Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pie (Toll House Pie)

Oh man. This picture is torturing me. I long for another piece of this delectable pie.

This is a standard in our family--it wouldn't quite be Christmas without this rich and buttery treat. I thought perhaps my taste buds were outgrowing this pie that we have been making for more than fifteen years; enter the homemade 'pat-in-th-pan' pie crust. BOOM! I am back on the chocolate chip pie train!

How could I have ever thought we were through?

Toll House Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (or the wonderful 'pat-in-the-pan' pie crust-recipe follows )
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Ready the pie shell (if using a frozen pie shell, you do not need to thaw it).

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs on high until foamy--this will take several minutes. Add the flour, sugar, and brown sugar and mix well. Beat in butter and vanilla. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.

Spoon the dough into the pie shell and bake for approximately 1 hour until a toothpick inserted halfway from the edge and the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm with whipped cream and ice cream.

You can rewarm in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Recipe from Nestle Toll House

Pat-in-the-Pan pie crust:

This makes one 9-inch pie crust or 10-inch tart shell.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together in a bowl or process in a food processor for 10 seconds:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened
Mash with the back of a fork or process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Drizzle over the top:
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
Stir or process until the crumbs look damp and hold together when pinched.
Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan. Evenly crimp or flute the rim. Thoroughly prick the sides and bottom with a fork.
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until the crust is golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Recipe from Joy of Cooking.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gingerbread cookies

Up until a few years ago I thought that I didn’t like gingerbread. It turns out I just don’t like overly spiced gingerbread. These cookies are so chewy and delicious! I am so glad our friend/neighbor, Rebecca, brought these over to us.
These cookies are absolutely wonderful as is; however, in my house I quickly realized if I wanted to make this big pile of cookies disappear I needed to add frosting.

1 ½ cups molasses, a 12 oz. jar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup butter, softened
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice (I only use a ½ teaspoon)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, combine molasses, brown sugar, water and butter and mix thoroughly (I used my Kitchen-Aid). Mix dry ingredients together in another large bowl and slowly add to wet mixture until dough comes together. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. Roll dough out to either ¼” or ½” thick depending on how puffy you want your cookies to turn out. I did ¼-inch for the cookies pictured. Cut out shapes or do rounded tablespoonfuls, slightly flattened. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Yield: This made 18 gingerbread men and two dozen round cookies. You may want to cut the recipe in half if you don’t need so many cookies…or take them to your neighbors!

For the frosting:
I just whipped up a quick thick frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
A few teaspoons of milk
Orange or lemon zest (optional)

Stir the sugar and cream together, thin with milk to desired consistency. I added the zest from half an orange.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a real treat. They are perfect for things like Father's Day or a Sunday dessert because they are BIG (you can make them smaller if you prefer). These really are pretty darn near a "perfect" cookie. I can't say these are my favorite because I already have a favorite and I am loyal ;) .

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer (I use my Kitchen-Aid), or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe from, originally from Baking Illustrated

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I love having little satisfying snacks on hand for when I am too busy with life to make food and I just want to grab something. This was my go-to snack after Annie was born. Something to hold me over and give me a bit of energy and I just had to thaw it out. These are versatile too if you want to play with flavor combos. Obviously you could do raisins instead of chocolate chips--just increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. I also think the kids would enjoy these with "no chunky stuff" and some quick icing on top.

• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 egg
• 1 cup flour (I use white whole wheat)
• ¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
• 1-1/4 cups rice crispies cereal
• ½ cup coconut (optional)
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)
• 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

• In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the honey, vanilla and egg; mix well. Combine the flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, coconut, nuts and chocolate chips.
• Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Yield 2 dozen.

I freeze the cut squares for a fast snack anytime, just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Balsamic Barbeque Sauce

Giada's Balsamic Barbecue Sauce opened my eyes to the fact that you can make your own BBQ sauce and that it tastes amazing--way better than the bottled kind you can buy at the store.

This stuff is sweet and tangy and delicious. I LOVE balsamic vinegar!

