Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fluffy Cous Cous

Guess what. Until the other night, I have never consumed nor cooked cous cous.

I really don't know why.

I loved this little side, and have already scoured the internet from yummy variations. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments.

Thank you, My Kitchen Cafe, for opening a whole carb world to me. I'm so excited to have other starchy side dish options besides potatoes, pasta, and rice.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring often, until some of the grains are just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.

Melt the remaining two tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and broth and bring to a boil.

Pour the boiling liquid over the toasted couscous and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it sit until the couscous is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and fluff the couscous with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tomato and Orzo Soup

While I hate the cold, there are a few things I love about winter: snow days, cozy sweatpants, holidays, hot chocolate... and this delicious Tomato and Orzo Soup just found a place on that list.

Coincidentally, this recipe came from a blog created by my friend Brooke's brother-in-law, John, and his girlfriend Bec. I love that their blog, Above an Italian Restaurant, is an endeavor that they are taking on together - it makes me wish that Pat and I had any shared hobbies (aside, of course, from the wii...). But most of all, I love their recipes! As soon as I added their blog to my reader, I starred a ton. This yummy soup from Wegman's was just the first that I've made, but I have tons more in mind.

Due to tastes, what I had on hand, and the fact that I bought crushed instead of canned tomatoes, I changed their recipe slightly. If you want the original, please visit their blog!

  • 1 cup onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced fine
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 carton (32 oz) vegetable stock
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Add onions, celery, and carrots and olive oil to large stockpot on medium-high. Cook, stirring, 6-7 min. Add chopped garlic. Cook 2 min, until vegetables are tender.

Add all tomatoes; simmer about 10 min. Add stock; return to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add pasta. Simmer 8-10 min, stirring often, until pasta is firm but tender. Remove from heat.

Add sour cream and milk to soup; fold in basil. Ladle into warmed bowls to serve.

Makes 13 cups (about 8 servings)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

I am a huge cinnamon roll lover, but have never really taken the time to make them from scratch. When I don't just buy the Pillsbury tubes, using crescent rolls is about as close as I get. ;)

Luckily, I discovered this recipe on Tasty Kitchen which gives me huge cinnamon roll flavor without the work. My husband usually makes us awesome chocolate chip pancakes on the weekends, but this time I kicked him out and took over pancake duty.

These were delicious, though I think I was too caught up in the icing issue. See, when the recipe was reposted on the Tasty Kitchen blog, it came with a yummy sounding icing. However, the quantities were not included so I had no idea how much of anything to mix. I tried adding little bits at a time, but the results were just not right at all.

I later learned that the right quantities were listed below in a comment - wish I had seen that earlier! I think, however, that next time I make these, I will try a cream cheese icing. Mmmmm.

  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • ¼ cups Butter, Melted
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
For the icing:
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cups Butter, Melted
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk (More if needed)

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon with a whisk. Whisk well to make sure everything is combined.

In separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syurp, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium/low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Brown on both sides.

To make the icing, whisk all ingredients together until smooth.

Serve warm with icing drizzled over the top.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Big Giant Cookie

I was super fortunate enough to win an awesome heart-shaped pan a couple of weeks ago from My Baking Heart. I am excited to add this to my kitchen and couldn't wait to break it in.

I remembered seeing a giant cookie on Sing For Your Supper, and I knew Ryan would get a kick out of baking (and eating!) this with me.

I used the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips and they were delicious. I followed the preparation instructions, but instead of using a cookie sheet, I smooshed the dough into the pan and baked it for about 23 minutes.

I even had enough dough left over to make regular cookies. Score!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lady and Sons' Chicken in Wine Sauce

WHY is it that the best-tasting meals aren't any good for you?

I almost didn't even care, though, when I made Paula Deen's Lady and Sons' Chicken in Wine Sauce (which I found on Mia Cucina). Now that there are two little kiddies running around my house these days (okay, one running and one rolling), I more than ever need dinners that require as little face time in the kitchen as possible.

