Saturday, August 28, 2010

Easy Beef Enchiladas

So this isn't much of a recipe...but it is just something I do all of the time that my husband loves. It definately isn't "gourmet", but again it is a quick weeknight meal. The main thing that makes this one good is the mixture of the sauces to go on top, it gives them a little kick. Sombrero sauce is "El Palacio Sauce" from Ozark, but I am able to find it in most grocery stores in this area. As for the salsa verde, be careful that you buy one that says mild or medium because there are some out there that don't specify their heat and they will burn you up!!

Easy Beef Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded colby/jack cheese
1 package medium flour tortillas
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded colby/jack cheese
Chili Powder

For Sauce:
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (7.76 oz) can salsa verde (I used La Costena brand)
1/2 cup Sombreo Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. Brown beef and onions, drain. Add in 1/2 cup of cheese to beef and onion mixture. In a small bowl (liquid measuring cup works well), mix together ingredients for the sauce. Add enough sauce to beef mixture to make it "stick together". Pour enough sauce in the bottom of the baking dish to form a thin layer. Spoon a small amount of beef mixture onto a tortilla and roll up, place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until you have enough enchiladas to fill the baking dish (will vary depending on the size of your dish!). Next pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, making sure to completely cover them. Sprinkle additional cheese to cover the enchiladas, then sprinkle a small amount of chili powder over the entire dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.

Baking Fun for the Week: Lemon Gooey Butter Bars and Peanut Butter Toffee Blondies

Made these for my husband to carry to work for a meeting they had. Unfortunately they were carried off before I got a picture :( Just use your imaginations!!

Lemon Gooey Butter Bars (Adapted from Paula Deen's Basic Gooey Butter Cake recipe)

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons

Combine cake mix, egg, and butter with a mixer. Press into a lightly greased 9x13 pan, set aside. Next, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Beat in powdered sugar, then add butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix well. Pour onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The center will still remain gooey, so don't overbake in an effort to get it firm. Cool completely and then cut into squares.

Peanut Butter Toffee Blondies (Adapted from Gina Neely's Gina's Toffee Blondies)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a glass 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil. Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy. Slowly add eggs, 1 at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add milk, vanilla, and peanut butter and continue to mix. Incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture in 3 separate additions. Using a spatula, fold in toffe bits and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes and Lemon Grilled Chicken

Both of the recipes that I used tonight are adapted from one of my favorite food blogs, Laura's Best Recipes.

So I suppose that I have started a "thing", baking for Al's co-workers every week. I swear that I can bake things other than cupcakes but I have just found so many good recipes for them lately. This one is cool because it is a filled cupcake and reminds me of a hostess cupcake, but with rich chocolate frosting on top instead of the little white swirl.

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
8 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs beaten with 2 additional egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons strong coffee

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and coffee. Blend until there are only a few small lumps left. Scoop into lined cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until the centers spring back when lightly pressed. Cool for three minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Filling

2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dissolve the salt in the hot water and allow to cool. Whip the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it begins to get fluffy. Add the water and whip well. To fill the cupcakes, use a wide star tip (size 21) attached to a coupler on a piping bag. Cut an X in the top of the cupcake and then push the tip into the X and pipe about 1 tablespoon of filling into the cupcake. If you do not have a piping bag, you can remove a small bit of cake from the top of the cupcake then fill the center and replace the cake piece that you cut out.

Dutch Chocolate Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-6 tablespoons milk or half and half

Cream the butter and cocoa powder until smooth. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk. Mix until smooth. If the frosting is too loose, add more powdered sugar by the 1/4 cup until it reaches the desired consistency. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Spicy Lemon Grilled Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or bone in chicken)
Juice 4 lemons (then cut up juiced lemons into slices to add to the marinade)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag and allow to marinate for 4-6 hours. Remove chicken from marinade and grill until juices run clear. excited to finally have a Wolfgang Puck grill of my own!! My parents have one and it is 10 million times better than a George Foreman as an indoor grill!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Skillet Supper and Outrageous Brownies

This meal is a one-pot wonder that I learned in college from my friend Josh. It is really simple and hearty and makes a quick meal (good for when you get home from work and don't have much time!)

Skillet Supper

1 pound mild sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can diced tomatoes (drain slightly)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 bag egg noodles
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook noodles until tender. Brown sausage and onions, drain and then add to noodles. Add tomatoes and spices, then simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and add sour cream. Top with cheese and let melt.

