Saturday, December 27, 2008

Antipasto Pasta Salad

I made this for a Christmas luncheon we had at work and it turned out really good. I've been looking for a go-to pasta salad recipe and this is it. I made the salad and dressing the night before and mixed in the dressing about an hour before serving after reading some reviews. It kept the salad moist.

Antipasta Pasta Salad

1 pound seashell pasta
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
3. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad, and mix well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cheesey Bacon Dip

If I could choose a sixth food group, it would be dip. I could eat dip everyday, through sickness and health, til death do us part. diiiippppp.

This is one of my favorite dip recipes maninly because it combines two of the wonders of the food world. Cheese and bacon. It makes me tear up, its so beautiful.

Cheesey Bacon Dip
Print this Recipe


1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 bag of shredded cheese, mild or sharp
1 16 oz. jar of sour cream
3 oz jar of bacon pieces (recommended: Hormel)
1 cup of chopped green onions


1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and place in oven safe dish.

2. Cover in foil and cook for 35-45 minutes.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Pumpkin Puppers

This is my three year old lab named Roxy. She enjoys long walks, humping t-shirts, destroying remotes, and playing frisbee. Her favorite snacks are dog treats, dog treats, dog treats, and occasionally her own feces. I bet you're hungry now!

I decided to make my pretty girl some homemade dog treats after my mom recommended this recipe. She had purchased some of these at a bake sale and her picky dogs gobbled them right up so she asked for the recipe. (In case you are wondering, we asked a vet whether pumpkin was okay for dogs and he confirmed that its good for them!)

Pumpkin Puppers
Print this Recipe


4 Cups (500g) whole wheat flour
2 Cups (200g) wheat germ
1 15 Ounce can of pumpkin
1 Cup water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons Honey

1. place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.

2. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes.

3. Place cookies on an ungreased foil-lined baking sheet. and bake in a pre heated oven 325 degrees, for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

She loved them so much after I gave her one she followed me around for an hour.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let there be Cake Balls

This is part two of my Thanksgiving-I'm-not-just-bringing-chips throwdown. These are super easy but a bit on the sweet side. Anything that requires a box cake is a friend of mine. To make them less sweet, cut back on the amount of icing you put in.

Red Velvet Cake Balls
1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.) (I used 3/4 can)
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate
white chocolate (optional)
food coloring (optional)

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting.

3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.

4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

5. Melt chocolate in a saucepan on med-low, constantly stirring so chocolate doesn't burn.

6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

Optional: Melt white choclate in a saucepan until completely melted. Add food coloring and drizzle across balls while they are still wet.
I seriously thought my husband was going to cry when he saw me destroy the freshly made red velvet cake (his favorite).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Do the Oreo Truffle Shuffle

I made these truffles for the first time last year when the recipe was circulating the internet cooking world and I've never looked back. They are so simple to make and taste like they took hours! This year when I asked what I should bring to my husband's grandmother's house for Thanksgiving I was told potato chips for the evening leftover turkey sandwich meal. Chips? Thats it? I was very disappointed because it would have given me a reason to bake since I've been trying to cut back on my random baking sessions that has left my waist in expanding proportions.

So I decided to be a rebel and make some truffles and cake balls (post to follow). They could munch on these before and after the meal, plus they are a favorite of my husbands!

Oreo Truffles
Print This Recipe

1 package (3 sleeves) Oreos
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
16 oz semi-sheet chocolate

For decorating: (optional)
white chocolate
cookie crumbs

1. Crush Oreos either using a food processor or a freezer bag and a meat tenderizer (my preferred method). Mix cookie crumbs and cream cheese until when blended using a mixer or wooden spoon.

2. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Shape cookie mixture into one inch balls and place on sheet. Put baking sheet in freezer for 10-15 minutes so truffles can firm up.

3. Melt chocolate in saucepan on low, continuously stirring so chocolate doesn't burn. Once completely melted, dip balls into melted chocolate and place back on wax papered covered cookie sheet. I found that the easiest way is to use a fork in a spoonlike form. Not stabbing but ladling and allowing excess chocolate to drip back into pan through the prongs.

4. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs, sprinkles, or drip white chocolate onto the truffles to decorate. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Store in a tightly covered container or can be frozen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turkey Chimichangas

You know when your trying on your favorite jeans and you discover that they now resemble painted on denim? Yea, its about that time. I went a little crazy on the baked goods on here lately and my pants are cursing me for it. So I'm working some healthy recipes back into the rotation and cutting back on baked goods. I'll miss you, friend.

This recipe is originally from Weight Watchers but it used refried beans. Just the sound of it brings me back to to the old days of Chi-chi's restaurants and the rumors that they would scrape the leftover beans onto the next guest's plate. Gives me nightmares, so the beans were out.

The best part of this recipe is that they are incredibly filling and very good! So good I made them twice in one week! AND my anti-healthy food husband also enjoyed them!

Turkey Chimichangas
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1 lb ground turkey
1 small red onion
1 green pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 can diced chilies, drained
8 oz of salsa plus additional for dipping
1 cup lowfat cheddar or taco cheese
1 serving cooking spray (5 1-second sprays)
low or non-fat sour cream for dipping
6 burrito sized tortillas


1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Coat a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add turkey, onion, and green pepper to skillet until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and add salsa, chilies, and chili powder. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in cheese until starts to melt.

3. Assemble chimichangas by evenly distributing mixture among tortillas. Fold in sides and roll up. Place in prepared baking dish and cook for 20 minutes, until tortilla are crisp. Optional: Place under broil for a minute to brown. Serve with 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon sour cream

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Best Oatmeal Cookies

This month I participated in an online recipe exchange and the theme was Fall Favorites. I was lucky enough to not get some crazy chicken pumpkin ice cream or something.

This recipe came with the name Best Oatmeal Cookie and while I can say that they don't beat my mother's neighbor's oatmeal cookies (I swear he slips a bit of crack in those babies) these came pretty damn close!

They are more cakey than cookie...y? cookiey, is that a word? Whatever, you catch my drift! I'll definitely make these again until I can break into that cookie crack dealer's house and steal his secret recipe.
I subsituted dried cranberries for the pecans because, less face it, I'm too cheap to pay 5.99 for a bag of nuts that I could live without. It's a recession, people! I also ditched the vanilla because I forgot to grab some at the store. Oh, and I have no clue what rolled oats are so I just grabbed some regular Quaker Oats. Readers, help?

Best Oatmeal Cookies

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I subsituted 1 cup dried cranberries)


1. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, raisins, and vanilla. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed. Next, stir in the egg and raisin mixture, then stir in the rolled oats and pecans. Dough will be stiff. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

I had this recipe saved for a while from Good Things Catered. Luckily I had almost all the ingredients. Except for cloves, but they remind me of those nasty clove cigarettes that the hippies always smoke at the bar. NO THANKS.

These bars were great! Very easy to throw together on a whim.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars
Source:Good Things Catered
Print This Recipe

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves (omitted)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

3. In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Fold in apples.

4. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cookies

After making these cookies, they are my new favorite cookie. I can't wait to pimp them out to my family and friends at Christmas. They are a chocolate lover's dream!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from: Very Best Baking
PrintThis Recipe


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 5 Dozen Cookies

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

My boss loves peanut butter so I went in search of a great recipe to make him for Boss's Day. I wanted something really simple since I needed it for the next day and didn't have too much time that night. Well, my prayers were answered. This recipe is incredibly simple and oh so very good. Everyone loved it and I had a couple of coworkers ask for the recipe!

My decorating could use some practice but I blame my method of using one of those condiment bottles for the topping. About half way through the fudge stripes ::giggle:: it got some air in it and went pbfffffffffff all over my pretty pie. Their method of using a plastic baggie was much more clean.

