Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baked Shrimp Scampi



One of the first recipes I ever made with shrimp was shrimp scampi. It is still a favorite of mine today. I typically serve the shrimp over a bed of noodles, sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Last month I noticed several of the barefoot blogger participants posting about Ina's baked shrimp scampi. Instead of serving the scampi over pasta, Ina added a simple breaded topping over the shrimp that could be served on its own. With all the rave reviews I new I had to try it. What a mouthful of flavor! With each bite you could taste the garlic and lemon, complimenting the shrimp nicely. The recipe states that it serves 6 and I was a little skeptical that it would stretch that far, but the dish is so rich it doesn't take much to fill up.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Printer Friendly Version

2 pounds shrimp in the shell

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup minced shallots

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large egg yolk

2/3 cup panko

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. To brown the top, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source adapted from:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spicy Sausage Grits



One of the most frustrating things for me about the Spring is how the weather can be such a teaser! One day it is gorgeous and you want to pull out your capris and short sleeves and the next day you are grabbing your heavy coat as you walk out the door. I am super excited to be grilling again, but there are days, such as today, that are cold and rainy and you just want something warm and comforting. I can't think of a better recipe than warm, creamy grits served with sausage and cheese slow cooked all day in a Crockpot. I wouldn't encourage anyone to make this on a weekly basis, but every once in a while it can make for a comforting and oh so good meal! You can control the spice level based on the sausage decide to use. My personal favorite is andouille sausage.

Spicy Sausage Grits

Printer Friendly Version

2 cups uncooked regular grits

2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 (10 3/4 oz) can Cheddar cheese soup

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 can whole kernel corn

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce

1/2 pound hot smoked sausage, sliced

3 tablespoons butter

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker. Stir in sausage.

Cover and cook on low 4 1/2 hours or until thickened, stirring once after 3 hours. Stir in butter, and serve immediately.

Source: Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook, Oxmoor House, Inc. 2006

Friday, March 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies



I almost have a hard time describing these sweet little pies. One of my favorite combinations is peanut butter and chocolate so I knew I would be in for a treat. Let’s just say they were dangerously good, so good I didn’t want to share with anyone! The cookies were reminiscent of chocolate cake while the filling was more or less a fluffy peanut butter buttercream. Together they made for a perfect combination. I made them for a fellow co-worker’s birthday, who happens to share my love for peanut butter and chocolate. Everyone in the office seemed to enjoy them and I was happy to share. I am looking forward to making them again, but in the mean time I will have to settle for some Reese's peanut butter cups to fill the void!

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Printer Friendly Version

For the cookies:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filling:

1 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make cookies:

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla, Beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients; mix until combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make filling:

With an electric mixer, beat peanut butter and butter on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add confectioners’ sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.

To assemble cookies:

Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grilled Flank Steak



The weather here has finally started warming up, the evenings are beginning to stay lighter for longer, and therefore, grilling season has officially kicked off ! My days are always a little brighter when I can look forward to a night of grilling! I found this recipe over at Our Best Bites. I changed the title of the recipe because I thought it might be a bit too cheesy to call it “Sweet and Savory flank steak”, but the title does fit the dish. The marinade consisted of some of my favorite ingredients that I was excited to try together.  The results of the marinade was a very flavorful steak that was well received by the family.

Grilled Flank Steak

Printer Friendly Version

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup pineapple juice

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak

Combine ingredients for marinade. Whisk together until combined. Remove 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.

Score the steak with a knife, cutting a 1/8 inch diagonal line down both sides. This will help to tenderize the meat. Please steak in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over it. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Take out of refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Please steak on grill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes per side, depending on the size. Use the reserved 1/4 cup marinade to brush over steak in the last few minutes of grilling. Remove from grill and let stand 5 minutes before cutting, letting the juices rest. Cut steak against the grain, in thin slices to serve.

