Sunday, December 26, 2010

Be Back Soon!

Hi blog friends! Just a quick note to say that I know I haven't posted in a while, but I'll be back soon. I received a new camera for Christmas (yay I love my Santa!), so I'm not posting any of the crappy pictures I have stocked up in the files, I'll wait until I get new ones taken. Hold tight - more is coming!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cheesy Breadsticks

I was inspired to make these by an episode of The Next Food Network Star from two seasons ago - you know, the one Melissa D'Arabian won. They always list the recipes from the series on the site, except, of course, for this one. So I made it up as I went along and it turned out fantastic!
1/2 loaf Italian bread
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then slice each half into strips. Place on baking sheet and toast lightly while making cheese sauce.

Heat butter and garlic powder in small saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add flour, stirring continually to make a roux. Once roux is lightly browned, stir in milk. Heat until thickened, then stir in cheese.

Remove bread from oven. Spoon cheese evenly over each piece, then place back in oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Turn oven to broil (I used the broiler's low setting, because I have a terrible time with burning things when I broil). Broil bread for another 5 minutes, or until cheese browns.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken with Orange Glaze

I made this dinner the other night, and it was fantastic! I was excited to blog it, turned the computer on, and lo and behold, the hard drive was DEAD. ARGH! So I've been computer-less for a while now, and I have plenty of posts to catch up on. So I'll start where I should have started a few weeks ago.For the chicken:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Nonstick cooking spray

For the sauce:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 Tsp. ginger

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in large skillet on stovetop.

In food processor, chop almonds and bread crumbs until fine and combined. Empty processor bowl into larger bowl. Dredge chicken through egg, then through almond-bread crumb mixture. Cook in skillet until almond crust browns slightly, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and back for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

While chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine ingredients over medium heat until sauce thickens. (If necessary, add 1/2 tsp. cornstarch to help thicken.) Pour sauce over chicken to serve.

Adapted from the Food Network

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Fruit Bruschetta

I love Sunday breakfasts. This is summery and delicious - perfect for an August morning. Plus, it's super light and healthy, but it feels indulgent.
1/2 French baguette, sliced
Cinnamon and sugar
2 Tbsp. honey walnut cream cheese
5-6 medium strawberries, diced
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dust cinnamon and sugar mixture onto bread (like a dry rub). Bake until crispy on the edges but still soft in the center, about 5 minutes. (I baked it while I chopped the berries, which was the perfect amount of time.)

Chop and combine the fruit. Spread each piece of baguette with 1/4 tsp. of cream cheese (just enough to make the fruit stick), then top with fruit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Cupcakes. They got me. At first it was a passing fancy - we'd stop by the local cupcake shop maybe once or twice a year. Then I started reading other food blogs and saw the cupcakes some of my favorite bloggers were making. And the obsession grew until today, when I broke my "I don't bake" tradition and made cupcakes from scratch. And guess what? Apparently I DO bake!

I'll admit it - as a baking newb, I made virtually zero modifications to these recipes from Hershey and the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart (say what you want, woman knows her buttercream). Nevertheless, there is nothing to complain about, so I don't think I'd have anything to modify, even if I wanted. I did make a double batch of frosting, but really a batch and a half would be ideal. I had a ton of frosting left over.
For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:
  • 2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup confectioner's sugar

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

    Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Scoop batter into cupcake cups (fill about 2/3 full) and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely.

    To make the frosting, cream butter and peanut butter on high speed. Reduce speed to low and beat in confectioner's sugar. Increase speed to high and beat on high until frosting is fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes immediately.

    Makes about 30 cupcakes.

    Cake: Hershey's
    Frosting: Martha Stewart

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Red Wine Pasta

    Whew, it has been a long time since I have been in the kitchen! We had a wonderful time at the beach, but it feels good to be home. I had some amazing food while we were away, and I can't wait to make some copycats and share them with you!

    This recipe, however, I actually made before we left. I threw this pasta sauce together on the fly one night, and it has been earning raves ever since.

    1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    6-7 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 onion, diced
    1 green pepper, diced
    1 cup red wine
    1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/8 cup white sugar
    1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

    Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot. When heated, saute onion and green pepper until tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Pour in tomatoes and wine and stir until combined. Add sugar, red pepper, salt and pepper, and cheese. Cook until flavors combine, about 30-45 minutes. Toss with pasta and top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Hello? Bueller?

    I know, I have been a terrible poster lately. We're preparing for a family vacation, so I haven't been experimenting much lately with new recipes. I've been using this blog to guide what I've cooked lately. But I promise, when we get back, I've got lots of new recipes I'm ready to try and blog. So don't go too far!!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Cinnamon-Bun Ebelskivers

    I was originally going to blog tonight's dinner, but it was so not worthy. So instead I'm blogging with these long-overdue, totally amazing Dutch filled pancakes, courtesy of Williams Sonoma. Ordinarily, I'm not one to buy highly specialized kitchen equipment, but the recipes for these sounded so amazing, I couldn't resist. I can't lie, they weren't the easiest thing in the world to make, but they were worth it!!! Don't count a single calorie on these - some things are worth it!

