Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Panko Breaded Cod

Last week I was at the grocery store picking up the cod that I needed for this recipe.  As I was driving the two blocks from the grocery store to the entrance of my development,  I glanced over to the right, and a girl walking in the opposite direcion caught my eye.  I assume she was a girl anyway because she was built like one but other than body type, tights, and converse shoes, I had no further indicator.  She was wearing a wolf head, like that of a high school mascot and it just totally creeped me out.  This thing was huge and sitting on top of her shoulders and I wondered if she could even see.  She seemed to be walking ok.  No tripping over her feet but I was fearing for her safety as she neared the cross walk because you have to step down off the curb!  I couldn't stop looking so I glanced in my rearview mirror and do you know what I saw?  A tail!  A girl with a mascot wolf head, and a fuzzy tail dragging down to the back of her calves.  Where did she get this head?  That's what I want to know.

Weirdness.  Perhaps it was spirit day?  I don't know but kids these days and the way they dress.  Yes, I just said that, which is another clear indicator that I can add to the huge pile I have accumulated, that I am getting older.

I wish that overall fish was a more affordable item to purchase at the grocery store because the more varieties I cook the more I learn just how much my family loves it.  It's hard to have fish twice a week when it is 3 times the cost per pound than what I pay for chicken breast.  Still, it is a necessary splurge both in dietary needs, and in variety to our taste buds.  You won't be disappointed with this recipe.  My entire family enjoyed it, my son went back for seconds, and I actually didn't hear one sneering comment come from his lips.  Double win. 

Crispy Cod with Lemon Dipping Sauce
2 eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1 lb fresh cod, cut into filet size of your choice
salt & pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Juice of one lemon

Combine mayonnaise, tarragon, garlic powder, onion powder, & lemon juice.  Mix well and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Preheat the broiler.   Beat eggs and place in shallow dish.  Combine panko, paprika, garlic powder, & old bay.  Cut cod into desired filet size.  Lightly sprinkle fish with salt & pepper.  Dunk fish into egg, then dredge into panko mixture.  Place on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Broil for 7-8 minutes.

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yucatan-Style Chicken, Lime, and Orzo Soup

One would think by looking at my blog that I really love soup. I do, it's true, but I've been making quite a bit more of it recently.  It's fast and easy and even though flavors increase when they marry for hours they don't have to in order to produce a tasty meal.  March through June is really busy in my house.  Baseball starts and our afternoons are filled with practices and games.  This year along with baseball Domo is on an indoor soccer league as well as taking hip hop dance classes.  My afternoons are not my own and I turn to soup to make quick easy suppers that satisfy. 

Side note: remember that black bean soup I posted here?  I take it back, don't make it.  It really isn't that good and I kind of warned you of that before but I'm no longer beating around the bush about it. 

This soup is pretty awesome especially made with homemade chicken stock (another post for another time) and leftover roasted chicken. It tastes fresh and spring like which is awesome because when I think of spring I do not think of rain but living in western Washington perhaps I should change my perception.

Yucatan-Style Chicken, Lime, and Orzo Soup
3/4 cup orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into matchstick-size strips
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
fresh cilantro (to garnish)

Cook orzo in pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain well.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and chiles. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add chicken; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, lime juice, and tomato.

Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Mix in orzo, then chopped cilantro. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brussels Sprout Salad

After Saturday's total disaster in the kitchen I decided yesterday that I was not going to take on one single culinary adventure this week.  That is until I told my friend Jess this morning that I would try and make that bread again in the Kitchen Aid tonight.  We'll see if I get around to that and how that turns out.  Even if I did previously damn the Kitchen Aid.  I do hope she didn't hear me and/or take it personally (the Kitchen Aid I mean).

So culinary adventures aside I bring you today something that is fail proof for me.  Roasted Brussels sprouts salad in an easy peasy bacon vinagrette.  This is right up my alley right now.  Simple, easy, without a lot of effort, and oh did I meantion easy?  I found the recipe here.

Brussels Sprout Salad With Warm Vinagrette
4 Tbs olive oil
1 lb Brussels sprouts
salt & pepper (to taste)
6 slices smoked bacon
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 cups romaine lettuce (chopped)
Preheat the oven to 375F.

Trim Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Toss the Brussels sprouts with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and lay out on a baking sheet.

Bake the Brussels sprouts at 375F until crisp and lightly browned (about 20 minutes).

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy, flipping frequently.Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat and set the bacon aside.

For the dressing, turn the heat to low and add the vinegar, syrup, mustard, salt and 2 tbsp olive oil to the bacon drippings, stirring vigorously to combine.

Add the lettuce and toss with the Brussels sprouts and vinaigrette. Top with fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Oven Temperature: 375°F

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Bean Soup and Souffle Corn Bread

Did you notice that I didn't even have the energy to plate my dishes before taking photos?  Did you notice how awful my photos are?  That's because by this time of the night I was exhausted.  I had spent nearly six hours in the kitchen with nothing to show for it.  I wanted to run away and hide and never see my kitchen again.  Yesterday was one of those days that I should have taken an early cue and walked slowly away from the kitchen and not even consider returning until morning.

