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Recent Recipes

Lemon Macaroon Tartlets

Comments (0) | Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I was hard pressed on the spot to find a dessert "without chocolate" for a recent Christmas party I threw with a good friend of mine. Lauren came to the house the night before with her dessert contributions... chocolate dipped pretzel sticks (beautiful, adorned with festive sprinkles) and her famous chocolate topped rice-krispie treats. "So you might want to make something without chocolate..." she informed me.

What do you do when most of the desserts you know and love involve chocolate? You sit down with a few cookbooks and start browsing (and if you know me, you know that, to me, this is nothing short of the perfect way to spend my time.) These just happened to pop out at me from one of my beloved Cooking Light books and I knew I found my dessert. Like little mini lemon meringue pies with macaroon crusts... mmmm...

*here is my adapted recipe, the original calls for a dollop of whipped topping on each but I opted to omit it... feel free to add to your liking*

Lemon Macaroon Tartlets

Macaroon Tart Shells (recipe follows)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Prepare macaroon tart shells and set aside.

Place egg in a small bowl and set aside. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and lemon rind in a small saucepan. Gradually add water and lemon juice, and stir with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir one-fourth of hot lemon mixture into egg while whisking. Add to remaining lemon mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Spoon warm mixture into tart shells (this recipe when used for tartlets may yield slightly more than needed to fill shells.)


Macaroon Tart Shells

2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide mixture evenly among 16 muffin cups, pressing into bottom and up sides of each cup. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove pan from oven and use a small spoon or melon baller to press into center of each cup, reinforcing the "shell." Cool in pan for 2 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.


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Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Comments (0) | Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm not even sure exactly where I got this recipe. I've been making it for the last 10 years. All I know is that I altered it to make it my own and the results are amazing. My secret is to wait until someone has eaten at least one piece to tell them it has no oil and less sugar than regular pumpkin bread. The flavors compliment each other so well. The tart cranberries with the sweet pumpkin... heavenly. It's one of my sister's all-time favorites and she began asking for the recipe after I made it for her one year. But it never failed that each year she would somehow "lose" the recipe and need me to transcribe it for her once again.... repeatedly... every... year. So one year I thought I'd write it up nicely on a personalized recipe card... surely she'd never misplace that! Alas, I was mistaken. Another year or two went by with me sending her yet another copy of this treasured recipe. So when I bought my cranberries this year in anticipation of my bread making, I also anticipated typing up the recipe... it had become a tradition. Then lo and behold, she posted on my facebook page that although she, too, had thought she'd have to beg for the recipe again, she somehow found it! So proud of you big sister :) although secretly I never minded you asking.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, applesauce and juice in a large mixer bowl; beat unitl just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove to racks to cool completely.


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Double Cheese Meatloaf

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Double Cheese Meatloaf

(*I substitute 1/2 lb lean ground beef and 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey for the beef/pork/veal combo called for in the recipe)

Let's face it, meatloaf is not an attractive dinner no matter how you slice it. Delicious? Yes. Beautiful? No. I would have snapped a photo of my plate had I not devoured my serving before thinking to post the recipe. There's really nothing like having a husband who walks through the door, puts down his briefcase and, with childlike excitement, says "you made meatloaf?!" Along with my children who both cleaned their plates, he reminds me of the very reasons I love to be in the kitchen.

Now meatloaf is a widely diverse recipe I know. And most people either love it or hate it (and some are indifferent.) But I beg you to try this recipe as it is unlike any other meatloaf and is truly worthy of falling back on time and again. Serve with whatever you like but there's nothing like a good baked potato and steamed veggies to accompany an all-time classic.


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Salted Caramel Brownies

Comments (0) | Tuesday, November 15, 2011



For those of you who I've been raving about this recipe to... in this case the picture does do it justice!

I have to admit that the first time I ever heard the term "salted caramel" was a couple years ago when Starbucks came out with their salted caramel hot chocolate. In my mind I thought "caramel hot chocolate topped with salt?? ew..." I had no idea that the "salt" and "caramel" went together. And then I started to think "salty and caramelly sweet?? yum!" So every recipe that put the two ingredients together (especially with chocolate) immediately caught my eye. I made homemade salted chocolate covered caramels for Valentine's Day for Joe, tore out this recipe and another for cupcakes... the beginning of what may be a new obsession.

*Note: as many of the reviews state on Cooking Light's website for this recipe, the caramel was difficult to spread and didn't spread entirely to the edges, leaving a small border without caramel along the perimeter... next time I think I'll try baking in an 8x8 pan instead of 9x9 to see if this helps... make no mistake, I WILL be making these again!*


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Quick Pastitsio

Comments (0) | Thursday, November 10, 2011


Penne pasta, ground beef, creamy tomato sauce and browned melted cheese. So quick and easy and yummy too. (I'm posting a slightly altered version from the one in Cooking Light.)

Quick Pastitsio

8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
7 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; saute 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; saute 4 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute stirring constantly. Add beef; sprinkle with salt. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. In a medium bowl mix cream cheese with milk until smooth. Add milk mixture and tomatoes to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pasta.

Spoon mixture into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Broil 4 minutes or until golden.


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Provencal Flank Steak (freezer meal)

Comments (0) | Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So this freezer meal takes a little more effort upon actually preparing it for dinner but to be able to pull meat out that tastes like this? Totally worth the work. Essentially it's just a marinade that you freeze the steak in. However, by freezing the flavor in, you end up with a juicy, tender, wonderfully tasting steak that makes mouths water. Even my kids cleaned their plates and there's a lot to be said for that! I served it with steamed green beans and an alfredo pasta but mashed potatoes would have accompanied it nicely too. Something to soak up some of the outstanding sauce that goes over the meat.

