Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuna Burger

Well the first thing I can cross off of my 28 by 28 listing...the Tuna Burger! I don't know why I wanted to make this so much, it just sounded really good and a different way to eat canned tuna as opposed to my usual tuna sandwich. I found this recipe on Foodgawker and it sounded really really good! This was so easy to make and I like that it is baked not pan fried. The only thing I stress is you're really going to want a generous portion of the lemon sour cream as a condiment. Without it I think the burger was going to taste too dry. I used the fat free sour cream to save on the calories.



Ingredients
-2, 6 oz cans tuna fish, drained and flaked
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
-1 tablespoons dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh minced if you prefer)
-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper 
-2 lemons (you'll use both zest and juice from each)

-3 tablespoons fat free sour cream (for burger) + 3 tablespoons fat free sour cream (for condiment)
-1 egg 


 1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tuna, panko, parsley, garlic powder, salt & pepper, juice of 1 lemon, zest of that same lemon, egg, and 3 tablespoons sour cream. Mix well and form into 3-4 patties (depends on how big you want them). Place onto greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
3. To make the lemon sour cream, combine the 3 tablespoons of sour cream with the zest of 1 lemon, and the juice of 1/2 of the lemon. Stir.
4. Serve tuna burgers on bun and top generously with lemon sour cream. Garnish with lettuce and tomato if desired.



Source: Can You Stay for Dinner?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pepperoni Puffs

Finally...the last week of work before 2 weeks of Christmas vacation! I cannot wait for this week to be over, and of course I'm suffering through a cold. Ugh! Well at least I'm getting sick now, and not on Christmas like last year...boy was that miserable.

This weekend my husband and I started some Christmas shopping. We only picked up two things on our list, but at least that is 2 people we can cross off the list! For gifts for the rest of the family, they all need to be relatively small since we need to fit them in our carry-on luggage up to NJ. I'm figuring on hitting up the market downtown to get one-of-a-kind gifts that are unique to Charleston.

This past Saturday I had an all day event I had to work. Usually there is food leftover for me to take home to eat for dinner the next night, but this time there wasn't any...boo! What was leftover was some fresh mozzarella and this delicious organic pepperoni. I remembered in my stack of printed recipes I had a recipe for a yummy sounding pepperoni puff from this blog. The only change I made was adding the garlic powder for a little more flavor. These little puffs were so good and so incredibly easy to make. Like she said in her blog, these would make for a great little appetizer you could bring to a party, or you could just eat them for dinner like I did!



Ingredients
-3/4 cup flour
-3/4 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-3/4 cup  milk (I used 2%, but for a healthier version use skim)
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 cup diced pepperoni
-1/2 cup pizza sauce (I actually used some leftover Prego pasta sauce)
-2 tablespoons dried basil

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan (I only had a 12-cup mini muffin pan so just use whatever you have, you can even make these larger in full-size muffin tins). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and oregano; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake unt25 minutes. Warm the pizza or pasta sauce, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil. Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.

Source: Prevention RD

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merlot Marinated London Broil

So a few months ago my grocery store was doing a ton of buy one get one free deals on meats. Whenever they do that I really take that opportunity to stock up on meats. Sometimes they do buy one get 2 free chicken breasts packs! I try not to have to buy meats when they are full price, I can't believe a pack of 3 chicken breasts is between $9-$10! So a while back they were doing a BOGO on London Broils. I really wanted to find a new recipe for a marinade and sauce that would be really impressive as opposed to our usual blend of spices. I came across this recipe for a Merlot Sauce and figured I could also use this an overnight marinade for the meat. This was so so good! Just the thing I was looking for and can be used on most cuts of meat, not just a London Broil!

On a side note, one more week of work before 2 weeks of vacation!!!


Overnight Marinade
-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-1 teaspoon honey
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 cup Merlot wine
-2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Pierce meat with a fork several times. Top with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Rub into meat. Top with honey and rub into meat. Place meat in zip lock bag and pour in the balsamic, soy sauce, and wine. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

2. To cook the London Broil, preheat oven to broil. Place meat in 9x13 baking dish and place on oven rack closest to the broiler. Cook 8 minutes, flip and cook a remaining 7 minutes.

Merlot Sauce
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/2 cup Merlot wine
-4 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
-5 tablespoons butter
-1 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Slowly bring the balsamic vinegar, Merlot, garlic, soy sauce, and honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer another 20 to 25 minutes; remove from heat and add the butter to the mixture, stirring to thicken as the butter melts. Serve over meat.


Source: All Recipes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

28 by 28

So as I read other peoples' blogs I come across quite frequently a listing of foods the blogger wants to make before a particular age. For example, 30 before 30, 25 by 25 and so on. Since there are quite a few things that are on my long term "to make" list, I thought it might be a good idea for me to make one of these lists as well...it might help me stay on target and complete all of these! Since, and I'm cringing as I type this, I turn 28 in October 2012, I've made this my 28 by 28 list. Some of these are pretty specific, like the two copy cat dishes, but then others are broad, like spaghetti sauce and a lasagna. As I complete these I'll come back to this list and update each with the link to the recipe and the date completed. Definitely not rushing anything here, I hope it takes a long long time before my 28th birthday is here.

