Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds

2 egg whites
6 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups unblanched almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy; beat in vanilla. Add almonds; stir gently to coat. Combine the sugars, salt and cinnamon; add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat. 

Spread evenly into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 300° for 25-30 minutes or until almonds are crisp, stirring once. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 4 cups.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1/4 cup) equals 250 calories, 18 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 166 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein. 

Recipe source: Taste of Home

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Waffles with Macadamia Nuts and Coconut Syrup

I am new to liking the flavor of coconut so I wasn't quite sure if the syrup would be good but let me tell you, it is amazing!! The waffles alone were great too but the mixture of the crunchy macadamia nut flavor along with the coconut taste what a great combination.

Waffles with Macadamia Nuts and Coconut Syrup 

1 cup whole-wheat flour 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
2 cups nonfat buttermilk
1 large egg, separated 
1 tablespoon canola oil 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional) 
2 large egg whites 
2 tablespoons sugar
Stir whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, the egg yolk, oil, and vanilla (if using) in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until moistened.   

Beat the 3 egg whites in a grease-free mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Whisk one-quarter of the beaten egg whites into the batter. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. 

Preheat a waffle iron. Brush the surface lightly with oil. Fill the waffle iron two-thirds full of batter. Cook until the waffles are crisp and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the surface with oil before cooking each batch.

Coarsely chop about a 1/4 cup macadamia nuts. Sprinkle over waffles and top with syrup.

Coconut Syrup

7-8 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp coconut extract

Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in small saucepan. Warm over medium heat and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add baking soda and extract. It will bubble up; just continue stirring and give it a few minutes for the "fizz"  to reduce before serving.  

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Jerusalem

This is such a good recipe. It has been a favorite of our family for quite a while. I don't make it very often due to the amount of heavy cream in it. You could probably try using half and half and get a similar result.  If you prefer not to cook with wine you can buy a cooking wine at any grocery store near the vinegar. If you don't want to do that, you can just use chicken broth but you don't get that zing flavor. I would season with little salt if you choose to use broth.

Chicken Jerusalem

1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. shallots
1/2 - 1 c. white wine or chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
2-3 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 - 1 c. Asiago cheese (or parmesan cheese)
1 Tbsp. sour cream (optional, it is just for coloring)
2 chicken breasts

1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet, over medium heat melt butter. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic and shallots. Saute for a couple of minutes. Do not let the garlic turn brown. Once they are good and fragrant. Remove garlic and shallots from pan and set aside in a small dish.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Flatten the chicken breast with mallet to desired thickness.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Pat off any extra flour and place in the skillet. Brown on each side until nearly done. Add white wine or broth and cook off for about 1 minute. Add cream, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sauted shallots and garlic, and Asiago cheese. Reduce heat and cook to desired consistency. Before serving add sour cream.

Serve alone or over pasta or rice.

*Sometimes the sauce doesn't get thick enough for my liking so I will mix about 1 tsp. corn starch with cold water and add at the end to thicken it up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mini Ham Quiches

These are quite tasty little buggers. I didn't add the olives because I don't like them. I just added a little extra cheese and ham to fill it's place. I think next time I am going to try a some bacon instead of ham.

Mini Ham Quiches

¾ cup diced fully cooked ham
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped olives
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
3 drops hot pepper sauce
½ cup biscuit/baking mix
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground mustard

In a bowl, combine the ham, cheddar cheese, and olives; divide among 12 greased muffin cups (or you could use foil muffin liners).In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients just until blended. Pour over ham mixture. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 1 dozen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

French Breakfast Muffins

These muffins have been a "special occasion" breakfast item as long as I can remember. I always asked to have these on my birthday. I have carried on the tradition with my own family. For birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. these are usually what we make. They are completely devoured by my husband and son. They LOVE them!

French Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour *(You can use self rising flour, just omit baking powder and salt)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or use paper liners. Mix thoroughly shortening, 1/2 c. sugar and 1 egg. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg alternately with milk. The batter will be thick.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Mix 1/2 c. sugar and the cinnamon.

