Wednesday, 29 September 2010

THE BEST FRENCH TOAST EVER

I seriously loved this recipe.  I don't know if was because I had not had french toast in a really long time or if it was really that good?  Honestly, I think it was really that good!  I found this recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen and she found it over at Tasty Kitchen.  They recommended topping it with bananas. I would never have done that if they didn't say how good it was and I am so glad I listened, because it was so incredibly delicious.  Now, I am not one to sit and eat a plain banana, but eating them on top of this french toast was AMAZING.  I will be using this recipe from now on.   
Fluffy French Toast
adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen

1 c. flour
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. maple extract
10 slices texas toast

Heat skillet and spray with cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil.  Mix together dry ingredients and mix together wet ingredients, then, combine the two together.  Pour batter into an 8x8 dish.  Dip bread in, flipping to get both sides.  Allow excess mixture to drip off.  Immediately place in hot skillet.  Brown both sides.  Mix batter between dipping, so flour doesn't settle to the bottom.  Serve with maple syrup and sliced bananas.  Yield: 10 thick slices.  

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

TANGY CHICKEN CHEESESTEAK

I saw this recipe on an episode of Big Daddy.  It looked different than your average cheesesteak recipe, so I had to try it.  I was worried that the red wine vinegar and Dijon would make it a little too tangy for my taste, but it didn't at all. It was really good, even with the pepperoni.  Partially freezing the chicken before slicing worked perfectly, I will use that method from now on.  I will post my adapted version of the recipe, but check out Food Network for the original.  
Tangy Chicken Cheesesteak
adapted from: here

2 Tbl. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 Tbl. minced garlic
pepperoni, sliced
provolone, sliced
2-4 steak rolls, split and toasted

In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper.  Place chicken in large zip-lock bag and pour marinade over top.  Seal bag and move around to coat all the chicken with marinade.  Freeze for 30-45 minutes.  Chicken will freeze slightly.  Remove from freezer and with a sharp knife, slice the slightly frozen meat as thin as possible.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil.  Add the onions and green pepper and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and the sliced chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  Overlap the pepperoni on top of the chicken and repeat with the cheese slices. Turn off the heat and allow the cheese to melt.  With the help of a spatula, scoop up the chicken with the cheese and pepperoni and put it on the split roll.  Serve.  

Sunday, 26 September 2010

HOMEMADE FUNFETTI CUPCAKES

What is your kids favorite boxed cake flavor?  Most likely Funfetti, right?  There is just something about those pretty colors speckled inside a white cake that kids (okay and adults too) just love!  But, maybe you are trying to get away from using box mixes or maybe you don't have one on hand, but you are really craving that cake.  Well, there is a solution, just make it from scratch!  All you do is make a white cake and add some sprinkles to the batter.  That's it! I was worried that my cake batter would be too thin and the sprinkles would just sink to the bottom, but luckily it was a thicker batter, so they stayed evenly distributed throughout.  


I have been wanting to try the Classic White Cake recipe from Cook's Illustrated  and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.  I really liked these cupcakes, they weren't too light or too heavy.  I added slightly less almond extract than the recipe called for, because I didn't want it to be overpowering.  These had an interesting mixing method, that I had never tried before.  Instead of creaming the butter and sugar, you add the butter into the dry ingredients.  It seemed to work fine.  


I originally found the buttercream recipe on one of my favorite blogs (www.pinksugardesserts.com), but then one day, I went to that blog and it was gone and something else was there?  I don't know what happened? Then, I found a similar version on Cooking With Carrie, she said this is her new favorite buttercream.  I tried it with vanilla pudding because that is what I had on hand, but it gave the buttercream a weird yellow color, so I added some red food coloring and got a pinkish color.  This is not one of those frostings I would sit and eat with a spoon, it was ok plain, but not my favorite.  I prefer a more heavy and buttery frosting.  Although, the combination of the cake and frosting together was really really good.        


Classic White Cupcakes
adapted from: Cook's Illustrated

2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 c. whole milk (I used 1%)
6 Lg. egg whites (3/4 cup)
2 tsp. almond extract (I used 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. table salt
12 Tbl. unsalted butter, soft but still cool
4 Tbl. jimmies (sprinkles)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Pour milk, egg whites and extracts into a 2 cup glass measure and mix with a fork until blended.  Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed.  Add butter, continue beating at slow speed until resembles moist crumbs with no powdery streaks remaining.  Add all but 1/2 cup milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes.  Add remaining milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.  Stop mixer and scrape bowl.  Add jimmies and  return to medium and beat 20 seconds.  Scoop into liners, filling 2/3 full.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 14-18 minutes.  Let rest in pan 3 minutes.  Remove and cool completely. Yield: 24-26 cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting
adapted from: pinksugardesserts and here

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 stick salted butter, room temp.
1 pkg. white chocolate instant pudding mix
   or any flavor you like (I used vanilla)
1/2 - 3/4 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. powdered sugar (I added a little more) 

Cream the butter together until smooth and silky and then mix in the remaining ingredients on low, ending with the powdered sugar. When fully incorporated, bring speed to medium and beat about 5 minutes.  If it is a little grainy still, beat a few more minutes until smooth and fluffy.   Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Keep refrigerated.          