So while this may not be the healthiest dinner (hello, it's Paula Deen!), it was easy and delicious. In fact, with a little tweaking, I would absolutely entertain with this recipe.

The only flaw is my own; I either used too much stuffing or didn't bake it long enough, but that's an easy fix.

Please excuse the poor picture quality. Dinner time + casseroles = icky photos. I actually like to photograph a lot of my meals the next day when there's natural light, but this was so good that there were no leftovers. Maybe next time...

  • 4 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for casserole
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces (about 8 slices) Swiss cheese
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup herb-flavored stuffing mix, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the chicken to a shallow buttered casserole and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Layer the cheese slices on top.

In a medium bowl, add the soup and the wine, season with salt and pepper and pour over the cheese. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top and drizzle with melted butter.* Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

*Cook's Note: If desired use more butter.

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

I love Pioneer Woman's BBQ meatballs and a few weeks ago I tried to turn it into a meatloaf recipe.

It did not go well.

Then I suddenly remembered that Brooke made an awesome BBQ meatloaf (thanks to the Neelys!) for us a couple of years go and I went right to her blog to find the recipe.

This meatloaf was really full of flavor and satisfying. While the photos leave much to be desired, rest assured that this was a dinner of comfort.

  • Pinch paprika
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning, (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce, reserving 1/2 cup for the top
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix BBQ seasoning, crab boil seasoning, soy sauce, beaten egg, 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper and garlic. Saute until tender. Remove from heat and add to wet mix.

Pour mixture into bowl with the ground turkey. Add bread crumbs and mix all together with your hands.

Transfer the meat mixture to a cookie sheet or baking pan. Using your hands, shape the meat into an oblong or rectangular shape. *Cook's Note: Alternately, you can pat the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on the top of the loaf.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and add the reserved 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Creamy Spinach and Tortellini

As you know, I love pasta, but really enjoy doing things a little differently once in awhile. I made this tortellini dinner from Cooking for Comfort, and it was indeed comforting. The spinach and tomatoes really rounded out the dinner and made me feel slightly less guilty for consuming a ginormous bowl of tortellini. This was nice and fast - boiling the water for the tortellini was the "long" part. The rest came together as the tortellini were cooking. Delicious, and I will for sure make this again.

  • 20 ounce family size package fresh cheese tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (9 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach in pouch, thawed
  • 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add spinach, tomato, basil, salt, and pepper, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream and Parmesan cheese; cook until mixture just comes to a boil. Pour sauce over tortellini and stir gently to coat. Serve with additional grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Red Velvet Chocolate Drenched Heartcakes

I love making little holiday-themed treats, and Picky Palate has really been my go-to site for this. She's so creative yet her recipes are very easy and fast. I would never think of some of her concoctions, but I love them!

These little red velvet hearts completely fit in with what I was looking for - something easy, yummy, and a little different.

I had a little bit of drama with this recipe, however. I was in Target and stopped to pick up the cake mix and condensed milk. I was going to buy a little heart shaped mold (I had the package IN MY HAND!), but when I saw it, I remembered that I already had one. Score - I saved myself $10.

Then I was all set to make them but the hearts looked much smaller than in the store. Hmm. Sure enough, I realized that what I had was a silicone ice cube tray in heart shapes, and not an oven-save pan.

By now it was two days before Valentine's Day, and by then Target was, of course, sold out of the pans. A couple of different Targets later (made by my wonderful husband and son), however, I was the proud owner of silicone heart-shaped cupcake liners.

Ryan of course helped me make this little treat, and we brought most of them to my parents' house for a pre-Valentine's-Day dinner. I really liked the chocolate ganache, and I used some leftover funfetti sprinkles from our Valentine's Day cupcakes before the chocolate set.

The only thing I did differently was not adding in the extras to the batter that Jenny did - but that was purely because I didn't read the whole recipe. I saw "cake mix" and "eggs" and "oil" and I assumed she was listing the ingredients from the box. It wasn't until later that I realized that she enhanced the cake even more. I'd love to try her version next time - but for now, these straight-out-of-the-box hearts were pretty good!

