Friday, December 17, 2010


This is best Baklava recipe ever. I made it with Sara in college and it's amazing every time I have it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Chex Mix


1 1/2 c butter shopping list
1 c white kayro
1 c sugar
3 c Rice Chex
3 c Corn Chex
6 c golden grahams
1/2 c coconut
slivered almonds
How to make it

In large bowl combine cereals, coconut and almonds
In saucepan combine butter, sugar and kayro
Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes
Pour over cereal mixture
Spread on wax paper till slightly dry to touch
Separate into bite-sized clusters

Roasted Squash Soup with Sage

Time: 2 hours

Yield: Serves 8

-8 medium acorn squash (roundish)

-4 Tbls. mild extra virgin olive oil

-1 medium yellow onion, chopped

-1 tsp. smoked paprika

-2 Tbls. chopped sage, plus several leaves for garnish

-about 1 1/2 tsp. course sea salt

-2 galic cloves, chopped

-5 to 6 cups chicken broth

-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

-1/2 cup creme fraiche (I used heavy whipping cream,

but you can make your own creme with

buttermilk and whipping cream)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut top third off each squash. Scoop out seeds from squash bottoms and tops; discard. Trim just enough off bottom of each squash so that it sits straight. (Don't cut off too much).
2. Set squash bottoms and tops on 2 large baking sheets and drizzle with about 2 Tbsp. oil, rubbing it all over insides and rims. Bake 45 to 55 mins. or until flesh is soft and golden brown, but before squash start collapsing.
3. Meanwhile, heat remaning 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat; add onion, paprika, sage, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until golden brown , about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
4. Scoop cooked flesh from squash into pot, leaving enough flesh so that squash keep their shape. Pave over any holes in squash "bowls" with some cooked squash and keep them warm.
5. To pot add 5 cups stock, remaing 1 tsp. salt and the pepper. bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
6. Puree soup in batches in a blender, adding more stock if soup is too thick (cover top with a towel to keep hot soup from spurting out). Reheat in pot. Stir in creme fraiche and more stock if necessary.
7. Laddle soup into squash bowls and top with sage leaves.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Janies Texas Sheet Cake!

Preheat oven to 400

Stir together in large bowl:
-2 cups sugar
-2 cups flour

Stir the following over medium heat until mixture is boiling. Pour over flour mixture.
-1 cup butter
-1 cup water
-1/4 cup cocoa

In a separate bowl:
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-2 eggs
-1 Tbl. Soda
Whip together and mix with flour and cocoa mixture.
Pour into greased (buttered) jelly roll pan and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

In a pan melt:
1/2 cupp butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, remove from heat.
-add 3/4 cup to 1 lb powdered sugar
And whip until smooth. Pour over cake that is still warm. Add nuts to top if desired. Yummy yummy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greek Pasta (by Breck Reed)

1 lb. penne pasta
¾ cup feta cheese
4-6 chopped cherry tomatoes
½ package baby spinach chopped
¼ cup milk
¾ cup pesto sauce
½ cup sliced peppers
1 cup ranch dressing

1. Cook pasta until you have 4 more minutes left and add the peppers to the boiling pasta.
2. Drain pasta/pepper mixture
3. Add the pesto and feta to the drained pasta.
4. Add tomatoes, spinach, and peppers to the mixture.
5. Add milk to ranch dressing.
6. Add ranch mixture unto the pasta.
7. Add grilled chicken strips or shredded chicken if desired. (Boiled chicken works well, boil chicken 15 minutes then shred.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Country Fried Chicken

Well this isn't the healthiest, but it's so good!