It all started with cookies that I found in a cookbook about local authors (Western Washington) and their favorite recipes.  TuTu's are apparently is an italian tradition, one which I'm sure I massacred.  Coffee, chocolate, and walnuts are excellent cookie ingredients so I went for it.  They were awful and I threw all 86 cookies in the trash. Okay, 84, Domo and I had to taste test a couple.

Next I decided to make a bread recipe that my friend had emailed me.  It is her grandma's recipe.  I added all the ingredients into my bread maker and started it up.  My bread machine sounded sick.  Er,, er.   My pile of flour and yeast was still a pile of flour and yeast and nothing that resembled dough and when I opened up the lid there was a piece of metal floating on top of my flour.  One would think that this would have waved mental red flags everywhere but clearly I wasn't in a proper state of mind.  Instead I dump the mixture, conclude that the random piece of metal was not an important component, and start over again.  Why the hell isn't my bread machine working I ask myself.  I announce to my husband that it is broken and say "hey maybe this litle piece of metal is important???".  God bless my husband and his patience with my total mechanical ignorance.  Mission aborted.  I guess that piece of metal was a critical piece of a bushing or something. I have no idea what a bushing is nor if there really is one in a bread machine but that's what my husband said.

So!  I email my friend and she said I should try it in my kitchen aid which I did.  I've never done this before but it went well enough until I failed to cook my bread the stated amount of time.  The recipe read to bake for 15 minutes, cover with foil, and bake another 15, but I didn't read the whole sentence.  Except I didn't know that until the bread had cooled and I cut into it.  The gaping hole in the middle of the loaf should have been a clue.  I made two loaves so I cut into the second (same story different loaf) and then threw both away. So sorry Jess  I'll try again when I get a new bread machine.  Screw the Kitchen Aid, that was entirely too much work.

Let's recap.  That would be 6 dozen cookies and three batches of bread ingredients now in the trash.  OMG I could scream.

At least dinner didn't completely suck.  Southwestern Black Bean Soup is a decent way to top of a super crappy kitchen adventure.  I did not use the crockpot, I just placed the ingredients on the stove top and heated through which worked out just fine. This was not spectacular but it was good and everybody ate it.

Southwestern Black Bean Soup
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine taco seasoning, corn, black beans, tomato paste, and water in a crockpot over low heat.  Cook for 8-10 hours.  Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 hours

I have come to realize that I am not a southern cornbread kind of girl.  I have found a recipe that I do love but I wanted to try something different.  Sometimes you should just stick with what you know but sometimes you don't know that until you try something new. I now know.  This is a good traditional cornbread and my husband really liked it but it just isn't my thing.

Souffle Cornbread
14 3/4 oz can cream style corn
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Process corn in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

Beat butter and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add pureed corn and whipping cream, stirring well.  Mixture may be lumpy.

Combine cornmeal and next 4 ingredients; add to corn mixture, stirring until blended.

Heat shortening in a 10 inch cast skillet in preheated oven for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into cornmeal batter.

Remove skillet from oven.  Pour batter into hot skillet.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Oven Temperature: 375°F

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Things Friday

Because I am trying not to bake so much I'm posting five SAVORY dishes this week.  I would love to make each and every one of these but my family would not help me indulge and I can't go about eating it all by myself, now can I?  I didn't think so.

Savoury Olive Herb and Parmesan Loaf by The English Kitchen
Whiskey Hot Sauce by Ivory Hut
Moroccan Style Vegetables and CousCous by Hide The Cheese
Savory Tart by Cake Duchess
Chicken and Coconut Curry by The English Kitchen

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Now I admit, this dish is not even remotely healthy.  It is a dish that comes from simpler culinary times.  A time of creamed soup, processed cheese, and anything that comes from a can.  Ah, hello 80's, I love you.  Ok, maybe the 60's and 70's were like that too, but I wasn't alive to witness it.  I do know that those things are not really looked upon with the highest regard these days. 

There is an aire about the food blogging, recipe loving, free range, dairy free, gluten free, organic only culture that we currently live in that says "if you don't eat the same way I eat, I am better than you".  It really makes me sad especially when I am thrown under the bus just by being who I am when I am talking to others and the subject of food comes into the conversation.  

Not too long ago a set of co-workers came into my office and as it often does the fact that one woman went to some fabulous restaurant or another came up (it's a widely known fact that I cook 7 nights a week and eat at a restaurant maybe 1-2 times a year).  Then the conversation winded down the road of the spectacular dinners her husbands makes on a nightly basis.  She let me know that her husband fails to plan ahead so he's at the grocery store nearly every night of the week dropping $60 to make these regular culinary sensations.  I let it slip (I admit with an aire of WTF? about it) that I drop about the same amount, if not a little more, on a weekly basis for my family.  The silence could be cut with a knife, the looks were ones I had hoped these otherwise wonderful ladies would have never given me, and then the question finally came. "What do you eat?!?!?", ya know as if I ate macaroni and cheese every night from the box. 

