Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

>> Saturday, July 30, 2011

My friend Molly introduced me to the Quorn brand vegetarian 'chicken' patties and they have quickly become a family favorite. Since I know there is no way that I can just serve Andrew a plain chicken patty, I have been coming up with different ways to serve it. This easy recipe is our favorite so far! I've served it for a quick dinner and Finley and I have eaten it for lunch several times too. In fact, I think I might be making it for lunch again today! The recipe is pretty healthy too - the Quorn chik'n patty has 45% less fat than an actual chicken patty and it has 9 grams of protein; low fat dressing; parmesan cheese is a naturally low fat cheese since it's made from skim milk; spinach; and you can make it even healthier by using a whole grain tortilla or wrap.

"Chicken" Caesar Salad Wraps

1 Quorn chik'n patty
1 tortilla or sandwich wrap (use a whole grain one to make it healthier)
1 1/2 teaspoons low fat Caesar salad dressing
1/2 cup spinach leaves or romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded

Bake the chicken patty according to package directions. Meanwhile, evenly spread the dressing over the tortilla. Top with spinach. Slice chicken patty into 6 thin slices. Spread the slices down the middle of the tortilla. Top with parmesan cheese.


Sauteed Spinach and Zucchini

>> Friday, July 29, 2011

One of our favorite gourmet comfort food restaurants is Bartlett's and we always order their spinach as a side dish - that way we feel a little less guilty for indulging at the rest of the meal. This week I was going to make some spaghetti and meatballs and decided to make my version of Bartlett's sauteed spinach to accompany it and I was really happy with the results! It's a simple presentation that really lets the individual flavors shine.

Sauteed Spinach and Zucchini
a Baking and Eggs original

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 clove garlic, grated
1 bunch fresh spinach, leaves only
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook zucchini, stirring often, until softened. Add grated garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Lower heat to medium-low and add spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt. Toss with parmesan cheese. Serve hot.


Greek Layer Dip

>> Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last week I had Greek Nachos on the menu, but I never got around to making them. When I was planning Finley's party menu, I decided to put the Greek ingredients I already had to good use and made this Greek Layer Dip, which was another really popular dish at the party. It's so tangy and yummy! It's a fun (and much healthier) take on the perennial party favorite, Mexican 7 Layer Dip.

I made this several hours ahead of time and had a problem with the cucumbers releasing their juices and making the dip a little watery. (That's why my picture isn't too pretty - I'd had to scoop half of it out to drain the excess moisture and then reassemble it. Big mess but it still tasted great!) So my advice would to be prepare the parts ahead of time, but wait until the last minute to assemble it. Also I'm not going to list many quantities because there's no real right or wrong here - just use however much you prefer and/or in accordance to the number of people you're serving.

Greek Layer Dip

Hummus, homemade or store-bought (I used the plain hummus from Costco)
Tzatziki sauce, homemade or store-bought (my recipe is listed below)
Cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
Tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
Kalamata olives, sliced
Fresh parsley,minced
Pita chips, for serving

In a glass dish, place a layer of hummus in the bottom. Top with a thin layer of Greek olives, a thicker layer of tzaitiki sauce, a thin layer of cucumbers, another layer of hummus and then top the hummus with cucumbers, tomatoes and olives. Garnish with a little parsley. Serve with pita chips.

Tzatziki Sauce
a Baking and Eggs original

12 oz plain Greek yogurt
4-5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, feta, lemon zest, mint and dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. (If you're making the Tzatziki but not using it with the Greek Layer Dip, you'll want to add 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cucumbers that has been drained.)


Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This was probably the most popular dish at Finley's birthday party and for good reason! These little puppies were delicious and so easy to make too! They're best fresh out of the oven but they're still pretty tasty when reheated. I'll definitely be making these again soon!

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
adapted from Noble Pig

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
6 oz pepperoni slices, cut into quarters
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
pizza sauce, for serving (optional)
ranch dressing, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 24-cup mini muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Whisk in milk and eggs until just combined. Fold in pepperoni, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide evenly between the two mini-muffin pans. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired. Serve with warmed pizza sauce and/or ranch dressing.

*This makes 48 pizza puffs, so if you're not serving a crowd, you'll want to half the recipe.