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie
Print this Recipe

1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 cup Creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups (12 oz) cool whip
1 (11.75 oz) jar hot fudge ice cream topping

2 T peanut butter
2 T hot fudge


1. In a medium bowl, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipped topping. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

2. Reserving 2 tablespoons of hot fudge, place remaining hot fudge into microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge over pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

3. Place the 2 Tbs. hot fudge in a small baggie and knead for a few seconds. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 Tbs. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia

This past weekend I was watching my nephew Cooper. Doesn't he have the sad, I-could-really-use-a-treat look down to a science?

Well, my lab Roxy doesn't really care for other dogs. She doesn't fight or hurt them but she thinks they smell and prefers to hang out with their owners. Do you see how she's leaning as far away from him as possible in this pic? Like "don't touch me. don't touch me. DON'T touch ME!"

So during the day I decided to do some baking since I couldn't leave them alone for too long. I decided to make this focaccia. I got the idea to add the rosemary and onion from Panera. My favorite bread there is the Rosemary and Onion focaccia. It turned out so good!

It's great to eat by itself or to use for paninis with some turkey, cheese, and pesto. I made my husband a sandwich that night when he came home from being out all day. The first thing he said was, "This bread is really good. How much was it?" The sweet smell of success.

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia
Adapted from: Amber's Delectable Delights and
Print this Recipe

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 small red onion , thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2. Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy. (it wasn't noticably rised for me.
I thought I did something wrong but it came out fine)

4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

6. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary and parmesan. Cover the dough with the onion rings.

7. Bake the bread till it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

8. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Save the Tatas!

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I've been lucky enough in my life to have never been directly affected by breast cancer but the importance of awareness has never been more evident. In 2008 alone, it's estimated that 182,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For more information or to donate to breast cancer research, visit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
I thought it would be nice to make something for all the women in my life for Breast Cancer Awareness month. So I made pink lemonade cupcakes. They are super easy (they use a box cake!) and they turned out really good. The buttercream lacked a bit of flavor after I mixed it so I added a few ingredients to give it some more umph. Also, one batch of the buttercream wasn't enough for me so I had to make an emergency additional half-batch of it. I ended up having some leftover so I froze it for another time.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 1/8 cup (9 oz) frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
White cake mix
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Non-stick spray
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream Icing (recipe follows)

* For a less tart cupcake,try reducing the amount of pink lemonade. 3/8 cup water and 3/4 cup pink lemonade will cut the tartness.


1. In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don’t end up with dry cupcakes).

2. Spray each cupcake liner with the non-stick spray and spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups between 2/3 and 3/4 full). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cook 5 minutes.

3.Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack. Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes.

Lemon Buttercream Icing (this is the original serving size)

3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Red food color

my additions:
1 T vanilla extract
1 T lemon extract

1. Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and food coloring (if using) to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink.

2. Add the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 2D tip and ice the cupcakes.

*Icing can be frozen for 3-6 months. To reuse: thaw and remix to fluff.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Applesauce Spice Bars

Oh Dorie, you've done it again! This is another recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. If you don't already own this cookbook, I highly recommend it. Everything I've made from it so far has been great!

I was thinking of mixing it up next time I make them and using caramel chips. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the glaze. Its the best part!

Applesauce Spice Bars
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours
Print this Recipe

For the Bars:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp applejack, brandy, or dark rum (optional) (I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum)
1 baking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (omitted)

For the Glaze:
2-1/2 tbsp heavy cream (I used half and half)
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the inside of the pan with flour. Tap out the excess flour and put the pan on a baking sheet.

2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla and applejack, if you're using it, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and let the cake cool while you make the glaze.

5. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the man over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

6. Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper and invert the bars onto another rack, so they are right side up. Slide the parchment paper under the rack to serve as a drip catcher, (I omitted this step and left the bars in the pan to glaze. No one died.) grab a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the bars, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Let them cool to room temperature before you cut them.

My Perfected Chicken Parm

I've been trying to perfect my chicken parmesan recipe for the past few months, trying different ingredients out to find the best combinations. The secret, I've discovered, is using panko breadcrumbs and provolone cheese, instead of mozzerella. If you aren't familar with panko, you can typically locate it in the ethnic food aisle with the japanese products. Panko has a crispier, airier texture than regular breadcrumbs.