Well, let me answer that.  I eat really well, but I don't eat fancy.  I plan my meals a week in advance, I shop sales on meat and stock up when I can (sales usually run on a bi-monthly basis in my area), I buy most of my food in bulk only, and I load up on  fruits and vegetables.  Still, every once in a while I eat macaroni and cheese from the box.  The blue box, not Annie's organic.  Yes, I have been known to use creamed soups, and blocks of cheese that wiggle if you shake 'em, and yes you will see those recipes here.  Gosh, I feel a teeny bit better now. 

The original for this recipe came out of some Campbell's Soup cookbook, date unknown,that has been on my mom's shelf for as long as I can remember.  I changed up the recipe considerably to match my family's tastes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
8 oz medium noodles
6 oz tuna
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 1/2 oz cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook noodles and drain. In a 2 quart casserole dish combine noodles, tuna, and celery.

In a medium sauce pan combine salt, onion powder, mayo, soup, milk, and cheese; stirring until cheese has melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over noodles and stir to combine.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

Right now I am wishing that I had something fabulous and witty to say but I just don't.  I'm having trouble conjuring up a story to tell or even giving you much information about the dish I am writing about.  It just isn't there for me today.  I have writer's block. 

The only thing that immediately is coming to mind is this blog.  In general.  I thoroughly enjoy planning my posts, making meals, taking photographs (I think I'm getting better!), writing them out, and hitting that post button.  To know me is to know that I'm not one for caring what other people think.  I live my life, I do what I do, and if you like then great, but if not I won't lose any sleep over it.  With this blog though, I kept thinking here I have been at this for a few months now and I'm pretty certain not a single person is viewing it. It was kind of freaking me out.  I had random thoughts about this ranging from, "I should stop wasting my time immediately and shut it down." to "I don't really care if anybody else is reading because I am doing this for me."  After much thought I am holding on to the latter, I am holding it close to my heart, and will continue writing with my soul. 

The thing is somebody is reading my blog most days.  It could be the same somebody everyday and it could be a different somebdoy everyday but somebody is reading my blog.  In fact in the last week I have had page views from Germany, Denmark, Hungary, India, and Iran!  Now I have no idea how they found my blog (would love to know) and they may never come back again but they were here!  It makes me giddy so I thank you for stopping by.  :)

Now it's time to get to the food.  Here is a great meatless meal that I love, my husband likes, and my youngest son won't touch. What does my 10 year old know about food anyway?  Try it for yourself, I do hope you'll like it. 

Black Beans and Rice another recipe from Cooking Light Annual Recipes Cookbook
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup raw brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Add water and remaining ingredients except cheese.  Cover, and reduce heat for 10 minutes or until heated though.  Top with cheese before serving.

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peach Salad

Somewhere between there (the start of this blog) and here (today's date) I have gained 7 pounds.  Hell!  How did I let this happen?  Lots of trial and error on loaves of bread and batches of unsuccessful brownies are surely to be the cause.  The pants I bought last month are too snug on my ass and wrinkle when I walk down the hallway which makes me both embarrased and sad.  I knew that I should have kept my fat pants but alas I did not, they were recently donated to Good will. 

So!  The solution is to eat healthier and get back to looking and feeling like a hottie.  The following recipe comes from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006 and it is so so very good.  I ate this all by my lonesome for lunch one day but it can easily be a snack or side for two.  My son Domo thought that the cucumber was apple and until I told him the facts he wanted a bite so this will be made with apple in the future so he can eat some.  He loves a good fruit salad and this is definitely one.

Peach Salad
1 cups peaches (thawed if frozen, I used jarred from the refrigerator section)
1 cup thinly sliced seeded peeled cucumber
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp honey
2 tsp minced fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Mix together peaches and cucumber.  Drizzle with lemon juice and honey.  Snip mint with kitchen shears on top.  Fold in raspberries.
Servings: 1-2
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coffee Cake

The older I get the harder it is to wake up on Monday mornings.  Of course that sleeping pill I took last night probably isn't helping but I did get a full 8 hours of sleep. Still, the can't-quite-keep-my-eyes-open-long-enough-to-drive-myself-to-work-even-after-my-morning-cup-of-coffee syndrome was there.  I'm feeling pretty lucky that I managed to wear panties this morning let alone get my self to work in one piece.  Makeup?  That was a fleeting thought.  Yay for Mondays where you are groggy all day and look it too.

Today I'm going to share a coffee cake that I made over the weekend.  This coffee cake is a bit too sweet for my tastes.  The 1/2 cup of brown sugar on top as well as the same amount plus a cup of white granulated in the batter makes for a very sweet cake.  Not to mention the brown sugar topping crunches in between my teeth with every bite.  Next time I will knock down the topping to 1/4 cup and cut the white sugar in the batter by half to see how that turns out.  I'm sure my waistline will be better off for it.  I'll give you the recipe as written

The original instructions include the fact that you can make this the night before and bake in the morning for ease which I think would be great for planning ahead but it isn't necessary.  This literally takes all of 10 minutes to whip up before popping it in the oven. 

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
2/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Cream together butter, sugars, and egg.  In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk into the butter mixture.  Pour into prepared pan.

Mix together remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  Spread over the top of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Servings: 10
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350°F

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Egg and Bacon Frittata

Ah, its the weekend again!  Bliss, beautiful bliss.  This morning I wanted eggs and bacon but not in the skillet, and not something I had to watch on the stove so I chose a baked egg and bacon frittata. 

