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10.29.2009

Featured as Top 9 recipe on Foodbuzz

I am so excited! After many years of cooking, continuing to cook has become even more of an inspiration when your own recipe has been chosen as a favorite.

Thanks for Foodbuzz for being a great site to save, share and feature my very own recipes!

10.27.2009

Turkey Croquettes, Roasted Cauliflower, and Cherry Tomato-Infused Jasmine Rice

After a long day at work, my hubby and I decided to take on the task of raking leaves. One thing I had forgotten about actually having a Fall, is the fact that leaves fall from trees and accumulate and force one to clean up least the grass die, or else as our landlord conveyed to us this past weekend. Ha! Let me tell you that this is such a GREAT workout. I have a tiny blister in the area between the thumb and forefinger and a few sore muscles, but other than that the process was delightful. I almost thought of offering my raking services to neighbors but instead refrained. After an hour and half of raking and bagging only have the leaves, we decided to call it an evening.

After this nice workout, I was so inspired by my dinner plans. Last night was the last night to peer in my freezer and refrigerator and create from minimal items into a delicious meal! I had the following ingredients: ground turkey, cherry tomatoes, jasmine rice, and cauliflower. It was somewhat difficult making the best dish for the turkey, because, according to different sources, has a tendency of drying up and making for a bland dish. My goal was to create something that not only had my hubby asking for more, but a future recipe for further use. I am wondering if I should start a hubby-o-meter, letting all know out there how much your husbands would like the OTHER white meat, thoughts?

The results: A most tender, flavorful and moist meat dish. I received a big smile from my hubby and a request for me to make it again in the future. Always good news, eh? So here goes three different recipes created by myself all cooked within an hour. We were starving after raking leaves for long, so dinner had to come soon!
Croquettes are traditionally deep-fried and breaded on the outside, but my version is a healthier one. It has more of a Mediterranean flair to it. It is cooked in olive oil, and the breading is in the meat mixture. Even though I will give the order by entree, please start with the veggie, rice and then meat, so that everything will be ready at the same time.

Turkey Croquettes

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makes 12 croquettes

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp dried onions
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Heat olive oil in frying pan on medium heat.

Mix all ingredients together and use 1/4 cup of the meat to form a type of meatball but more like a cylinder. Add meat to pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. You do not want the meat to dry out, so cover the pan. It should brown on each side. Keep warm in a covered dish until ready to eat.

Roasted Cauliflower

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serves 4

1 whole cauliflower, cut in small florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleaning and cooking.

Wash cauliflower and cut into small florets. Place in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and toss until well coated.

Position oven rack to the next to top rack. Place cauliflower on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and rotate the cauliflower and add Parmesan to veggies. Place back in the oven and continue roasting for 10 more minutes. This tastes better when hot so make sure it is the last thing cooking.

I make extra rice because I like leftovers for another meal during the week.


Cherry Tomato-Infused Jasmine Rice

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serves 4

2 cups jasmine rice
3 cups water
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt

In a medium pot, heat coconut oil. Place cherry tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add rice and fold tomatoes. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover rice and cook for 15-20 minutes.

10.25.2009

Eggplant-Mushroom Lasagna

So the incentive after buying groceries for the month is to really do without having to go to the store to purchase more items. I am really trying hard to use the items in my fridge and pantry before I REALLY need to go to the store. So far, so good.....thank God! Friday's dinner consisted of items of had in my fridge. Sometimes I feel like the guys off that Food Network show that open their basket and see what meals they have to prepare from what the judges have given them. Well, I do not have anyone who gives me these items; I do it myself! I guess I challenge myself and if it sometimes does not come out, I feel sad for a second and then get over it. It was not the case Friday evening.

I looked inside my fridge and knew I wanted to do something with eggplant. Now that I know my hubby will eat, I try to plan carefully. "How can I use it this time," I ask myself. Seeing that I did not have all the ingredients for a real Eggplant Parmesan, I decided to modify this recipe. I grilled eggplant slices and mushrooms and alternated layer of the veggies with a ricotta/fontina mixture. The results! YUM! This will definitely go on my recipe book. It is not only delicious but it is also a super quick version of lasagna without having PASTA...c'mon, I know you carb-conscience like this already! Try it!