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix, plus the ingredients listed on the box
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand of an electric mixer prepare the cake mix as directed. With a cookie scoop or spoon, place cake batter into well greased little heart molds or paper lined cupcake tins, just over 1/2 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Remove and let cool. With the help of a plastic knife, carefully remove hearts from molds. If you are using regular cupcakes, remove wrappers. Place little cakes onto a cooling rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet.

2. To prepare chocolate sauce, pour sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, pour in chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Pour chocolate sauce over cupcakes and use a little plastic knife to frost the sides of hearts. Let chocolate set slightly or eat immediately if you like it gooey!

about 24 heartcakes

Sweetheart Cinnamon Rolls

I love making special breakfasts for holidays so I really appreciate when these holidays fall on a weekend! We really enjoyed the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls that I made for Halloween, so I was set on making a Valentine's Day version for this morning.

After some perusing online, I came up with this little creation myself, and if I may pat myself on the back, it was pretty fantastic. When I tasted the icing, I feared it was too sweet, but when spread on the warm rolls, it was perfect.

I loved that they were mini-sized; that made me feel dainty. We devoured these in no time and I can't wait to try different variations.

  • 1 tube crescent rolls
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • cinnamon for sprinkling (I probably used about 2-3 teaspoons total)
  • 4oz strawberry cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

Unroll the rolls so the rectangle is horizontally facing and press the seams together. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and then brush it over the dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.

Carefully roll the dough into a long cylinder, rolling away from you. Slice into 16 even mini rolls and place in a greased pie plate. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter along with the rest of the ingredients and whisk together (or use your mixer) until smooth.

Spread over warm rolls and enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Incredible Bundt Cake

As soon as Brooke posted this cake months ago, I went right out and bought the ingredients. So easy and simple and delicious!

I've made it several times since then, and it's always a hit. If I'm serving it during the day, I usually don't even frost it - it makes for a nice pound-cake style treat. For a more decadent dessert, it's frosting all the way!

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using and electric mixer, blend the cake mix, pudding, sour cream, eggs, oil and applesauce 5-6 minutes. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan. Pour 1/3 of the batter into pan and sprinkle one half of chocolate chips and nuts over it. Pour in remaining batter and top with remaining chips and nuts. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate; cool completely.

Valentine's Funfetti Cupcakes

When Ryan's preschool class has a party, I like to try to bring in something somewhat healthy for the kiddies. For the Valentine's Day party, I was the first to sign up - and all thoughts of fruits and vegetables escaped from my head and I nabbed the cupcake spot.

Though I used canned icing, I was excited to try a homemade version - I even bought pink and white sprinkles to use. I tried to track down this cake's origin, and I think it started at Baking Bites. But I got it from Amber who got it from Annie... so I hope I'm properly giving credit!

They were, of course, nice and easy to put together, and they were rather yummy! I do think I would make more next time, though - I barely got the 20 I needed (17 kids + 2 teachers + 1 for me to try!) and some were rather dinky. I would probably double this if I were feeding a large crowd.

Of course, it wasn't until I was about to make these that I realized I had only 1 egg. I subbed an individual serving cup of applesauce instead, and they were perfect! And it made me feel better about giving these to a group of 3-year-olds. :)

As usual, I had my trusty helper in the kitchen with me - cowboy pajamas and sticker collection and all!

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the sides of two 5-inch round cake pans, and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites to the bowl and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until incorporated. Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes for pans - 20 minutes for cupcakes). Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cooled cakes as desired.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Calling all Foodies!

(Photo courtesy of The Food Network)

My friend Pat is entering a chili cook-off and is looking for some criticism. Her recipe is below; I, of course, am loving the addition of coffee and chocolate, my two main food groups. But what are your thoughts? What might you change or add or do differently to make this a winner?

Thank you SO much!