Meal Plan - July 24th thru July 31st

I'm so sorry that I've been radio silent for the better part of a week. Throwing a two year's birthday party was a lot of work - we had our family dinner on Friday night, another birthday party to attend on Saturday and then we threw our big shindig celebrating Finley's second birthday on Sunday afternoon. By Monday, the whole family was worn out! As a result, I didn't even get around to planning our menu until yesterday afternoon. So without further adieu, here's what we're eating this week:

Orange, Honey & Haberno Marinated Pork Tenderloin; Southwestern Onion, Bell Pepper & Potato Hash

Spaghetti & Meatballs; Zucchini & Spinach Sautee; Garlic Bread

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps; Potato Salad; Watermelon


Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

>> Thursday, July 21, 2011

Well, the name pretty much sums it all up, so I'll just go now...

Just kidding! I really had you going there, right?!?

I'm such a dork.

Back to the food. This dish was a wonderful, hearty - but not too hearty - vegetarian dish. My meat-eating man cleaned his plate and asked for more. This meal was just the perfect summer meal - a lightly seasoned pasta, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and melted, gooey cheese. Yes, please! If it weren't brutally hot in Texas, I would have loved to eat this out on the back deck with a glass of crisp white wine while reminiscing about our Italian honeymoon. But it's over 100 degrees (which totally qualifies as brutally hot in my book), so we ate inside with the air conditioner on full blast while intermittently telling Finley not to feed her tomatoes to the dog. Just keeping it real!

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
recipe from Real Simple - serves 4

12 oz spaghetti
3 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), each cut into 4 thick slices
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated or shaved
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

Heat broiler. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, arrange tomato slices on greased baking sheet. Season with each slice salt and black pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle tomato slices with mozzarella and parmesan. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 7 minutes.

In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss sauce with the pasta. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve tomato slices over spaghetti. Garnish with extra basil leaves.


Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You know what I love? I love having dinner just about finished and the kitchen cleaned by 10 a.m. Fantastic! When I bought my slow cooker, I thought for sure it would revolutionize my life. Prep for dinner the night before, throw it in the slow cooker in the morning and come home from work with dinner already made. I bet you know what's coming...I used it once or twice and then it sat gathering dust in my kitchen and eventually it was banished to our storage unit. But then Finley entered the picture and all of a sudden a slow cooker sounded like a great idea again. My second foray into slow cooking was a success - good old comfort food with a twist. The pineapple adds just a hint of sweetness and a depth of flavor that most pulled meat doesn't have. I loved the crunch and vinegar-y tang that the cole slaw added to the sandwich too. Yum!

(For my cole slaw, I used half a 16-oz package of tri-color cole slaw tossed with some mayo, a little dijon mustard, a splash of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, and 1/4 teaspoon celery salt.)

Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

6 chicken thighs
2 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped
1/2 large white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8-oz) can of pineapple tidbits, drained with juice reserved
1 1/2 cups smoky barbecue sauce
Cole slaw, for serving (optional)
Hamburger buns or rolls (optional)

Arrange chicken thighs in the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with bacon, onion, garlic, pineapple, 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice, and barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. One hour before serving, remove chicken thighs and shred meat. Return meat to slow cooker, stir meat into sauce and cook 1 additional hour. Skim off any fat/grease that has come to the top with a spoon and discard. Serve on hamburger buns and with cole slaw.


Chicken Tostados

>> Monday, July 18, 2011

The name of this recipe is simply Chicken Tostado, but they are so much more than your ordinary, run of the mill chicken tostado. Maybe a better name would have been Super Awesome, Totally Tubular Chicken Tostados or Chicken, Black Bean and Guacamole Tostados with a Sour Cream-Lime-Cilantro Sauce, but those were both a little too long for me.

Anyway, this was a fun, casual dinner that was still delicious. And everyone really liked it, including Finley, which is always a good thing. Because I used a rotisserie chicken and a good quality store bought guacamole, the dinner came together quickly too.

Chicken Tostados
a Baking and Eggs original

8 tostado shells
1 (14.5-oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 - 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup regular or chipotle salsa
1 (7-oz) package prepared guacamole (or make your own)
4 oz sour cream
1/2 lime, zest and juice
1/3 cup cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a large (or two smaller ones) baking sheet, spread out tostado shells in a single layer. Divide black beans evenly between the shells. Top beans with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and shells are crisp.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine shredded chicken and salsa. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir to combine sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Spoon sour cream mixture into a ziplock bag. Set aside.