Eggplant-Mushroom Lasagna

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: bake entree vegetarian low-carb eggplant Italian

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 medium globe eggplant
  • 1 pint mini-portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 24 oz can all-purpose tomato sauce (I use 6-1 sauce)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt for sauce
  • 1 tsp salt for eggplant
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup low-fat ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cup fontina, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp parsley
Instructions
Preheat oven to 450F. Heat a grill over stove. Slice eggplant lengthwise, about 1/2 thick. In a bowl, mix salt, pepper, and olive oil. Brush oil mixture on both sides of eggplant and grill, for 5 minutes on each side or until somewhat soft. The oven will do the rest of the cooking. After the eggplant is cooked, saute mushrooms with garlic for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat tomato sauce and the following 4 ingredients. Boil the sauce for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup fontina, parmesan cheese, and parsley.

In a 9x9 glass pan, start the layering process. Place 1 cup sauce on the bottom. Next add 4-5 eggplants, evenly on the pan. Layer with 1/2 ricotta mixture. Repeat the process, ending with sauce. Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 cup grated fontina. Bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with your choice of pasta.
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10.24.2009

Dutch Apple Pie Crumble

Seeing that this week has flown by, decided that I needed to end the week with some goodies. We had another couple over for dessert after my hubby played the piano for a hymn sing at a retirement community, so I knew that I had to make something seasonal. I decided that since I had so many apples left at home that I would make an apple dessert. I was inspired by another friend's recipe we had while at donner last week, so it convinced me to make one too. I have never made one mainly because I have always thought it to be a very sweet dessert. My hubby and I have many definitions of what one would call VERY sweet and NOT so sweet. I do not think either one of us will ever win this debate.

While I thought that this recipe was a great one, especially the pie crust, I thought that it was terribly sweet. My hubby thought it was not sweet enough. I was very pleased with how the pie came out, it is just not going to be one of my favorites, unless I make it my own somehow. This is for later taste testings! Our company liked it, so that was the most important thing for me! Two thumbs up!


Dutch Apple Pie Crumble

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from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook

9-inch pie, serves 8

Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 Tbsp cold water

In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until pieces are pea size.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened pastry to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 Tbsp of the water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Form pastry into ball.

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease into pie plate without stretching it. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired.


Apple filling

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 2 1/4 lbs)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare and roll out pie crust on pie plate.

If desired, sprinkle apples with lemon juice. In a large bowl stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices and, if desired, berries. Gently toss until coated.

Transfer apple mixture to the pastry-lined pie plate. Prepare crumble topping recipe.

Topping

Stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Usin a pastry blender, cut in 3 Tbsp butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apple mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. To serve warm, let pie cool at least 2 hours.

10.21.2009

Balsamic-Marinated Beef and Polenta

After taking a night off from cooking (thanks to my hubby), I decided to make something really gourmet for dinner. Before the cooking began, we wanted to work out like we had been doing 2 months ago. We realized that summer is over. Did you know that?? :) Every tennis court has removed their nets down, and even though we have had great weather, it is impossible to play. It looks like we will be searching for indoor tennis or raquet ball courts!

Well, after taking a stroll I prepared dinner within an hour. These recipes were all new to me and pretty much my own creations. I have always seen polenta in many recipes and I have eaten several times, but I got to say I have never made it myself. What a quick process! I also had never used balsamic vinegar for anything other than my delicious salads, so I ventured marinating some stew meat. I was very happy with results and I think you would too! After serving it to my hubby I was glad that I tricked. He said he was going in for a bite and thought he was eating mash potatoes until he noticed they were not mashed potatoes! I like surprising people especially my hubby! We had an enthusiastic thumbs up last night!


