May 16, 2009

Sweet tooth fix

While driving home yesterday, I had a taste for those incredibly divine and 'Smoregasmic' Smores Bars from the other week, but I wasn't in the mood to make it and didn't want the entire pan sitting there, taunting me to eat 'just one more' since the old man doesn't care for them (WEIRD-O!). So I stopped at a Walgreens and was hoping they'd have a cookie bar mix or something but no such luck - just brownies. Boo! So I found a package of chocolate chips, checked out the back side and saw that I had everything to make its cookie bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Nestle's)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened*
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans) (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375* Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. **
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, both sugars and vanilla in large mixer bowl.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  7. Spread into prepared pan.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. ***
*Neat trick to soften cold butter ... cut up in pieces and trhow in bowl and mix, mix, mix, mix till softened. Then add sugar and mix again. Much faster than waiting an hour or so to make butter room temperature.
** I used 9x13 and lined with parchment paper - a gift from the gods.
*** If using a smaller pan like I did, just make sure the entire thing is the same color when taking out; no need to add time. I baked for 20 minutes and waited an additional two or three minutes for the entire thing to be brown and they came out PERFECT.

D E L I C I O U S!

May 14, 2009

Salsa Chicken

It just doesn't get any easier than this.

Salsa Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast (can be frozen!)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 package fresh salsa (or make your own since it calls for 'fresh')
  • 1 can condensed cream of something soup (I used Chicken)
  • 1 small container or 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 crockpot

  1. Place chicken on bottom of crock.
  2. Cover chicken with contents of taco seasoning package.
  3. Add salsa on top of that.
  4. Then the soup.
  5. Make sure chicken is covered.
  6. Cover crock.
  7. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  8. Add sour cream, stir, and heat.
  9. Serve over rice.
(It's probably best to quickly shred the chicken before adding the sour cream but my husband has a thing about shredded chicken.) I thought this was rather tasty but the old man wasn't too much of a fan... didn't hate it, but didn't love it. But he's a bit of a food snob and isn't a fan of many crockpot meals. The weirdo.

May 12, 2009

Sloppy Joe Bake

My husband, who claims to dislike Sloppy Joes, likes this dish. So much so that he has seconds and that's the tell tale sign for me when I can make a dish again.

This dish is a combo of these two recipes here and here.

Sloppy Joe Bake

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 1 green pepper - diced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In hot lightly oil pan, cook onion and pepper for a couple minutes till the onion gets a bit translucent.
  3. Move onion and pepper to a bowl.
  4. In same pan, cook ground beef till brown and drain.
  5. While beef is cooking, mix Bisquick, egg, water and 1 cup of cheese and set aside.
  6. Add onion and pepper back to beef mixture.
  7. Next add ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, salt, and pepper and mix good and cook till hot.
  8. Transfer meat mixture to a greased 9x9 pan.
  9. Cover meat mixture with bisquick mixture and spread to coat top.
  10. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  11. Pop in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes till golden brown.

I served next to some tomatoes with salt, pepper, basil, EVOO, and vingar... Delicious!

May 7, 2009

Laughing Cow Chicken

It's been a rough week as far as cooking. Once again, we never made it out to the grocery store so we ordered delivery Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I was out with a friend so I brought home something.

Tonight, I finally cooked again... and it was pretty decent again. Yay!

Laughing Cow Chicken
(found here)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally 3/4 of the way through (so you can stuff the inside)
  • 2 wedges Laughing Cow light cheese, one per breast (I used garlic & herb instead)
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned)
  • Handful grated parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butterfly cut each chicken breast and spread one wedge of Laughing Cow inside the middle. Sprinkle Italian seasoning inside to taste. (I actually mixed my cheese and Italian seasoning in a bowl before spreading it on the chicken to give a nice even flavor) Fold chicken back over to original shape.
  3. Mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Spray each chicken breast with cooking spray and then dip in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
I served alongside those infamous Crash Hot Potatoes, which seem to make their way in our home once a week lately, and salad. The only thing I would do differently next time is I would season the breast with salt and pepper on the outside.