Provencal Flank Steak

1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Place steak in resealable freezer bag (labeled and dated.) Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and pour into freezer bag with steak. Marinate overnight or freeze for up to 3 months.

To cook: If frozen, thaw completely. Prepare broiler or hot grill. Remove steak from marinade and sear on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, pour marinade into a saucepan and boil over high heat for 5 minutes. Slice steak into thin slices across the grain. Drizzle marinade over steak and serve. *recipe courtesy of Dream Dinners*


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Mango Curry Chicken (freezer meal)

Comments (0) | Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bear with me as I plan on attempting to improve my food photography skills. I've always concentrated on the taste and not so much the look. But as I continue with the blogging I've realized that presentation plays a huge part in a recipe's appeal. It's the reason I tend not to post unless I have a photo. But quality is where I fall short... I have a goal to improve... and I may someday reach it :)

As I've posted with a few past recipes, I absolutely LOVE to make meals to freeze. The convenience of pulling a homemade meal from the freezer is absolutely priceless to me. Of course I have my "go-to" freezer meals. The ones I know the family enjoys... ones that are easy to assemble and taste good too. So for this last freezer meal making mission I ventured out with a new one and was pleasantly surprised.

I will say that you need to have a bit of a taste for curry. While it's not overpowering, it's definitely there and, if you enjoy it, lends a nice touch to the flavor combo of the dish. Just whip up a batch of rice and some veggies and you've got yourself a gourmet meal!


Mango Curry Chicken

1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch ground cloves
4-5 chicken breasts cut lengthwise into thirds
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup store-bought mango chutney (such as Major Grey's)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir well to combine. Label and date a one-gallon resealable freezer bag. Place chicken and curry mixture in bag and seal. Freeze for up to three months.

To Cook: Thaw completely. Place chicken mixture in crockpot on LOW setting for 4 hours. OR Heat a skillet over medium heat, place chicken mixture in skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and cook 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and sprinkle with chopped cashews and chopped cilantro, if desired.

*Recipe courtesy of Dream Dinners by Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna*


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Raspberry Strippers

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I didn't give them the name... this is truly what they're called. And in all honesty, I just love answering when someone asks "oooh... what are these?"


One of my absolute favorite Cooking Light cookie recipes. A delicious shortbread type of cookie, filled with raspberry jam (in this case I used my mama's homemade peach raspberry and the recipe even says that apricot jam works well... really just use your favorite!) topped with an almond drizzle. I always make a double batch as these cookies tend to disappear fast!


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Taco Seasoning and Mexican Rice

Comments (2) | Wednesday, October 12, 2011


While reading a friend's blog, I ran across her posting for a DIY taco seasoning and realized it was the perfect time for me to post the one that I use. Especially since tacos were on the menu for the week anyway. I suppose it's true that making your own seasoning is healthier... no MSG and all that. But the truth is that I went searching frantically for a recipe when I was browning meat for tacos one evening and realized I hadn't bought any packaged seasoning. And so this became my go-to recipe and I now prefer it to the store-bought stuff. The Mexican Rice is a perfect pairing to any Mexican meal and tastes just like the stuff in the restaurants. Here's a secret *it's incredibly easy too!*


Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. each cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, sugar and cornstarch
1/2-3/4 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Brown 1 lb meat (I use lean ground beef or turkey.) Drain if necessary. Add seasoning and 1/4-1/2 cup water to meat. Heat 1-2 minutes longer or until slightly thickened.


Easy Mexican Rice

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup long grain rice
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup tomato sauce

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice and cook until lightly browned. Add water and remaining ingredients. Cove and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.


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Southwestern Eggs Benedict

Comments (2) | Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I've never poached an egg before. That's right... despite my culinary prowess, I have never... poached... an egg. But not for lack of faith. I knew I could do it. I just had to find the perfect recipe as I'm not one for poached eggs for an everyday breakfast. Joe's birthday seemed the perfect opportunity. I had torn this recipe out of one of my foodie magazines and had been waiting for the perfect time to try it out. He was thrilled and completely satisfied of course... he's always been my biggest fan.

Southwestern Eggs Benedict

4 medium red potatoes, cubed
3 Tbsp. water
1 small sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 tsp. olive oil
4 bacon strips, chopped and cooked
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

SAUCE:
1 1/2 tsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup (or a little more :) shredded reduced fat mexican cheese blend
1 Tbsp. chopped green chilies

EGGS:
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
4 eggs
chopped plum tomatoes or prepared pico de gallo

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes or until tender; drain. In a large skillet, saute pepper and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add the potatoes, bacon, salt and pepper; saute 8-10 minutes longer or until potatoes are lightly browned.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for one minute or until thickened. Stir in cheese and chilies; cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, place 2-3 inches of water in a large skillet with high sides; add vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently. Break cold eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup or saucer; holding the cup close to the surface of the water, slip each egg into water. Cook uncovered until the whites are completely set and the yolks are still soft, about 4-5 minutes. Divide potato mixture among 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, lift eggs out of the water. Place on potato mixture. Top with sauce and tomatoes or pico de gallo.

*Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking*


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Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

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The flavor for this pork was so intense and delicious that when Joe gave his praises for a dinner well done, I had to brag about the fact that I had mixed up the spice rub myself (from a recipe of course.) He was thoroughly impressed and continued to rave about the tenderness and flavor. The kids devoured every bite too, along with the steamed zucchini and cranberry couscous that accompanied it.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup uncooked couscous

In a small bowl, mix together first 6 ingredients (with only 1/2 tsp salt, through cumin.) Reserve 1 tsp. of the spice blend and set aside. Rub the remainder over the pork tenderloin and place in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat gas grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat grill rack with oil or cooking spray. Grill 14-15 minutes, turning twice, or until internal temperature registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Place chicken broth and onion in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer 3 minutes. Stir in reserved rub, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, cranberries, and couscous; remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with pork.