Balsamic-Marinated Beef and Polenta

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serves 2

Marinade
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp mustard powder

Beef
1/2 pound beef stew meat, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, julienned
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in pan. Add onions and fry the onions until they start caramelizing (for 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, prepare the marinade and add the beef to the mixture. Add the beff mixture to the onions and cover for 10 minutes. Uncover and let the juices start to evaporize. Serve with polenta immediately to savor full flavors.

Polenta
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp salted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 fontina cheese, shredded

Boil water, cornmeal, and salt in a pot until the mixture starts to thicken (starts in 5-10 minutes). Start adding the rest of the ingredients until it becomes creamy. Must be served hot.

10.20.2009

Best-Ever Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sooooo........I woke up at 6am this morning, inspired by my hubby's early morning departure and realized that I NEED to do this more often. I know I already get up early as it is, but I felt so energized today, so energized that I was ready to take on the baking world of cookies! I knew that my hubby was going to be going to a study group tonight, so I decided I would bake for them. I enjoy how therapeutic it is to bake and especially, baking for others!

We have had this cookie recipe for quite a while and have not looked back at any others, unless it required it. If you are looking for the best, I mean the best cookies, we have the perfect recipe for you. These cookies are crunchy on the edges and soft and chewy on the center! Normally, I make these cookies with Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, but my hubby usually prefers semi-sweet. Today was quite a different story. I heard the peppermint patties calling me from the freezer, begging to be used, so I consented. I chopped these babies up and mixed a bit of semi-sweet chips which produced fantastical chocolate minty chip cookies! I hope the study group enjoyed them!


Best-Ever Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

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makes 16-18 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup York peppermint patties, chopped

Preheat oven to 325F. Place a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet.

Sift flour, salt, soda, and set aside. Mix the sugars with the melted butter until thoroughly mixed, then add the egg, egg white, and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy.

Add sifted ingredients and mix until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped peppermint patties. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, place dough in cup, scoop and place 1 inch apart on parchment paper. Bake for 19 minutes and cool on cookie rack.

Uncle John's Cider Mill -----Colorful Broccoli Salad

This past weekend we had some downtime to hang out with some friends and go to our local cider mill. Michigan is well known for their wineries and brewery, but I am not informed on all kinds of beers. I feel out out of place, like I am missing out, but from what I hear it is not so lady-like to drink beer. :) Well, at this Cider Mill they make unpasteurized apple juice, wines and hard cider. We were set on going to the tasting room but there was an 1.5 hour wait.

We decided to purchase an Apple Hard Cider, which turned out SO SO good. I am set in getting used to cider than beer, right? Who is out there to cheer me on? Ok well, we all sat down and purchased some apple cider and famous cake donuts and decided to venture on to the pumpkin patch. I am soaking up fall, let me tell ya. I have made people back home envious of an acutal season. I know what it finally feels and looks like!

After the fun times we headed off to a friend's house for some nice hearty potato soup, salad and hard cider! What good times!


Colorful Broccoli Salad

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serves 4

Salad
2 Broccoli floret and stalks, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Vinagrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed black pepper

Chop the broccoli florets and stalks in 1/2 inch pieces and place in a salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with vinagrette before eating. Crunchy and flavorful!

Spiced Pear Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar & Oat Streusel

So I have a lot to catch up. The weekend flew past me without being able to update on the yummy recipes I used. Friday we had a nice couple come over and eat dinner. I made my grandmother's recipe for enchiladas making a quick simple version and calling it enchilada casserole. Is it not wonderful to be able to improvise when it comes to cooking, just because you CAN? Oh yeah! Well, during my menu planning, I also had to plan dessert. What more can you ask for during the fall season? Well, after having a spicy dish I figured we could have a light dessert, so I decide to have a fruity coffee cake. I have to say I have only made the classic coffee cake with certain variations, like peach preserves mixed with the streusel, but never with actual fruit.

While surfing
Foodbuzz I came across a recipe I had saved from one of my blogger "friends." I believe her recipe was on the top 9 recipes of the day, so I decided I would try the recipe adapted from Epicurious, which by the way has some great recipes! SO this recipe asked for Bartlett pears, which I found earlier in the week at the Farmer's Market. A whoel quart of pears for 3 bucks! Can't beat that can ya! I am sure you can. :) They were so sweet! The only thing I would change for next time is that I would ADD another pear to this recipe. I mean if it is going to be called Spiced Pear Cake, might as well have enough, right?