Tried recipe number 2 from Ina Garten's cookbook, these rich and delicious brownies. I didn't have the coffee granules to add, but I have heard that they compliment the chocolate very well. Be sure to eat these with a big glass of milk...they are very chocolatey, and probably will be most loved by those who enjoy dark chocolate. I did read one comment from a reviewer of the recipe that if you are cooking these for someone who doesn't enjoy dark chocolate as much, substitute milk chocolate chips for the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Unfortunately they weren't cool enough to cut (you have to chill them in the fridge for awhile according to the recipe), so the picture isn't very pretty. But as you could tell, we couldn't resist sneaking one!  Hopefully Al's coworkers will enjoy these as much as the cupcakes!

Outrageous Brownies (from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa)

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet. Melt together butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water (I did this in the microwave on 50% power). Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 oz of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Dinner with the Parents: Green Bean Casserole, Chocolate Chess Pie

Every Sunday, we try to go and eat with my parents and we love us some country cooking. Today we had some great smoked and grilled meat that my Dad prepared and a favorite of ours, green bean casserole. Now we don't make the typical recipe that you see with the french fried onions and mushroom soup. Instead, this is made creamy with sour cream and seasonings and the topping is crushed corn flakes. I remember making this recipe for the first time for Thanksgiving dinner the year before my Papa passed away. I always will remember how much he loved this dish in particular that year. The second recipe that I included came from a "Teller Recipe". Now for those of you who aren't from Hartford, Alabama, you might not have ever received these recipes but these have always (since I can remember) been included in our monthly bank statement from the First National Bank of Hartford. There have been some recipe gems from the "Teller Recipes" over the years. Gotta love being from a small country town!!

Yummy ribs and pork loin roast that my Daddy cooked!

Green Bean Casserole
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated onion
1 cup sour cream
2 cans green beans
Grated cheddar cheese (enough to cover top of casserole)
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes (we didn't have these tonight, so we substituted ritz crackers which work well)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine butter and flour; cook gently over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in seasonings and sour cream. Fold in cooked beans. Place in a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover with cheese, then with cornflake crumbs mixed with butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Chess Pie (a "Teller Recipe" from FNB of Hartford Bank Statements)

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 (1-oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (can use store bought or make your own)

Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Combine sugars, eggs, flour, milk, and vanilla, beating well. Gradually add chocolate mixture, beating constantly. Pour into pastry shell; bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Perfect Simple Chicken and Potatoes Meal

Wow...that is all I can say for this meal. I got a new cookbook today from one of my favorite Food Network personalities Ina Garten. She is all about simple, clean flavors and bringing out the best in ingredients. I actually only got one of these recipes from her cookbook, but I think they all echo her style. I really loved a good meal with chicken and potatoes (as does my husband), and this meal was simply perfect to me. I think the only thing that would have made it better is a good glass of wine! It is simple and elegant with great flavors!!

Quick Balsamic Chicken (from Rachael Ray's Book of 10)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I used montreal chicken seasoning)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

In a shallow dish, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and grill seasoning. Coat the chicken breasts in the mixture and set aside to marinate (about 30 minutes would be best, but I only marinated mine about 10 minutes and they still had great flavor). In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken breasts about 5-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Put chicken aside on a plate and cover with foil and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Note: The chicken will get dark while cooking but it isn't burning, the balsamic vinegar will caramalize on the outside. It can make a lot of smoke, so turn on the exhaust fan!

Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes (from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 lb baby potatoes or fingerling potatoes (I had regular red potatoes, left the skin on and cut them into big chunks and they worked great, but try these others if you can find them at the store)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons coarse-grain or dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary (I used about a teaspoon and a half of dried rosemary)
4-5 garlic cloves pressed or minced
Coarse ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes, or until a fork pierces them easily. In another bowl, combine olive oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic and pepper. Drain the potatoes and return them to their pot and pour olive oil mixture over them, tossing to coat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the potatoes out on the pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until skins are sizzling and browned. You can prepare these ahead of time (about 6 hours) and place them on the baking sheet covered in the mustard mixture and cover with plastic wrap, and wait to roast them right before serving.