Country Fried Chicken
Jayne Swapp

1 frying chicken
3 tsp. Garlic salt
½ c. milk
1 tsp. Paprika
1 egg
¼ tsp. Poultry seasoning
1 c. flour
1 tsp. Black pepper

Blend milk and egg. Combine flour and seasonings in paper or plastic bag. Shake chicken in this seasoned flour. Dip chicken pieces in milk/egg mixture. Shake chicken a second time in seasoning mixture to coat evenly and thoroughly. Melt shortening in skillet to about ½ to 1 inch deep and heat to 350˚. Brown chicken on all sides. Reduce heat to 275˚. And continue cooking until chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Do not cover. Turn chicken several times during cooking. Drain on paper towels

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Search Box

I was trying to find a recipe earlier and I couldn't (took too long, dumb computer, etc...). Anyway, I decided that we really need to have a search box on the blog. Ladies, what do you think? :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brats with Spicy Stewed Peppers

1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 medium jalapeno chile pepper
1 medium red onion
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
5 fresh bratwurst
5 large hot dog buns

Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the bell peppers and jalapeno pepper. Cut the bell peppers lengthwise into 1/3-inch strips. Finely chop the jalapeno pepper. Cut the onion in half through the stem and root ends. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Melt the butter in pan. Add the peppers, onion, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Mix well with tongs. Cook the vegetables in the pan over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are tender and golden brown in spots, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are tender, add and mustard. Mix well with tongs.

Prepare Brats per the directions on the packaging

Put the Brats in the buns, cover with the pepper mixture, top with condiments of choice (I prefer ketchup) and enjoy.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zesty Chicken Enchiladas (ala Jane Griffith)

The Griffith family had us over for dinner a few months ago and they served some amazing enchiladas. Jane was kind enough to share the recipe. I was surprised that the yummy enchiladas were so good and yet so easy to make. Here you go!

1-2 lb shredded chicken
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
16 oz jar mild Green Salsa
1 c cream
1 1/4 c Grated Jack Cheese
8 6-inch tortillas (I like flour, the recipe suggests corn)

1. In large bowl, combine chicken, tomatoes, mild Green Salsa, cream, 1 cup cheese, 1/2 of the tomatillo sauce, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.

2. Warm tortillas according to the package directions. Spread remaining green sauce in 9x13 baking dish. Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place in baking dish.

3. Top with remaining cheese (and maybe a little extra:)) Bake 350' for 10-15 minutes, or until the enchiladas begin to brown.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brownie Pudding

Brownie Pudding

1 c all-purpose Flour
1/2 c Sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 c Milk
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 tsp Vanilla

3/4 c Sugar
1/4 c unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 c Water, boiling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until well blended. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Turn into un-greased 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Combine sugar and cocoa. Gradually stir in boiling water. Pour liquid mixture evenly over mixture in pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tests done.
Serve warm (hot) over vanilla ice cream.

Pistachio-Parmesan Chicken

This week Ben and I are taking our "Anniversary/I-desperately-need-to-get-out-of-Provo-before-I-start-school-again-this-summer Vacation." Since we're crashing at Greg & Darlene's house, we decided to cook dinner for them tonight. The menu: Pistachio-Parmesan Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, and rye bread, with Brownie Pudding for dessert.

Pistachio-Parmesan Chicken

6 Tbsp unsalted Butter
3/4 c finely chopped unsalted Pistachio nuts**
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c all-purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
4 large chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)

Preheat oven to 375. Place butter in roasting pan and melt in oven 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a shallow dish, mix together pistachios, cheese, flour, and salt. In another shallow dish, beat eggs with fork to slightly foamy consistency.
Dip chicken pieces first in pistachio mixture, then in eggs, then back into pistachio mixture, coating generously. Place in melted buter in roasting pan.
Bake uncovered (at 375) for 45 minutes. Spoon juices from bottom of pan over chicken; bake 15 minutes more, until golden in color.

**Note: Chop pistachios in food processor or blender. If using salted pistachios, omit the salt from the recipe.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite summer dishes. It's perfect as a side dish, mixed in with pasta, or even on top of pork chops. The colors are just as amazing as the flavor, and sometimes I can't decide if I want to eat it or just look at it! It's very versatile, and quite a matter of taste, so here are some basic guidelines - feel free to mix it up a little. (I made it for four the other day, so these are the measurements I used.)

Roasted Vegetables

1 sm. Zucchini
1 sm. Summer Squash
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 bunch Asparagus
2 Red Onions
olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Cut up vegetables into large pieces (peppers and onions about 1 inch square, zucchini/summer squash around 1/4 inch thick, asparagus about 2 inches long, etc). Toss with a few Tbsp olive oil - everything should be coated well, but you don't want a ton left in the bottom. Salt and Pepper to taste and mix well to blend.

Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet (with sides). Depending on how many veggies you use, it may take up two cookie sheets. (*Note: putting foil on the sheet first makes for easier clean up). Bake for 30 min-1 hr, or until for tender, mixing 2-3 times. Immediately turn the oven to Broil and cook until veggies are caramelized and edges look slightly charred.

(here's a before shot; sadly I forgot to take a picture after I cooked it)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been looking for my special chocolate chip cookie recipe. Everyone has to have their unique take on the old classic right? Change a couple of the dimensions, and bam! its a whole new thing. I tried these last night for a party and the reviews were great!

A few notes on the recipe first. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips-- I think it makes a big difference. I buy a bunch when I see they're on sale and freeze them until I need em. Second, baking them for 8 minutes is key so set that timer! You may think they aren’t done at this point, but after sitting on the pan a couple of minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack, they will be just right.

My Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (must be room temp!)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (feel free to throw in the whole bag if you like them super chocolate-y…why not?)

Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together in a mixer. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until creamy. Add the vanilla.

In another bowl mix the dry ingredients together before slowly adding them to the creamed mixture. When combined, stop the mixer and add the semi-sweet chips. Mix up and then drop by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Mold them into a ball as best as you can with the spoon for a more shaped cookie.

Bake on 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Take them out of the oven and allow the cookies to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Then, carefully place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Irish Colcannon and Soda Bread

I'm very proud of my Irish heritage and a few years ago I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in Ireland. While I was there I found a wonderful little cookbook that not only has great traditional recipes, but also has a little bit of a history of each recipe as well.


Colcannon is a mash made of white vegetables, typically served at the midday meal. At Halloween, coins are wrapped in foil and buried in the colcannon for children to discover as they eat. If you're used to a typical St. Patrick's Day dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage, try the Colcannon instead next time. It's definitely worth it, in fact, it's so good you should make it more often than just March 17!

1 medium-sized head white cabbage
2 medium-sized parsnips
3-4 medium-sized onions
8-10 medium-sized potatoes
salt and pepper
1 pint water (2 1/2 cups)
4 oz butter (1/2 cup)

Cut cabbage into four, remove stumps and wash each leaf thoroughly in salt and water. Put four or five outer leaves aside, chop the remaining leaves finely. Wash and scrape parsnips, remove skins from the onions (I also peeled the potatoes). Cut parsnips, onions and potatoes into half inch slices. arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a saucepan, cover with a layer or parsnips, then a layer of onion, the a layer of cabbage; season well, continue layering the vegetables and again season well. Pour water over the vegetables and cover vegetables completely with the outer leaves. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring to the boil and cover; simmer until cooked, 25-30 minutes. Strain off any excess water. Remove the outer leaves of cabbage. Mash the vegetables well, add the butter and mix well. Put into a serving dish. Serve hot with plenty of creamy butter. Serves 4-6.

Soda Bread

1 lb flour (4 cups)
pinch of salt (1/4 tsp or so)
1 level teaspoon breadsoda (baking soda)
10 fl oz buttermilk or sour milk (1 1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 400F. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Pute the breadsoda into the palm of the hand and work with the back of a spoon to get rid of lumps. (You don't actually have to do this part... it's cool to see how it used to be done though.) Add to the sieved flour and salt. Make a well in the and add the milk. Mix until it forms a loose dough. (I actually had to add about 1/4 c more milk) Mix well and form into a circle; make a cross-cut on the surface and place on a lightly floured baking sheet; put into the oven. The bread is baked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (about 40-45 minutes). When baked, place on a wire rack to cool.
**Be careful not to over mix the dough because it will become very tough.
**If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice per 1 c milk and let stand for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these for work today, very yummy!

Cream Well:
1 c. butter (room temp)
1 c. brown sugar
¾ c. white sugar

2 eggs (room temp)
1 T vanilla
Cream for 4 minutes

3 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. soda

Blend mixture slowly and thoroughly
Add: 2 c. chocolate chips (I do lots more... probably over 3 cups, but that's me, eyeball it)
Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The BEST Carrot Cake.

As promised to Darlene, here is my carrot cake recipe. Now, before you go and say that you don't like carrot cake, you have to try this one. This recipe has converted many a carrot cake hater, and I'm willing to bet that you'll love it too!

