Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

So we've all lived passed the dooms day of 12/21 and we can look forward to what 2013 has to offer! As I bring another year of blogging to a close, here is a look back of my most popular posts of the year.

1. Tortilla Chicken



2. Double Crunch Savory Pork Chops

3. Coffee and Nutella Cupcakes
 



4. Ironman Cake
 



5. Peanut Butter Waffles with Cocoa Whipped Cream
 



6. Zucchini Ravioli


7. Baked Mac n' Cheese
 



8. Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese


9. Asian Lettuce Wraps
 



10. Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce
 



11. Italian Grilled Cheese


12. Fajita Pasta
 
 
Here's to a delicious 2013!

Chicken in Creamy Chive Sauce

Whew, Christmas is officially over. This year was a little more hectic than normal since we're still getting settled from the move. I hate to say it, but I wasn't really into Christmas this year. I'm really looking forward to getting into a normal routine!

So here is another edition of the recipe swap hosted by http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com. I was assigned Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations and I settled on the Creamy Chive Chicken recipe. This was SO good, and my husband loved this one too. I took her notes and I added some white wine into the sauce which I think gave it a nice flavor, I also added salt as I thought it was a little bland on first tasting. This one is definitely making it's way into my recipe box!

 
 
Ingredients
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-3 tablespoons minced shallots
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 and 1/2 cup cream
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup white wine
-2 tablespoons chopped chives
-1/2 teaspoon salt
 
1. Over medium high heat, heat the EVOO and add the shallots and garlic, saute for 2 minutes.
 
2. Add chicken pieces and cook 5 minutes, then add cream, white wine, thyme, and salt, bring to boil and then simmer 5 minutes until chicken is cooked.
 
3. Once chicken is cooked, add the Parmesan cheese and simmer 1-2 minutes. Stir in chives, serve over pasta or rice.



Source: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations




 
 
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies

This was my first year participating in a cookie swap with fellow bloggers. I really wanted to make something a little different this year, and also to redeem myself from my gingerbread let down from years past. If you've never had the combination of chocolate and gingerbread before, you've been missing out. My husband loves these little German cookies that are gingerbread covered in chocolate. We had just gone to a German Christmas market a few weeks ago and it got me thinking to making my own version of these: chocolate chip gingerbread cookies! I knew I wanted to start with a chewy gingerbread cookie instead of a crunchy. I found a recipe on All Recipes and just added in my chocolate chips. I can't even explain how good these are. The sweet from the chocolate pairs perfectly with the warmth and spice of the gingerbread. I'll be making these again for Christmas, and I hope the blogger I sent these to liked these as I did!

 
 
Ingredients
-2 1/4 cups flour
-2 teaspoons ginger
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon cloves
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup butter, softened
-1 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon water
-1/4 cup molasses
-1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
-Additional 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and the 1 cup white sugar. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Gradually stir mixture into the molasses mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Dip rolled cookies into the additional white sugar. Bake 8-9 minutes.



Gingerbread Source: All Recipes

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baked S'mores

In case you couldn't tell from my indoor s'mores recipe, I love s'mores! Who doesn't love the combination of crunchy graham, melted chocolate, and sweet marshmallow? I've wanted to take this childhood classic and turn it into something a little more 'adult'. What better way that to take those elements and bake them in a ramekin? I started by making a simple graham cracker crust and baking it into the bottom of the ramekin so that it would keep the crunchiness that I think this crucial to a good s'more. I then made a small modification to the chocolate goodness of indoor s'more and layered it on top of the graham crust. The last part is a generous topping of marshmallow fluff. Pop that under the broiler and it creates a crisp shell very similar to the crunch of a creme brulee, and then the smooth fluff and chocolate are all melty underneath. My husband loved these, and I'll be making them again for Christmas Eve dessert!


 
 
 
Ingredients- Yields 3 servings

-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-5 full graham crackers, crushed
-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-2 tablespoons half and half
-2 tablespoons cocoa
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1 teaspoon sugar
-marshmallow fluff
 
1. In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham cracker and melted butter. Spoon into 3 ramekins and press down firmly to form crust. Bake in 400 degree oven 6 minutes.
 
2. In a small sauce pot, melt chocolate chips and half and half. Remove from heat and add the cocoa, powdered sugar, and sugar. Spoon over graham cracker crust and top generously with fluff, you'll want the fluff to cover the entire top.
 
3. Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes, until the top of the fluff is browned. Garnish with a few chocolate chips or crushed graham cracker.
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Monday, December 3, 2012

Baileys Caramel Mousse

For some reason every time my husband and I move it coincides with Thanksgiving. Yes, we're brilliant people.

Thanksgiving this year fell 4 days after our big move from Charleston, SC to Jersey City, NJ. 14 hours driving a Uhaul was far from a pleasant experience. My neck and shoulders ached so bad from white-knuckling the steering wheel the whole way trying to keep the behemoth of a truck in between the white lines.