Source adapted from: Our Best Bites

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rosemary and Cheese Breadsticks



In my opinion, the best side dish to accompany pasta is bread! This recipe happened to appear on the same episode as the manicotti dish I shared with you yesterday by Giada. It sounded so good and looked simple enough so I figured I would give it a try. I loved the addition of rosemary to the bread. The rosemary flavor was present, but not overpowering, making the breadsticks that much better. I made some substitutions from the original recipe to incorporate what I had on hand. Overall, it was a great way to take something store bought and add a few additions to make it feel more homemade.

Rosemary and Cheese Breadsticks

Printer Friendly Version

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/3 cup mozzarella

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 (11 0z) container refrigerated breadstick dough, such as Pillsbury

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, chop parmesan, mozzarella, and rosemary together until coarsely chopped. Set the cheese mixture aside. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips. Working with one dough strip at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently. Twist each cheese covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake until breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket and serve.

Source adapted from:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheese Manicotti



This dish holds a few special memories for me. While my husband and I were dating, he surprised me one night after work by making me manicotti... I think I was pretty convinced he was “the one” for me before that, but making me one of my favorite meals only further assured me that I needed to marry this man!! Manicotti is my all time favorite pasta dish. I’m not sure what attracts me to it, but I seem to always order it when we go to an Italian restaurant. The creamy ricotta cheese stuffed inside a pasta shell is so simple, yet so comforting. This is a dish I am always in the mood for and always satisfies.

Cheese Manicotti

Printer Friendly Version

8 oz package manicotti

15 oz whole-milk ricotta

3 cups mozzarella, shredded

1 cup parmesan, grated

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups marinara sauce

Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13x9 baking dish. Spoon the marinara sauce into the prepared dish until the bottom of the pan is coated . Fill the manicotti with the cheese mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Source adapted from:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oven Baked Fries



I haven't met a potato that I didn't like, so it only seems fitting that I really enjoyed oven fries! I have made sweet potato fries a few times, but had never ventured to make oven fries using a regular potatoes, but as I suspected they were just as good. My guess is I was afraid they just wouldn't compare to tasty McDonald's or Burger King fries, but I was wrong. I served them as a side to the Sausage-stuffed French loaf  I shared with you yesterday. The two together made for an excellent home cooked meal. Make sure to follow the instructions and soak the potatoes in water before baking. This not only prevents the potatoes from browning, but it helps with the overall baking process. 

Happy Friday everyone, enjoy the weekend!

Oven Baked Fries

Printed Friendly Version

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10 to 30 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side until evenly coated. Sprinkle pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange the potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Source adapted from: Annie’s Eats, originally from The New Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sausage-Stuffed French Loaf



I am always on the lookout for quick and easy sandwiches that would make for a stress-free weeknight meal. After making this sandwich, I am a little upset with myself for not making it sooner. I have scanned by this recipe for several years, never giving it a second thought until last week when I saw it and thought to myself, why haven’t I made this before? My husband and I both loved the sandwich. All the ingredients work so well together, especially the Dijon mustard. The garlic butter added to the top was also a nice touch. I can’t wait to make this sandwich again!

Sausage-Stuffed French Loaf

Printer Friendly Version

1 (16 oz) loaf of French bread, unsliced

1/2 pound ground pork sausage

1/2 pound ground chuck

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut off ends of French loaf. Hollow out loaf with a long serrated bread knife, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. Process bread removed from inside loaf in a food processor to make coarse crumbs.

Cook sausage, beef, and onion in a large skillet until meat is browned, stirring until it crumbles; drain. Stir in 1 cup breadcrumbs, cheese, and next 6 ingredients. Spoon into shell.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Brush garlic butter over loaf. Wrap loaf in foil, leaving top open slightly, place on a baking sheet. Bake  for 25 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces.

Source adapted from: Southern Living Quick and Easy Weeknight Favorites, Oxmoor House, 2001

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bailey’s Irish Cream Swirl Brownies



Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone!