*Recipe courtesy of Family Circle magazine*


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Herbed Cornmeal Crabcakes and Artichoke Spinach Salad

Comments (0) | Monday, October 3, 2011



Oh heavenly dinner of all dinners. This was fantastic. But as good as the crab cakes were, the ironic part was that the salad was probably the highlight of the meal. The roasted sweet potatoes were a great compliment to all the flavors as well. Such an accomplishment to create such a well rounded meal!



Herbed Cornmeal Crab Cakes

Cornmeal Coating:
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Crab Cakes:
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup minced chives
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. tartar sauce
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 (6-oz) cans crabmeat, drained and flaked, cartilage removed
2 Tbsp. canola oil


In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal coating ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, combine crab cake ingredients through celery salt. Fold in crab. Shape into 8 patties; coat with cornmeal mixture.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook crab cakes in oil for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.


Spinach Artichoke Salad

Combine 8 cups fresh baby spinach, 14-oz can water-packed artichoke hearts (chopped), 1 cup dried cranberries, 3/4 cup candied walnuts or pecans (found in the nut aisle specifically for salads) and 4 chopped green onions. Toss with 1/3 cup reduced fat raspberry vinaigrette (I used Annie's brand). Sprinkle with 3/4 cup crumbled feta. YUM!


*recipes courtesy of Taste of Home and Taste of Home Healthy Cooking*


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Hummus and Pita Chips

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I've been wanting to try this recipe that I came across in the Disney Family Fun magazine and finally got up the motivation (and the supplies) to do it. Brendan was incredibly excited about making the hummus but even more so about homemade chips!

Hummus

1 lemon
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water
olive oil and chopped parsley for garnish

Slice the lemon in half and juice it. Measure 1/4 cup juice and pour into blender or food processor. Add chickpeas, tahini, vegetable oil, cumin, cayenne, salt and water. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally. (at this point Brendan exclaimed "Mommy look! It's starting to look like real hummus!") Transfer to a small bowl or shallow platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parsley and set aside. (it can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours.)

Pita Chips

6 pita breads
1/4 cup olive oil
garlic salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Separate the two round halves by poking a hole in the seam and tearing along the edges. Use small cookie cutters or cut into 2-inch squares. Place on baking sheets and brush tops (or spray with olive oil sprayer) with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake for 7 minutes or unitl lightly browned. Let cool on pans on wire racks. Store leftovers in resealable bag.


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Double Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

Comments (0) | Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I try to experiment sometimes, making different recipes, changing them to my liking. But Joe frequently asks why I don't often go back to the ones that won him over. I try. I like to throw those back in there every once in awhile. But I realized it had been a LONG while since he was able to indulge in one of his all time favorites... my double chocolate mint chip cookies. So I made him a batch and he was in heaven :) The things we do for the men we love...

Double Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

3 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (softened) or butter flavored crisco shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a microwave safe glass bowl, heat 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips on high 1 minute. Stir and repeat until smooth. Mix in 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract. Cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl beat butter or crisco, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add melted chocolate and eggs; beat well. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by tablespoonsful (or use cookie scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

*Recipe courtesy of Gooseberry Patch "Country Cookies"*


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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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I don't know how often I can say this but... having company is always an opportunity (in my mind) to make food. Food that I otherwise might not make on an ordinary day. After all, how can I justify making a pan of 12 cinnamon rolls when there are only 4 of us in this house? So when my in-laws decided to make a visit, I pulled out my cookbooks and started browsing.


IN-CREDIBLE!! My first thought was that I will, no doubt, be selling these at my "in my dreams" bakery :) They will be a seasonal item that will have people lining up out the door, waiting, mouths watering for the moment they make their yearly debut. A woman can dream can't she? :) Yup, they really were that good.


*A little trick my mama taught me... if you want to mostly prepare them the night before (so as not to have to get up hours early) you can prepare them through placing the rolls in the pan for the second rising. Cover with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator over night. They will rise slower in the fridge but will still continue to rise. Pull them out in the morning and let sit in a warm place for 25-30 minutes then bake as instructed. Voila!




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Cranberry Orange Bagels

Comments (0) | Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've made my mama proud. There was a time when she thought I'd never be a breadmaker. How could I knead bread when I couldn't stand to touch the flour? You see, I always loved being in the kitchen, loved everything about baking... except for the flour. Some people hate the sound of fingernails on a chalk board... for me it was the feel of flour. My mom? breaking open a head of lettuce. My sister? chewing on wood (i.e popsicle sticks) It's different for everyone but for me it was flour. But in my mind I didn't need to overcome it, I just needed to get around it. So while I was in college my mom got me a bread machine. I was thrilled. I used it for years. But it never really came close to producing the type of results I knew I could have with the real homemade thing. So I dove in with trepid hesitation and learned to suck it up. I still don't like the feel, but I sure as heck love the results. And hey, what better way to relieve some pent up frustration than some good old fashioned kneading? Yes, this picture is mine... those are MY bagels and I'm proud :)


Cranberry Orange Bagels


1 cup plus 4 Tbsp. warm water (70-80 degrees) divided
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour... it's what I had on hand)
1 pkg. (or 2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. cornmeal


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. warm water (110-115 degrees). Add cranberries, brown sugar, orange peel, salt and cloves; mix well. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes, adding more flour as needed.


Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into 7-8 balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-inch hole; stretch and shape into an even ring. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.