Our company like it and I also had leftovers to bring over to my voice teacher. It was funny to get a call from his partner saying how wonderful it was over a glass of red wine! I like getting unexpected calls from people who enjoyed my baking. Enjoy the recipe as I did!

Spiced Pear Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar & Oat Streusel

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Adapted from Epicurious as found on Cookin' Canuck

Streusel:
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) chilled butter

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 Bartlett pears, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I would add another half)

Making the streusel:
In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, rolled oats, and ground cloves. Whisk together. Cut 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled butter into 1/2-inch pieces and cut into the brown sugar mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers. When the mixture resembles coarse meal, set it aside.

Making the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

Combine 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter and 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar in a separate large bowl, and blend with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour mixture alternately with plain yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.

Coat a 12-cup bundt pan thoroughly with cooking spray (or grease with butter or shortening). Spoon in 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Top with 1/2 of the streusel mixture and 1/2 of the pear pieces. Spoon in half of the remaining batter and top with the remaining streusel and pear pieces. Spoon in the rest of the batter and spread evenly over the streusel.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a rack. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Using a sieve, sprinkle over about 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

10.16.2009

Pan-fried Lemon-Sage Chicken with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions, Sage and Blue Cheese

Thursdays are our "rush" days. My hubby and I have a tight schedule consisting of school, work and music rehearsals, so making a good meal to eat around 5pm can get very tight. Well, lately, I have been making creative pasta dishes every Thursday, but somehow, I was NOT in the mood for pasta, especially since my hubby had cooked the night before. He made me Yankee Chili which requires elbow macaroni. I have never had this dish before and had been quite skeptical of it but I can't argue when my hubby volunteers to cook, you know? Here is the picture of his meal:

Ok, so I thank my hubby! Anyway, I wanted to get away from having another pasta dish so I looked at a receipe I had bookmarked for Butternut Squash on Kevin's blog, called Closet Cooking. I know I mentioned that I was going to make soup with the squash recipe but this was calling my name!

The next to think about was the main portion of the meal. We have been good about eating meat only once or twice a week, since I like eating protein in different forms. Based on that fact, I decided to make a chicken recipe that would accompany all the flavors incorporated in the squash recipe. The results were fantastic! It filled us pretty quickly without the need to have rice, potatoes, or bread. This quick and easy meal for a hectic busy schedule proved to be a winner in our books.


Pan-Fried Lemon-Sage Chicken with Roasted Butternut Squash

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serves 2 (recipe by me)

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp sage, chopped (dried or fresh)
1 lemon, juiced

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Meanwhile, butterfly each chicken breast and place the chicken breasts between a sheet of parchment paper. Use a mallet to pound the chicken until it is 1/2 inch thick.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and spices and coat each chicken breast in flour. Place the chicken on the pan and fry the chicken for 5 mins on each side. The last 3 minutes, add the lemon juice to the chicken in the pan. Immediately serve.

I would recommend preparing the squash first, then the chicken.

Roasted Butternut Squash
--with onions, sage, and blue cheese---

adapted from
Closet Cooking

serves 2 people

1/2 butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
10 sage leaves

Place squash on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 25 minutes on 425F.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and saute onions and garlic. Add sage leaves and continue to cook until aromatic. Add the roasted squash and remove the pan from stove top. Add the crumbled cheese and mix. It will melt as you mix in.

Serve with the chicken and a nice white wine!

10.14.2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Does anyone else have ice cream during the fall and winter times? Well, I guess, let's say I know a little more about ice cream since being married to my hubby. What is it with our men and ice cream? Are there lactose-intolerant men out there? Of course NOT!

