Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stewed Chicken Taco Meat

I love the chicken breasts from Costco, they come two to a sealed package and you can just tear away how ever many packages you need. I had a huge craving for soft chicken tacos from Taco Cabana. Don't judge me, I know I'm eating healthier and trying to get in better shape but sometimes bad (but oh so good) fast food calls to me. At least I resisted the siren's call and made my own....

Stewed Chicken Taco Meat
From Food.Com

2 tablespoons low-sodium taco seasoning
1 garlic clove, passed through a press
1 (10 ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth or 1 cup stock

Put all ingredients except cheese in crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Use two forks to shred the chicken into chunks. Add cheese and stir. Serve immediately in tacos or use as a filling for enchiladas. You can also use chicken breasts, but it turns out drier and not as tasty.

My Notes:
If I'm not mistaken I believe I added some onion to this as well. I feel like this was awfully liquidy. It could benefit from some cornstarch mixed w/water.  This gave us plenty of left overs, I'm going to see how well it freezes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cheesy Tuna Mornay

In a desperate attempt to find dinner on Monday I looked in the pantry found tuna and started googling. I found this recipe, it was easy enough and quick. Bingo.

Cheesy Tuna Mornay
From Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup uncooked rotini pasta
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (7 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually mix in milk so that no lumps form. Stir constantly until the mixture boils, then mix in half of the cheese. Add the peas, corn and macaroni. Drain the tuna, leaving a small amount of liquid to keep it moist. Flake with a fork and stir into the cheese mixture. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browned. 

My Notes
What is a Mornay you ask? Beats the hell out of me. I looked it up on wikipedia, here's what the know it all says:
A Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce with shredded or grated cheese added. Usually, it consists of half Gruyère and half Parmesan cheese, though some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or white Cheddar.[1]

1.^ McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking; The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York, NY, USA: Scribner. pp. 65–66 and 587. ISBN 0-684-80001-2. 

So there you go, it's a cheese sauce. I think I did actually know that, or at least have read the word before. I'd be surprised if it wasn't in my Julia Child cookbook (which by the way is a great cookbook I highly recommend it). 

I didn't use bread crumbs, I didn't feel like messing with them. I also just used about 2C of frozen mixed vegetables rather than just corn and peas.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Creamy Jambalaya Pasta

Plain Chicken is becoming one of my favorite site to go look for recipes. I tried out this recipe a few days ago and all three of us liked it. I call this kid-approved and Jeff-approved.

Creamy Jambalaya Pasta
From Plain Chicken adapted from Steamy Kitchen

1/2 pound Farfalle pasta
1/2 lb smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup heavy cream (or half & half or evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion or 2 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Salt water.  Boil pasta and cook until al dente.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in a small skillet over medium heat. Once browned, add onion and saute for two minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add white wine to skillet, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom.  Let wine reduce by half, about two minutes.
Stir in Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Add cream and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low. Allow the cream mixture to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.

My Notes:
I doubled this recipe so we would have left-overs and I'm glad I did.... we inhaled this. I added quite a bit (prob close to 5 oz) of julienned spinach to this recipe as my family does not eat near enough vegetables. It added some color as well. The sauce was a little thin for my tastes so I also added 1T of cornstarch mixed in 1T of water to thicken it before I added the pasta.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spicy Crock pot Jambalaya

I have felt rather uninspired to cook lately. But then Jeff came home and said it was his turn to bring lunch to a team meeting at work. So we tried to think of options. I first thought spaghetti but someone just did that. So I started looking for crock pot recipes and jambalaya popped in my head. This was a huge hit with the meeting, so much so that he informed me there are no left-overs. I liked this recipe because you put the rice in with the rest of the ingredients that made it super simple for transport and prep.