Fill a dutch oven 2/3 full with water; add sugar and bring to a boil. Drop bagels 2-3 at a time into boiling water. Cook for 45 seconds; turn and cook 45 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


Whisk egg white and remaining 2 Tbsp. water; brush over bagels. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place bagels 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Toast lightly and serve with my very own honey orange cream cheese (mix 1/4 cup cream cheese with 1 Tbsp. honey and 1 tsp grated orange peel and spread 1 Tbsp. mixture over warm bagel.)


*Bagel recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking**Bread machine instructions can be provided upon request!*


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Honey Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

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I'm the kind of person who gets giddy with excitement when faced with an opportunity to make a new dessert. You want me to come over to watch a TV show with you and you're inviting some other neighborhood friends? Well, hey, I'll bring dessert!




Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream... this cobbler was absolutely fantastic and will live in my recipe file forever.



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Overnight French Toast

Comments (0) | Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nothing incredibly extraordinary but very delicious and a great idea for having company for breakfast. I would definitely make it again though... the kids devoured it and the effort was minimal.

Overnight French Toast
4 eggs
1 cup egg substitute
3 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
16 slices french bread (1 in. thick)

Berry Sauce:
1 1/2 lbs. frozen unsweetened mixed berries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar

In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg substitute, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Place bread slices in two ungreased 9x13-inch baking dishes; pour egg mixture over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Carefully transfer bread to prepared sheets. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 15 minutes longer until golden brown. Meanwhile, combine berries with sugar. Serve over french toast.

*recipe can easily be cut in half for a smaller version*


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Raspberry Muffins

Comments (0) | Sunday, August 28, 2011



Insanely delicious. That's really all there is to say. The sugar crusted tops compliment the tartness of the fresh raspberries amazingly. So incredibly moist and delicious. But the best part was when I self-admiringly exclaimed "and they didn't even come from a box!" to which Brendan replied "how would you make muffins from a box mommy? that's silly..."

That's right buddy, if I have it my way you'll never know... :)

*to decrease fat and calorie content I used skim milk and substituted half of the butter with applesauce (4T melted butter, 4T applesauce) and no one was the wiser ;)


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Oatmeal Choco-Scotchies

Comments (0) | Thursday, August 11, 2011


This recipe is the product of loving the taste of butterscotch but not the overwhelming sweetness of the flavor in the traditional Oatmeal Scotchies recipe. So I tweaked it a little to fit my taste and ended up with a very nice combination of flavors that mellow out the sweetness just a bit.

Oatmeal Choco-Scotchies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old fasioned oats
1/2 package (11 oz size) nestle toll house butterscotch chips
1/2 package (11 oz size) nestle toll house semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in a large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


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Orange-Pecan Salmon

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I absolutely love trying new and different salmon recipes. It's one of my most favorite fish to eat, the kids love it and it has so many healthy benefits. But while this one is definitely a keeper, my favorite is still a brown sugar cured, slow cooked version which I will post at a later date. For now, enjoy this one... as everyone at my table did.

Orange-Pecan Salmon

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 salmon fillets (6 oz each and 1 in. thick)

In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Pour one cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the salmon; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes. Set aside remaining marinade.

Drain and discard marinade from salmon. Place salmon in a greased 11x7-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

In a small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup. Serve with salmon.

(Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home)



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Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

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So I'm coming back with a bang. I can't believe I let an entire month slip by without posting a new recipe! I'm slacking big time and I need to make up for it. I even told a potential new follower that I would post my mom's Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding recipe and I failed at that too. I promise, that one will be coming soon. But for now... Pork Chops with Cherry Port Wine Sauce. Oh heavenly goodness. The reason the photo was taken subsequent to my first few bites was because I was enjoying it too much to pause for the picture. I served it with a rice pilaf and roasted cauliflower for an incredibly delicious and easy dinner.

Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, halved
2/3 cup ruby port wine
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

PORK CHOPS:
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops
2 tsp. olive oil

In a small saucepan, suate shallot in oil until tender. Stir in the cherries, wine, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 1o minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the coriander, mustard, salt and pepper; rub over chops. In a large skillet, cook chops in oil over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side. Serve with sauce.

(Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)



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Berry Sour Cream Pie

Comments (1) | Monday, June 6, 2011


About a year ago among a search for an Apple Sour Cream Pie recipe, I came upon this delicious sounding dessert and absolutely had to try it. This soon became one of my most beloved pies and a permanent addition to my recipe file. I frequently have requests for the recipe and as my friend Lauren pointed out, the blog is lacking in the dessert category (although not for my lack of good recipes... just for my lack of posting them!) So, in honor of Lauren and this insanely good pie, I am finally sharing this recipe with you all.

Berry Sour Cream Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (if you're feeling adventurous you can make it from scratch)
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Topping:
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut up

Beat eggs. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Mix flour, sugar and salt. Add to egg mixture. Gently stir in berries.

Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Mix brown sugar, flour and nuts. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly (alternatively, chop nuts in food processor, add brown sugar and flour and pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse until crumbly.) Sprinkle over hot pie and bake 10-15 minutes more.


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Buttermilk Apple Coffee Cake

Comments (0) | Tuesday, May 31, 2011





If you ever have the fortunate chance to be invited to my house (or happen to invite yourself which is OK too) for an evening... one of two things will happen. I will immediately start cleaning (a challenge to succeed in with 2 small children) and I will begin thinking about what I will make you to eat. This is the way my brain works. It's a fortunate side effect for all who enter my home.




If I feel comfortable enough, I will likely test out a new recipe on you... few have gotten poor reviews. So my friend Lauren was the lucky tester of this sweet and delicious coffee cake. I reached for a random (OK, not all that random, I made sure it was Cooking Light) cookbook off my shelf, flipped through and found a yummy sounding recipe that I had all the ingredients on hand for. This moist and scrumptious coffee cake was the result.