Carrot Cake

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 c sugar
1 1/4 c canola oil
4 large eggs
3 c grated peeled carrots
1/2 c coconut

And for those that do love the nuts and raisins,
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 c raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. In a separate bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended. Stir in carrots and coconut. (If using nuts and raising, add them now as well.)

Divide batter between pans. Bake layers about 40 minutes each, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off waxed paper and cool cakes completely.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 bag powdered sugar (to taste)

Blend together. If too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

**Note - I like to top it with chopped pecans (instead of putting them in the cake).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Breakfast in Heaven

I'm pretty sure in heaven this is what breakfast will be:

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ¾ cup buttermilk (or milk with 4 tsp. vinegar/lemon juice)
2 Tbs. butter-melted
1 egg
¼ c. sour cream
3 Tbs. honey
-Combine dry and wet ingredients separately in 2 bowls, then add wet to dry.
Add more milk if needed.

Homemade Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
-Place all ingredients except vanilla in large saucepan,bring to boil,boil for 7 minutes (mixture will foam) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

*I owe Christie Palmer credit for both recipes. She's my kitchen soul mate.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tuscan Chicken

3 ½ lb Chicken *flattened (I like to use chicken pieces, they cook faster)
Kosher Salt
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 tablespoon minced Rosemary
Fresh ground black pepper

Sprinkle Chicken with Kosher Salt on each side.
Combined EVOO, Lemon Juice, Garlic, and Rosemary and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a glass bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and cover with mixture.

Add chicken and oil mixture to sauce pan and cook on medium heat until cooked through, it will take about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sushi Tuesday

Adam and I started a new fun thing together: Sushi Tuesday. We love sushi-- who couldn't love fish and veggies with the health benefits of nori? Yum! Its pretty easy and something we can do together-- and we can do any fun combo when we do it ourselves without worrying about paying $12 a roll (more like $1/roll).

There are some specialty things that are needed to pull this off. First, a bamboo roller. I think I got one at whole foods for $2-- it is the tool used to make the sushi into a perfect roll. Also, nori-- you eat this as part of the sushi and I also got sheets of it at Whole Foods. The rest is fairly basic: Jasmine rice (cooks faster and is cheaper than other rices), sugar, typically rice vinegar but we have experimented with this too, veggies, fish, cheese or whatever else sounds good to you.

First- cook the rice. For Adam and I, we use 1.5 cups of uncooked rice and we get about 5 rolls out of this.

Second- If you have fish, I cook mine while the rice is simmering. We don't mess with the raw stuff here. We have used crab meat, cooked or smoked salmon, and shrimp. These are allllll good options!

While those two things are cooking, I spend some time slicing my veggies into long skinny rectangles. I always do English cucumbers (so not to worry about seeds) and avocado, but we also do carrots, radish, lime pieces (fruit is ok too...) and anything else we can find in the crispy drawer of the fridge.

By now the rice and fish should be ready and I take them off the heat. I sprinkle in my vinegar and sugar into the rice and mix it until it has a sticky consistency. I wish I could give measurements-- maybe for this much rice I would say 2-3 TBSP of both sugar and vinegar. Totally a guess. Anyway, that is all that is needed to make sticky rice! Its super easy. I have used rice vinegar which is great, but I also this time I tried a flavored vinegar (thanks to Carol-- its delicious!). There are a lot of flavors but I have tried pineapple and lime-- both amazing.

Once the rice is totally ready, I lay down a sheet of nori and spread a thin layer of sticky rice over it, leaving about 1/2 an inch at the top uncovered. Then I lay down my slices of fish and veggies and place the sheet on my bamboo roller. With the roller I can create a perfectly tight and round roll and then I slice into 6 or 8 even sized rolls. PS do not over fill them. It doesn't look like tons of food when you're sprinkling it in there, but dainty rolls are the best to eat, and if you want lots of food, just eat lots of dainty rolls, not a few massive ones. Its super fun and its a good way to get creative with dinner.

Tonight we made cooked salmon, cucumber, avocado, and pineapple flavored rice. Adam was obsessed and ate almost the whole batch himself (and that is a big deal because he's not a nori kind of guy)! I saw some with different veggies and meats and cheeses, but I haven't gone there yet... If we do I'll keep you posted! I am dying to try shrimp with lime and jalepeno and avocado. Doesn't that sound yummy??