Bailey’s Irish Cream brownies are  my ode to this holiday. We aren’t one to really celebrate St. Patrick’s day… no corned beef and cabbage for us, but I did want to make something somewhat related to celebrate the occasion. The brownies were out of this world. Super chocolaty, super rich and very decadent. I easily could have made myself sick between eating the actual brownies and licking the bowl of Bailey’s glaze!!  I hope everyone has a Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Swirl Brownies

Printer Friendly Version

For the Swirl:

3 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

For the Brownies:

6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream

milk, if needed to thin out the mixture

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8 inch nonstick baking pan. (I also placed foil inside the pan, making sure the foil lays over the sides of the pan.) In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in flour, Bailey’s, and vanilla. Set mixture aside.

Stir baking chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Using a mixer, beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in chocolate and vanilla extract. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread a little more than half the chocolate batter in prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over top of cream cheese mixture. Using the tip of a knife, gently swirl through batter, forming a marble design. Bake brownies for 30 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

While baking, make glaze by combining powdered sugar and Bailey’s. If too thick, use milk to thin mixture out. While brownies are still warm, use a pastry brush to distribute the glaze over the brownies.

Let brownies sit for 15 minutes. Cut into squares for serving.

Source adapted from: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops



This dish is an oldie, but goodie! Sometimes I forget about certain recipes that both me and my husband really enjoy, then when flip through my cookbooks and find it, it almost becomes a new recipe all over again. There are very few pork chop recipes that I love. I find pork chops to be a tricky protein that can taste very bland or dried out depending on the recipe. The rosemary-orange sauce in this recipe compliments the pork so well. The red pepper flakes add just the right amount of spice, while the rosemary and orange brings out a sweet flavor. While fresh rosemary tastes better, I usually use dried rosemary simply because I always have it on hand.

Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops

Printer Friendly Version

Zest and juice of 1 navel orange

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 cup chicken broth

2 springs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped (I used 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 1-inch thick center-cut pork loin chops

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, combine the orange zest and juice , brown sugar, chicken broth, rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the extra-virgin olive oil. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook the chops for 5 minutes on each side.

Add the parsley to the reduced rosemary-orange glaze. Pour the glaze over the cooked pork chops. Toss to coat and transfer to a serving platter.

Source: 365: No Repeats by Rachel Ray, 2005

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fried Ice Cream


I scream….you scream….we all scream…for FRIED ICE CREAM!!

My dear Husband has been talking about fried ice cream for the past 3 months. I’m not sure what brought it on, but it has been in his head and on his mind for all 3 months. He never asked me to make it for him, but he did ask on several occasions to take me out for dessert, and by dessert, he meant fried ice cream! I turned him down each time thinking he just liked the idea of fried ice cream, having no clue if he really enjoyed it.


Last weekend I broke down and decided to try making it myself. I couldn’t find a good recipe online that incorporated what we had on hand, so I improvised and came up with my own version. I chose to use both vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The Hubby was super happy and enjoyed every bite. I was surprised myself by how good it was. While I still love a simple bowl of ice cream , this is a good way to switch things up.


Fried Ice Cream

Printer Friendly Version

4 to 6 scoops ice cream, any flavor

1 cup cornflakes, crushed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sugar

Vegetable oil, for frying

Toppings: Whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce

With an ice cream scooper, make 4 to 6 large balls of ice cream. Place on a piece of parchment paper and
freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

Place crushed cornflakes in a bowl. Place egg and sugar in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Take the ice cream balls and dip into the egg mixture and then cover with cornflakes. Return to freezer for another 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

Heat oil in a fryer pan or Dutch oven until it reaches 400 degrees. Place ice cream balls in the oil one at at time for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown.