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Caramel Pork

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Despite its name, this dish tasted nothing like caramel but everything like a delicious pork dish should. The flavors were wonderful and the kids cleaned their plates. Two criteria for an extra successful dish in my house!


If you think you don't like anchovies, chances are you've never cooked with them before. If you can get beyond the look when you're chopping them up, they lend a nice flavor to the dish without being obvious that they're even there. Try it... you'll see...


For Radish-Squash Slaw: Combine 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons honey in a medium bowl. Add 3/4 cup each of julienne-cut carrot, daikon radish, and yellow squash; toss to coat and serve with pork and rice.


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Onion-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Comments (0) | Friday, May 20, 2011



Onion-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Chutney-Mustard Sauce

2 12-16-ounce pork tenderloins

1/4 cup chopped golden raisins

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup mango chutney

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard


Trim fat from tenderloins. Make a lengthwise cut down the center of each tenderloin, cutting almost to, but not through, the opposite side. Spread meat open.


For stuffing, in a small bowl, combine raisins, green onion, sweet onion, shallot and thyme. Spread stuffing over meat. Fold each tenderloin back together. To secure, tie at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine; brush with oil. For rub, in a small bowl, stir together salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over meat; rub in with your fingers.


For a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium-hot heat above pan. Place meat on grill rack above pan. Cover and grill for 30-35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce to medium heat and adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as above, except place meat on a rack in a roasting pan; place pan on grill rack.)


Remove meat from grill. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small bowl, stir together chutney and mustard. Warm in microwave for 20 seconds; stir. Slice meat and serve with sauce.


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Beer Can Chicken

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As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of the grill and the excitement starts brewing as soon as the weather starts to clear. I've dedicated myself to branching out and trying some new things this year and although I've tried a beer can chicken before, it's been years. So I was ecstatic to try this out. Only afterwards did I see a nifty "beer can chicken" holder at Target which I swiftly purchased for the NEXT beer can chicken because there will definitely be more to come... Joe and I sampled a few bites straight off the grill as we tore off the skin and sliced the bird. Mouthwatering goodness... totally worth the effort!


Beer Can Chicken
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 12-oz can of beer (I used Coors)
1 3.5-4 pound whole chicken
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 lemon quarter


For rub, in a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Discard about half of the beer from can. Add 1 teaspoon of the rub to the half-empty beer can (beer will foam up.)


Remove neck and giblets from chicken. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the rub inside body cavity. Use fingers to gently separate skin from breast, thighs and legs of chicken, leaving skin intact. Rub butter and remaining rub between meat and skin.


Hold chicken upright with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom and lower the chicken so the beer can fits into the cavity (this is where the beer can chicken holder would have come in handy!) Pull chicken legs forward so the bird makes a tri-pod, resting on its legs and the can. Twist wing tips behind the back. Stuff lemon quarter in neck cavity to seal in steam and flavor.
For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Stand the chicken upright on grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees in thigh muscle.) If necessary, loosely cover chicken with foil to prevent over browning. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking - turning off one burner and placing chicken over unused burner while other burners remain on. Grill as above.)


Holding chicken by the can, carefully remove it from the grill. Cover chicken with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Carefully remove hot can with hot pads.


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Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

Comments (2) | Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I've been on the search, for quite sometime now, for that ever so perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (known in the food world as the infamous CCC.) I've come to realize, however, that the problem with this quest is that the idea of a "perfect" cookie is different to everyone. Some like them crunchy, some like them soft, some like them thin, some like them thick. It's hard to make everyone happy. So I have to say that my search was purely for MY perfect cookie, a soft, slightly chewy, not too sweet treat of perfection. And when I ran across this recipe I had some reservations but absolutely HAD to try it. I wish I had come up with it on my own but while I love to cook and bake, I have no talent when it comes to developing my own recipes. So this comes to you from Jenny of the Picky Palate food blog (http://picky-palate.com/) Unlike me, this girl's got some skills when it comes to recipes! I've typed up the recipe here with my very specific ingredient recommendations (I will no doubt replicate this recipe with the same ingredients every time... who wants to mess with perfection?!)


Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 sticks softened butter (do NOT use generic... I used Tillamook salted)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla (it's OK, I used imitation :/)
heaping 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream from freezer (may need to soften to scoop)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet Nestle Tollhouse)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes.) Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add vanilla and ice cream and mix until combined.

Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; mix. Add to wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. With a cookie scoop (I used the small scoop and it yielded 6 dozen cookies) scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes (I did 10) or until cookies are cooked through. Press lightly with spatula when removed from oven to yield a nicer "looking" cookie as they tend to puff up a little. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. ENJOY!


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Moroccan Chicken

Comments (0) | Thursday, March 31, 2011

I was a little skeptical about this recipe but always willing to try new things. The flavors complimented each other nicely and it was great paired with some couscous and a side of veggies.


Moroccan Chicken

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 large green pepper cut into 1" pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Heat oil in 5-quart saucepot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned on both sides. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add cinnamon and curry and cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in soup and heat to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in raisins and chickpeas. Cook 10 more minutes. Stir in almonds. Serve over couscous.


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Cheesy Meatloaf Minis

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These were absolutely delicious. The cheese kind of melted out all over the place while they were baking so I might cut it into smaller cubes next time and really try to cover it with the beef mixture but otherwise these were a hit.


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Chicken Parmigiana (freezer meal)

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This is probably one of my absolute favorite freezer meals. It takes a bit of initial effort but tastes so delicious and is so incredibly easy to take out of the freezer. The kids also clean their plates when I serve it which is always a plus!