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD

Have you ever been given a bag of "starter"?  If not, you probably have no idea what I am talking about.  The "starter" is a mixture of yeast, water, flour, sugar and milk that has been sitting out for at least 10 days, but probably longer.  Everyday, you have to do something special to the bag and then on the 10th day, you divide it up the and pass it along to your friends.  You then use the "starter" to start the process over again or use it right away to make some amazing bread.  

This is not one of those breads you can jump up and make as soon as you get a craving for it, you have to plan ahead to make this bread.  I was lucky enough to be given a bag of "starter" from my friend, Nicole.  I chose to make my bread right away.  This is one of my favorite breads.  I have been hooked since the first time I tasted it.  It has the perfect texture and flavor!!! I have included the recipe to make your own "starter", what to do with it and how to make bread with it.
Amish Friendship Bread

Starter
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
3 1/2 c. flour, divided
3 1/2 c. white sugar, divided
3 1/2 c. milk, divided

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a 2 quart, glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar.  Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added.  Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.  Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly.  Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle.  Add mixture to a large zip-lock bag.  Leave at room temperature.

Days 2 through 5, mash the bag with your hands.  On day 6, add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mash the bag.  Days 7 through 9, mash the bag.  Day 10, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups milk.  Get out 4 large zip-lock bags.  Measure out 4 cups of batter and place 1 cup into each zip-lock bag.  Keep one starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with this recipe.  (You might have a little extra batter, because we added an extra 1/2 cup of each ingredient on day 10.  This is because it is kind of hard to get the batter out of the bag, it sticks in all the little creases,  so the extra is to make sure you have enough for each bag).  Your friends can either make the recipe below or start the 10 day process over again.  
    
Bread
1 c. bread starter
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 (5 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
Topping:  1/4 c. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large, non-metal bowl, stir together the starter mix, oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs and milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir into the starter mixture.  Mix in the box of vanilla pudding.  Grease two large loaf pans.  Mix an additional 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon together and dust the loaf pans with half this mixture.  Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.  Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  This is also really good made into muffins!  

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

BREAKFAST HOT POCKETS

Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?  Since most of us are rushed in the morning, we very rarely get to actually sit down and eat breakfast.  So, I always enjoy my breakfast foods for dinner.  However, if you do have time to make these in the morning, they are very easy to eat on the go without a big mess.  This recipe is very versatile, you can really fill the pockets with whatever you want, but I love the combination of eggs and Feta cheese! Yummy!  I make this dish when I want a quick meal.  All you have to do is scramble some eggs, shred some cheese and chop some ham, stuff them in a pocket and bake 10 minutes or so and they're done.  It doesn't get any easier.  




Breakfast Hot Pockets
from: Jenn - eatcakefordinner

1 can crescent rolls
deli ham, chopped
   or whatever meat desired
4 eggs, slightly beaten
salt and pepper
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Scramble the eggs; season with salt and pepper.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Lay out crescent rolls; combine two each to make a rectangle and press edges together to seal.  Layer each rectangle with scrambled eggs (one egg per pocket), chopped ham, Feta and Cheddar.  Don't skimp on the fillings, the dough will stretch.  Roll up each pocket, tucking in sides as you go, pinch end and sides together to seal.  Place on cookie sheet and cut a few slits on the top of each, for ventilation.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until nice and golden brown.  Yield: 4 pockets.         


Monday, 20 September 2010

CARNITAS

I saw this dish on last week's episode of America's Test Kitchen.  I just love that show and I learn a lot when I watch it.  Carnitas are all about 1. the flavor and 2. the crispiness of the meat.  I would have to say that Mexican food is probably my favorite type of food, so I knew I would like these and America's Test Kitchen said that this is one of the top ten recipes of all time that they have had on the show.  Now, that is saying a lot because, they have tried a ton of recipes over the years.  If you try to get the recipe on their website, it will be grayed out unless you sign up, but here is a link to the video of them making it.  

