Monday, December 7, 2009

Sticky Chicken

My little sister Krista introduced this to us. It's delicious. It's pretty much a souped-up version of sweet-and-sour chicken. Make it. Enjoy it. And if there are more than four of you double the recipe. Even if there are only two of you, you might want to double it. It makes delicious leftovers! The sauce is also delicious over rice, with eggrolls, or with won-tons. Enjoy!

Sticky Chicken

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tb. soy sauce
dash salt
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 small can pineapple tidbits, drained (optional)
1 medium green pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (optional)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch or flour
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs in a shallow dish. Combine cornstarch or flour, paprika, salt, and onion powder in another shallow dish.
4. Dip each chicken tender in cornstarch mixture, then in eggs. Fry each piece in oil until brown. Put into prepared pan. Repeat with remaining chicken.
5. Pour sauce over the chicken, making sure they are all well coated. Bake for 45 minutes. If using pineapple, green pepper and/or onions steam in microwave for 3 minutes, then stir into chicken/sauce mixture. Serve over rice with stir fried vegetables.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chocolate Wonder

My little sister made this over the Thanksgiving weekend, and ever since I tasted it I have been craving it. I got the recipe from her (a recipe from her husband's family, one of his favorite desserts) and made it yesterday. It's already half gone. Oops :)

Chocolate Wonder

First Layer:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup flour

Combine until crumbly, pat into bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Second Layer:
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 large pkg. (16 oz.) Cool Whip

Combine powdered sugar and cream cheese. Add Cool Whip and spread over crust.

Third Layer:
2 pkg. instant pudding (1 large, 1 regular)
3 cups milk

Mix. When set, pour over the second layer.

Fourth Layer:
1/2 large package Cool Whip
Chocolate shavings and/or additional chopped nuts for garnish

Spread over pudding layer. Sprinkle with additional chopped nuts and/or chocolate shavings.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Pan Taco Dinner

Sorry, no picture today. I'm currently on bed rest (have been for the past week and a half) so I haven't been able to do much cooking lately. This is one of our favorite quick and easy meals. It's fast, flavorful, and we always have the ingredients on hand. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

One Pan Taco Dinner

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

1 cup salsa

2 cups minute white rice, uncooked

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 large tomato, chopped

Optional Toppings

sour cream


tortilla chips



1. Brown meat and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.

2. Add 2 cups water, seasoning mix, and salsa. Bring to a boil.

3. Stir in rice. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Cook on low heat 5 minutes, until rice is completely cooked and soft. Top with lettuce, tomato, and desired optional toppings just before serving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baked Beans

Hello friends! I've missed you! Sorry that it's been so long since I've written. Here's the thing: I'm 13 weeks pregnant and food is just not appealing to me right now. But, today I had a hankering for some baked beans so I whipped these up for dinner. This recipe comes from my mother-in-law Sandy. The first time she made these baked beans, I begged for the recipe, and I've never gone back. I know there are some kind of strange ingredients in this recipe, but trust me, these are delicious. Enjoy!

Baked Beans

4 small (or 2 large) cans Pork & Beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tb yellow mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. parsley flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook bacon & onion in large skilled. Drain.
3. In large casserole dish or 9 x 13 pan combine all ingredients. Mix well. Cover with tinfoil.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lemon Fruit Salad

Let's just say this. This is my very favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I love it. Can't get enough of it. And look forward to it all year long. It's a classic from my Aunt Mary. Make it. Enjoy it. Love it. Come back for more. Sorry about the horrible pictures...just know it's amazing.

Lemon Fruit Salad

1 can lemon pie filling
1 8 oz. package cool whip
1 lb. strawberries, sliced
3 bananas, sliced
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve, not more than 12 hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Philly Steak Sandwiches

It's rare that I make steak, so if I'm going to take the time to make it I want it to be good. Juicy. Delicious. And worth my time. I was craving Philly steak sandwiches the other day and decided to whip these up. They turned out fantastic. I topped mine with some homemade pickled peppers that my sister brought me and in my own humble opinion it made them even better. Yum.

