Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chicken Bruschetta

I have seen a couple different variations of "chicken bruschetta" in other peoples blogs. While they all looked super tasty I wanted something a little closer to actual bruschetta. So I came up with this. It turned out great and this recipe fed 3 people.


6 chicken tenders pounded out to about 1/4-1/2 inch in thickness
about 1/4 cup flour
1 egg lightly beaten
about 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 can petite diced tomatoes (drained with liquid reserved)
a handful of fresh basil leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper (fresh ground)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Angel hair pasta

Start by breading just the top of the chicken tenders - dredge in flour, dip in egg, coat with bread crumbs. Place the chicken breaded side up in a casserole dish lightly sprayed with olive oil. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Start a pot of boiling water. While the chicken is baking drain the diced tomatoes and set the liquid aside. To the tomatoes add the fresh basil, crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and let rest for about 10 minutes (or until chicken is done). While the chicken is cooking and the tomatoes are resting drop the angel hair pasta in boiling water. After the first 15 minutes pull the chicken out and sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese. Put back in the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and breading is crispy. Then top the chicken with the tomato mixture and put back in oven until the tomatoes are heated through. Serve with angel hair pasta and sauce.
To make a sauce for the angel hair I put half of the tomato mixture in my food processor and added the reserved liquid from the can and just heated through.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Look out, it's a SHARK!!!!

Dinner tonight was awesome! 2 weekends ago on our Jungle Jim's adventure we bought some frozen shark steaks. Seeing as I don't prepare a lot of fish and I have never had shark I was a bit nervous. Every day Jesse would ask me when we were going to eat the shark. Finally I put it on the menu. It turned out awesome! I can't believe how good it was. It was perfectly tender and not at all fishy. Jesse even made a comment about it being like a "$30 plate from Bonefish Grill". I'll take that as a compliment :)

I served dinner with baked rice (he even liked the rice, WOOHOO)

Marinated Shark Steaks (Recipe from

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (eh, I used red wine vinegar, use what you've got!)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp parsley (I used less since I used dry)
1 clove garlic (I used 2, mmmm garlic!)
2 shark steaks

In a shallow bowl combine the first 7 ingredients and mix well.
Marinate for 30-60 minutes in refrigerator
Broil steaks 4-5 inches from heat for about 5 minutes each side, or until fish flakes easily with fork

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
I also used some fresh squeezed lemon, I added it about 15 minutes before it was finished

Preheat oven to 375*.
Heat butter in a skillet; add garlic and rice and cook until both are golden brown.
Add 1 cup of broth and the salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and pour into a covered casserole; bake for 25 minutes.
Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups broth; cook for another 45 minutes.
This can be doubled without increasing the cooking time.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just call me Rachel Ray!

So how many of you can relate to me? Every night you try and prepare a nice, fairly healthy dinner. Trying to avoid things that are over processed and high in sodium. Always challenging your culinary abilities. Then on Sunday night you ask your husband, "What would you like for dinner" and he replies "Hamburger Helper" SMACKING MY FOREHEAD! I figured there has to be something I can do to recreate this childhood treasure of his in a less processed way. Well, just call me Rachel Ray because in less than 30 minutes I prepared a healthy, okay, I will use that term loosely when refering to this recipe instead lets say "healthier" version of boxed family classic!

Jessica's cheesy hamburger mac

1 pound ground beef - I recommend Laura's Lean 8% fat
Half of a small onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp butter (I actually used Flieschmans Olive Oil Spread, it has less fat)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp grill seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsps flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I used extra sharp white vermont cheddar, sharp cheddar and colby jack, just whatever you have on had ;))
1/2 box Elbow noodles

Start a pot of water, bring to a boil. In a family sized non-stick skillet on medium high heat drop your butter and your diced onion. Once the onions are translucent add the flour and let it absorb the butter (this will help to thicken things later). Then add the ground beef to the skillet and using a wooden spatula start to break up the meat while it is cooking. Next add your spices. When the meat is halfway cooked drop your noodles in the boiling water. When the meat is all the way cooked add the chicken broth and cook down by half. Turn the heat down to low-medium then add the milk and cheese and stir well . Cook noodles just to al dente then drain and drop into the skillet with the meat mixture. Let simmer for about 5 minutes then serve.