Since we were going to his family's Thanksgiving dinner, I said I would do the desserts, since I figured that would be the easiest items to whip together with a half put together kitchen. I had stumbled across this recipe for a Baileys mousse on the Baileys website. This was so freaking easy and so decadent and rich. Aside from my mom's chocolate mousse recipe, this goes down as one of the best I've ever had. It has just enough kick from the Baileys and just enough sweet from the caramel and chocolate! Might be nice to serve this with a wafer cookie of some kind next time.

Of course, I forgot to snap a photo when I served at Thanksgiving. Guess it gives me another reason to make it again! Don't let not having a photo deter you from trying this!

Ingredients-Yields 5-6 servings
-3 egg yolks
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup cocoa
-2 tbsp Baileys with a Hint of Caramel
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until blended thoroughly. Beat in cocoa and Baileys.

2. In a different bowl, whip the cream and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the Baileys and chocolate mixtures. Divide into servings and chill 1 hour.

Source: Baileys

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hot Crab Dip

I'm keeping this post short and sweet. We are moving on Saturday and virtually everything is packed and I have a TON of cleaning to get done. If there is one thing I despise with a passion, its moving. The big things I can handle, I think its easier to manage the sofa, bed, tables etc. The thing that gives me the most trouble are all the little random odds and ends that need to find a home in a cardboard box for the long haul back home. Grrr!! Hopefully after Thanksgiving is over I'll get back into the kitchen and bring this blog back to life!

For this edition of the recipe swap, I got this delicious hot crab dip. I absoutely loved this and will be making this again and again! I'll upload a pic when I get my internet back...but until then this post is pic-less...sorry all! Visit Life and Kitchen for a mouth-watering photo.

Ingredients
-1 pound lump crab meat, cleaned and picked free of shells
-1 8 oz. package cream cheese
-½ cup sour cream
-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
-½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
-1 teaspoon mustard
-1 Tablespoon Old Bay
-1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon juice. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, mustard and Old Bay. Add 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and all of the mozzarella cheese.

3. Stir in the crab meat and stir well to combine. Spread dip into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and parsley. Bake at 350°F for 20. Broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.



Source: Life and Kitchen

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fried Goat Cheese with Bacon and Balsamic Reduction

When I was working as an event planner, I had the pleasure of sampling a wide array of delicious hors d'oeuvres. One that really stood out to me was a goat cheese tart that had little bits of bacon and a balsamic drizzle on top. Oh my gosh it was so good. I had it on my list of things to try and recreate for quite some time. I knew I wanted to make a fried goat cheese with this inspiration, then topped it with extra crispy bacon and drizzled a savory balsamic reduction over top. The result is spectacular. Just the right amount of creamy goat cheese to salty bacon to tangy balsamic. You really must try these!

After this week, things will go dark around here for about 2 weeks. Due to family reasons, my husband and I are moving home to Jersey City, NJ. It has been a whirlwind these past few weeks, but we've had amazing support from our family and friends. I have some plans for a few new Thanksgiving dessert treats, but I'll probably be getting back into a routine of cooking and menu planning in December.

 
Ingredients-Yields 2-3 servings
-7-8 slices goat cheese
-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-5 slices bacon
-/18 teaspoon garlic powder
-2 tablespoons EVOO
 
1. Place goat cheese in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired number of slices. Dredge through egg wash then coat with bread crumbs,
 
2. Pour balsamic into a small sauce pot and bring to a boil, then simmer 20-30 minutes until thick enough to coat  spoon.
 
3. Meanwhile, in a 400 degree oven, cook bacon slices 10-12 minutes until extra crispy.
 
4. Heat EVOO over medium heat, place goat cheese medallions in frying pan and fry 4 minutes per side. To serve, top with crumbled bacon pieces and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe
 
 
 











Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spinach and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

There's a restaurant close by called Crave that I absolutely love. I went there for dinner a few weeks ago and order a Spinach and Goat Cheese grilled cheese and it was incredible! I knew this was something I needed to try and recreate in my kitchen. The only real change I made from the restaurant version is that I used frozen chopped spinach, not flat leaf spinach. While I like the flavor of flat leaf, I found it a little hard to eat when I ordered it. I think it works a bit better to have the spinach easier to bite. I really like this sandwich, the spinach works well with the mild mozzarella and its just the right amount of richness from the goat cheese.




Ingredients-Yields 2 sandwiches
-2 oz goat cheese
-4 tablespoons frozen spinach
-2 slices mozzarella cheese
-4 sliced sourdough bread
-1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt
-butter

1. Cook frozen spinach according to package directions, reserve 4 tablespoons. Mix the 4 tablespoons with the goat cheese, season with garlic powder.

2. Butter all sides of the bread, season with a dash of salt. Over medium heat in a frying pan, brown all sides of the bread.