These were really really good and Jake even said "These are the best tacos we have ever made", so give them a try.  I ate mine on a toasted corn shell and Jake had a flour shell.  We topped with salsa (that got pureed a little too much), shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream and a squirt of lime juice.
Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
adapted from: America's Test Kitchen

3 1/2 - 4 Lbs. boneless pork shoulder
1 tsp. mexican oregano (I used regular oregano)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 Tbl. fresh lime juice
1/2 small onion, cut in half
2 c. water
1/3 c. fresh orange juice
*We also added 1/2 Tbl. minced garlic, but that is optional

Cut pork into 2-inch cubes.  Cut out any large pockets of fat, but leave some fat, because it adds valuable flavor.  Place pork cubes in a large, oven-safe pot.  Sprinkle with oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.  Add bay leaves, garlic (if adding), lime juice, onion chunks and water.  Juice an orange and add the juice and the orange halves to the pot. Stir together and bring to a simmer.  Then,  put in a 300 degree oven, with lid on.  Cook about two hours, flip meat over halfway through.  When done, it should be fork tender.  Remove from oven and take out all the solids.  Put the meat in a bowl and discard the onion, orange halves and the bay leaves.  Cut some of the meat into smaller pieces.  Boil the remaining liquid to form a glaze, about 10-15 minutes.  Pour the glaze over the meat and toss to coat.  Spread out evenly onto a rack placed over a cookie sheet.  Place back in the oven on the middle rack and broil 5-8 minutes, flip over and broil 5-8 minutes more to get nice and crispy.  Serve on toasted tortilla shells with desired toppings.      

Friday, 17 September 2010

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

I absolutely love pumpkin!  Pumpkin cake, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin/pecan pie, pumpkin biscuits, etc . . . I think you get the picture!  I was so sad when I found out about the pumpkin shortage.  I went from store to store searching for canned pumpkin, but all I found was empty shelves, until yesterday.  Costco finally got some pumpkin in!  Hallelujah!!!  Costco was also giving away samples of some pumpkin bread/muffin mix you can buy in a box.  They made it into mini muffins and I thought they were really cute, so I had to make my own.     

I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  It is under her section titled "The Best Recipes", where she includes her very favorite recipes.  So, I knew they had to be good.  She also included how to make your own pumpkin pie spice.  I already had a store bought jar of pumpkin pie spice, but when it runs out, I will try her recipe.  I think pumpkin and chocolate go so well together.  I cut the recipe in half and got exactly 24 mini muffins.  These are really good and I love that they are mini, so you can just pop them in your mouth with no mess whatsoever.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from: here

1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 Tbl. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. butter, soft
1 c. chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients and then add chocolate chips.  Divide evenly into greased muffin tin.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (or 11-12 minutes for mini muffins).  Do not overbake or they will be dry.  Yield: about 24 muffins (or 48 mini muffins).

Pumpkin Pie Spice (yield: 1 tsp.) (3 tsp. = 1 Tbl.)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

      

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

BOB'S BASIL RUB CHICKEN

Whenever I heard my father-in-law, Bob, was making this chicken recipe, I made sure I was available for dinner!  I always thought he must have spent all day in the kitchen, because it is so impressive.  When I started cooking a few years ago, I talked him into giving me this recipe.  I tried it and was surprised it was actually really easy and I was so impressed with myself for making a roast chicken.  


All you have to do is combine the rub ingredients and rub all over the chicken, then bake it and it's done.  Your family will be so impressed and beg you to make it again soon.  I always serve this with homemade gravy (made from the chicken drippings), mashed potatoes and homemade rolls.  It doesn't get any better than that!  

Bob's Sweet Basil Rub 
From: Bob M.


1 Tbl. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbl. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 whole chicken (I usually buy a 3 to 4 Lb. chicken)


Combine, salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and lemon juice.  Next, add black pepper, basil and olive oil.  Mix into a paste.  Rub paste all over the chicken, getting under the skin.  Place in a roaster pan or on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes per pound of chicken.  Let chicken rest while you make the gravy.    Then, cut in pieces and serve.


For gravy:  Skim the fat from the drippings and discard.  Put the drippings into a saucepan over medium heat, along with 2 Tbl. butter.  When butter is melted, gradually whisk in a few Tbl. of flour and stir until thickened.  Gradually whisk in some water or chicken broth.  Stir until thick and creamy and reaches desired consistency.  If you think it needs more flavor, add a chicken bouillon cube.  Add pepper, to taste.     