Immediately after baking, roll muffins in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve hot.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Frosting

This is a very rich chocolate frosting. It takes a little more effort to make but it pays off in the end.

Chocolate Frosting

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup real butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
Optional: Additional cocoa powder as needed

Melt your chocolate chips if you haven't already and set aside to cool.  You obviously don't want it so cool that it hardens, but you can get it close to room temperature and still have it be soft and stir-able. 

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1-3 minutes or until thickened like a thinned pudding.  Remove pan from heat and strain mixture into a small bowl. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

When chocolate flour mixture is cooled, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Finally add in melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  If desired, add additional cocoa powder to taste, up to 4 tablespoons more.  Spread or pipe frosting on to cupcakes or cake.

*If you are like me and don't particularly like the strong chocolate taste and like something a little sweeter, you can add about 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar or to taste.

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Store unused frosting in fridge and bring to room temperature before using again.  If needed, beat with an electric beater before using. 

Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from Sugar Plum

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sticky Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice

This chicken has such wonderful flavor and a little kick to it from the red pepper flakes. If you do not like spicy you may want to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes. The coconut rice is wonderful!

Sticky Coconut Chicken
from Leigh Anne with slight adaptations from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinate chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (I let mine marinade four about four to five hours). Grill on barbecue about 6-7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. 

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes 

While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. But once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! It will thicken as it cools. Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice. 

Use the left over coconut milk as part of the liquid for cooking rice. I put the milk in a liquid measuring cup and filled remainder with water to get 2 cups. Then used 1 cup of rice and boiled on low, covered, about 20 minutes.  The extra glaze is fantastic over the rice.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baked Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil

This is another really quick, one skillet meal. Easy to make, easy to clean up. If you are unfamiliar with gnocchi, they are a little pasta type dumpling, usually made out of potato. You can buy partially cooked vacuum packed gnocchi in the pasta isle. You can also use refrigerated or frozen too. If you don't have an oven safe skillet, transfer the gnocchi to a casserole dish before baking.

Baked Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. vacuum-packed gnocchi
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 c. water
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 475. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in large ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Cook gnocchi, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes; transfer to plate.

Add remaining oil and onion to empty skillet and cook until onion is softened. about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, and water and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add basil and browned gnocchi to pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake until cheese is well browned, about 8 minutes. Serve.

Recipe source: Cook's Country Oct/Nov 2008

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday Night Pajama Party - Toy Story

Since Toy Story 3 came out yesterday I thought I would have a Toy Story theme pajama party. It was a lot of fun to put together and I think everyone had a good time.

Jessie's Cowgirl Hat cookies: idea and recipe found here,  Cowgirl hat cookies

Green Alien Cupcakes found here, Alien cupcakes

Rocket and Woody's boot pizza: I used my usual dough recipe and just shaped it the way I wanted it. The recipe is found here: Fast and Easy Pizza Dough

Rocket Breadsticks: I just used part of the pizza dough and cut it with a cookie cutter.
I made a couple of crafts for Austin. This vest pattern and instructions can be found here:Woody's Vest
Three Eyed Alien Pal  I just found some images on the web and created tickets in publisher.

I gave Austin a grab bag with some toys and treats. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yummy Salad

This salad is SO good! Anytime we are given the assignment of a salad when we go to a party, this is what I bring. Don't let the sugared dates throw you off. If you don't like dates, add them anyway. They are seriously what makes the salad so amazing.

Yummy Salad

Mix together:
1 bunch red leaf lettuce
1 bunch green leaf lettuce
1 bunch spinach, bean sprouts
green onions

Just before serving add:
Sugared diced dates
Mandarin oranges, toasted pecans (broil on lower shelf of oven for about 5-7 minutes)
grated mozzarella cheese


Add to a blender:
1/2 c. cider vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping Tbsp dried onions
1/2 tsp. ground mustard powder

Begin blending then slowly add 1 cup oil and blend for 4 minutes. Then stir in 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cobb Salad with Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken

Don't let the spicy part of the title scare you off. It is not hot spicy at all. This is really quick to make and doesn't require a whole lot of prep work.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)

Combine the first five ingredients; rub over chicken. Coat grill rack with cooking spray for grills or brush with olive oil before starting the grill. Grill chicken, covered,  for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. 
Yield 5 servings.