I broiled the bacon while I mixed up the eggs and the rest of the ingredients, poured the eggs into my baking dish, crumbled the bacon on top, and tossed it in the oven.  I was then able to relax, snuggle up with a cup of coffee and read a few pages from The Blind Side that I started too long ago.

Egg and Bacon Frittata
7 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half cream (or use milk)
2 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp seasoning salt (can use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
2 green onions, chopped
6 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (can use less)

Set oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half cream (or milk) melted butter, seasoned salt and black pepper; pour into the prepared baking dish,. Sprinkle the green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are just set.

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350°F

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Things Friday

I really tried to do an all St. Paddy's Day theme but truth be told I'm not that found of traditional fare but I did manage 4 out of 5 so that counts for something, right?

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (one of my favorite bar drinks) by Brown Eyed Baker
Cheddar Soda Bread by The Curvy Carrot
Guinness and Onion Soup by Pennies on a Platter
Aztec Chocolate Biscotti by Daydreamer Desserts
Homemade Baileys Liqueur by 6 Bittersweets

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meatball Stew

Today is all about the luck of the Irish, tiny men in stange hats and boots, green shamrocks, rainbows, pots of gold, and wearing the color green.  Today I am wearing grey with not a speck of green on me.  Every year I stare into my closet on March 17th and every year anything but the color green stares back at me. 

The year I was in preschool was the first year I remember being told of the tradition of wearing green on St. Paddy's Day.  It had been talked about for days before hand and that morning I remember staring in my closet and realizing I had nothing with any shade of green.  I know I cried but I don't how it went down exactly.  I just know that didn't want to get pinched and moreso I didn't want to feel like an outsider while everybody else wore green.  I wanted to be a part of the club.  My mom came into my room and handed me a pin to wear on my shirt.  It was this black cat with a green leprecaun hat.  Perfect!  I was so excited and I wore it proudly.  This morning I looked for that pin in my jewelry box and sadly it is no longer around.  I was hoping it would make me feel safe and secure and less of an outsider today in more ways than one.

If you like to cook then today is all about anything with the word Irish in the title or the word Guinness.  Then why is it that my title today is meatball stew you ask.  Well mostly because I am an outsider in the blogging world.  I just don't have this thing down yet.  Planning ahead, having a back up plan, these are things that are foreign to me.  I fly by the seat of my pants and usually that works out just fine.  Not this time.

Last year (not for St. Patrick's Day) I made a delicious Guinness brownie and I thought that this would be the perfect recipe to share with you today.  The fact that I saw what felt like 289 other Guinness brownie recipes on tastespotting this week is something that I will choose to ignore and push aside because dammit I am not a follower.  It was my fabulous and original idea.  I purchased all the ingredients last Saturday at the store then all of a sudden the week was in the rear view and I'm looking at my most busiest day of the week, Wednesday.  From the time I get home after work to the time I have to dash out the door to embark on three hours of afterschool activies with my son left me just enough time to whip up the brownies, put them in the oven, and then pull them back out and turn off the oven as I was walking out the door.  I was rushed and that was evident by opening the incorrect cabinets, forgetting to melt the butter with the chocolate, barely having enough parchment to line my pan with, and so much more. 

After I returned home last night at 8 pm I still had to feed my family dinner (thank the Gods for crockpots) before I could even pay my brownies the slightest bit of attention.  I cut up these babies and thought to myself "golly gee these are much more dense than I remember" read: "why the hell are these things crumbling when I cut them?".  While I am plating them to take a horrible picture without any detection of natural light in my white tiled kitchen I am thinking "these are not as pretty as I remember them to be".  After at least 30 pictures my son swipes one off the plate and I give in as well.  I was hoping to sink my teeth into one but instead the crumbs sort of fell away from the mass into my mouth.  Crap these things are dry.  Why, why, why?  In my head I ran through the process of these brownies hoping I could figure out where I went wrong when my son pipes in "what are these called again?".  Guinness (oh shit!) brownies.  Yes, I said shit, but I'm 60% sure I only said it in my head.  I forgot to put the Guinness beer in the Guinness brownies. There wasn't enough liquid in them and they were, as I already mentioned, dry and crumbly, and not very pretty.  I could not possibly put these on my blog today because I am a perfectionist like that.  I was so negative about it last night my husband had to remind me to give myself a break and that every once in a while a mistake will happen.  I was angry at myself and sad that I wouldn't be in the club today along with all the other bloggers who had something green or Irish cream or Guinness to deliver. 

Instead I bring you one of my husband's favorite meals, meatball stew.  There was an inspiration to this recipe somewhere along the line but I really changed and evolved it over time.  I sometimes make and freeze meatballs for an easy avenue to meals and this is the perfect way to use those.  I have incorporated the basic recipe for those meatballs here but please know that once you make the meatballs you can stop there, freeze them, and add them to the soup frozen. 