1. Pierogi
2. PF Changs Copy Cat Lettuce Wraps Posted on 3/20
3. Lasagna
4. Macaroni Grill Copy Cat Penne Rustica Posted on 5/7
5. Fried Green Tomatoes Posted on 7/18
6. Banana Cream Pie
7. BBQ Pork Hushpuppies
8. Fettuccine Alfredo Posted on 4/23
9. Swedish Meatballs
10. Baked Macaroni and Cheese Posted on 1/5
11. Stuffed Cucumber Cups Posted on 4/26
12. Dijon Crusted Salmon Posted on 1/29
13. Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
14. Spaghetti Sauce
15. Cannolli
16. Apple Turnovers
17. Potato Souffle-Made on 8/8 (just "eh", not blog-worthy)
18. Tuna Burger- Posted on 12/14
19. Stuffed Peppers
20. Lemon Squares
21. Ranch Dressing
22. Ravioli
23. Tiramisu
24. Crock pot French Dips
25. Watermelon Salad Posted on 6/28
26. Pasta Carbonara Posted on 8/1
27. Baklava
28. Fried Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce Posted on 1/9

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cookies n' Cream Brownies

If there is one thing I shouldn't to when I'm starving, it's look at Pinterest. Yesterday I was pinning tons of recipes that I want to add to my "To Make" listing and I came across the most decadent photo of Oreo Cookies n' Cream Brownies. I knew I had to make these last night. These are extremely rich but they are oh so good. The combination of the ice cream and hot fudge in the brownie batter keeps them incredibly moist. My photo does not do justice to this delicious treat.



Ingredients
-1 box Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix
-Eggs & oil (as called for by the brownie mix)
-1 heaping half cup of any brand cookies & cream ice cream
-1/4 cup hot fudge topping (room temp)
-1 box Oreos

1. Preheat oven & spray an 8×8 baking dish generously with cooking spray.
2. Combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil as directed on the back of the box, but do not add the water. Add ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40 minutes or as directed on the back of the box.


Source: Oreo Brownies

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Once again it has been way too long since a recipe post! Work has been super busy with holiday events, but there are only a few more events to get through before my Christmas vacation can begin! One of the pluses of working for a college is we get about 2 weeks off for Christmas, and after the chaotic past few weeks it will definitely be a well-deserved break.

My little brother's birthday was back on November 4th and I really wanted to bake him something special to send him at college. I didn't want to just do a cookie, and I remember a while back reading about a cookie dough filled cupcake on another blog. The thought of eating something that tasted like raw cookie dough was incredibly tempting. If there is one food safety rule I completely disregard over and over without any concern, its eating raw cookie dough. As a hypochondriac and having an intense fear of food poisoning, I seem to let my guard down when it comes to cookie dough, cake batter, and brownie batter. What I like about these cupcakes is you can safely eat this since the mixture is made without any raw eggs!


Mini-Cupcakes
-I used my mini-muffin tin and I used boxed cake mix, bake as directed. (yes I cheated, if you're in a baking mood just whip up your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe)

Cookie Dough Filling
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
-6 tablespoons  light brown sugar, packed
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons  all-purpose flour
-7 oz sweetened condensed milk
-½ teaspoon. vanilla extract
-¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour. **(Whoops, I completely missed this step when making mine)**

To assemble cupcakes, carve out a small hole in the center of each cupcake, fill with a spoonful of the cookie dough mixture. To top, use your favorite vanilla frosting recipe. Because I was shipping these, I chose to top them with drizzled melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Enjoy!







Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving

I had an abolutely amazing Thanksgiving!!!! I was so so happy that my mom and little brother were able to drive down from NJ and spend a few days here in Charleston with me and my husband.

On Wednesday, they got in a little later than expected since there was bad weather all along the East coast so we went to a small local bar & grill right by our house called Blue's. Not only was it 1/2 price burger night, but ladies got 1/2 off their liquor drinks too! At dinner, my mom and husband lovingly pointed out to me that I made a crucial error in my mashed potato calculation. I had only bought 3 large potatoes to make mashed potatoes with and they were both aghast by this lack of potato. Of course, we made an emergency run to the grocery store to buy a sack of potatoes.

Thanksgiving day was a blast. We started with the tradition of watching the parade and eating Pillsbury Cinnamon Buns. During the day we eat snacks and play board games. This was my first year making a turkey, and I kept having nervous thoughts that it would turn out like the one from Christmas Vacation! With my mom's help though, it came out perfect. It was so moist and juicy with the perfect amount of crsipyness to the skin. Here are some pictures of my table, turkey, and plate full of food!



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca

So upon returning from an Atlantic City bachelor party trip (think an Italian version of The Hangover), my husband asked for an Italian dinner. One of the nights there they ate at an amazing Italian place called Carmine's. I've been to one in NYC, and apparently they have a few locations. So I checked out their menu and saw that they had a Chicken Saltimbocca and that is something I've been wanting to make. So after searching around and using an Italian cookbook I have, I came up with this delicious dish! I love the combination of the prosciutto and sage...I've never even cooked with sage before!

On a side note, T minus 1 week until my little brother and mom roll into town for Thanksgiving! I'm so excited, I bought my table decor last night at Bed Bath and Beyond and it looks amazing! I'm using a stark white table linen with ivory satin napkins, gold chargers with my china, and centerpiece of floating candles, gold sequin votives, and glittered pine cones. I'll definitely be posting a pic next week!


Ingredients- Serves 2
-2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
-Salt and black pepper
-4 thin slices prosciutto
-4 sage leaves, more for garnish
-Flour for dredging
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup chicken stock
-Lemon wedges
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. After you butterfly your chicken, season with salt and pepper. Top with 2 slices of prosciutto and 2 sage leaves. Place chicken between 2 sheets of parchment, waxed paper or plastic wrap. With a mallet or rolling pin, pound cutlets to an even  thickness,  pounding the prosciutto and sage into the chicken. Sprinkle with garlic powder.

