Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sriracha Tacos

I'm not gonna lie, I have a long list of pet peeves. Coming in at #1 is hearing people eat. Yea, yea...I get that we all have to eat, but why do some people have to do it as if they've never fully evolved from the caveman days? If when you're chewing you're lips part and I can hear your stomach churning lip smacking...you're doing it wrong!! Let me give you a quick lesson:

1. Insert modest sized portion of food into mouth.
2. Chew food with mouth continually shut, do not let lips part.
3. Repeat.

Here are also a couple rules for eating in public:

1. Kettle cooked chips or something of equally loud crunch should never be eaten in close proximity to another person.
2. Tuna fish or something of equally pungent odor should be eaten alone, behind closed doors.
3. For yogurt, pudding, or the like, refrain from using your spoon to scrape the side of the container to get every last drop. I promise, you'll be able to live without those extra calories!
4. If when you open the package of food it is going to sound like a rabid animal wrestling with a sheet of tin foil, refrain from opening in public.

That wasn't so hard!



Source: Cheese Curd in Paradise

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

September doesn't just mark the end of summer, the beginning of school, or when Starbucks starts back with it's Pumpkin Spice Latte; it marks the beginning of when people start bitching about how "cold" it is outside. It's like somehow every year, people forget that the seasons actually change, and yes it will eventually start to get a little crisp outside.

I want to thank my older brother for getting me the Alice's Tea Cup cookbook where I found these delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! No better combination than peanut butter and dark chocolate. Grab your cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee and curl up with one of these for the perfect afternoon snack.




Source: Alice's Tea Cup

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Easy Chicken and Rice

As much as I love living in Jersey City, I feel like my tolerance moronic behavior has declined drastically. The apparent lack of proper parenting is just astounding. That's great you have developed the ability to completely tune out your whining, screaming, tantruming child; however to the rest of us during one of these episodes your child is looking more like a puntable football and less like the angelic cherub you believe them to be. And, when you decide to actually 'parent' and discipline them, do so in a low barely audible voice to the public. No one cares about or wants to hear your half-assed attempt at being a parent.

So after a day of dealing with people like that, you're going to want something super easy to whip together for dinner! This really takes the cake for "quick and easy" and so easy to keep the ingredients on hand.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet BBQ and Honey Pork Chops

I think packages of pork chops should just be sold with a big fat question mark over them, since I generally have no idea what the hell to make with them. I can't tell you how many times I've made a pork chop recipe and I swear licking my kitchen floor would have had a more pleasurable flavor than what was being served on my plate. In any case I think I've found a recipe that is actually worth repeating; a sweet BBQ sauce with honey and brown sugar! I really recommend getting a decent BBQ sauce, thanks to living in the South for 6 years I think most grocery store brands are absolute trash. I had a delicious sauce on hand I purchased from a BBQ place in Florida called Bono's. I also highly suggest Sticky Finger's or Bessinger's. Seriously, don't buy the grocery store crap!

 

 
 
Source: Taste of Home Magazine, October 2013
 
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Salted Caramel Frosting with Dark Chocolate Ganache

It's that time of year again, the husband's birthday! 2 years ago is when I really started getting into making fondant cakes with my first one: the iphone cake. I'm still proudest of this cake due to the time it took to make and the level of detail, and the fact that the fondant came out perfectly on my first attempt ever!


Last year I made the steak cake. This was actually incredibly easy, but I love this one since I think the mashed potatoes (whipped cream cheese) and the fondant peas and carrots look so realistic. The steak came out a little more "cartoony" than I wanted, but overall I was still impressed and my husband loved it too!



This year I knew I wanted to do something about our Mustang, and came up with the idea of making the Mustang car key cake with a checkered racing flag. I modeled this exactly after our car key replicating the ridges on the key itself. I printed a stencil of the pony and traced it onto the rolled fondant and used a sharp steak knife to cut it out. I've used an exacto knife on past cakes and I found it harder to use. Since I rarely make the cake from scratch and normally use boxed, everyone judging right now can kiss mine and Betty Crocker's ass, I always like to step up my game with making a delicious frosting. I was inspired from a cookbook my brother gave me, The Dahlia Bakery, to make a salted caramel frosting. I also melted a bar of dark chocolate to make a ganache which I poured over the cake first and let it harden before frosting.




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sante Fe Chicken Chowder

Nothing quite like a nice, long, relaxing vacation that can really make you detest the rest of the world when you return. My husband and I have just returned from an amazing Carnival Cruise (which I'll be posting about later). I loved countless things about the trip, but one thing that was fantastic was the feeling of being cut off from everyone. I used my free time to do something I embarrassingly haven't done in a LONG time: read a book. But, like I said I'll be doing a vacation post later this week with all the details!

