Sunday, December 26, 2010

Recipe #82: Really GOOD Meatloaf

Oh man.  Anybody who might think that meatloaf needs to have ketchup or barbecue sauce piled on it in order for it to be edible hasn't tried this!  Super moist, great flavor, and my stomach hurts because I just had to have more of it!  This is from another new cookbook from my sister:

Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking 3


2 tablespoons butter
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 cup frozen or fresh chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used more, of course)
2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup cocktail sauce
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Saute celery until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in steak seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 cup cocktail sauce.  Heat through and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, ground pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, and sauteed vegetables.  Form into a loaf and fit into a large loaf pan.  Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine remaining cocktail sauce, mustard, and brown sugar.  Remove meatloaf from oven and carefully drain off fat.  Cover with sauce mixture and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Recipe #81: Smoky Sweet Potato Chicken Stoup

Yes, stoup.  Thicker than soup, not as thick as stew, and very hearty.  From one of my new cookbooks!  This was great, although next time I'm definitely cutting the sweet potato smaller.  The chipotle chili was a new ingredient for me.  Just the single pepper added some nose-running heat, but it was perfect.  Add more for a spicier stoup.  My vegetable peeler broke into pieces just as I was starting to peel the carrots, so none of my veggies were peeled for this recipe.  I prefer to leave the skin on the potatoes anyways.

Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals


4 tablespoons EVOO, twice around the pan
2 medium carrots, peeled (if you want...)
2 celery ribs
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 large sweet potato (I used two medium sized ones)
2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used more)
1 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped (I found these in a can in the mexican section at the store)
Salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (eyeball it)
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
1 quart plus 1 cup chicken stock
1 package chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (I skipped this)
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish (optional- I skipped this)


Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with EVOO.  While the oil heats, cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then slice into thin half-moons.  Add the carrots to the pot, stirring to coat the carrots in the oil.  Chop and drop in the celery and onion.

Peel (optional) and then cut the sweet potato into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice them into bite-size pieces.  Add the sweet potatoes, garlic, and chipotle and stir to combine.  Season the veggies with salt and pepper, the thyme, and the bay leaf.  Cook the veggies together for 1 minute.  Add the wine to the vegetables and reduce for one minute.  Add the stock to the pot, cover the pot, and raise the heat to high.

When the stoup boils, remove the cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Add the cut-up chicken and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.  Turn the heat off, discard the bay leaf, and stir in the scallions and cilantro.  Serve each portion of stoup with a dollop of sour cream on top (optional).

Recipe #80: Hummus and Turkey Wrap

This one is short and sweet!  Made this for a healthy and easy lunch yesterday.

Simply take a tortilla/wrap, and put some hummus on top, spreading evenly.  Layer with peppered turkey breast, romaine, tomato (I used romas), and red onion.

Quite delicious, although it was sort of messy.  I think next time I'll cut up my tomatoes smaller so it's easier to close the wrap.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recipe #79: Salmon-Vegetable Packets

Excitement!  A new cooking technique!  (well... for me...)  All fresh ingredients sealed into an aluminum foil packet and baked in the oven.  This was great because I prepared them hours ahead of time and just threw them in the oven when it was time to make dinner.  I halved this recipe so we'd just have enough for us two, but it would be very easy to adapt to make as many packets as are needed, 4, 6, 8...  And at 225 calories per serving, this is a great healthy option.  Oh, and it tastes WONDERFUL, by the way...


4 4oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, 3/4 inch thick (I used bigger fillets, skin-on)
2 cups thinly bias-sliced carrots
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 green onions, sliced
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel (I zested it)
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
4 gloves garlic, halved (I used minced garlic)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil (I used olive oil spray)
2 medium oranges, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh oregano (optional)


Thaw fish, if frozen.  Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan cook carrots, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Tear off four 24-inch pieces of heavy foil.  Fold each in half to make an 18x12 inch rectangle.

In a large bowl combine carrots, mushrooms, green onions, orange peel, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Divide vegetable mixture among foil rectangles.