Philly Steak Sandwiches
makes 4 sandwiches

1 lb. good quality steak
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 Tb. vegetable oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Anaheim pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced (optional, if you want it spicier)

4 hoagie rolls
1 cup sliced sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Combine spices. Rub evenly into steak. Grill over medium-high heat until medium (140 degrees F on thermometer), about 8-10 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Remove steak from grill, set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers. Saute for 5 minutes. Slice steak thinly on the bias. Add to skillet, along with barbecue sauce, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 2-3 more minutes, until heated through.
3. Fill hoagie rolls with steak/pepper mixture. Top with cheese. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My husband hates zucchini. I love zucchini. Just not enough to eat the 2 foot long zucchini that my parents sent home with me all by myself. In trying to figure out just how to make that big zucchini disappear, I stumbled upon a delicious sounding recipe on Our Best Bites. Below is the recipe, with a few adaptations. I have to say, it was wonderful! Corey devoured it, and that is saying something considering it has zucchini in it! It is perfectly moist and has a nice balance between the chocolate and cinnamon. If you don't like chocolate and cinnamon together, feel free to leave the cinnamon out.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tb. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. very finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

2 Tb. brown sugar
2 Tb. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 large (8-9") loaf pans or 5 miniature (4") loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. Beat oil, sugars, and eggs for 1 - 2 minutes or until well combined and slightly fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix.
3. Stir in zucchini, making sure that it is well incorporated throughout the batter.
4. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Mix until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.
5. Divide batter evenly among pans. Combine topping ingredients in a separate bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
6. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (miniature pans) or 50 - 60 minutes (large pans). Cool 2 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely. Serve warm with a glass of cold milk!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

5 Ingredient Mini Peach Cobblers

I had some fresh peaches from my parent's peach tree (the best peaches I've ever eaten in my life--no joke) a couple of days ago and wanted something quick and easy to make with them. This consists of whatever I had lying around...but it was delicious. It took less than 5 minutes to throw together, 25 minutes to bake, and that was it! Plus, it only has 5 ingredients. You can't beat that.

5 Ingredient Mini Peach Cobblers

3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
4 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup yellow cake mix (dry)
4 Tb. butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 small ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. Divide peaches evenly between ramekins. Sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon over peaches in each ramekin. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cake mix over peaches in each ramekin. Drizzle with 1 Tb. butter over each ramekin.
3. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and peaches are bubbly. Serve warm (it is best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream).

Friday, August 28, 2009

S'mores Brownies

I saw these brownies over on Real Mom Kitchen last month and haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. I decided to whip them up to take to some co-workers to say "thank you." I wanted something quick & easy but that looked impressive and was delicious. These definitely fit the bill.

S'mores Brownies

1 pkg. brownie mix (for 9 x 13 pan)
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
8 fun-size Hershey's milk chocolate bars (1 pkg.), coarsely chopped
5 graham crackers, coarsely chopped

1. Prepare brownies according to directions on package for cake-like brownies. Bake in 9 x 13 pan. Cool 5 - 10 minutes.
2. Spoon marshmallow creme over warm brownies. Let sit for 2 - 3 minutes and spread evenly over top of brownies. Sprinkle with chocolate and graham crackers. Cool completely and cut into 24 bars.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Fingers

A perfect back-to-school snack. Did you ever have these with your school lunches? I think it's the only way the school ever got people to eat lunch on fish stick day. It worked for me! These are super quick and easy and delicious. Every time I make them they literally fly off the plate. Enjoy! And make sure you have a nice tall glass of milk on hand, and plenty of people to share these with because they are addictive!

Peanut Butter Fingers

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
2 - 3 Tb. water
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray jelly-roll pan (half sheet, 13 x 18 inches) with cooking spray.
2. In bowl of large electric mixer cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and mix on low just until all ingredients are incorporated, 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until very light golden brown (it will still look doughy, but you don't want to overcook or they will be dry). Cool completely.
4. In medium bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir until completely melted. Add remaining frosting ingredients, adjusting water and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Spread evenly over bars and cut into squares to serve. Serves 35 - 48.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Red Curry Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Red Peppers

Red Curry Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Red Peppers
Serves 4

4 6oz salmon fillets
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
8 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise (the polar direction) into strips
1 small onion, cut lengthwise (polar direction) into strips

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, sliced very thin (aka chiffonaded)
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, sliced very thin (use Thai basil if you can get it)

1- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a very large, heavy, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
2- In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the lime juice and curry paste until it is a thick liquidy consistency.
3- Place the salmon fillets on one side of the baking sheet, coat them with the curry mixture.
4- Toss the green beans, red peppers and onions in a medium bowl with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil until they are well coated. Put them on the other side of the baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt.
5- Put the baking sheet in the oven and let it roast until the salmon is just opaque in the center and the vegetables are a little tender. Should take about 12-14 minutes.
6- Plate the fish. Toss the vegetables with the pan juices, the mint and basil and serve alongside. I think it's especially tasty with coconut rice, but go wild and crazy with it. Garnish with lime wedges, and a bit of cilantro.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Really, there are no words to describe these. I made them for dinner last night and they were incredible. All day at work today I could not stop thinking about them. The minute I walked in the door my husband had the leftovers warmed up and we devoured them in less than two minutes. This is one of the most delicious dinners I've ever made. And they'll definitely be made again very soon. Like tomorrow.

This recipe combines my two favorite things from the Brazilian restaurant Tucanos: bacon-wrapped turkey (I substituted chicken) and grilled pineapple. The brown sugar glaze caramelizes on the bacon and pineapple and the smoky flavor from the grill puts this over the top. Make this. Soon. You won't regret it.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 - 2/3 lb. smoked bacon, cut into thirds (I like to use the pre-cooked bacon, 10-12 slices)
1 fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
bamboo skewers

1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Soak bamboo skewers in water. Arrange work area with chicken, bacon, and pineapple. Mix brown sugar and water in small bowl and set aside.
2. Wrap one slice of bacon around one cube of chicken. Place on bamboo skewer. Alternate with pineapple chunks. Repeat until there are 3 pieces of chicken and 3 pieces of pineapple on each skewer. Repeat with remaining chicken.
3. Baste skewers with brown sugar mixture. Grill skewers for 7 - 10 minutes on each side, until bacon is crispy and chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally.
4. Serve with rice and stir fry veggies or salad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Light Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I needed to make a treat to take to our neighbors today, and I wanted something light and fruity for a summery treat. I adapted this recipe from one I found in an old Kraft Food & Family Magazine from last year. These are seriously delicious, and addicting. Perfect for us since both Corey & I love anything lemony. Plus, did I mention that they're super quick & easy. That's always an added bonus.

Light Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 pkg (4-serving size) sugar free lemon pudding
1 1/4 cups water
3 large eggs
2 Tb. oil
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tb. granulated sugar
lemon zest and/or fresh raspberries (optional, for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In bowl of electric mixer, beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, oil, and eggs on medium speed for 2 - 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Batter will be very thick. Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 16 - 20 minutes, or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool completely.
4. Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes).
5. Whip heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and granulated sugar until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Gently fold into frosting.
6. Frost cupcakes with prepared frosting. Garnish with lemon zest or fresh raspberries, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Spicy Chicken & Pasta Skillet

Two of my favorite foods are pasta & Mexican food. This recipe combines the best of both. It was a quick & easy dinner and was delicious! Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken & Pasta Skillet
Serves 4

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tb. olive oil
1 cup small shells or mini bow-ties pasta, uncooked
1 cup salsa (I used pace medium)
1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar or colby-jack cheese (or pepper jack if you want it spicier)
2 Tb. finely chopped cilantro
salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to taste
sour cream, sliced green onions, sliced olives, and cilantro (optional) for garnish

1. Cook pasta according to package directions
2. While pasta is cooking, coat chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to taste. Cook chicken over medium-high heat about six minutes, or until done (no longer pink in the center). Add salsa, corn, cream cheese, cumin, and cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, until cream cheese is melted.
3. Drain pasta. Stir pasta and 1/4 cup cheese into chicken mixture. Simmer for 3 more minutes, until cheese is completely melted.
4. Top with cheese, sour cream, olives, cilantro, and green onions.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

For my birthday earlier in the month I got a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. I searched for several days for the perfect recipe to break in my ice cream maker. When I found this recipe on Proceed With Caution, I knew that I had found my recipe. It was amazing. Rich and creamy, chocolate, hazelnut goodness. Even if I never used my ice cream maker again (and don't worry, I have. Several times.) it would have been worth the $80 just to eat this gelato. It really is that good.