2. Spread the flour on a shallow plate and dip the chicken in it, lightly coating both sides. Heat one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large pan. When the butter begins to foam, add the chicken to the pan placing the prosciutto side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a platter and cover to keep warm.

3. Add wine to the hot pan and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce by half, then add the chicken stock and reduce again. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in remaining tablespoon of butter. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: Whole Foods


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

There are only 3 soups I eat. The first is a one-of-a-kind seafood chowder only made at the York Harbor Inn in York, ME. The others are tomato bisque and potato soup.  I credit my severe distaste for any broth based soup to my childhood (what a shock). Anytime I was sick with the stomach flu, which was quite frequently, my mom made me Campbell's Chicken and Stars soup. God, it's making me nauseous just thinking about that stuff right now. Anyway, thankfully potato soup doesn't seem to be affected by this food aversion!

I searched around a little to find a loaded baked potato soup and then made some of my own modifications. This was really good and the husband loved it too! You don't even need to serve anything else with it since its full of potato, bacon, cheese, and a ton of flavor!


Ingredients
-3  bacon strips, diced
-1 scallion, chopped for garnish
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 clove garlic, minced
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2  teaspoon dried basil
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
-2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1 cup fat free half-and-half
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crispy. (I like mine extra crispy).  Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Dice bacon and aside. Saute minced garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper.
2. Pour stock into a large pot. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the sauteed garlic mixture and bacon pieces, and then add the potatoes and cream. heat through but do not boil. Garnish with cheese and scallions.





Monday, November 14, 2011

Tzatziki Shrimp

Wow, Ok so yet again I've majorly slacked on blogging. I've still been cooking and taking photos of the dishes, but I've just been letting them pile up and never get around to posting! So now that this week things will be a little slower at work, I can get back to posting my dishes.

First, I am so so so excited that my brother and mom are driving down to Charleston next week to spend Thanksgiving with me and my husband! This will be my first Thanksgiving dinner that I've prepared. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I don't like stepping outside of my comfort zone with trying new dishes or trying anything too ambitious. Just give me my usual stuffing, turkey, and canned cranberry sauce (yes, I love that stuff). The only thing new I'll be making with be chocolate dipped gingerbread cookies as dessert.

I made this dish about 2 weeks ago, using the last of the shrimp my husband had caught from shrimping season. I really am trying to use my new food processor he got me as much as possible and I wanted to make tzatziki sauce in it! I've made tzatziki before, but prefer the way this one tasted more since I felt there was more of the cucumber flavor in it. This was a perfect little dinner for me! Use as much shrimp as you want, that's not really going to change anything...I only had about 8 shrimps left so that's what I used here.



Ingredients
-8 shrimp, peeled and deveined
-2 soft taco wraps
-2 tablespoon EVOO plus 1/2 teaspoon
-1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (or more if desired)
-2 teaspoons garlic powder
-Salt & Pepper to taste
-5oz plain Greek yogurt
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded, diced

1. To make the chips, preheat oven to broiler. Brush wraps with the 1 tablespoon EVOO, sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of the Greek seasoning (however much you desire), and about 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder, season with salt. Place under broiler for about 6 minutes, or until wraps reach desired level of crispiness. Remove from oven and cut into triangles with a pizza cutter.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the other tablespoon of EVOO. Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes each side, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning, and salt and pepper.
3. To make the tzatziki, in a food processor combine the yogurt, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon EVOO, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and the diced cucumber. Blend until smooth.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

As funny as it sounds, BBQ chicken pizza holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first things my husband and I cooked together back when we first started dating. The only problem was, I suck at rolling out real pizza dough, so when we tried to make it the dough was always so thick we always needed a fork and knife to eat it! So now whenever I make this, I cheat a little and use Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust.

So my least favorite 'holiday' is right around the corner...Halloween. Oh my God I hate it with a passion. Every year I say I'm not going to dress up or do anything, and every year we wind up deciding to go out, which leaves me scrambling to come up with some mediocre and predictable costume. Since this same cycle continued this year (I wasn't going to do anything, but now we are) I am left to again concoct some stupid costume. I came up with a few, but decided they were a little too controversial and maybe "too soon", so I scraped them and am just doing something predictable and boring....well I guess at least I'm sticking with my tradition?


Ingredients
- 1 Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce (I use a hickory brown sugar)
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/3 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
-1 or 2 cooked chicken breasts (just depends on how much chicken you want)
1. Butterfly chicken and cook in a frying pan over medium heat about 6 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Once cooked, shred into small bite-size pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pizza crust onto lightly Pam sprayed baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Once crust is cooked, top with BBQ sauce. If you like a thicker sauce, just add as much BBQ as desired. Sprinkle sauce with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Top with shredded chicken, then Mozzarella cheese, then Italian blend cheese. Last, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
4. Place pizza back in oven under broiler for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. If crust is getting too dark, cover with strips of foil to keep it from the direct heat.

Source: A Seasoned Greeting-Original Recipe

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/22 Couponing

So in addition to slacking on my blog posts, I've also seriously slacked on my couponing!! My last couponing trip was back in August, and it definitely felt good to get back in the swing of things and getting some good deals. Overall, this was a pretty decent shopping trip, even though there were a few things I had to buy that I didn't have coupons for: Paper Towels ($6) and Flour ($2). But I did get two Catalina's printed, so now I have $2 off my next order at Harris Teeter!

Here is the break down of what I got!