Remove tostados from oven. Top them with even amounts of guacamole. Mound chicken on top of guacamole. Snip one corner of the ziplock bag and drizzle sour cream mixture over chicken and serve.


Meal Plan - July 17th thru 23rd

>> Sunday, July 17, 2011

I can't believe my baby turns 2 at the end of this week! It seems like just yesterday she was born and hanging out in the NICU (for seven weeks!) and in the blink of an eye, she's walking, talking and taking the world by storm. We are blessed! Birthday week is going to be a busy one but I'm still going to try and cook most of the nights. So without further ado, here's what I have planned:

Chipotle Chicken Tostados, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Saffron Chicken, Rice, Roasted Asparagus


Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

>> Thursday, July 14, 2011

This was a meal that I picked out when I was feeling the need for a healthy, light meal. Of course this meal got pushed to the end of the week because it just didn't sound quite as good as some of the other meals. But I was wrong because this meal was fantastic! Andrew and I both loved the flavors of the meatballs and the sauce and they were healthy to boot. Healthy meatballs, who'd have thunk it?!? This was one of those meals that I can't wait to make again because it was just that good!

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

for the meatballs
1lb ground turkey
1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
3 sprigs of mint leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

for the sauce
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

for serving
lettuce leaves
finely chopped cucumber
shredded carrots
mint leaves

In a food processor, add bell pepper, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro and mint leaves. Pulse several times, or until everything is finely chopped (not pureed!). Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add turkey, soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well with your hands. Form into one-inch meatballs and place meatballs on a greased or nonstick baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients and let flavors marry while meatballs are resting.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush meatballs liberally with the hoisin sauce. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any grease. Serve with the sauce, lettuce leaves, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro and/or mint leaves.


BBQ Chicken Calzone

>> Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Have you heard of Pinterest? One of my friends first told me about it a few weeks ago and I thought it sounded like another time-sucking website I needed to avoid. Of course, I chose not to and it's now my favorite place to play on the web. If the dishes don't get cleaned, the laundry doesn't get folded (or even washed), the floors don't get's all Pinterest's fault. Sad but true!

Pinterest is basically an online bulletin board where you can 'pin' pictures, recipes, ideas, quotes, etc. of things from anywhere on the internet. You can create different files - for example, I have boards for recipes, party ideas, fun activities to do with Finley, and ideas for home decor - so that all your online inspiration/ideas are organized. I love to be organized, especially since I find it so hard to be in real life:-) Anyway, all this gabbing about Pinterest has a point.

I made an upscale version of CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza (with bacon, chicken, smoked gouda and caramelized onions) a few weeks ago, but the cheese I chose didn't melt well so the end result tasted fantastic but did not look pretty. When I was on Pinterest a few days ago I saw a tutorial about how to create a really good-looking calzone. And inspiration hit - I decided to turn my ugly duckling of a pizza into a beautiful calzone.

BBQ Chicken Stromboli
a Baking and Eggs original recipe
here's a link to the wrap tutorial, in case you'd like step by step pictures

3 slices bacon, preferably hickory smoked
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 tube refrigerated french bread dough
1/4 -1/3 cup smoky barbecue sauce, depending on how saucy you like your pizza
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced (I used a breast from a rotisserie chicken)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
7 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
Extra barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until lightly browned and crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to cool. When cool, crumble bacon and set aside.

Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in the pan, lower heat to medium-low and add the onion. Stirring occasionally to keep onion from burning, cook until onion is soft and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread out your dough onto a baking sheet - sides may hang off the sheet but that's okay. Orient the dough with the short side facing you and spread the BBQ sauce down the middle (vertical). Top with the chicken, crumbled bacon, caramelized onion, cilantro and cheese.

Now comes the fun part! Cut the dough on each side of the filling in 3/4-inch intervals - you want to have the same number of strips on each side. Start at the bottom, alternating sides, stretch the strip up and across the filling on a slight diagonal. Keep doing that until you reach the last strip.