Combine in a small nonreactive saucepan and whisk until smooth:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Simmer over medium heat until reduced by one third, 15-20 minutes.

Reserve some sauce for dipping.
Brush some BBQ sauce on chicken the last couple minutes of grilling/barbecuing.

Recipe from 'Giada's Kitchen'.

Home-made Graham Crackers

I came across this recipe in the cookbook 'From Emeril's Kitchens'. The kids love them (and so do the adults). They are reminiscent of shortbread. I intend to use them as the base of a smore's treat. I am going to recreate my favorite Disneyland treat (after I master marshmallow making!).

2 3/4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup water, plus 3 or 4 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine bread flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, honey, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of water. Work the mixture until a stiff dough forms, adding more water as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time. (I use my Kitchen-Aid with the paddle attachment for this).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a large ungreased baking sheet. (It's easy to pick up the dough and move it). With the tines of a fork, prick the dough every 1/2 inch. Score into 3 1/2-inch x 4-inch rectangles. You should get at least 16 crackers.

Bake until golden brown, 25 minutes. Transfer the sheet of graham crackers to a wire rack to cool.

Cut into separate cookies.
Recipe from Emeril's New Orleans Restaurant

Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

These muffins are delicious, and as long as I thoroughly mash the bananas even Kian enjoys them! I keep a bag of muffins in the freezer most the time so Ryan can take one on his way to work. A tasty, on-the-go breakfast!

Yield: about 18 muffins

1½ cups flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. applesauce
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a fork to blend. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, banana, peanut butter and buttermilk until smooth. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated and fully blended. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yeasted Belgian Waffles

Do you waffle much? I highly recommend it if you don't. I had these amazing waffles for my birthday breakfast this morning. They were so good. I savored each bite.
This is a great recipe for me because I can make the batter before I go to bed and then just heat up the waffle iron in the morning and cook them.
These waffles NEED to be made the night before so they can fully develop the rich, yeasty flavor.
I suggest doubling the recipe because five waffles just doesn't seem like enough.

1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Heat the milk till it’s very hot. Place it in a large mixing bowl (you’ll need lots of room for expansion), and add the butter, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla. Stir till the butter melts and the mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, flour, and yeast, stirring to combine; it’s OK if the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour; the mixture will begin to bubble. You can cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook waffles the next day. (Make SURE it’s in a bowl large enough for it to at least double in size!)

Preheat the waffle iron. Spray with non-stick vegetable oil spray, and pour 2/3 to 3/4 cup batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer) onto the center of the iron. Close the lid and bake for the recommended amount of time, till the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve with berries and whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: about five 7" round Belgian waffles.

Recipe from

Friday, October 1, 2010

Doughnut Muffins

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I have seen variations of these in some of my cookbooks and some of the food blogs I follow. Must be a popular treat! They are called by many different names; but if you call something a doughnut, who wouldn't eat it?
As you can see on the right-hand side of the picture I did frost some of them and added sprinkles for the kids (Mickey Mouse of course) and coconut for Ryan and I. The frosting was just a cup of powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of heavy cream. The cinnamon-sugar is perfect though, I was just getting fancy....

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk

For the topping:
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar Plus or cinnamon sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.

3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.

4) Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.

5) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.

7) Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

8) Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).

9) Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.

10) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Salted Double-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Recipe from

Yes, this picture is ugly-but nevermind that! These cookies are an awesome salty-sweet combo! Really excellent underneath a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yield: about 24 cookies

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. fleur de sel (sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons of butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, heat in the microwave in 25-second intervals, stirring in between.) In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate chip-cookie dough cupcakes

I found this recipe on but it has been adapted from many different sources.
These are possibly the most jaw-dropping, eyes rolling back into your head, unbelievably delectable dessert I think I have ever made.

Enough said. Get baking!

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Yield:24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

For decoration:
Mini chocolate chips

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips.