Chicken Parmigiana

(makes 2 entrees, 4 servings each)


8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups dry breadcrumbs
8 slices mozzarella cheese
4 cups Basic Red Sauce (click link and scroll to bottom of post for recipe)
plastic wrap
2 one-gallon freezer bags dated and labeled
2 one-quart freezer bags

Lay out three shallow dishes. Measure flour into one, eggs into another, and bread crumbs into the third. Slightly flatten the chicken by laying each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap and pounding with rolling pin or smooth side of meat mallet. Take one piece of chicken, coat with flour, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. Repeat with each chicken piece. Place coated chicken in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer for 1 hour. Discard remaining flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

Measure 2 cups red sauce into each one-quart bag. Seal tightly.

Divide cheese into two portions of 4 slices each. Wrap in plastic wrap. Divide frozen chicken evenly among the one-gallon bags. Place one bag if sauce and one packet of cheese into each bag of chicken. Seal and freeze.

Cooking instructions: Thaw completely. Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Pour red sauce over chicken and continue baking for 10 minutes. Place a slice of cheese on top of each piece of chicken and bake until melted.


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Penne with Rosemary Chicken (freezer meal)

Comments (0) | Friday, March 4, 2011

Penne with Rosemary Chicken

1 pound (about three breasts) diced cooked chicken
1 pound penne pasta (uncooked)
1 cup shredded cheese blend
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups nonfat milk
1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 one-gallon freezer bag dated and labeled

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Transfer to freezer bag and seal tightly, freeze for up to 3 months.

Cooking Instructions: Thaw completely. Preheat oven to 350. Place contents of bag into baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil and bake for 60-75 minutes.



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Lemony Garlic Chicken Thighs

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I love any recipe that involves ingredients I already have on hand. Although I'll admit I had to go out and get a bag of spinach... it was the chicken thighs in the freezer I was happy to finally be using! All 3 of my family members gave this one a high rating although the substitution of linguine for the angel hair pasta made for rather difficult fork coordination. The kids resorted to using their fingers which I allowed after watching an array of noodles fall from their utensils.

*courtesy of Family Circle magazine*

Lemony Garlic Chicken Thighs

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
5 garlic cloves, smashed (using a large carving knife, place the blade, flat side against each clove and hit hard with your hand. Peel and set aside smashed garlic)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves, chopped
8 ounces angel hair pasta

Trim chicken thighs of any excess fat. Place them in the slow cooker bowl and scatter garlic cloves over top.

In a small bowl, stir together lemon zest, juice and chicken broth. Pour half of mixture (about 1/3 cup) into slow cooker. Cover and cook for 3 hours on HIGH or 5 hours on LOW.

Remove chicken thighs to a platter and keep warm. Discard garlic cloves. In a small bowl, stir together remaining lemon juice mixture, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Whisk into slow cooker bowl with chopped spinach and cook another 30 minutes on HIGH or LOW.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Stir half of sauce from slow cooker bowl into pasta. Serve remainder with chicken.


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Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Comments (2) | Sunday, February 20, 2011


If you don't own a panini maker (mine was a barely used garage sale find given to me by my sweet mama) these would cook just fine in a skillet like regular french toast. The flavor in these is spectacular. Delicious served with maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

*recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma catalog*

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs plus 1/4 cup sugar
2 large ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1/2" rounds
1 lb loaf of french bread
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add 2 Tbs sugar and 2 Tbs water, stirring to dissolve sugar; cook until lightly caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Add bananas; cook 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cut bread (if not already sliced) into 12 slices. Spoon banana mixture evenly onto the middle of half of the bread slices. Top with remaining slices and press lightly.

Preheat panini maker (or skillet/griddle.) In a large shallow bowl, combine milk, eggs, cinnamon vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Pour into baking dish. Soak each "sandwich" in egg mixture 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Cook 4-5 minutes each side. Serve with maple syrup.


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Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

Comments (1) |

and Mascarpone (really just cream cheese) Mashed Potatoes

OUTSTANDING! I honestly don't know what else to say about this one. The kids both cleaned their plates. No one said a word because all mouths were full! I got 6 thumbs up once the meal was through. The flavors were absolutely amazing and I regret not having tried this one sooner. (I've had it filed away since last January...)

*note: I used dried rosemary in place of the fresh that the recipe calls for*

For the mashed potatoes. Unless you have Mascarpone cheese on hand (not many of us do... while it is a heavenly Italian sister to the much cheaper cream cheese, it's difficult to fork out the extra cash... I assure you these potatoes are delicious regardless...) you can use regular or light cream cheese. Place 1 1/2 pounds cubed, peeled Yukon gold potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add 1/3 cup (or slightly more) 2% milk, 3 tablespoons cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter and salt to taste. Mash to desired consistency. Serve chicken on top of mashed potatoes.


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Sweet Potato Pecan Pancakes

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I ran across this recipe in an email quite awhile ago. I printed it out and filed it away but decided this weekend would be a "new breakfasts" weekend and this one sounded adventurous. I admit I was cooking the sweet potato and toasting the pecans at 11:30 the night before. But I will also tell you that this is not at all unusual for me. Come and stay the night at the Bessman B&B and you'll see what I mean :)

The top picture is of Aubrey, after breakfast was done, climbing back up to the table to sample the leftovers. She is offering me the pancake... a sort of peace offering for getting caught. The bottom picture is when I assured her that she was more than welcome to continue eating. These are stuffed full of a healthy vegetable for heaven's sake... eat your heart out baby girl!