Meatball Stew
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (7% lean) or ground beef
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbl worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp montreal steak seasoning (optional)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
14 1/2 oz tomatoes with onion and garlic, diced or 14 1/2 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
8 oz frozen mixed vegetables (about 2 cups)

In a bowl mix together ground turkey (or beef), egg, breadcrumbs, worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and steak season if using.  Divide mixture into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet.  You may either continue making the soup at this point or flash freeze the meatballs and then place into a ziplock freezer bag or container for later use.

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until there are no lumps.  Gradually add in beef broth to form a thick sauce.  Season with salt and pepper, and darken with kitchen bouquet.  Add undrained tomatoes and basil.  Place meatballs (fresh or frozen) into the sauce and cover until cooked through, time will depend on if you used fresh or frozen.  Add in frozen vegetables and heat throug, about 5-7 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

I love chinese food but I am kind of picky.  I'm often let down by take out in my area so I decided that I would start fiddling around with recipes to see if I could come across something that totally knocked my socks off.  My son Damian, who is 16, loves beef and broccoli; it's one of his favorites.  Last summer he asked me if I would attempt to make it at home.  I love it when the first at bat is a home run! 

Yes, that was a baseball reference, and yes I love baseball.  Both of my boys play, and I am that mom in the stands.  You know the one that sometimes says things when she should keep her mouth shut. Yeah, I'm that one.  I'm am trying really really hard to not be that mom anymore and I'm getting better because the last thing I want to do is embarrass my kids.  One day in particular two years ago, Dominick who is now ten had an evening game.  My smart self decided to keep myself warm at this spring game by bringing along a large to go mug of coffee.  Do I need to tell you that this was a bad idea?  Heck, drinking coffee after 11am is a bad idea for me.  Needless to say my little boy came bounding out of the stands and told me that maybe I shouldn't drink coffee at his games anymore because clearly I was too excited.  Oops but point taken and lesson learned for sure.

Back to dinner.  I found this beef and broccoli recipe on  It was simple and easy and turned out great the first time I made it.  It's been in our family rotation ever since.

Beef and Broccoli
1/2 lb beef flank steak, sliced thinly across grain (I use ball tip steak)
1 tablespoon soy sauce black pepper sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 lb. fresh broccoli, broken into florets and then sliced in half
4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt water
1/2 cup
2 garlic cloves, crushed

In a mixing bowl, mix together soy sauce, pepper, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil and corn starch. Add sliced beef, coat well and let marinate for 15 minutes.

In a wok, or other pan, heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil until smoke begins to rise.  Add broccoli florets and salt, stir well. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover with a lid and cook on high heat for 3 - 4 minutes or until steam starts to escape from the edge of the lid. Remove broccoli and any liquid to a bowl.

Add the remainder 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. When hot, add garlic and brown for 1 minute, stirring often. Add sliced beef and marinade and stir-fry until the color of meat changes, about 1 minute. Return broccoli and liquid to the pan and mix; stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Serve over cooked rice.

Servings: 4-6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chinese Five Spice Chicken

My friend Jess asked me why I put the picture at the bottom of each post and my explanation was that in my head the back story of the recipe comes first, then the recipe, then the final result.   Then I started paying attention to other recipe blogs and realized that the picture is what really grabs your attention (which is why all the more I wish I didn't suck at taking pictures) and that in more cases than not it is at the top before any text so I'm going to try it out and see how I like it.  This blogging this is not easy!  A labor of love for sure but not easy. ;) 

I love chicken boobs and I have to force myself from not cooking them four times a week.  They are so versatile and it seems like I have 5,983,092 untried recipes in my files that I will never get around to cooking.  I love them so much that I forget about their leggy counterparts on a regular basis.  What do I have against thighs anyways?  Well, nothing, and as a matter of fact I love the depth of flavor they present.  Not to mention the economy of thighs when I can find them on sale with the bone in.  I debone them myself quite easily which makes my family pretty happy.  The few times I've served bone-in chicken they looked at me like I had two heads.  Perhaps they are a bit spoiled?

This recipe was tucked away in my database and it just sounded so good and so different that I pulled it out and tried it and it lived up to my expectations.  So few ingredients knocked out an awesome dinner for my family. 

Chinese Five Spice Oven Fried Chicken
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp chinese five spice*
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs lemon juice
8 chicken thighs

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Fit a large rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Coat rack with nonstick cooking spray.

In a shallow dish, whick together panko, five spice, and salt.  In a medium bowl wisk together honey and lemon juice.  Dip each piece of chicken into honey mixture, shaking off excess. Roll into the panko mixture.  Pressing to adhere and place on a prepared rack.

Bake chicken pieces for 15 minutes. Spritz with non cooking spray and bake an additional 15 mintues or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

*Chinese five spice = equal parts ground cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and Szechuan peppercorns.  I had the makings already so I placed the spices into my (clean) coffee grinder to grind up the seeds and mix thoroughly. 

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Oven Temperature: 400°F

Monday, March 14, 2011

Basic Recipe for Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken

Roasting a chicken can be boring but it is one of those things that I think that everybody should learn how to do.  Mmmmm, why is it then that I haven't taught my husband?  You hear that baby, you need to learn how to roast a chicken!  It's just one of those simple kitchen tasks that is good to have in your files because well, it's simple and it's cheap, and the leftovers can be used so many ways.

