Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Pops

Let me start off by saying...as cute as these little babies are, they were a pain. And I mean a major pain in the neck. These were without a doubt the most frustrating thing I've made since I've started cooking and baking. I spent the entire evening on these, and I can count the number of cute ones on one hand. I put too much icing in the cake, the candy melts were not melting like they should, the cake balls were defrosting way quicker than I could dip them in the chocolate, the edible marker I just bought today was not writing well on the chocolate at all, and well...that's just to name a few things that went wrong. I ended up wiping the edible marker off several times on some of them before they dried and tried again. Some of them turned out very ugly. But some of them did turn out pretty cute.

I will definitely be trying to make cake pops again, because they are so darn cute and there are so many things to make them into. I really hope that the phrase, "practice makes perfect," proves to be true when it comes to cake pops, because I don't know how many more times I can handle making them like I did tonight. I only used half of the cake/icing mix before I got tired of it. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow because I have some more bags of candy melts too.


Pumpkin Cake Pops
from Bakerella, written as I made them

Ingredients:
1 box of cake mix + ingredients from box to make 13x9 cake (I used white cake)
3/4 of a 16 oz. can of icing (I used vanilla)
2- 14 oz. bags of orange candy melts
~20 green Mike and Ike candies, cut in half
edible ink pen (black)
~40 lollipop sticks
styrofoam block

Make the cake using the directions on the box. Let cool completely. Working in large chunks, crumble cake into a large bowl. Mix in icing; stir until mixed well. Using a cookie dough scooper, scoop balls, then roll in hand until they are perfectly round. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Melt a few candy melts, stick about 1/2" of a lollipop stick into the chocolate, then push halfway into the cake ball. Continue with the rest of the cake balls. Stick back into the freezer for about an hour, or until they are pretty firm.

Melt about 1/2 a package of candy melts at a time (so it doesn't harden too quickly). Dip cake pops into the chocolate, then swirl/tap excess chocolate off. Before the chocolate dries, stick a Mike and Ike on the top. Stick into the styrofoam block and let chocolate dry completely. Draw on faces with edible markers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pizza

I've always been a big fan of Subway. One of my favorite subs there is the Chicken and Bacon Ranch, except that it can become pretty full of calories pretty quick. I have been thinking about making chicken and bacon ranch subs at home for a few weeks now and it actually sounded really good for dinner tonight. But, sadly enough, I had already planned on having Buffalo Chicken Pizza, with a pizza dough ball and 8 oz. of chicken defrosting. Dinner kept getting closer and closer, and my beloved Buffalo Chicken Pizza was still not sounding so good, so I tried thinking of other options. My mind just kept going back to the Chicken and Bacon Ranch subs, and then I thought, "Why not a Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pizza?!"

Well, this pizza was great! I'm not going to lie and say that this will keep me away from the subs from Subway (loaded with ranch dressing and cheese!), but maybe make my trips a little less frequent. I will definitely be making this pizza again!


Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pizza
Original Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1/4 c. ranch dressing
2 pcs. bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
8 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until just done. Let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough ball into a circle. Spread with ranch dressing, leaving about 1/2" around the edges. Top with chicken and bacon. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the pizza. Bake on pizza stone for about 30 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown and get bubbly.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken and Coconut Lime Rice

Mr. Z and I eat a lot of chicken...and I do mean a lot! We eat chicken probably five times a week, which means if I am not constantly on the lookout for new chicken recipes, we get bored very quickly. I usually lean toward something buffalo style or something I've at least heard of before. But, lately I've tried to get out of that comfort zone, and I've ended up finding so many new things that I like! Not that you can really tell by my blog, but I am a very picky eater, so this is a big feat for me!

This meal was excellent. I was pretty nervous about using fish sauce, because I've only used it once before. In fact, when Mr. Z walked in the door from work as a was starting the chicken, he said, "What is that smell!?" It smelled like fish sauce and nothing else for the first little while, so that made me even more nervous, but I am glad I finished cooking it and tried it, because it was delicious! I served this with Coconut Lime Rice after seeing a comment on the recipe on Joelen's blog.


Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken with Coconut Lime Rice

chicken recipe from Joelen's Culinary Adventures, written as I made it
rice recipe from MyRecipes.com, written as I made it

Vietnamese Style Caramel Chicken
Ingredients:
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. water, separated
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces

Heat brown sugar and 1/4 c. water in a large pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture is bubbling.

Stir in the remaining 1/4 c. water, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper and stir well. Add chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce starts to thicken. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until sauce gets very thick and sticky.

Coconut Lime Rice
Ingredients:
1 c. light coconut milk
1 1/4 c. water
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 c. instant rice

Bring coconut milk and water to a boil. Add rice and cook according to package instructions. In the last minute of cooking, add lime zest and lime juice.

Bang Bang Shrimp

We've had a Bonefish Grill in town for about 3 years now. I had never been there, though, until about a month ago when we were invited to dinner there. I was under the assumption that it was very expensive, food that was just okay, and overall very "chain"-y. Boy, was I wrong! The first thing that I loved about the restaurant was when we walked in and had a 20 minute wait, they had servers walking around with samples of their most popular appetizers, including Ahi Tuna Sashimi and Bang Bang Shrimp. I am not a fan at all of anything mayonnaise based, but I absolutely loved the Bang Bang Shrimp, and they definitely convinced me to order it as an appetizer for our table.

By the time dinner was over, if I wasn't already convinced that I would be returning, on our receipt there was a coupon for a free Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer for our next visit. Mr. Z and I returned the next week and got our free appetizer. Yum!

While we will continue to go back from time to time, I really wanted to find something similar to make at home. That way, I could try to make it a little healthier (Ha! It's still not healthy, but I bet a lot better than Bonefish Grill's version!), as well as being able to have that delicious dish without having to spend $75 on dinner for the two of us. I struck gold when I found this recipe- with a few small tweaks that I made, it tastes very similar to the original version (I made double the sauce because Mr. Z likes a lot of sauce on food). I served it over jasmine rice, because that's what I had on hand- delicious!