Anyway, seeing that I had a moment there, I thought I would expound on my ice cream-making adventures. In fact, there wasn't much adventure other than the fact that we were making homemade ice cream for the first time. I have been frequenting a great blog, called
Dinner and Dessert, where Erin has documented HER ice cream-making skills. I have seen many bloggers refer to David Lebovitz as having the best guide to making ice cream, but even though I have not purchased his book yet, which is called Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments , I will get to share the recipe with you from his book that came from Erin's blog.

If you like chocolate and peanut butter, you are going to really like this combination. It also has a recipe for a Reese's peanut butter cup-like dough to go as a mixin'!! My hubby proclaimed it as the best homemade ice cream he has ever had! How about that! Luckily, my husband had a
Krups automatic ice cream maker that came to our rescue so no hand churning, rock salt or anything like that. Even my hubby was glad to help. His "2 thumbs up" after finishing the first taste of homemade ice cream makes it worth making again! Enjoy!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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makes a quart

2 cups half-and-half
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup smooth peanut butter

Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it will start to foam up). Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until thoroughly blended.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Peanut Butter Patties

6 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Mix together the peanut butter and sugar in a small bowl. Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap. Pinch off small pieces of the peanut butter mixture, about ½ teaspoon each, and drop them onto the dinner plate. Once you’ve used all of the mixture, freeze the patties.

Mixing them in: Fold the Peanut Butter Patties into 1 quart of ice cream as you remove it from the machine.

Storage: Peanut Butter Patties can be stored in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Shrimp Salad

I have had a butternut and acorn squash staring at me for a while now and I knew I had to make something with it. I really DO enjoy eating squash and since it is the season for it I will be making a soup with the butternut later on.

We had a gorgeous sunny day yesterday. It inspired me to be inventive especially while listening to a great CD, which I recommend.
Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon:Duets by far is a great CD on duets from famous operas. Let's face it! It inspired this "autumn misses summer" dish.

I really have not ever heard of squash mixed with shrimp but it sounded appetizing and a nice challenge. DO you know that roasting squash is SO easy? I need to do it more often and even more so with squash I have never tasted before. If you could only see the heirloom squash and varieties at the Farmer's Market, you would be going nutty like me! :)

Once I started making the dish I then decided to make quinoa as a side dish to accompany this hearty meal. My mom has been telling me about quinoa for a while, but it just had not convinced me. The last time I was in town, she sent me away with 2 cups worth of quinoa from Whole Foods. Can you believe that after 8 months I finally used it! It was DELICIOUS! Enjoy trying this recipe!


Stuffed Acorn Squash with Shrimp Salad

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serves 2

1 acorn squash, cut in half, not length-wise
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked shrimp, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil
juice of 2 limes
2 tsp parsley flakes

Drizzle each half of the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and cook for 45 minutes on 425F.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss with olive oil and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa as a side dish: Cook 1 cup of dried Quinoa and cover with water. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. When they look transparent, drain excess water and drizzle a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

10.12.2009

Stress-relieving Double Chocolate Scones

So I believe I have not updated everyone on the busy times my hubby and I have had lately. We have had many rehearsals for a concert that came too quickly in my opinion, but by the grace of God and hard work by all singers, we had a great turnout and performance. Our weekend went by too quickly, so what were we to do with our day of rest? Well, after arriving home at 1:30am aftet the concert, we slept 6 hours and woke up at 7am to prepare for an early morning service my hubby planned to play the organ. I also was set to sing Mozart's "Laudate Dominum" from the "Vesperae de Confessore", K. 339 as a solo. Ugh....I asked the Lord for strength because I had gotten a migraine during the previous night's performance so felt like staying in. I sang the solo and went to my church and then went home.

As a friend suggested, we decided to really relax. I mean, since we got rid of our cable we really have not had a need or had the time to watch TV. We watched a few episodes of Friends and I decided to bake! What is more relaxing and therapeutic? Well, at least it is baking for me. I made delightful scones that were rated highly and inspired by Baking By Flavor by Lisa Yockelson. Scones can either come out rock hard or tasteless, but these came out so well and were well accompanied by some coffee that we decided the recipe was a keeper! Enjoy it on a quiet evening!