As silly as it sounds it has taken my quite a while to learn how to perfect this task.  At first I never gave myself enough time and an hour into cooking at 7:30 on a Sunday night I was getting pissed because that damn bird was still pink inside.  I'm an apologetic cook when dinner is late but I think that is mostly because I get cranky when I don't eat and I'm mostly sorry for myself.  My friend Diane still reminds me of the time that we went out to breakfast years ago and I had a tantrum in the Ihop parking lot because the wait was too long on a Sunday morning and I was hungry NOW.  So there you have it I'm cranky when I don't eat.  Kind of like those snickers commercials where various hungry men turn into divas like Aretha Franklin until they have a snickers bar.  A chicken requires longer than an hour to cook people. That's just the way it is.  I give myself at least an hour and a half plus resting time which is a pretty new concept for me.

Chicken on it's own isn't very flavorful which is the beauty of it for me.  It transforms into so many different things depending on how you are cooking it but even so roasted chicken can still be just so meh.  I use lots of lemon and garlic, and herbs, and to top it off glorious olive oil for an awesome color.  I've been known to put too much lemon in my chicken.  I'm actually not sure how that's possible but according to my teenage son it is so I try to hold myself back.  Here's is my simple method that you may or may not have seen dozens of other places on the web:

1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry
1-2 lemons, sliced
6-8 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken in a baking dish. Lift the skin above the breast and loosen.  Ligthly salt and pepper 2 slices of lemon and place under the skin over each breast.  Wiggle in 2 smashed garlic cloves.  

Place remaining lemon slices and garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken.  Salt and pepper.

I rarely use fresh herbs but you definitely can.  Just snip fresh herbs or place dried herbs in your hand to crush.  Place some herbs inside the cavity of the chicken.  It's difficult to wrestle with the skin/breast portion of the chicken but give it a try and stick some herbs in there as well.  Now rub herbs all around the outside of the chicken.  Cover the entire chicken with olive oil and rub in to coat.

Now settle the chicken breast side down in your baking dish and place in the oven.  I start checking the chicken at about 1 1/2 hours and that is generally long enough but if your chicken is larger it may take longer.  To check for doneness I use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the breast meat.

Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Things Friday

Here's my list of this week's yummiest looking from the blog world that I may never get around to making:

Light Veggie Scampi by Honey What's Cooking
Limencello Magarita by Gourmatine
Jewel Roasted Vegetables by With Style
Homemade Ritz Crackers by The Cupcake Project
Pumpkin Curry by Kayotic

Mmmm, the weekend is upon us, I wonder what kind of delicious treats I will be making.   Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread

Remember when I made Waffles of Insane Greatness this past weekend?  Well, that was the first time I had ever purchased or otherwise used wheat flour.  Now that I've used it and tasted it from a homemade perspective I can't believe that I had never tried it before.  I bought the flour in bulk and over estimated what I purchased so I need to use it up (as well as find a cute container to store future purchases in) so that I can buy more of course. 

I've wanted to try a wheat bread for some time but I was reluctant to do so.  My 10 year old has refused to eat sandwiches for years and just a few weeks ago he told me it was because I buy wheat bread from the store and he just doesn't like it.  He wants soft white bread; wonder bread white.  I don't buy white bread but I do make it occassionally in the bread machine for a treat.  I'm pretty stubborn though and I decided that I needed to find a wheat bread that my son would eat.

The recipe I found online for inspiration had a little of what I wanted but not all so I played around with it a bit and I think I was successful.  I made the loaf last night and it is more than half gone this morning.  I had sliced up two glorious pieces and slathered homemade blackberry jam on each, handing one to the aforementioned 10 year old.  He LOVED this bread!!!!  Yes, a success!  I may get him to eat healthy afterall.  I then sliced up some pieces and we brushed some butter on it and dunked it into dinner.  Oh so good.

Honey Wheat Bread 
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
4 Tbs honey
11/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Add ingredients in the order listed to your bread machine and set on the dough cycle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

Once dough cycle is complete remove dough, form into a loaf, and place in greased loaf pan.  Let rise on top of preheated oven until double in size, about 40 minutes.  Bake the loaf in preheated oven until loaf until browned, about 25 minutes.

Servings: 10
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350°F

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken (by Cooking Light)

Not all of my meals are fantastic even though I surely wish they were.  After planning, prepping, and anticipating, it is extremely disappointing to discover that a meal isn't something that you love.  *insert sad face here*  Occassionally I totally bomb but more often than not it's just something that I find myself without a happy face while chewing and that bums me out.  We still eat it but I know by first by I'm not making it again as is.  Last night was one of those dinners. 

I felt that this meal lacked depth, didn't have enough sauce or flavor, and wasn't pao-y enough for me.    Those things can be fixed and some of you may love it as is so I'm offering up the original recipe as printed in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006.

Kung Pao Chicken
1 Tbs canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 Tbs fresh ground ginger, divided
2 Tbs water
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs hoison sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs coarsely chopped peanuts

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger, saute 1 minute.  Add water, cover and cook for 2 minutes; until crisp tender.

Heat remaining oil to pan, add 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken.  Cook until chicken is lightly browned.

