Ham & Gruyere Thumbprints

>> Monday, December 20, 2010

I've been assigned (okay, actually I sort of begged) appetizers for Christmas dinner. Since my darling daughter took another nap this afternoon, I started my work early. Yay for appetizers that can be made ahead of time, frozen and then baked from their frozen state (i.e. no defrosting)!

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website and it sounded intriguing to me - turning a sweet cookie on its head to become a savory appetizer. While I did manage to freeze most of these, a few of them found their way into my tummy. They were delicious - flavorful and flaky "cookie" and melted cheese! If you're looking for a unique finger food, I'd highly recommend these!

As always, I can't follow a recipe exactly; however, I only made two little changes. Instead of using the full 1 cup of shredded gruyere, I used 3/4 cup gruyere and 1/4 parmesan. I also added chopped chives to the batter and sprinkled a few on top for a garnish.


Hunter's Christmas Cookies

>> Sunday, December 19, 2010

My friend Hunter has made these delicious molasses cookies during the holidays for the last several years. And she made them again last night! And they were still absolutely delectable! And I even got to take some home!

This year, Hunter outdid herself by also making these adorable snowmen cookies. They looked so cute and they even tasted great! I think you could easily modify the decoration of the cookies to become ghost cookies for Halloween too.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass along these cookie recipes in case anyone is on the prowl for some new recipes for their holiday baking!

Hunter's Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup crisco
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Melt shorting over low heat. Remove, set aside for 5 minutes. Add sugar, molasses and egg and mix. Add soda, flour, spices, and salt. Beat well with mixer. Chill several hours or overnight. Form dough into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar. Bake on greased cookie sheet 8 - 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Yields 3 dozen.

Hunter's Snowmen Cookies
adapted from AllRecipes.com

1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookies dough, sliced and baked according to pkg directions
large marshmallows, cut in half on the diagonal
1 c confectioners sugar
2 t milk
2 t corn syrup (you may need to add a little more if the icing is too thin)
1/4 t almond extract
orange food coloring
black food coloring
mini chocolate chips

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, place half of a marshmallow at the top of each cookie. The marshmallow will melt a little and adhere to the cookie better.

While the cookies cool, make the icing. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and extract until icing is smooth. If its too thick, add more corn syrup.

Divide the icing into three bowls. Add orange food coloring to one, add black food coloring to another and keep one white. Using the white icing, frost each cookie completely covering the cookie and marshmallow. Place two mini chocolate chips on the marshmallow to form eyes and three chips down the middle of the cookie to form buttons.

While the icing hardens, place the orange and black icings into separate ziplock bags. Cut a small corner off of each bag when you're ready to frost. Use the orange frosting to create the "carrot" nose and the black frosting to create the stick arms.


Chicken a la King

On Friday, I spent much of the day shopping in the midst of Christmas chaos. Since we got take-out the night before, I knew I had to make dinner even though I didn't feel like it. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try.

Chicken a la King is like the more sophisticated cousin of chicken pot pie. It has a delicious, creamy chicken sauce that is served over puff pastry shells (or you can substitute toast points, rice, noodles or biscuits). Because I had the oven preheated, this recipe just took about half an hour from start to finish. Gotta love that! And in my opinion, it's fancy enough to be served to guests, especially if you use the puff pastry shells.

FYI - Each box of puff pastry shells contains 6 shells and they aren't too big. Andrew ate 2 shells for dinner, so if you're serving lots of men, you may want to buy more than one box of puff pastry. The recipe makes plenty of sauce so you wouldn't need to double it. If you're serving mostly women, then one box should be enough.

Chicken a la King - serves 4-6
adapted from RealMomKitchen.com

1 box puff pastry shells
6 T butter
1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 stalks celery plus their leaves, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c white wine
1/8 - 1/4 t dried sage
1/8 - 1/4 t dried thyme
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken to save time)
1 4-oz jar diced pimentos
5 T flour
1 1/2 c fat free half and half
1 c chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. As soon as oven is preheated, put puff pastry shells in to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms, celery and onions. Cook about 3 minutes, or until the veggies are just starting to soften. Add the garlic and the wine and cook until the veggies are soft but not browned, about 4-5 more minutes, stirring often. Season with sage, thyme and a little salt and pepper.

Add chicken and pimentos. Stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time. Slowly add in half-and-half and chicken broth, stirring well to prevent lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened sufficiently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon chicken mixture over puff pastry shells and serve immediately.


Apple Pie by Grandma Ople

>> Thursday, December 16, 2010

I've had this recipe bookmarked for years. Years! Last week I was really in the mood for some apple pie and I finally got around to trying out this recipe. It's from AllRecipes.com and it has over 3500 five-star reviews so I knew it had to be good! And it didn't disappoint me at all. Andrew had two huge slices and then sat on the couch moaning that he overate. He did the exact same thing the next night too. If that's not a ringing endorsement for a good recipe, then I don't know what is!


A Few Christmas Recipe Ideas

>> Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our family's Thanksgiving menu is pretty much set in stone, but the Christmas menu varies quite a bit. This year we're having Christmas dinner at my parents' house and they're hosting a crowd. My mom is making a ham and my dad is smoking a turkey (his specialty!) and it's up to all the rest of us to bring the appetizers, sides and desserts. I've spent a good chunk of time this morning perusing recipes on food websites hoping I can find some inspiration. I though I'd pass along a few of the recipes that sounded like they could be good contenders to make this year's menu. Maybe they'll be on your table too!