For the salad, just add whatever you like. Here are some ideas.
Lettuce of your choice (I used a mixture of green leaf and spinach)
Hard boiled eggs
Crumbled bacon
Shredded cheese
Red Onions
Blue Cheese
Toasted pecans or walnuts

Non-Fat Honey Mustard Dressing

1/4 c. fat free mayonnaise
1/4 c. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. paprika

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chicken recipe source: Simple and Delicious Magazine

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Angel Chicken

This is another "go to" recipe. Anytime I can't think of what to make, I can rely on this one. My family loves it.

Angel Chicken

Place in a crock pot:
4 single chicken breasts, cut into strips (I just place the whole frozen chicken breast in and shred it after it is cooked)

In a small sauce pan, heat:
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1/2 pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/2 c. chicken stock or dry white wine
4 oz. chive and onion cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup (you can also use cream of chicken. It is okay to use the low fat kind)

Pour sauce over chicken and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The one thing I make and never have success at is chocolate chip cookies. It doesn't matter what I do or what recipe I use, I can never get them just right. So far these cookies have come the closest to exactly what I want out of a chocolate chip cookie.

Her Chocolate Chip Cookies*
1 C sugar
½ C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼-½ tsp almond extract (depending on tastes--I used 1/2 tsp of course)
¾ C shortening
3 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 cups of chocolate chips (Use any kind you like, I used white and semi sweet)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream sugars, eggs, vanilla, almond and shortening. Add flour, salt and soda. Mix in chocolate chips.

Form the dough into teaspoon size cookies (they will look tiny, but will puff up into the perfect bite size cookie). Bake for 6-8 minutes, until they just barely start to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe source: Confessions of a Bake-aholic

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

Words can't even describe how good these waffles are. I have to restrain myself from making these everyday. I have served them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  My husband said he was afraid to go on his long training runs on Saturday mornings in fear that I would make these and he would miss them.

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

2 cups whole-wheat flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk (fat free is ok)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp vinegar
Toasted pecans (optional but highly recommended)

Set oven to broil. Place about a cup of whole pecans on a baking sheet and place on the bottom rack for about 8 minutes or until starting to turn a dark brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Coarsely chop and serve with waffles. Store any left over pecans in an air tight container.

Mix the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture.

For waffles, let the waffles cook 30 - 60 seconds past the "done light" indicator. Waffles should feel a little crisp before removing them (this is a thick batter and needs a bit more time to cook). For pancakes, just cook normally over medium heat.

Sprinkle with toasted pecans. I served mine with Hot Buttermilk Syrup of course. I swear I will share other syrup recipes soon. I just love this one so much.

*Make your own pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. allspice

80 calories and 2 grams of fat per waffle (that is per square not whole waffle I analyzed this recipe and I can get about 6 waffles out of a batch with my professional Belgian waffle maker and that makes it 250 calories per whole waffle. Using a regular waffle iron you could probably get closer to 7 or 8 waffles which would lower the calorie count per waffle.)

The marathon was a success!!

I just wanted to share that today Frank ran his first marathon. For those of you unfamiliar with marathons that is 26.2 miles of running. To get an idea of how far that is, the course went from Wallsburg in Provo Canyon to the Provo Town Center Mall in south Provo. He has been training for months and today it all paid off. He ran it in 4 1/2 hours, give or take. We are very proud of his hard work and success. Good job Frank!

Austin joined Frank the last little part of the race and crossed the finish line with him.

This was Frank and his friend who trained with him just coming out of Provo Canyon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rosemary Focaccia Loaves

I know I posted a bread recipe yesterday but this was so good I wanted to hurry and share it with everyone. 