Place fish on top of the vegetable mixture.  Drizzle (or spray) fish with oil; sprinkle lightly with additional salt and pepper.  Top with orange slices and, if desired, oregano sprigs.  For each packet, bring up 2 opposite edges of foil and seal with a doulbe fold.  Fold remaining ends to completely enclose the food, allowing space for steam to build.  Place the foil packets in a single layer in a large baking pan.  (I put mine directly on the rack after storing these in the fridge for a few hours.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (OR 40 FOR A LARGER FILLET LIKE I USED!) or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and carrots are tender.  Transfer the packets to dinner plates.  Open slowly to allow steam to escape.

 Before cooking- so colorful!

 Ready for baking

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipe #78: Enchilada Lasagna

Nick has some favorite meals that he likes to request.  Two of them are enchiladas and lasagna.  And here's a recipe that combines them!  It's mostly a huge enchilada, in my opinion, a big sloppy mess of Mexican awesomeness.  I found this recipe in one of the new cookbooks my sister gave me for Christmas!  This makes a TON of heavy food, so be ready to share it!

Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Meals



1 can (16oz) refried black beans (I only found regular)
1 can (4oz) diced green chiles
1 container (15oz) ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning (I got a McCormick taco seasoning packet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (10oz each) red enchilada sauce
18 corn tortillas (I used much less, more like 14)
1 can (11oz) mexicorn (Green Giant)
2 packages (6oz each) grilled chicken strips cut into bite sized pieces (Tyson)  (I bought a 22oz package of Tyson grilled strips that were in the freezer section and used about 18oz of it.  You can also use your own precooked chicken)
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Scallions (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine refried beans and green chiles.  Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, salt, and mexican seasoning.

Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Overlap 6 (I used 5, torn up) corn tortillas to create a layer.  Spread half of the bean mixture evenly over tortillas.  Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle with half the mexicorn and add half the chicken.  Add 1 cup shredded cheese.  Spread 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over top.  Add another layer of tortillas; top with 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce.  Repeat with the remaining beam mixture, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining mexicorn, remaining chicken, another 1 cup of shredded cheese, another 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, and the remaining tortillas.  Spread remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with sour cream and sliced scallion.

Woah.  that's a ton of food...

It's a hot mess... of deliciousness!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Cookbooks!

My sister and I exchanged Christmas presents early. I'm so excited because she got me a crapload of cookbooks she found on clearance. Thing about cookbooks- it's not like they really expire. So if you can get one for super cheap, that's even better... same great recipes, less price. So she got me a bunch, including 2 sets of 4 each of these cardboard themed cookbooks. I love them!!!

Look at these bad boys! THREE new Sandra Lee cookbooks. Jenny got me one of Sandra Lee's cookbooks last Christmas and I use it so much, so I'm really excited about these new ones! A Rachael Ray cookbook! She's the Food Network star that got me started with this whole cooking obsession- it's been 2 years now since I started really learning and trying new things. Oprah magazine recipes- can't wait to try! And Fresh & Easy Meals.... it was like I picked these out for myself lol! She did a great job. On the right are my little themed cardboard cookbooks- can't wait to see what those have too, especially the cooking with soy cookbook- that's different!

My kitchen counter-top was overflowing already with my cookbooks and cooking mags, and we've been running out of room for our games, so we decided it was time for a new bookshelf. So we ran to Target and got one to match the other 3 we have, and now we have a nice setup!

Oh the simple pleasures in life...

Time to come up with a menu for the week, and a grocery list... This means lots of new blog posts!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe #77: Garlic Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash

Why oh why didn't I make a spaghetti squash sooner? This stuff is great! It has the consistency of angel hair pasta but is much better for you than pasta! A spaghetti squash has only about 40 calories per cup (as opposed to 220 for a cup of pasta!) I'd been craving shrimp for a few days, so when I saw this recipe in my cookbook "The Wine and Food Lover's Diet," I knew I had to try. It turned out perfect! I'm definitely making this dish again.


1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped (I left them whole)
Cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used some dried parsley instead)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).... I forgot this!