- French Onion Tart - I think I'd add goat cheese and some arugula on top!


- Green Bean Casserole - two options


Brunch Ideas


Santa Fe Soup

>> Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa Fe Soup

adapted from AllRecipes.com

1 lb ground beef
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T chili powder
1 T Tex-Mex Seasoning
2 14-oz cans of diced tomatoes with chilies, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can ranch style beans
1/2 c chicken broth
1 lb Velveeta, chopped
avocado, sliced (optional)
tortilla chips or fresh tortillas, for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, brown ground beef with chopped onion and garlic. Drain off fat. Add chili powder, Tex-Mex seasoning, diced tomatoes, corn, beans, broth and velveeta. Stir well to combine. Lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking until cheese is melted.

For serving, ladle soup into bowls. Top with avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.


PW's Blackberry Cobbler

My daughter loves blackberries so I buy a pint almost every week at the grocery store. But one thing that's important for me to remember, which I often don't, is that Finley eat minuscule amounts of food. So at just about any given time, there are multiple containers of half-filled with berries in my refrigerator. I was thumbing through my Pioneer Woman cookbook and found this recipe for blackberry cobbler and I had all the ingredients! Hallelujah!

I thought the name 'cobbler' wasn't really fitting for this recipe. It reminded me more of a clafouti than a cobbler as it has a cake-y dough on the bottom. It's still a delicious dessert though and I'll definitely make it again....but I'll call it by it's proper name - blackberry clafouti. I served it with vanilla ice cream on the side and it really was a great dessert.

Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler
adapted from Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1/4 lb (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
1 c cake flour
1 c milk
1 t vanilla
a pinch of salt
2 c fresh blackberries, washed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter (or nonstick spray).

Place the butter in a bowl and microwave until melted. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 c sugar, flour, milk, vanilla and salt. Whisk in melted butter. Pour the batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the batter. Sprinkle berries with 1/4 c sugar.

Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly.


Pumpkin Cheesecake

>> Friday, December 3, 2010

I mentioned this recipe briefly in a previous blog post about Thanksgiving dishes, but I wanted it to have it's own dedicated post since it really is one of my very favorite fall desserts. The filling is so creamy and pumpkin-y and the gingersnap crust is too die for! If you need a fantastic dessert to serve a crowd, I wholeheartedly suggest you make this one!


Bacon, Potato, Rosemary and Fontina Pizza

I'm always looking for different pizza recipes since I love to serve homemade pizza on the weekends. Nothing says weekend more than pizza, wine and a movie! Anyway, I digress. This pizza was great and such a change from traditional pizza. The name pretty much says it all, except it does leave out the best part - the arugula you put on top after cooking. I love the peppery bite of arugula and I thought it paired nicely with the pizza.

Here are a few thoughts about the recipe though:
1.) Next time, I'll cook the bacon beforehand so it's crisper and the pizza won't be as greasy.
2.) I didn't make my own dough and you don't have too either. Most pizza places will sell you a huge ball of their dough for only $1-2. Score!
3.) While fontina is a wonderful melting cheese, it can be a little pricy (mine was $5.50 and I used it all). Fontina is a mild cheese, so I think you could easily substitute shredded mozzarella for a fraction of the price without sacrificing flavor.


Chicken and Brie en Croute

Sounds pretty fancy-schmancy! But with only 4 ingredients, this recipe is fabulously easy too! I prepare this a lot when I'm short on time or not feeling particularly inspired to make a really time-consuming meal. This has been one of my go-to recipes for years and I can't believe I haven't posted on it already!

Below I have the basic recipe, but it can easily be adapted to fit your tastes. A few things that I've done in the past: added sauteed mushrooms or other veggies, omitted the brie and used up all the random pieces of cheese in the fridge, made them mini-size for an appetizer, used puff pastry dough in place of the crescent roll dough, used left-over Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken...Really this versatile recipe is just a good starting off point!

Chicken and Brie en Croute
1 can crescent dough
2 chicken breasts cooked and diced (I usually buy a rotisserie chicken to save time)
4 oz brie cheese (I suggest the garlic & herb flavored brie so you don't have to worry with adding a bunch of herbs yourself. I realize how lazy that makes me...)
2 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the crescent roll dough. Press the seams of 2 triangles together to make a rectangle. You'll end up with a total of 4 rectangles.

To assemble, place a handful of chopped chicken, a few spoonfuls of brie and a smattering of green onions on one half of each rectangle, leaving a little dough showing on all the edges. Fold the dough over itself and press the edges together firmly to seal it. You don't want any of that delicious cheese escaping! Bake on a greased baking pan for about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.


Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

I saw this recipe on Food Network's website and I loved that it only had a few ingredients. Sometimes baking intimidates me a little because there is usually so many ingredients and you have to measure everything so exactly or else the recipe may not turn out well. I'm not really an exact measurement kind of gal, so I was excited this find this gem from Paula Deen! I took these cookies to a happy hour and was asked for the recipe - always a good sign! And my husband paused mid-bite to exclaim that the cookies were "amazing"!