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato
Adapted From: Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 1 Quart

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella
2 Tb. hot fudge topping or chocolate syrup
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts and/or mini chocolate chips (optional), for garnish

1. In large saucepan mix milk, cream and sugar over medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).
2. In bowl of stand mixer, using a whisk attachment, whip egg yolks until thick and pale, 3-4 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix for 1 minute.
3. With mixer on low speed, pour about 1/2 cup of the warm milk and egg mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour the tempered eggs into the saucepan with the cream mixture. Stir constantly over very low heat until mixture thickens to a thin custard (it should coat the back of a spoon when it is dipped into the mixture), about 7 - 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and press through a strainer. Stir in the vanilla and nutella and stir until completely melted. Cool completely (about 1 hour in the fridge or 30 minutes over an ice bath). Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
5. Serve, topped with hazelnuts and/or chocolate chips if desired.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Favorites: Pita Pizzas

Corey & I both work full time during the week, and neither of us are very good at eating a real lunch while we're at work. Usually by the time we get home we're both starving. Since we try not to eat out too often, we like to have a few good quick and easy recipes in our arsenal for those nights when we're too hungry to wait for dinner. This is one of our all-time favorites. The possibilities are endless, it takes only minutes to prepare, and is on the table quicker than we could go through a drive-thru. Did I mention that it's delicious? What's not to like!

Pita Pizzas
(ingredients needed per pizza/person)

1 pita
2-3 Tb. sauce
1/4 cup cheese
toppings of your choice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil.
2. Spread sauce evenly on each pita. Top with cheese and choice of toppings.
3. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until edges begin to brown and cheese is melted.

Topping Ideas:

Barbecue chicken: barbecue sauce (I recommend Bullseye), mozzarella, smoked gouda, or cheddar cheese (or a combination), fully cooked diced chicken, thinly sliced onions, cooked and crumbled bacon, and cilantro.

Combo: pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, green peppers, onions.

Alfredo Tomato Ham: alfredo sauce, mozzarella and romano or parmesan cheese, thinly sliced ham, fresh sliced tomatoes, crushed red peppers.

Pesto Chicken: pesto, mozzarella cheese, fully cooked diced chicken, fresh sliced tomatoes.

Hawaiian: pizza or alfredo sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, canadian bacon or thinly sliced ham, pineapple tidbits.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Triple Layer Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake is my very favorite dessert. We served it at our wedding and I happily ate leftovers for every meal for two weeks straight. Although my waistline didn't much like it, my taste buds were in heaven. I'm always looking for a new way to enjoy strawberry shortcake. About a month ago I decided to bust out one of my Christmas presents, Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. I found the recipe for angel food cake and knew that I had to try it as a triple layer strawberry shortcake. All I have to say is that Corey & I devoured this cake in less than two days...and it brought back lots of good memories from our wedding.

Triple Layer Strawberry Shortcake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

6 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup cake flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Beat egg whites on high speed until light and frothy. Add granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and almond extract.
3. In separate bowl, mix together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
4. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Beat until just combined (be careful not to overmix).
5. Divide the batter between three ungreased (if you grease the pans the cake won't rise properly) 6-inch round cake pans (if you don't have 6-inch cake pans, you can divide the batter between two 8-inch round pans or one 6-cup tube pan).
6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pans onto cooling racks and cool completely. Remove from pans.
7. Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla with mixer until soft peaks form.
8. Place one cake layer on serving dish. Top with 1/3 of the cream and 1/3 of the berries. Repeat with remaining layers. For best results, serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 24 hours.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shredded Pork Tacos

I love pork. I love tacos. I love pork tacos. Recipe partially from Everyday Foods.
Shredded Pork Tacos
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 3-4 pound pork roast, cut in half lengthwise
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes in juice
1-2 large chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (use more if you like it hotter, or less if not)
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons honey
16 toasted corn tortillas (the small size)
1 cup shredded or crumbled cheese (I'd recommend queso fresco, but use what you like)
1 cup fresh cilantro


