Thursday, October 23, 2008


Heavenly. Thats all I can say about these. This recipe was sent in by Aubrey- one of our cousins and a wonderful contributor to our site. Aubrey is fantastic.. she happens to be one of my favorite people.. she made these brownies "for the blog", yeah.. ok.. anyway- look at this picture? She just finished her degree.. she is a stay at home mom to a toddler named Jackson, works part-time, paints BEAUTIFUL artwork (check out her newest in the background) and bakes brownies. Super mom.. super chick! Thanks Aubrey!! (These brownies are sooooo, SO delicious she made them for me 2 times now. The first time I was pregnant and I think I ate most the entire batch. Ugh. The second time I brought them home from San Diego they are so yummy)
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.

Giada De Laurientis- the food network

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Its getting cold outside, I love the fall. Here is my favorite Italian soup recipe. I serve this with fresh, warm crusty bread. Don't skimp on the cheese in this recipe. If you can find it, a good quality parmigiano-reggiano cheese is key. I usually make my own meatballs for this. Small meatballs are better. You can use beef, turkey, chicken.. whatever you like. Or you can use frozen meatballs too!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 1/2 cups- (42 oz) good quality chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
20 meatballs- cooked
2 cans (14 oz) small white beans. I use cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 (5-6 oz) bag fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup (or more!) finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a 5-6 qt pot over med high heat. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook about 4 minutes until veggies are soft and onions are pale golden. Stir in broth and water. Bring to a boil, covered. Add meatballs to soup along with beans. Bring to a brisk simmer, covered.
Stir occasionally and simmer until veggies are tender and meatballs are heated through, about 15 minutes.
Stir in spinach, cheese, salt and pepper -(add cheese first because the cheese is salty).
Simmer, uncovered until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
I add more cheese to each bowl and serve.
Makes 4 servings

This is how I make my meatballs. Warning- I leaned how to cook using a handfull and a pinch. I also learned there is no such thing as too much cheese! So tweak as you see fit.
1 pound each of ground beef and ground pork (or turkey and chicken.. any combo you want)
Add 2 medium or 1 extra large egg. Add 2 small chopped or grated garlic cloves. Add 2 generous handfulls of seasoned, Italian bread crumbs. Add 1-2 generous handfulls of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Add salt and pepper usually about 1 ts salt and 1/2 ts pepper. Combine all ingredients with your hands, just until mixed and absorbed. Dont over mix. Form into balls. I spray my broiler pan with nonstick spray and line the pan with the meatballs. That way, the grease drops down.
Cook 375-400 for about 30 minutes. They will finish cooking in the soup, if they arent completely cooked already.


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cups flour
2-1/2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla in a mixer.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl.
Add slowly to sugar mixture.
Add oats.
Add chocolate chips.

Bake 9-11 minutes.

This recipe was given to me by my step-grandmother-in-law (we're an american family...stealing a line from You've Got Mail) Marion French.

adaptations: I usually only put in 2 cups of oats per batch, they come out a little less dense (no jokes, please!) and i always double it, sometimes triple it. The dough freezes lovely!

Monday, October 20, 2008


1 pkg refrigerated pizza dough
8 ounces deli ham, thinly sliced - or your favorite deli meat
4 ounces swiss cheese, or your favorite cheese
1/2 red onion, cut into rings
your favorite mustard, dijon, regular, whole-grain
2 tsps whole-grain mustard
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small head romaine, rut into bite-size pieces

heat oven 400 degrees.
roll the pizza dough out and cut into 8 triangles.
stack a piece of hame, cheese, and onion on the bottom of each triangle. spread your favorite mustard on top. roll the dough up around the filling. (some of the filling will stick out the ends.)
bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.
combine the whole-grain mustard and oil in a medium bowl and toss with romaine. serve with the turnovers.

Aubrey (a blog-follower & contributor) wrote:
Turnovers were GREAT! Jeff thought that ham and cheese sounded too boring so I added marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red bell peppers. YUMMY!!! We also happened to have a really good Sierra Nevada Stone-Ground Stout Mustard and it was super good in the salad. What a simple and yummy dressing. I added pepper and parmesan cheese to the salad too. Seriously a wonderful and fast dinner. The best part is that we were all in the kitchen making it together. Thank you again for the wonderful recipe blog. We'll use it often.

adapted from a recipe found in real simple april 2008
kid friendly: omit onion and your favorite mustard in the turnover.