Roasted Carrots (from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

12 carrots, peeled (All I had were baby carrots, which are ok, but whole carrots are much sweeter)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley (I had neither of these, but I had fresh green onions and minced them and they were wonderful!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If carrots are thick, cut them in half lengthwise; if not leave them whole. Slice the carrots diagonally into 1 1/2 inch-thick slices (they will shrink when cooking, so make slices big). Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in one layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Toss the carrots with the minced herb of your choice and then season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I know, I know...cupcakes twice in one week!! But this was per request and Al is taking them to school tomorrow (you're welcome Brandon!!). These are awesome Red Velvet Cupcakes with the same Cream Cheese Frosting that I used with the cookies and cream cupcakes earlier this week. They are very light, fluffy, and delicious!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring (2 bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder until all lumps are gone and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the second half of the buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture and beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and baking soda and then add this mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full (will end up with around 20 cupcakes). Bake for about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Cool cupcakes in tin for 10 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespooons heavy cream

Beat together cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer; add in vanilla extract. Beat in powdered sugar and then heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Indian Dinner! Chicken Tikka Masala, Melon Salad with Honey-Lime Yogurt Dressing

This past Christmas, my friend Kelli Hamm Tamvada invited some friends down to the beach for an Indian meal that she likes to cook for her husband Arvind (his family is from India, although he himself has never been he told us). We had chicken tikka masala and lamb curry for our first experience with Indian food and it was spicy and delicious. I was especially pleased when Al liked it so much, since he is not known for his adventurous taste buds. The recipe that I share with you tonight is the recipe for the chicken tikka masala that Kelli made for us that night and so graciously shared with me. The melon salad isn't Indian, but it is a way to 1) use up the left over non-fat yogurt from the first recipe and 2) it will be a cool, refreshing addition to the spicy main dish (sort of like an Indian raita).

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded), finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream (since we are being healthy, I substituted fat-free half-and-half)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in chicken pieces and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat grill to high heat. Lightly oil grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoon cumin, paprika, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Stir in chicken and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. If you don't like it really spicy, cut back on the amount of cayenne and jalapeno.

Melon Salad with Honey-Lime Yogurt Dressing

1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
Splash of vanilla flavoring
Assorted melon (cantelope, honeydew, watermelon) cut into bit sized pieces

Combine yogurt, lime juice, honey, and vanilla and chill. Serve drizzled over melon (or any other assorted fruits that you might have lying around!). This would probably be good with fresh mint in it too, but I didn't have any. Just a thought!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Easy Crockpot Chicken Recipe (per request), Zucchini Parmesan, Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

So my friend Kelli inquired about some crock-pot chicken recipes and I told her I would experiment with a few. The first one I have tried is Dijon Crock-Pot Chicken. It was very easy and tasty and the hubby said it was definantly a do-over!!

Dijon Crock-Pot Chicken

4 to 6 boneless chicken breasts
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder for seasoning chicken
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Wash chicken and pat dry. Lightly sprinkle seasonings on each side of chicken breasts; place in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over the chicken. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
Side Dish: Zucchini Parmesan
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tomato diced or 1 can diced tomato, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking dish, place an even layer of zucchini and then top with 1/2 of the chopped tomato. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and 1/2 of thyme and garlic over this layer; then repeat with another layer of zucchini, tomato, and seasonings. Toss together parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and olive oil and then spread evenly over the top of the dish. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until zucchini is soft.
Treat for the Day: CUPCAKES
My mom asked me to make her something for her church kids for a back to school treat, and I found a recipe for Cookies and Cream Cupcakes and I thought it would be fun. They are delicious!!
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
14 coarsely crushed oreos
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: Mini Oreos
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in crushed cookies. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Spread or pipe cream cheese frosting over cooled cupcakes. Garnish with mini oreos if desired.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespooons heavy cream
Beat together cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer; add in vanilla extract. Beat in powdered sugar and then heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crispy Baked Fish and Sauteed Broccoli, Review: Healthy Ice Cream Treats

Food Finds: Healthier Ice Cream Treats
So my husband and I are trying to eat healthier and I have a super sweet tooth and I read about each of these treats in a magazine and I had to try them myself. Neither one tastes the least bit healthy.

So if you have ever had a Snickers ice cream bar...this tastes almost identical! The hubby was also a fan of these since he likes the Snickers version.

150 calories
9 grams fat
3 grams dietary fiber
WW points: 3

These bars are very good with strawberry frozen yogurt and a strawberry fruit filling inside. the outer coating is vanilla flavored and tastes like the coating on yogurt covered raisins.

150 calories
8 grams fat
3 grams dietary fiber
3 WW points

Tonight we have some quick healthy recipes for weeknight cooking. The fish has a wonderful flavor and is super crispy without having to fry it. Make sure when baking the fish to put it on a wire rack arranged over a sheet pan or broiler pan so that the bottom will not get soggy and it can crisp on all sides. The broccoli is a super simple vegetable side dish that can be a change from boring steamed broccoli with cheese (I'm not a huge fan of that personally...)