Border Beef Chili

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. boneless chuck roast, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 14 ½ oz. cans beef broth (not condensed)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. brewed coffee
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plus one tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ oz unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 c. chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 c. diced carrots
  • 1 c. diced white potato
  • ½ c. chopped celery
  • 1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 21/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Place oil in a dutch oven and heat over high heat for one minute. Add half the beef, brown quickly and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with rest of the beef. Reduce heat, add onion and garlic to pan drippings and cook for 5 minutes until the edges of the onion begin to brown. Add broth, water, coffee, tomatoes, and their liquid, tomato sauce, and beef with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat further, and simmer uncovered for one hour.

Add bell pepper, carrot, potato, celery, beans, salt and pepper. Whisk together ¼ cup water with 2 tablespoons flour and stir into chili. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add parsley and let stand, covered for at least 15 minutes before serving. Flavors mellow and blend if chili is refrigerated overnight or for at least 4 hours. Reheat over low heat. Makes about 11 cups.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Like many people, I get tons of use out of my crockpot in the winter. What's better than warm, comforting meals that require hardly any effort?

This soup from Brooke is no exception. Aside from a couple of quick chops, this baby was cooking away in no time. And like Brooke, I saved even more time by using Perdue Short-Cuts.

I absolutely loved this, and can't wait to make it again. It's so filling and delicious, and I really don't feel guilty about having seconds. This makes a complete dinner, and the leftovers make for great lunches.

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow, green, or red bell pepper
  • 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup, low-sodium
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Optional toppings - shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions...

In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker, combine drained beans, drained tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker.Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Cut chicken into bite sized cubes. Cook over medium heat until cooked all the way through. Add into soup. Can be topped with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips. Sprinkle a little cheese on top before serving.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Healthy Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas

I think I may have found my new favorite quesadilla. Thanks, Ellie Krieger!

I found these over at Macaroni and Cheesecake awhile ago and am sorry I waited so long to make them. They were nice and quick, and absolutely delicious! There's something hearty yet light (I know, that doesn't make sense!) about the chicken-and-spinach combo, and they even appealed to my picky three-year-old, who is still asking for them.

I cooked these on the panini press, because, well, I feel that everything tastes better coming from the little appliance!

(Confession: I used store-bought grilled chicken which made this meal even faster!)


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 breast half)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 (10-inch) whole-grain flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix or Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushroom water is evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken, cumin, chili powder and oregano and stir until all spices are incorporated. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Lay 1 tortilla on a flat work surface and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spoon 1/2 chicken and vegetable mixture on top of cheese, then top with an additional 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another flour tortilla. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Carefully place 1 quesadilla in pan and cook 3 minutes. Using a large spatula, gently flip quesadilla and cook an additional 3 minutes until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with second quesadilla. Slice each quesadilla into quarters. Place 2 quarters on a plate with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 tablespoons salsa.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Marshmallow Swirl Brownies

When I was at Jen's Pampered Chef party last weekend, Brooke brought these awesome Marshmallow Swirl Brownies that she found on, get this, the Pillsbury box. I don't think I've ever even thought to look right below where the directions end - clever! :)

They were so ridiculously delicious (not to mention EASY!) and I couldn't wait to make them myself for our baby-playdate with Colleen. I made them in my Pampered Chef "large bar pan," but any pan would do. Actually, I will probably make them in my 9x13 next time so that they're slightly thicker. Or, I can just use two boxes...

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 pkg family-sized fudge brownie mix (plus whatever ingredients are listed on the box)
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1/3 cup chocolate frosting

Heat oven to 350. Prepare brownies as indicated on package with oil, water and eggs. Cool completely.

Spread a thin layer of marshmallow creme over brownies. Place frosting in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 10-20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle frosting over marshmallow creme. Swirl with knife.

Refrigerate 15 minutes. To cut cleanly, spray a knife with non-stick cooking spray as needed. Store loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hungry Girl's Lean, Bean Cheesy Enchiladas

Mmm, another victory from Hungry Girl's 200 Under 200 book! These enchiladas make a perfect lunch - yummy, filling, and healthy.

I actually doubled the recipe below so I had 4 of these. One was enough for lunch for me, so I saved the rest and ate them for lunch over the next few days.