Combine broth and next 5 ingredients through garlic; stir with a whisk.  Add broth mixture to pan, cook 1 minute until thickened.  Return broccoli to pan.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Monday, March 7, 2011

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

I remember the first time I had ever had caprese salad.  I was in my mid 20's and I was invited to eat dinner at my mother's house where my brother was making dinner.  I'm not quite sure how he fell into it but for a period of time he really enjoyed cooking.  He probably still does but I don't equate it with the same kind of passion he had back then which was very fun to watch and more importantly to eat the fruits of his labor.  He brought out this beautiful platter of tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with amazing things.  I was in absolute heaven.  For a while there he made it just about every chance he got and it was so delicious.  Thinking about caprese salad makes me smile.

Making my own caprese salad has happened once, maybe twice.  I'm not sure why I haven't gravitated toward it even though I love it so much.  A few weeks ago I was watching an older episode of Ina Garten and she was explaining how much she loves caprese salad but felt that she was unable to make it most of the year due to the seasonality of great tomatoes.  Her solution was to roast the tomatoes in the oven first which brought out their natural sweetness and beautiful color no matter how inadequate the tomatoes started out.  This sounded absolutely wonderful to me.  I really dislike the tomatoes at the store but have not gotten around to starting that vegetable garden I promised myself when we moved into our own home. 

I roasted the tomatoes after dinner last night which filled our house with this amazing aroma.  The smell was so intense that I kept checking the tomatoes because I thought for sure I was cooking them too long but in the end I decided to trust Ina and let them roast the full two hours.  What resulted were these beautiful tomatoes that I couldn't wait to dig into and truth be told I had three right out of the oven.  So sweet and delicous!

Roasted Caprese Salad
12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwse
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
16 oz fresh mozzarella
12 basil leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with garlic, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.  Roast for 2 hours until the tomates are concentrated and begin to carmelize.  Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into slices.  Layer the mozzarella alternately with the tomatoes on a platter and scatter the basil on top.  Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and drizzle with additional olive oil.

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Waffles of Insane Greatness

You already know that I love weekends because I get to make breakfast but what really makes me happy is that I get to watch my family eat it.  They are the kindest taste testers around (usually) and I relish in hearing their ooohs and ahhhhs over my meals.  Sundays are a bit melacholy from the beginning because I know that the end of the weekend is near but I try to set that aside and enjoy my day which starts with a yummy breakfast.

Earlier this week I was checking out this post and I knew that I had to make it.  I knew immediately that I wanted to use whole wheat flour but other than changing that ingredient and doubling the recipe in the hopes that there would be leftovers for mid-week, I kept everything the same. Mid-week leftovers are usually a pipe dream in this house so perhaps I should be tripling recipes?  There are only 3 of us at home right now.  We eat a lot I guess.  Note:  my husband says that because they are wheat they are no longer insanely great, but I have to disagree.

Waffles of Insane Greatness
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 egg
3 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
your favorite waffle accompaniment for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Add the milk, sour cream, oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest on your counter for 30 minutes. When the batter has ten minutes left to rest, preheat your waffle iron.

When the batter is ready, spray your waffle iron with non stick spray.   Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions on you waffle iron.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot Chocolate Mocha and Ultimate Truffle Cookies

Yesterday I came home from work to an empty house,  ahhhhh, it was heaven!  I wanted to treat myself a bit so I made myself a combination of my absolute favorite things;   coffee and chocolate.  Now, homemade hot chocolate is a staple in my house but sometimes the kids want some when I just don't feel like being in the kitchen so I keep instant mix on hand. I found this recipe in Family Circle magazine Nov. 2008 which uses the mix and what results is an extremely huge caffiene wake up! I used just the coffee granules and I fear I may not be able to sleep tonight. Not that I don't already know this but drinking coffee after 11am is not a wise decision for me but some days I just don't care and it's Friday so it's ok, right?

Hot Chocolate Mocha
1/2 cup hot cocoa mix
1/2 cup water
1 cup half-and-half or 1 cup milk
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 Tbs espresso powder or 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place hot cocoa mix in a saucepan, and slowly add water while whisking to form a paste.

Slowly add in half and half, stirring until combined. Add in remaining ingredients.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

I dipped my hand in the cookie jar and what came out was one of these babies. These are some of the most chocolatey cookies I have ever eaten.  To call them truffles is pretty much dead on.  I think I got this recipe out of a Giada De Laurentis cookbook a few weeks ago.  I'm trying to be better about tracking my sources but sometimes I just plain forget and I'm sorry about that.  I'll try to do better in the future!  Try these, I promis you won't be disappointed.  One thing I think I will do next time is mix in mini chocolate chips because these cookies are pretty dainty and  while the huge hunks of chocolate are awesome I think I'd like to continue with the dainty theme.

Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Cookies
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, vanilla, and butter together; stirring, until smooth. Remove pan from heat; cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together for 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in the chocolate mixture.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; add to the chocolate mixture just until combined. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least 3 hours.

Remove about 1 cup of the dough from the refrigerator; with lightly floured hands, roll into 1" balls. Place 2" apart on ungreased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350*F. oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly puffed and set.  Cool for 3-4 minutes on the cookie sheets before removing to a wire rack; cool completely.