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the skin of the squash in several places with a knife and put it in a baking dish. Bake until very soft, about an hour. Use a pot holder to grasp the squash and cut in half if still whole. Scoop out the seeds. Then, with a long-handled fork, tease out the strands into a warmed serving bowl. Fluff and separate the strands with the fork. Keep warm while cooking the shrimp (or have your spouse do this while you cook, like I did!)

Spaghetti squash after pulling apart

The remains...

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the shrimp and stir and toss until the shrimp are bright pink and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Add to the bowl with the squash.

Add the garlic to the hot pan and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in the capers and a pinch of cayenne. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the parsley and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat, reduce the heat to very low, and whisk the butter, a few cubes at a time, moving the pan on and off the heat so the butter just melts and emulsifies the oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. Pour over the squash and toss well. Scatter the cheese over the top and serve.

Nick mixing and mixing...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recipe #76: Chicken in Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce (crock pot)

My crock pots are really getting a good workout this season. It's so easy to make such simple but delicious food in them! Here's a new recipe from my Campbell's cookbook. You can serve this over rice or egg noodles. Sorry about the not-so-great pictures- I was in a hurry to eat and leave!


2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken with Herbs Soup or Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

1 cup Chablis or other dry white wine

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata or oil-cured olives (I left them whole)

2 tablespoons drained capers

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds) (I only used 6)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)

2 cups regular long-grain white rice, cooked according to package directions (about 6 cups)


Stir the soup, wine, olives, capers, garlic, artichokes and tomatoes in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the basil, if desired. Serve with the rice. (Check the chicken early to prevent overcooking and drying it out)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipes 73-75: Chicken Nuggets, Honey Mustard Sauce, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Well it's been forever since I've posted a new recipe (busy busy!) so to make up for it (sorta), here's a 3-for-1! Again, not a very photogenic bunch, but this dinner turned out amazing! Behold: baked panko chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts, and a honey mustard dipping sauce. All of these recipes are variants of ones found on This is a good mix because the chicken and brussels sprouts bake at the same temperature. Also, the black leaves on the brussels sprouts might look gross or overcooked, but I think they have an awesome flavor!



  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 2)
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used Italian seasoning instead)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (Ditto...)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch size pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter/margarine in a bowl or dish for dipping.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter/margarine first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place well coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. (I threw the chicken in a large ziplock bag with seasonings and melted butter, coated the chicken well, and took out the pieces individually for coating with Panko, then sprinkled the Parmesan cheese on top with more seasonings)



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Mix the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, honey, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight. (I didn't leave it overnight, just for about an hour or so)



  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack. (I cut my sprouts in half top to bottom so they'd cook faster and take on more flavor since Nick doesn't like the middles as much. It seems to have worked!)
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe #72: 10-Minute Potato Leek Soup

I was kind of skeptical about how this recipe would turn out, wondering if it would be too bland, but I was way off- it's GREAT! For 10 minutes of work, you wouldn't expect something to come together so well! It's super thick and creamy, and I had to keep myself from going for thirds. This is from Rachael Ray's cookbook "Veggie Meals."

Note: It's not a very photogenic soup, but don't be fooled...

Also, if this is your first time using leeks, they look like big green onions, but use the WHITE end, not green. You'll be slicing little circles of leek for this recipe.

Leeks have a little bit of grit in them sometimes when you cut them apart, which is why they require a good rinsing in a colander before use.


1 leek, halved and very thinly sliced (I used 2 smaller leeks and just cut rings)
3 cups reduced-fat or non-fat milk
2 cups water (I exchanged one for chicken broth)
1 brick (8oz) cream cheese, softened
4oz pouch mashed potato flakes (I used Hungry Jack buttery potatoes flavor)
Few grinds of fresh black pepper, to taste


Rinse trimmed, thinly sliced leeks under cold water in a colander and drain very well. Bring milk, water, and leeks to a boil in a medium deep pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer, 5 minutes. Whisk/stir in softened cream cheese until combined. Stir in potato flakes until soup becomes thick and smooth. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and serve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just complaining...