Here are a few things I found out about this recipe that I thought I'd pass along:
1.) since the dough is chilled, the cookies don't spread out very much
2.) it makes a ton of cookies! I think I made close to a 100, which could be great if you need to make a lot of cookies for a bake sale, Christmas party, etc.
3.) the dough can be refrigerated for several days and then baked


Pantry Chili

My regular chili recipe has about a gazillion ingredients. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious and worth the time and expense to make...BUT this Pantry Chili recipe is wonderful to make when you need something hearty, quick to prepare and with few ingredients. We've all had one of those days when you look at the clock, realize it's 5:30 and you have no idea what you're going to make for dinner. This recipe can come to your rescue!

Pantry Chili
1 lb ground turkey or beef
2 T chili powder
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans Ro-Tel or diced tomatoes (do NOT drain these)
2-3 T tomato paste
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

In a pot over medium heat, add ground meat and cook until browned. Drain fat. Sprinkle chili powder over meat and stir. Add all the canned veggies and stir well. Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. A few minutes before you want to eat, stir in the tomato paste to thicken the broth. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and serve!


Creamed Spinach

Oh. My. Goodness. We practically licked the bowl clean. Even Finley, who usually turns her nose up at most anything green, ate all of her spinach first. To me, that makes this recipe a winner! Also, I worked to lighten up the traditional creamed spinach so that it doesn't actually contain any cream!

Creamed Spinach
1 T olive oil
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz. spinach, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, defrost in microwave & drain thoroughly)
3 oz cream cheese (can use low fat)
3 T grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

In a pan over medium heat, add olive oil and onion. Saute until onion becomes soft and translucent, about 2-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add spinach. Cook spinach, stirring often, until wilted (if using fresh) or until heated through (if using frozen). Stir in cream cheese and continue stirring until it is melted and well combined with the spinach. Add parmesan and stir. Let cook an additional1-2 minutes, so that cheese fully melts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot!


Roasted Tomato Appetizer

>> Friday, November 26, 2010

The sweetness of the roasted tomato, the creaminess of the cheese and the crunch of the cracker unite to make one delicious appetizer, if I do say so myself! One of my mom's friends brought something similar to a happy hour and I crammed as many of these in my mouth as I could. I absolutely loved it! You can make it with any kind of smallish tomato - I think for a Christmas appetizer, it would be really festive with red tomatoes!

Roasted Tomato Appetizer

1 pkg cherry or orange tomatoes, halved
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pkg Boursin cheese, any flavor (I have used Garlic & Herb and Black Pepper)
3-4 chives, chopped
1 pkg Carr's crackers

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss together to evenly coat. Spread on a baking sheet cut side up. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes, until soft and slightly browned in some spots. Let cool. (You can use the tomatoes immediately or refrigerate for 1-2 days.)

On a serving platter, place Boursin cheese. Spoon tomatoes over and around cheese. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with crackers.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First off, my photography is horrible and the pumpkin bars look much yummier than this photo depicts!

I had a get together this afternoon and wanted to bring something festive on which to snack. I remember that a HS friend of mine had a recipe on her blog for pumpkin chocolate chip bars. I looked up the recipe she used and it called for 2 sticks (2 sticks?!?!!) of butter. I kept looking for another recipe that was a little bit healthier. I stumbled on to this little diddy. Here's the really ironic part - the healthier recipe is actually from Paula Deen. Who'd have thunk it?!?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
adapted by Erin from Paula Deen

4 eggs
1 2/3 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c applesauce
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1 t vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 11.5-oz bag of milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer, combine eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix until well blended.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. On low speed, slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Mix until just blended. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased 9" x 13" baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out with just a few crumbs.


Party Sandwiches

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

I've seen this recipe floating around the internet for months but I just got around to trying it. I really liked these little puppies and I think Andrew did too - after all he did eat 5 of them! They were easy and fast to prep so I think they would be a wonderful addition to a party buffet.

Party Sandwiches
adapted by Erin from All Recipes

4 T butter, melted
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t poppy seeds*
1/2 t fennel seeds*
1/2 t dried chives*

12 dinner rolls
1/2 lb shaved deli meat (I used half smoked turkey and half honey ham)
Swiss cheese slices (I only used 3 full slices to cover 12 rolls)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine butter, worcestershire sauce, mustard and spices. Set aside. (FYI - If you make the butter sauce a few minutes ahead of time, the butter sets up a little, which allows it to better adhere to the top of the dinner rolls.)

To assemble the sandwiches, split each roll in half. Smear mayo on one side of each roll. Top with deli meat, cheese and other half of the dinner roll. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet.

Using a spoon or pastry brush, liberally spread the butter sauce over the tops of the sandwiches. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned and cheese is melted.

*I used poppy seeds, fennel seeds and dried chives because I had them on hand. I think you could easily substitute any or all of these with your favorite herbs. Some ideas - parsley, basil, sesame seeds, dried onion


My Favorite Chicken Casserole

>> Sunday, November 21, 2010

When I got married, my mom put together a recipe box of all of our family recipes and a few new ones she thought I'd like. It was a wonderful gift and I use those recipes all the time. This chicken casserole is one of the new recipes that I have grown to absolutely love. I don't make it often as it's not very healthy but sometimes, especially if I need to feed a crowd, I just have to make it. Luckily for me, tonight was one of those times!