1- Heat oil in a large pot (5-6 quart)over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, oregano and bay leaves, put a little salt and pepper on for seasoning. Cook until the onion is softened, but not caramelized, 5 or so minutes.
2- Add the tomato paste, and stir it in until it's mixed with the onions and other ingredients.
3- Add the pork, tomatoes (try to break them up with a spoon when you add them) and the juice from the can, chipotle peppers, water, and honey. Stir together as best you can, bring to boil.
4- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat gets nice and tender (2-2.5 hours at least). Remove and discard the bay leaves.
5- Transfer the meat (using tongs fool!) to a large bowl. Shred it with two forks. Get rid of any large pieces of fat or gristle you find.
6- Return the (now shredded) meat to the pan, simmering it until the sauce gets thick (about 30-45 minutes). Taste it! (remember that it's hot!) Add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
7- Spoon the pork and sauce into tortillas, using two tortillas for each serving top with cheese and cilantro (and some mango salsa if you've got it). A side of black beans and rice never hurts either. Hot sauce is essential.
8- Eat for nutritional enjoyment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

S'mores Cupcakes

S'mores just scream summer. They take me back to girls camp, camping trips with the family, and fire pits in my parents' backyard. I even made s'mores over a barbecue, a stove, and a candle when I was in college and didn't have a place to build a fire. Needless to say, it's one of my favorite treats. Building a fire isn't always practical, though. Plus, let's face it, it's super messy! These are my solution. They taste just like a s'more, plus they're super cute and don't invovle lighting any fires. They're the perfect summer treat!

S'mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used 1 cup regular and 1/2 cup cinnamon)
1/2 cup flour
1 Tb. baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Marshmallow Frosting (from The Smitten Kitchen)
1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tb. light corn syrup
1 Tb. water
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt


14 squares hersheys chocolate
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tb. heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 14 muffin cups with papers.
2. Beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
3. Add flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, and milk. Divide batter between muffin cups (the cupcakes don't rise much so feel free to fill them pretty full).
4. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Cool completely.
5. Meawhile, make the frosting. In large bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine all frosting ingredients. Beat with a hand mixer for 6-7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat for 3-5 more minutes, or until slightly cooled. Top each cupcake with a dollop of frosing. (Optional: Broil cupcakes for 1-2 minutes after frosting to brown for that "toasted marshmallow" look, or toast with kitchen torch).
6. Prepare the ganache by combining the chocolate chips with the heavy whipping cream. Microwave on high for 30 - 35 seconds. Stir until thoroughly melted and combined. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes. Garnish with hershey's squares.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Teriyaki Swordfish with Orange-Mango-Tomato Salsa

I'd never eaten swordfish before making this, and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. I think that the recipe would be just as good with tuna, so try it with that if you don't want to eat swordfish. This recipe is my tweaked and adapted version of one from the Bon App├ętit cookbook.

Teriyaki Swordfish with Orange-Mango-Tomato Salsa
Serves 6


3 oranges, peel and pith cut away, seeded and diced
1 mango, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (substitute fresh parsley if you prefer)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons vinegar (I used sherry vinegar, but the original recipe calls for balsamic)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like it hot, so I quadrupled this)

Marinade and fish:
3/4 cup bottled teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup fruit juice mixed with citrus juice (about a 3/1 ratio)- I used apple/pomegranite/lime juice
4 garlic cloves, mixed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon seasame oil
6 5- to 6-ounce swordfish steaks (about 1 inch thick)

For salsa:
Toss together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Throw some salt and pepper on there to your taste. Put in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. (It can stay in the fridge for up to four hours).
For marinide and fish:
1-Combine the teriyaki sauce and the next four ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring it up to a boil. Set it aside to cool.
2- Arrange the swordfish in a shallow glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the swordfish, turn and coat evenly. Save out some of the marinade if you want to have some for drizzling on later. Cover the fish and put it in the fridge to marinade for 1 1/2 hours.
3- Preheat the grill (or I used a skillet on the stove) to medium-high heat. Make sure that you've cleaned and oiled the grill before hand.
4- Grill the fish until opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side. Put it up on a plate with some salsa. (I served it with field greens and rice)
5- Eat pleae.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Essentials: Limes

There are very few things that add a burst of flavor and intensity like a good lime. Sweet, sour and flavourful, they're the perfect compliment to a wide array of flavours, but I like it the best with spicy food. Nothing improves a good taco, or curry, than a squeeze of lime.

But don't think that this is the only way to use the delightful lime. Adding some lime juice to something as unlikely as a pot roast can have wonderful effects. The acid in the juice will help to break down and tenderize the meat, while just adding a hint of the taste. You'll be shocked at the difference.