Okay, so I won't win any culinary awards for this recipe but Jesse gave it 2 thumbs up!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Taste of Cincinnati

Once a year there is a fabulous street festival in Cincy that showcases lots of local and some national restaurants. I look forward to it every year. This year they moved it from Central Parkway to 5th St and I have to say that I like it better on Central Parkway. It seemed like there was a lot fewer vendors this year and it felt a lot more crowded. Hopefully this was just a one year thing. Guess we'll find out next year.

On to the food! Everything I had was fabulous, of course I stuck with some of my favorites but I also tried some new and fabulous things.

First up, The Black Forest restaurant for a Brat with Sauerkraut

Next we hit up Bella Luna for Crab and Lobster Ravioli that was fantastic

Then came the corn. Which was my FAVORITE part. I love grilled corn on the cob. Even though I usually cut mine off the cob to eat it :)

Montgomery Inn is always one of my favorites.

This was the most amazing food of the evening. It was fantastic!

This Jambalaya was SPICY!! But very very good.

Then once you have finished eating ALL of that food you can ride a ride.....or maybe not.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chocolate chip cookie brownie

Two of my very favorite desserts combined into one. Perfect!

I got this recipe from PIDay's blog.

Chipster Topped Brownie

For the Brownie Layer

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts

For the Cookie Layer

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, either chips or chunks

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan, line it with wax or parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.
To Make the Brownie Batter:
Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny and smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolate. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with a stand mixer, preferable fitted with a paddle attachment, or working with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scraped down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it disappear into the batter. Using a spatula, fold in the walnuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.
To Make the Cookie Dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chocolate. Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread evenly over the batter. I found that the best way to do this was to use lots of small spoonfuls fairly close together. The bigger spoonfuls seemed to sink into the brownie layer.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep golden brown and firm and thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
When the brownies are completely cool, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn right side up onto a cutting board. Cut into bars about 2 inches X 1 inch.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mmmm, comfort food!

My personal definition of comfort food - mashed potatoes. It really doesn't get much better than nice fluffy, starchy, mashed potatoes, unless of course you add a little cheese and a lot of garlic :)

My sister, Emilie, is in town and tonight I had her over for dinner. She has been living in a dorm since August and I know that all she wants when she comes home is REAL food. Nothing too fancy, just comfort food. One of her favorites is meatloaf one of my favorites is mashed potatoes and that is where I came up with the menu!

Meatloaf Muffins

1-1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I like using ground sirloin 90/10)
1/2 of an onion finely chopped
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 can tomato sauce (divided)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp Worcester sauce

Combine ground beef with 1/2 can tomato sauce, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Using an ice cream scoop portion into a lightly sprayed muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Combine remaining tomato sauce with parsley flakes, Worcester sauce and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

Makes 12 meatloaf muffins

Garlic Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

4-5 Idaho potatoes peeled and cubed
3 cloves fresh garlic crushed
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil. Add the 3 cloves crushed garlic and the cubed potatoes. Boil until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes depending on size of cubes and how starchy the potatoes are). Drain the potatoes and put back in the hot pot. Add the butter, sour cream, milk and salt. Using a hand mixer blend until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the cheddar cheese, garlic powder and pepper. Use a spoon to incorporate and let sit for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Use the taste test (aka my favorite part) to determine how much more salt and pepper to add

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Crab and Ricotta Cannelloni

OH MY GOD! This was sooo good! I have had this recipe in my "to try" folder since February. I don't know what I was waiting for. This recipe had a wonderful creamy taste and texture. It really wasn't that hard to make either. Plus it gave me an excuse to drag Jesse to Jungle Jim's : ) While we were there we also picked up some Tilapia, Salmon and Shark steak. The shark should be interesting. I need to find a good recipe....

On to the recipe! I halved everything except the filling (didn't want to waste the crab meat I bought) All of the extra filling went into an airtight container and into the freezer (to ensure that there will be no freezer burn I layed a piece of saran wrap right on top of the filling and pushed down a bit before I put the Tupperware lid on)

1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Bechamel Sauce, recipe followsBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg yolk, basil, crab, salt, and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered baking dish. Top the filled cannelloni with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Bechamel Sauce:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool and then cover and refrigerate.)