And we did have some pictures of us making it to better outline the lesser known stuff I mentioned, but Adam's phone deleted every single picture off itself this weekend, so you only get one of our finished product from our most recent Sushi Tuesday. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chocolate Frosting

I used Allyson's yellow cake recipe and I used my own Chocolate frosting, in a word: AMAZING!

1 cup softened butter
4 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 ¼ cups baking cocoa
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.

After I made the frosting I coarsely chopped up Pecans, applied the frosting to the middle layer, and then sprinkled with Pecans. Then I added the top layer of cake, frosted, and topped with more pecans as well as coarsely chopped milk chocolate chips. The pecans added an amazing flavor, Sam's only request was to add more next time.

(this is why I never take photos)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

French Dip

I just made this for dinner tonight. The recipe is from Liz Andrews, she made it for Ambyr when Am had Grace and I have been dreaming of it ever since. It's so easy, but who doesn't love a crock pot recipe?!
French Dip

1 large onion, sliced
3 lb. beef roast
½ c. water
1 pkg. au jus gravy mix (you can find this in the gravy isle at the market)
2 cans beef broth

1. place onion in cooker. Add roast
2. combine water and gravy mix, pour over roast
3. add broth
4. cook on low 10-12 hours
5. remove meat from liquid, let rest for 10 minutes, shred or slice

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oriental Chicken Thighs

5 bone in skinless thighs
5 tsp. olive oil
1/3 c warm water
¼ c packed B Sugar
2 TB Orange Juice
2 TB Soy Sauce
2 TB Ketchup
1 TB White Vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tsp crushed red pepper
¼ Tsp Chinese Spice Powder (very important to the recipe do not omit!)

Hot cooked rice
Sliced green onions

In large skillet over medium heat brown chicken in oil for 18-20 minutes, until oil runs clear.

Combine water, b sugar, juice, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes, 5 spice powder, shake until sugar is dissolved, pour over chicken.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, uncover for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is tender, turning occasionally.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baked Pesto Chicken

I love finding recipes that require ingredients that are already in the house (I hate last minute trips to the market). This recipe is so easy and delicious! I made it with brown rice and a salad.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup Refrigerated Pesto with Basil
3 sliced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. PREHEAT oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
2. PLACE chicken and pesto in medium bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
3. BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove from oven; top with tomatoes and cheese. Bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Date and Nut Bread (Barefoot Contessa)

* 2 cups coarsely chopped dates (10 ounces pitted)
* 1/3 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Cointreau or Triple Sec)
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
* 1 extra-large egg
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)
* 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (3 ounces)


For the cream cheese spread:

* 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

Combine the dates and orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until combined. By hand, stir in the dates with their liquid, and the pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until just combined.

Slice the bread and serve with the orange cream cheese on the side for spreading.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken Butternut Tagine

So I made this yesterday and it was so yummy and Greg loved it (he usually doesn’t like new unusual things)! Even without all the things I left out it was so good and I also didn’t have couscous so I used the broth with some rice and it was good too.
Chicken-Butternut Tangine With Pistachio coucous
This is another delicious one from Cooking Light magazine
1 tablespoon of Olive oil
2 Cups chopped onion
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric (didn’t have this)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
8 ounces peeled cubed butternut squash
1/3 cup halved pitted picholine olives (didn’t use these either)
8 pitted dried plums, chopped (didn’t use these)
Fresh flat leaf parsley leaves (optional)
1. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in Cumin and next 7 ingredients (through chicken); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in broth, squash, olives, and dried plums, bring to a boil. Cover reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 (or 15) minutes or until squash is tender. Garnish with parsley. Yield 4 servings (serving size 1 ¼ cups) Calories 309; fat 8.8g; protein 29.8g; fiber 5.2g

Pistachio couscous
Bring ¾ cup fat-free chicken broth to a boil in small sauce pan. Stir in ¾ cup uncooked couscous; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; fluff with fork. Stir in 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind and ¼ cup chopped pistachios.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Apple Pie/Cobbler/Shortbread