The hubs liked the meal just fine but says the Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken is still the best so far.

May 2, 2009

S'mores Cookie Bars

Um, these things are - as a friend likes to say - S'MOREGASMIC!

I had seen the recipe for these a while back and while they looked incredible and the reviews were incredible I did a, well, incredible job staying away. Willpower at its finest. Until now, that is.

Not sure what it was, but it was like they've been calling out to me so I finally had to succumb and WOW am I glad I did.

S'mores Cookie Bars
(I believe taken from here)

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.
  7. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.
  8. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff.
  10. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).
  11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned.
  12. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes 16 cookie bars.

Apr 28, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Chicken

I sort of diverted a bit from my Weekly Meal Plan I created over the weekend. Instead of the pasta for Monday, I made homemade burgers (nothing special, just ground beef formed into a patty and fried with salt and pepper and topped with cheese and tomatoes with a butter fried bun) and Crash Hot Potatoes.

And today I made the pasta:

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Chicken

  • 1 chicken breast, skinless & boneless
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 bag of cauliflower florets, defrosted (I'm sure you could use fresh)
  • olive oil
  • spices
  • spaghetti (we like wheat), 1/2 pound/box
  • bread crumbs, about 1/2 a cup
  • Parmesan cheese

  1. Dump cauliflower in bowl and cover with seasonings of your choice (and lots of 'em) and drizzle with olive oil, stir.
  2. Dump from bowl onto oiled cookie sheet and place in preheated (450) oven on top rack.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes and take out and flip pieces.
  4. Bake for another 10 minutes - bake till brown, then take out of oven.
  5. In the meantime, chop up 2 garlic cloves and toss in hot pan with olive oil for a minute.
  6. Cut chicken breast in bite size pieces and add to pan and cook till white.
  7. Put pan aside.
  8. Follow instruction on pasta and bring to boil.
  9. In large saute pan, add the remaining chopped garlic and generous amount of olive oil.
  10. Add chicken to large pan and toss for a minute before adding cauliflower and toss.
  11. Sprinkle bread crumbs over mixture and toss and let cook for a minute.
  12. When pasta is al dente add directly to large pan and add some pasta water if too thick.
  13. Toss and serve hot.
Pretty easy and very tasty.

Apr 26, 2009

Weekly Menu Plan

So Stephen went out yesterday to cash a check. Three hours later he finally came back home with bags of groceries from Whole Foods. My husband is a kitchen snob - no offense to any of you Whole Foods shoppers. Don't get me wrong, I adore Whole Foods. It's a beautiful store! But the prices on some of the stuff is just way out of my personal range (though I will definitely admit that nobody beats the freshness from the produce and meats from WF!) so I shop at Aldi (unless S is paying - ha!).

He mainly went crazy buying some kind of steak... I guess it's normally like $30 a pound or something and the butcher's were cutting to order whatever you wanted for like $7.50 a pound. Or something. And we like steak. A lot. (No, I won't post pics to prove this.)

I'm not sure what my point is to telling you this, nor what it has to do with my Weekly Menu Plan, but yeah, I had to share.

Oh no, now I remember!

We didn't get out to the grocery store TOGETHER so I'm not really sure what's going to happen next week but I'll do my best to come up with something and stick to it this time!

Monday - cauliflower and pasta (and so help me it had better turn out better than last week's broccoli and pasta which I never posted about because I'm embarrassed)
Tuesday - Sloppy Joe bake that I never made last week - using ground turkey instead of ground beef which Stephen prefers ... shhhhh don't tell him!
Wednesday - Chicken Salsa that I never made last week, assuming I get the ingredients from the store
Thursday - something with Crash Hot Potatoes! Haha, I love these damn things!
Friday - order in
Saturday & Sunday - up to the old man