Bang Bang Shrimp
from FoodNetwork.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 c. mayonnaise
3 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. rice vinegar
vegetable oil (enough to cover about 1/2" of the pan)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/2 plain breadcrumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Mix mayonnaise, chili sauce, honey, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Mix flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Working in two batches, dip half the shrimp into the flour mixture, then in the beaten eggs, then back into the flour mixture, making sure to coat completely. Place shrimp in the hot oil; cook about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel to let the oil drip off. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Put shrimp into a large bowl, then pour sauce on top and toss to coat completely.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pudding Pops

I've had this recipe saved since I first saw it on my Google Reader, which was oh...only about 6 weeks ago! And, believe it or not, I bought pudding mix to make this oh...only about 6 weeks ago. But, with everything going on, I kept forgetting about it.

Well, when I looked at the calendar and realized summer (and the season for popsicles!) is almost over, I decided I needed to make these ASAP! I pulled out my new popsicle molds and two packages of banana cream pie pudding mix and got to work. These were so good- I'd even venture to say they were better than store bought popsicles- and even better was the fact that they are so customizable. I liked these so much that I might even be a rebel and make them in other flavors well into fall!


Pudding Pops
from Proceed with Caution, written as I made it

Ingredients:
2 3.4 oz. pkgs. instant pudding (I used banana cream pie flavor)
3 c. cold milk

In a large bowl, mix pudding and milk together until smooth. Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions on ice cream maker. Transfer to popsicle molds and freeze until popsicles are completely frozen.

Chicken Parmesan

I think chicken parmesan is very hard to mess up. I mean, it's pretty great no matter where you get it or who made it. However, that said, there are some places that are much, much better than others. Mr. Z and I both especially love homemade chicken parmesan. Mr. Z loves when I make it, and I love when Mr. Z makes it from time to time.

We don't really use a recipe per se. It is so simple to make, that we just kind of made up the recipe as we went along the first time we made it, using many different recipes as inspiration. I wasn't sure if I should post a recipe for this dish because of the fact that it is so easy and simple. But I figured, what the heck? I may help someone make a delicious meal if they don't already have a good recipe!


Chicken Parmesan
Original Recipe

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied then cut in half
1/2 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
mozzarella cheese for topping
1 lb. spaghetti
16 oz. spaghetti sauce

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Mix breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in flour, covering completely. Dip into beaten egg, then in breadcrumb mixture.

Put chicken into the oil, and cook for about 6 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked and the outside starts to brown. Take chicken out of the oil, and set aside for several minutes to let the oil drip off. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put chicken on cookie sheet and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 8 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on box. Mix in sauce. Serve chicken over spaghetti.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cashew Chicken

After a long day yesterday, I did not feel like spending an hour making dinner. But, I had already taken chicken breasts out for dinner, so I wanted to make something instead of going out. I did what I do every time I need to find something to make for dinner...searched my Google Reader!

Luckily for me, last weekend I went through all my starred recipes and labeled them so it's much easier for me to find what I need. I was really looking for a recipe using ingredients I already had on hand, and this one fit the bill. I had everything at home already, except for the green onions, which is why I left them out. I also didn't feel like waiting around for the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes like the recipe says, so I didn't. This meal was great served with rice. I've never actually tried cashew chicken at a Chinese restaurant, so I don't have anything to compare it to. But now that I have this recipe, I won't even need to get it at a restaurant!


Cashew Chicken

from Milk & Honey, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, separated
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil, separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c. cashews

Mix sherry, ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Toss chicken with the mixture and set aside. In another bowl, mix chicken broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tsp. cornstarch.

Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until it starts to brown, or about 8 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Add 1 tsp. oil, garlic, and cashews to the pan. Cook until garlic softens, or about 1 minute. Add chicken back to the pan, whisk the chicken broth mixture, and add sauce to pan. Cook until sauce starts to bubble and thicken (about 3 minutes). Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mini Caramel Apples

Okay, so these probably don't technically count as a recipe, but they were so cute, I had to share! These were so easy to make! I made them tonight at someone else's house for a small family get together, and they were devoured. I forgot my camera, so I was hoping to bring a couple home to take pictures of, but I had no such luck...by time I went back in to grab a few, they were gone! Luckily, I took a couple pictures with Mr. Z's phone beforehand, just in case. I would like to apologize for them being pretty crappy pictures, though.

I made these just to eat by themselves and just because I thought they were adorable, but I just know I will come up with some other cute ideas for them and make them again very soon!


Mini Caramel Apples
from From Glitter to Gumdrops, written as I made it

Ingredients:
4 medium sized apples (I used Golden Delicious)
1-11 oz. bag of caramel bits (or you could use the individually wrapped caramels)
toothpicks

Using a melon baller, scoop balls out of the apple (I got about 8 balls out of each apple).
Stick toothpicks into the top (skin) side of each apple. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Melt caramel according to the package. Dip apple pieces into the caramel and let excess drip off the bottom. Place upright on the wax paper. Refrigerate until caramel starts to firm.

Note: I would definitely suggest adding water little by little to melt the caramel. The package called for 2 tbsp. of water for the whole bag of caramel, which I used. The caramel ended up being way too watery and most of the caramel slipped off the apples.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chicken Piccata

I never actually tried chicken piccata until about two and a half years ago. Mr. Z and I went to a meeting with a potential caterer to do a taste test, and they prepared samples of their most popular foods. We ended up using them to cater our wedding. To me, the decision was made after I tasted the chicken piccata. I wondered why I waited 20-something years to try this amazing dish. Honestly, I don't think anyone's rendition could ever measure up to the one at our wedding, but this one comes pretty darn close.

I have been making this since right after our wedding on a pretty regular basis, but I just checked back and realized I never blogged about it. We like to serve this with pasta to make a full meal. I could definitely eat this a couple times a month with no complaints.