    For the pancakes:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 2 cups milk
    • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    For the cinnamon filling:
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes,
      at room temperature
    For the cream cheese frosting:
    • 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 3 to 4 Tbs. milk

    For cinnamon filling, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using the back of a spoon, mash the butter into the flour mixture until all of it is absorbed into the butter, forming a paste. Set filling aside.

    To make the pancakes, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then add in the milk and the melted butter. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined (batter will be lumpy. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not until dry peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.

    Spray each well of ebelskiver pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well. Spoon 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon filling into the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tbs. batter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Using 2 skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling.

    To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, reduce the speed to low and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 3 Tbs. of the milk and beat until combined, about 1 minute. The frosting should be thick but still pourable; add more milk if needed to thin.

    Drizzle the pancakes with the frosting and serve immediately. Makes 35 to 40.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Langostino Macaroni and Cheese

    Wow. This is absolutely amazing. Decadent (definitely not healthy!), rich, and oh-so-satisfying. It would be perfect for a romantic evening, but it was just as perfect for a relaxing Sunday night in our house!
    1 box macaroni, cooked and drained
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    4 small garlic cloves, minced
    3 Tbsp. butter
    3 Tbsp. flour
    1 cup FF milk
    1 cup FF half-and-half
    1-1/4 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
    1 10 oz. package langostino, defrosted according to package directions
    1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (I didn't have any of this, but it would really be fantastic in this!)
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    Sale and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat until oil starts to ripple. Add onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add butter to pan and stir to combine with onions and garlic. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. When combined, add milk and half-and-half and whisk until combined. Allow mixture to thicken.

    When milk mixture has thickened, add spices and cheeses and stir until the cheese is melted. Add langostino meat and stir to combine. Mix with pasta and pour into casserole. Bake uncovered until top is browned and sauce is bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

    Menu Planning

    Every Sunday, like clockwork, my husband and I sit down and plan the week's menu out, then head to the grocery store together. This keeps us from, "Hey, I don't know what to make and I'm missing at least one ingredient for everything I can think of cooking, so let's go out." It also saves money at the grocery store when we head in with a plan. But, until today, I've never blogged about them. I'm hoping that listing what we're having this week will inspire me to blog about it once it's made, because I know I've been a bit of a slacker in that department lately. I blame the summer heat here in PA!

    Our plan for this week is:

    Langostino Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

    Steak Burritos

    Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

    Shrimp Tacos

    Steak Sandwiches with Oven Fries

    Open - maybe we'll go out, or we might take the little guy to the pool for family swim night - he loves this!

    That's our week! What are you having?

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    White Chicken Chili

    I have read other bloggers' raves about white chicken chili for a while now. We tried one recipe back when I was pregnant - in.edi.ble. Too much spice (and I LOVE my spicy food!), too much cumin... blech.

    Yet I stayed determined. While I was on maternity leave I saw Giada make a version that didn't appear too smoky and spicy on Giada at Home, and I decided to suck it up and try it. Fantastic! It's smooth, creamy, with just a hint of warmth rather than overt spiciness. I made a few modifications to her original recipe to accommodate what I happened to have in my kitchen, and we definitely weren't disappointed!

    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 pounds ground chicken
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 Tbsp sweet paprika
    1 tsp. fennel seeds
    1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
    1 tsp chili powder
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 (15-ounce cans) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/3 cup fat-free half-and-half
    1/4 cup light sour cream

    In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, around 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, salt, paprika fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through.

    Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add crushed red pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir in half-and-half, Parmesan cheese, and sour cream, and stir until creamy.

    Ladle into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper, if desired.

    WW Info: 3 Points per one-cup serving

    Source: Adapted from Giada at Home

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Shrimp Scampi Risotto

    I love risotto. Love, love, love it. Ever since my first foray into making it at home, it has been a constant in our dinner rotation. This is one of our new favorites.

    1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1 Tbsp. butter
    2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
    1 small onion
    3 cloves minced garlic, divided
    1 cup Arborio rice
    1/2 cup white wine
    4 cups chicken broth, warmed
    1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 bag frozen broccoli

    Cook broccoli according to package directions and set aside.

    Melt butter and 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted and oil is hot, add onion and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cloves of garlic and saute until garlic is just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in rice and saute until grains turn opaque.

    Reduce heat to medium. Pour wine over rice and stir until liquid is reduced.

    Begin adding chicken broth one ladle at a time, stirring regularly between each. Once liquid is almost reduced, stir in next ladle. Risotto should be creamy and slightly al dente.

    In a separate, smaller skillet, heat remaining olive oil. When oil is hot, add remaining garlic and heat until fragrant. Stir in shrimp and saute until shrimp is pink. Add shrimp, broccoli, and cheese to risotto and stir until cheese is melted.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Szechuan Shrimp

    I love Chinese food. And not the good-for-you, light white sauce on the side Chinese food. I love the brown sauce-drenched deep fried Chinese food like General Tso's chicken. Yum. But, of course, those aren't very friendly to the old Points calculator, now are they? So I found this recipe on Stephanie Cooks, a blog by a girl after my own heart who follows Weight Watchers but uses real food to do it.