So you probably think we eat a lot of bread and carbs at our house, well it is partially true. The reason for all the pasta and bread recipes is that my husband will be running his first marathon this Saturday and he is carb loading this week. Good luck Frank!

Rosemary Focaccia Loaves
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 c. warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh), divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4-2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until bubbly. While the yeast is getting bubbly, combine 2 C of the flour, salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary, oregano and garlic powder.

Add flour mixture to yeast mixture along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Mix well. (I put it in my stand mixer with the dough hook on). Slowly add remaining flour to make a very soft dough--try and resist the urge to add too much flour.  You want a soft, wet dough.

Cover and allow to rise 45 min- 1 hour or until double in size.

Lightly flour your work surface and transfer dough onto this surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into a rounded loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Cover and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brush over tops of loaves, discarding excess if you have any.  Sprinkle with remaining rosemary and some Kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly golden-brown. Serve immediately with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Light Wheat Bread

When Austin woke up this morning and I asked him what he wanted to do today. He requested to have a picnic with grandma. So that is what we did. I didn't have any good quality sandwich bread to take on our picnic so, I looked for a good recipe on all of the many food blogs I follow and I came across this one and thought I would give it a shot. It turned out really good. Great flavor and texture.

Light Wheat Bread

Makes one two-pound loaf

2 1/2 cups (11.25 oz) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz.) whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (.75 oz.) granulated sugar or honey
1 1/2 teaspoons (.38 oz.) salt
3 tablespoons (1 oz.) powdered milk
1 1/2 teaspoons (.17 oz.) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (10 oz.) water, at room temperature

1. Stir together the high-gluten flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar (if using), salt, powdered milk, and yeast in a 4-quart mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the shortening, honey (if using), and water. Stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still flour in the bottom of the bowl, dribble in additional water. The dough should feel soft and supple. It is better for it to be a little too soft that to be too stiff and tough.

2. Sprinkle high-gluten or whole-wheat flour on the counter, and transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook). Add more flour if needed to make a firm, supple dough that is slightly tacky but not sticky. Kneading should take about 10 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The dough should pass the windowpane test and registers 77 to 81 degrees F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Form it into a loaf by working from the short side of the dough, rolling up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it. Pinch the final seam closed with the back edge of your hand or with your thumbs. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan; the ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise. Mist the top with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

5. Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan. (Mine only took around 60 minutes)

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

7. Place the bread pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. (I only cooked mine another 5 minutes after rotating and it turned out fine). The finished loaf should register 190 degrees F in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

8. When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving.

Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

It's not very often that I come across a dish that even I say, "wow, that's good!" That is exactly what I said when I took a bite of this. I wasn't planning on eating it due to the amount of butter in it but with one little taste, I was hooked. I had to just sit down and have a plate full. It is amazingly good. Not to mention it took less than 20 minutes to make.

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

18 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli (cheese, mushroom, or squash)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (cook at 350 for about 8-9 minutes)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Giada De Laurentiis

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

I was a little unsure about trying these sweet potato fries. I have had them at restaurants before and didn't think they were all that great. I thought I would give it a try anyway. Let me just tell you, I will be making these again very soon. They were SO good! I was not crazy about the dipping sauce. I thought they were much better all by themselves. 
The recipe and photos came from one of my favorite food blogs, Our Best Bites

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes*
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
fresh ground pepper (about 10 turns of a pepper mill)

*you want 1lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray. Don't use a silpat, or parchment, or anything like that. You want them right on the cookie sheet.

Slice your sweet potatoes into french fry shape and size. I like mine to be 1/4", or maybe a tad bit bigger. Cutting them larger, like steak fries will sometimes result in a big soggy mess, so stay small to get the best results.

It's important that all of the pieces are evenly sized to ensure even cooking. So toss any irregular pieces aside (or eat them in another dish). When you're ready you'll have something that looks like a pile of carrots.

Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them. Use your hands to make sure each one is coated. If you've got more than a pound of sweet potatoes, add a little extra olive oil. They should all be glistening, just eyeball it.