My Favorite Chicken Casserole

1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
4 T butter
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small white onion or 1/2 large white onion, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
1 8-oz pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1/2 lb velveeta, cut into chunks
1/2 t black pepper
1 can reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 3-oz jar stuffed green olives, sliced
1 c chicken broth
12 oz farfalle pasta
Shredded cheddar cheese or breadcrumbs, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to pkg directions.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat melt butter. Add bell pepper, onion, celery and mushrooms. Cook until veggies are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add velveeta and stir until melted. Blend in pepper, soup and olives. Add chicken and broth. Stir until well combined. Pour over cooked and drained pasta. Stir together.

Pour into a greased 9' x 13' casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese or breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.


Thanksgiving Dishes

>> Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just in case you're looking for some Thanksgiving ideas, here are a few that will be on my family's table. I just love the holidays!

Caramelized Onion-Apple Bites - Oh my gosh, these are so good! I've made these several times before and they are the perfect holiday appetizer - delicious, not too heavy (gotta save room for the feast that follows!), a little gourmet, and they can be made ahead of time. Yum!

Holiday Fresh Cranberry Salad - My mom has been making this since I was born, so for me, it just isn't TG without it! It's so good that during high school, one of my friends (ahem, Jennie) would come over after TG dinner just to eat the left-overs!

1 qt fresh cranberries, washed
2 c sugar
1 lb. seedless red grapes
1 pt whipping cream
1 c chopped pecans

Grind cranberries in a food processor and place in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and stir well. Put cranberry mixture in a colander over a bowl, to drain overnight.

The next day, discard the juice. Quarter the grapes and mix them with the cranberries. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Just before serving, whip the cream until fairly stiff. Fold the whipped cream and pecans into the cranberries and grapes. Serve immediately.

Spinach Madeline - My mother-in-law makes this for holidays and it's fantastic. I'm not even a huge spinach lover but I love this dish!

2 10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
4 T butter
2 T flour
2 T chopped onions
1/2 evaporated milk
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t celery salt OR 1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t freshly cracked black pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/3 lb monterey pepper jack cheese, chopped
fresh breadcrumbs OR panko breadcrumbs, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In microwave, cook spinach until steaming hot. Reserve 1/2 c of spinach liquid.

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until smooth. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned. Slowly add milk and reserved spinach liquid, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened.

Stir in garlic salt, celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire and cheese. Continue stirring until sauce is smooth. Add spinach and stir well to combine.

Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

*Can be made ahead. Put spinach mixture into casserole dish and refrigerate for up to a day. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Mashed Potato Casserole - Delicious! This is another one of my MIL's recipes and the holidays are just not complete without these potatoes. Traditional mashed potatoes have taken a backseat to this divine concoction. I love this dish so much!

3 lbs potatoes
1/2 c butter
6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/4 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain potatoes and place in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. Put in a greased 2-qt casserole dish and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake - I made this last year instead of pumpkin pie and it was decided that this will be the permanent pumpkin pie replacement. It was so silky smooth and deliciously creamy. I'm drooling even thinking about it!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle - I've made this at least twice before and it is fabulous. And so easy. And it can be made ahead of time. What more can you ask for?!? Did I mention it was really, really easy to make and assemble? Just saying...

Here are a few other websites that have some great holiday recipe ideas. Cheers!


Pumpkin Streusel Bread

>> Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Despite the name of my blog, I'm just not a big baker; however, it isn't fall unless you're baking (and eating!) pumpkin-something. I made this bread this afternoon and it filled the house with the most glorious aroma ever. My mouth is watering just remembering the smell! Other than the canned pumpkin and possibly the applesauce, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry - unless you're a dweeb like me who ran out of sugar, had a baby sleeping, neighbors who weren't home and finally had to call my dad to bring me 1 1/2 c sugar. Anyhoo, the bread is wonderfully moist and flavorful. If so inclined, you can easily tailor it to your specific tastes - add chopped apples, raisins, nuts in the batter, etc.

Pumpkin Streusel Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c cinnamon applesauce
2/3 c water
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c white sugar
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves
1/4 t allspice

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 chopped nuts
2 T softened butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pans.

In a mixer, combine pumpkin, oil, applesauce, water, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and white sugar. Blend well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and next four spices. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet mixture. Mix until just combined.

To make streusel topping, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and chopped nuts. With a fork, mix in softened butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour batter into two or three 7' x 3' loaf pans. Sprinkle evenly with streusel topping. Bake in preheated oven 60 to 80 minutes. [The cooking time varies so much because it depends on if you make two ginormous loaves (like I did and it took 80 minutes) or three regular sized loaves. You could always make muffins or mini-loaves too and adjust the cooking time accordingly.]


Sloppy Lasagna

>> Sunday, November 14, 2010

I saw this recipe on another cooking blog that I really like (www.tasteandtellblog.com) and thought it would be perfect for the cooler weather we're finally getting here in Texas. It's a Rachael Ray 30 minute meals recipe but since I don't enjoy running around the kitchen like a chicken with my head cut off, I didn't attempt to make it in 30 minutes. Okay, I lied. I did try, failed miserably, had a glass of wine and told myself that cooking is supposed to be relaxing and not an Olympic sport. So I finished the recipe in about 45-50 minutes and I followed the recipe pretty exactly. I thought it was pretty good, but it could be better with a few changes, I think.