Well, for some reason Google, in all of its infinite wisdom, won't let me switch my email for Blogger (which is a Google service) from my old, non-gmail account to my new gmail account, which makes me have to sign out of my gmail and then into my non-gmail account to be able to post. This non-gmail account is tied to another Google account that will not consolidate with my NEW Google account.

Is your head spinning yet?

So I found a work-around for Blogger... I invited MYSELF to be a co-author on this blog, emailing my gmail an invitation from my non-gmail account so I can log in and post through my gmail. *big breath* And so here I am, co-authoring with myself.

...I won't even begin to think of the mess involving Google Analytics (tracking information for this blog that's tied to my non-gmail account).... I'll just leave it alone. I also have a Google Latitude account (tracks me via GPS when I turn it on on my phone- good for Nick if I'm out of town or traveling by myself...)- but I can probably change that over easily since it doesn't really store data.

My YouTube account (also a Google service) has this problem too. Maybe I'll just close it and open a new one under my new account, but then I'd lose all my favorites and uploads. *sigh*...

I saw someone posted something back in 2006 complaining about this, and apparently Google's solution was a "multiple account login" that I've tried. Total failure- it logs me out of the other account anyways.

I'm so irritated that something so simple has to be such a stupid mess.

UPDATE! I went back into my non-gmail Blogger account and granted my gmail account administrator privileges... and then I deleted my non-gmail account (basically deleting the privileges to post). HAHA! VICTORY! Epic work-around!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recipe #71: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

My sister told me about this recipe, and it was a hit the first time I made it.  Nick particularly likes this one, and it's one he usually requests.  I'm copying the recipe as-is, but I'll make notes where I've changed things...


  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup or Campbell's® Condensed 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese  (I use cheddar usually)
  • 10 Mission® Fajita Size Flour Tortillas, warmed  (I use an 8-pack of whatever flour tortillas)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced


  1. Mix soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder.
  2. Mix 1 cup picante sauce mixture, chicken and cheese. (I don't add the chicken yet)...
  3. Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. (I instead spread the mixture on first, THEN add chicken, saving the mess of step 2).  Roll up and place seam-side down in 3-quart shallow baking dish. Pour remaining picante sauce mixture over enchiladas. Cover.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until hot. Top with tomato and onion. 
Makes GREAT leftovers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recipe #71: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Oh man... I could rave about this one for quite awhile, but I'll restrain myself.  This is even better than I was hoping for, and the home-made tortilla chips are a perfect garnish!  You can use store-bought ones, but these are so much better, thicker, and more flavorful!  Copied from, here's a new winter favorite:

Without toppings...


  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken  (I hand-shredded a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I used more)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (I used more)
  • 2 cups water  (I replaced one cup with chicken broth)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn  (I used more)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro  (I skipped this)
  • 7 corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil 
I also added a can of black beans...


  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.  (Instead, I cut them first, placed them on the sheet, and sprayed them with olive oil spray.  Then I lightly salted them with kosher salt.)
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup. (I also added cheese and sour cream!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recipe #70: Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Nick loves this one!  This is a Rachel Ray recipe that doesn't disappoint- it's quick, easy, cheap, a little spicy, and REALLY good.  I've seen two variations of this, but I'm posting the one I found online.


  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped  (I coarsely chopped mine)
  • 3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
  • Coarse salt
  • 20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish
    (I used dried while cooking, and also to top it)


Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recipe #69: Super Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I tend to bake sweets when I'm bored and feeling domestic... like today, during the football game.  I wanted an easy cookie recipe that would use stuff I already had in the kitchen, and this one was perfect- no flour mess!  These cookies turn out super heavy, so just one big one is more than enough for me.  I halved this recipe and it made 9 giant cookies.  I also baked them a bit longer than the recipe calls for (17-18 minutes instead of 10-12).  These could be easily changed, too, depending on what you want to put in them besides walnuts or chocolate chips.  Here's the recipe copied directly from where I found it on (


  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar and eggs. Mix well with wooden spoon till smooth and well-blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets two inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes than transfer to wire rack. Cool completely. Store in airtight containers up to a week

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe #68: Western Skillet Eggs

This recipe caught my eye in my October issue of Food Network Magazine, and I'm glad I made it- the sour dough bread made this a really interesting take on western style eggs.  We enjoyed it for dinner, then had the leftovers for breakfast the next day!