In the little hiatus I'd taken from cooking these past couple months, I had bookmarked a ton of recipes I wanted to try. I'm not sure what prompted the hiatus, or why I was more than happy to eat chips and buffalo ranch dip for dinner most nights instead of cooking a meal suitable for a human, but whatever it was I feel as though I'm emerging from this 'funk'. This meal below was originally cooked as a crock pot meal, so if you like to use your crock pot you can follow the original recipe here. I had a craving for this meal about 45 minutes before I wanted to eat, and waiting until the next day to use the crock pot was completely out of the question. This was so good I could have eaten this all week. I cut the portion down to 2 servings, and added in the corn starch to thicken the broth a bit as it was a little watery for my taste at first. Don't skimp out on the sour cream, this was my little addition and it blended so well with the spice of the chowder.






Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Banana Cream Pie

So here is something I finally got around to making from my 28 while 28 list. I really think I should just rename the list "28 Ways to Show Everyone How Bad I Am at Commitment" since I really only get 6-7 items done in a given year.

My love affair with banana cream pie started in college, as it was a frequent item on the dessert bar in the campus cafeteria. Honestly, it was more of just banana flavored whipped cream, and I don't think a real banana ever came close to the pie, but nevertheless I love it. The problem was, and trust me this was a huge problem, the graham cracker crumbles on top looked almost identical to the toasted pieces of shaved coconut that topped the coconut cream pies. Now, to someone who rarely wore their contacts, you can see how one could easily mistake the two pies. There was no bigger let down that cutting a sliver of the whipped deliciousness, sitting down to enjoy the first epic bite, only to discover it was the crappy imposter: coconut cream pie.







Source: Food.com 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Wow, now that I'm taking a look at this photo I realize how god awful it is.

Its such a pity when a food photo resembles the regurgitated mess you spew up after a night of heavy drinking instead of the scrumptious feast it truly is. Trust me when I tell you this is really really good. A nice twist on a typical green bean casserole, and pretty filling too. I ate just this for dinner a few nights in a row and felt very satisfied. Bookmark this and bring it out next Thanksgiving season!







Source: Southern Living Magazine, November 2012

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Penne in Vodka Sauce

If you know me, you know I have a husband who used to not like pasta. Yes, there was once someone out there who said they did not like pasta. And I married him anyway. Its been over a year now since the pasta break through, and here I am able to cook a 100% pasta dish for dinner. I'm still waiting for the vegetable break through, although that one I'm not too sure will ever happen.

This is a family recipe of my husband's and I'm so glad it was given to me to share. I think having the fresh basil and Romano cheese in the sauce makes this so mouth watering you're definitely going to want seconds or thirds.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Apricot and Mozzarella Crisps

Hi. Remember me? Sorry about the whole taking a month and a half off thing, I promise it won't happen again. Well, ok it probably will happen again. I wish I had a good excuse for you, like I've been busy traveling the world and am returning to you with scores of international cooking knowledge. But the real answer is I got really freaking lazy. Please accept this recipe as my peace offering.

I first read this ingredient list and went , "Huh?". Prosciutto, apricot, and cheese sounded like a strange combination...but sometimes those turn out to be surprisingly delicious. These turned out to be refreshingly delectable, and the flavors blend together quite well and don't taste as an odd match whatsoever. I guess I can't be too shocked, being that this is a Giada recipe I had a certain trust level in it to begin with. This is a great Spring/Summer appetizer being that they are light and not too filling.


Ingredients
-1 loaf French bread with sesame seeds
-EVOO
-4-5 tablespoons apricot preserves
-1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-4-5 thin slice prosciutto

 1. Slice French bread loaf into thin crisps. Drizzle with EVOO and broil about 4-5 minutes until just slightly browned.

2. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese. Return to the broiler and broil an additional 4-5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove and top with the preserves and a slice or two of the prosciutto. Server immediately.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cajun Fried Rice

Now, no one died and made me the queen of blogging in their Last Will and Testament. Nor do I pretend to be an award winning food photographer (see photo below); however the endless hours I've spent over the past few years browsing countless blogs has led me to create my 6 Characteristics of Cringeworthy Blog Writing.

1. 5,261 photos of the same thing. When looking for a recipe, I have the attention span of a 6 week old kitten. If I have to scroll past photo after photo after photo of what appears to be the exact same photo to search for the ingredient list I've lost interest.

2. Giving me your hour by hour itinerary of what you did that day. If 10 paragraphs detailing every uninteresting minute detail of your day stand in the way of my eyes and the recipe I'm trying to get to, I'm moving on.