Taco Nachos

Last week's Weekly Menu didn't go quite as planned. I sort of fizzeled out by the end of the week because I had a horrible headache one day and DH just brought home some take out, and the next day he needed to cook something he purchased the previous weekend to avoid spoiling. So instead of using the ground beef I defrosted for Sloppy Joe Bake and instead of using the fresh Salsa and Sour Cream for the Salsa Chicken, I used those ingredients for last night's dinner and made my husbands AWESOME taco meat, which I turned into
Taco Nachos

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • taco seasoning package
  • water
  • fresh salsa
  • sharp cheddar, shredded
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips (we used multi-grain with 30% less fat than regular and they were really good!)
  1. Follow directions of taco seasoning package by browning ground beef, draining, adding taco seasoning and water and bringing to simmer.
  2. Rather than serve after 7 minutes or whatever the package says, keep cooking it so that the meat dries out a bit.
  3. Add about 1/2 a cup of fresh salsa and keep cooking. If it seems dry even after adding the salsa, add some water.
  4. Keep cooking until it become a bit dry and add some water and cook the shit out of it (on high, stirring occassionally) until it becomes dry. In all honesty, we cook our meat for about an hour on the stove top and I'm telling you, it's so, so, SO worth it!
  5. Preheat oven to 425.
  6. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  7. Add tortilla chips so that it covers the sheet.
  8. Sprinkle a handful or two of shredded cheddar onto the naked chips.
  9. Cover the chips and cheese with the meat, trying to cover all the chips and the chips only.
  10. Sprinkle a handful of shredded cheddar on top of the meat.
  11. Pop in oven for only a couple minutes.
  12. Take out and serve on plate with a big gob of sour cream (and any other fixings - more salsa, olives, onions - you like).
You can certainly ease up a bit on the ground beef and chips if you'd like to serve as an appetizer or snack, but since this was our meal, I piled on the entire pound of ground beef in the pictures shown. Mmmmm, a simple recipe that's a little time consuming but really so, so worth it!

Apr 21, 2009

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Crash Hot Potatoes

I have a thing about texture... so unless my chicken is fried and crispy or in small bites surrounded by sweet and sour sauce or something, I tend to stay away. But because I'm trying to cook more, and trying to keep that cooking a little more healthy, I needed to think of different ways to keep both my picky palate and Stephen happy.

Last week I tried Cheez-it Chicken and got the "best meal so far" comment from Stephen, but I have a feeling tonight's meal is going to put that one to shame.

At least the smell does.
If you're one of those measuring types... unfortunately, this recipe entails no exact measurements.

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken
  • Boneless Skinless chicken breast
  • Pretzels
  • Mayo
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Take about 1/2 a cup mayo and about 1/4 dijon mustard and mix. Add about two spoonfuls of honey and mix well. Taste. Keep adding a little more mayo, mustard, or honey to taste. (You'll want some leftover sauce to use as a dipping sauce so be sure to separate some off to the side for later as any that touches the sauce is to be discarded! But if you've come to this blog, I'm sure you know that you cannot eat anything that's touched raw meat and hasn't been cooked! Ewww!)
  2. Next take your chicken (I rinse and dry mine first) and salt and pepper both sides and then dip in the sauce and really get it covered and then place it into a zip lock baggie. Once all chicken pieces are covered in sauce and in bag, add any remaining sauce (not the one you separated though!) and let sit.
  3. Next take a bunch of pretzels and add to a big zip lock baggie and pound pound pound. Leave the bag a little open so air can escape and don't go crazy with the pounding or you'll poke holes in the bag. Trust me on that one. Empty your pretzels onto a plate.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350.
  5. Spray down a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Take your chicken that's been soaking in your homemade honey mustard goodness and place in crushed pretzels. Press down on chicken with tongs to so that it picks up lots of the crushed pretzels. After both sides are covered in pretzels, add to cookie sheet.
  6. After all pieces are covered and placed on cookie sheet, spray the chicken with cooking spray (you'll want to do this to avoid a soggy crust).
  7. Place in oven for about 25 minutes, flipping once.

Serve alongside your reserved homemade honey mustard sauce and...