3. Remove 2 slices of the bread, place on baking sheet and top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese, Broil 5-6 minutes until golden brown. With the remaining bread slices in frying pan, spoon goat cheese and spinach mixture over top. Top each with a slice of the mozzarella bread, and heat until rich and golden brown. Server immediately.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Red Wine Ricotta Ziti

If you're going to make a list of the top comfort foods, I'd have to say that baked ziti is in the top 5. I've made traditional baked ziti before, but this time I wanted to try something a little different. Since I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, I decided to add a little into my ricotta mixture. The result is a delicious blend of red wine, cheese, and sauce! It adds a different hint of flavor that you don't always encounter in ziti, but it doesn't overwhelm the dish. I highly suggest you try this!

Things around here are going to be getting very busy (more on this later in the week). I'm going to try and be good about keeping up the blog next month, but don't be surprised if I start to slack. I promise I'll try and get everything back to normal in December!

 
 
Ingredients
-Penne pasta
-1 jar pasta sauce (or equivalent of homemade)
-1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 tablespoons ricotta
-2 tablespoons red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
 
1. Cook penne pasta. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, red wine, garlic, and salt.
 
2. When pasta is cooked, pour into casserole dish and cover with pasta sauce, stir to coat. Spoon red wine ricotta over top, and then top with shredded cheese.
 
3. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. The broil 6-7 minutes for bubbly melted Mozzarella.
 
 
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gorgonzola and Bacon Stuffed Chicken

Well its time for another recipe swap! I apologize for things being a little quiet here lately, things will be getting back to normal soon.

As for the swap, this time I was given this blog. After browsing around, I chose a a bacon wrapped chicken that was stuffed with blue cheese and pecans. I swear my mouth was watering just reading that description! I only made a few slight changes. First, I substituted Gorgonzola for blue cheese, and stuffed the chicken with the cooked bacon instead of wrapping. I will definitely be making this again! This also falls into my "Cooking Comfort Zone" category since this is the first time I've made anything with Gorgonzola cheese! Thankfully, there is some leftover and I plan to make an pasta in a Gorgonzola cream sauce very soon.


Ingredients
-2 chicken breasts, butterflied
-3 strips of bacon, cooked and diced
-Salt and Pepper
-1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
-1/3 cup chopped pecans
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons all purpose flour
-1 cup chicken stock
-1/2 cup 1/2 &1/2 or Cream
-2 tablespoons grainy mustard
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place butterflied chicken breasts on wax paper and pound until even thickness. Sprinkle each with cheese crumbles, pecans, and bacon pieces. Roll chicken breasts and secure with moistened tooth picks.

3. Place chicken in baking dish, season with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of garlic powder. Drizzle with EVOO, and bake 20 minutes, or until fully cooked and no longer pink.

4. While chicken is baking, melt butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir, cook 1 minute. Add chicken stock and thicken. Add half & half, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken.



Source: Lynsey Lou's

Friday, October 12, 2012

28 while 28 List

So in December, I decided to make the "28 by 28" cooking list. When you have 10 months to accomplish something, it really seems quite easy to do. Well, I completed a whopping 12 of these items. I'm just going to rollover the things I didn't make into a new list, my 28 while 28. Here's what I got accomplished...

PF Changs Copy Cat Lettuce Wraps Posted on 3/20
Macaroni Grill Copy Cat Penne Rustica Posted on 5/7
Fried Green Tomatoes Posted on 7/18
Fettuccine Alfredo Posted on 4/23
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Posted on 1/5
Stuffed Cucumber Cups Posted on 4/2
Dijon Crusted Salmon Posted on 1/29
Potato Souffle-Made on 8/8 (just "eh", not blog-worthy)
Tuna Burger- Posted on 12/1
Watermelon Salad Posted on 6/28
Pasta Carbonara Posted on 8/1
Fried Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce Posted on 1/9

And here's my 28 while 28 list (expect to see a few of these on 29 while 29 list next year)

1. Pierogi-Made on 1/10- just "eh", not for the blog
2. Lasagna
3. Banana Cream Pie
4. Swedish Meatballs
5. Spaghetti Sauce
6. Cannolli
7. Apple Turnovers
8. Stuffed Peppers
9. Lemon Squares
10. Ravioli
11. Tiramisu
12. Baklava
13. Lebanese Meatballs
14. Lobster Mac n' Cheese
15. Spring Rolls
15. Chocolate Mousse
16. Apple Pie
17. Birthday Cake Truffles
18. Caramel Whipped Cream
19. Thermidor Sauce
20. Red Wine and Fontina Burgers
21. Italian Zucchini
22. Goat Cheese and Spinach Grilled Cheese- Posted on 10/31
23. Gourmet S'mores
24. Fish Tacos
25. Cheese Danish
26. Homemade Hot Cocoa
27. Chocolate Raspberry Pie
28. Blueberry Pancakes


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This has been in my recipe box for quite a while. I first made this back when I used to use All Recipes to browse recipes. Since I started blogging, I've gotten away from using All Recipes...mainly because I've found so many great blogs and I browse Foodgawker to find new delicious things to cook. However, this has always been a little gem from All Recipes. I love the combination of chocolate and the pumpkin, and all the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of cloves. You must make these this Fall!