Chicken Piccata
from SimplyRecipes.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied then cut in half
salt and pepper
1/4 c. flour + 2 tbsp. flour, separated
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter, separated
1/2 c. chicken broth
splash of white wine
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge in 1/4 c. flour. Heat olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts to the pan and cook about 6 minutes on each side, or until browned. Set chicken breasts aside.

Add 2 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. butter, chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and capers, and deglaze the pan. Cook until sauce starts to bubble. Add chicken breasts back to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately over pasta.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Yoplait Whips Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Yoplait Whips Giveaway, as chosen by random.org is was entry #3, Tyler from Tyler's Taste Tests!

Tyler, you have been contacted via e-mail. Congratulations and thank you all for entering!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yoplait Whips Giveaway

I guess you could call me a yogurt freak. See, I'm not big on dairy. Yes, I do eat ice cream, but that's not an every day occurrence. Sometimes I like cheese, but even that's not every day. So, in order to get my daily calcium in, I eat quite a bit of yogurt- all kinds of yogurt.

MyBlogSpark contacted me and asked me to write a review Yoplait Whips. These have only recently began to pop up in stores around here, so I was excited to try them. They come in 9 different flavors- Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Raspberry, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Burst, Orange Crème, Peaches 'N Cream, Raspberry Mousse, Strawberry Mist, and Vanilla Crème.

I tried the Strawberry Mist. I put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before eating it. And let me tell you, what a great idea! I had never really thought of freezing yogurt before seeing Yoplait Whips commercials, but it was delicious. I ate it as dessert, and it really hit the spot. These yogurts are great as a low calorie snack or dessert.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark are giving away a Yoplait Whips prize pack to one of my readers! The prize pack includes a canvas cooler bag, a coupon to try Yoplait Whips, and a set of 4 ice cream shaped popsicle molds.


Giveaway Rules:
-Leave a comment telling me your favorite flavor of Yoplait Whips or the flavor you would most like to try. Please also include your email address.
-This giveaway will end Sunday, September 5 at 11:59pm (EST). I will use random.org and announce the winner here on Monday.

A complimentary sample of this product, along with information and the prize pack, was provided courtesy of Yoplait through My Blog Spark. No other form of compensation was received and opinions are all my own.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

My aunt made this fruit salsa several months ago at a family get together, and I have not stopped thinking about it since! I gave her a call the other day to get the recipe so I could finally eat some of this again. It is a recipe that apparently her family has been passing around for quite a while now, so I'm not sure of the original source.

It took me over an hour (seriously!) to make this fruit salsa, but it could not be easier. And it was well worth the time. It also makes quite a bit- I have about half of it left still after a couple days. It's one of those recipes that gets better if it sits for a little while before eating...but, I certainly didn't let it sit before trying it. This recipe was the hit of the party when my aunt made it, and I'll definitely be using it for an upcoming party.


Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
from my aunt

Fruit Salsa
Ingredients:
1 lb. strawberries, diced into small pieces
2 kiwi, peeled and diced into small pieces
8 oz. raspberries, roughly chopped (I used frozen)
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, and diced into small pieces (I used Golden Delicious)
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. any flavor fruit preserves (I used raspberry because that's what I had)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir gently until well mixed.

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Ingredients:
10-10" flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
1/4 cinnamon sugar, more or less to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas into triangles (I cut 12 chips from each tortilla). Arrange on a cookie sheet, slightly overlapping each other. Spray generously with cooking spray and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the chips start to brown.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ok, this recipe is hands down, one of the best things I make. It is so simple, so quick...and SO good! I have said many times that I love, love, love buffalo chicken anything. And pizza's alright too. I don't love pizza, but every once in a while, I do crave it. But, one way to make something go from alright to amazing is to buffalo chicken-ize it!

I've been making this pizza since Mr. Z and I got married, and it's on our regular rotation. We have this pizza about once every few weeks. For some reason, I've never thought to blog about it because it's so simple, but when I made it a few days ago, I decided to go ahead and blog it. My buffalo chicken pizza is all buffalo chicken-y. No tomato sauce, onions, or celery...not my style. This recipe is great! If you are a huge buffalo chicken fan like I am, you have to try this recipe!


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Original Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 c. Frank's Buffalo Wing sauce
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1/4 c. bleu cheese dressing
8 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until just done. Add butter and buffalo wing sauce and mix well to fully coat all of the chicken. Let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough ball into a circle. Spread with bleu cheese dressing, leaving about 1/2" around the edges. Top with chicken. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the pizza. Bake on pizza stone for about 30 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown and get bubbly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crab Cakes

I either love crab cakes or hate them. Crab cakes are one of those things that are very easy to mess up. The number one way to screw them up is to put too much filler. If I can't even tell that there is crab meat in there, that's a problem. But, if you don't put enough other ingredients in there, they'll fall apart, which also creates a problem. I've made crab cakes before, and they've always turned out pretty good, but these...these are pretty amazing. They're very simple, but that's the way I like it so you can really taste the crab. Seriously, these are definitely going to become part of my regular rotation of meals. I may or may not have already made them twice in the past two days! I came up with this recipe on my own, after flipping through a bunch of recipes that were not exactly what I was looking for. Also, I made this recipe only for myself- it only made two decent sized crab cakes, so if you are cooking for more than one, you may want to at least double it.


Crab Cakes
Original Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 stalk of green onion
6 oz. can of crab meat, drained
1 egg
1/2 c. Italian style panko
pinch of salt and pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Heat 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add green onions and saute until they are soft. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Put crab meat, egg, panko, salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cooked onions in a mixing bowl. With a spoon, stir gently until well mixed. Divide mixture into two equal parts with your hands and make a patty out of each.

Heat the remaining 1/2 tsp. of olive oil in the same pan you cooked the onion in, over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side, turn over, and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

Because I've been out of town and just busy in general, the bowl of my ice cream maker has been sitting in my freezer empty for almost 2 months now. Last night, I had enough, so I went searching for a new (and different) ice cream flavor.