Drizzle with desired toppings and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas



It’s time for another confession, but this one I can blame my mom on! For the longest time I have been using a packet of enchilada seasoning as my base for chicken enchiladas. It is a recipe that my mom has been making for years and one that I have enjoyed as well. When we moved up to NY I noticed that our grocery stores didn’t carry the seasoning mix for enchiladas. I was pretty bummed, so I called up my folks and had them mail me some packets. Well, I have since ran out of the packets they sent me, so I needed to find a new recipe using a homemade chili sauce. This recipe reminded me of my mom’s recipe, only made better with the homemade sauce. The recipe also calls for cooking the chicken in the sauce instead of adding precooked chicken, which provided a more cohesive flavor.

Chicken Enchiladas

Printer Friendly Version

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 tablespoon sugar

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 cup water

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Combine the onion, jalapeno, and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Cook until just fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (thermometer should register at 160 degrees), about 12 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of each of the shredded cheeses, add the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40 to 60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from America’s Test Kitchen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Homemade Spiced Applesauce



A while back I posted a recipe for Baked Apples. They were so good I decided to try another side dish using apples. I love apples with cinnamon and sugar so I knew this recipe was a winner! I couldn’t tell you the last time I had applesauce, but I do know that the majority of apple sauce is almost pureed. This recipe calls for chopped apples, which helps to give the sauce a little more texture.  You can add even more texture and flavor by using a variety of apples. I wrote the original recipe below, but I only made half since I was serving two. If you do choose to make a whole recipe, the sauce stores well for leftovers.

Spiced Applesauce

Printer Friendly Version

12 large apples,such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Gala,  peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and place in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, 20 minutes or until the apples are tender and the juices are thickened.

Serve warm; or let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Southern Living Comfort Food, Oxmoor House, 2009

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



I went back and forth as to whether I should share this recipe, not because it wasn’t good, but because I don’t have a good picture of it! This is a simple dish that we have enjoyed all through college football season and continues to make a warm and hearty meal, so it is definitely something to share, so please forgive the photo. What I love about this recipe is that you can make the mix whenever you want and store it for later use. The mix could also be packaged up and given as a gift. This recipe provides all the Southern comfort you could want and has a little spicy kick. If you are a fan of spicy, I would substitute andouille sausage instead of smoked sausage for another little kick.


Printer Friendly Version

Jambalaya mix (recipe below)

2 1/2 cups water

14 oz can diced tomatoes

8 oz tomato sauce

1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 to 3/4 pound medium, fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

Jambalaya Mix:

1 cup long-grain rice

3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

In a Dutch oven, combine Jambalaya mix, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and smoked sausage. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until shrimp are pink.

Source: Paula Deen

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Burgers



I have had a burger craving for the past couple of weeks. Maybe I’m getting cabin fever and I’m ready to start grilling outside again…whatever the reason burgers sound so good to me. I saw this recipe on several people’s “favorites list” from 09, so I knew it had to be good. I love chicken parmesan, so I was definitely skeptical that it could be reproduced into a burger. I’m happy to report that this burger has all the flavors of chicken parm and it was so good I’ve actually been craving to make them again! The original recipe calls for sautéed mushrooms, but I chose to leave them out, if your family likes them, I’m sure they would be good as an additional topping.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Printer Friendly Version

For the Burgers:

1 lb ground chicken

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I used my food processor and ground up croutons)

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, finely diced

salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping:

1/2 cup pasta sauce

4 slices mozzarella or provolone

4 buns, brushed with garlic butter

Lightly mix together together all the ingredients for the burgers. Form into 4 patties. (For more flavor, make the patties 30 to 40 minutes before cooking so the flavors can meld together.)

Preheat the broiler or grill pan. Broil or grill burgers for about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and broil or grill for 3 minutes. Top each chicken burger with 2 tablespoons pasta sauce and a slice of cheese. Keep under the heat for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until cheese is melted and the burger is cooked through. Place the buns in the broiler or on grill pan until toasted.