Bake at 350 degrees until the dough is a light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve with extra barbecue sauce, if desired!


Butterfinger Cupcakes

>> Tuesday, July 12, 2011

OMG! These were delicious and I was amazed at how perfectly the frosting mimicked the flavors of a Butterfinger candy bar. I brought these to a potluck on Saturday and everyone raved about them.

To simplify the recipe, I used a butter chocolate cake mix rather than a homemade cake, but one day soon I plan on trying the cake recipe. My cupcakes had a chocolate cake base, then they were topped with half of a snack-sized Butterfinger, which was covered with the amazing frosting and then crushed Butterfingers were sprinkled on top of the frosting. Layer upon layer of glorious flavor! What's not to love about that?!?

Since I used the exact recipe for the frosting, I won't type it out. Here is the link to the recipe, if you're interested, which you totally should be because these puppies were beyond awesome!

recipe from Annie's Eats


My Favorite Sandwich

>> Monday, July 11, 2011

I love sandwiches. I don't know why but I just do. And this sandwich was great. It combined a subtle sweetness from the Hawaiian bread, the potent tang of fresh pesto, the smoky flavor of good deli meats and the creaminess of cheese. Delish! We had it for dinner and again for lunch the next day. And I'd eat it again today if I hadn't have run out of meat and cheese!

My Favorite Sandwich
recipe from Recipes to Run On

Hawaiian bread
Pesto - fresh or store bought
Good quality deli turkey, thinly sliced
Good quality deli ham, thinly sliced
Good quality provolone cheese, thinly sliced

Spread a light layer of mayo on the bottom piece of bread. Top with ham, turkey, and cheese. On the top piece of bread, spread a healthy dollop of pesto and place bread over the meats and cheese. Cut sandwich in half and enjoy.


Meal Plan- July 10th thru 16th

>> Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dinners -

1.) Pesto Minestrone Soup, Rustic Baguette

2.) Thai Lettuce Wraps, Edamame

4.) BBQ Chicken Stromboli, Green Salad

Snacks/Dessert/Lunches/Breakfasts -


The Ultimate BBQ Sauce

>> Saturday, July 9, 2011

This was our main dish for our 4th of July celebration, which wasn't much of a celebration since Finley and I were both down with colds. Regardless we rallied and put together a fun barbecue dinner. Our ribs weren't as tender as we would have liked so we're going to do some further experimentation on that part of the recipe. But the homemade barbecue sauce was to die for! I keep sneaking little bites here and there all afternoon as it sat on the stove - not to worry I didn't double-dip as to contaminate Andrew with my cold :-)

I think this will become my go to BBQ sauce recipe. It's another recipe from Tyler Florence and he mentioned that you can make the same sauce but add peach preserves to create a peach barbecue sauce for chicken. That will be next on my list!

The Ultimate BBQ Sauce
recipe from Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence

1 bacon slice
1 bunch fresh thyme
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper

Wrap the bacon around the thyme bunch and tie together with kitchen twine. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the thyme bundle and cook slowly for 3-4 minutes to render the bacon fat and to give the sauce a nice smoky flavor. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. (We cooked ours for over two hours while the ribs were cooking.) Just before serving, remove thyme bundle, onion and garlic cloves.


Almond Raspberry Brownies

>> Friday, July 8, 2011

For years I've been making a simple chocolate cake - a cake mix, add almond extract, use raspberry jam as the filling between the layers, top with chocolate frosting and more jam and decorate with fresh raspberries. I started thinking about how great those flavors - almond and raspberry - are with chocolate and decided to make it into an easy brownie recipe. So here goes!

This is a very show-stopping dessert that is so rich, decadent, and most of all, delicious. They take brownies to a whole new level of sophistication! I can't wait to make these again for a dinner party and I think they would pair fabulously with champagne or prosecco. Yum, my mouth is starting to water just thinking about them. Good thing I still have a whole pan of them left since Andrew isn't home from work yet!

Because they have three different layers, they do take a little more prep time than your average brownie recipe, but to save time, the base is made from a brownie mix.