Chicken Parmesan
Print this Recipe
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; pounded thin
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 T Italian seasoning
1 egg
4 T olive oil
13 oz spaghetti sauce (1/2 of a regular sized jar)
4 pieces of provolone cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a saute pan with the olive oil and heat to medium-high. Mix together panko and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Beat egg in another shallow dish. Place chicken, one by one, in egg mixture to coat then transfer to panko mixture and coat evenly.

2. Place chicken in heated pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is browned and crispy. In a baking dish, evenly spread a small portion of the sauce across the bottom of the pan.

3. Place the chicken in the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the chicken. Pour parmesan cheese over the chicken and place a slice of provolone cheese on each piece of chicken. Cook for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to brown. If after 20 minutes the cheese isn't melting, place under broiler for a few minutes until it melts.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scalloped Tomatoes

I was digging through all my Mother-in-Law's old church cookbooks this past weekend and came across this recipe. The books were so old that the advertisements that local businesses could buy up were written out in pen. This particular recipe came from the 1958 edition! I changed a few things up but it came out really good and super easy!

Scalloped Tomatoes
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4 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh and removed all seeds)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
3 pieces of wheat bread (crumbled)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 T sugar (or splenda)
1 T basil
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together diced and sundried tomatoes and mix in salt, pepper, and basil. Place in a casserole dish.
2. In a separate dish, mix together bread crumbs, sugar, and butter. Place on top of the tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sour Cream and Onion Chicken

Yes, its called sour cream and onion chicken, yet it doesn't contain either ingredient. The filling is rich and creamy and tastes similar to sour cream and onion chips.

Sour Cream and Onion Chicken
Print this Recipe

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chives
1/2 stick butter, softened
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cream cheese, chives, and butter. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay flat and spread filling across chicken. Roll up chicken and place in a baking sheet. Spread any additional filling on top of the chicken. Cook for 1 hour.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Baking: From My Home to Yours is one of my favorite cookbooks. In fact, Dorie Greenspan and I are BFFs. If you don't believe me check this out Do you see that right below the last picture? Having Dorie comment on my blog ranks right up in great days of my life, just behind the birth of my Dyson vaccuum cleaner and my wedding day, in that order. :)

These brownies are great! Heavy on the fudginess and light on the cakiness. I think I will omit the nuts altogether next time and maybe add some white chocolate chips or Andes mints, instead.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
Print this Recipe
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Brownies:
1/2 cup all- purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 T strong coffee
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces premium- milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought milk choc. chips
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup store- bought white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet. Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.

2. To Make the Brownies: Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted- you don't want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

3. Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don't beat too vigorously- you don't want to add air to the batter- and don't be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you're not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan.

4. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

5. To Make the Glaze: Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. ( Please see my recommended changes)

6. Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don't worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for at least 30 minutes, or until the glaze is firm.

Recommended changes: I lost a lot of my glaze when adding it to the top of brownies as instructed. Next time, I would place them back into the pan, or not take them out, and add the glaze with the brownies still in it. This would keep the glaze from oozing all over the place and making me sad. I hate sad.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here's another idea to get rid of all those tomatoes from your garden. I love cooking with sun-dried tomatoes but I can't afford to buy them as frequently as I'd like. They take a lot of time but very little effort. I just popped those puppies in the oven and went on with my day.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes
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sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take tomatoes, slice in half, and remove seeds . I wait until the tomatoes are already starting to prune a bit to use them. I prefer romas but any tomato will do. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay tomatoes out, cut side up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

2. Place in oven and bake until tomatoes are shriveled and feel dry, between 6-8 hours. Store in a jar of olive oil with fresh herbs and garlic. make sure the tomatoes are completely covered with the oil.

**Oil will harden when refrigerated but when brought back to room temperature will convert back to liquid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tomato Soup: All Grown Up

Imagine your old, regular can of Campbell's Tomato Soup. Now add some onion, tomato chunks, a little cream, and a whole lotta sherry! Voila!