Crispy Baked Fish

2 egg whites beaten
2 T butter melted or 2 T olive oil (I used olive oil)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2-1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Grated peel of one lemon
Four 6 oz fish fillets (halibut, cod, flounder, tilapia) --> I used tilapia
Salt/Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put egg whites in a shallow bowl or plate. Mix together bread crumbs and all seasonings and then drizzle with either butter or olive oil and toss well with a fork. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and then dip into the egg white, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Then place on a greased broiler pan or wire rack and place in the oven. Cook until fish golden brown, crispy, and flakes easily with a fork (~10-15 minutes).

Sauteed Broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Grated peel of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces (or one bag pre-cut broccoli)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes until fragrant and garlic begins to brown. Stir in broccoli and cook until broccoli is bright green (approx 3 minutes). Add chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, and pepper and continue to cook uncovered until broccoli is tender (3-5 minutes, depending on how done you like your broccoli).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Good Food and Memories

My parents will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary on Tuesday and we decided to go to Destin today and eat dinner at my mom's absolute favorite place: Louisiana Lagniappe. Now many families have a local place that they go to for special occasions, but when I think about all of the years of my life this place sticks out in my mind as having so many very special memories. When I was younger, my Daddy's work had an annual convention in Sandestin and it was always held at the Sandestin Hilton. Now I, being an only child, would always have to bring my best friend and extension of our family Kelli Hamm (Tamvada) along on all of our trips. We loved going to "the Lagniappe" so much and Kelli and I would always insist on ordering our own appetizer and meal no matter how much Mama and Daddy would beg us to share. It wasn't until I got older that my mom told me how irritated my Daddy would get when we, as kids do, would eat our appetizer and then only a few bites off of both of our plates :) Through the years we have enjoyed this place so much and I have never had a bad meal there. Most of the fresh seafood entrees are covered with lump crab meat with a cajun twice baked potato on the side. For appetizers, I have always loved the crab stuffed mushrooms, while my parents have an obsession with the fried eggplant appetizer with crabmeat and bearnaise sauce. It is a special treat and if you have never been I would encourage you to go off the beaten path next time you are in the area and give it a won't regret it!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cupcakes and Cavatini (Pizza Pasta)

So everyone that knows me well knows that I have a slight cupcake obsession, evidenced by how ridiculously excited I was to receive the Martha Stewart "Cupcakes" cookbook for Christmas this past year. So I heard that there was a "cupcakery" that opened in Enterprise and I was delighted when my Mom suggested that we go there for lunch today (since I had already made up my mind I was gonna go there on the way home and try a cupcake anyway!). The place is "Cupcakes Y'all" and it is located in the Creekside Shopping Center. They do have a small lunch menu of panini sandwiches which are very good (my mom got the "Tiger Pride" and I got the "Sweet and Spicy"). The cupcakes were excellent and I just wanted to tell all of you cupcake lovers to stop by and try one!!

Here is their facebook page if you want more info:

Pink Champagne Cupcake: Special of the Day (and yes it did have a yummy champagne flavor! very good!!)

Mocha Cupcake
(though I'm not a fan of coffee, my mom said this one had a really good flavor and she is a coffee fanatic)
For dinner tonight I made something not so healthy, but my hubby hadn't eaten all day and his aunt makes something similar which he really likes. (It was his first day back with kids at school, I was being a good wife!) It is a sort of like a pizza lasagna. Big tip for this recipe is to cook the pepperoni in a pan BEFORE adding it to the casserole to render out some of its fat and then place it on paper towels to absorb the excess grease (like you would bacon). If you don't do this, you will end of with a greasy mess as the fat renders out in the casserole and that is not appetizing (trust me, I did it once). Another tip for this recipe is to add whatever you like on a pizza. We are really big mushroom lovers so we add lots of those, but if you like bell peppers, onion, black olives or other toppings, you can add those into the pasta mixture (just remember to saute veggies first to soften them up a bit since this doesn't cook long in the oven.)
Cavatini (Pizza Pasta)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound italian sausage (casings removed)
1 large jar of pasta sauce (I used Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom)
1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained (or saute fresh mushrooms)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like things)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound of pasta shells, cooked and drained (can use egg noodles, rotini, or elbows if you have that on hand)
1/2 package of pepperoni, quartered
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzerella Cheese (or can use other cheese you have in the house as well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage and ground beef, drain. Add pasta sauce, mushrooms (or other veggies of your choice, as detailed above), and seasonings and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, covered, over low heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. While pasta sauce is bubbling, cook pepperoni over medium heat in a separate pan to help render out its fat and then drain on paper towels like bacon. In a large bowl, combine the pasta sauce mixure and the cooked shells and then spoon half of the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle this layer first with parmesan cheese, then pepperoni slices, then enought mozzerella cheese to cover the layer. Repeat with another layer of noodles, parm, pepperoni, and mozzerella (can use other cheese if you need to, we had some cheddar as well so I used a little of that). Bake until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted (about 20-30 minutes).