Monday, 13 September 2010

MUFFIN FUNDAMENTALS

My mom used to make these muffins for my brothers and me when we were younger and still lived at home.  I loved them when I was a kid and I still love them now.  Plus, they are made from standard pantry ingredients everyone has.  These are great served for breakfast, whip them up in the morning and send your kids to school with a warm, fresh muffin. No need to cut them in half and spread with jam, because it's already hidden in the middle.  My favorite filling is my mom's homemade strawberry jam!  
Muffin Fundamentals
From: Sharon (mom)
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
jam or jelly, any flavor 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Combine the liquid ingredients and add them to the dry ones; stir very lightly until the mixture is just moistened.  The batter should appear lumpy.  Spoon the muffin batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups about half full.  Drop one spoonful of jam or jelly into the center of each cup.  Top with remaining batter to fill the cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve hot.  Yield: 10-12 muffins. 

Thursday, 9 September 2010

KEY LIME PIE BARS - 2

`The other day, I posted some Key Lime Pie Bars and they were delicious, but I kept thinking that maybe I could improve on the crust?  Remember when Sugar Cookie Bars were showing up on just about every blog?  Well, I was sure that the recipe for those would make the most amazing crust.  My friend, Shelley, gave me a recipe for Key Lime Pie she found in a book she has.  So, I decided I would try both recipes.  I started with the sugar cookie crust.  Most recipes make enough for a whole cookie sheet, so I cut the recipe in 1/4 and had the perfect amount for an 8x8 dish.  I baked it for 10 minutes and then put the filling on top and baked for probably about 40 minutes more.  The Key Lime Pie recipe only said to bake 20-30 minutes, but mine was still jiggly, so I had to go longer.  By the time it was done, my crust was slightly overdone, but it was still delicious.  I think the perfect Key Lime Pie Bar would be this Sugar Cookie Crust recipe, but the Key Lime Filling recipe from my first post.  So, give it a try and let me know what you think!
Sugar Cookie Crust:
1/4 c. butter, soft
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and add to wet; mix well.  Spread evenly into a greased 8x8 dish.  Bake about 10 minutes (it will look slightly underdone).

Key Lime Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbl. lime zest, grated (I didn't add this)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1/3 c. key lime juice (I added a little more)

Lower oven temp. to 325 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, zest and salt until creamy.  Add sweetened condensed milk and mix until incorporated.  Add egg yolk and mix until combined.  Add lime juice and stir until well blended.  Pour filling over sugar cookie crust.  Bake until set, about 20-30 minutes (mine took around 40 min. which caused my crust to be slightly overdone).  Cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate two hours before serving.  
           

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

PORK CHOPS & POTATOES

This is one of my favorite meals to have for Sunday dinner.  The pork chops are juicy and flavorful and the potatoes are delicious and filling.  This is my favorite way to serve them, but you really can change up the flavors in the white sauce however you desire.  I like a lot of sauce on my potatoes, because I like to dip my pork chops in it.  If you are not a huge sauce person, just use less milk.    
Pork Chops and Potatoes
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

4 large Russet potatoes
1/2 med. onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper
6 Tbl. butter
6 Tbl. flour
4 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley, opt.
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1/4 c. vegetable oil
flour
seasoned salt
garlic powder
onion salt
rosemary
4 pork chops

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel potatoes and cube.  To prevent the potatoes from turning brown, place in a bowl of cold water while preparing the sauce.  Finely chop the onion; set aside.  Melt 6 Tbl. butter in a medium saucepan; whisk in 6 Tbl. flour until thickened.  Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Add dried parsley, onion soup mix, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until reaches desired thickness.  Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and place in a greased 9x13 casserole dish.  Sprinkle the chopped onions over the top and season with salt and pepper.  When sauce is done, pour evenly over top of potatoes.  Cover casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for five minutes. If your casserole dish won't fit in your microwave, just use a glass bowl and pour the potatoes into the casserole dish when done.  Be careful removing dish from microwave, it will be very hot.  Remove plastic wrap.

For the pork chops: Heat vegetable oil in medium skillet.  Salt and pepper each pork chop.  Combine some flour, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion salt and rosemary in shallow dish. Dredge the pork chops in flour mixture; shake off excess.  Lightly brown chops in oil.  Do not cook them completely, you just want to sear them.  Remove from pan and place directly on top of the potatoes.  Bake, uncovered, 45-60 minutes, depending on how thick your pork chops are.  Serves: 4       

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

ZUCCHINI COOKIES

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING VS. CHOCOLATE CHIP?
I wanted to try something different with some extra zucchini I had.  A friend told me she shreds her excess zucchini and freezes it.  So, I tried it a few weeks ago.  I measured out four cups of shredded zucchini and added it to a ziplock bag.  I used a marker and wrote "four cups" on it, so I wouldn't forget. Yesterday, I got out that bag of zucchini.  When it was thawed, half the bag was filled with water and it didn't look like much zucchini at all.  I drained out the water and measured the zucchini, I only had one cup?  Weird?  I froze four cups?  Has anyone ever tried to freeze shredded zucchini before?  How did it work out?  