3. Being pretentious. When a phrase is written, crossed off, and followed by a rewording. Yes, I just did it; but I only did it to prove my point, jeez.

4. Making me click another link to get to the recipe. If there is more than one click involved I revert back to the attention span of 6 week old kitten. Much to the same tone if I have to sit through a :30 ad before a Youtube video I'd rather spend those :30 searching for one without an ad.

5. Blogs that try too hard. I have a distaste (no pun intended) when I get the sense that it is trying to hard to be coy or edgy with the content or writing style. Littering your posts with f-bombs doesn't make you edgy or unique, it makes you look annoyingly desperate.

6. Highlighting every DIY project. I love a good DIY project, but I have little desire to view and read about an adults equivalent of a 1st grader's macaroni art project. I once saw a tissue paper bouquet that looked like a box of Kleenex drank Pepto Bismol and then vomited.



Ingredients
-1 Andouille sausage
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 boil in a bag brown rice
-1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1. Dice sausage and saute with the diced red peppers over medium heat about 7-8 minutes to brown.

2. Cook rice according to package instructions. Add cooked rice to pan with sausage and peppers. Add 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Cook over medium high heat 6-7 minutes to fry.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easy Enchilada Chicken

I absolutely love enchilada sauce so I had an idea to make a deconstructed enchilada of sorts. This is incredibly quick and easy to throw together, but isn't lacking in flavor. This was so good I made it twice within one week. Do yourself a favor and keep a couple cans of enchilada sauce stocked in your pantry so you and whip this up whenever you want.


 
 
Ingredients
-2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
-2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 14oz can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
-1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce


1. Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs, the drizzle with the EVOO. Bake 25-30 minutes.

2. Heat the enchilada sauce and stir in the hot sauce. Simmer.

3. Remove chicken from oven and top with the Cheddar cheese. Broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Cover with enchilada sauce.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Dijon Rosemary Spread

Here's your perfect way to use up that Easter ham. A pleasant blend of sharp Cheddar cheese, ham, and a cool Dijon, mayo, and rosemary spread. I whipped this up using some leftover ham and it was the perfect quick and easy dinner! The Dijon spread gives it a gourmet taste and sets this melty bad boy apart from your everyday grilled cheese.

I could bore you some commentary about my day or my weekend to come, but honestly I don't feel like typing anymore this evening. So here's a funny picture:







Ingredients- Yields 2 sandwiches
-4 slices whole wheat bread
-1 tablespoon butter
-several slices from a spiral ham
-2 thick slices Sharp cheddar cheese
-2 teaspoons mayo
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1. Butter all sides of each slice of bread. In a frying pan, cook until browned, then flip each slice, cook 3-4 minutes until browned.

2. Place ham and cheese on one side of bread, and top with the remaining slices. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes until cheese melts.

3. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, mayo, rosemary, and garlic powder. Spoon over cooked grilled cheeses, serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Individual Mac n' Cheese 3 Ways

What's better than an adorable personal ramekin of mac n' cheese? 3 types of individual mac n' cheese! Yes, what you see below is classic, BBQ, and spicy mac n' cheese. While I loved all three, my personal favorite was the BBQ sauce one. I've always loved to mix some of my BBQ sauce with mac n' cheese and figured, what the heck, give it a whirl making it that way from the get go! Delicious.

Being that I'm still shivering from the cold, I decided to write an open break-up letter to Winter in hopes of bringing in Spring a bit quicker.

Winter,

After several weeks of thinking, this relationship needs to come to an end. At first, your light flurries and brisk air were a welcomed  sign that the Holidays were right around the corner. Curling up with a cup of hot cocoa as I was kept warm by the humming heater wasn't a bother at all. Now, as we're well into Spring, your gusts of cold air that blow my bangs straight up are downright annoying. I can't pretend anymore to like waking up to a 50 degree apartment, and opening my $200 electric bills is something I can't tolerate any longer. I need space. I need a break. This isn't good-bye forever, I promise we'll be in touch and see each other again in a few months. Who knows, maybe in a few months my feelings will change.

Warmest regards,
Chilly in NJ




Ingredients- Yields 4 Ramekins
-1 egg
-1 cup dried elbow noodles
-5 tablespoons evaporated milk
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
-3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
-3 teaspoons hot sauce

1. Cook pasta. Preheat oven to 375. Generously coat with cooking spray 4 ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

2. In a bowl, combine the egg, evaporated milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

3. Assembling:
  • Classic: Place a small layer of cheese in the bottom of the ramekin, alternate layers of noodles, then cheddar cheese, then noodles, then cheddar cheese. Making sure the final layer is cheese, and making sure each layer of cheese fully covers the noodles. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture into ramekin.