Almond Raspberry Brownies
a Baking and Eggs original

for the brownie layer
1 pkg brownie mix, plus ingredients listed on box (I needed eggs and vegetable oil)
1 t almond extract

for the raspberry cream layer
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg
1 t almond extract
1/3 c seedless raspberry jam
1 c powdered sugar

for the ganache
1 c whipped topping
4 squares semi sweet bakers chocolate
1 c seedless raspberry jam, optional

for garnish
fresh raspberries
sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.

Mix brownie mix according to package directions and add extract. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, mix cream cheese, egg, extract, jam and powdered sugar until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Pour and gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cream cheese layer is lightly browned and doesn't jiggle. Let cool 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine whipped topping and semi-sweet chocolate. Microwave mixture for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth. Spread ganache over brownies.

Optional: In a small bowl, heat 1 cup raspberry jam in microwave until warm, about 20-30 seconds. Carefully spread jam over ganache.

Decorate with sliced almonds and/or fresh raspberries. Cut into squares and serve.


Chips & Salsa Burgers

>> Thursday, July 7, 2011

Combining one of my favorite appetizers - chips and salsa - with a burger? Yes, please! The recipe sounded just weird enough that I knew I had to try it out. And I'm glad I did! There are very few ingredients in this recipe, but it was surprisingly flavorful. The salsa kept the meat moist and the chips added a nice little crunch. This is probably in my top three favorite burger recipes. Really simple, really good!

Chips & Salsa Burger
adapted from Sargento (I originally saw the recipe on another blog - unfortunately I can't remember which one! My apologies to the original blogger!)

1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup salsa (I used a cilantro salsa)
1/3 cup tortilla chips, crushed
1/3 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4 hamburger buns, split open and toasted
Suggested toppings: extra cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, sliced tomato, pickled jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips, an extra dollop of salsa

In a large bowl, combine beef, salsa, chips, cheese, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Shape into 4 patties.

Grill patties on a medium-hot grill. Grill 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center. Serve on hamburger buns with desired toppings.


The Ultimate Berry Trifle

>> Wednesday, July 6, 2011

{it would look much prettier if I could have found my trifle dish!}

I had the opportunity to see Tyler Florence do a cooking demonstration at a Wine and Food Festival a few years ago and he's been one of my favorite chefs ever since. This is a recipe I've had my eye on for quite awhile. Since berries are in season and we were serving a fairly light and healthy dinner, Jennie and I decided to make this for our dessert. What sets this recipe apart from other ordinary berry trifles is that it has lemon curd in it, whose flavor goes wonderfully with the berries. And you know I'm a sucker for anything citrus (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, aren't i?!?)! It was a delicious dessert - everyone had seconds and Andrew and I couldn't wait to eat the leftovers the following day.

Like the Summer Rolls, this recipe can be made ahead of time, which makes it great for entertaining. And since it makes use of store-bought pound cake and lemon curd, it's pretty quick to put together too.

The Ultimate Berry Trifle
recipe from Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate cookbook

for the berries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into thick slices
1 pint raspberries
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t cornstarch
Juice on 1 lemon

for the lemon cream
1 c heavy cream
1 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c lemon curd

1 pound cake, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the berries begin to break down and give up their juices, about 3 minutes. Take the berries off the heat and let cool; the mixture should thicken up as it cools.

In a clean bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Put the lemon curd into a second bowl and stir in a little of the whipped cream to loosen it. Then fold in the rest of the cream.

To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the lemon cream into a large glass bowl. Add a layer of pound cake, breaking the slices into pieces to fit. Then soak the cake with a layer of berries and their juices. Keep going to make 3 or 4 layers, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Summer Rolls with Two Dipping Sauces

>> Tuesday, July 5, 2011

{the magnificent summer rolls}

{the duo of dipping sauces - sesame-soy & spicy peanut}

Jennie is one of my oldest and best friends and she and I share a love of cooking. Every couple of months we get together and make a fun dinner for our husbands. This time we settled on a light Asian dinner of Summer Rolls and Hot and Sour Soup. With this Texas heat we didn't want anything too heavy, plus we wanted to make sure we had plenty of room for our dessert, a wonderful berry trifle.

The Hot and Sour Soup recipe we made was just okay for me, so I don't think I'll post that recipe. But the summer rolls were amazing! And so simple that I can't believe I've never made them before. We went with shrimp, vermicelli noodles and a mixture of vegetables as our filling but you can easily switch things up with equally delicious results, I'm sure. The dipping sauces were fantastic with the summer rolls too. As a true condiment/sauce lover, I thought it was really fun to have more than one sauce with the rolls.