So next time I make this (it is much easier and faster than traditional lasagna, so I will make it again), I plan on making the following changes:
1.) I'll cook some finely chopped veggies - onion, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, whatever I have on hand really - before cooking the meat. I like to try to add as many veggies as I can to make sure we get our daily recommended number of vegetable servings.
2.) I'll cook the meat and then DRAIN the fat off. I didn't realize until it was too late that the recipe never says to drain the fat. Gross!
3.) To the sauce, I'll add a can/jar of tomato sauce in with the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Andrew and I both felt that the lasagna had plenty of bechamel sauce but not enough red sauce. This was especially true when I reheated the leftovers the next day - they were still good but on the dry side.

Another thing to make note of - this recipe makes scads so unless you're having 6 or more people for dinner or want tons of leftovers, I'd cut the recipe in half. Here is the link to the Sloppy Lasagna recipe. Enjoy!


Asian Bacon and Pork "Pops"

>> Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here is another great recipe inspired by FN's magazine. We eat a lot of Italian and Mexican food, so I was excited to make something with an Asian flair. And the lemongrass skewers made it seem just a little bit gourmet!

Asian Bacon and Pork "Pops"
adapted by Erin from The Food Network Magazine

1/2 lb bacon, trimmed of excess fat
1 lb ground pork
1 t sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 c loosely packed fresh cilantro
1 to 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 lime, zested
1 1/2 T low-sodium soy sauce
store-bought sweet chili sauce, for dipping

Preheat broiler. In a food processor, combine, bacon, pork, sesame oil, garlic, cilantro, ginger, lime zest, and soy sauce. Pulse to finely chop and combine well. Pause to scrape down sides as needed. (By using a food processor, the meat mixture is very fine and somewhat crumbly. If you want it to be chunkier, you can finely chop everything by hand. With a baby, I didn't have time to do that!)

Mold the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Thread a skewer about halfway through the meatball and press the meat mixture down the skewer to form a torpedo-shaped meat patty.

Place the pops onto a foil covered baking sheet and broil 3-5 minutes per side or until golden browned. Serve with store-bought sweet chili sauce for dipping.

*If you're using lemongrass, trim the stalks into 4-inch pieces. If the stalks are thick, you can slice them lengthwise to create more skewers. My lemongrass skewers got a little singed while broiling. As an experiment, I used some wooden skewers (that I had soaked in water for about an hour) since lemongrass can get expensive when you need so much of it. The wooden skewers caught on fire in the first few minutes, and I had remove them from the oven. So don't use wooden skewers! Next time if I feel like the lemongrass is too expensive, I'll probably just roll them into meatballs and forego the skewers altogether.


Green Chile and Chicken Chimichangas

>> Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Every month I look forward to getting the Food Network magazine and seeing what new recipes look good. And every month I am not disappointed! This recipe was delicious and it really did taste like something you would order at a good Tex-Mex restaurant. Andrew thought it was so good that he tweeted about it!

I tweaked the recipe a bit to better fit the tastes of my family. I substituted refried black beans for the refried beans, omitted the jalapeno, and I halved the recipe. If you want to make chimichangas, I'd recommend buying the larger size tortillas because I had a problem getting the regular tortillas to stay folded. And don't forget to make the Mexi-Sauce to top the chimichangas - the ingredients and directions for the sauce are at the bottom of the recipe. Here is the link to the original: Almost Famous Chimichangas


Stuffed Pizza Rolls

>> Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This is one of our favorite comfort foods! We have spent many nights eating these while watching a movie and drinking wine. While these take a little more time to prepare than a pizza would, I just love these bite-size nibbles and think they're worth the extra effort. I've made them ahead of time (like during nap time) and then I popped them in the oven when Andrew got home from work.

You can stuff the pizza bites with any pizza toppings but we prefer good ole pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. We always use ranch dressing for our dipping sauce but marinara is good too. http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/06/stuffed-pizza-rolls.html


Fried Mozzarella Sticks

What else can I say except YUMMY! And they really are easy to make so you'll never need to buy the frozen ones again. The recipe that we use is from The Pioneer Woman's website so you know it has to be good - and unhealthy! But everyone deserves a little caloric splurge every now and then...right?!?


Cowboy Quesadillas

>> Monday, November 1, 2010

I loved this one, and I bet that if you like BBQ chicken pizza, you will too. I make quesadillas a lot for dinner when I'm short on time. This was a great switch-up from the more traditional salsa quesadillas I usually make. Another great thing about this recipe is that you probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry already. Love those kind of dishes!

My changes: I omitted the rice altogether, upped the quantities of beans and corn a little and added a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. The dipping sauce is yummy too so make sure you don't forget to make it! Here's a link to the original recipe: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/10/cowboy-quesadillas.html


Penne a la Vodka

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm a little embarrassed to make this confession, but I was watching a Jersey Shore marathon and had a strong craving for some Italian food. I decided on Penne a la Vodka because I'd never tried making it before and they were having it on the show. It only seemed fitting that I use the Penne alla Vodka recipe from my The Sopranos Family Cookbook!