Crash Hot Potatoes
  • Small red potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs of your choice
  • olive oil
  1. Boil potatoes till fork tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 and make sure you have a rack up high.
  3. Cover cookie sheet with olive oil (enough so nothing sticks).
  4. Add potato to cookie sheet, give an inch or two between each.
  5. Take masher or serving fork (I don't have a masher) and gently press down. Be careful because they may spread or move a lot.
  6. Brush each potato with more olive oil.
  7. Add salt, pepper, herbs.
  8. Pop in oven till golden brown.

Thank you so much Angie for turning me onto these fabulous taters, and, of course, she found these from the Pioneer Woman.

Apr 19, 2009

Bread Pudding

Last week when I made Schnitzeletta, I bought some French bread and never used it all. So this morning, I decided to put it to use and made some Bread Pudding. What a perfect morning to make Bread Pudding... we went from sunny and warm yesterday to rainy and dreary today. So what better way to bring a little warmth back into the place by baking some Bread Pudding!

I looked at a couple simple recipes (here and here) and kinda went from there.

  • 2-3 cups stale French bread, torn into cubes
  • 3-4 Tbs butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • cooking spray
  • 8x8 pan

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray 8x8 pan and toss cubed stale bread in pan, covering entire pan.
  3. Drizzle melted butter atop bread.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients together well in separate bowl and pour atop bread, pressing down bread to ensure it all gets wet.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes until bread bounces back up.
  6. Serve warm with coffee or milk.

I'm horrible at measuring stuff... especially stuff like teaspoons and tablespoons. Plus I like cinnamon and vanilla. So while I thought it had great flavor, my husband says it had an aftertaste he wasn't too fond of and blamed it on my lack of measuring and says I probably put in too much vanilla (personally I think it was too much nutmeg). It was still good though and we both enjoyed it.

*Next time, however, I will be cutting back on the sugar to 1/2 a cup because it was far too sweet for our tastes.

Apr 18, 2009

Weekly Menu

S and I are sitting here discussing what we need to get when we go out into this beautiful day and that led me to discuss meal plans. We've never done a meal plan for more than a day or two at a time in the past and that always leads us to ordering in, which can get very expensive and be very fattening.

And that's all going to stop right now.

I told him I had something planned for tomorrow and something planned for the week, and asked if there was anything more he had a taste for and he made the comment, "So I can't cook anymore?"


S is a great cook. He really is. But he works later than me and he cooks much more from scratch thereby taking much longer to make his dishes and frankly, I refuse to eat dinner at 9PM - and then have to clean up after him. So I told him I'd leave the weekends up to him and he seemed to like that idea.

So here's the plan for the week (my very first weekly plan - and I'm giddy about it!):

Monday - Broccoli and Pasta (don't really have a recipe made up for this but will post after I make it... probably go with something like this)
Tuesday - Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken (something like this I suspect) with Crash Hot Potatoes (which I've been dying to make)
Wednesday - Sloppy Joe Supreme (well, my version of it which takes that recipe and this one)
Thursday - Salsa Chicken and rice
Friday - order in day
Saturday & Sunday is all him. :)

Apr 16, 2009

Zucchini Cakes (and pasta)

Oh the smell of these... both as a batter and after fried! So, so, so good!

I saw this recipe for Zucchini Cakes on the Pioneer Woman's website the other day and just so happened to be at the store and saw some zucs. Yay. I pretty much followed her recipe - one I especially loved to make because I hate measuring and didn't measure anything (made about 8 cakes)...

  • 2 zucchinis, cleaned and ends cut off
  • Parmesan and Romano cheese blend, about 1/2 cup
  • Italian bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • EVOO
  1. Grate zucs and then wring out in clean kitchen towel and return zuc shreds to large bowl.
  2. Add minced garlic.
  3. Add cheese blend, covering mixture.
  4. Add breadcrumbs, covering mixture.
  5. Add 1 egg and blend together and if it's not battery enough, add another egg and mix.
  6. In cold pan coat with EVOO and heat on medium heat.
  7. Add spoonful of zuc batter and press down with spoon.
  8. Wait at least two to three minutes and press down again for another minute.
  9. Carefully turn one cake and if it's brown to your liking (I'm a texture person and like crispy, therefore brown - more so than above picture), carefully turn the rest.
  10. Wait at least another couple minutes and press down and wait another minute. (If you're OK with a more cake-like texture, don't press down - the original recipe says nothing about pressing down more than just the beginning.)
  11. Remove cakes to plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt (yes, there's plenty of salt in all the cheese but you just fried something and you really need to add a little sprinkle after taking it out of the oil).