I am not a fan of peanut butter and jelly at all, but oddly enough, I sometimes randomly have cravings for it. When I saw this recipe, I decided to try it, but was not convinced that I'd like it. Turns out, I did like it! But, just liked it. But, I guess that's to be expected for a non-fan of PB&J. Mr. Z, on the other hand, loved it. So I say, if you like PB&J, try it...I'm sure you'll love it too!


Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream
from Laura's Recipe Collection, written as I made it

Ingredients:
3/4 c. smooth peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 2/3 c. half and half
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. grape jelly, stirred well

Combine peanut butter, sugar, half and half, salt, and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl; blend with a hand mixer until well mixed and smooth. Put the mixture in the refrigerator and chill for one hour. Pour in ice cream maker, and freeze according to ice cream maker directions (mine was about 25-30 minutes).

Mix in the jelly with a spoon until it is evenly distributed throughout the ice cream. Put the bowl in the freezer until it is completely frozen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These are pretty similar to the "Crab" Stuffed Mushrooms I made a few months back, but they were so good, I figured they deserved their own post. On a recent trip to Sam's Club, I bought a 4-pack of huge portobello mushrooms, and last night I finally decided to make them. I love portobello mushrooms, mainly because of their versatility, but also because they are pretty hearty...sometimes I even cook them in the oven and use them in place of meat on a hamburger bun.

Like the last time I made stuffed mushrooms, I came up with my own recipe, adding things here and there until it tasted just right. These were delicious...both Mr. Z and myself loved them. I made all four, so we had leftovers for him to bring to lunch today, which he was very excited about. I would definitely make these again soon...as soon as I can get back down to Sam's Club to buy another pack of portobellos!


Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Original Recipe

Ingredients:
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. crab meat, chopped into small pieces
3/4 c. Italian blend shredded cheese
1 stalk of green onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. Italian style panko
4 tsp. shredded parmesan cheese

Place mushrooms stem-side down on a cookie sheet; broil for about 5 minutes. Take out a set aside. Turn oven to 400 degrees.

Mix cream cheese, crab meat, cheese, onions, and panko; stir until well mixed. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts. Turn mushrooms stem-side up, and fill each with 1/4 of the mixture. Press down with your hands to fill the whole top. Top each mushroom with 1 tsp. parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese gets brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Angelo Pizza

Yes, I do realize that it has been over a month since I've updated my blog. But, you have to forgive me...I've spent much of the past month on several trips out of town, helping people move, helping fix up a house, and well, you get the point. Anyways, I hope to get back into the groove now that I'm home on a regular basis again.

We used to have a Buca di Beppo about 10 minutes down the road, until they tore it down and put another big chain restaurant there. It was one of those places that we'd pass by every time and say, "oh, we should go there sometime soon," but when it came time to choose a restaurant to go out to, we'd forget about it. I liked it...it wasn't my favorite, but it was pretty decent compared to most restaurants we have around here. Every time we went there, we ordered the same. exact. thing. We got chicken parmesan and...Angelo pizza! We'd always have a ton of leftovers, but chicken parmesan was non-negotiable for Mr. Z, and Angelo pizza was non-negotiable for me.

The other day, when I drove by where Buca di Beppo used to be, I thought about that pizza, and couldn't get the darn thing out of my head. I decided to attempt it on my own...and, oh my goodness, was this pizza amazing! It was even better than the Buca di Beppo version. I came up with this recipe up from what I remembered the pizza being.


Angelo Pizza
Original Recipe, idea from Buca di Beppo

Ingredients:
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1/2 c. alfredo sauce (I used jarred sauce)
8 oz. Italian blend shredded cheese
4 oz. chicken breast, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. baby bella mushrooms
2 slices prosciutto, chopped
1/2 medium potato, sliced very thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour corn on a cookie sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until it starts to brown, stirring halfway through.

Roll dough ball into a circle. Spread with alfredo sauce, leaving about 1/2" around the edges. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the pizza. Top with chicken, roasted corn, mushrooms, prosciutto, and potatoes. Bake on pizza stone for about 30 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown and get bubbly.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Turkey Italian Sausage Sandwiches

Yikes. So, it's been a week since my last post. In my defense, I have been out of town for several days. And before I went out of town, I wanted to get my house cleaned and our laundry washed because no one likes coming home to a messy house! I cleaned this place from top to bottom, inside and out! I love when my house is clean! I'd much rather Mr. Z clean it than me, but you know, sometimes you gotta' do what you gotta' do!

Anyway, since I've been back in town, I haven't been cooking that much because we have had so much going on (two evening meetings this week so far and Mr. Z working late one night). So, that has left us with one home cooked meal for this week so far- last night.

I have been wanting to try to make Italian sausage for a while. I Googled a recipe and found this one, which I made with turkey instead of pork. I didn't feel like messing with the casings last night, so I decided to make them into patties and eat them like you would a burger. Mr. Z really liked these; I just thought they were okay. I thought it had way too much fennel. I will probably try these again, but next time I think I'll follow the recipe and use pork. Also, I'll play around with the spices a little.


Turkey Italian Sausage Sandwiches
from HubPages.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. ground fennel seeds
3/4 tbsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together well. Divide into four equal pieces and press into patties. Over medium-high heat, cook patties for about 7 minutes on each side, or until done in the middle. Serve on buns with cheese.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights

These little things are nothing short of amazing. I found this blog, We Are Not Martha, the other day and started browsing through it. When I found this recipe, I decided that I had to make them right away...so quick I had to use red candy melts because that's all I had in my pantry, and I definitely was not going to wait until I could go to the store!

I had something similar to this while on our honeymoon, and have craved them ever since. These took that craving right away. They are certainly not as pretty as the ones I bought on our honeymoon, but they taste just as good. I was just anxious to get them done so I could eat them!


Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights
from We Are Not Martha, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. jelly
1 bag of candy melts or chocolate

Spread peanut butter on half of the crackers. Spread jelly on the other half. Put a peanut butter and a jelly cracker together. Melt candy melts according to package directions. Dip each sandwich into chocolate and coat completely. Put on a wax paper lined cookie sheet; refrigerate for about 10 minutes to harden chocolate.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

I've never been a big tuna fan. Growing up, my parents tried to get me to eat canned tuna from time to time, but were never successful. I tasted it once, and thought it was disgusting. Since then, I've "hated" it. I'd always associated tuna with canned tuna, and had no desire to try sushi with tuna in it or seared tuna, despite everyone else telling me it was delicious.