  • BBQ: Place a small layer of cheese and BBQ sauce in the bottom of the ramekin, alternate layers of noodles, tablespoon of BBQ sauce, then cheddar cheese, then noodles, then BBQ sauce then cheddar cheese. Making sure the final layer is cheese and some BBQ sauce, and making sure each layer of cheese fully covers the noodles. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture into ramekin.

  • Spicy: Place a small layer of cheese and hot sauce in the bottom of the ramekin, alternate layers of noodles, tablespoon of hot sauce, then cheddar cheese, then noodles, then hot sauce then cheddar cheese. Making sure the final layer is cheese and some hot sauce, and making sure each layer of cheese fully covers the noodles. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture into ramekin.
4. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. The broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

In honor of March Madness, I give you my Sweet Sixteen: a collection of sixteen of my delicious desserts. I do say, this sweet sixteen was a lot easier than my bracket. I'm honestly not sure if I even picked any of the 16 teams correctly. I haven't been paying much attention since Gonzaga was beat, which I shouldn't be too surprised being that I only picked them because it reminded me of Gorgonzloa cheese.

Enjoy!



Reese's Brownie Bars

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ganache Cookies

Indoor S'mores

Bailey's Molten Lava Cakes

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies

S'more Brownies

Oreo Truffles

Coffee and Nutella Cupcakes

Nutella Brownies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Molten Lava Cakes

Baked S'mores

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Bars

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easy Mexi Chicken

For this recipe swap I was assigned Christina Cooks. I really wasn't sure what I was in the mood to cook so I just started browsing hoping something would jump out at me. I clicked the "chicken" tab and scrolled away. My eyes stopped on this recipe upon reading the word "Easy", followed by "Mexi"...ok you have my attention.

What ever you've planned for dinner tonight, cancel it and make this. This really "wowed" me and my husband as well. The flavor combinations are incredible with the lime, pepper, onion, and creamy cheese sauce. I ate a bit like this, but then I also cut the chicken, mixed with the lime salsa and rice and ate it from a crunchy taco shell...delicious!



Ingredients
-2 boneless chicken breasts
-dash chili powder
-dash garlic powder
-dash onion powder
-1 sweet onion, diced
-1 green pepper, diced
-1 lime
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, butterfly chicken breasts. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Squeeze half of a lime over chicken (reserve other half for the salsa) Bake 30 minutes.

2.  Combine the diced sweet onion and green pepper, and juice from the other half of lime. Season with salt and a dash of garlic powder.

3. In a sauce pan melt the butter and add the heavy cream. Add cheese and simmer to thicken. Note: If the sauce doesn't thicken enough for you, add a teaspoon of corn starch. Once sauce has thicken, season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately over chicken and top with lime salsa. (Optional: Serve in taco shells with brown rice)





Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chorizo Baked Eggs

Nothing like a hearty breakfast to get you going for the today! And this gets brownie points for being incredibly easy with minimal cleanup required. The chorizo has just enough kick to it without being overly spicy, and the basil and garlic powder really set this apart from any normal eggs ans sausage dish. This would also make a great addition to a brunch menu for entertaining!

So I guess it's spring now? I wouldn't know, being that I still have the heater running and the air is still lingering in the 30's and 40's. I won't be greedy and ask for 75 degree weather now...but at least may 60? I can live with the for a while. At least is would be somewhat enjoyable to walk around outside without having to bundle up and the wind still whips right through your jacket. At a time like this I'm really missing Charleston.


 

Ingredients
-5 eggs
-1 chorizo sausage
-4-5 tablespoons milk
-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon basil
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Brown the chorizo in a pan for 5-6 minutes.
 
2. Crack eggs into a pie dish and pour in the milk. Gently whisk the milk to combine with the egg whites, being careful to not completely break the yolks. Add the chorizo and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle over top the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil. Bake 20 minutes. Server with buttered toast.
 
Source: Simone Anne

Monday, March 18, 2013

Caramel Apple Crisp

As I'm writing this its snowing....yes, snowing again. Funny how when it snows around Thanksgiving and Christmas I absolutely love it, the feeling of the Holiday's, family, togetherness...its awesome! But now, as its the middle of March, I'm greeting this snowfall with a scowl. On that note, here's a typically fall dish: Apple Crisp.

I've made an apple crisp before, last Thanksgiving when I was still in Charleston and my mom and little brother came to visit. I made a Paula Deen recipe and surprisingly, it was so dry! I followed the recipe exactly, but it wasn't moist enough. I bought some apples a few weeks ago and decided to give this another go. This recipe I found is the winner. It's moist, sweet, and caramely. The only thing I changed was doubling the topping amount. I made it as the recipe state and it was no where near a reasonable amount, weird.