Then sprinkle on all of the herbs and spices and continue to toss until well coated.

Place the fries on the baking sheet. It's very important that they are not touching, but can place them pretty close together.

*if you end up needing more than one cookie sheet make sure they are spaced more than one rack apart in your oven to prevent steaming. Also, rotate the pans when you take them out to flip. 

Place cookie sheet in pre-heated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Don't open the oven door, not even for a peak! Let them do their thing.

After 15 minutes take pan out of oven and flip the fries. If you try to do it one at a time it will take forever, I take a long spatula and get a bunch at a time. It's super quick. Just flip, and then make sure they're spaced out again. Be careful because at this point they're quite soft.

Put the pan in the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them. They should be nice and golden brown.

Take them out of the oven and serve immediately. They cool off very quickly so they're best eaten right away. Serves about 4.

Honey-Lime Dip for Sweet Potato Fries

6oz container plain, low-fat yogurt
1 T mayo (low cal is fine)
1/2 T honey
1/2 lime
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t oregano
1 t parsley
1/2 t granulated onion
3/4 t kosher salt

Mix honey and yogurt until combined and give it a big squeeze from the lime half. Add in spices and herbs.     

- One serving is 3 weight watchers points (add 1 extra point for 2T dip)
- These fit into phase 2 of the South Beach Diet

- A serving has 147 calories, 5 g of fat, and 4 grams of fiber.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

If you are a fan of all things chocolate, then this is the cake for you. It is very rich and gooey. 

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Serves 12 to 14

3/4 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting pan
1/2 c. boiling water
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. light corn syrup
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake, adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350. Grease 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder. Pour boiling water over chocolate in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Whisk cocoa, flour, nuts, confectioners' sugar, and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs and vanilla in large measuring cup.

With electric mixer on medium high speed, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. On low speed, add egg mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Add chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in flour mixture until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth batter, and bake until edges are beginning to pull away from pan, about 45 minutes. Do not use a cake tester, toothpick or skewer to test the cake - the fudgy interior won't give an accurate reading. You will know it is done when cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger. Cool upright in pan on wire rack for 1 1/2 hours, then invert onto serving place and cool completely, at least 2 hours.

For the glaze, cook cream, corn syrup and chocolate in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in vanilla and set aside until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Drizzle glaze over cake and let set for at least 10 minutes. Serve. (Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Recipe source: Cook's Country Oct/Nov 2007

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Night Pajama Party - Pizza Sauce

Tonight for our pajama party I made 2 large pizzas by doubling the dough recipe from last week found here: Fast and Easy Pizza Dough. I did make a few changes. I used a pizza stone this time. After making the dough I placed each ball on a piece of parchment paper and lightly coated it with olive oil to keep it from drying out. I let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then I rolled it out into a 14" circle and brushed it with a little more olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt then poked it with a fork. Then put the sauce and toppings on. I slid the pizza, parchment paper and all into the oven on a preheated pizza stone and baked it at 475 for about 8 minutes. It turned out so good! The crust was thick and crispy. I will for sure be using this method again.

I used Canadian bacon and slivered almonds on this pizza:

Here is the recipe I use for my pizza sauce. It is so easy to make and tastes so much better than anything you can buy. I like to triple the recipe and divide it up into small containers and put them in the freezer.

Basic Pizza Sauce
Makes 2 2/3 cups

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
Table salt and ground black pepper

Cook oil and garlic in medium saucepan over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium, and cook until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe source: America's Test Kitchen

National Doughnut Day!!!

Some of you may not know that there is such a thing as National Doughnut Day, well now you do. It is Today June 4th. Krispe Kreme is offering free doughnuts all day today. There are 2 Utah locations that will be participating:

Layton 968 North Main Street 84041 801-497-9001
Orem 417 West 1300 South 84057 801-222-9995

Go to to view locations in other states.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sugar-Glazed Roasted Carrots

These carrots are so good that even I will eat them. I don't even like carrots but I can't get enough of these. I am sure it has something to do with all the sugar. 