I served these alongside some regular ole pasta and sauce from a ::shudder:: jar.

According to my husband, "Not bad" and I can definitely make again.

Apr 15, 2009

Cheez-It Chicken & Popcorn Cauliflower

"This is the best meal yet," S told me while eating a second piece of chicken.

I was a little sad because my Easter Lunch was da bomb, but whatever. I'm over it. I'm just glad he seemed to *really* like a complete meal for once.

This one will definitely be made again.

Cheez-it Chicken

I came up with this brilliant idea last week when I was noshing on some Cheez-its and I thought I was revolutionary but then I went online and did a search for Cheez-it Chicken and was bombarded by tons of recipes. Whatever. This is how I made mine...for 2.

  • 3 chicken breast, rinsed and patted dry
  • Cheez-its, about a cup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Place Cheez-its in baggie and crush. Add favorite seasonings and shake.
  4. Salt (lightly as the Cheez-its will provide plenty of salt) and pepper your chicken.
  5. Dip chicken in bowl with beaten egg.
  6. Coat chicken with crushed Cheez-its and seasonings mixture.
  7. Place covered chicken on baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.
I served alongside one of favorites sides, Popcorn Cauliflower!

Apr 14, 2009

Schnitzeletta, the review

For me, the pictures say it all.

The Schnitzeletta

I'm tired of throwing away good food because we don't like leftovers. And by "we", I really mean my husband. I don't know what the dillio is with him and leftovers but he just doesn't like eating them. No matter what! Grrr.

So now what am I supposed to do with all the delectable delights leftover from the large amount of food I made on Easter?

Eat it, that's what!

Tonight I plan on turning that Schnitzel into a Schnitzel Muffuletta sandwich! Oh my, I cannot wait! Instead of using lunch meat, I'll use a piece of Schnitzel and instead of Sicilian round bread, I'll use french bread but the olive spread??? Hell yes is that going to be a part of tonight's meal! Mmmmm, I'm salivating just thinking about it!

When I was younger, my dad got me hooked on eating Schnitzel leftovers in between two good pieces of crusty bread with a piece of fried artichoke (he's a wizard in the kitchen I tell ya!), a piece of provolone cheese, and if there were any leftover, a couple homemade fries. Holy cow was this sandwich to die for!! He should've friggin marketed it or something, it was that good!

Unfortunately, I don't have any fried artichokes (Papa's the kitchen person not me) or anything like that, but I did go out and by some olive spread designed specifically for Muffuletta sandwiches. Boy is my husband in for a treat!! He has no clue what I'm doing, he just knows that tonight the leftovers WILL be eaten!

Alongside the Schnitzel Muffuletta, hereby known as the Schnitzeletta (huh???? clever, eh??), I'm planning to turn the leftover Damn Good Mashed Potatoes into a potato pancake of sorts. Hmm, wish me luck on that one as I'm out of oil so will have to use butter and some EVOO.

I do plan on taking pictures and will report back later... I *know* this will NOT be a Fail. No, no, no! Not my Schnitzeletta!

Apr 13, 2009


I didn't get a picture of my fabulous Easter lunch yesterday, which included Schnitzel, because we wanted to just dive right in! Trust me: It looked and smelled wonderful. Both my father and husband raved on how good it all looked and tasted! And I enjoyed it as well!

The sides included my Damn Good Mashed Potatoes, my mom/Oma's Carrot Slaw, French's Green Bean Casserole (used Cream of Celery soup instead), and some nice Riesling wine to drink.