Banana-chocolate chip muffins

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

I am always searching for healthy recipes that I can trick the kids into eating. This is one of those deceptive recipes. They are so tasty and I feel good about giving them to the kids for breakfast or a snack. Ryan is actually the one who sneaks a frozen one out for breakfast everyday. But that's okay, I want him to eat healthy too...
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Yield 12 muffins

•½ cup Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
•½ cup Granulated Sugar
•¼ cup Brown Sugar, Packed
•2 whole Eggs
•1 teaspoon Vanilla
•1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (I LOVE King Arthur's white whole wheat flour)
•1 cup All-purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon Baking Soda
•1 teaspoon Salt
•3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed (optional)
•4 whole Ripe Bananas, Mashed
•½ cups Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated – mixture will look a little lumpy. Stir in vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and flaxseed.

Add dry ingredients along with mashed bananas to butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir until JUST combined, then fold in chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, divide evenly into a 12-count muffin tin lined with paper liners.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe courtesy of

I definitely recommend doubling this recipe. I noticed a trend around me of people eating these uncontrollably. They were so darn good!

Yield: about 18 sandwich cookies

For the cookies:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup quick-cooking oats

For the filling:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. heavy cream

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together with a fork to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the oats until evenly blended.
Use a small cookie dough scoop to portion out the dough (about 2 teaspoons), rolling each portion into a ball, and place them on the prepared cookie sheet, a couple inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. The cookies will be light golden brown and slightly puffed. Let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, pair them up by size. To make the filling, combine the butter, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream together until well combined. Mix in the heavy cream until smooth and fluffy. Use a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip to pipe a swirl of filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie and press down so that the filling reaches the edges.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cheesy Turkey Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro

This is another recipe I have made lately that I can't wait to make again!

Thanks to Rocco Dispirito!

Serves 4, you may want to double because leftovers would be very welcome.

•12 ounces ground turkey breast
•4 low-carb tortillas,(9 inches each)or whatever kind you have in the fridge
•2/3 cup fat-free spicy black bean dip , (I made my own when I didn't find any in the store)
•Freshly ground black pepper
•1 jar (12 ounces) tomatillo salsa , such as Ortega
•1 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
•1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
•1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring to break it up a little, until it is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, using flameproof tongs, char the tortillas lightly on each side over an open flame, or toast them under a preheated broiler. Keep the tortillas warm by covering them with a clean kitchen towel as you go.

Stir the black bean dip into the turkey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lay the tortillas on a work surface, and divide the turkey mixture among them. Fold the sides of the tortillas in over the filling and roll the tortillas up tightly to encase the filling. Lay them side by-side in a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Spoon the salsa over the tortillas, and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the enchiladas are hot throughout, 10 to 12 minutes.

Sprinkle the cilantro over the enchiladas, and serve.

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas

This falls into the category of things I have made recently that were delicious!!

Thanks once again Pioneer Woman! A recipe inspired by a trip to Hard Rock Cafe.

8 Flour Tortillas
2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced
3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced**
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)
(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices **(Ryan and I must be pansies, we had to pull all our jalapeno 'slices' out because we were dying a slow death so I suggest finely dicing the jalapeno and sprinkle it on to your desired spicyness). Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You’ll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Coconut Curried Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

This is a yummy and super easy Indian dish, enjoy!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken breast
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2" pieces
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (found in the Asian foods aisle of the supermarket)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sauté 5-7 minutes until center is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan and cover.

Add remaining oil to pan. Sauté shallots and onion 3-5 minutes. Add spices and salt. Add potatoes and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to med-low and simmer 10 minutes. While simmering, dice chicken. (You can also dice the raw chicken before you cook, either way.)

Add chicken to curry; simmer 5 more minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Top with green onions and cilantro.
Serve over jasmine rice (or whatever rice you have). Serves 4-6.
For a printable version, click here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Strawberry Tart

This recipe is pictured on the cover of one of my Cooking Light cookbooks I have had for several years but I never got around to making it. Last month it was a featured 'classic' recipe in my cooking light magazine so I thought I would finally give it a whirl. I'm so glad I did because this is an instant classic!

Preheat oven to 350. Spray/grease or foil your tart pan, if using, or just an 8" square baking dish or pie dish--or whatever you have close to that size.