One night at a sports bar on our honeymoon, however, I decided I was going to live life on the edge, and ordered an ahi tuna sandwich. Holy cow! That was the cheapest, absolute best meal of our entire honeymoon. For the rest of our honeymoon, I could not stop talking about that sandwich. I loved it- so much so that I practically begged Mr. Z to go back there for lunch on our last day (he gave in and we went!). Since then, I have become a little tuna-obsessed. I love sushi with tuna now. I've found several restaurants around town that serve ahi tuna, which I order all the time. And, what do you know? I even like canned tuna every once in a while! It just goes to remind me that peoples' tastes can change over the years, and just because I didn't like something 15 years ago, it doesn't mean I won't like it now. I now proudly give foods second and third chances!

I've made this tuna several times now, and cannot get enough of it. It's great plain, or served on top of a salad with the vinaigrette as the dressing.


Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette
from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes, written as I made it

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks
Ingredients:
4-4 oz. sushi grade ahi tuna steaks
1 tbsp. sesame oil
4 tsp. white sesame seeds
4 tsp. black sesame seeds
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Pat tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Rub sesame oil on steaks. In a shallow bowl, mix black and white sesame seeds. Dip each steak into the sesame seeds, covering entire surface. Place in a hot pan over high heat. Sear about 2 minutes on each side.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Mix all ingredients together. Serve as is over salad, or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds if just dipping tuna.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Potstickers with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

I've never actually tried potstickers until about a year ago. Actually, I think what I first tried was a dumpling (I always get them steamed from restaurants). Whatever they were...when I finally did try them, I was disappointed that I waited so long! They have quickly become one of my favorite foods. About 6 months ago, I got curious and decided to try my hand at making them. I was pretty impressed with myself, I must say. These are so much better than the ones I've tried from restaurants.

These would be great for an appetizer (that's what we order them as from Chinese restaurants), but usually Mr. Z and I eat about a million of them as a meal by themselves. These are pretty simple to make, but extremely time consuming, compared to most meals I make. I have made them several times since the first time I tried them, but every time, Mr. Z helped me. I wouldn't dare try them by myself! I usually prepare the mixture and make the potstickers, and Mr. Z cooks them in the pan. These should definitely be on everyone's "must try" list! I read through at least 10 different recipes and mixed and matched them to come up with my own recipe.


Potstickers with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
Original Recipe, adapted from several recipes

Potstickers
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground pork or chicken (I used chicken)
4 Napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced
1/2 c. bamboo shoots, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 pkg. wonton wrappers (~48)
oil (vegetable or canola) for frying

Mix all ingredients except wonton wrappers in a large bowl. Place a heaping teaspoon of mixture in the center of wonton wrapper. Brush edges of the wrapper with water and pinch closed. Heat 2-3 tbsp. of oil on medium high heat. Place potstickers in oil, fry 8 minutes (flipping halfway through), or until golden brown. Add 1/2 c. water and cover. Turn burner on high and cook until water has boiled away. Uncover, reduce heat to medium, flip potstickers, and cook for 2 more minutes.

Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
Ingredients:
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
a few drops of sesame oil

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for about 1 minute.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

99 Things

I saw this list on California Girl Lost in a Southern World, and thought it was fun, even though it has nothing to do with cooking! The ones in bold are ones I've done. How many have you done?

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on NYE
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Gotten a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baked Apples

I've made these since...well, as long as I can remember. My dad taught me how to make these when I was younger, and since then, I've loved them. This probably isn't technically considered a recipe, but they are so good, I figured I'd share it anyway. This is such a simple dessert, but it does take a while in the oven, so I like to put it in right before we eat dinner. Some people like to put chopped walnuts and/or raisins in the center, which is good, but I prefer mine plain and simple, so no nuts or raisins in mine. In my mind, this is the perfect dessert (especially when paired with vanilla ice cream)!


Baked Apples

Original Recipe

Ingredients:
2 large Golden Delicious apples
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. With an apple corer or paring knife, cut out the cores of the apples, being careful not to cut all the way through the bottom. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drop 1/4 tbsp. of butter into the hole of each apple. Fill the hole the rest of the way up with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, packing it in pretty tight. Top brown sugar mixture with 1/4 tbsp. of butter. Set apples on a pan or in a Pyrex dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until apples start to split and get soft. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mini Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

There's a restaurant down the street from our house that we love. They have the best wings in town, hands down. But more often than not, I opt for the Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich. It's a grilled teriyaki chicken breast, provolone cheese, and a pineapple slice. It's pretty delicious, to say the least. I've always thought it'd be easy to make at home, but have just never made it for some reason.

I was craving one of those sandwiches tonight, but had ground chicken out, not chicken breasts. I figured I could try to make something similar, so I just improvised with what I had on hand. These were nothing short of amazing...seriously. And maybe, just maybe, better than the Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich I set out to make in the first place!


Mini Hawaiian Chicken Burgers
Original Recipe, idea from local restaurant

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
pepper, seasoning salt, and garlic powder, to taste
2" slice of mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 equal pieces
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
8 pineapple slices
8 slider buns
cooking spray

Mix ground chicken, egg, bread crumbs, and seasonings in a bowl with hands, until well mixed. Divide mixture into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Add 1 piece of mozzarella to the middle of the disk, then wrap meat around to cover. Roll into a ball again, and flatten to form a patty.