-8-pack paper towels
-1 Febreeze Air Effects
-2 Dawn dish soap
-2 Gilette deodorant
-1 Old Spice deodorant
-3 Airwick candles
-1 box Chewy dips granola bars
-1 jar Classico pasta sauce
-1 bag flour
-1 carton beef stock
-1 carton chicken stock
-2 bottles Suave shampoo
-1 bottle Suave conditioner
-1 box Famous Amos cookies
-2 boxes brown sugar
-2 boxes powdered sugar
-1 bag Tidy Cats litter
-3 boxes Nature Valley granola thins
-1 bag Cheetos
-1 bag Fritos
-2 Pillsbury Cinnamon buns
-2 Pillsbury Crescent rolls


Spent: $34.66                            Saved: $81.18

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweet Chili

I had first made this chili in a while back and really liked it. The first time I made it I made a mistake of forgetting to add the water to the chili...whoops! So this time, I made sure to follow the recipe exactly and not forget anything.

For my birthday this year, I got these adorable tortilla bowl makers. All you do is place a regular tortilla into the shaped baking dish and in 7 minutes you have these crispy shells perfect for chili, salads, anything!


Ingredients
- 2lbs lean ground beef
-1 can kernel corn
-1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
-1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with no added salt
-1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
-1 packet chili seasoning
-1/4 cup sugar
- Salt & pepper to taste
-1 tsp hot sauce
-2 tablespoons red wine
-Shredded cheese for garnishing

1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. In a separate pot, heat the corn.

2. To the browned beef, add salt & pepper, sugar, hot sauce, red wine, and chili packet seasoning.

3. Add cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, including juice. Add tomato paste and then fill paste can with water and add 1 can (6 oz) water. (This is the part my brain completely skipped reading)

4. Bring ingredients to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired.

Source: Prevention RD

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Applesauce

Boy did we get a taste of Fall weather this weekend! Charleston almost hit a record low on Saturday for this time of year, 46 degrees! It was such a relief to not feel the disgusting heat and humidity anymore. But of course, it won't last for long. This week we are back into the upper 70's close to 80 degrees for during the day.  Since I was trying to enjoy the Fall weather, I wanted to make my mom's recipe for homemade applesauce. This was one of my favorite things as a kid, and we normally ate it with dinner with pork chops. As shown in the photo, this is a chunky applesauce...not a smooth kind like Mott's that you buy in the jar, so don't be alarmed by the consistency and texture! What makes this applesauce so good is that it doesn't use any water...so the flavor is very intense and not diluted!



Ingredients
- 4 apples, diced into small chunks (I used Red Delicious)
-1/2 cup apple juice + 1/4 cup
-1/2 cup pineapple juice
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar
-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon corn starch

1. In a large pot, place the diced apple pieces, pineapple juice, 1/2 cup apple juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, and brown sugar. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.
2. In a separate pot, combine the 1/4 cup apple juice with the corn starch, bring to bubbly then add to the larger pot of applesauce. Increase heat until mixture is bubbly (about 10 minutes). Serve warm.
*Applesauce will not be consistency of a Mott's or other applesauce.*

Source: Redbook Magazine, 1989, Mike Ditka's Recipe

Friday, September 30, 2011

Maple Bacon Chicken

I love finding a recipe I haven't cooked in years! Since my husband is still doing low-carb I've been digging deep into my recipe box to find recipes without carbs and trying to keep things interesting. This is a recipe I had found when I first moved to Charleston and was cooking for my husband pretty much for the first time. It is so easy but the flavors of the bacon, BBQ sauce, and maple syrup are so good!! I know I found this somewhere on All Recipes, but I tried going back to find the source and I can't find it anywhere! I did come up with the quantities of the ingredients though...to my horror when I looked at my recipe card I only wrote down the ingredients, not how much of each I need. Not sure what I was thinking!


On a side note, I am so thrilled it is Friday. I am really looking forward to not having any work obligations this weekend! Hopefully I can just relax, catch up on my shows, and do some Fall cooking!




Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used a Hickory Brown Sugar)
- 4 strips of bacon
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 chicken breasts (or tenderloins)

1.  Preheat oven to 375. On a baking sheet, place the bacon strips and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until crispy. Pat grease off and cut into small bite-size pieces.

2. Butterfly chicken breast, place bacon on chicken and roll up. Place in casserole dish.

3. In a bowl, combine the syrup, BBQ sauce, and the brown sugar.over chicken. Pour over chicken and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

Adapted from: All Recipes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Ok, so I guess it doesn't really look like pie...more like an avalanche of beef. I thought it would hold up a little better, but don't let that discourage you! This is another Rachael Ray recipe and it is delicious!

I know if my mom is reading this she is scoffing at the fact that I made a Shepherd's Pie, another recipe that I had never tried before until a few months ago because my husband requested it. There were a few things that I omitted from the recipe, like onions, peas, and carrots, because I am really picky...but I think next time I made this I'll serve it with a side of carrots. This is a really great dish since we usually have leftovers and it reheats very easily for lunch the next day or another dinner.


Ingredients
- 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
              **You can also use 1 packet from boxed instant potatoes. I use this if I am feeling super lazy***
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon EVOO 1 turn of the pan
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup beef stock or beef broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
-1 can kernel corn
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Mash until smooth and stir in the sour cream and 1 tablespoon of butter. *As stated in the ingredients, you can substitute one packet of instant boxed mashed potatoes for these. It depends on how busy/tired I am from work.

2. While potatoes boil, cook corn on stove top, about 5-6 minutes.

3. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add EVOO to pan with ground beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown until no longer pink. In a separate pot, combine the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer to thicken gravy. If still too watery, slowly whisk in corn starch to thicken.