*variations: I used 2 whole eggs rather than beating the egg whites separately. I have done that step before and I don't feel that it alters the texture or flavor at all. When I mixed the wet ingredients I used an immersion blender to rid the batter of any sweet potato lumps*


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Garlic Pork Stir-Fry

Comments (1) | Thursday, February 17, 2011


So this is what it looks like when it comes OUT of the freezer. I forgot to get a picture after it had been prepared for dinner but I promise you this is one of my absolute favorite freezer meals. The first time I made it I thought it tasted like Chinese takeout. Who wouldn't love that?

More freezer recipes soon to come!

Garlic Pork Stir-Fry
(makes 2 entrees, 4-6 servings each)
4 lbs pork loin or tenderloin
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large onions cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large green bell peppers cut into 2-inch pieces
2 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled
6 one-quart freezer bags

Label each gallon bag with meal name, date and cooking instructions with a permanent marker.

Rinse and trim pork as desired. Cut into bite-size pieces; divide evenly between 2 of the 1-quart bags. Seal.

Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl. Divide evenly among 2 more of the 1-quart bags. Into each bag measure 2 teaspoons garlic and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Seal.

Divide onions and bell peppers evenly between the remaining 1-quart bags. Seal. Into each of the labeled one gallon bags, place a bag of pork, a bag of sauce, and a bag of peppers and onions. Seal and freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Completely thaw in refrigerator. Pour off and discard any liquid from pork. Add 1/2 cup cornstarch to bag; seal and shake to coat. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork and stir-fry about 10 minutes. Add veggies and sauce. Stir fry just until veggies are tender crisp.


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Peanut Butter Pancakes

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I didn't get a picture of the acutal pancakes but I figured this was evidence enough that these were a kid crowd pleaser. I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter for breakfast myself (I know, it sounds silly... who doesn't like a piece of toast with a little pb?) but these were actually pretty good. I made them mostly for the kids as a treat but couldn't help stealing a bite or two. Nice and filling with the little added protein and perfect spread with a small amount of jam.

*recipe courtesy of Parents magazine*

PB&J Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk (plus extra if needed for thinning)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted (20-30 seconds in microwave)
2 Tbsp. oil

Preheat griddle. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a small bowl mix together milk, egg and oil. Slowly add to flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in peanut butter. Let stand 5 minutes. Spray griddle with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Flip when a quick peek to the underside reveals a golden color. Spread with jam or drizzle with syrup.


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Sugar Cookies

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I have been a long-time avoider of cutout cookies. I think it's the effort and my perfectionism (never feeling like they came out just right) that has always gotten in the way. But for some reason (maybe it's having small children who love the idea of the shapes and decorations) I've lately been drawn to them. My mom suggested this recipe that came to her in an email and I admit it's one of the best basic sugar cookies I've ever had. I need to perfect my frosting technique but that's just a technicality. I always fall back on Good Housekeeping's Ornamental Frosting recipe for decorating. Feel free to use and share your favorite frosting recipe here!


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Smoky Pan-Grilled Pork Chops

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and Lemon Broccolini

Truly aromatic and intense flavor in the rub for these chops. Outstanding. All plates were cleaned. I am not usually a fan of mashed potatoes unless they have the flavor that these do. No need for gravy although a bite of pork with a swipe of potatoes is necessary at least once. I used a regular "smoked" paprika instead of the HOT variety which you can create by adding 1/4 tsp ground red pepper to 1/2 tsp smoked paprika. I also opted for broccoli instead of broccolini because Fred Meyer doesn't have a very diverse produce section... maybe next time.

*For the lemon broccoli/ni: Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 bunches broccoli/ni, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; saute 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tsp. grated lemon rind.*


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Loaded Potato Soup

Comments (0) | Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Joe has made it very clear that he is NOT a fan of soup for dinner. I can get away with chili or stew but soup gets pushed to the back burner. And still I tear out recipes that sound delicious. Ones that make my mouth water. Because I... lover of anything that creates an excuse to also eat BREAD... love soup. So when the opportunity arises (after all, he leaves town on several occasions) I attempt a new recipe or two. This one... fantastic. Although I have to say the kids may be following in their father's path... the looks that I got when I called them to dinner were of pure disbelief. So the soup was mostly mine and they ate grilled cheese. Oh well.

*rather than cooking 3 bacon strips, I used the Hormel Real Bacon pieces, saving prep AND clean-up time*


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Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

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I've always been a huge fan of cabbage rolls but never really had the courage to attempt to make them. When I ran across this recipe I decided it was time. I admit you have to put forth a little initial effort. But when you turn the crockpot on, walk away and smell them cooking all day long, the effort seems more than worth it.

*serving suggestion, roasted potatoes and steamed veggies*

Slow-Cooked Cabbage Rolls

1 large head cabbage
1 egg, beaten
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3/4 cup quick cooking rice (I opted for the brown variety)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)
1 (1 oz.) packet onion soup mix
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 can (46 ounces) V8 Juice
salt to taste
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside 12 large leaves for rolls; drain well. Cut out thick vein from the bottom of each reserved leaf, making a V-shaped cut; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, tomato sauce, rice, green pepper, cracker crumbs and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Place about a 1/3 cup meat mixture on each cabbage leaf; overlap cut ends of leaf. Fold in sides, beginning from the cut end. Roll up completely to enclose filling. Secure with toothpicks if desired. (*this is one thing I would do differently... secure with toothpicks... some of my rolls ended up opening up while cooking*)

Place cabbage rolls in a 3-qt slow cooker. Pour V8 juice over rolls. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Just before serving sprinkle with salt and cheese if desired.


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Mexicali Chicken

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Incredibly easy, quick and wonderfully delicious. Even the kids enjoyed this one. I served it with a side of mexican rice and steamed green beans. I opted to broil rather than grill the chicken as our outside temperatures were likely below freezing at the time. Rarely having broiled a chicken breast, I was surprised at how tasty these turned out!