Sugar-Glazed Roasted Carrots

1 1/2 lb. medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2" by 1/2" pieces
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475. Heat rimmed baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes.

Toss carrots, melted butter, sugar, salt and pepper in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Remove pan from oven and place carrots in single layer on hot baking sheet. Roast until carrots are beginning to brown on bottom, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, toss carrots to redistribute, and continue to roast until tender and deep amber in color, about 3 minutes. Serve.

Recipe source: Cook's Country

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

This is a copy cat recipe of the Red Robin Teriyaki Chicken Burger. I personally have never ordered it at Red Robin so I don't know how to compare it but I do know that this recipe is really good.

Red Robin Teriyaki Chicken Burger
4 servings

Teriyaki Marinade:
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 (5 ounce) chicken breast fillets
4 canned pineapple slices
Per sandwich:
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 sesame seed hamburger bun
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 tomato slices
1/3 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
Teriyaki Marinade:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Cover and chill marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken and Pineapple:
Cover the chicken breast fillets with plastic wrap. Using a kitchen mallet pound chicken to about 1/2-inch thick. Pour a small amount of teriyaki glaze into a plastic container or plastic bag, then place chicken in the container or bag. Add teriyaki glaze to cover the chicken, but make sure you save some to marinate the pineapple slices and to use as dipping sauce. Seal up the container or bag and pop it into the fridge for at least 4 hours, but no more than 12 hours. Put the pineapple slices into another container with a lid, add enough glaze to soak the pineapple slices, cover the container and chill it in the refrigerator for the same time as the chicken.

To Prepare Sandwich:
Preheat barbecue or grill to medium. Grill chicken for 4 to 6 minutes per side. At the point you turn the chicken breast add the pineapple slices to the grill. Grill pineapple about 3 or 4 minutes. About 1 minute before the chicken is done place 2 slices of Swiss cheese on top of  each fillet to melt.
Toast the face of the top and bottom sesame seed bun on an indoor griddle or skillet over medium heat.

Build the sandwich:
Spread approximately 2 teaspoons of the mayo on each of the toasted faces of the top and bottom bun.
Stack the chicken breast on the bottom bun.
Arrange the tomato slices on the chicken.
Stack the grilled pineapple on top of the tomato slices.
Add about 1/3 cup of shredded lettuce on next, top with the top bun.

*This makes a lot of marinade/glaze so I put whatever I had left over into a saucepan and tickened it with about a teaspoon of cornstarch and a small amount of cold water mixed together and boiled the glaze until it thickened. Then I used the thickened stuff to brush over the chicken once 1 side was cooked. Then used the rest as dipping sauce or to pour over rice.

Recipe source:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole

This is a great meal for kids who love macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. It is has a twist to it that even adults will love it!

Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole

1 lb. elbow macaroni (or use other small shaped pasta to make it fun for kids)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pkg. beef or pork hot dogs (we personally like turkey dogs), sliced

1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chicken broth (you can use beer if you so choose to)
2 c. milk (not skim, whole is best but you can use 2%)
1 Tbsp. spicy mustard, rounded
2 Tbsp. ketchup, rounded
3 c. yellow sharp cheddar, shredded

Boil a large pot of water for pasta. Salt water and under cook pasta, about 7 minutes or just until al dente.

Preheat broiler and set rack 12 inches from heat.

While pasta cooks, heat a large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, then add hot dogs and brown on both sides, 4 minutes total. Remove dogs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts, cook onions 4 to 5 minutes, then add flour and cook another minute. Add broth or beer and cook off completely, 1 minute.

Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble. Then season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard and ketchup.

Lower heat and add 2 cups of the cheese. Stir to melt, 1 minute. Adjust mustard, ketchup and salt and pepper, to your taste.

Drain pasta well. Combine pasta and hot dogs with sauce and coat evenly then pour into large casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Melt and brown cheese under broiler, 2 minutes. Serve.

Recipe Source: Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals
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