Spicy Crock Pot Jambalaya
From Cajun Delights

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup cooked ham or chicken, cubed
1 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, any color, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1  (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped, (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Few shakes Tabasco
1 tbs. or more Cajun seasoning
Salt to taste
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 3/4 cups raw rice

First chop the veggies, slice the sausage,  and chop the ham or chicken. Combine ham, sausage, trinity, rice, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, jalapenos, and seasonings,  in 5 quart slow cooker. Mix well, cover,  and cook on low for 5 hours. Stir well and add shrimp, parsley, half of green onions, and Tabasco, and cook on high for 30 to 40 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and garnish with remaining green onions before serving.

Serve with a big tossed salad and my Cajun-Style French Bread.

My Notes:
First off, I hate shrimp. Refuse to eat and never buy them. But I do like crawfish and we happened to have a pound of crawfish tails in the freezer. I also had just made chicken stock a few days before. I added carrots to the veggies as I feel like people can never eat enough veggies. I sweat the veggies in my dutch oven with some bacon grease before putting them in the crock pot I'm always up for added flavor. I also upped the rice to 2C and put nearly 16oz of tomato sauce. Jeff took this to work so no pictures :(
Don't tell Jeff but I added 2T of chia seeds to the chicken stock for added fiber.... they didn't notice. Hee Hee

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strawberry tart

I got a tart pan from my aunt and uncle at my bridal shower and I was itching to try it out so I made this tart using Mark Bittman's tart crust as well as the filling recipe. I'm rather proud of this because I am completely inept at making crusts. They defy me. As much as I hate to admit it more than a few have ended up thrown on the floor in a fit of frustration. This one came very close to the same fate but I pursued and triumphed over the damn dough's determination to tear and fall apart.

Sweet Tart Crust
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything

Makes enough for an 8-10in tart
Time: 20 min, plus time to rest

1 1/4 C all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
10 T frozen or cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 egg yolk
3 T ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine Flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice.  Add the butter all at once; process until the mixture is uniform, about 10 seconds (do not over process). Add the egg yolk and process another few seconds.

Things are going well at this point...
Put the mixture in a bowl and add 3 T of ice water, mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another T or 2 of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 min or refrigerate for at least 30 min.  (You can refrigerate for up to a couple of days or freeze tightly wrapped for up to a couple weeks).

This is before I added the water... .otherwise
known as right before everything went to hell.
Sprinkle countertop with flour and put the dough on it; sprinkle the top with a little flour.  Use a rolling pin with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky; and it's taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.

When the diameter of the dough is about 2 in greater than that of your pan, move the dough into the tart pan by draping it over a rolling pin and moving it into the pan. Press the dough into all nooks and crannies in the pan, being careful not to overwork it, and use a knife to cut the edges flush with the rim of the pan.  Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (you can freeze for an hour).

Simple Berry Tart
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything

Makes one 8-10in tart about 8 servings
Time about 1 1/2 hours largely unattended

1 Recipe Sweet Tart Crust fitted into a tart pan and chilled
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
3 C strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and or blueberries, picked over, stemmed, and hulled if necessary

Prebake the crust and start the berries while the crust is in the oven.  When the crust is done, leave the oven at 350.
Rub sugar and cornstarch together with your fingers until well combined. Toss with about 2C of the berries; crush some of the berries with a fork or potato masher to help dissolve the sugar. Pile the berries into the tart crust, then top with the remaining berries, left whole (or halved).
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until the fruit mixture is bubbly, about 30 min. Cool then serve warm or at room temperature.
My dough is in timeout in the fridge for
probably the 3rd time at this point
Finished product inspite of myself

To prebake the crust (per Mark Bittman, paraphrased)
Preheat oven to 425. Be sure crust is pressed firmly into the pan, prick with a fork and well chilled before baking.  Butter one side of a piece of foil large enough to cover the crust; press foil onto crust butter side down. Weight the foil with a pile of dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven and remove weights and foil. Reduce temperature to 350 and continue baking the crust until it has a golden brown color.... another 10 min or so.

My notes
For the tart filling: I put the sugar and cornstarch in my food processor to combine it.