Penne alla Vodka
adapted by Erin from The Sopranos Family Cookbook

3 T butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 28-oz can Italian peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped and sauce reserved
1/4 to 1/2 t crushed red pepper, depending how spicy you like it
1/2 c heavy cream or non-fat half-and-half if you're feeling healthy
1/4 c vodka
salt to taste
1 lb penne
1/2 c parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
parsley or basil, for garnish

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until it is softened and slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden.

Add the tomatoes, sauce and red pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the vodka and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Cook penne to al dente according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 c cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add reserved cooking liquid if the sauce seems too thick. Add the cheese and basil or parsley and toss again. Serves 4-6.


Baked Potato Soup

Ah, fall is here and with it comes soup! Baked Potato Soup is so warm and comforting and I love serving it when the weather gets cooler. This recipe reheats well too. I made the soup earlier in the day and reheated it when Andrew got home from work. Easy! I used the recipe from Our Best Bites (www.ourbestbites.com), which is another one of my favorite food blogs. I first sauteed half of a small white onion in a tablespoon of butter and then I followed the recipe's directions.


Summertime Orzo and Chicken

Delicious! I've already made this recipe three times in the last month! I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs - www.noblepig.com - so if you haven't checked it out, you should. Anyway, I tweaked the recipe a little bit by adding fresh spinach, arugula, and orange tomatoes to it. Always trying to sneak in a few more veggies!


Peas and Cheese Spaghetti Squash

>> Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's what is fabulous about this recipe - it only has five ingredients! I was a bit worried serving Andrew a vegetarian meal but he really liked it. Score! If you've never tried spaghetti squash before, Andrew thought it tasted just like al dente, or firmly cooked, noodles. For the most part, it is super easy to make too. The only part I found difficult was actually cutting the squash in half. I tried two different knives, a cleaver and finally a hammer was used before Andrew and I finally got the stupid thing opened. There must be an easier way though!

Peas and Cheese Spaghetti Squash
adapted from Rachael Ray magazine

1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed

8-12 oz spaghetti sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)

1/2 c frozen green peas

1 c ricotta cheese

1/2 c parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish. Place squash halves face down in dish and fill with 1 1/2 c of water. Bake for 30 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool so that is can be handled.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine spaghetti sauce and peas (or whatever other vegetables you may be adding or substituting). Stir frequently and continue cooking until sauce and veggies are heated through.

Using a fork, shred the meat of the squash halves and place the 'noodles' into the sauce. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle parmesan on top and serve!


Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

>> Saturday, May 15, 2010

OMG, these were divine! I don't think I will ever make another mashed potato recipe! I didn't change a thing and they came out perfectly!



Champagne Sangria

I had two bottle of champagne that I wanted to use. I like champagne but not enough to drink that much by its self! I decided to try and make a sangria with it and it was deliciously refreshing and perfect for spring and summer.

Champagne Sangria
1/2 c water
1/2 sugar
3 sprigs of mint
2 lemons
2 limes
6 oz peach nectar, chilled
1 bottle champagne, chilled

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar and mint leaves. Bring to a boil and stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large pitcher, place lemon and lime slices and pour over cooled mint simple syrup. With a wooden spoon, gently crush fruit slices to release their juices. Pour in peach nectar and champagne. Stir well and serve!


Mediterranean Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken

Okay, this recipe isn't going to be an exact recipe by any means because I can't remember the measurements. My memory is not what it used to be! But if you're comfortable in the kitchen, then I'm sure you can look at the ingredients and go with your gut.
Mediterranean Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken
8 oz penne pasta
2 chicken breasts
kalamata olives
sun-dried tomatoes
artichoke hearts
hearts of palm
2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 c basil pesto
1/4 to 1/3 c Greek salad dressing
feta cheese
Cook the penne pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat a grill pan to medium-high heat, cook on one side for about 4 minutes, flip and lower heat to medium. Continue to cook until juices run clear, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Remove chicken from heat and let rest until pasta is finished cooking.
Chop olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, pesto and salad dressing.
Drain pasta and return back to pot. Combine pasta with vegetables and pesto mixture. Place in serving bowls. Slice grilled chicken and place on top of pasta. Sprinkle with feta.


Southwestern Turkey Burgers

I was craving a burger recently, but I wanted something a little healthier than the average beef burger. I invited my parents over for dinner and I tried a new Rachael Ray recipe for Southwest Turkey Burgers and everyone enjoyed them. The patties were moist (which can sometimes be a problem with turkey since it's such a lean meat), flavor-packed and the pepper jack cheese really added a spicy zing. I think next time I might leave off the bacon and add mashed avocado. Overall, I really good burger and it's a recipe I'll definitely make again. Oh, and I served the burgers with homemade sweet potato fries and fresh fruit salad.