    I added lots of veggies (a package of Steamfresh that just cook right in the microwave - love these!) and brown rice to this recipe, and just doubled the sauce from Stephanie's original so I had enough to cover all of the extras.

    1 pound cooked large shrimp
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1/8 cup soy sauce
    1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
    2 tsp. honey
    1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 green onions, diced
    4 cloves minced or crushed garlic (I used my ever-present garlic press)
    1 bag Steamfresh Asian vegetables (no sauce)

    Combine water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper flakes and ginger in a small bowl. Prepare vegetables in microwave according to package directions.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and garlic and stir fry for ab about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and vegetables and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Heat until sauce is thick and bubbly.

    Makes 4 servings.

    WW Info
    4 Points for 1/4 of recipe (not including rice)

    Adapted from Stephanie Cooks, originally from Blog Chef.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Apple Cinnamon Belgian Waffles

    With more winter weather raging outside, tonight was supposed to be pumpkin waffles. I could have sworn I had a can of pumpkin waiting in the pantry. But when I got in there, no pumpkin to be found. So I decided there was no time like tonight to try apple cinnamon waffles. We weren't disappointed, especially when they were topped with warm maple syrup. They were a cross between waffles and apple dumplings - two great things to have for dinner!

    (I promise, a picture is coming. But, to be honest, they look like any other Belgian waffle!)

    1 cup flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/8 tsp. nutmeg
    1 cup milk
    1 egg
    1 Tbsp. melted butter
    1 shredded apple
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Nonstick cooking spray

    Heat waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, apple, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, stirring until well moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour onto greased, hot waffle iron. Bake until cooked through according to waffle iron directions.

    Makes 4 Belgian waffles.

    WW Info:
    4 Points per waffle

    Adapted from

    Chili-Lime Chicken Tacos

    I saw these tacos listed on Lovestoeat's Weblog, one of my favorite food blogs. This recipe is a great combination of tasty and healthy. Plus you cook these in your crockpot, so it makes life nice and easy. I made these in a 2-quart slow cooker; if you use a larger model, you may want to increase the recipe quantities or adjust the cook time accordingly.

    1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    3 Tbsp. lime juice
    1 Tbsp. chili powder
    1 cup chunky salsa, plus additional for topping
    1 package flour tortillas
    Sour cream, shredded lettuce, cheese, and other favorite taco toppings

    Place the chicken slow cooker. Combine lime juice and chili powder and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

    When chicken is cooked, remove from slow cooker and cool slightly. Shred and return to the slow cooker and stir in salsa. Cover and cook on low an additional 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve in tortillas with desired toppings.

    WW Info:
    7 Points for two tacos - two shells and 3 oz. chicken. Add additional Points for any additional toppings.

    Adapted from Lovestoeat's Weblog.

    Monday, February 22, 2010


    When it's cold outside, I love a big pot of hot chili. Traditionally I'd been pretty basic with my recipe - tomato juice, ground beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, and spices. And while they're all still in this recipe, it has SO much more.

    3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded (I found these dried peppers in the Hispanic section of my grocery store, hanging on a high shelf)
    1 quart beef broth
    2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    1 green pepper
    1 small onion
    4 gloves garlic
    1 lb. ground beef
    1 bottle beer
    2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
    3 28-oz., cans crushed tomatoes
    1/2 tsp. cumin

    In a medium saucepan, bring chiles and beef broth to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until chiles are softened, around 10 minutes.

    In a large stock pot, heat EVOO, and saute green pepper, garlic, and onion until softened. Add ground beef and cook through, chopping into small pieces. Once beef is cooked, deglaze the pan with beer. Add chocolate. Allow chocolate to melt, beer to cook down, and mixture to thicken.

    Once chiles have reconstituted, place peppers in blender with 2 ladles of the broth and puree. Pour pepper puree and remaining broth into stock pot. (IMPORTANT: Don't add all of the broth to the blender or you'll end up with pepper water all over your kitchen. I speak of that which I know firsthand.) Add tomatoes, cumin, and salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 1-2 hours or until it reaches desired thickness.

    WW Points: 3 Points per 1-cup serving

    Long Time No Type

    Wow, it has been a LONG time since I posted anything. But, in my defense, a lot has happened. I was pregnant, due December 23, but was put off work the week before Thanksgiving due to gestational hypertension with a risk of pre-eclampsia. Nicholas stayed put until making his induction-led arrival on December 13, 2009 at 6:06 am. Since then, I've been learning the way of the new parent. When I cooked, it was primarily things that I've tried before.

    Until recently. At my 6-week checkup I got the go-ahead that all was well, except my blood pressure. So I decided I would blow the dust off my old Weight Watchers materials and hit the kitchen again. But when it comes to eating healthy, I have one rule: I don't want it to taste like I'm eating healthy. That means no poached fish or grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Give me flavor. Give me taste. Give me cheese! So while these recipes won't give you 4 Point dinners, they will keep your taste buds satisfied.