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis; "Everyday Italian"

Party Party!

Jesse and I threw a party for his work friends on Saturday night. I went a little over board on the food, but hey, that's what I do : )

On the menu:
White bean and roasted garlic dip
Salsa and Gaucamole [I cheated and bought these pre-made. Check your store for the Garden Fresh brand. It is in the deli area in the cold case and it taste JUST like homemade]
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Mexican Chicken Dip
Pepperoni Bread Twist
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Unfortunately I accidentaly deleted a lot of the pictures of the food :( I do have recipes though.

White bean and roasted garlic dip:

2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup parsley leaves, to garnish In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and process until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and serve with your favorite vegetables

Buffalo Chicken Dip:

2 cups chicken; cooked and shredded
2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese (softened)
1 cup ranch dressing
1/2-3/4 cup wing/hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheese

Throw everything in crockpot and turn on high until the cream cheese melts. When everything is soft enough to be mixed together turn the crock pot to warm and top with shredded cheese.

Mexican Chicken Dip:

1 1/2 cups chicken; cooked and shredded
1 8 oz packeage cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
A shake or 2 of hot sauce
2 tbsp jalapenos chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese - I like to use a colby jack blend

Same as buffalo dip. To make this look nicer you can mix everything except the shredded cheese and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Then top with cheese and chopped tomato if you like.

Pepperoni Bread (Original recipe is from Amber, the only change I made was using 2 loaves and making a twist)

1 roll refrigerated french bread dough OR 1 loaf frozen bread dough (thawed)[I used 2]

Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Egg wash (1 egg white, water)
Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out bread dough and sprinkle with mozzerella and parmesean cheeses, place pepperoni (as much as desired) on top of the cheese.

Carefully roll the bread dough into a cylinder shape. Pinch ends and top to seal. Brush top and sides of loaf with egg wash. If desired, top loaf with cheese, pepperoni, and/or Italian seasoning. Make a few diagonal slices in top of loaf for air to escape while cooking. [to make a twist lay the 2 loaves next to each other and cross to make an X. Then cross the ends over.]

Bake at 350 for ~20 min.[the twist should take 25-30] Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peanut Butter Blondie

How can you make a blonde even better? Add peanut butter! LOL.

Okay, I'll admit it, I have food crush on PIday. Her blog is so inspiring. I know, my food will never look as good as hers. But a girl can try. If nothing else it tastes good.

Peanut Butter Blondies with White Chocolate and Pecans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans [okay, okay, I didn't toast them]
1/2 cup chocolate chips*
1/2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate [I didn't have any so I just skipped it]

Preheat oven to 325F.
Grease and lightly flour and 8 inch square baking pan.[my square pan was dirty so I used a pie pan]
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the peanut butter and the sugars until smoothm about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pecans, chocolate chips and the white chocolate, reserving 2 TBSP of each.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved pecans, chips and white chocolate evenly over the top and, using a spatula, gently press into the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean with moist crumbs attached.
Do not overbake. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cincinnati Favorite with a twist....

My aunt made this little recipe up and I have made a few modifications to it over time. It is a great way to feed 4 people (or 2 with leftovers) on only one can of Skyline. It is one of Jesse's favorites. Last night he said "This was one of your first learning meals" LOL I guess we had this a lot when we were first married.

Skyline Casserole:

1 can Skyline chili (Cincinnati Style chili)
2 oz cream cheese
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2-3/4 box pasta (We prefer bow tie noddles but you could also use shell or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 small onion chopped (optional it is really tasty in it but I always forget! Careful not to use too much or it will over power everything)

Bring water to a boil and then drop in the pasta. While the pasta is cooking melt cream cheese in microwave and stir in to chili. When pasta is ready drain the pasta and while still in the strainer add the can of beans and toss together. Put the pasta in a casserole dish and pour Skyline/cream cheese mixture over top. Top the entire dish with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly on top. Sometimes I will turn the broiler on for the last couple minutes so the cheese gets extra bubbly. Serve with a dash of Tabasco sauce on top. Yum!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's day brunch....