Asian Meatballs

Just about every month a group of friends and I take turns hosting a potluck dinner. The hostess gets to pick the theme and since this month was my turn to host, I picked appetizers. I love appys! I love grazing on lots of small plates rather than committing to just one main dish. I went a little overboard and made four different appetizers, all of which turned out pretty darned yummy!
I wanted to make something meat-y so I decided on meatballs but I wanted something different than the traditional meatball recipe. I stumbled upon this Rachael Ray recipe for Asian Meatballs and went with it. The meatballs were very moist and flavorful and a unique take on the ordinary meatball!
Asian Meatballs
adapted from Rachael Ray's magazine
4 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 serrano or jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves (a handful)
Zest of 2 limes
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork
1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the scallions, half of the ginger, the bell pepper, half of the chile pepper, the garlic, the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, the cilantro leaves and the lime zest. Pulse for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl and process 1 minute more, or until finely ground. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add the meat and mix gently until thoroughly combined. Roll the meat into 32 balls the size of golf balls.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil. Add the meatballs and don't move them until they are brown on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Turn the meatballs and continue to cook, browning them on all sides, until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more.

Place the finished meatballs on a serving platter, with toothpicks on the side.


Crab Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit

So fresh and delightful! I used a recipe from Gourmet magazine that I found on Epicurious to make this but I made a couple of changes. Here is what I did:

Crab Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit

1 large shallot, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 pink or ruby-red grapefruit
2 firm-ripe California avocado
Coarse sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
16 oz fresh cooked lump crab meat
2-3 chives, snipped

In a small bowl, stir together shallot, lemon juice, and table salt in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.

Cut peel, including all white pith, from grapefruit with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes and transfer segments to paper towels to drain.

Halve each avocado lengthwise, discarding pit. Cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and remove from skin with a large spoon.
On a large platter, place avocado slices and grapefruit segments in an alternating pattern, leaving some open space in the middle. Squeeze grapefruit juice from the grapefruitmembranes over the avocado slices to prevent browning. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper over avocado and grapefruit. Combine crab and dressing and toss gently. Place crab mixture in center of platter and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.


Pigs in a Blacket with Chile Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

From the impressive, and vast, appetizer buffet that we put together, nothing was eaten faster than the good ole standby Pigs in a Blanket. I'd been hoping that there would be some left over for breakfast the next day, but the entire platter was devoured quickly. Always a crowd favorite, especially with the men! It's such an easy, simple appetizer, but I've tried to make it a little bit more gourmet than the standard recipe.

Pigs in a Blanket with Chile Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

1 pkg cheddar lil smokies sausages
1 pkg crescent roll dough
1 egg, beaten
1 t poppy seeds
1 t sesame seeds
1 t dried chives

2 T mayonnaise
2 T honey
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t ancho chile powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Meanwhile unroll crescent dough and press seams together to form one large square. Cut in half vertically and then cut each half into half again vertically to create four rectangles. Cut each rectangle into thin strips horizontally. Wrap a strip around each sausage. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until you used all the dough and/or sausages.

Add a bit of water to the beaten egg and brush each dough wrapped sausage with a bit of the egg mixture. In a small bowl, mix poppy seeds, sesame seeds and chives together. Sprinkle herb mixture evenly over the 'pigs'. (You can easily omit this step or use just about any mixture of seeds and herbs.) Bake for about 15 minutes, or until dough is golden. Serve hot or warm.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Bacon and Blue Cheese Palmiers

I love puff pastry's yummy butteriness, and when it's paired with blue cheese and bacon, it becomes really out of this world! I prepped all of the components for the recipe the day before, and then just threw them together in the evening. There are a few steps to this recipe, but it really is scrumptious!

Bacon and Blue Cheese Palmiers
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

4 oz. blue cheese,crumbled
4 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
5-6 slices of bacon
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup peach preserves
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pkg puff pastry dough
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted

In a small bowl, beat cheeses on medium to high until fluffy. Set aside.

In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble. Reserve 1 Tablespoon drippings in skillet; cook and stir shallot in drippings over medium heat until tender. Remove pan from heat; stir in preserves and vinegar. Set aside.

Unroll both dough squares . On each square spread half of the cheese mixture to within 1/4 " of one long side. Top cheese with bacon. Roll up the left vertical side inward, stopping in the middle of the dough. Roll up the right side of the dough. The two rolls should be meeting at the middle and touching. Press the two sides together gently. Repeat with second dough square. Wrap each in plastic wrap and let the dough chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. With a serrated knife cut each roll in 8 to 10 slices. Place cut side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 18 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Brush onion mixture on palmiers. Top with walnuts. Remove from baking sheet . Serve warm.


Giada's Carbonara

>> Sunday, May 2, 2010

As soon as I saw this recipe, it had me intrigued - a fried egg on top of pasta and asparagus?! It was also the first time I made my own homemade aioli, which was so simple that I know I'll do it again. But back to the recipe, I thought it was only okay and I probably won't be making it again. To me the egg and basil-y pasta didn't pair well together and the aioli became really oily when heated from the cooked pasta. To me, it just wasn't very appetizing. That being said, the recipe was very highly rated on the Food Network website, so maybe I did something wrong. This blog is supposed to chronicle my cooking triumphs and failures afterall...


Creamy Cucumber Salad

This recipe was simple and could be made ahead of time. It was pretty tasty but I think next time I'll cut down on the dressing a bit or add another cucumber so it won't be quite as saucy. I also added a tablespoon of white wine vinegar just for a little added tang.


Pork and Chickpea Chili

My friend Jennifer introduced me to this dish and I really love it. It's fast to make, inexpensive, far different from your ordinary beef chili, freezes well and it tastes great - what more could you ask for! My one recommendation/warning about this recipe is to be careful what kind of green salsa you buy because some of them can be pretty spicy. I served it with Creamy Cucumber Salad and that helped to combat the spiciness of my chili a bit too.