  • 2 large corn tortillas
  • 1 slice fat-free cheddar cheese, cut in half
  • 2/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/3 cup fat-free refried beans
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp. taco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning mix, dry
  • Optional toppings: fat-free sour cream, chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a pan sprayed with nonstick spray, cook onions over medium heat until they begin to brown (about 2 minutes). In a small dish, combine the onions with the refried beans, taco sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well. Spray a small baking dish with nonstick spray. Heat tortillas in the microwave until slightly warm. Lay the tortillas on a clean, dry surface, and then spread about 2 tbsp. of the enchilada sauce onto each one. Place one half of the cheese slice on each tortilla. Then, evenly distribute the bean mixture into the center of each tortilla. Wrap the tortillas up tightly, and place them in the baking dish seam side down. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes (until the enchiladas are hot). Remove dish from the oven, sprinkle shredded cheese over the enchiladas, and then return it to the oven for about 5 minutes (until the cheese is nice and melty). Plate those babies and, if you like, top with some of the optional ingredients. Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pastor Ryan's Bolognese Sauce

I am a sucker for trying new sauces. I don't know if it's the bitterness of winter or what, but I've really been in the mood for hearty, chunky bolognese recipes. I remembered that Pioneer Woman had posted a version from her pal Pastor Ryan, and I dug through my reader until I could find it.

And I might never make another version again.

This was just so comforting and warm and cozy and perfect. I honestly had to fight off the urge to just eat this by the spoonful.

The first night, I made a baked gnocchi with it and had plenty of sauce leftover to freeze. I've used it since with tortellini, ravioli, penne... you can make it with anything. It's absolutely fantastic.

  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1-½ cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 cup grated celery
  • 1 whole Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes
  • 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (to 2 Cups) red wine
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire
  • 2 cans (28 Ounce) tomatoes - sauce, puree, crushed, a combination... whatever you want
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

I made these delicious little sandwiches from Beantown Baker a long time ago, but I didn't want to post them until now.

Actually, kind of a funny story: when I was working on my worcestershire sauce recipe for HighLowAha's Superbowl competition, I had decided on these sandwiches. I made them, served them during a brunch, photographed them, and was all set to blog them.

I then realized where they came from, and since Jen was a guest judge in the competition, I figured that it wasn't really appropriate to use one of her recipes.

That, however, didn't stop me from loving these; I just figured I'd wait a bit to post them. I changed them just slightly, so visit her site for her original.

They were so easy to put together, and definitely something "different." They were perfect for the New Year's brunch we had with my family, especially since you prep them the night before and then just pop them in the oven. How much more convenient can you get?

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried minced onions
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 package slider rolls
  • 1 pound cooked ham slices
  • 12 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

In saucepan, mix butter, onion, Worcestershire sauce, & mustard and stir until blended and melted. Pour 1/2 of mixture into bottom of baking dish.

Assemble sandwiches with ham and cheese slices. Arrange rolls in single layer in baking dish, spreading them around to soak up suace in pan. Pour rest of sauce over tops of sandwiches, cover dish and refrigeragte up to 24 hours for suce to soak in.

Preheat oven in 350 degrees, bake rolls for 10-12 minutes until rolls are lghtly browned and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

English Muffin French Toast

This past weekend my friend Jennifer hosted a Pampered Chef party (insert shameless plug for Brooke, the consultant, here). In addition to nabbing some new kitchen goodies, I also learned of an interesting little breakfast from one of Jennifer's friends (also named Jennifer!).

This fake-out French Toast is really yummy and a great breakfast for anyone who is trying to be a little mindful of their food. I would never have thought to make French Toast using English Muffins, but I'm glad someone did. I made it the next morning, and Ryan and I both loved it. It's already made several appearances in my kitchen!

  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • splash of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 2 multigrain English muffins
  • sprinkling of powdered sugar (optional)

Spray a nonstick pan with the cooking spray and heat over medium flame.

Combine the egg substitute, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Soak each half of the muffins in the mixture, and then cook for about 3-4 minutes, turning once.

Sprinkle with your choice of toppings - powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, etc.
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