Wow! We had quite the meal this morning. I am still stuffed. First let me show off how cute my table looked :)

We had fruit salad, breakfast burritos and Cinnamon rolls.

For the breakfast burritos I made scrambled eggs with southwest seasoning, black beans, salsa, colby-jack shredded cheese, bacon, sausage and wheat tortillas. In the fruit salad I had strawberries, kiwi, grapes, apple and mandarin oranges (from the can because I can't peel oranges).

Cajun Chicken Pasta and Paula Dean's Cheese Biscuits

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Thursday nights have officially turned into my baking night! It is so nice to finally have a night off during the week to do something for ME! Tonight I decided to make a nice little breakfast treat. I looked through my cookbooks,, and and blended some recipes to come up with what I finally used.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Filling (mix well in bowl, I make 2 batches of this):
2- 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2- 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In large bowl cream together sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla.
Slowly beat in the flour mixture and sour cream (little flour, little sour cream, little flour, little sour cream....)
Spoon half of batter into pan. Sprinkle the first half of filling on top. Then spoon the other half batter over filling.
On top sprinkle the other half of filling.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

I left the food prep up to Jesse tonight. He did a great job. He took the ingredients from the counter (where I set them all up) and put them in the crock pot. :)

1-2 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 cup white wine
1 can chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
dry minced garlic
pepper to taste
1/2 of a onion-mushroom soup packet

Cook on high in slow cooker for 4 hours.

Voila! Dinner!

Chicken Enchiladas

If you are looking for a truly authentic Enchilada recipe this probably isn't it and yes I DO use a can of COC in this recipe. But if you are looking for creamy, cheesy, chickeny goodness, you've come to the right place! I served this with black beans. This recipe is easy to half and makes for great left overs.

Chicken Enchiladas

½ Cup chopped Onions
4 Oz. Cream cheese, softened [I use reduced fat]
¾ Tsp. Ground Cumin
4 Cups Chicken Breast, cooked & chopped
12 Flour Tortillas, 6 inch size [I used wheat tortillas]
1 Can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup [I use the healthy request kind]
1 8oz container Sour Cream [reduced fat again]
1 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Chopped jalapenos (fresh or jarred)
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or mexi-cheese)
[I also added a half a can or Rotel tomatoes to the chicken mixture]

Preheat oven to 450. Spray 13 x 9 casserole pan with cooking spray. Stir together cream cheese, cumin, onion and chicken. Microwave tortillas in their bag for 60 seconds until soft and pliable. Spoon ¼ Cup of chicken mixture into tortilla, roll up and put into pan. Repeat until all tortilla's have been filled. Next, combine soup, sour cream, milk and jalapenos. Pour over enchiladas. Top with ½ Cup shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 min or until bubbly.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce

Tonight I had no idea what to make. I hadn't made my weekly plan and gone shopping yet so I just had to use what I had, which wasn't much! We wound up having cream cheese chicken and mashed potatoes. OK, I know, my meal was all the same color. Oh well. We'll add color some other time ;)

This is my modified recipe for 2 people (I think the original is from but I got it off of a message board)
4 chicken tenders
3/4 can chicken broth
3 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
4 oz cream cheese
Splash of white wine
Salt and pepper

Saute chicken in some olive oil. Add red peppers and crushed garlic
After 1-2 minutes [I actually let the chicken cook for about 8 minutes] add chicken broth and white wine
Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes [mine was more like 15 minutes]
Remove chicken and place in a covered dish to keep warm
Add cream cheese, mix until thick and bubbly
Pour sauce over chicken

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Chocolate frosting

We had a cake and no frosting! So I searched for a chocolate frosting that didn't require any kind of milk (because we are out) I came up with this recipe and it was pretty good. The semi-sweet taste is pretty strong but the texture is great.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt chocolate and the butter together. Let cool and blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar until the frosting is of spreading consistency, beat well.

Pork Tenderloin Wraps

Happy Birthday to my dad!