4. Once thickened, add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in corn.

5.Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole dish or a pie dish with meat and corn mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with cheddar cheese and broil until potatoes and cheese are evenly browned.

Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Greek Tacos

This morning I was very excited to hear that this weekend the temperature at night and early morning will be in the low 60's/high 50's!! Finally some more Fall like weather around here. I am so sick of the heat and humidity from this summer that this will really be a welcomed cooling. What I love about Charleston is that it stays mild well into December, but I really hate how that sticky summer weather lingers around until late September...enough already! Maybe this weekend I'll actually feel like it's appropriate to start baking with all the wonderful Fall ingredients!

A few weeks ago I was really wanting to make something like a Greek Taco. After doing a little research online, I cam across this recipe from Taste of Home. I'm a little picky with food so I knew I'd need to edit it a bit to fit our tastes, but it was a good starting point! I loved the flavor combinations of the Greek seasoned beef, feta cheese, spinach, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce. My only recommendation is to stick to the 2 teaspoons of Greek seasoning...I added more since I thought I couldn't taste it when I was cooking the beef and wow did I go overboard on that!



Ingredients-Tacos
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup cooked frozen spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-  1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
-  Soft taco shells
- 1/3 cup diced cucumbers for garnish

Ingredients- Tzatziki Sauce
- 8oz Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 2 cloves pressed garlic
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cucumbers

1. To make the tzatziki, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add the pepper, cooked spinach, and Greek seasoning. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
3. Spoon beef mixture over soft taco shell, top with crumbled feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and diced cucumbers.


                           Taste of Home (Tacos)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lemon Orzo

Well it feels like it should be Friday already but its only Tuesday, ugh! Work has been a little hectic yesterday and today with a conference. Getting into work at 6:30am definitely doesn't work well for me. I'll  be happy to get back into the normal swing of things!

I know I said before that I don't really like Rachael Ray...but here I am posting another recipe of hers....I also have another post with a recipe of hers that I am editing. So I guess it's not that I don't like some of her recipes, but I really can't stand to watch her Food Network show. I'd rather watch it on mute than have to listen to her voice for another 30-minute meal episode. Anyway, my husband had some steaks he was able to bring home from a food show and I wanted to make a new type of side item to go with them instead of the usual mashed potato. This lemon orzo was really good, and you can adjust the amount of lemon juice depending on how 'lemony' you want to make it. I will suggest though to serve this with a lighter chicken or pork...I had this with a steak and the flavor of the steak and lemon didn't mesh well for me.
Ingredients
-1/2 box orzo pasta
-2 large lemons, zest and juice needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1. Cook orzo pasta. Transfer cooked orzo to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the zest from both lemons and 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (more if you desire a more lemony taste). Stir in the chopped parsley.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Shrimp Burgers

So I have been trying to find new ways to cook shrimp since my husband caught so much of it for me the last time he went shrimping. Don't get me wrong, I love a good shrimp pasta or grilled shrimp but I really like to find new recipes so that I don't get bored of eating it the same way over and over again.

I came across a recipe for a Shrimp Burger from a fellow blog Pink Parsley and it sounded so good! It had never even crossed my to take the shrimp and make burger patties out of them. I did make some of my own modifications, like chopping up the shrimp pieces to make shredded shrimp for the patties, substituting Old Bay seasoning for the ginger, making them into slider patties, and sauteing the shrimp with shallots. You can either eat these as sliders, or as a 'shrimp cake' with no bun and topped with a lemon aioli (recipe below). Both ways were good. Overall, this is definitely a keeper!



Ingredients- Shrimp Slider
-10 medium size shrimp, pealed and de-veined
-1 tablespoon diced shallots
-2 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob (cooked)
-2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
-Zest of 1 lemon
-1 tablespoon light mayo
-3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients- Lemon Aioli
-1/2 cup light mayo
-1 clove garlic, minced
-Zest of 1 lemon
-Juice from 1 lemon
-2 teaspoons dried chives
-Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a pan, over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the shallots until clear. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until full cooked. Either using a food chopper, blender, or a food processor, chop the shrimp into shredded pieces (like crab for a crab cake).
2. In a bowl, combine the shredded shrimp, shallots from the frying pan, fresh cut corn, Old Bay, lemon zest, and mayo. Stir to combine. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs and slowly fold in the egg until a firmer mixture has formed. If too loose, add more Panko to absorb the liquid. Form mixture into 4 small slider patties.
3. In the frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, place shrimp patties and fry 4 minutes per side.
4. For the aioli, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Serve shrimp patties either on slide buns, or alone as shrimp cakes. Top with desired amount of lemon aioli.

Adapted From: Pink Parsley
Adapted From: Food Network

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Well today marks a milestone for me...I had my first cavity filled! Ugh, and boy was I dreading it. I really didn't know what to expect, I had a gum surgery back in high school and it was so unpleasant and painful I kept comparing everything to that. But to my surprise, it really wasn't that bad! My dentist has a flat screen TV on a swivel so I was able to position it in front of my and pull up a movie on Netflix and just watch that the whole time! I took an Aleve earlier when I started to feel a little pain, so I'm feeling fine now. Hopefully it won't interfere with dinner tonight!

For some reason, I keep get Fitness magazine mailed to me. Its addressed to me, so I know I'm not getting anyone else's by mistake. A few months ago there was a section about smoothies and I saw a smoothie that sounded delicious...Almond Banana! Of course, when I want to make it I can't find the magazine so I Googled around and found one posted on Bon Appetit. I made it a few days ago and...blech! I didn't like it at all. There was very little flavor and just tasted like watered down bananas to me. Since I had a few bananas left I wanted to try something else so I could have something nutritious after my cavity filling today ad I came up with my Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie. This was so good!! It was the perfect blend of banana and peanut butter flavor.