Anyway, I searched online for a  Zucchini Cookie recipe and I found one that sounded worth trying.  Except, I couldn't decide on adding chocolate chips (like the recipe called for) or topping with cream cheese frosting?  I was torn, so I decided why not try both?  I already had to cut the recipe in half, because it called for two cups zucchini and I only had one.  Then, I added chocolate chips to half of that and baked the other half plain.  When they cooled, I frosted the plain ones with homemade cream cheese frosting.  Let the taste test begin!  Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am the biggest frosting lover!! I will eat the whole bowl with a spoon . . . No joke!  I have to admit, I liked the ones with the chocolate chips better.  Shhh. . . . Don't tell anyone!  But, Jake said he liked the ones with the cream cheese frosting better.  So, either way, you are going to get a delicious cookie!  I really enjoyed these and I would definitely make them again.  



ZUCCHINI COOKIES
Adapted from: Here
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar 
1 c. light brown sugar 
2 eggs, beaten
4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder 
2 tsp. cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg 
1 tsp. salt
2 c. zucchini, grated
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add eggs, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well.  Stir in the zucchini (batter will look really dry at first, just keep mixing).  Fold in chocolate chips.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Do not overbake.  (I used a small ice cream scoop and got 28 cookies out of half the batch. Mine were perfect at 13-14 minutes)   

Monday, 6 September 2010

GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD

Salad would usually not be my first choice to have for dinner.  This recipe is one of the exceptions.  I love this salad.  I forgot to add the Feta cheese before I took the picture, but I do always add it, in fact, it is one of my favorite ingredients!!  If you do not like Feta, I think it would also be good with shredded Cheddar.  Also, I always grill a zucchini when I make this, but for some reason, don't ask me why, I bought a cucumber at the grocery store instead of a zucchini.  It ended up tasting just as good.  The bacon and tomato are optional ingredients.  Sometimes I add them and sometimes I don't.  I use my George Foreman grill for all the grilling involved in this salad, but you could use a stove top grill pan or even your barbeque.     
Grilled Chicken Salad:
From: Me

McCormick® Grill-Mates Tomato, Garlic & Basil marinade
Chicken tenders (I use 1-2 tenders per salad)
Lettuce
Feta cheese
Zucchini, sliced 
Bacon, opt.
Tomato, diced, opt.

Prepare marinade according to package directions.  Place in a ziplock bag with chicken tenders.  Allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.  If using bacon, cook and crumble.  Grill zucchini slices on George Foreman until they are tender and have grill marks.  Next, grill the chicken tenders.  Slice chicken lengthwise.  Layer lettuce, grilled zucchini, sliced chicken, bacon, Feta, tomatoes and drizzle ranch over the top.  

   

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

KEY LIME PIE BARS

Hi friends!  I am so excited to start this food blog and to share my love of cooking with all of you.  Join me on my journey to becoming a better cook and baker.    

You probably expected a cake recipe for my first blog post, however, I am going to be posting all types of recipes, not just cake ones.  Cake just happens to be one of my very favorite things, so, that is why I included it in my blog's name!!


A few weeks ago, my father-in-law made a key lime pie for a family barbeque.  It was so good that I have been craving it ever since.  If you have never tried key lime pie, you need to ASAP!  I decided to try and make my own, but instead of the traditional graham cracker crust, I wanted to try a sugar cookie crust.  I got the idea from a friend that I work with.  She brought us some Lemon Pie Bars awhile ago, it was basically lemon pie filling over a sugar cookie crust, so, I decided why couldn't I use key lime filling instead of lemon?  I tried it and guess what?  It was delicious.  I do have another variation of key lime pie bars, I will post next week.  
Sugar Cookie Tart Crust:
adapted from: April W.
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temp.
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 baking dish; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the flour, salt, milk and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Press dough evenly into bottom and slightly up the sides of prepared baking dish.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is set and firm at the edges. 

Key Lime Pie Filling:
adapted from: www.oprah.com
4 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 c. key lime juice (I found in a bottle at Fresh Market)
1 lime, zested 

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.  Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, about 3-4 minutes.  Lower the speed and slowly add the key lime juice until incorporated.  Pour mixture over warm crust and bake for 15 minutes or until filling has just set.  Cool on wire rack.  Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before serving.