Monday, April 30, 2007

Salsa Chicken Tacos

Easiest. Dinner. Ever. On Monday nights I don't usually get home until after 8:30, which means dinner needs to be super fast and easy. And what's easier than a crock pot meal?

3-4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup salsa
1 can of beans (Black would be best but I only had kidney)
2 tbsp of southwest seasoning mix (or a combo of red pepper flakes, dried cilantro, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and dried minced garlic)

I put everything in the crock of the crock pot on Sunday night. On Monday morning I had Jesse set the crock in the thing and turn it on. It cooked on low until I got home. When we were ready to eat I just used 2 forks to shred the chicken and mix everything together. Yummy!

We had this on wheat tortillas with sour cream and cheese.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chicken Piccata

Today was a busy cooking day! I felt better about my cookies because dinner was pretty light. I forget where I got this recipe I just came across it in my g-mail, where I copy recipes that look good. The only big change I made was adding garlic. Because let's face it, I love garlic! I will also say that I used too many capers. I didn't measure and more came out than I expected. You can tell in the picture.

I served this over whole wheat angel hair pasta.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves [I used 6 chicken tenders]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
[2 cloves garlic]

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan [this is when I put the crushed garlic in]; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add broth, wine, and lemon juice to the pan; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and capers. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half and 1 tablespoon sauce)CALORIES 227 (22% from fat); FAT 5.5g (sat 1g,mono 3g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 39.7g; CHOLESTEROL 99mg; CALCIUM 27mg; SODIUM 505mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 1.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.1g

Peanut, Peanut Butter and JELLY

Peanut butter and jelly cookie - that's right peanut butter and jelly COOKIE. How did I not think of this before? I originally got the idea from my cooking board. I prettymuch used her recipe I just made the cookies bigger than hers (I think). On to the recipe....

1 cup pb

1 egg

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 brown sugar

dash vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup flour

3-4tbsp grape jelly

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. mix pb and sugars, then stir in egg and vanilla. Finally mix in flour and soda. Make balls a little less than 1 tbsp (if you can squeeze out 22, they are just under 100 calories each)[I used my pampered chef medium scoop so my cookies were closer to 2 tbsp]. Roll into balls [Again, I used my scoop so I didn't need to form the balls] and place on greased cookie sheet. Press very lightly with a fork to make criss-crosses - but don't flatten too much. [I put a peice of parchment paper over the cookies and used a spatula to squish down, I didn't want a criss cross] Using a very small measuring spoon or the end of a wooden spoon[I'm bad, I just used my thumb!], make a small depression in each cookie. Melt preserves so they are liquidy then spoon into each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes and cool completely before trying to move them(or else they crumble!) [Mine really took closer to 13 14 minutes]

Honey Wheat Bread

My aunt gave my mom her bread machine because she never used it, then my mom gave it to me because she didn't think she would use it. Well a couple months later - I have finally used it 3 times now. The first was for the Cinnamon rolls and it worked out GREAT! The second was for this exact recipe. I came home after running an errand and smelled burning. I assumed the bread was burning so I run over turn off the machine and pull it out. Turns out there was just a little flour down by the heating element, that was causing the smell. For future refrence a bread machine (well my bread machine) will only start from the dough cyle. Almost cooked bread and dough cyle do not work well together. I tried finishing the baking in the oven but I wound up with a bread bowl full of dough! Darn.

That brings me to today. Attempt 2 and it worked. The bread came out great. The crust is a little darker than I would like it but the inside is soft and delcious. My machine has 2 crust settings so next time I will set it on "light crust"

1 1/8 cups water
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat setting, and then press Start.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wow! That's a mouthfull! (the name and the cookie)

Here is my review. These cookies are very good. Mine did not spread quite like I think they should have but I also chilled them before putting them on the pan. My final verdict is that I would make these again, but I think for the most part I will stick with my recipe (to be posted at a later date). These things take freaking forever to bake (partly due to size).

Besides the stuff in bold, this is exactly as the recipe appears on

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. [the first batch I used the parchment paper the second batch I didn't the cookies were fine both times]
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl[I used my standing mixer, the wisk for the liquids and the paddle when I added the flour], cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes [mine took a LOT longer than this] in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Garlic Chicken Pizza

What's not to love about this recipe? Cheese, check. Chicken, check. Garlic, check. Butter, check. Yep, I was in heaven. I do need to remember for next time though that I want to leave it in a little bit longer. The dough wasn't quite finished in the center. Or I might just throw the dough in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes before I put the toppings on, just to give it a head start.

The original recipe is from The way it is stated below is the way that I made it with my modifications.

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half

salt and pepper

cooking oil spray

3 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4-1/2 mozzarella

Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place in non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking oil spray. Cook until no longer pink inside. If chicken starts to stick use chicken broth to "deglaze"

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with garlic, onion and basil. When well blended added a spoonful of ricotta cheese and blend thoroughly. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Roll out the pizza dough, place onto a pizza pan or other baking sheet, and spread the butter mixture over the surface using the back of a spoon. Arrange chicken on top, then dot with ricotta cheese. Top with tomato slices, parsley, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until crust is browned and center is cooked through.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marinated Flank Steak, roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes

Another pic I came across. For this meal I used my "go to marinade" (check out "Kabobs!" for marinade recipe) for a flank steak. The flank steak was grilled for about 8 minutes on each side. The middle was still nice and pink and the outside was full of flavor. You barely even needed a knife.

Roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes-
15-20 brussel sprouts (I peel off the first layer or 2 or leaves and cut off the bottom)
3-4 potatoes cubed (to about brussel sprout size)
Fresh ground pepper
Garlic powder
A pinch of rosemary

Toss all the ingredients in a Ziploc baggie until evenly coated.

Spread potatoes and brussel sprouts out on cookie sheet (I used my pizza stone)

Bake at 400 for 45 minutes or until brussel sprouts are nice and brown on the outside and potatoes are tender.

Half way through it is a good idea to flip the brussel sprouts so they get evenly browned on both sides.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta

I was going through some old picture files on my computer and I came across this one. This was a GREAT meal. It was super easy and the left overs were great.

Basically I sauted onions and garlic in some evoo added some dry parsley, basil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Then I threw in 5 chicken tenders (seasoned with salt and pepper). When the tenders were cooked I removed them and deglazed the pan with some chicken broth (didn't have any wine). Added a can of crushed tomatoes and more basil. Let that simmer for about 20 minutes then I added a can of diced tomatoes and broke them up a little bit with my spatula. Then I added the chicken and a nice handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese. I served it all over bow tie pasta. Yum! It tasted a lot like chicken parmesan but the chicken wasn't breaded or really deep fried (just a little a evoo)

Parmesan-Paprika Pork Chops

This is supposed to be made with chicken but when I wrote out my weekly menu I realized we were having chicken almost every day, so I decided to switch it up and use pork chops. It turned out pretty good but lacked a certain depth of flavor that I was looking for. I would probably make this again, but using chicken and playing with more spices. The original recipe is from

I served the pork with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
3 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, Parmesan, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
Dip the chicken in the egg, then dredge in the flour mixture.
Place in the baking dish, and pour the melted butter evenly over the chicken.
Bake for about 45min to an hour in the preheated oven, until the cheese has browned, and the pork has cooked.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Well... tonight I was so hungry when I got home that I forgot to take a picture before I devoured dinner. Needless to say, dinner was delicious. We had kabobs. I used steak, onion, orange bell pepper and zucchini. And I got my husband to eat the peppers and zucchini!! He is going to be so healthy! I marinated everything over night and he assembled and grilled the kabobs as I was driving home from teaching dance.

The marinade - This is my go to marinade. Not sure what to do with your meat? Let them soak in this marinade for an hour or so and dinner is good to go. I love it. It can be used on anything. My favorite is flank steak.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp or so lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on size of clove and your love of garlic)
1 tsp ginger

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mexican Bean Stew

I served this bean stew with cheese and salsa quesadillas and topped with a little sour cream and manchego cheese. It was a very hearty meal and the left overs can be easily frozen.

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup dry red beans
1/2 cup navy beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Rinse and sort pinto beans, black beans and garbanzo beans. Place in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.
Drain beans and place in a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. It may be necessary to add more water during cooking to prevent drying out or scorching.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Stir in cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. To the beans add the onions, garlic and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste before serving.

Make sure to soak your beans SEPARATELY, other wise the black beans will give the pinto beans and navy beans a gross color.

Cinnabon Clones

I found this recipe on, it is a Cinnabon "clone" and we were very pleased with the flavor. The dough was not as elastic as I would have liked so next time I will use a little more butter in the dough (the recipe below will reflect this change).


1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Philly cheese steak

I have always loved baked sandwiches. There is just something extra delicious about melted, gooey cheese. This recipe fits the

Philly Cheese Steak and oven fries.


2 steaks cut into really thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
6 slices provolone cheese
3 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise


In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme and basil. Sprinkle over beef. Let chill in refrigerator for at least an hour
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute beef, onion, and pepper until meat is done and onions are slightly caramelized.
Preheat oven on broiler setting.
Divide the meat between the 3 rolls, layer with onion then top with sliced cheese. Place on cookie sheet, and broil until cheese is melted. Cover with tops of rolls, and serve.

Oven Fries -

2-3 russet potatoes
Olive oil spray
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Cut potatoes into chunky fries. Drop them in boiling water for 2 and half minutes (to help cut down on baking time). Lay dry fries out on stone (or baking sheet) that has been sprayed with olive oil spray. Spray the tops of the potatoes with olive oil spray then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake at 425 for approx. 30 minutes.

German Pancake

Typically German Pancakes are made in a cast iron skillet. I did not have a cast iron skillet so I just used a pie pan, which explains how smooth the sides and inside of the pancake are. But, I can assure that this recipe is tasty no matter the type of pan used to make it.

German Pancake.

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
couple of dashes of cinnamon
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place butter in a cast iron skillet (or pie pan) and set in oven.

Beat eggs in a standing mixer then slowly add the milk and flour, then the vanilla, sugar and cinnamon.

Pour batter into hot pie pan. Return pie pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes. It will rise like a souffle, then fall when taken out of oven.

Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple sugar or fresh fruit preserves.