Generously coat a large pan with cooking spray and turn to medium-high heat. After the pan is hot, place burgers into the pan. Cook for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drizzle half of the teriyaki sauce over burgers, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes per side. In another pan, heat the other half of the teriyaki sauce over medium heat. Put pineapples in the pan, then turn to coat. Cook until pineapples are hot. Serve burger with a pineapple on top on a toasted bun.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

It's not often that Mr. Z and I eat lobster. I love it, but Mr. Z could live without it. And I'm certainly not too fond of spending a lot of money on a little bit of food that he doesn't love. This macaroni and cheese might have changed his mind, though. He didn't just like this...he pretty much loved it. And so did I! This recipe is made pretty similar to the buffalo macaroni and cheese I made last week. It was pretty involved, and best made when you have a little extra time to cook and do dishes. But again, it was well worth the time and mess.

I don't usually use Ina Garten's recipes because of the insane amount of fat and calories they contain, but this one looked too good to pass up. Plus, I changed it a little to lighten it up a bit.

I think I'll make this again next time I decide to buy lobster!


Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
from FoodNetwork.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 lb. cavatappi
4 c. milk (I used skim)
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. flour
8 oz. shredded Colby Jack cheese
4 oz. shredded cheese (I used fat free)
pepper, to taste
1 lb. cooked lobster meat, cut into pieces
1 c. breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray a 9x13 Pyrex pan with cooking spray. Cook pasta in salted water, until al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat milk in a small pot until hot, not boiling. In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over low heat, then add flour. Whisk for about 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add milk and continue whisking for about 2 more minutes. Add Colby Jack, cheddar, and pepper; stir until well mixed. Add macaroni and lobster; mix well. Pour the mixture into the Pyrex dish.

In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter; stir in panko. Sprinkle mixture over macaroni. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until top starts to brown and bubble.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan

When it comes to side dishes to go with my meals, I am terrible. It's always the same thing. Potatoes or rice and some sort of green vegetables (usually green beans or broccoli). Bor-ing. So, when my grocery store had pasta buy-one-get-one-free last week, I stocked up on regular spaghetti and pasta, but also things I don't normally buy like pastina and orzo, in hopes of making some different side dishes.

I've always wanted to try orzo, but never have. So, I did what I always do when I'm searching for a random recipe...searched through my Google Reader. When I searched for orzo recipes and saw this one, I knew it'd be a winner because, well, everything on Joelen's blog is a winner! This recipe was really good, and I'll definitely make it again, along with some variations of it, because as of now, I'm a big fan of orzo!


Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan

from Joelen's Culinary Adventures, written as I made it

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. chopped onions (I used frozen)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 lb. orzo
4 c. chicken broth
10 oz. frozen peas
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and cook until onions get soft and start to brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour orzo in the pan; stir to coat well with butter. Toast for about 5 minutes, or until orzo starts to turn golden brown.

Add chicken broth to pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed and orzo is tender. Stir in peas, parmesan cheese, and pepper and heat until peas are hot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mini Blackberry Pies

A few weeks ago, someone gave me a huge container of blackberries. But that was when we had a million things going on and were hardly ever even home. So I stuck them in the freezer and, until today, forget all about them. When I looked through the freezer and found them, I decided to take them out and make something with them. I looked for a blackberry pie recipe, but after much deliberation, decided to make mini pies in ramekins. We all know mini anything is so much cuter and more fun than regular sized! These aren't the prettiest looking desserts but man, they are good! Especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh, and yes, this is kind of the cheaters' version of blackberry pie, because it uses ready-made pie crust, but that was the best part...it only took 5 minutes to prepare!


Mini Blackberry Pies
from AllRecipes.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
4 c. blackberries
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 pkg. of refrigerated pie crusts
2 tbsp. milk
sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine berries, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Using one pie crust, cut out pieces to fit into the bottom of 8 ramekins, with a little extra hanging over the edge. Spoon blackberry mixture on top of dough. Using the other pie crust, cut out pieces to fit on top of the blackberry mixture. Press edges of bottom piece and top piece together, to make a seam. Brush a little bit of milk on top of pies and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops start to brown.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Here I go again with the buffalo chicken kick. I have actually decided that I love buffalo chicken anything so much, it deserves its own category!

I have been seeing quite a few versions of this recipe floating around the internet and I have always thought it looked amazing. But most of the recipes looked pretty involved. And I was right about that- it took about an hour and a half from start to finish and dirtied a bowl, a Pyrex dish, a pot, and 2 pans, not even counting the plates and silverware we ate with (...and the bowls we had dessert in). While this recipe was excellent, it's something I will probably only make again when I have a lot of time to prepare it. Last night, we didn't end up eating dinner until 9pm by the time it was done!


Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

from Noble Pig, written as I made it

Ingredients:
5 tbsp. butter
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 c. Frank's Buffalo Wing sauce
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 1/2 c. half and half (I used fat free)
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2/3 c. sour cream (I used fat free)
1 c. panko
1/2 c. bleu cheese crumbles
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a 9x13 Pyrex pan with cooking spray. Cook pasta in salted water, until al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add chicken and garlic, cook for about 3 minutes, or until brown. Add 1/2 c. wing sauce, stir, and cook until it starts to thicken.

In another pan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add flour and mustard and stir until smooth. Whisk in the half and half and remaining 1/4 c. of wing sauce. Cook until it starts to thicken. Mix in cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, and sour cream and cook until smooth. Pour chicken mixture and cheese mixture over the pasta and stir until well mixed. Pour the macaroni into the Pyrex dish.

In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter. Stir in panko and bleu cheese crumbles. Sprinkle mixture over macaroni. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until top starts to brown and bubble.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crispy Cauliflower with Parmesan Dip

Last night I was feeling lazy and did not get home until almost 8pm. When I'm feeling lazy or I don't feel like making dinner, the go-to dinner is a meal completely made up of appetizer type foods. Last night was no exception.

Any vegetables roasted in the oven are a-okay with me, but I had never tried cauliflower. I've had this recipe saved since the day it popped up on my Google Reader, but for some reason, had not made it until last night. Well, that was a mistake! I loved this recipe. I will most definitely be making both the cauliflower and the dip again, maybe together, maybe separately. The dip, as Jessica suggests, would be great with bread, crackers, other vegetables, and probably a lot of other things. And the cauliflower is delicious on its own too.