 So maybe make this every now and then since it is not so healthy, but every now and then some good comfort food is alright ;)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

COOKIES!!: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies, and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Baking is something that I have always enjoyed to do and since my Daddy has always been a "cookie monster", cookies are kind of a "go to" item that I bake. The downside to baking is having sweets hanging around the house all the time, so when I was in college, I would share with my friends and most of my rotation sites in pharmacy school during my 4th year knew I would be bringing in some sweets about once a week. Since my husband started teaching, my "Cowboy Cookies" have developed a following with his kids at school so he asked me to bake some cookies for their first day tomorrow. Unfortunately, one of the (many) downsides of our current living situation while we are waiting to buy a house is that all of my cookbooks and thus all of my recipes are in storage, so I had to scour the internet for some new cookie recipes. I found three pretty good ones that I will share with you today. The peanut butter cookies were my favorite of these three although they are all tasty. Happy baking everyone!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and mix in large bowl with both sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Add all dry ingredients except oats and chocolate chips and mix well. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoofuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies just begin to turn golden brown then remove cookies to cooling rack.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to firm up dough so that dough can be rolled into balls. Roll the chilled dough into tablespoon sized balls and then roll in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes and remove from oven (centers of cookies will still be gooey). Cool completely and sprinkle or dip tops in powdered sugar.

*You can substitute any flavor of cake mix you desire with this recipe. Cookies stay really soft and chewy. Next time I think I will add in coconut and pecans to make sort of a German chocolate cookie.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet (or use parchment paper or silpat to line it). In a large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well combined. Then add oats and mix well. Drop dough onto cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls and press cookies down with fingers or a fork to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake 5 minutes or until  cookies just begin to brown. Allow to cool completely and then fill with peanut butter filling

Peanut Butter Filling
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Cream all ingredients together with a mixer. Spread or pipe filling on half of the cooled cookies and top with another cookies to for cookie sandwiches.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mama's Birthday Dinner: Marinated Pork Loin, Mac and Cheese, and Peach Crumble Recipes

So...I decided to start a food blog since I like to cook and try new (and old) recipes. I figured this way if anyone was interested they could have them too. So my first post will be about my mom's birthday dinner that I cooked on Sunday night.

Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Lady and Sons Recipe)
Broccoli Salad (Scooter Store Recipe from Jason Ketchum)
Black Eyed Peas
Peach Crumble

Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic powder
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
1 can of ginger ale

Mix all ingredients in large ziploc bag and make sure pork is well covered with marinade. Place in refrigerator and let marinate overnight. If going to marinate a shorter amount of time, omit the ginger ale. Then discard marinade and put tenderloins on grill or roast in oven (350) until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
Lady's Cheesy Mac
4 cups cooked elbow macaroni
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl and add cheese. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni and cheese. Pour macaroni and cheese into a greased casserole dish and bake for 30-45 minutes. Can top with additional cheese if desired (add a few minutes before taking out of oven.

Peach Crumble
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts

Pudding Mixture:
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped peaches
(must either use canned peaches or fresh peaches that have been macerated with sugar overnight)

For crumble, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together egg, sugar and nuts and spread out thinly on a buttered cookie sheet (works better if you use parchment paper or a silpat to line the cookie sheet instead of buttering it). Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned and hardened. Take out of over and allow to cool completely. Then, crumble the sheet into chunky pieces and set aside.

For the pudding, mix together vanilla pudding, milk, sour cream, and peaches and allow to set up in the fridge.

For serving: Right before serving, place a layer of crumble in the bottom of a dessert bowl or parfait glass. Top with pudding mixture and then place additional crumble on top. (Makes about 6 individual desserts).

This recipe is very simple but elegant and it is very tasty! Give it a try!!