Ingredients
-4 apples, peeled and sliced (I used Red Delicious, original recipe called for Granny Smith)
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 tablespoon water
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 1/3 cup flour
-1 1/3 cup rolled oats
-1 1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-2/3 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a bowl, combine the apple slices, sugar, vanilla, water, and nutmeg. In a different bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
3. Place apples in an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish and cover with the crumb topping. Bake 45 minutes, serve immediately and top with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bailey's Molten Lava Cakes

Since I detest corned beef and cabage, I figured I should make something remotely Irish for this St. Patrick's Day. What's more Irish than Bailey's Irish Cream? I've already made a Bailey's Mousse before, and I wasn't really in the mood for anything "cakey" like cupcakes. I remember these molten lava cakes I've made before and thought how delicious these would be to be infused with some Bailey's, and whip up a caramel and Bailey's whipped cream to serve on the side! You don't want to pass this one by.

 
 
Ingredients-Yields 2
-2 ounces dark chocolate
-1/3 cup butter
-2 tablespoons Bailey's liquor
-1/3 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup flour
-1/2 cup whipping cream
-3 teaspoons Bailey's
-1 tablespoon caramel sauce
 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 ramekins VERY well. Insert a small disc of wax paper into the bottom of the ramekins.
 
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the dark chocolate with the butter and 2 tablespoons Bailey's. Remove from heat and cool 10-15 minutes. In another bowl beat the eggs with the sugar. Stir in flour, then stir in melted chocolate. Pour into ramekins and bake 15 minutes. Serve with Bailey's caramel whipped cream immediately (remember to remove wax paper when removing from ramekins).
 
3. For the whipped cream, combine the whipping cream, 3 teaspoons of Bailey's and the caramel sauce and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.

 

 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Banana Bread

Nothing quite like the smell of warm banana bread that will make your home smell, well, homey. I have been wanting to make this for a while now, and since I had some ripe bananas sitting around the timing was perfect! The recipe called for 3, but since I like mine extra flavorful I used 4 bananas. The bread is incredibly moist and perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Or, make it a perfect dessert and drizzle a little melted Nutella or chocolate over top!

I am so so excited to be going back to Charleston tomorrow for a wedding! I can't wait to see everyone, and most importantly, enjoy some sunny and warm weather! Its snowing like crazy right now, so if I close my eyes I can imagine the sun on my face and the swaying palm trees I'll be seeing tomorrow!


 

 Ingredients
-1 cup sugar
-8 tablespoons butter, softened
-2 large eggs
-4 very ripe bananas
-1 tablespoon milk
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. In a different bowl, mash the bananas and mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined, then add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.
 
Source: Food Network





 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gift Cake and Fondant Bows

One of the things I love about being home now is making birthday cakes for my family members! Who doesn't like getting a special birthday cake? This past weekend we celebrated my Aunt's birthday. Her house is the 'gathering house' for family functions so I wanted to make her something special since she is always opening her home to everyone. I thought cake to look like a present would be so cute! Now that I look at it, I wish I cut the cake to have hard edges like a box, but oh well. The bow was the only thing that took a little time. I read a bunch of tutorials, and my fondant could never stand up straight, I think I'll try gum paste next time I want something that can stand on it's own. Overall, I'm really please with this! I made a rich chocolate frosting for underneath, and just a plain yellow Betty Crocker cake mix.


Fondant Bows
1. Cut two rectangular sections of fondant about 4" long and 2" tall. Fold both pieces end to end and pinch together, use a tad bit of water to make fondant stick to each other. Crimp pieces together until folds form to resemble bow material. (I had to do this several times before I was satisfied.

2. Cut a smaller piece of fondant, about the size of a postage stamp. Wrap around the crimped centered of the bow, adhere to cake with some water.

Note: You can also make bows by wrapping the fondant around something cylinder shaped, however since my fondant didn't want to stand on its own having a complete rounded shape didn't really matter. Take a look here for the demonstration.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sriracha Dip

I'm beginning to see a glimmer of hope the end of winter is near. Spring cannot get hear soon enough, I'm ready for some warmer weather! In an effort to speed things up, I bought my Spring scents from Yankee Candle last weekend in New Hampshire: Blueberry Cobbler, Lemon, and Clean Cotton. The down side of the blueberry one is I know have the incredible urge to bake some cinnamony-sugary blueberry muffins. Maybe the Clean Cotton will urge me to do the laundry? Eh, probably not.