Prebaking the crust: I didn't weigh down the crust. I was quite irritated at that point and figured if it didn't bake correctly I'd start over. Luckily it turned out fine.

The damn crust: Mark Bittman lied. Ok.... maybe he just mislead a bit. I think the recipe should be amended to say, add the ice water 1T at a time rather than all 3T at once. My crust became a very stick soggy mess after I added the prescribed 3T ice water.  It was pretty humid that day, so maybe that was part of the problem. This bastard crust must have been destined to torment me from the get go. I swear I put that sucker in the fridge no less than 4 times because of the issues rolling it out. Argh. I fault myself though. Not Mark.

P.S. Sodden? Who says sodden any more?

Make Your Own Oatmeal Smoothie

I found the link to this site on Pinterest (where else?). I'm excited to try this out!

Make Your Own Oatmeal Smoothie

1/4 cup uncooked oats (old fashioned rolled oats recommended; do not use steel cut oats)
1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1 cup liquid (dairy or non-dairy milk or juice, or combination)
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt recommended, but any yogurt may be used, including non-dairy)
1 cup fruit, fresh, frozen (unthawed), or canned (drained); or 1/2 cup dried fruit*; or 3/4 cup fruit sauce or puree (i.e. applesauce) 

1 or more teaspoons sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or your preferred sweetener)
1 or more tablespoons fruit jam, preserves, or spread
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or other sweet spices
1 or more teaspoons cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract or vanilla bean paste

Add oats and chia seeds to blender; blend on high until texture of flour. Add liquid (milk/juice) to blender; use spoon or spatula to stir in oats/chias from bottom. Add yogurt. Add fruit and any additional flavorings. Blend on high until desired smoothness. Taste and add sweetener, if needed. Blend again. Transfer to pint (2 cup) jar or container; refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours, so oats & chias can soften. Will keep in refrigerator at least 2-3 days. Shake before drinking.

IF TOO THICK after the fridge soak, add more juice or milk and shake jar/container or return to blender to combine.

FOR A SMOOTHER CONSISTENCY, return to blender after the fridge soak and blend again.

TO FREEZE: May be frozen after the 4 hour soak in the fridge. To thaw, move to fridge a day ahead so it is thawed for drinking the next day. For faster thaw, place frozen jar/container in bowl of cold water on the counter for 1-2 hours. Shake before drinking.

*If using dried fruit, increase liquid (milk/juice) by 1/4 cup.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Food P*rn Friday

I'm on a muffin kick at the moment so this week's Food P*rn Friday is all muffins! Enjoy...

Strawberries and Cream Muffins from Jane's Sweets
Banana Rum Muffins from Lea and Jay

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cinnamon Muffins from Pinch of Yum

Lemon Ricotta Muffins from Gastronomy Blog

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Muffins from Scientifically Sweet

Orange Poppy Seed with Orange
Marmalade Glaze from Saffron Streaks

CNN - Cheeses that pair well with beer

5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's Note: Emiliano Lee is the Artisan Market Manager at Farmshop in Los Angeles, California. He also serves as a judge for the American Cheese Society.
One of, if not the most, frequently asked questions I field on the cheese counter is, "What's your favorite?" To which I almost always reply, "Well, that depends."
What's ripe? What's tasting particularly good at any given moment? What am I in the mood for? What's the weather like? What am I drinking? Ah, yes, the age-old pairing question.
In the end, it really does boil down to personal taste, but there are certainly some combinations that work better than others.
Many people want to pair wine and cheese, and while I can dance to that, I'm personally more of the malt and hops persuasion. For me, beer is a more natural choice, and as many others will attest to, it plays tremendously well with cheese.
Looking at my cheese case right now, here are a five wheels that are tasting particularly nice along with some of their best drinking buddies.