For the crust:

36 graham crackers (9 sheets)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 teaspoons water

First I had Cate smash the heck out of the graham crackers in a big ziploc bag and then she stirred all the ingredients together in a bowl. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and a little up the sides of your pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Make the cream filling while waiting.

For the filling:

2/3 cup light cream cheese (I had regular so that is what I used)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I used slightly less because I don't like when almond extract is overpowering)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

For the topping:

6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted (I had whole almonds and gave them a quick ride in the food processor before I toasted them)

Place 2 cups of strawberries in the food processor, process until pureed. Combine puree, 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; stir constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Cut off the tops of the remaining strawberries and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to them; toss to coat.

To assemble:

Spread the cream filling over the cooled crust. Arrange berries, cut sides down in a circular pattern starting in the middle, leave 1/4" border between the berries and sides of the pan. Spoon half the strawberry glaze over the strawberries. (Save the rest for another drizzling over belgian waffles). Sprinkle almonds around the edges. Cover and chill 3 hours. Yield: 10 servings.**

**Note: This little tart went super fast, next time I will double it and make it in a 9X13 or jelly-roll size pan. You don't need to double the strawberry glaze though, it makes plenty. So you only need 10 cups of strawberries, not 12.

For a printable version, click here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mint and fudge frosting

Mint frosting:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint oil
a few drops of green food coloring (optional)

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar beating until light and fluffy. Add milk, oil and food coloring (if using), and beat until you reach spreading consistency. Add more milk as needed in teaspoonfuls.

Spread on the cooled cake brownies and put in the fridge to harden the frosting up so you can easily spread the fudge frosting below.

No-Cook Fudge Frosting

4 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup boiling water (may need a bit more to reach spreading consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, boiling water and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till combined. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Cool for 20-30 minutes or until it reaches spreading consistency.

The longer you beat the frosting, the less fudgy it will become so add enough water early on that it will be easy to spread over the mint frosting.

Mint brownies

It's not lack of baking that has caused such a long pause between posts, just lack of time. But things should be slowing down after this week...I've had three birthday parties to do, a bridal shower, a spring break trip and this week a wedding, finally.

Since Millie doesn't yet have a favorite cake I chose for her and made mint brownies. She's a frosting girl anyway, so it didn't really matter what I made so long as it had frosting.

First for the cake brownies:

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (I used more like a 9x13); set aside.
3. In a pan heat sugar, butter and cocoa powder over medium heat till butter melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add eggs and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just till combined.
4. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to chocolate mixture, beating after each addition. Stir in nuts, if using.
5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes (may be longer with a 13x9 pan) or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting. (see next post)

For a printable version of the brownies and frosting, click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

These are my go-to cupcakes for all parties lately. They are delicious. And if you really must know, each cupcake only has 150 calories and 5 grams of fat (until we add frosting...). Ryan has admitted to actually dreaming about these.

Yep, dreamworthy cupcakes. And let's top those dreamy things with some luscious frosting.

*This is a Cooking Light recipe, but I have adapted it slightly with ingredients that I use more commonly or find more easily in the store.

1 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt--I always use Kosher
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup egg substitute*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk*
1 1/4 ounces dark chocolate (use 60-70% cacao, I use bittersweet), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Note: I have to double or triple this recipe every time. Things got ugly one time at a party when I only made enough for each person to have one. I learned my lesson.

Now for the frosting: You'll notice the recipe called for simply 'dusting' the cupcakes with powdered sugar after they have cooled--now, that's just fine if you are into that sort of thing--but might I suggest this frosting?

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (from Sprinkles cupcakes)

1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt (maybe more like a pinch)

In a bowl, combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat til blended.
Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

This made enough frosting for me to frost about 4 batches of cupcakes (so no freaking out about the cup of butter!). Evidently the people at Sprinkles really pile it on because this recipe was for 12 cupcakes!

*If you are wondering "What the heck do I do with my leftover egg substitute and buttermilk?", you might enjoy marbled chocolate banana bread or buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes.