Ingredients
-3 ripe bananas, diced
-4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
-2 cups Almond milk
-1 cup ice

1. Place diced bananas, almond milk, and peanut butter in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend until smooth (about 30 seconds).


Adapted From: Bon Appetit

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

White Wine and Garlic Shrimp

Ahhh I love shrimping season! More than that, I love that my husband can actually go out and catch me some shrimp. Even more than that, I love that he doesn't eat shrimp so I get to keep them all to myself. The only thing I don't love about shrimp is having to clean and de-vein them before cooking. But I guess it is just the small price I have to pay.

If I'm not feeling overly ambitious for dinner, one of my favorite ways to cook up the shrimp is in an easy white wine and garlic sauce and service over a bed of pasta. You really can edit this anyway you want to fit your tastes, so it is very versatile. In this case, I had a box of orzo pasta. Once the shrimp has been cleaned and de-veined, this cooks up so quickly...the pasta takes longer then the shrimp!

Hopefully I'll be having some more delicious shrimp recipes to post here soon!

Ingredients
-Desired amount of shrimp, I had 10 medium sized shrimps
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay I had)
-2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Peel, de-vein, and clean shrimp.
2. In a pan over medium-high heat, saute the minced garlic in the butter for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts turning brown. Add white wine and shrimp seasoning the shrimp with salt & pepper. Cook shrimp roughly 2-3 minutes each side or until fully cooked.
3. Serve over a bed of orzo pasta and top shrimp with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Orange Zest and Pecan Chicken

So my husband is on a low/no-carb diet for the next few weeks to kick start a workout regiment...which means I am also on a low-carb eating plan. I decided it wouldn't be very fair for me to sit their eating rice, potatoes, and pasta...plus cutting down on the carbs would do me some good anyway. I've had this Rachael Ray recipe in my recipe box for quite a while, but its been forever since I've made it. Her recipe calls for the tenders to be served over a bed of lettuce and the sauce is actually a dressing. I'm not a huge fan of entree salads for dinner and I know I'd never be able to serve a salad to my husband, so I use the sauce as more of a marinade for the chicken. This is by far one of my favorite easy dishes to make and tastes a lot more complex than it really is!



Ingredients- Serves 2
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 chicken breasts cut into tenders (or you can just buy tenderloins but I had chicken breasts in the freezer)
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/4 cup sweet BBQ sauce
-1/3 cup finely crushed pecans
-1 navel orange (you'll use the zest and the juice)
-Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO. Place tenders in pan and season with salt & pepper. Cook tenders 3-4 minutes (or until no longer pink) per side flipping once.
2. In a bowl, mix the maple syrup and BBQ sauce. Zest the orange and stir in the zest. Juice the orange and stir into the mixture.
3. When tenders are finished, remove from pan and clean pan of any oil. Over medium heat, add in the BBQ sauce mixture, add tenders. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve immediately and top with crushed pecans.

Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mozzarella and Prosciutto Pizza

One thing my husband and I love to make are calzones. I got this adorable little calzone maker from Williams-Sonoma last year and for a while we were doing calzone night almost once a week! It also makes for a fun dinner party idea, just set out a bunch of different ingredients and let eveyone build their own calzone.

Anyway, I had some left over prosciutto from a recent calzone night and I wanted to find a new recipe so I could use it up. My husband loves eating prosciutto but I've never been a big fan, which I guess is a good thing considering the price per pound on this stuff. After searching around I came across a Pioneer Woman recipe that called for prosciutto and fresh mozzarella....and it sounded delicious! I edited it a little bit to suit our tastses...I added a little bit of my white sauce as a base and also added in garlic. I was really suprised there was no garlic in the original recipe, I really think it enhanced the flavor!


Ingredients
-1 whole pizza crust (I cheated and  used Pillsbury dough)
-2 tablespoons EVOO
 -2 cloves minced garlic
-1/3 cup heavy cream (you can sub fat free half & half here to cut down on some of the calories)
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 10 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
-4-6 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips or desired size
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO and cook the minced garlic for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the heavy cream, garlic powder, and garlic salt. When cream is heated, add 1/4 cup of the Paremsan and cook until fully melted. Simmer to thicken, about 5-6 minutes
3. Pour white sauce over pizza dough, top with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is metled.


Adapted from: Pioneer Woman

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

So yesterday I got sucked into watching a few episodes of Cake Boss. I normally don't watch this show, mainly because I think he is really annoying to listen too. When I was in Hoboken in July to visit my brother I walked by Carlo's since it is right on the way to the Path. Even at 9:30am there is a line inside the bakery, outside the bakery, and across the street in front of the CVS. It is absolutely insane! I was remotely tempted to get a treat there, but once I saw the line I knew it wasn't worth it.




Anyway, of course as I am watching the show I begin craving some sort of bakery treat...especially cupcakes. As I search through my pantry I am delighted to see that I have all the ingredients to make cupcakes and a delicious chocolate frosting. I will admit, the cake batter is Betty Crocker French Vanilla (gasp!).
I found an easy chocolate frosting recipe on All Recipes, but after making it it just tasted very generic to me, nothing overly special about it. I decided to add 3oz of some cream cheese I had left over and boy did that do the trick! It made the frosting extra creamy and added a new depth to the chocolate flavor. This is a keeper!
Ingredients
-2 sticks butter, softened
-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-1 cup cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon whole milk or half & half
-3 oz cream cheese, softened
-1/2 tsp vanilla

1. With a handheld mixer, cream the butter and the powdered sugar. Next, add the cocoa and tablespoon of milk. Add the cream cheese and the vanilla and beat until all the cream cheese is smooth and combined.