1. Extra Mature Bandage Wrapped Cheddar by Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese (Modesto, California)
This traditional, farmhouse-style English cheddar speaks to the passion and skill of its cheesemaker, Mariano Gonzalez. This raw milk beauty has won the top spot twice at the World Cheese Awards in London, beating the British on their home turf.
Its dense texture crumbles and melts creamy on the palate, bringing out various sweet and savory notes. Think butter and toasted nuts with hints of caramel and pineapple. Its complexity lends well across the board to many types of beverages (it pairs just as nicely with reds as whites when it comes to wine), but what could be more fitting to pair with a good farmhouse cheddar than a nice hearty ale? There are few pleasures more satisfying.
For some fun, one of my favorite pairings is Lagunitas Brewing Company's India Pale Ale. With the beer's combination of bold hoppiness and deep malty foundation, the complexity of flavor in the cheddar steps up and sings right in tune. Add a hearty rye bread and some pickles and call it a meal.
For a mellower combination, pair with your favorite brown ale or special bitter to bring out the buttery notes and bright fruit.
2. Vivace by Andante Dairy (Petaluma, California)
Cheesemaker Soyoung Scanlan has a reputation for creating some of the finest small batch cheeses available. While we've been familiar with her beautifully crafted goat cheeses reminiscent of the finest you'll find abroad, she has only recently begun to incorporate sheep’s milk from a nearby farm into her repertoire.
Vivace is a blend of sheep's and goat's milk with a delicate rind that holds in an unctuous paste that develops from the outside-in. The creamy texture instantly coats the palate in tongue-smacking delight. Flavors are rich, yet fresh and bright, with sweet hay notes lingering on the finish.
Alpine Beer Company concocts just the beverage to wash this one down: Willy. This beer is full-flavored, yet light enough to be crisp and nutty at the same time. The effervescence cuts through the rich paste of the cheese, leaving you with a mildly sweet finish and bringing out grass in the nose.
In lieu of Willy, pair with a wheat beer of your choice or even a lighter red ale to bring out more of the musky animal notes if that's your kick.
3. Winnimere by Jasper Hill Farm (Greensboro, Vermont)
Andy and Mateo Kehler started Jasper Hill Farm in 2003 and have, in a short several years, become one of this country's preeminent sources for American farmstead cheeses.
Their Winnimere cheese is wrapped in spruce bark from Jasper Hill's own trees and washed with ale from a neighboring brewery. It's best enjoyed by simply peeling back the top rind, allowing the bark to act as a bowl and digging in with a spoon or just a hunk of crusty bread. The silky texture wraps itself around your tongue with a symphony of flavors: sweet, smoky, salty, creamy, fruity, woodsy, beefy. A friend now famously likened it to taking a walk through the bacon forest.
One of my favorite things to have alongside this cheese is dried tart cherries, so a lambic cherry beer like Timmermans Kriek is a perfect pairing with this seasonal wonder. The carbonation helps break down the cheese and bring out individual flavors. The light tartness complements the savory qualities of the cheese, and the cheese itself tones down the sweetness of the beer.
4. Nicasio Reserve by Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (Nicasio, California)
A relative newcomer to the farmstead and artisanal cheese scene, the Lafranchi family has been producing some consistently good cheese in a very short period of time.
One of those cheeses is Nicasio Reserve. The Lafranchi family went to their roots in Valle Maggia, Switzerland, to learn the craft and bring it home to their Marin County farm.
Nicasio Reserve is an Alpine-style cheese that's dense and creamy with a light fruity funk on the nose. Across the palate, the impressive sweet cream flavor of their milk (certified organic, by the way) hits you right off the bat before mellowing into a complex play of stone fruits, grass and hazelnuts. The sweet cream follows through once more on the finish.
This cheese instills warmth, as does the beer I've paired with it: California Ale from Telegraph Brewing. It may be a flavorful medium-bodied beer for a flavorful medium-bodied cheese, but by no means is it a medium-bodied experience.
5. MT  TAM by Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes Station, California)Wherever it's offered, when properly cared for and represented, this cheese is one of the most popular and best-selling - and for good reason. Unlike other more readily available and one-dimensional cheeses, MT TAM has more to offer than its big buttery base.
When ripe, the center of the wheel is soft and luxurious. It's  often likened to vanilla ice cream, and something I'll often eat with whatever seasonal preserves I'm in love with at the moment.
However, this puppy can match up with bold and savory just as well. It's one of the few sweet, creamy cheeses you'll want to pair with a good Pinot.
Triple creams love bubbles. While sparkling wine is a natural match, I like something with a bit more body and flair. In this case, I would suggest Grand Cru, a Belgian-style ale from AleSmith Brewing Company. The bubbles cut through the butterfat, allowing the sweet cream to meld with the various flavors encased in this hefty bottle.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Avocado Egg Salad