I've really taken a liking to spicy foods. I fell in love with the Sriracha Burger I made in summer I had the thought to turn it into a dip. I love dips since for me they make a great dinner when Alex is working and I don't feel like putting together anything overly complicated for myself. I really liked this dip, the hint of bacon crisps really add something different. Add as much Sriracha as you'd like, although the amount of spice I could handled tapped out at 5 tablespoons.

 
 
Ingredients
-1 block cream cheese, softened
-3/4 pound ground beef
-5 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
-4 bacon strips
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-4 slices Swiss cheese
 
 
1. Preheat oven to 400. Cook bacon until crispy. Dice into small pieces.
 
2. Cook beef and drain. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, beef, bacon pieces, mozzarella cheese, and Sriracha sauce. Mix well to combine. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish and top with the slices of Swiss cheese.
 
3. Bake 15 minutes. Broil an additional 7-8 minutes until Swiss cheese is browned and bubbly.
 
 
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sherry Glazed Carrot Ribbons

Hold onto your hats people, this is my first recipe using carrots. Yes, I eat carrots, but I've never actually made anything with them...ever. I had this very easy recipe for a Chardonnay glazed carrot, but since I didn't have any wine (I know you're shocked) I substituted Sherry cooking wine instead. I also made my carrots into ribbons using my peeler instead of just slicing them. These are incredibly easy to make, but taste way more involved than they actually are!

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in New Hampshire visiting family. We had a blast! Snow tubing, skiing, ice skating, and good old family fun. It was a much needed relaxing break from the recent craziness. Check out this beautiful sunset!




Ingredients
-3 carrots
-2 tablespoons Sherry cooking wine
-1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon butter

1. Peel carrots. Using the peeler, slice carrots into thin long ribbon pieces.

2. In a sauce pan over medium high heat, heat the Sherry to a boil and add the butter, honey, and carrots. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens




Friday, February 15, 2013

Pepper Crusted Steak

If you couldn't tell from the fact that I only one one, yes one and it happens to be this recipe, steak recipe on my blog, I've never been a "steak person". It's not a red meat thing, since I'm a big fan of a juicy cheeseburger, I've just never enjoyed steaks. I'd much prefer to order fish. But this is what I love about these recipe swaps, it can force me to try something I don't normally eat.

I received a Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon as my recipe. I opted to use a sirloin, as I already had it in the freezer, but that was the only change I made. I have to tell you, this was absolutely incredible. The cooking time was perfect for a slightly more then medium center, extremely juicy, and very very flavorful. Quite a kick from the peppercorns, but I happen to like that.

Coming from a former non-steak person, I will 100% be making this again.

Ingredients
-2 sirloin steaks
-4 tablespoons EVOO
-3 tablespoons peppercorns
-2 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place peppercorns in a ziploc bag and crush with a meat tenderizer.

2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the EVOO with the crushed pepper. Cook 8 minutes. Pour into bowl and let cool.

3. Generously coat steaks with pepper mixture. Heat the remaining EVOO in a sauce pan over medium/medium high heat and at steaks cooking 4 minutes per side. Don't move the steaks!

4. Place steaks on baking sheet and bake in 450 oven for 6-7 minutes. Steaks will be slightly more than medium, with a slightly pink center.


Source: Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

 
http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com/



 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Apple Glazed Pork Chops

Things around here are finally seeming normal. After the big move from SC back home to NJ, and making through the busy holiday season, I'm getting used to living in the colder weather and getting used to living in a high-rise apartment. I love the convenience of having a bank, drugstore, and nail salon in my building and a grocer right across the street. The Light Rail stops right outside our building and the Exchange Place Path station is about 3 blocks away providing us easy options to get into NYC or Hoboken. Bailey loves all the natural light we get but is still adjusting to hearing people (and dogs) in the hallway making their way to the elevators.

You'd think pork chops are as easy to create recipes with as chicken is, but for some reason I'm always at a loss of what to make with a chop. I'd been hanging onto this recipe for quite sometime and finally got around to making it. Apple and cinnamon is such a sweet and savory combination for pork chops

 
 
 
Ingredients
-2-4 boneless thing pork chops
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-1 cup apple juice
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-2 teaspoons corn starch
 
1. In a small sauce pan, combine the apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, soy sauce, and corn starch. Bring to boil, then simmer to thicken.
 
2. While sauce is simmering, heat the EVOO on a frying pan and saute pork chops about 5 minutes per side, adding a little of the glaze to the pan while cooking. Serve immediately, with glaze generously poured over top.
 
 
Source: All Recipes
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shrimp BLT Bites

Well to say the past week has been crazy would be an under statement!

Last Tuesday my husband was in a car accident, and thankfully he wasn't harmed. Our car didn't make out so well though. The car we had for 2 and 1/2 months was totaled, and we're now going through the process of getting a new car. Holy Paperwork Batman!