1 lb new potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into match stick-size pieces
2 small zucchini, cut into match stick-size pieces
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T whole-grain mustard
2 T fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Heat oven 400 degrees.
Mix potatoes, carrots and zucchini in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together extra virgin olive oil, mustard, rosemary, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/3 of the mixture, and mix remaining 2/3 mixture with the vegetables. Place chicken into a pan sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Pour remaining 1/3 mustard mixture on top of the chicken. Pour vegetable mixture on top.
Roast for 15 minutes. Toss the vegetables and turn the chicken. Continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through, 10-15 minutes more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


1 cup sliced, COOKED, and seasoned chicken
1 1/3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/3 cups (packed) coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese (5 to 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups jarred salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
4 2/3 cups coarsely chopped stemmed spinach/arugula (from 1 bunch), divided
4 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
3 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Olive oil

Steam/boil potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Place in large bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss to coat. Cool potatoes 15 minutes. Mix in Jack cheese. Meanwhile, blend salsa and 2/3 cup (packed) greens in mini processor until greens are finely chopped.

Arrange tortillas on work surface. Divide remaining greens between bottom half of each. Top greens with sliced, chicken, potato mixture, then goat cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa mixture for each. Fold plain tortilla halves over filling, pressing to compact. Brush with oil.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas, oiled side down, in skillet. Brush tops with oil. Cook until quesadillas are brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.

Cut each quesadilla into 3 or 4 wedges. Serve with remaining salsa.

the idea came from a bon appetit march 2007 issue - i've revised it, added chicken and instead of mustard greens, i chose spinach or arugula.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This may be the simplest cookie recipe ever!
These were so easy and yummy- I cooked mine for about 7-8 minutes and they are soft.
What You'll need:
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg
Heat oven to 375. Stir together all ingredients. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Put some sugar on a plate and roll balls of dough into sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press each ball with a fork to make crisscross design. Bake 10 minutes or until cookies just start to brown on the edges. Remove and let cool on wire racks. Made about 2 dozen.
Parents magazine, October 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008


This recipe was sent to me from Aubrey.. our cousin in San Diego~ between her and her husband Jeff, they are great in the kitchen.. food and drinks.
This is a wonderful appetizer/snack that Jeff makes several times a week when he gets home from work. We’re on a goat cheese kick and if you love it as much as we do, you’ll love this too!

2 roma tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces soft goat cheese
Sourdough flute, sliced crosswise about 1/2 inch thick

Preheat broiler
Mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl
Place bread on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and lightly toast under broiler, about 1-2 minutes
Spread about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on each bread slice
Top with tomato mixture
Place on baking sheet and place under broiler another 3-4 minutes
Make sure it doesn't burn : )

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This is one of my favorite pork chop recipes. I don't really love pork chops, but my husband does, so this is perfect for us. The Dijon sauce really compliments the pork. I serve this with roasted new potatoes and green beans.

1 tbs. butter
1 tbs. olive oil
4 center cut or loin chops, about 1 1/4 inch thick
1/4 c. chopped green onions or shallots
1/2 c. dry white wine
3/4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. chopped parsley (optional)

Melt butter and olive oil in a large, deep skillet over med-high heat. Season chops w/ salt and pepper and brown them, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat slightly if chops brown too quickly.
Remove chops and pour off most of the fat. Add green onions or shallots and cook on med heat until softened- about 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in chicken stock and return chops to the pan. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until chops are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove chops to a warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Raise the temp of the pan to boil the pan juices, reduce by half (or 1/4). Add cream and boil 2 minutes more, until sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in mustard and parsley.
Spoon sauce over chops and serve.
Serves 4
Simply recipes: New York Times Sunday Magazine 2005

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I made this recipe and found it to be very good. I love hummas, so you can use this recipe for hummas served with plain pita triangles or vegetables too. When I make just the hummas, I top it with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped tomatoes and chopped onions or scallions. So good.