 

Ingredients- Yields 3 dozen
-1/2 cup shortening
-1 and 1/2 cups sugar
-1 cup canned pumpkin
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 and 1/2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup chocolate chips
-dash cloves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together the shortening and the sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in pumpkin.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add to the pumpkin mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Add in chocolate chips. Drop cookies onto lightly greased cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.

Source: All Recipes



Monday, October 1, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Twiced Baked Potatoes

I know I've mentioned Foodgawker many times before. I love browsing through the delicious photos, and dreaming the one day when I get a camera that takes magazine-worthy pics I can one day grace the pages of Foodgawker. As I was scrolling through my favorites, I noticed I have "favorited" many recipes from the blog Closet Cooking. If you don't know this blog, you need to read it now. His recipes are amazing. I think I love it so much because it's not pretentious or trying to be adorable in the writing style. Just straight forward, awesome recipes written in a tone that doesn't make me gag...now that's rare!

I only made a few minor modifications to this recipe. First, it was originally a potato skin, but I added the potato into the mixture and made it more of a twice baked potato. I also omitted the bleu cheese dressing and used ranch instead since the husband doesn't really care for bleu cheese. These are so so good! Another way to enjoy the incredibly addicting buffalo chicken flavor. I think next time, at the husband's request, I may add a little bacon. I think the salty might be a good fit to cut all the creaminess. These will definitely be on the menu again!


 
Ingredients
-2 baking potatoes
-1 cup cooked chicken
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus a little more for topping
-1/3 cup ranch dressing
-1/4 cup hot sauce (I use Texas Pete)
-1 tablespoon butter
-Sale & pepper to taste
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-3-4 scallions
 
1. Prick potatoes and microwave for 13 minutes.
 
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, hot sauce, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When potatoes are cooked, slice length wise and scoop out inside. Add potato to mixture, then add butter and stir to combine. Scoop back into potato shells and sprinkle with more cheddar cheese.
 
3. Place on baking sheet under broiler 7-8 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly, garnish with diced scallions.
 
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch

I decided to revisit an older recipe from my blog to update the photo, and in doing so I also revamped the recipe a bit. Believe it or not, this photo is an improvement from what was there before. I love this since it really is incredibly quick and easy, yet really delicious. I will say, mixing the ranch and teriyaki isn't the most pleasant looking combination, but the tangy and salty combination is a real winner. This one is definitely 'husband approved'!
 
 
Something that really pisses me off, as it also was also mentioned in Hangover 2 by Mr. Chow, is how crazy passwords are getting these days. First you had to start including a number in it. Ok, fine...I can handle that. This is where things start to get out of hand. I tried creating a password for something the other day and kept getting declined because one letter has to be capitalized AND include a number AND include a symbol such as "!, @. #" etc. Seriously?! What's next...having to include a Chinese symbol or at least one word from a different language? I think my next password is going to have to be:




Ingredients
-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts- butterflied
-1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
-1/3 cup ranch dressing
-2 slices cheddar cheese
-3 strips bacon, cooked and diced (or 1/3 cup real bacon bits)
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a bowl mix the ranch dressing, 1/2 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder.

3. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish. Brush with remaining teriyaki sauce, then pour ranch dressing mixture over top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and top with the cheddar cheese, and cooked bacon pieces. Broil to melt cheese.


Source: All Recipes

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oreo Truffles

A coworker shared with me these hysterical videos on Youtube called My Drunk Kitchen. I was not only cracking up laughing at these, but also semi-frightened how these sound a little like me after a few glasses of wine in the kitchen. But anyway, I loved how she said she doesn't care to read through paragraphs and paragraphs to get to the recipe. Ya know what? I couldn't agree more. Sure, a brief note before the recipe, maybe a comical story...but I cannot stand when I have to scroll and scroll to get through rambling wordiness before I can get to the recipe. So, without further delay, here is the Oreo Truffle. Go make these now.
Ingredients
-1 package Oreo cookies
-1 8-oz package cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
-1 bag white chocolate morsels

1. Pulse all Oreo cookies in food processor until they are fine and there are no large pieces. Combine with cream cheese in a large bowl and stir to combine to form a dough. I eventually had to mix by hand and kneed as if it were fondant.

2. Form small truffles and place in freezer for 10 minutes. While freezing, melt morsels over a double boiler. When truffles are removed from freezer, use a whisk and swirl in melted chocolate, and then swirl over truffles for a drizzled effect. Keep refrigerated.

Source: Two Peas

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lemon Mousse

Yea, I'm a complete and total slacker this month. Since Alex still isn't home from training, I've have zero motivation to do anything in the kitchen, and I've pretty much been living on buffalo chicken dip and wine. Thankfully, he comes home on Sunday and we'll be able to get back into a routine, and back into a cooking routine as well!