Don't be afraid to branch out and try different kinds of limes. Everyone knows (and should love) the standard Persian lime that is available everywhere around the United States. Most people even have a passing acquaintance with its smaller, tarter cousin the key lime. But have you had a Kaffir lime (Try the leaves! They're a great addition to Thai recipes!)? Or a blood lime? They're pretty fabulous. One of my personal favorites is the Palestine lime. It's a sweeter hybrid between the standard Persian lime and a sweet lemon or citron. Very, very tasty.

If you can't tell already, I love limes. They're just something that you should have around to add to any recipe, or to serve as a garnish. They're important, tasty and fun. You might as well just say that they're essential.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Southwestern Cobb Salad

This was a nice, light summery meal that was both healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

Southwestern Cobb Salad

4 cups lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese, such as pepper jack or colby jack
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet baby corn, rinsed and drained; or 2 cobs fresh corn, removed from cob
1 avocado, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced; or 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 small can sliced olives
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chopped red or green onion (optional)
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/4 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup ranch dressing
Tortilla chips or fresh cooked tortillas

1. Arrange lettuce along the bottom of 4 plates or bowls. Arrange cheese, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, olives, chicken (and peppers and onions if desired) along the top of the lettuce.
2. Combine cilantro, salsa verde, and ranch dressing in a food processor or blender until well combined. Drizzle over top of salads. Top with additional cilantro, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips or freshly cooked tortillas.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Caramelized Salmon with Mango Salsa

When this popped up on my google reader, I immediately starred it and decided to make it ASAP. I am SO glad I didn't wait, because it is delicious! I've been wanting to make it again all week. Make it and I'm sure you'll devour it just like we did!

Caramelized Salmon with Mango Salsa
Adapted from Quick Cooking Site

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb. salmon (about 6 fillets, 1/4 lb. each)

Mango Salsa
1 mango, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 Tb. finely diced green pepper
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. olive oil
dash kosher salt
dash black pepper
dash garlic powder

1. Preheat grill. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in shallow dish. Rub each salmon fillet in the sugar mixture, being sure to well coat each side. Grill over low heat for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until crispy and cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, combine all salsa ingredients and set aside.
3. Top salmon with salsa and serve with rice and grilled pineapple.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweet & Spicy Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I made these a couple of weeks ago and Corey said that they are one of the best things I've ever made. He's been begging me to make them again, so I obliged and whipped up another batch tonight. They're the perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and creamy. Unfortunately this time I didn't have any fresh cilantro, so I had to use dried. I definitely recommend buying it fresh, it takes this meal over the top. I apologize that I couldn't get a better picture...but Corey was ready to eat and it's hard to keep a hungry husband at bay at 7:20 at night.

Sweet & Spicy Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

1 pound chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup honey
2 medium limes, juiced
1 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 Tb. vegetable oil
8 flour tortillas
1 (10 oz) can green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or substitute half and half or fat free half and half)
1/4 cup salsa verde
3 cups shredded pepper jack or monterey jack cheese, or a combination of both\
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine honey, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Add cooked & cubed chicken and stir well to coat. Set aside.
3. In large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions soften and brown, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into glass pan, spread to coat evenly.
5. Heat tortillas for 1 minute in the microwave. Fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the chicken (about 1/4 cup), 1/8 of the onions (about 2 Tb.) and a small handful of cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
6. Combine remaining enchilada sauce, cream, salsa verde, and remaining sauce from the chicken. Mix well and pour over the top of the enchiladas.
7. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover and top with remaining cheese. Cook for 5 - 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted as edges are slightly crispy. Top with chopped fresh cilantro and avocado slices.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sweet & Sour Sauce

This was a staple in our house when we were growing up. Honestly, I probably haven't made it for at least a year, but the other day I wasn't feeling well and felt like eating some comfort food so I turned to this...and promptly wondered why it had been so long since I'd made it! I love having sweet & sour sauce over rice with some stir fry veggies. It's great with chicken, too, or with homemade meatballs. Any way you have it is bound to be great!

Sweet & Sour Sauce
Adapted from a really old Betty Crocker cookbook

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tb. cornstarch
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks or tidbits with juice
1 Tb. soy sauce
dash salt

1. In medium saucepan mix brown sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add remaining ingredients.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.
3. Serve with rice, veggies and/or chicken. Enjoy!
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