My blogging has been a bit slack this week due to the hecticness, but hopefully will be back on track next week! Maybe there will be a post about a new car (fingers crossed).

For this edition of the Recipe Swap hosted by http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com, I was assigned Sparks from the Kitchen blog. I love the Blogger's Choice Swap since I really get to browse someone else's blog and find something right up my alley. Well, these little appetizers are amazing!! A delicious shrimp salad on top of a crispy piece of bacon. The only slight modification I made from the original recipe was adding the water cracker. I think it makes it manageable to eat without having to really touch the greasy bacon. I'll be making these again for sure!

Ingredients
-1 and 1/2 tablespoons mayo
-1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
-1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, diced very fine and shredded
-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
-4-5 slices bacon, cooked crispy
-1 tomato
-A few leaves leafy green lettuce
-1 box water crackers

1. Combine the shredded shrimp, mayo, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Cut bacon pieces to about 1 inch long.

2. To assemble, lay a small piece of lettuce on a water cracker, top with a piece of bacon, spoonful of shrimp salad, and small slice of tomato.


Source: Sparks from the Kitchen

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sherry Cream Sauce

I finally have it: the KitchenAid pasta attachment! I was ecstatic when I opened this gift from my husband, never would have thought that a kitchen gadet would get me all giddy on Christmas morning.

I've made homemade pasta in the past, but the hard part was rolling it out and getting it thin enough and having it keep that shape. I can't believe how easy this attachment makes rolling the pasta. Feed it through a couple times and just like that you have a nice thing sheet of homemade pasta perfect for ravioli, manicotti, or for feeding through another cutter to make fettuccinie like I did below. While you won't see my whipping up homemade pasta everytime I want some spaghetti, these attachments do make it a whole heck of a lot easier than what I was doing before.

A few weeks ago for my brother's 30th birthday my husband and I wanted to treat him to dinner now that we're back home in NJ. We picked this delicious looking Italian restaurant in Jersey City called Porto Leggero. Wow, it was amazing! I ordered a pasta dish that came in a to-die-for sherry cream sauce.

To recreate this at home, I started with a basic roux. I added fat free half & half (go for full cream if you want, but then you won't need as much flour) a generous amount of Sherry, and flour to thicken it up. Finish off with Parmesan cheese, salt, and a good bit of fresh cracked pepper. I really like my cream sauces to have cracked pepper in them, so I tend to be heavy handed on thi part. Overall, this is a really great deviation from a traditional cream sauce. The Sherry really adds this depht to the flavor that you're not always getting in an alfredo. Enjoy!

 
 
Ingredients
-1 and 1/2 cup fat free half & half
-3 tablespoons flour
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/3 cup Sherry cooking wine
-1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt
 
1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour. Cook 1 minute. Add the half & half, remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, and the Sherry and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Simmer about 10 minutes to thicken, serve over Fettuccine or other thick pasta.
 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Loaded Potato Slabs

Looking for the perfect appetizer for your Super Bowl snacking? These little potato slabs are a serious crowd pleasing appetizer and also easy to eat, which gets major points in my book. If there's one thing I can't stand about appetizers and hors d'oeurves is that some of them have no practicality in eating. They need to be something you can easily eat with one hand while holding your cocktail in your other. One of the biggest offenders of these is the chicken satay, can there be anything more cumbersome to eat? So you're at a cocktail party and are offered a chicken satay and you have to clumsily gnaw at the meat on a stick, and then when you're finished you're left with this big stick searching around for either a trash tray or just hold it in your napkin. No thanks.

 
Ingredients
-2 baking potatoes
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-2 tablespoons EVOO
-1/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
-4 slices of bacon, cooked and diced small
-3-4 scallions, diced
-Sour cream for garnishing
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and slice potatoes very thin to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Place slices on a baking sheet and season with the garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Drizzle with the EVOO evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, flip potatoes and bake an additional 15 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and cover each slice with cheese and bacon pieces. Cook an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with sour cream and scallions.
 
 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Beef Enchiladas

Time for another recipe swap! I love these swaps, it gives me a chance to make something I might not normally choose to make on my own, or something new that I've never had before. I absolutely love enchiladas, so I was excited when the recipe I received was the Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas from the blog Cheese Curd in Paradise.

On a side note, I think its funny I get the blog with that title. If you know that I used to work at The Citadel, you know that every year we had to plan a huge Jimmy Buffet themed party called Cheeseburger in Paradise. Now that I don't work there anymore, I'm finally at the point where I can look at flamingos or hear a Jimmy Buffet song with out cringing.

Anyway, these were delicious, and I'll definitely make them again. I didn't use chilis because I don't really like them, and next time I might cut back a tad on the chicken broth. I highly suggest giving these a try!