  • thin sliced pork tenderloin, pounded a bit (can use turkey, chicken, etc - originally made with Veal but not by anyone in our family)
  • eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • bread crumbs (I used mixture of plain and Italian)
  • vegetable oil
  1. After pounding out pork, salt and pepper both sides.
  2. Place about an inch worth of oil in frying pan and heat.
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of flour to a plate and spread over whole plate.
  4. Next to flour plate, place a bowl with a couple beaten eggs.
  5. Next to the egg bowl, place another plate with bread crumbs spread out.
  6. Take each piece of pork and dredge both sides through flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. (If you run low on anything just add to its plate or bowl.)
  7. Fry each piece in hot oil until they start floating, then flip and fry on other side. When golden brown, remove from oil and sprinkle a bit of salt.
  8. Serve alongside your favorite sides with a wedge of lemon.

And dessert were these fabulous Lemon Bars!

Apr 11, 2009

Damn Good Mashed Potatoes

It really doesn't get much more basic and simple than this!

Mmm, mmm, these are just damn good!

For 6-8 servings
  • 3/4 bag of potatoes (I used red and left the peels on)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter - about 1/2 stick
  • milk - about 1/2 a cup
  • sour cream - about 1/2 a cup
  1. Clean and cut potatoes into chunks and throw in large pot.
  2. Fill pot with water about two inches above potatoes and boil until fork very easily can poke through potatoes.
  3. Warm up milk and butter so that it's hot enough to melt the butter.
  4. Drain potatoes and bring back to pot.
  5. Add salt and pepper and press down on potatoes with unplugged hand mixer beaters (or masher).
  6. Add warm milk/butter.
  7. Mix on low - maybe 20 seconds.
  8. Add sour cream.
  9. Mix on low.
  10. Taste.
  11. Add salt and pepper or more milk and/or butter if need be.

So, so good.

I made these tonight and will stick in the oven tomorrow when the green been casserole is baking. Before I put it in the oven, I'll throw a couple dots of butter on top and hopefully these will turn out even better than they did tonight.

Cuz tonight... tonight, they were Damn Good mashed potatoes!

4/13/09 update: Even reheated - by way of the oven with the taters covered with aluminum foil after adding a couple dabs of butter - these were SPOT ON.

Lemon Bars, the review

One word: YUM.

So I made these lemon bars today (for dessert tomorrow). While I think they turned out really good, I'm now realizing I didn't follow the recipe as posted! I had every intention of following it - along with some of the reviewer comments, but apparently I don't know how to read well and altered the recipe even further. (Have I mentioned I'm not a kitchen person?) Fortunately, I didn't have to throw them away the way I did my sad Nutella Muffins.

So here's the way I made them:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • *3/4 of a 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (which I guess if you're a mathematician, which I'm NOT, is about *3/8 cup)
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • zest from 2 lemons

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. This will not be smooth like a batter, but rather a bit choppy which is what you need.
  3. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cups sugar, *3/8 cup flour and lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
  6. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  7. Let cool for at least 20 minutes and sprinkle on powdered sugar.
So yeah, I guess I added more flour to the custard part and a lot less sugar. But I promise they still turned out really good and lemony. In fact, we think there could be more lemon!

When I make these again, I'll still use the amount of sugar I used as described above but will probably cut back on the flour in the custard and just stick to the 1/4 cup that's in the original recipe.

(picture posted is from the recipe here)

4/13/09 update: These are ten times better the next day. The lemon seems to get more tart and... WOW! Definitely making these again and might not change anything after all!

Apr 10, 2009

Nutella Muffins = big fat FAIL

Have I mentioned I'm not a kitchen person? I'm not. And my first attempt at doctoring a recipe proves it.

While they look "OK", the best part of these Nutella muffins was eating the Nutella while it was warm. But it didn't budge and melt into the muffin as I had hoped. And since I couldn't swirl it in BECAUSE YOU CAN'T MICROWAVE NUTELLA, it's just a glob of Nutella inside a wad of plain muffin.

Not what I consider tasty.

I'm very disappointed.

I wasted Nutella.