As part of another recipe swap I participated in, I received the blog So Tasty So Yummy! I spent some time browsing her recipes, before I settled on the Lemon Mousse. I've frequently professed my love to lemon, so I figured this would be another way to enjoy one of my most favorite flavors. The verdict? I could even use more lemon flavor! I thought I tasted the butter a little too much, but overall I liked the raspberry and lemon combination. I'll stress though, which I don't think I followed very well in her original recipe, make sure the lemon mixture is completely smooth before you get to the step of mixing it with the whipped cream! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients
-3 large egg yolks + 1 egg
-Zest of 1/2 lemon
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, (2 lemons)
-1/2 cup sugar
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
-1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

1. Combine eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium-low heat, stir constantly. Cook 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Remove from heat an add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Make sure it gets completely smooth!!

3. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate covered with plastic wrap chilled, at least 1 hour.
 
4.Lightly whisk lemon curd, and fold in whipped cream using a rubber spatula. Serve with either fresh raspberries or puree.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mexican Meatballs

I made the unfortunate mistake of Google Image searching pictures of baby otters. Yes, I like to look at adorable photos of baby animals, probably why I like cuteoverload.com so much. I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite otter pics:

 
 
 
Your welcome.
 

 
I had some ground beef and wanted to create a Mexican meatball. I did this pretty simply, by mixing in taco mix along with some other seasonings, and then topping it with a cooling enchilada sour cream sauce. I couldn't get enough of these! I'm glad I made enough for leftovers for lunch tomorrow. The zesty taco mix pairs perfectly with the cool sour cream, mix it all together with some white rice and enjoy!


 
 
Ingredients- Yielded 12 Meatballs
-1 packet taco seasoning mix
-1/2 pound ground beef
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more if you like a kick!)
-1 tablespoon Panko bread crumbs
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon lite sour cream
-1 1/4 teaspoon enchilada seasoning mix
- 2-3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
 
1. Preheat oven to 350.
 
2. In a bowl combine the beef, egg, Panko, taco mix, garlic powder, onion powder, and hot sauce. Form into meatballs and place on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, remove and sprinkle with shredded cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.
 
3. Mix sour cream and enchilada seasoning. Spoon over meatballs and serve over rice.
 
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Orange and Cinnamon Stuffed Pancakes


Does anyone know where the summer went? There's no way it's really September already. But as I've been saying for the past few weeks, I'm ready for Fall! Fall means: cooler weather, pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Spice Yankee Candle, my birthday, football, Thanksgiving, and shrimping.

Before my husband left for training for Myrtle Beach, we went out to brunch where I had a delicious stuffed French Toast. The cream cheese was flavored with Grand Marnier and it was absolutely amazing! I was making pancakes for myself this morning and wanted to make a Stuffed Pancake, since I didn't have bread for French Toast. I had a bottle of Cointreau that I never use, I really don't even know why I have it. I whipped up a sweetened cream cheese and added cinnamon and Cointreau to make a savory orange filling for the pancakes. Topped with some lite syrup and served warm, you must make these for your next weekend breakfast! I took a short cut and used Bisquick Shake n' Pour pancakes since I didn't feel like making them from scratch. Don't you dare judge me.




 
 
 
Ingredients
-1 tablespoon 1/3 fat or fat free cream cheese
-1 teaspoon powdered sugar
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon Cointreau (or other orange flavored liquor)
 
1. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Add in cinnamon and Cointreau, mix until well combined and smooth.
 
2. Spread cream cheese mixture on warm pancakes, or warm French Toast.
 
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Boxing Cake

Sometimes Sous Chef Bailey can get a little arrogant. He likes to sit up in his lair on top of the cabinets and supervise my work. He also can be overly critical of the selection of food I have for him.



It was my father-in-laws birthday and I was asked to make a cake for the occasion. Normally, this would be all fine and dandy, except for one little hurdle in this instance: the birthday party was in Pennsylvania. This meant the cake needed to take a little airplane ride with my husband, since my husband was flying up for the party. I as really nervous, being that anytime I've mad a cake thus far it's only sat on counter tops. To take extra precaution, I double-side taped the cake board to the carrier. I had the boxing glove images printed on a sugar sheet, and used vodka to adhere them to the cake. Overall, it was a hit at the party!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Status Check: 28 by 28

Back in December I decided to start a '28 by 28' list, almost like a cooking bucket list of things I'd like to attempt before my 28th birthday. Since I'm less than 2 months from this date (yikes), I figured it was time from a quick status check to see my progress. In my defense, I did start this list 2 months late, so just keep that in mind.

Well, it looks like I've completed 12 of the 28 items. I can tell you right now this thing is not getting finished before I turn 28. So, I'm going to pick 4 items from this list that I'm really going to try and complete. These are: Banana Cream Pie, Spaghetti Sauce, Stuffed Peppers, and Ravioli. The rest will just be rolled over onto a "28 while 28" list.