Pinterest strikes again! Avocado egg salad, why didn't I think of that? I'm glad that skinnytaste.com did. I'm not doing weight watchers anymore but this recipe included points for WW which is cool b/c it gives me an idea of how not-bad this is for me :)

I know this will not be kid-approved. Only because it's green. My kid is prejudice against green food, sadly my efforts to change this have not worked. But that won't stop me, I'll keep trying.
Jeff hates hard-boiled eggs, so this is definitely not Jeff-approved I don't even bother to get him to try them anymore. The last time I made egg-salad he tossed it in the trash the next day on 'accident'. Uh huh. Suuuuure.

Avocado Egg Salad
by Skinnytaste.com

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 3 pt • Points+: 4 pt (w/ light Flatout 7 pts)
Calories: 154.7 • Fat: 11.7 g • Protein: 9.3 g • Carb: 4.6 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 0.5 g
Sodium: 132 mg (without salt)

  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 hard boiled egg whites, chopped (discard the rest)
  • 1 medium hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper


Combine the egg yolks with the avocado, light mayo, yogurt, chives, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork. Combine with egg whites and adjust salt as needed.

My notes:
This was tasty! I added about a tsp of yellow mustard to this, mainly because I like mustard in my egg salad. Also, I had fat free greet yogurt so I used that instead of just the plain yogurt. I think next time I make this I might add some carrot or celery, I like a little crunch to my egg salad. This could be pretty easily converted to a 'guacamole' style egg salad. Throw some cilantro (leave out the chives), tomato, onion, maybe a little jalapeno and voila! I think that's worth exploring.

My lunch

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Strawberry and Cream Muffins

It's Spring time in Texas which means two things. It's hot already and it's time for strawberries!! We love strawberries in our house. We go through pounds of them a week. I found this recipe a few days ago on Pinterest and I am so glad I made them! I'm making another batch tonight or tomorrow and by golly I'm taking a picture this time. Jeff and I both really like them, they were sort of work intensive but definitely worth it. I ate one for breakfast today, that makes 3 muffins in 12 hours... I'm not sure that's good for my hips but it sure is good for my taste buds.

NOT! my picture... I'm not that good of a photographer.
This is from Jane's Sweets.
Strawberry and Cream Muffins
by: Jane's Sweets

Makes about 12 to 14 regular size muffins, or about 6 jumbo muffins.