While this recipe is not difficult, it is a little time-consuming to chop the veggies, prepare the noodles and wrap the rolls but I found the recipe to be well worth it. The secrets to successfully wrapping the rolls are to not over stuff them with the filling and to tightly wrap them so that they stick together well. As I often write on here, if I can do it so can you!

Because the entire recipe can be made ahead of time, these would be perfect to make when you're having a party!

Summer Rolls with Two Dipping Sauces
a Baking and Eggs original

For the Sesame-Soy Sauce
3 T low-sodium soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1 t sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 t chile garlic sauce

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce
1 t vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier)
3 T chicken broth
1 1/2 T creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 T hoisin sauce
1/2 t brown sugar
chopped peanuts, for garnish (optional)

For the Summer Rolls
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced into strips
1/2 pkg matchstick carrots
6 green onions, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut into 3-inch pieces
1/2 pkg Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked and cooled
1 bunch mint, leaves only
1 bunch Thai basil, leaves only
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, cooked and cooled (to save time, I purchased it already cooked from the butcher)
1/2 pkg of summer roll wrappers

To make the Sesame-Soy Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to mix well. You can make this ahead of time - store it in the refrigerator and whisk again just before serving.

To make the Spicy Peanut Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until shallot is translucent but not browned, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low. Add chicken broth, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and brown sugar. Stir until peanut butter is melted and sauce is combined. Cool slightly and serve warm. You can make this sauce ahead too - cool sauce, store in refrigerator and microwave the sauce for 20 seconds. Just before serving, garnish with chopped peanuts, if using.

To make the Summer Rolls: Place one wrapper in a large bowl of warm water. Let soak about 5-10 seconds, or until the wrapper loses its hardness and becomes pliable. Place wrapper on work surface. Add 3 shrimp in a straight line in the middle of the wrapper. Over shrimp, place 2 tablespoons of noodles. Top with 2 slices of cucumber, 2 slices of bell pepper, 1 tablespoon of carrots, 3 slices green onions, 3-4 mint leaves, 5-6 cilantro leaves and 2-3 basil leaves. Fold bottom of the wrapper tightly over the filling, stopping at the halfway point. Fold the ends in and then continue rolling. Transfer roll, seam side down, onto a serving platter. The rolls will stick together so place them slightly apart from one another. Cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or up to 8 hours.

Makes about 15 rolls


Meal Plan - July 3rd thru July 9th

>> Sunday, July 3, 2011

How has another week flown by already?!? With this being a holiday weekend, I haven't finished my meal planning for the week so I'll just do it on the fly. A couple of the dishes I'm planning to make are cook-out/BBQ type foods so I guess I'm feeling inspired by the 4th of July! If you don't already have your holiday meal planned, maybe some of these will sound good to you.

Chips & Salsa Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries

Austin Mac N Cheese Suiza, Avocado & Tomato Salad

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Stir-Fried Veggies & Brown Rice



Citrus-Glazed Pound Cake

I've made no secret of my love of anything citrus, so this recipe was right up my alley. I made this on Monday and it was gone by Wednesday! My husband has quite a sweet tooth and in his words, "this cake is killer!" I really think I only ate two pieces and he finished off the rest. And my hips and thighs thank him for it!

Citrus-Glazed Pound Cake
recipe adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), sifted, plus more for pan
1 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 orange, juiced and zested, divided
2 lemons, juiced and zested, divided
1/2 t coarse salt
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with with non stick spray, or lightly butter and flour it. In a large bowl, using an electric mixture, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until very light and fluffy, 7 minutes. Scrape down sides and beat 1 additional minute. Add vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, and 1 tablespoon orange juice. Gradually add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add salt, then gradually add flour, beating well to combine.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 65 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

Make the glaze by stirring together remaining lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice and enough confectioners' sugar to create a fairly stiff, smooth glaze. Pour glaze over cake while the cake is still warm.

* As you can tell from my picture, I didn't bake my cake in a loaf pan because mine seems to have gone missing. Mine was fully baked in a much shorter time, about 30 minutes.


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