Crispy Cauliflower with Parmesan Dip
from How Sweet It Is, written as I made it

Crispy Cauliflower

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until brown.

Parmesan Dip
Ingredients:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/3 c. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Divide mixture between two ramekins. Bake for 10 minutes or until top starts to brown.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bananas Foster

I've always loved bananas foster. I have ordered it as dessert at a restaurant more than my fair share of times. I've had it at parties and weddings. I eat it sometimes when my chef family member comes to visit. But it has always seemed too difficult to make. Especially when they light the rum on fire. No thanks.

The other night, I had a bunch of bananas and a craving for bananas foster. So I went on a hunt for an easy bananas foster recipe, preferably one that did not require me to light anything on fire. This recipe was really good, but in my opinion, tasted a little more rum-y than other bananas fosters that I've had...not that that is necessarily a bad thing, just different. I would definitely make this again!


Bananas Foster
from AllRecipes.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1/4 c. butter
2/3 c. dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp. rum
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 bananas, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, rum, vanilla, and cinnamon. Heat until mixture begins to bubble. Add bananas and walnuts and cook until bananas are hot. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cheeseburger Bread

I've mentioned before that I have been trying to use more ground turkey and chicken rather than ground beef in an effort to eat healthier. I've also made lots of trips to Sam's Club lately, so I'm trying to be creative in making meals out of the 10 pounds of chicken breasts, 5 pounds of ground turkey, and 20 pizza dough balls that are in my freezer. This recipe I've had saved for a few weeks now, but forgot about it. Two nights ago, I was browsing through saved recipes in search of something to make out of my thawed ground turkey, and came across this. This recipe was excellent! I told my dad I was making this, he asked me to save him a piece, and he loved it too! Not too bad for a last minute dinner decision!


Cheeseburger Bread
from Telly's Tasty Tidbits, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1 lb. ground turkey
Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 kosher dill pickle, chopped into small pieces
ketchup and mustard, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook ground turkey with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain. Stir in cheese and pickles; stir until well mixed.

Roll dough ball into a big rectangle. Spread the dough with ketchup and mustard. Put meat mixture in the middle of it. Roll to make a loaf and pinch edges to make a seam. Bake for 15-20 or until dough starts to brown.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Boneless Buffalo Wings

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I love, love, love anything and everything buffalo flavored! I love buffalo wings, but boneless buffalo wings are so much less messy and easier to make (in my opinion, anyway).

I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.97/lb. at Sam's Club on a regular basis, but I usually only cook for the two of us, and as we all know, Sam's Club only sells things in huge quantities. So I freeze most of them in Ziploc bag, with two chicken breasts in each, so I can easily defrost just enough for dinner. And usually, when I thaw out chicken breasts for dinner, the first thing that pops in my head is some kind of buffalo chicken. This recipe is great, and not so bad for you because it is baked. I have combined several different recipes to make something that sounded just right to me, so I'm calling this an original recipe.


Boneless Buffalo Wings

Original Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 c. flour
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. BBQ Pringles, finely crushed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. buffalo wing sauce, or more to taste
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Mix flour, parmesan cheese, Pringles, and bread crumbs in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Dip chicken pieces into beaten egg, then drop in Ziploc bag, about 1/4 of the chicken at a time. Shake bag until all pieces are fully coated.

Place coated chicken on a greased cookie sheet. Spray tops with cooking spray. Bake for 7-8 minutes, turn over, spray tops with cooking spray, and bake 7-8 on the other side. Put chicken in a large bowl, cover with wing sauce and butter, and mix well until all pieces are coated. Put back in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strawberry Lime Sorbet

I will apologize in advance for another ice cream-y post, and for the third sweets post in a row. What can I say? I have a major sweet tooth. And it certainly wasn't helped by my new ice cream maker! I have already made two batches of ice cream, and wanted to try something different. I decided I'd try sorbet. I always buy sorbet at the grocery store...and it is $4-something for a tiny little carton that Mr. Z and I sometimes (ok, more like always!) eat in one sitting.

This recipe makes a lot more than one of those little puny cartons I get at the grocery store, and was much, much better tasting. I bought the ingredients for this sorbet for about the same price as one carton of the Häagen-Dazs stuff. I would definitely like to make this recipe again, although I'll probably try lots of other new recipes before repeating any.


Strawberry Lime Sorbet
from Cook Like a Champion, written as I made it

Ingredients:

1 lime, peeled and roughly chopped
2 c. sugar
2 lb. strawberries (I used thawed frozen strawberries)
2 tbsp. lime juice, or more to taste

Put lime and sugar in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside. Put strawberries in the food processor and pulse. Add strawberries and lime juice to the lime/sugar mixture.

Mix with hand blender until mixed. Pour in ice cream maker, and freeze according to ice cream maker directions (mine was about 25-30 minutes), until desired consistency. Transfer to another container and put it in the freezer to harden even more.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Apple Pie Ice Cream

As much as I love chocolate, sometimes, I've just got to have some chocolate-less ice cream. Don't get me wrong, I would never turn it down if you offer me some chocolate ice cream, but sometimes I crave ice cream with fruit in it. And homemade ice cream with fruit in it is 100 times better!

Just a couple weeks ago, I entered a giveaway over at Life on Dahlia Lane, and won a $40 gift certificate for CSN Stores. I searched and searched for what I would buy, and eventually decided on a Cuisinart ice cream maker. I've been itching for an ice cream maker for a while, and figured, it's practically free, so what the heck?

My package arrived yesterday, and this morning, Mr. Z and I went to the bookstore to buy Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book, because several people had recommended it to me. The base I used for this ice cream came out of that book. Believe it or not, the other ingredients I thought up on my own while walking around the grocery store thinking of ingredients I could throw in. This ice cream was delicious! The only problem I had was that it was not hard enough...maybe I should have read the directions before I started making it! I guess next time I'll leave it in for a bit longer.