This is another one of Pioneer Woman's fabulous recipes. I loved it but my husband was a bit thrown off by the sherry. Whatever, more for me. It's a great way to get rid of some of those excess tomatoes that everyone is throwing at you right now!

Sherried Tomato Soup
Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks
Print this Recipe


6 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes (or 3 1/2-4 cups fresh, diced tomatoes)
1 to 3 tablespoons chicken base
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar (used splenda)
Pinch of salt
Black Pepper
1 cup cooking sherry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (used light cream)
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh basil


1. Melt butter in a stockpot and saute onions until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil and turn off heat.

2. Add in sherry and cream and stir. Add parsley and basil to taste. (I added 2 T dried parsley and 1 T. dried basil)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Iced (Kinda) Lemon Poundcake

Apparently, you can get in a lot of trouble for copying trademark recipes from well-known chains. So for the sake of me not going to jail, we will call this *Shmarbuck's Iced Lemon Poundcake.

I used to work within walking distance from a *Shmarbuck's and love, love, loved their iced lemon poundcake. Now the closest *Shmarbuck's is 30 miles away! That has to be a crime, right? Most places have these coffee shops every 50 ft and on every corner but I digress. Anyway, I've been on a bit of a lemon kick lately so I figured I'd try to find a really-similar-but-not-the-same-because-then-I'd-be-arrested recipe. Unfortunately, it was no where near the same as *Shmarbuck's but fortunately, it was still awesome!

My favorite part of *Shmarbuck's is the dense icing the sits on top. Well, this "icing" just absorbed into the cake. BUT it made it incredibly moist and lemony. Its also much more light and airy. Also, the recipe lied and said it makes one loaf pan. Well, one overflowing loaf pan and a 8x8 cake pan later I realized it must have been a misprint. Next time, (and my husband is already begging me to make it again) I will use a 9x13 and I think it will be perfect.

Iced Lemon Poundcake
Source: Kitchenlink
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Lemon Glaze-
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.

2. Beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric hand-held mixer; gradually add oil, beating until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon extract.

3. Pour batter into a prepared pan. Bake at 300F for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
4. Lemon Glaze: Combine glaze ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Spoon glaze over top, a little at a time. Let lemon pound cake cool completely.

*Name has been changed so I don't go to the Penn.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beer Butt Chicken

I've been reading a ton of blogs lately of authors who have made beer butt chicken, or beer can chicken as others call it. I was feeling intrigued to give it a try. At first I didn't think there was anyway that we'd have enough propane to last three hours but fortunately, I was wrong. The final result was very tasty! I wish I would have had a meat thermometer, though, because I think I overcooked it a bit. Overall, it was much easier than expected!

I chose a recipe from that had great reviews.

Beer Butt Chicken
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
1 (4 pound) whole chicken

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for low heat. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 cup butter. Mix in 1 tablespoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, salt, and pepper.

2. Discard 1/2 the beer, leaving the remainder in the can. Add remaining butter, garlic salt, paprika, and desired amount of salt and pepper to beer can. Place can on a disposable baking sheet. Set chicken on can, inserting can into the cavity of the chicken. Baste chicken with the melted, seasoned butter.

3. Place baking sheet with beer and chicken on the prepared grill. Cook over low heat for about 3 hours, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frozen Lemon Cupcakes

These are a great refreshing treat for summer!

Frozen Lemon Cupcakes
Print this Recipe
*Makes around 12 cupcakes

Lemon Cream
1 cup sugar
Juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
2 cups whipping cream


1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
2 tablespoons sugar


1. Making lemon cream: combine sugar and lemon juice and rind in a large bowl. Gradually beat in cream.

2. To make the bottom crust: melt butter in a pan over low heat and stir in crushed graham crackers, corn flakes, and sugar. Remove from heat.

3. Press down crust mixture into the bottom of a silicon cupcake holder or cupcake liner. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Unmold and top with a jellied lemon slice or a small berry of some kind.