1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 large green bell peppers, seed and cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound thinly sliced ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 slices sourdough bread, torn into pieces (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping (I omitted this)
8 large eggs


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350.  Whisk the half-and-half, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a small bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and cook until just softened, 1-2 minutes.  Add the bell peppers; cook until the peppers are soft and the shallots are golden, 5-6 minutes more.  Add the tomatoes, ham, bread, parsley, and 1/4 cup water and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Remove from heat.

Make 8 evenly spaced indentations in the bread mixture with the bottom of a ladle or small measuring cup.  Crck an egg into each indentation.  Slowly pour the half-and-half mixture over the eggs.  Bake, rotating the skillet a few times, until the whites are set, about 15 minutes.  Top with parsley.  (I baked it for a little longer because my whites weren't setting well, which cooked the yolks more, but it turned out fine regardless.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tastefully Simple

Anybody who's had Tastefully Simple products will probably immediately talk about their beer bread (for good reason!), but there's so much more!  As it states on their website, "The Food You Love, The Time You Deserve: From main dishes to desserts, we offer a wide variety of easy-to-prepare foods and gifts for every day and every occasion. Best of all, our products can be enjoyed right out of the package or prepared within minutes!"

My best friend is a Tastefully Simple consultant, so naturally my kitchen is full of this stuff because I can't help buying the products after trying samples.  Everything is so easy to make, usually only needing an ingredient or two added to the product to complete it, resulting in a dip, or a loaf of bread, a dessert, a drink, and so on.

So here's dinner that I made for tonight- pulled pork (made with the Tangy Tennessee Slow Cooker Sauce, topped with cole slaw (made with something I always have in my fridge- Vidalia Onion Dressing, 

For the pork, I simply followed the instructions on the bottle... simply putting a 3lb pork roast in my crock pot with half the bottle for 6.5 hours, then shredding the roast, putting it back in the crock pot, and mixing in the rest of the bottle of sauce.  I served it about an hour later.

For the cole slaw, I simply chopped up as much cabbage as I wanted, added the Vidalia Onion Dressing to taste, and threw in some sliced almonds.  Easy!

This is only one quick example of ways to use TS products.  I made a whole bunch of dips for a game night we had at our place recently, and then I used one of them (bacon ranch!) as a spread for my sandwiches.

If you have any interest in these time-saving products that also happen to be really delicious, get in touch with Carlie Moore at or browse through her Tastefully Simple site for products and ideas:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recipe #67: Slow Cooker Chicken and Ham Stew

This weekend we went away with friends and decided to take turns making crock pot meals for dinner.  This was my contribution, and it was so good!  I varied the times from the recipe to get it done a little sooner, and it still turned out great!  Fall is here- time to give the crock pot a good workout!

1 3-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups cubed ham (I bought these already cubed)
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 cups water
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
3 cups canned cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
3 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano


Preheat a 6-quart slow cooker to high.

Combine the chicken, onion, ham, and potatoes in the slow cooker.  Pour in the water.  Cover and cook on the lowest setting for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from the pot and strip the meat from the bones.  Return the meat to the pot.  Discard the skin and bones.

Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, salt, sugar, pepper, and oregano.  Cover and cook on the highest setting for 1 hour.

Serve hot.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recipe #66: Mexican Pizza

This was so fun to make!  Nick made it with me, which is good because it's kind of involved (but not difficult!)  This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in the September issue of Food Network Magazine.  This was worth all the prep!