Tonight we had a birthday dinner for my dad. My mom said he wanted to grill but she wasn't sure what. We had pork tenderloin wraps on the menu for Friday (IHO Amber), but when I went to make them the pork was still frozen. Turns out it was meant to be because I just told my mom I would bring everything over and we could have those. That way no one had to go to the store.

I was never a huge pork fan. Something about the texture was just odd too me. It was actually these wraps that turned me around a bit. I love the mixture of the pork and BBQ with the cool tomatoes and ranch. Yum!

What you will need:
1-2 pounds pork tenderloin
Dry BBQ rub
chopped tomatoes
chopped onion
shredded lettuce
shredded cheddar cheese
BBQ sauce
Ranch Dressing
Tortilla wraps

Cover pork in dry rub. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160. Lay out the other ingredients buffet style and let everyone make there own wraps.

Red Velvet Cake

So while drooling (I mean reading) over the blog Culinary Concoctions by Peabody I came across an amazing picture of Red Velvet cake and I just HAD to make it! This was my first attempt at a purely home made cake so it was definitely a learning process. First lesson, cake flour is definitely NOT the same thing as All-purpose flour. Second lesson, wait for the cakes to cool a little bit before flipping out of pan. And finally lesson number three, be patient when making frosting unless you want a runny sticky mess.

Despite my problems this was still a really good cake. I will absolutely make it again. I also want to say a little thanks to Alton Brown and his Good Eats episode on cakes. From him I learned how to level my loppy cakes. Jesse also really liked it, his comment "It definitely doesn't taste like it looks" LOL. Next time it will be better!

The recipe

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring. Pour into three 8-inch layer pans and bake for about 25 minutes. Press lightly;if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done. Frost the cooled layers, assemble and frost the top and sides. Serves 12 to 14.
Red Velvet Cake Frosting
1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter and melt over very low heat. Add the sugar, pecans and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Chicken Cordon....Casserole?

Well it doesn't take the prettiest picture, but it sure is tasty! I came up with this in an effort to make Chicken Cordon Bleu a little less complicated. All the rolling and dipping, too messy. Instead I use chicken tenders and layer my ingredients.

6-8 chicken tenders, pound to about 1/2 inch
4 slices of swiss cheese, cut in half
1-2 tbsp cream cheese (yes, cream cheese)
3 slices thin sliced deli ham
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chicken broth

Spray a casserole dish with a non stick spray. For the first layer lay out 3-4 chicken tenders. Sprinkle with a small amount of breadcrumbs. For the next layer spread cream cheese over 4 swiss cheese halves and lay over chicken. On top of the swiss cheese lay out ham. Next is another layer of chicken, topped with bread crumbs and another slice of swiss cheese. Then pour a small amount of chicken broth around the edges so they don't dry out. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Check to be sure that the BOTTOM layer of chicken is cooked thoroughly.

*Note, I usually give the top layer of bread crumbs a little spray with oil before laying the cheese on top.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mozzarella stuffed turkey meatballs....


and spaghetti!

1 lb ground turkey
1 lightly beaten egg
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tsp dry minced garlic (or 2 to 3 cloves crushed)
2 tsp dry onion flakes
1 tsp dry parsley and basil
pinch of salt
ground black pepper
12 cubes of mozzarella

In a mixing bowl blend the turkey with the lightly beaten egg. Slowly add bread crumbs and other seasonings until well blended.
One big spoonful at a time work meat mixture into a ball then flatten out.
Place mozzarella cube in center and reform ball.
Place meatballs in a baking dish lightly sprayed so they won't stick.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
Add meatballs to pasta sauce (You can use jarred, I made my own) and let simmer for 15-20 minutes so the flavors can marry.

My pasta sauce-
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves, garlic crushed or minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I like mine pretty spicy so sometimes I use more)
1 tbsp dry basil
Oregano and parsley (just a little I eyeball it)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper

Saute onion in EVOO until translucent. Add crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, parsley, and oregano, let the spices infuse with the oil for a minute. Work tomato paste into spices and onion. Sometimes at this point I will add 1/4-1/2 cup of wine or vodka and let the alcohol cook out before the next step. Next add cans of crushed and diced tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.