Ingredients
Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 can (28 oz) red enchilada sauce
1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock (original recipe calls for 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Meat:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced small
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tortillas:
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup canola oil
Fillings/Assembly:
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
 
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste. Cook about 1 minute. Pour in enchilada sauce, chicken stock, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the sauce simmers, brown the meat with onions and salt in a skillet. Drain fat.
 
 
2. Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One at a time fry tortillas in oil until soft about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. .
 
 
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking dish. Spoon meat, some enchilada sauce, shredded cheese and green onions in the center of a tortilla. Roll up and place with seam down in the baking dish. Repeat until dish is filled and pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and green onions.
 
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and serve with sour cream.


Source: Cheese Curd in Paradise











Swaps hosted by http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie

Is there anything more decadent than a chocolate mousse filled of semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and Bailey's liquor? Below is your remedy for a serious chocolate craving.
 
I knew I was going to make something chocolatey this weekend. My brother had given me a new baking cookbook for Christmas and I locked eyes with a chocolate, honey, and pecan pie. After buying all the ingredients, I set out to make it on Sunday afternoon. I then learned Lesson #145 on why I should read a recipe before setting out to make it. The first line of the recipe reads "This recipe is lengthy, and is best made over the course of 2 days." Gah?! Secondly, the recipe involved making caramel sauce, which I've tried before and failed miserably at. So, I decided to attempt that pie another day, and settled on making this delicious Paula Deen recipe for a frozen mousse pie. The only modifications I made were adding the bittersweet morsels, and cutting the recipe in half. 
 



 
 
Ingredients
-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
-2 cups heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon
-1 pie shell
-1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie shell in pie dish and prick holes in the bottom and bake 12-14 minutes.
 
2. In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate chips with the 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and Bailey's.
 
3. With an electric mixer, whip the 2 cups heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff cream has formed. Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate. Slowly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour mixture into baked pie shell and place in the freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.
 
Source: Paula Deen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Almond Frosting

It was my mother-in-law's birthday right before Christmas, and since we've finally moved back home to New Jersey I wanted to make her one of my cakes. She loves I Love Lucy, so I thought it would be fun to make a cake to that theme! I was really disappointed when my local bakery wouldn't print images of I Love Lucy on a sugar sheet due to copyright issues, so I had to resort to my Plan B, which is this retro looking TV with the iconic heart in the center.

I've mentioned before, I hate the actual baking of the cake. I don't think I've ever been "wowed" by the taste of homemade cake, so I usually either team up with my pals Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines for the cake. I'd much rather put my effort into make a delicious frosting. For this one, I wanted to make an almond frosting, one of my favorite flavors and a general crowd pleaser. Like the peanut butter frosting for my brother's guitar cake, this frosting is super easy and pretty idiot-proof. A really great compliment to a vanilla cake.

 
 
Ingredients
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 cups powdered sugar
 
1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Beat in the almond extract.
 
2. Stir in the powdered sugar and milk alternately.
 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I love Pillsbury Cinnamon Buns. One of the best smells on Saturday morning is the baking of some doughy, brown-sugary, cinnamony goodness. So yesterday morning I was on a mission to have some. I open my refrigerator door to my delight I see the blue Pillsbury tube in the door. Upon grabbing it, I realize its actually a tube of Grands biscuits, not cinnamon buns. I'm sure you can relate to this type of let down. Since I was already on a cinnamon mission, I needed to find a way to create something similar, but that didn't require yeast and rise time. Thankfully, I found this recipe that did the trick.  
 
These little muffins are super easy to make, no time needed to let anything rise, and bake in 20 minutes. Drizzle a little glaze over top and get ready for some very sticky fingers. I'm not going to say I'll never go back to my Pillsbury buns, but I'll definitely be making these again!

 
 
 
 
Ingredients
Muffin
-3 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 cup milk
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup brown sugar
Filling
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-2-3 tablespoons butter, melted.
Glaze
-1 tablespoon butter, softened
-2/3 cups powdered sugar
-2-3 tablespoons milk
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a muffin tin. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In your stand mixer, combine the milk, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, but do not over mix. Let rest while you make the filling.

2. To make the filling, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork.

3. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface and roll out to approximately 12inch by 24inch rectangle. Coat dough with the melted butter, reserving some to drizzle on top. Evenly spread the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Beginning with the long side of the dough, roll up and pinch the seam together to secure, and secure to two ends. Slice into 2inch sized muffins. Brush muffins with melted butter and bake 20 minutes.

4. To make the glaze, mix all ingredients and drizzle over warm muffins.

Source: A Feast For the Eyes