Double Chocolate Scones

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adapted from Daydreamer Desserts

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened, alkalized cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup diced unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips

powdered sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl whisk together, the flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar and salt making sure they are well combined.

Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a fine crumb texture.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, heavy cream, and almond extract until blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.

Roll the dough over a floured surface into the shape of a disc about 8-9 inches in diameter, then slice into 8 wedges or cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter.

Place the wedges onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake about 12-15 minutes. Serve them warm or let them cool on a wire rack and store. Sprinkle powdered sugar after the scones have cooled.

10.11.2009

Pasta Alla Norma

After a long weekend, hardly any cooking and a migraine I decided to make a delicious vegetarian dish after church consisting of items in my refrigerator. I found a great recipe in the Health magazine a year ago that was very tasty that I decided to make it today, since I had all the ingredients!

Let me tell you, there is a no way one can go wrong with eggplant, and now that my husband loves it, I try to make creative recipes for him. Preparation takes 20 minutes and cooking time about 26 minutes. So quick and so good! :)

Pasta Alla Norma

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serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups cubed, peeled, eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped spinach
2 cups chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
8 cups hot cooked pasta (1 pound of uncooked pasta)
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 4 minutes. Add eggplant and red pepper; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add spinach and next 5 ingredients (spinach through tomato sauce); reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Combine eggplant mixture and pasta in a large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Cherry Pie Goodness


This weekend we stayed with some friends and I wanted to thank them for their hospitality by making something. I was seriously stumped all day on Friday, but I finally came decided to make a REAL cherry pie! What a view from their home!
Being up north, I have been able to find fruit that is not normally available. I have made cherry pies before with the dark sweet cherries, but the consistency and flavor was not the same as the a regular tart cherry pie that one has at restaurants. The pie came out so nice I was so excited, but as we sliced it, I noticed that the cherry sauce did not thicken up! To my horror, I realized I used powdered sugar instead of cornstarch!!! The pie tasted great but it did not thicken up. Oh well, the pictures turned out great!


10.08.2009

Chocolate-Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Wednesdays seem to be a great day to meet with a girlfriend over coffee, so that is what I did this evening, except I had them over and made a great recipe that I bookmarked from My Baking Adventure's blog, so I was set for the evening. I made the cake and then proceeded to let it cool.

It was sooo delicious and not even very sweet. I think the flavors were enchanced with the Ghiradelli Chocolate-Caramel coffee we had with the cake! I definitely recommend a good coffee to go with this light dessert. The beauty of this recipe is that it is super simple and not even time consuming.

What is your favorite dessert to have over coffee? Please take your time to taste each morsel!


Chocolate Sour Cream Crumb Cake

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adapted from Marcel Desaulniers, found on My Baking Adventures

Cinnamon Crumb Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
8 tbs. butter, melted

Cake
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp almond extract

To make the topping, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until large crumbs form. Set aside until needed.

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Place the granulated sugar and butter into a bowl and beat together with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat just until the mixture is smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix only until blended, about 15 seconds. Use a large rubber spatula to give the batter one last mixing, to insure everything is combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the crumbs over the top. Bake until a tester comes clean from the center of the cake, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before serving.

10.07.2009

Shredded Tex-Mex Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

What a title right? Well, it has not been too bad of a week, but obviously there really wasn't any time to post my picture of the yummy Yaki Udon dish I made Monday night. I found a great Japanese food mart close to campus and bought some veggie potstickers so I knew this would go well will the Japanese Yaki Udon. If you have never had it, please visit The Sugar Bar and try her recipe for Shrimp Yaki Udon.

Today was another busy day but I felt so empowered and energetic and knew that I would be doing alot. It felt so awkward starting on dessert first, then dinner, but it gave me more energy! I could NOT forget to feed my husband before he went off to a late rehearsal, so I planned a quick, yet delicious recipe I found through Kristi Hane's food blog from Food Network's Sunny Anderson's kitchen. I bring it to you, a little adapted. Enjoy!