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 tbs. tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 garlic clove, peeled
Dash of crushed red pepper
2 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped tomato
3/4 cup chopped seeded English cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 (6-inch) pita bread rounds, halved

Drain chickpeas in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon liquid. Combine chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and red pepper in a food processor, and process until smooth, scraping sides of processor bowl once. Add lemon juice, olive oil and reserved chickpea liquid, process until smooth. Spoon mixture into a bowl; set aside.
Combine tomato and next 6 ingredients (tomato through cilantro) in a bowl. Spoon 1/4 cup hummus mixture into each pita half; top with 1/4 cup feta-olive salsa.

Serves 4- serving size 2 stuffed pita halves each
Cooking Light Magazine

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It's Fall.. time to start picking all those delicious apples.. This is a fantastic recipe for (in my opinion, and others who have tasted it) the best apple pie recipe ever! It was rated 5 out of 5 by 1600 people who have tried it! Delicious!
1 Recipe pastry for a 9 inch double pie crust
1/2 c. Unsalted Butter
4 tbs. All purpose flour
1/4 c. Water
1/2 c. White sugar
1/2 c. Packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored
1 ts. Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Melt butter in a saucepan.
Stir in flour to form a paste.
Add water,white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and simmer.
Place the bottom of your crust in the pan.
Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust.
Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. (Reserve 1/4 of the sugar mixture to baste if using a full pie crust)**
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking 30-45 minutes until the apples are soft.
** I used a full pie crust. After placing top of crust to top of pie, Save 1/4 of the sugar and butter mixture and baste the top of the pie crust. Bake as directed.
Allrecipes, Apple pie by Grandma Ople


2 oranges
1 head of red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Using small sharp knife, cut off peel and white pith from oranges. Cut oranges crosswise into round slices, then cut slices in half. Toss red leaf lettuce, orange slices, and red onion slices in large bowl. Add oil and vinegar and toss to coat; season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

bon appetit march 2008 amy finley


If you know me, you know I love margaritas...
Here is my favorite recipe for Strawberry Margarita's.. tried and true!

2 1/4 c. Tequila
3/4 c. Triple Sec
1 1/2 lbs. Frozen or Fresh Strawberries
1 1/2 c. Limeade, thawed

In a Blender, blend ice (about 2 cups to start), Tequila, Triple Sec.
Add strawberries, and Limeade.
Blend to desired consistency. Add more ice if necessary.
Garnish with sliced strawberry and serve.

Serves 12


my 7 year old love helping me make this one!

1/2 pound white-meat ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sweet chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup green or black olives, chopped
2 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeƱos (optional)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 pound raw frozen pizza dough, defrosted in the microwave or overnight in the fridge.

Heat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook turkey, breaking up with a spoon, until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, olives and jalapeƱos. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until turkey is cooked through and tomatoes are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Pull dough into 4 flat disks, each 8 inches in diameter. Top each round with 1/2 cup turkey filling. Fold dough in half and fold bottom edge over top. Press closed. Transfer to cookie sheet and coat empanadas with cooking spray. Bake until dough is firm and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store empanadas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

kid friendly: leave jalapeno's out

budget friendly: use ground turkey with both dark and light meat

self magazine march 2008 Jennifer Iserloh

Monday, October 6, 2008


my kids love this version of chicken enchilada's with green sauce... a great stand-by in our house!

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp chili pepper
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 (11 oz) can tomatillos, drained
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. combine chicken, green onions, 1/4 cup monterey jack cheese, parmesan, chili powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. place milk and next 3 ingredients (through chiles) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.
3. pour 1/3 cup tomatillo mixture into bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. arrange 4 corn tortillas in dish, and top with half of chicken mixture. repeat layer with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture, ending with tortillas.
4. pour remaining 1-1/2 cups tomatillo mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup monterey jack cheese. bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

serve with black beans and spanish rice for a complete meal!

budget friendly: use chicken thighs instead of breasts.
make ahead: you can even double this, freeze it and serve it another night down the road...

cooking light july 2007