Click here for printable version.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taco Salad

This is a Grandma Goldsberry classic. Every Sunday night was dinner at Grandma's house while we lived in Provo. We always looked forward to taco salad night!
The dressing for the salad is tomato sauce and Ranch, when these two things mix together on the salad....mmmmmmm!

1 pound ground beef or turkey, cooked with taco seasoning
chopped lettuce
diced tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sliced olives
green onions, sliced
shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
Frito corn chips
1 can tomato sauce with a few drops of Tabasco sauce added, warmed up
Ranch dressing

Place each ingredient in its own bowl and let everyone build their own salad. You could also build the salad in a tostada shell and omit the Fritos. You can substitute salsa for the tomato sauce, if desired.

Print this recipe!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spinach-Apple Salad

Courtesy of Cooking Light

Spinach-Apple Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon maple syrup (come on, use the real stuff people!)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring with whisk until well blended. Add chives, salt and pepper, and bacon; stir with a whisk until well blended.
For the salad:
1 large Granny Smith apple, julienne-cut
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 6-ounce package fresh baby spinach
Combine apple, onion, and spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Yield 6 servings.

Chocolate dipped shortbread

Okay, this post comes a little late as it is something I make during the holidays but it's simple enough to enjoy all year round.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Place butter in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed. Add milk and vanilla; beat until blended.
Pat the dough into a 4-inch circle; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unwrap and place dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into an 8-inch circle. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (or just use a Silpat mat-my best friend). Cut dough into 16 wedges, cutting into--but not through--dough. Pierce dough several times with a fork.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Cut into wedges. Cool completely (especially if you plan to dip in chocolate).

To dip your shortbread:
I melted a bag of bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave in a glass dish, stirring every 15 seconds. Once it is mostly melted you want to stir, stir, stir and stir some more until you have tempered the chocolate. Once the chocolate is tempered, dip away.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine

I'm back in the kitchen!

Okay, so after my three month hiatus I am finally getting back into the swing of things. My first trimester always keeps me out of the kitchen. I basically eat cereal every two hours and don't have motivation to do anything at all. But that is all behind me now and here I am!
My apologies for so many entries all at once.

Brownies, by Nigella

This is one of my first cookbooks I ever received. I remember being horrified by the amount of butter (and ingredients like mincemeat and grouse) Nigella uses, but luckily for my tastebuds, and all those I share my food with, I got over it! Yeah for butter! Three cheers for butter!

This cookbook has some real gems in it, but today we focus on the best brownies I have ever put in my mouth. Nigella suggests making these brownies instead of birthday cake and she decorates them with candles. Not a bad idea, I say.

1 2/3 cups soft, unsalted butter
13 ounces best bittersweet chocolate
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts (they really need something nutty to break up the richness so choose whatever nut you do like to eat if not walnuts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your 13X9 pan with foil or parchment.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy pan.
In a bowl or large measuring glass, beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar.
Measure the flour into another bowl along with the salt.
When the chocolate has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar (or you might scramble the eggs!), then add the nuts and flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of saucepan into the lined 13X9 pan.
Bake about 25 minutes. When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey. [I do let mine go a little longer because I don't like it to be too much on the 'gooey' side]. Nigella warns to "keep checking because the difference between gungy brownies and dry brownies is only a few minutes, remember that they will continue to cook as they cool."

Awesome Blueberry Muffins

I borrow this recipe from 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks', whose blog puts mine to shame but oh well! I will keep posting anyway!!

The Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins

3 cups minus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
heavy pinch of salt
dash of nutmeg (I prefer to freshly grate my own, the taste is much better)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 generous cup of plain yogurt
2 cups fresh blueberries (fresh tastes better but I did use frozen last time and I am still living...)
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, egg and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10.

Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.
Add mixture to well buttered muffin pans (or use paper cups). Sprinkle remaining berries on top and lightly press them down. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top (use brown sugar if you have none).
Bake 20-25 minutes and allow to cool.
I can't figure out how much this is supposed to make, first I doubled it and had a ton, but last time I think I got about 18 muffins with a single batch.