1 cup whole milk (or, you can use something like 2/3 cup 2 percent milk, and 1/3 cup half-and-half mixed together)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces (the redder and sweeter, the better!)
4 oz. full-fat cream cheese, very soft
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. of liquid from one whole egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put paper liners in the cups of your muffin pan, or use nonstick baking spray liberally.
  • Cut up your berries and set them aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix together with a spoon the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. beaten egg, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix until almost all the lumps are gone. Set this aside, but don't chill it.
  • Melt the butter slowly in a sauce pan on low heat. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and the milk into the butter, stirring to combine. Cool until the mixture is just warm, then whisk in the eggs.
  • Thoroughly combine with a whisk, in a large mixing bowl, the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour all of the butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, blending just until combined. Don't overmix. It's okay if a few little flour streaks are still evident.
  • Using a portion scoop, fill each muffin cup barely half full.
  • Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.
  • Using a small spoon, dab a generous teaspoonful or so of the cream cheese mixture on top of the berries.
  • On top of that, add on another tablespoon or two so of the muffin batter.
  • On top of that, add a few more pieces of strawberry. Push them in just slightly. If they're well visible at this point, they'll still be visible after the muffins have baked.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked muffins very generously with coarse sugar, which lends a nice sparkle, and adds a little crunch.
  • Bake the muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they're light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. The middle of the cupcake should be kind of firm when lightly pressed with a finger. Check on the muffins early, and if they're browning too fast, lightly cover the pan with a sheet of foil.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan, on a rack, for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan to cool on the rack.
 My notes
I have none. Shock, I know.

Creamy White Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna

This is another recipe courtesy of Pinterest. I personally enjoyed this lasagna.... I was the only one which is unfortunate because it was tasty. We will chalk this up to a momentary lapse in memory. I forgot that someone does not like artichokes, except in spinach artichoke dip. Which makes no sense to me. But I am taking the entire pan (minus the 2.5 servings that were eaten) over to my parents house tonight so they can enjoy it.

by: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com

2 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese with a Touch of PHILADELPHIA, divided
1/2 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup basil, chopped
12 lasagna noodles, cooked

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan. Beat cream cheese, milk, and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 Tbsp. basil. Mix half with the chicken mixture. Spread half of the remaining cream cheese sauce onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining cheese sauce and mozzarella; cover. Bake 25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil.

My notes
I was a little hesitant about this whole cream cheese milk thing as the sauce but it turned out good. I added ricotta to the cream cheese, milk mixture mainly because I had it on hand and I love ricotta. I added fresh garlic and dried basil rather than powder and fresh respectively. Unfortunately my basil plant is not producing enough leaves for me to harvest without hindering further production. I also used a tad more mozzarella in the lasagna because I was afraid the chicken layer would be dry.... I was right (it needs something maybe put the ricotta in that mixture rather than the cream cheese). On that note, I also sauteed onions and mushrooms together and added them to the chicken mixture as well. I'd like to play with this recipe but since it was not well received I don't really see the point. If anyone does play with it let me know how it turns out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Food P*rn Friday

Watermelon Juice from Sharmis Passions
Baked Parmesan Fries from Food Figure

Mac and Cheese Tacos from Blog Chef

Ham, Egg, & Cheese Brunch Nests from NestleUSA

Marble Cake with Choclate Buttercream from Or Whatever You Do

Well this post was supposed to go up last Friday, clearly I did not do the 'schedule' feature correctly.

Philly Cheesesteak Skillet

Hello all,
I tried this new recipe last night, I found it on Pinterest. Here's the link to the blog it came from.... link. This was kid-approved which surprised me because I added broccoli to the mix and she staunchly believes she does not like broccoli. I believe the word used was hate actually. But she gobbled this up and said it was yummy. Will wonders never cease?!?

Philly Cheesesteak Skillet

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese or 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk, or as needed
  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, place the ground beef and onion into a large skillet, and cook, stirring to crumble, until meat is no longer pink, and onion is tender. Just before the beef is done, add the bell peppers, and cook until tender, but still green. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese, condensed soup and milk to make a thick sauce.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the macaroni noodles. (Recipe adapted from All Recipe
 My notes
I didn't do 2 bell peppers as I thought that would be too much, but I wish I had. 2 peppers will not over power this. I used fat free cream cheese, 98% fat free COM, and the leanest ground beef I could find. So this was a relatively low fat dinner. Like I said earlier, I added broccoli to this for a little extra healthiness. I'm trying to find ways to incorporate more veggies into our meals. I also tossed in some Italian seasoning to the ground beef for a little more flavor. Everyone really enjoyed this and I'll be adding it to our rotation. I think next time I will also add mushrooms.