For the taco seasoning:
-2 tablespoons onion powder
-2 tablespoons garlic powder
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For the pizzas:
-1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
-1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
-1 16-oz tube pizza dough
-all-purpose flour for dusting
-1 cup shredded mozzarella
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
-1 avocado
-juice of 1 lime
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon diced red onion (we used more)
-Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup fresh salsa (or more)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I skipped this)

 A piece of mexican pizza!


Make the taco seasoning by mixing all the dry ingredients under "taco seasoning" in a bowl.

Roll out pizza dough on an oiled cookie sheet or similar.  Brush with oil.  Season the top with the taco seasoning and cook according to package directions.  (Mine were 400 degrees for 10 minutes.)

While crust bakes, mix 2 tablespoons taco seasoning and the canola oil in a bowl.  Pound the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick (or buy already thin-sliced breasts).  Add the chicken to the bowl, coating, and cook chicken in a pan until done, a couple minutes per side.  Cut into small cubes.

When crust is done, sprinkle with both cheeses, then top with the chicken.  Put back in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Meanwhile, mix the avocado, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, red onion, salt and pepper in a bowl.  When pizza is done after the five minutes, remove from the oven and top with the avocado mixture, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recipe #65: Quick Beef Bourguignonne

It's almost fall!  Besides hoodies and Halloween, this also means fall and winter comfort food!  From the pages of Semi-Homemade Magazine (Sept/Oct issue), I bring you a quick and hearty meal.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (8oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (16oz) package frozen pearl onions, Birds Eye
2 cups red wine (I used a pinot noir)
1 (10 3/4oz) can condensed golden mushroom soup
Garnish with parsley


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper.  Cook steak, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until browned.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

Add mushrooms and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, or until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Stir in wine, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in soup; bring to a boil.  Add steak and juices from bowl.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until bubbly.  Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Recipe #64: Beef and Peanut Stir Fry

It's hard to shovel this meal in my mouth while typing this, but I'll try.  This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in my stir fry book, and I made it with my wok.  The meat is so tender, and the udon noodles and peanuts have opposite textures, making this a really interesting and hearty meal.


1lb bottom round beef roast, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 white onion, chopped
3 green onions, whites chopped for stir fry, some greens reserved for topping
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil (I used canola)
1 cup chopped roasted peanuts


Combine beef, garlic, white onion, green onion whites, sugar, fish sauce, and oil in a bowl and marinate for a few hours.  (I skipped the marinating though and it still turned out awesome.)  Heat wok until very hot, and stir-fry mixture in two batches.  Return all to the wok, and stir in the peanuts and green onion greens and serve over rice or noodles.  We put tamari sauce (an aged soy sauce) on top, and it was perfect!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recipe #63: Shrimp Primavera Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

Wow.  Just wow.  That's all I have to say.  Really fresh, light, and hearty.  The lemon zest totally makes this dish!  Another winner from Rachael Ray, from one of my newer cookbooks:

Rachael Ray's Book of 10: More Than 300 Recipes to Cook Every Day


1/2 pound spaghetti  (I used multigrain spaghetti)
1 leek
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 to 1 pound asparagus (1 bundle), trimmed to 4 inches then cut into thirds
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Black pepper
1 cup shaved or grated Romano cheese
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (I used dried)


Place a large covered pot of water on the stove and bring it up to a boil for the pasta.  Salt the water and cook the spaghetti al dente.

While the pasta is working, trim the touch green toms and the roots from the leek.  Half the leek lengthwise and dice it thin.  Place the leeks in a colander and rinse them vigorously to release any grit.  Drain the leeks well.

Heat the EVOO in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for a minute.  Add the leeks and shiitake and cook until they are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the stock, raise the heat a little, and bring it up to a bubble.  Once the stock bubbles, add the zest and the shrimp and cook it for 2 minutes, then add the asparagus and peas to the pan and cook them for 2 minutes more.

Melt the butter into the sauce, add the drained pasta to the pan, and toss to combine the shrimp and vegetables with the spaghetti.  Season with a little pepper, adjust the salt to taste, and garnish with the cheese and parsley.

My first leek!  The white part is the "good" part...

And my first batch of shiitake mushrooms...