Source adapted from: Elly Says Opa

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mandarin Orange and Lettuce Salad



With the loss of power for almost 48 hours last weekend, we were forced to eat out each meal. We ate a big breakfast and then had a "Linner" (in between lunch and dinner) somewhere between 2 and 4 pm. I don't know what it is about eating out for meals, but if you do it for a couple of days straight, well, lets just say you start to feel like crap....or at least I do. After this weekend, salad sounded like the perfect dish. This is one of my favorite salads. I love the contrasting flavors and textures from the cashews, raisins, and mandarin oranges. You can use whatever dressing sounds best, with this salad I usually go for Italian, but a sweet and sour dressing also works well. Either way, this salad is full of color and flavor!

Mandarin Orange and Lettuce Salad

Printer Friendly Version

6 cups torn mixed greens or a 16 oz package mixed lettuce

1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 (2 oz) package cashew nuts, toasted (1/3 cup)

1/2 cup commercial Italian dress or sweet-and-sour dressing

Combine lettuce, mandarin oranges, raisins, and cashews in a salad bowl. Pour salad dressing over salad, and toss. Serve immediately.

Source: Southern Living Quick and Easy Weeknight Favorites, Oxmoor House, 2001

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken



So my husband loves Chinese take out. If I let him I think he would have it at least once a week. One of the things I don’t like about some of my favorite take out is the inconsistency… sometimes the chicken is tough and other times the breading is over done or just too much. This meal was the perfect balance between tender pieces of chicken, a light breading (not over fried) and a great sauce to coat the chicken. Both my husband and I loved this chicken and I can’t wait to make it again. Be sure to make some rice to soak up some of the sauce from the chicken….so yummy!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Printer Friendly Version

For the Chicken:

3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 cup cornstarch

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.

Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker, originally from My Kitchen Cafe

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tiramisu Cupcakes and my 100th post!!



I was prepared to make my 100th post be on Friday, but then all the snow came and the power went and I was left in the dark, without my cupcakes frosted, and without electricity for almost 48 hours. There has been some crazy weather up here in the Northeast, I really can’t wait for Spring to arrive, but enough about weather, let’s talk about the cupcakes. I love tiramisu so I was super excited to try it in a cupcake form. The filling for the cupcakes was my favorite part,  super chocolaty with hints of espresso….the perfect surprise. The icing was also really good and felt so light. I can’t say that the flavors of tiramisu were right on, but this was still a really good cupcake. I also tested out my new decorating tip used for filling the inside of a cupcake, which was a disappointment. I ended up using the cone method, but still felt like there wasn’t enough filling in the cupcake. I guess I will have to make some more cupcakes and keep practicing on my technique!

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Printer Friendly Version

For the Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour (or you can use all-purpose flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)

5 egg whites

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine vegetable oil and milk.

Add flour mixture and milk/oil mixture alternatively to the mixing bowl. beating on low speed after each addition.

Using a stand mixer, or in a separate bowl, with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, to “lighten” the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Grease and lightly flour each muffin pan. Fill each half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until done. Cool on a wire rack.

For the Espresso Chocolate Mousse:

2 cups chilled heavy cream

4 large egg yolks

4 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons espresso powder

8 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot.

Whisk together yolks, sugar, espresso powder, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined.

Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160 degrees on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Mascarpone Frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

8 oz Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

In a mixing bowl, fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into the Mascarpone cheese, along with the powdered sugar. Add remaining cream. Blend until cream is full incorporated. Place in refrigerator until ready to frost.

To Assemble cupcakes:

Using the cone method, fill cupcakes with Espresso Chocolate Mousse. Place top back on cupcakes. Use about 1/4 cup of coffee or espresso and lightly brush tops of cupcakes. Go light, do not soak cupcakes with coffee/espresso. Frost top with Mascarpone frosting. Sprinkle with cocoa powder, if desired.

Source adapted from: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, mousse originally from Gourmet December 2002