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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are several cooking terms that normally would send me running for the hills. Two of these words are: flourless and gluten free. Nothing seems overly scary about these words at first, but when using them in the same sentence as a baked good I begin picturing sad crumbly cookies. But when I came across this recipe for a flourless chocolate cookie, they looked anything but dry or crumbly. To be clear, I didn't try this recipe because I wanted something gluten free. I tried this because I was looking for a fudgey and delicious chocolate cookie, the fact that they were flourless had nothing to do with my choice. So these delectable little cookies fall into this week's edition of stepping out of the Cooking Comfort Zone. Normally, I would just pass right by this recipe and find one that fit into my cozy little zone of what I am comfortable doing.

The verdict? These are not for you if you're looking for a rich, decadent chocolate flavor. The powdered sugar makes these really sweet, so if you like sweet chocolate cookies this is definitely for you. My husband really liked these, but I preferred them after warming them in the microwave for a few seconds to make them softer. The photo on the blog I got them from really made these look like they were fudgey and soft, however I found that they had a bit of a crunch to them, which is why I preferred to soften mine a bit. I think next time I make these I'm going to try dark chocolate instead of the semi-sweet chips. I think that would give me the flavor I was looking for in these.


Ingredients
-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
-3 large egg whites
-2 cups powdered sugar
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet. In a double boiler, melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy and until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, and corn starch. Beat in melted chips, then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookies onto cookie sheet and bake 9-10 minutes.


Source: Yammie's Glutenfreedom

Friday, August 24, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This is the second recipe swap I've participated in from the cooking forum I post in! The recipe also qualifies for this week's recipe of stepping out of the cooking comfort zone! While I eaten many a roasted red pepper, I've never actually cooked with them yet. The blog I was assigned for this swap was Kickin it in the Kitch. I browsed through and eventually stumbled upon this scrumptious sounding pasta. At first I wondered if a sauce based on roasted red peppers would be too much, but the flavor of this sauce wasn't over powering at all. Adding the half and half and a little mozzarella cheese helps soften the strong flavor of the roasted reds. I loved incorporating the spinach, and the flavor of this reminded me of a pasta primavera. It was fresh and light, but filling and flavorful at the same time. I could even eat this without the chicken next time it was that good!



Ingredients
-1 chicken breast, butterflied
-1/2 tablespoon EVOO
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/4 teaspoon dried basil
-3/4 jar roasted red pepper, drained
-1/4 cup half and half
-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 box frozen spinach
-1/2 box penne pasta

1. Cook pasta as directed, cook frozen spinach in microwave as directed.

2. Meanwhile, heat EVOO over medium heat and saute chicken about 5 minutes per side until no longer pink.

3. In a food processor, add the whole garlic cloves, garlic powder, thyme, basil, salt and pepper, and roasted red peppers. Pulse until pureed and smooth. Add mozzarella cheese and pulse a few more times. Pour into a sauce pot and heat.

4. To serve, top penne with chicken, the spinach, then sauce. Sprinkle with more cheese to garnish.

Source: Kickin it in the Kitch

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pancetta Parmesan Bake

Now that my husband as welcomed pasta back into his diet, I can now serve him a pasta dish! This is huge people. When I first met him and we moved in together, I couldn't serve any noodles. No angel hair, no penne, nothing! So, for me to now be able to serve a dish where pasta is the main ingredient is Earth shattering.

When I first decided to make this, I saw the casserole dish in the photo and automatically assumed this equation: casserole = quick. This wasn't exactly quick, but it was worth every minute! The original recipe did not call for pancetta, but I figured it would be a nice addition and help break up the heavy creaminess of all the cheese. It was the perfect balance of meat/cheese/noodle ratio and the husband loved it! It also reheated great for lunch the next day.





Ingredients
-6 tablespoons butter
-1 box penne pasta
-1 teaspoon EVOO
-2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
-1/4 pound pancetta, sliced thick and diced
-1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
-6 garlic cloves, minced
-6 cups whole milk
-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Cook pasta as directed.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat EVOO over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season butterflied chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder cook until about 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink inside. Remove from pan and shred. While the pan is still hot, add in the diced pancetta and cook 5-6 minutes.

3. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and garlic cloves. Cook and whisk for 1 minute. While whisking , gradually add milk and bring mixture to a simmer.  Thicken sauce for about 2-3 minutes, (don't stop whisking!!) If your sauce has not thickened at this point, either add flour or cornstarch 1 tablespoon at a time. (Seriously, if your sauce isn't thick at this point it needs to be or it will remain watery). Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in mozzarella and Parmesan.

4. Add chicken, pancetta, and pasta to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into casserole dish (it's going to be VERY full) and bake 25 minutes. Broil 5 minutes to crisp cheese on top.