I feel like I should be punished for doing so, too.

Today's Lesson

Nutella cannot be microwaved. If you do so, it hardens! :( Crap, I think I may have just wasted nearly half a jar of Nutella... I couldn't get it to swirl into the muffin mix like I planned so I had to sort of dollop it onto the batter once it was in the tin. We'll see what happens in about 12 minutes.

Did I mention I'm not much of a kitchen person?

Nuts for NUTELLA

I love Nutella. I don't know how else to say it other than I think I would seriously cry if there ever came a time when they stopped making it. It's so damn good. It just is. And it's something I grew up so it makes me feel good when I eat it, too.

Anyway, I've been wanting to make something with Nutella instead of just shoveling it in my mouth straight out of the jar or eating it with crackers (which, incidentally, is really really tasty). But I don't really have that many ingredients, nor do I have that much knowledge in the kitchen.

Then I found this recipe for Blueberry muffins using Bisquick. Well... what if I sub out the Blueberries for the godsend that Nutella is?!? I'm gonna try it... :)

Wish me luck!

Apr 9, 2009

Mmm... Taco Bake

Tonight I made Taco Bake and all I can say is ... Yum. It was definitely a hit and it will definitely be made again. I can envision entertaining with it as well. Lord knows the recipe makes plenty of servings!

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey!)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 8 oz. seashell pasta
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened in microwave (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used 1/2 a container)
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 9x13 pan
  • cooking spray
  1. Brown ground beef, drain.
  2. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, cook pasta according to directions. Drain.
  4. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream in separate bowl.
  6. Spray bottom of 9x13 pan. Put pasta in bottom of pan.
  7. Spread cream cheese mixture over pasta.
  8. Spoon ground meat mixture over this.
  9. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  10. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

The best news is that S liked it, too. And that made my day because not only did I use the less fat version of cream cheese, but I also used Turkey instead of ground beef: two things S is not fond of. Or so he says. Needless to say, I didn't tell him my little secret - nor will I.

Things to remember for next time: cook the pasta a little longer. I thought (I'm *not* a kitchen person eh) that if I undercooked it, it would bake to perfection whereas if I cooked it to perfection, it would bake to mush. And I don't like mush.

But I was wrong.

It was still really friggin good though. And I can't wait for lunch tomorrow! :)

Also for next time: if making for just the two of us, I think I'm going to cut the recipe in half for four large servings rather than 8.

Cheez-it Chicken and Popcorn Cauliflower

It's lunchtime and I'm about to run out and do some grocery shopping for dinner tonight and a couple meals over the weekend. So far I've made two "meals" this week (if you count tuna sandwiches and homemade fries a meal) and, in addition to the one I'm planning on making tonight, I thought of another one to add: Cheez-it Chicken and Popcorn Cauliflower!

I had to attend a webinar a bit ago so I went and got a bag of Cheez-its from the vending machine and thought, Hmmm this could taste good if used instead of breadcrumbs when baking chicken! So what the hell?! I'm gonna give it a whirl over over the weekend!

I'll report back with results after we try it out.

Apr 7, 2009

Oma's Base for (carrot) slaw

I was thinking to make a carrot slaw on Sunday so I emailed my mom to see if she could give me my grandmother's recipe since that's the only Carrot-slaw I've ever had and enjoy. I've searched for other recipes but they all call for raisins, too. And while I enjoy a raisin every so often, it's one of those foods I just do NOT like with anything else -- not in cookies, not in carrot salad, not in cake, etc. So if I was going to make the slaw, it was going to be my Oma's recipe, dammit.

She sent me back this:

The base of any of our (my) salad dressings: 2 Tablespoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt, pepper. Mix it up until sugar is dissolved. Add 1/2 small container sour cream. Mix until well blended. Shred a package of carrots, add the dressing and enjoy! You can use this for carrots, cucumbers (then you add dill), cole slaw.

I don't know why, but her reply made me smile and think, 'isn't she cute?'.

Anyway I thought I'd throw it in here so that it's easily accessible.