Adapted From: All Recipes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fudgy Brownies

So after years of searching, I think I've finally found it: the perfectly fudgy brownie. When it comes to the brownie debate, you are either a fudgy brownie lover or a cakey brownie lover. What sets these brownies apart from the typical brownie recipe is that it doesn't get the 'chocolateness' from a large amount of cocoa....it comes from the 2 cups of melted chocolate chips.

These are so delicious, chocolatey, and fudgy so be sure to have a tall glass of milk close by!


Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Over a double boiler, melt the 2 sticks of butter and the chocolate chips, stir occasionally to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and the eggs. Stir to combine. When the butter and chocolate have completely melted, pour mixture into dry ingredients and beat with a handheld mixture on medium speed. Add the vanilla and milk, continue to beat until a smooth batter has formed. Pour into a 9x9 baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Inspired By: Kahlua Brownies

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brown Sugar Bacon Sliders

So things have been a little hectic around here with Hurricane Irene churning in the Caribbean right now. I'm so bummed because we had a bachelorette party weekend planned for Holden Beach, NC for this weekend and now it looks like that may need to be rescheduled. The last place I want to be is in an ocean front beach house during a Cat 3 hurricane, no thanks.
Its still a little too early to tell though where exactly it is going to make land fall....closer to the NC/SC border, only NC, only SC, or stay off into the Atlantic. Although since the storm would be close to 200 miles wide by the time it makes landfall, its hard to imagine how we wouldn't feels some effects from it.

Anyway, I had some ground beef that I wanted to use up and I want to try making sliders for the first time instead of the usual burger patty. I came up with the idea of making a hickory BBQ sauce and brown sugar bacon sliders, and oh my god these were so good! Caramelizing the brown sugar on top of the bacon pieces under the broiler gave the bacon this amazing sweet and savory combination. I watched this video on how to make perfectly shaped sliders, a really good idea!!


Ingredients (Yielded 6 sliders)
-1/2lb ground beef
-3 tablespoons Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)
-1 tablespoon brown sugar + 1 teaspoon
-1/2 bag Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-6 King's Hawaiian mini rolls
-2 slices Colby and Monterrey Jack Cheese, sliced into small squares

1. Place the bacon pieces on foil on a baking sheet and cover with the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Place under broiler for 5 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef with the BBQ sauce and stir. Next add in the bacon pieces and stir until they are all incorporated. Add the salt and the remaining teaspoon of brown sugar.
3. Following this instructional video, line 6 muffin tins with liners and place about 2 tablespoons of the ground beef mixture in each. I then stuck my hand in a large Zip Lock bag and pressed the mixture in firmly to make sure it was packed in.
4. With your frying pan heated over medium-high heat (no Pam or oil!) place the sliders in, cook 4 minutes each side, flipping only once. Serve on toasted King's Hawaiian buns and top with the small slices of Colby Jack cheese.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Bites

So Friday night my husband had poker night at our place and I wanted to make an easy appetizer that they could munch on while they were playing! A few weeks ago I was out having lunch at a local restaurant called King Street Grill and ordered Loaded Baked Potato Egg Rolls...they were so good!!! I wanted to put my own spin on that idea so I created a baked potato mixture and filled phyllo cups with it and baked them until very crispy. These little guys were delicious! I loved the crunchy phyllo shell and then the flavors of the cheese, bacon, and chives in the potato mixture. Dip these in either sour cream or ketchup!





Ingredients (Yielded 45 bites)
- 2 baking potatoes
-3 oz softened cream cheese
-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-3 tablespoons milk
- 4-5 slices of bacon
-3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-1 tablespoon dried chives (or equivalent of fresh chopped chives)
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
-paprika
-3 boxes of 15-ct phyllo shells, thawed

1. Peel and and cut potatoes into chunks, place in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain water and return potato to pot.
 
2. While potatoes are cooking, bake bacon strips at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Cut into small pieces.
 
3. After bacon is cooked, place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-4 minutes to crisp. (this step is optional, you don't have to pre-crisp shells)
 
4. To the potatoes add the cream cheese, melted butter, and milk. With a handheld mixer, blend together. You just want to combine the ingredients until it holds together, if too thick add more milk. You DO NOT want this to be smooth or the consistency of mashed potatoes....you still want some chunks of potato in there.
 
5. Once blended, add the bacon pieces and cheese. Stir to combine. Next add the garlic powder, garlic salt, and chives. Stir to combine.
 
6. Fill phyllo shells with mixture and sprinkle with paprika, bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream or ketchup for dipping.
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8/9 Couponing

Well it has been way too long since my last couponing trip!! Something I noticed over the summer was the there were very few coupons for food. It gave me the chance to stock up on non food items, but I was beginning to wonder when the good coupons would come back! It looks like since it is back to school time the food coupons are back!

This week Harris Teeter was doing their Super Doubles! I love when they do this since it gives me the chance to use coupons I might not normally use. I was able to stock up on some cheeses and granola bars this week! There were a few items that I did not have coupons for but I needed to buy, I noted that below.

Again, fruits and veggies are purchased on an as needed basis during the week depending on the menu.