Servings: 48
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Oven Temperature: 350°F

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Things Friday

How's that for a catchy title?  Here are my top five recipes for the week that I would like to make but probably never will.  They look awesome, I just don't know that these recipes will ever find a place on my table, but you never know!

Churros by Globetrotter Diaries
Rustic Potato and Carmelized Onion Tart by Foodess
Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream by the Culinary Chronicles
Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches by What Megan's Making
Green Eggs and Ham by Babble

See those fancy links?  Look how much I've learned in such a short amount of time.  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Buttery Rolls

This post is for my friend Evalynn (if you are reading this hi Evalynn!) who called me a few days ago and wondered why the bread that she makes in her bread machine doesn't turn out well.  I asked her if she was baking the bread in her bread machine and she affirmed this.  My suggestion to her was to use the dough cycle only, shape into a loaf or rolls, let rise again, and then bake.  I thought I would share my family's favorite recipe for rolls in hopes that she will try them and love them too. 

I make theses babies all the time and they are so good that they even have a place on my Thanksgiving table.  My favorite way to eat them is plain as a late night snack but they are wonderful slathered with butter and jam, or dipped into your favorite casserole or soup.

Buttery Rolls
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups milk
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
nonstick cooking spray

Melt butter in microwave and add to milk in a large 3 cup measure.  Add egg and beat slightly.  Add the liquid ingredients to the bottom of bread machine.

Add flour, sugar, and salt on top of liquid ingredients.  Make a crater and add yeast into crater.  Process ingredients on the dough cycle of bread machine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Divide dough into 12 equal portions.  Let dough rise on top of pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

Servings: 12
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Oven Temperature: 400°F

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mud Puddles

There are always cookies in my cookie jar. Always.  If I reach in and it's empty then I have a job to do.  BAKE!  Not only that but I can be quite certain that my husband ate six cookies for breakfast but that's another story. 

If it has chocolate or peanut butter there is a 99.9% chance that my family will like the cookie and if it has both well then the percentage is even higher.  I have a large stash of cookie recipes to try and it's really silly how many of them involve one or both of those ingredients.  This particular recipe had been in my stash for a few months so I decided to give it a go.  As always I can't leave well enough alone so I added 1/3 cup of cocoa to the dry ingredients that I sifted and I can't imagine cooking this recipe any other way now.  These little treats are delicious and didn't last long in my cookie jar at all and will remain in my cookbooks.  I'm sure they will see additional play time in my kitchen in the future. 

I only got about 34 cookies out of the recipe but I know for a fact that I ate at least 2 cookies worth of dough so I think that 36 is a better yield for me but it will all depend on how big you make your cookies.  Also I wanted to note that the filling looked like a ridiculous large amount to me so I really filled up my cookies because I didn't want much waste.  Even so there was enough for me to get out a spoon, stand over the sink, and feel like a complete cow, all the while hoping that my neighbors that see directly into my open blinds were not home.  I don't think they were.

Mud Puddles
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
chopped peanuts

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix well and chill for 1 hour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place in lightly greased mini muffin tins. Bake in 325 degree oven for 14-16 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately make wells in the center using a melon baller, pressing lightly. Cool in pans for about 5 minutes before removing to wire racks for further cooling.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Stir in milk and vanilla and mix well.  Carefully fill wells in cookies using a spoon or a small pitcher or pastry bag.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Servings: 36
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Oven Temperature: 325°F

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lemon poundcake with Lemon curd

I have an addictive personality so I like to do things in excess.  Binge drinking, eating a whole pie, crafting until my fingers bleed, ect.  I'm joking (kind of) but I think you get the point.  When cooking I like to take the strongest flavor and amp it up to the enth level which is to the point in my house where everybody else is gagging and I am in ecstacy.  Take garlic for example:  I know better than to cook chicken with 40 cloves of garlic because my family would never kiss me again but for me it would be a tastebud dream come true.  There are many things that I cook/bake that are just for me.  My family has kind of wussy tastebuds and I like to kick things up so many notches that I'm left eating it all to myself or taking it to work and not claiming that it was me that made it.  It usually gets eaten.

I've been craving lemon recently.  It's the end of February and spring is suppose to be right around the corner according to Puxatawny Phil but he's never lived in western Washington.  I live about 20 minutes north and a tiny bit east of Seattle where the sun rarely shines until June and rain is like a wet blanket over my life.  Right now I'm looking out my sliding glass door and there is a dusting of leftover snow and tiny flurries are falling.  This is enough to make the entire city shut down.  No really, we had two snow days this past week.  Is it any wonder why I am craving the flavors of spring? 

I've had a recipe for lemon pound cake in my files for quite some time and what better way to top it off? With more lemon of course!  I love lemon curd.  Absolutely adore its lovely tartness and deep yellow color.  In my cooking I've always had an aversion to tempering eggs or doing anything else with eggs that did not intentionally result in scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I made an attempt at this with homemade pudding around Christmas and was nearly successful.  My boys did find a few chunks but overall it was scrambled eggs free so I thought I would give it another go.  I totally winged it and it turned out alright.