4/13/09 update: This can be made the night before and the next day it's great.

Lemon Bars

I made a decision about dessert on Sunday: LEMON BARS.


They're yellow which is a Spring-y and Easter-y color, so why not? Plus who doesn't like a Lemon Bar?!

Mmmm, can't wait (especially since there will only be 3 of us which means leftovers!).

Give me back that filet o ... CHICKEN!

Some chicken recipes to try...

Crockpot Chicken Parm - and it's crispy?!?

BBQ Pulled Chicken - though Stephen hates shredded meat, the weirdo.

Laughing Cow Chicken - sounds SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE!

Heaven in a bowl

Whenever I go out to eat, I tend to order the same things. Yawn, right? But the thing is that by the time it's time to eat, I'm so hungry and am afraid of trying something new with the fear that I may not like it. What then? The thought gives me shivers and usually keeps me ordering the same things!

Anyway, a while back I went to the Cheesecake Factory with a friend for dinner and I was tired of my usual Chicken Salad Sandwich (which is awesome!) and decided to try something more interesting.

Enter: Thai Chicken Pasta (otherwise known as Heaven in a Bowl)

Oh My God. I could seriously eat this every single day and not grow tired of it. Henceforth my quest to find a recipe that I could abuse in my own kitchen: (be sure to read the reviews as a couple turned this recipe for skewers into something they claim is very much like the adored Thai Chicken Pasta )

I haven't made it yet, but cannot wait to do so.

Apr 6, 2009

Easter Lunch

I'm excited for this Sunday, which is Easter Sunday.

I'm excited because for the first time since being married, we'll be having a guest! Why wait this long? Because we finally moved somewhere conducive to having more than just Stephen and I huddled on the coach in front of the TV. This time, we get to have my ornery father over!

He's insistent on bringing a pasta dish (no surprise since he's Sicilian) but the rest I'm making (not sure about dessert just yet as we're supposed to go to my mom and grams for dessert):

breaded, fried pork
Mashed Potatoes
nothing fancy - peeled, boiled potatoes mashed with some salt, pepper, milk
Green Bean Casserole
just like on the back of the fried onion can!
Anise Insalata
salad made with Anise, olive oil and vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper

Mmmmm, cannot wait!

Popcorn Cauliflower

I guess I'll start this out with one of my very own recipes!

In another life, I lost about 75 pounds sticking to a low carb diet. It was glorious, really. The pounds melted away, I was cooking and eating great foods, and I was feeling absolutely amazing! But then life happened and I started to sneak in more and more (bad) carbs and now I'm even heavier than I was when I first started low carbing. Regardless, this is still one of my favorite SIMPLE recipes for a great, healthy side dish.

Popcorn Cauliflower (maybe someday I'll add a picture)

  • hot oven (475-500)
  • large bowl
  • baking sheet
  • cooking spray
  • head cauliflower chopped into florets (I usually just defrost a bag of frozen cauliflower florets and squeeze out the water)
  • olive oil
  • your favorite spices: salt, pepper, oregano, Italian seasonings, cayenne pepper and/or chili powder (if you want a little kick), garlic powder... whatever you like and have on hand
  • Parmesan cheese
In cold oven, make sure rack is a couple inches from top. Turn oven to HOT - like 475 to 500.

Empty cauliflower into large bowl and sprinkle on whatever spices/seasonings you like. Don't be shy with your favorites, either. Drizzle some olive oil and toss. Spray baking sheet (I cover with foil for easy cleanup) with cooking spray (like Pam) and pour cauliflower onto sheet and spread.

Put in hot oven for about 15, 20 minutes. You can toss occasionally if it makes you feel better. When the edges start to brown, take it out. Top with Parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

This same process/recipe can be used to make potatoes, too. YUM!


I need to start cooking more.

But I also need to be realistic about it in that I need SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE recipes - but also recipes that are healthy.

So... what's for dinner?

Seriously, I plan on throwing whatever recipes, links, ideas, etc here on this blog so I have them in one place so if you stumbled here, that's what you're gonna get.