Shredded Tex-Mex Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

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y
adapted from Sunny Anderson's kitchen

serves 2

Olive oil spray to a 8x8 glass pan
1 (8.5-ounce) box cornbread mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin
1 turkey sausage link, cut into 1/2 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tomatillo sauce
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into strips
Creamy Lime Dressing, recipe follows
1/2 cups grated Cheddar

Special equipment: glass trifle dish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch glass pan with olive oil. Stir together the cornbread mix with the egg and milk. Evenly spread into prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely.

Cook the sausage and then place beans and cumin, salt and pepper to continue cooking for 5-7 minutes. Toss the salsa with the tomato. When ready to serve, cut the cornbread into 1/2-inch croutons.

In a clear trifle dish, layer the Tex-Mex Salad beginning with the lettuce, the tomato salsa mixture, shredded cheese, black bean/sausage mixture, topped with the cornbread croutons. Toss the lettuce with 3/4 cups of the dressing.

You will have extra dressing left for another salad, so do not worry!

Creamy Lime Dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Tony's Cajun seasoning

Special equipment: blender

Blend all the ingredients except the olive oil until smooth. While machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season, to taste, with Tony's.

10.04.2009

Panko-crusted Dijon Chicken Stuffed with Bacon and Brie

My hubby had a concert on Friday evening and after a busy week I wanted to make something good. I remembered I had not made chicken the whole week, so I decided to made a quick and fancy meal at the same time!

I first started using panko about 6 months ago and I have not looked back! It is the easiest and healthiest bread crumb than what the stores offer. The stores have bread crumbs that no longer should be called bread crumbs but THE OTHER BREAD! This meal takes 15minute preparation and 30 minute cooking time. A great meal easily accompanied with rice and a veggie. Enjoy!


Panko-crusted Dijon Chicken Stuffed with Bacon and Brie

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serves 2

2 boneless chicken breasts

Crust
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

Coating
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp melted salted butter

Stuffing
8 slices of Brie cheese
2 slice turkey bacon

Toothpicks

Preheat oven to 400F

Place coating and and crust ingredients in two separate dishes. Butterfly each chicken breast and place each chicken breast between parchment paper. Use a mallet, and flatten chicken until 1/2 inch thick. Make sure the chicken is dry before starting the coating process.

Take each chicken breast and place 4 slices of Brie cheese and one slice of bacon and fold in half. Use the tooth picks to seal the chicken because you want to keep the cheese inside the folded chicken. Next, rub the mustard coating on the chicken and finish off my coating the chicken with the Panko bread crumbs. Repeat with the second chicken breast.

Place the stuffed chicken on a greased 9x9 glass pan and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with rice and veggie!


10.03.2009

Turkey Sausage Spaghetti

My Thursday work schedule was a mess. I really did not feel like cooking but I had something in mind to make on our BUSY day I decided we could not make another stop at Subway for dinner. This dinner took me 30 minutes to make and was easy to pack up and hit the road.

Turkey Sausage Spaghetti

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serves 3

3 turkey sausage links, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-28oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 kalamata olives, halved
2 cups kale, chopped (I would opt for spinach)
1/2 cup fontina cheese, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
8oz dry spaghetti

Heat olive oil in pan and cook sausage, onions, and garlic for 8 minutes, until semi-browned. Add crush tomatoes, basil, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Meanwhile, starting boiling water and add salt. Add the spaghetti and cook 2 minutes less than the box indicates. You will be placing the pasta in the sauce to finish cooking the last 2 minutes.

Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the olives and kale or spinach and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes. The fontina cheese will be last ingredient to add. Cook until melted and then add the pasta. Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.

10.01.2009

Green Turquoise, green pearl, and citrine ensemble

Ok, so, if you have not noticed, I also make jewelry. Many of you thought that this was JUST a food blog, but it is not. I also enjoy creating jewelry in my spare time....and of course selling it too! One of my favorite colors is green, so when I found this great green turquoise bead, I went gah, gah over it. It took a while to get a design in my head, but when I finally did, I was happy with the results. I will be posting it for sale on Etsy.com soon!


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