...I mean, wow!  This was the first time that I've cooked with 5-spice powder, but I liked it. And the rice...YUM!  The rice is flavored with orange zest, orange juice and scallions, which results in one amazing side dish.  The citrus adds such a fresh taste to this entire dish and will leave you wanting seconds. It's easy to halve this recipe too.  I made dinner for just Brad and myself, so I simply cut all the ingredients in half.  It worked like a charm. Next time, skip the expensive Chinese restaurant and make your own delicious meal at home! Bon Appetit!*** Zin-Zen Chicken Source:  Look + Cook cookbook by Rachael Ray Ingredients: 1 cup rice 2 cups chicken stock Zest and juice of 1 orange, divided 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Leeky Chicken Soup

***With all the snow and flurries that have been floating around outside lately, a delicious and hearty chicken soup is the perfect remedy to warm you up from your head to your feet!  Rachael Ray's recipe for Leeky Chicken Soup does the trick and takes regular ole' chicken soup up a notch!  I recently had some beautiful leeks in the fridge, so this dinner sounded perfect on a cold winter evening.  It's easy to throw together and will feed about 4 people. I paired the soup with an easy grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread...Yummy!  You'll notice in my photos that I used whole wheat rotini pasta instead of egg fettuccine or tagliatelle.  It just came down to what I had in the pantry.  The rotini tasted fantastic!  That's really the only major change or substitution that I used.  WATCH THE VIDEO: If you'd like to see Rachael Ray in action, you can click HERE to see her making this Leeky Chicken Soup in real time!!  She gives lots of great advice and poin

Piquillo Pepper Chicken with Spanish Rice

***I don't know what I did to deserve such awesome readers, but I tell you what - You guys ROCK!  I keep getting such sweet e-mail messages from you all...I can't explain to you how much I appreciate these messages.  They always make me smile!  You guys are the reason that I keep writing this blog.  You continuously inspire me to keep cooking and sharing it with the world!  On that note, I couldn't wait to share this recipe.  We had this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious!  You know what they say - "You eat with your eyes first."  This meal is the perfect example of this.  The vibrant colors of this dish just make you WANT to eat it!  The gorgeous yellow of the rice...the ruby red pepper sauce on the chicken...the green speckles of fresh parsley spattered about throughout the dish...WOW!  This chicken dish is both beautiful on the plate and in your mouth! The rice just might even be better than the chicken...The rice has the perfect little touch of sweetn

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

*** Marsala wine and mushrooms are quite the perfect pair!  Ina Garten takes advantage of that perfect marriage of flavors in her recipe for Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms.  On my way home from work tonight, I stopped by The Fresh Market (Which, by the way has to be my favorite grocery store!!).  There, I picked up the extra-large mushrooms, sweet Italian sausage and Italian mascarpone cheese that I needed.   Once at home, I got to work on these yummy little mushrooms!  After they are stuffed, they need about 40 - 50 minutes in the oven, so be sure to give yourself enough time.  Ina calls for 50 minutes, but I found that mine were ready after 40 minutes....Just keep an eye on them! The flavor of the stuffing is incredible.  The mascarpone and parmesan cheeses add a luxurious texture.  The only change that I made was with the scallions.  I simply substituted the scallions with some minced green bell pepper.  It worked beautifully! I could definitely see these served as part of a Th

Lemon Chicken Breasts - Ina Garten

***Folks, I've tried a lot of lemon chicken recipes over the years, and this one might just be my new favorite.  In her brand new cookbook Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? , Ina Garten mentions that this particular recipe is one of her favorites...and one of her go-to recipes.  After making this for dinner tonight, I can certainly see why. First of all, the flavors are incredible.  The chicken was tender and juicy, with just the right amount of lemony goodness.  It's not always easy to infuse chicken breasts with a lot of flavor, but Ina does it beautifully here...And the recipe couldn't be easier!  After just a little preparation, everything is put into a dish and is popped into the oven.  About 40 minutes later, your guests will adore you because not only have you prepared a delicious and gorgeous meal, but you'll be relaxed too.  And we all know, if the dinner host is relaxed, your guests will be too!  Another plus is that you don't have to have a fancy dinne

Yellow Chicken and Rice - Rachael Ray

***Wow...what a fun and adventurous day we've had around here!  Last night, a winter storm blew through our area, so we woke up this morning to everything covered in several inches of snow and a thick layer of ice.  Needless to say, businesses, schools, and virtually everything shut down.   A few days ago, the bread aisle at my local grocery store was nearly wiped out.  See, the thing is, we don't get that much snow here in Birmingham, AL.  So when we do, everyone sort of freaks out and goes and buys up a bunch of break, milk, etc...all the essentials.  In fact, some folks are lovingly referring to this storm as "Snowpocalypse 2011!"  Here's a pic that I took with my camera phone, so you can see what I'm talking about...I think it's sort of funny: Brad and I had a lot of fun playing in the snow and ice today.  We hiked about 1/2 mile to his parents' house to surprise them.  The roads were incredibly icy, so we didn't want to risk driving anywhere. 

Dreamy Coconut Biscotti

***For me, there aren't many flavors more decadent and yummy than coconut.  At the same time, it can transport you to a sunny beach in the south pacific or bring back memories of your grandmother's coconut macaroons.  Wherever you are, one thing is certain - this Coconut Biscotti could be said to have magical coconutty powers.   We celebrated my wonderful hubby's birthday just a few days ago, and he requested a Dark Chocolate-Coffee Cake for his big day.  I had just the cake in mind - There's a chocolate cake recipe that I've used countless times, making a few changes here and there until it's just right.  You can see the recipe HERE .  For Brad's cake, I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, and can I just say - WOW!  Everyone really loved this cake.  It was delish! Earlier in the day, I surprised Brad with his own little personal heart-shaped birthday cake, which I made with the extra cake batter.  Here's a quick pic I was able to get of the in

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Marsala Sauce and Pasta

***Once again - Thank you ALL for sharing the past year with me.  I've gotten some of the most awesome e-mails from some of you lately, and your comments always make me smile.  I hope you all are blessed with a very prosperous New Year!  I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store! While thumbing through Rachael Ray's new Look + Cook cookbook, I came across this recipe and realized something - I've never made a pasta dish with pork!  Can you believe that?  It's always the same ole' chicken or beef.  I've never really thought about it, but this dish struck me as something that would be delicious.  I gave it a whirl, and it was indeed scrumptious!   We had leftovers the next night, and it tasted even better after all the flavors had time to sit there in the fridge and get all cozy together.  ;-) Rachael's method of pounding out pork medallions from the pork loins is genius.  Because I was making dinner for just the two of us, I was able to use only ha