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking.

Mexicali Chicken

1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 tsp. taco seasoning
4 bacon strips, halved
4 slices provolone cheese
1 medium lime, cut into 4 wedges
In a small bowl combine tomato, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Chill until serving.
Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning; set aside. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from heat for 4-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170. Top with bacon and cheese; cook 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted. Top with salsa and squeeze lime wedge over the top.


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Appetizer Party

Comments (0) | Friday, January 7, 2011

I frequently pull out and file recipes for yummy looking appetizers and then have no excuse to ever try them out. For this reason I was ecstatic when my friend, Molly, invited us to her home for New Year's Eve and announced that it would be an "appetizer party", asking if I'd be willing to contribute to the menu. WOULD I?? I immediately ran to my recipe file, pulling out much anticipated recipes which yielded amazing results.


Blue Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
24 large fresh mushrooms
1 carton (8 oz.) reduced fat spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 green onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup Hormel REAL bacon bits, divided

Remove stems from mushrooms using a metal measuring teaspoon to scoop out a small indentation and set caps aside; discard stems. In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, onions, garlic and 1/4 cup bacon bits. Stuff into mushroom caps, a scant tablespoonful in each.

Place in a greased baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bacon bits. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 18-22 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Spinach Cheese Triangles

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 Tbsp butter

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp. soft bread crumbs

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

12 sheets phyllo dough

Butter-flavored cooking spray

In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in spinach; cook over medium-low heat just until spinach is warmed. Transfer to a large bowl; add the cheeses, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface with a long side facing you. Keep remaining dough covered to prevent drying out. Spray sheet with butter-flavored cooking spray; cut into 4 (9 x 3.5 inches) equal strips.

Place 1 Tbsp filling on lower corner of each strip. Fold dough over filling, forming a triangle. Fold triangle up then over, forming another triangle. Continue folding, like a flag, until you come to the end of the strip. Spritz end of dough with cooking spray and press onto triangle to seal. Turn triangle and spritz top with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Place triangles on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.


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Sesame-Soy Meatballs

Comments (0) | Thursday, January 6, 2011

Let me start by reminding you that when you don't see the recipe typed up in my post, it is linked within the name beneath the picture. Just click the name and it should take you right to the recipe. Since I utilize a lot of Cooking Light recipes, this is the layout for many of my posts.

Though the picture may not do it justice, this recipe was amazing. Brendan cleaned his plate and said sweetly "mommy, you always make such good dinner." I love that boy.

The only alteration to the original recipe is that (surprise, surprise) I left out the chile paste. If you enjoy spiciness (this family does not) then by all means, add it in. I'm sure it would be pleasing to the palate.

Serving suggestion: make a pot of rice substituting chicken broth for the water. When the rice is done cooking add garlic salt to taste and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Stir-fry some veggies in a small amount of olive oil and drizzle a small amount of soy sauce over veggies during last couple minutes of cooking. Serve meatballs over rice with veggies on the side.



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Gluten-Free Santa

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I have a very close friend whose daughter was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a condition which causes a person's body to become "allergic" to all things gluten. As a self-aclaimed foodie, I took it upon myself to keep the search out for tasteful gluten-free recipes. A hard task to manage as I had NO idea how many products had gluten amond the ingredients! But low and behold, one of my most favorite food magazines (Taste of Home Healthy Cooking) actually publishes a section of gluten-free recipes. Kudos ToH! So if your Santa is among the growing population adhering to a gluten-free diet, these cookies will be a hit :)

Gluten-Free Almond Crispies

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup almond flour (or almond meal)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

In a small bowl, beat the syrup, oil, water and extract until well blended. Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into syrup mixture until blended. Stir in almonds.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets; flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely.


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Cornbread-Topped BBQ Chicken

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No photo for this one. I apologize to those of you who look forward to my attempts at novice food photography. Casseroles are difficult to cast in an attractive light but this one is just too darn good (and easy) not to share. I don't even care how "white-trash" it may sound. It really is that good...

Cornbread-Topped BBQ Chicken

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (3 medium-sized chicken breasts)
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (8.5 oz.) box cornbread mix (such as Jiffy)
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375. In a saucepan, saute onion over medium-high heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook another 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chicken, barbecue sauce and broth. Transfer mixture to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish and set aside.

In a bowl, combine cornbread mix, egg, milk and cheese; stir just until combined. Spoon batter in mounds over chicken. Bake until cornbread is cooked through and juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

*Serve with a fresh green salad or steamed veggies.


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New Year

Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So I want to start this new year by apologizing for slacking on the food blog. I find myself getting overwhelmed when I think of how many recipes I've let slide without posting them to share. My blog resolution? To post at least 4 recipes per month. Think I can do it? I'll do my best...

But for now I want to share with you my system (because, after all, you may want a system of your own...) As many of you know, I subscribe to two of my most favorite food magazines, Cooking Light and Taste of Home Healthy Cooking. At my leisure and sometimes quite procrastinatorily (I think I just made that up...) I sit down and read each one and pull out recipes that I think I'd like to try. I file them away in an accordion file with headings like "Main Dishes" "Side Dishes" "Desserts" and "Drinks." Then when I sit down to do my weekly grocery shopping I pull out a few new recipes and make my shopping list. It keeps things interesting at mealtime for sure. And fortunately I have a loving and supportive husband who enjoys my kitchen theatrics and the fruits of my labor. But as you can see, I've been falling behind and for the last few months have fallen back on my "easy" meals, not feeling the motivation to keep up with the trend.

I'm feeling it now :) Watch out, here they come...


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