Source: Real Mom Kitchen

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Easy BBQ Meatballs

You know what I love? A good cocktail meatball. You know what I hate? Being on hold with Comcast! I'm on hold with hem right now, and have been on hold for an hour! Yes, an hour! All I want to do is lower my damn bill, is that too mush to ask? I really want to hang up and call back during my lunch break tomorrow, but I feel like I'm just one minute away from being connected to a customer service rep. Giving up now would make this past hour a total waste, I'm not ready to bail just yet. Maybe in the time it takes me to finish this post I'll be connected...if not, then I'll hang up.

Onto the cocktail meatball. I'm not going to tag these as a 'quick and easy' recipe, but this was pretty easy to whip together. These are the perfect little crowd-pleaser meatballs, and you could easily keep these in a crock pot during a party with little toothpicks on the side. If making these for a party, you'll definitely want to double or triple the recipe. I made mine a little larger since I was have them for dinner as my entree. This is a definite keeper!

Ok Comcast, I'm out. But I will be giving you a piece of my mind when I finally get through tomorrow!



Ingredients-Yielded 7-8 Meatballs
-1/2 pound ground beef
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 egg
-2-3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 cup ketchup
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I had some KC Masterpiece on hand)
-1/4 cup soy sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine the beef, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs and onion powder. If mixture is too loose, add more breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon at a time. Form into meatballs and place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and BBQ sauce. Bring to a simmer.

3. When meatballs have about 5 minutes left in the oven, remove and top each with 1 teaspoon of the sauce (or a little more, just enough to cover them slightly). Continue to bake the remaining time, serve immediatley with sauce spooned over top.



Source: Cooking With Us

Monday, August 20, 2012

Frogmore Dinner

A popular dish of the Lowcountry is called Frogmore Stew. Typically, this is a dish where red potatoes, shrimp, corn on the cob, and kielbasa are all boiled together and served family style. I wanted to take this concept and turn it into something a little different. I decided to make mashed potatoes, cut the corn from the cob, and saute the kielbasa and shrimp together and then serve them all together in a flavor bowl. I loved being able to mix all the flavors together, and the longest part of this recipe is cooking the mashed potatoes. You don't have to cook the corn on the cob the microwave way, but it saved me another pot to clean! I'm glad I had leftovers of this, I can't wait to eat more tomorrow night!




Ingredients
-1/2 Polska kielbasa link, cut into slices
-8-9 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, then cut in half
-1/2 tablespoon EVOO
-2 corn on the cob
-3 Russet potatoes
-2 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Peel and chunk potatoes, boil for 10-12 minutes. Drain and return to pot and add butter and milk, then mash. With an electric mix, beat until potatoes are smooth and whipped, adding more milk if needed.

2. To cook the corn, wet and wring out two paper towels. Wrap each cob in a wet paper towel and place on a plate. Microwave 5 minutes. Once cooled, cut corn from the cob.

3. In a sauce pan, heat the EVOO over medium heat, then add kielbasa. Saute 5 minutes, then add shrimp pieces, Old Bay, and garlic powder. Saute 6-7 minutes until shrimp are fully cooked.

4. To serve, place mashed potatoes in bowl, top with corn, then kielbasa and shrimp. Serve immediately.

A Seasoned Greeting Original




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pumpkin Biscuits with Honey Butter

On a cooking board I frequently post on, a topic recently came up as to whether or not you believe in 'jinxing'. I respond that yes, I do think that I can jinx something by talking about it. Well ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A in my case for the possibility of "jinxing". The other day, I posted a recipe for a Molten Lava Cake. I went on and on in the post how easy they were to make and how I was expecting them to be so difficult to make, but that everything worked out so perfectly I was surprised. With my in laws being in town this weekend, I decided to make these for them and I boasted how good they were..blah blah blah. Of course, I completely jinxed myself and the lava cakes were a flop! Flavor wise, they tasted the same. But they wouldn't come out of the ramekins even though I greased the hell out of them and did everything the same way. I was so upset! I feel like if I just kept my mouth shut as to how easy they were they probably would have worked out fine.

I came across a recipe for a pumpkin biscuit that sounded so interesting. In my attempt to speed up the arrival of Fall, I figured I'd give this one a whirl on a dreary Sunday afternoon. When I made the batter, I gave it a taste just to make sure I didn't want to add anything else, since the original recipe called for cayenne pepper but I omitted this. It tasted a little bland, so I added the cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough which gave it the flavor I was looking for. The honey cinnamon butter is incredible!! It's just the right amount of sweet to go with the warmth of the pumpkin. I can't wait to have these for breakfast this week!





Ingredients- Yields 9-10 drop biscuits
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon ginger
-1 stick butter, softened and cubed
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1/2 tablespoon honey
-1/4 cup milk

Honey Butter Ingredients
-3 tablespoons butter, softened
-1/2 tablespoon honey
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400, grease cooking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cubed butter.

2. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin and honey. Pour into flour mixture and add milk. Stir with wooden spoon until dough has formed. Drop biscuits onto greased cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.

3. For the honey butter, combine the softened butter, honey, and cinnamon and stir until smooth. You can serve like that, or...Optional: Drop butter into wax paper and roll to form a log. Roll in wax paper and place in fridge 20-30 minutes.

Sources: Always With Butter, and Taste of Home Magazine February/March 2012


Monday, August 13, 2012

Molten Lava Cake

The molten lava cake is a dessert that has never ceased to impress me. Because of it's delicate nature of a cooked outer cake shell with the inside being a warm river of chocolate deliciousness, I incorrectly assumed this must be an intricate dessert to make and I'll only be able to partake in this lava-rush of chocolate at a restaurant. Boy was I wrong! I had this recipe for a lava cake "favorited" on my computer for several months now, and since my husband was home from Myrtle Beach I wanted to make him a special dessert.

Upon reading the recipe I was expecting an endless list of multi-part steps that would require my entire arsenal of mixing bowls, spoons, and whisks...yet I was surprised to see how incredibly simple and easy this was to make. Could it really be that easy? Surely I'll screw something up and the cake won't set, or it will set only to fall out of the ramekin in an avalanche of chocolate! Wrong again. These little guys slid right out of the ramekin with little effort and stayed completely intact!  "It can't be that easy," I think to myself. "I bet I overcooked it and there's no lava inside, just a dry cake." I cut into my pod with my fork and immediately the molten chocolate comes flowing out!

I think you'll find these will become your new "go to" dessert. These are a great idea for a dinner party dessert, they look like they take way more time and effort than they really do! A word of warning, do not chill in the fridge. I made these once and stored them in the fridge until I needed to make them and the damn things never came out of the ramekins after baking them! I was so upset, these take no time to make anyway so it really isn't that much of a time saver to make them ahead of time.



Ingredients- Yields 5-6
-10 tablespoons butter
-4 ounces dark chocolate chips
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-4 eggs
-Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 400. Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes to cool.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the flour. Then beat in the cooled chocolate mixture.

3. Grease ramekins with cooking spray and cut a circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom. Pour batter into ramekins.

4. To bake, place ramekins on a cookie sheet, and bake 13-15 minutes, just until the tops of the cakes have set. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Server with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.


Source: Lululu At Home

Sriracha Burger

In the course of starting this blog I've really enjoyed documenting recipes, learning new cooking techniques, and sharing/getting recipes from fellow bloggers. I can't imagine going back to cooking without blogging! With the being said, I've noticed that I've fallen into a cooking comfort zone. It's a cozy zone, where I stick with my trusted set of ingredients and rarely venture into uncharted culinary territories, at least, uncharted for myself. I've decided that a new feature of my blog is going to be geared strictly at me stepping outside of this comfort zone (sometimes leaping). One recipe a week must use a new ingredient that I've never cooked with before. Just to note, it doesn't mean I've never eaten it before, just never actually cooked and blogged a meal with it. For example, I've never made anything in over a year and a half with carrots. So you see, it won't always be obscure ingredients, sometimes it will be very ordinary things but have always been outside the realm of the CCZ (cooking comfort zone).

The Sriracha Burger is my first recipe for my emerging from my CCZ. I've never cooked with Sriracha before, but I've seen the Sriracha Burger circulate around the blogging world so I figured it was worth the try. I smelled the sauce, and didn't think it smelled overly spicy, even though I knew it was a hot sauce.

I put a small dab on my finger and gave it a taste, and almost immediately my mouth ignited to the temperature of what I assume the 7th circle of hell must be like. I proceed to extinguishing the heat with a few healthy gulps of Chardonnay.

I should had been better prepared, given this depication from The Oatmeal:

The verdict on the burger? Amazing! The above picture is true, it's a tasty firestorm! The heat is just enough, and the mild Swiss cheese and salty bacon are the perfect combinations. I added a Sriracha mayo sauce instead of bleu cheese as the orginal reciep calls for (I'm not a bleu cheese fan).
A note on the cooking instructions, I'm a loser and don't use the grill. My instructions are for pan cooking burgers, but I've linked to the source recipe so you can get the grilling instructions if you choose to do it that way.


Ingredients- Yielded 2 burgers
-1/2 pound ground beef
-3 strips bacon
-1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, plus 2 teaspoons
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1 tablespoon mayo
-2 slices Swiss cheese
-2 hamburger buns


1. Cook bacon in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until crispy, dice. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, 1 tablespoon Sriracha, onion powder, and pepper.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add patties and cook 6 minutes, covered. Squirt with a dash of Sriarach, flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. For grilling directions, go to Oishii Food.

3. Mix the mayo and 1-2 teaspoons of Sriracha (just depends on how how you want it!). To serve, spread Sriracha mayo on top bun, add crispy diced bacon pieces. Top burger patty with a slice of Swiss cheese.


Source: Oishii Food