Apple Pie Ice Cream
base is Sweet Cream Base (pg. 28) from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
3/4 c. sugar

2 c. heavy or whipping cream (I used heavy cream)

1 c. milk
3 sheets cinnamon graham crackers, finely crushed
2 tbsp. caramel sauce
1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 can apple pie filling, chopped into small pieces

Whisk eggs in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in sugar and whisk until blended completely. Pour in cream and milk and whisk until blended. Pour in ice cream maker, and freeze according to ice cream maker directions (mine was about 25-30 minutes), until desired consistency.

Five minutes before ice cream is ready, add graham crackers, caramel, walnuts, and apples.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Bars

You should see my freezer. It is absolutely full of virtually every type of frozen fruits and vegetables I can find. I much prefer using frozen over canned, and often times, even over fresh. The problem with us buying fresh fruits and vegetables is that our schedule is so unpredictable that some days we are home during the day, some we are home at night, and some we barely make it home in time for bed! By time I am able to use them all, they are going bad. More often than not, half of what I buy goes to waste. Not on purpose, but still, that's a lot of money I spend going into the garbage!

Anyway, I'm always looking for recipes that call for or can easily use frozen fruits and vegetables, and this recipe was one of those. These bars were pretty amazing. But pretty unhealthy too, with all the sugar and shortening. And pretty messy to eat. I ate one (ok, two!), then packed the rest of them up for Mr. Z to take to work tomorrow, because I know exactly what will happen if I leave them around my house!


Blueberry Crumb Bars

from AllRecipes.com, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 1/4 c. white sugar, divided
3 c. all purpose flour
4 c. frozen blueberries
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. shortening
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Stir together 1 c. sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, until well mixed. Add shortening and egg, then use stand or hand mixer to blend. Dough will be crumbly. Divide dough in half.

Pat half of the dough into the bottom of greased pan. In a separate bowl, mix remaining 1/4 c. sugar and cornstarch together. Add blueberries, and toss to cover all blueberries. Pour blueberries over the crust in pan. Crumble remaining half of dough over blueberries. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until top is starting to brown. Let cool before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers

If you give me buffalo chicken anything, I'll be your friend. That has quickly become one of my favorite foods...or, rather, food groups. If I'm at a restaurant and something buffalo flavored is on the menu, 9 times out of 10, I'm getting it. I love all kinds of chicken wings, but the best is just plain ol' hot. As far as wings go, the spicier the better. And let's face it, bleu cheese makes anything better!

I took a package of ground chicken out of the freezer for dinner last night, and knowing that we wouldn't be home until pretty late, I decided we would have some type of chicken burger. Well, it didn't take long to decide what kind of chicken burger it would be. These were so good, but for my taste, I had to add extra sauce to the patty after it was done. Mr. Z thought it was perfect the way it was.


Bleu Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers
Original Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chicken
2 oz. bleu cheese crumbles, plus extra for serving
1 egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce, plus extra for serving
pepper, to taste
Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning, to taste
4 hamburger buns

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ground chicken, egg, bread crumbs, Wing Sauce, pepper, and seasoning in bowl with hands, until well mixed. If it is too wet, add extra bread crumbs. Divide mixture into four even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Add 1/4 of bleu cheese crumbles to the middle of the disk, then wrap meat around to cover. Roll into a ball again, and flatten into a patty. Place burgers on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for ~18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Top with extra bleu cheese, and serve on a bun.

Tip: I also like to toast the buns for a few minutes. Slice buns in half, spread a little butter on each side, and bake for about 5 minutes, or until buns start to brown.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicken Lo Mein

Here we go again with my Chinese food obsession. I just can't help it! I've been wanting to make lo mein for a little while now, but have had little luck finding lo mein noodles in the grocery stores around me. Then, three days ago, I happened to walk through the Oriental aisle of the grocery store and whaaaat? Lo mein noodles!

Right away, I set out to find a good recipe for lo mein. After a little while spent searching, I picked up the box again and well, what do you know? A great recipe right there on the box! I really liked this recipe. It wasn't a difficult recipe, but I have a small problem multi-tasking in the kitchen. This sent me into a small frenzy because there are several things going on at once, but in the end, it came out good! Not the healthiest of recipes, although again, it has to be healthier than the lo mein from the Chinese takeout place!


Chicken Lo Mein
from the China Boy Lo Mein Noodle box, written as I made it

Ingredients:
1 lb. bonless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
1-8 oz. box of lo mein noodles
1 1/2 c. frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 tblsp. canola oil
4 oz. baby corn
2 tbsp. cornstarch
5 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3/4 c. chicken broth
4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic

Combine cornstarch, soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth, sesame oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Mix very well. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry chicken until almost done. Add frozen vegetables and baby corn. Stir-fry until everything is hot. Meanwhile, in another pot, boil lo mein noodles until al dente, or about 4 minutes. Add cooked noodles to chicken and vegetables. Add sauce to pan; mix well until everything is coated in sauce.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

I'm not a fan of peanut butter. Or a fan of pretzels. But I am a fan of chocolate, and surprisingly, a huge fan of these truffles!

I have definitely had my fair share of problems making truffles. Like this past Christmas, when I had the grand idea of making about 10 different types of cookies/truffles to give to family and friends. I quickly discovered that I obviously did not know a thing about melting chocolate. I threw three (yes, three!) whole bags of chocolate chips away after scorching them in the microwave.

I have since learned how to properly melt chocolate (for the most part), and tried my hand at truffles again last night. I must say, though, that these are the simplest truffles I have ever attempted. Super easy + super good = definite winner in my book! Plus, the came from Eating Well, so they can't be that bad for you. At least, that's what I keep telling myself!


Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

from EatingWell.com, written as I made it (I doubled the recipe)

Ingredients:
1 c. peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 c. finely chopped salted pretzels
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Mix pretzels into peanut butter in a small bowl. Freeze for about 15 minutes, or until partially firm. Roll dough into small balls-about 1 tsp. each (my double batch made about 30 truffles). Freeze on a cookie sheet with wax paper for about an hour, or until balls are very firm. Melt chocolate according to package directions and coat each ball well. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.