What I Got:
-1 12-roll of Angel Soft ($6, no coupon)
- 2 bags Keebler Cookies
-1 box garbage bags ($3, no coupon)
-2 bags Chex Mix
-4 box Nature's Valley granola bars
-2 boxes NutriGrain granola bars
-2 bags Purina Cat Chow
-2 boxes Mueller's wheat pasta
-1 Dawn dish detergent
-2 rolls paper towels
-2 packs Soleil Bic Razor
-2 bottles Loreal Vive Pro conditioner
-1 Degree deodorant
-1 Pillsbury Pizza Crust
-4 bags Sargento shredded cheese (no coupon, but they were B1G1)
-1 Hillshire Farm sausage
-1 bottle Excedrin Migraine

Spent: $32.81                    Saved: $85.07


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reese's Brownie Bars

On a cooking forum I post I saw a delicious looking recipe from The Novice Chef for cupcakes topped with whipped peanut butter and decadent chocolate ganache. I knew that I would have to try these for myself! I am a little weird, since I'm really not a fan of cupcakes. I know cupcakes are super popular right now...all types of crazy cake flavors with mountains of icing on top, but I'm just not impressed with them. So I decided to use the whipped peanut butter and ganache as a topping on a brownie bar instead, and it was so good! There is nothing better than the peanut butter/chocolate combination. The only thing I would change for next time is to add 1/2 tsp more of Splenda to the ganache, it was a little rich for my taste. I noted this in the recipe below.

On a side note I just have to say...Super Double Coupons start at Harris Teeter tomorrow! I feel so lame for getting excited about couponing, but its been over a month since my last couponing trip. I've noticed that over the summer the coupon selection sucked. There were barely any decent food coupons that I'd use. Since school is about to start back up, it seems that the food coupons are back...and I'm ready to do some damage! Hopefully I'll have a couponing post by the end of the week.



Brownie Ingredients
-1 cup butter, melted
-2 cups sugar
-2 eggs
-2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder
-1 cup flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking powder
Whipped Peanut Butter Ingredients
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
-3 oz dark chocolate (around 60% cocoa), chopped
-1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter
-1/2 teaspoon Splenda (add more as desired)

1. For the brownies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Stir in eggs and melted butter. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed for 1 minute to make batter smooth. Pour into greased 9x9 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. When cooled, cut into bars.

2. For the Whipped Peanut Butter, place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl. Mix with a handheld mixer on medium-low until creamy. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Spoon onto brownie bars and place in fridge for 15 minutes to cool.

3. For the chocolate ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes. Whisk gently until smooth. Allow ganache to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often, or until it cools and thickens slightly. Once it is has thickened, spoon onto whipped peanut butter. Garnish with Reese's Pieces.

Source: The Novice Chef

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Movie Themed Cake

Last week my husband's boss asked my friend and I to make a movie themed cake for his brother's birthday party! We were so excited to get our first real request for a cake, and were pretty excited about the cute theme too. The original plan was for the cake to be ready for a dinner tomorrow evening (Friday), but on our way back from NJ on Monday, we found out the dinner was changed to tonight...ugh! After a few mishaps (we're still learning a lot of techniques of tier layering) we have our finished product! Funny thing is, we both like this cake way better than what we set out to create. The Junior Mints are called Senior Mints per a special request since it is for a 50th birthday lol!
We are also thrilled with the way the 'popcorn' turned out. She had a very small flower cutout that you place on a small ball of yellow-marbled fondant then press it in with a skewer. It looks so real! I am nervous for everyones reaction at the dinner tonight, after all the hours of work we put into this they better like it! In the white section towards the red carpet, I have in a 4x6 frame a photo of a marquee that lists 3 of his favorite movies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

White Pizza and New Jersey

Wow, I had such a busy, but fun, trip back home to NJ!!! I think this was the first trip in a long time that we actually got everything accomplished that we planned. My first night I spent with my brother and his girlfried in Hoboken and I went into the city to meet my college roomates at a cute bar called Stout. It was super close to my stop off the Path so there was minimal chance of me getting lost...although I did walk in the wrong direction on 33rd St, but I don't consider that getting lost since I knew where I was lol.

Friday I was able to meet my cousin for lunch in Hoboken at an amazing Italian deli, Vito's. It was so good, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, garlic sauce, ham, and capicola. I devoured this!

Saturday my husband and brother and I went down to Atlantic City! We walked the boardwalk a bit and stopped into Caesar's and Bally's, but spent the majority of the evening at Borgata. That place was incredible, it surpasses all of the other casinos in AC. I also had the most amazing grilled cheese at a place called Bread+Butter in there...unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it! Next time we go back to AC we won't even bother with the strip, its right to Borgata. My husband and I both made some money playing roulette, so we left as happy campers! By the time we got back to our room the sun was coming up, I forgot how easy it is to lose track of time in a casino.


Of course, after this trip I was exhausted, so I decided to make an easy White Pizza for dinner last night. I found this recipe and made some modifications and it was really good! My husband kept going back to the oven for more, so I knew it was a hit!



Ingredients
-1 Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust
-1 cup Fat Free ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-2 cloves minced garlic
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-2 tablespoons EVOO
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1. Place pizza crust on cookie sheet. Pre-cook according to package directions. (5 minutes @ 425 degrees)
2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO and cook the minced garlic for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the heavy cream, garlic powder, and garlic salt. When cream is heated, add 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella and cook until fully melted. Simmer to thicken, about 5-6 minutes.
3.In a bowl, combine the ricotta, thyme, basil, and salt.
4. Spread cream sauce over pizza crust, then top with ricotta mixture. Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella over top, and brush crusts with a little EVOO to crips. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.



Source: Adapted from Serious Eats