Wolfgang Puck's Crab Cakes

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

I always make the same crab cakes recipe, which is pretty good, but I wanted to try something new for variety. These weren't any more difficult than other crab cake recipes and they were really delicious. I loved the ground almonds in the breading, which helped make them nice and crispy. Of course, these aren't very healthy but they're worth it when you want to have a caloric splurge! Wolfgang Puck has a sweet red bell pepper sauce to accompany them but I found spicy remoulade sauce at Central Market and used it instead. Don't judge - I have a nine month old to take care of in addition to cooking dinner every night! (I halved the recipe and it still made seven large crab cakes. Also, to save some money, I substituted dried herbs for fresh.)
Crab Cakes
Adapted from Live, Love, Eat! The Best of Wolfgang Puck
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 c heavy cream
1/2 t jalapeno, finely chopped
2 t chopped fresh chives
2 t chopped fresh dill
2 t chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1 c finely ground almonds
1 1/4 lb fresh crabmeat
2 T unsalted butter
2 T vegetable oil
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the red and yellow peppers and onion until onion is translucent and peppers are tender, about 8-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer veggies to a large bowl. Let cool.
To the skillet, add cream and jalapeno and simmer until 1/2 c cream remains. Transfer cream mixture to veggie bowl to cool. Stir in the herbs and spices. Stir in the egg and 1/2 c each of breadcrumbs and almonds. Gently fold in crabmeat. On a plate, stir together remaining breadcrumbs and almonds.
With your hands, shape crab mixture into cakes. Dip both sides into crumb mixture to coat it well. Place cakes on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter and oil together over medium heat. Place half the crab cakes in the skillet and cook them until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then to a covered baking dish in oven to keep warm.


Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

>> Saturday, April 17, 2010

I love The Barefoot Contessa! I wanted to serve a really simple green salad with the crab cakes so I went to one of my BC cookbooks and found this recipe. The dressing was perfect - just enough tang to be interesting but not enought to be overpowering. It was a great accompaniment for the crab cakes! I served the dressing with a mix of baby spinach and arugula and I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese and pine nuts on top.
Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
3 T champagne vinegar
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
1 egg yolk, at room temperature (or you can substitute 1 T mayonnaise)
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c good olive oil
Salad greens
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk (or mayo), salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Toss the greens with enough dressing to moisten and serve immediately.


Chile Rellenos

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I had a chile rellenos at Z Tejas last week and it left me wanting more. I went about recreating it - but also making a few changes along the way - and I think it turned out really well! It was a bit tedious to make so it's definitely a meal you want to make when you have about an hour and a half of free time. I made it earlier in the afternoon (during Finley's long nap) and then threw it in the oven when Andrew was on his way home.

Chile Rellenos
for the pork
3/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t Mexican oregano
1 1/2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Brush mixture onto pork. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through but still pink. Let cool. Shred meat with two forks. Set aside.

for the peppers
4 poblano peppers

There are two easy options for roasting peppers. The first way is to rub the pepper with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning over every 5 minutes, until the skin is blisters. If you have a gas stovetop, you can turn on a burner to medium-high heat and using tongs, hold pepper over flame, turning often until the skin blisters.

for the stuffing
1 T olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c white wine
3 T dried apricots, finely diced
2 T raisins, finely diced
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced (these are spicy so vary the amount depending on
the level of spiciness that you prefer)
1/2 c sour cream
1 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
shredded pork from above

Add olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute, stirring often, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, wine, apricots and raisins. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off. Pour into a mixing bowl and let cool. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Slit cooled peppers from stem end to tip. Gently remove ribs and seeds. Stuff with filling. Place in greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or 30 minutes if you make the chile rellenos earlier and refrigerate it until its time to cook).

for the sauce
2 T cilantro, minced
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c tomatillo salsa

Mix ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.

To serve, spoon sauce onto plate and place a chile on top. Sprinkle with extra cilantro, if desired.


Sweet Potato, Bacon and Apple Hash

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yummy! My husband, who does not like sweet and savory dishes, loved this and asked to take the leftovers for lunch today. The apples weren't very sweet - they just added a nice tartness to the bacon and sweet potatoes. And I thought the crunch from the pumpkin seeds really made the dish. I think the most important part of this dish is to try to dice all the ingredients to about the same size.


Breaded Chicken

I needed a simple baked chicken dish to go with the sweet potato recipe above and I came up with this little diddy. And it was good! Even better, I didn't have to go to the store because I had all the ingredients on hand. Gotta love that! My husband even said it was excellent!
Breaded Chicken - serves 2
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 c parmesan or romano cheese, shredded or grated
1/4 c panko bread crumbs
1/4 c walnuts
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with dijon mustard, using more if necessary. In a food processor or blender, finely chop cheese, bread crumbs, walnuts and seasonings. Dredge chicken in crumb mixture and bake for about 30-35 minutes.


Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Oh how I love this cake! This is one of the few recipes that I make time and time again. I love it for its versatility - it's great for breakfast with a cup of coffee, I've made it for a brunch wedding shower and I often make it for dessert. I just love this recipe! Every time I make it, people compliment it and ask for the recipe. Love it!



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