Not sure exactly what to call this besides delicious. I stole this recipe from my sister-in-law's boyfriend-- YUM! This is the kind of baking I like-- more of an art than a science. I made extra crust because it was super delicious, and make sure not to skimp on the sugar and honey because that is what makes the consistency perfect. It makes the juice from the apples gelatinize perfectly! Also, don't cut the apple slices too big or they don't cook through, and don't cut them too small because when they cook they shrink ;-)

-1 cup flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 stick softened butter
-pinch of salt

Pie Filling:
-8 or 9 Golden Delicious apples, peeled/sliced
-1/2 cup sugar
-honey (maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons?)
-cinnamon (there isn't an exact amt, just to taste for both cinnamon and honey)

Mix apples + sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then put into pie dish. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with more cinnamon -- both liberally. Mix the crust ingredients either by hand or in a Cuisinart until it becomes dough. Tear off little pieces, pat flat and spread over top of pie (when you cover the whole thing it will look like a cobblestone road, hence the "cobbler" but it tastes more like a shortbread). Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes or until golden. Make sure you put a sheet of tin foil on the oven floor in case of dripping sugar (but not over the top of the pie!). And that's it! Yum.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

In honor of my darling husband's birthday, I'm finally posting this long awaited recipe. Tyler, now you don't have to wait for my next visit!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. This cake is insanely good, and just as rich, so start with a small piece, a tall glass of milk, and invite over a lot of friends. The chocolate cake itself is the best chocolate cake I've ever had and would work in any chocolate cake recipe, or even plain without any frosting, so don't limit yourself to just this recipe! (And Ben thinks the frosting would make dog food taste good.) And now......

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 cups sugar
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
-1 cup sour cream
-1 1/2 cups water
-2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 eggs

-1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (optional - I haven't tried this yet, but I'd love to)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. (Note: I only have 9 inch cake pans, which seem to be more common, and they work just fine.)

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Note: These cakes are very, very soft. Once cool, put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes and they'll be oh-so-much easier to work with. Don't worry, they'll defrost before you want to eat them. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.)

Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze. I like make the cake a day ahead up to this point and put it in the refrigerator over night. The next day you can put the glaze on it.

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. (Do this slowly!) Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting

-10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
-2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

-8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
-3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
-2 tablespoons light corn syrup
-1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy whipping cream

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

(Note: If you don't want to use the corn syrup, just increase the cream to 2/3 cup.)

Chicken Tamale Casserole

This recipe is tasty and simple!


* 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
* 1/3 cup fat-free milk
* 1/4 cup egg substitute
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
* 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
* 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
* Cooking spray
* 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
* 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
* 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

My family has a tradition that on Christmas Eve we spend the whole day making all sorts of hours devours and then all evening eating them and watching Christmas movies. This year, as Ben helped me with the pies and cookies, I contemplated what my favorite cookie is. Chocolate chip cookies are kind of like apples. While good, even amazing sometimes, they are so common-place that I never really want to eat them. Snickerdoodles, Sugar cookies, and Oatmeal cookies are relatively common as well. (Although I'm pretty confident that I can make the best sugar cookies you've ever had.)

I guess I just get bored with these cookies too quickly for them to be my favorite. They don't keep me as excited as a "favorite" cookie should. My Banana Chocolate Chip cookies, on the other hand, never cease to amaze me. The cookies are so light and fluffy with just a hint of banana so it's not overpowering. Throughout the cookie there are these little bits of chocolaty goodness. I really can't get enough of them, whether it's the cookie or the dough. Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

4 mashed bananas (the kind you'd use for banana bread)
½ c evaporated milk

2/3 c shortening
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs

1/3 bag Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the mashed bananas and evaporated milk. In a third bowl or stand mixer, combine the shortening and sugar. Mix until blended and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Alternate combining the banana and flour mixtures until used, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. When both mixtures are incorporated, mix in the chocolate chips. (You can use more chocolate chips if you want, but they're not supposed to be too overpowering.) :)
Scoop out onto cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 10-15 min. Cookies will remain colorless and soft. Remove from cookies sheet and cool on a rack. Devour.

**Note: tripling the batch uses a whole can of canned milk and one package of mini chocolate chips**