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Monday, April 30, 2012

Chicken with Olives

Mmmm...olives.  I really have very little control around them.  They're just one of many reasons why I love this dish.  

The other reasons?  Well, it's...

One pot.
Italian :)
Make ahead.

As you can see, I served it over spaghetti, but it would also be great with polenta, gnocchi, rice...or by itself with some fresh crusty bread.  Yum!

You can never have too many of these rustic meals to choose from!

Chicken with Olives
adapted from bell'alimento

10-12 chicken pieces (thighs, wings, legs, breasts...any combo you like)
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (28 ounce) can Italian peeled whole tomatoes
1/2 cup brandy
25 (approximately) mixed Mediterranean olives (or one type is fine...whatever you like/have on hand)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 teaspoons capers
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Pat chicken dry with paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, set aside.

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over high heat.  Add onions and cook until slightly softened.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Add tomatoes, stir together and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add brandy and let evaporate.

Add olives, mushrooms, pepper, capers and chicken broth.  Season with a little more salt and pepper.  Lower to simmer, cover and cook for about 45 minutes.  Add parsley a few minutes before serving.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Another special little person in my life had a milestone birthday recently.  My niece Nina turned 10!  And I was THRILLED when she gave me her cake choice.  It's one of my favorite flavor combinations.

I had to make some changes to the original recipe since the request was specifically "mint chocolate chip cake".  No problem.

Where the problem did lie, however, is in my leveling/trimming/frosting skills.  Damn layer cakes.  Can someone please come and tutor me?  PLEASE???

Anyway, it tasted awesome...and isn't that what really matters? :)

Happy birthday Nina - I can't believe you're in double digits!

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
adapted from Bird On A Cake

For the cake:
1 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped Andes mints
mini chocolate chips (for assembly)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 8 inch round cake pans.

Bring some water to a boil.  In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Mix together.

Add one cup of boiling water and carefully stir until mixed in.  Beat for 1 1/2 minutes with mixer.  Fold in mints.  Pour batter into pans and bake for about 20-23 minutes.

For the Mint Buttercream frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
5 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
green food coloring
1/2 cup milk (may use less)

Mix all ingredients except milk together on low speed.  Gradually add milk until desired consistency is reached.

Place bottom layer on serving plate.  Add frosting, then spread mini chocolate chips evenly over it.  Repeat with second layer.  Frost top and sides of cake, then add chips on top and on sides.

Linked to: Tastetastic Thursday
                 Sweet Tooth Friday
                 Sweets for a Saturday
                 Mint Blog Hop

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicken Pasta Pesto Bake

I had a bit of a challenging day earlier this week.  To sum it up quickly...

Got ready for work.  Bella got sick.  All over the house.  Plopped her in the bath.  Cleaned it all up...rug, floor, clothes...you get my drift.

Finally got out of the house and hopped in my mom-in-law's car to go to work.  Car dies on the road.  Co-worker picks me up.

Proceeded to have a super craptastic day at the office.  Crappy days in sales impact your paycheck.  No bueno.

The highlight of my day?  Dinner.  Not just because it tasted good, but because I prepped it the night before.  Ahhhhh.

Chicken Pasta Pesto Bake
12 ounces penne, cooked al dente
2 large chicken breasts, cooked, cut into chunks
2/3 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a baking dish.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

***I used leftover chicken (seasoned and grilled).  It can be cooked however you like - just make sure it's seasoned for added flavor!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cauliflower, Walnut & Parsley Salad

Anyone out there love raw veggies as much as me?  There's just something so satisfying about that big, loud crunch...so, I try to find different ways to dress them up.   Sometimes straight up gets kind of boring, you know?

Forget the mandolin the original recipe writer suggests using if you love the crunch.  Like me.

Cauliflower, Walnut & Parsley Salad
slightly adapted from Lucullian Delights

1 small head cauliflower
chopped walnuts
chopped fresh parsley
lemon juice
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

Cut cauliflower into bite size chunks, chopping stems off.  Put in a bowl.

Whisk together parsley, lemon juice, salt and oil (taste as you go) then add to cauliflower.  Top with walnuts and serve.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Frank's Brisket

I think it's pretty obvious that I do the cooking in our house.  However, I must give some credit to Frank...like, maybe a handful or two of nights worth.  And being the creature of habit that he is, they've consisted of two meals.  One is a version of this.

The other, is this:

Frank first made me this when we were dating, and I was very impressed!  I also thought for a minute that maybe, just maybe, he'd cook dinner once in a while...oh well, at least he cooks breakfast more often :)

When you read the recipe below, you'll see how ridiculously easy this is.  Ladies, you can train your man to make this!  It take about 5 minutes to put together - no exaggeration.  And the end result is perfection!  Juicy, tender meat in a sweet sauce.  So good.

Frank's Brisket
1 brisket (approximately 2 pounds)
1 large yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
chopped parsley for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of meat, then place in a baking pan.  Add onions and arrange on top and around meat.  Top it all with the sauce.

Cover tightly with foil and cook for 3 hours.  Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting (against the grain)...you could even refrigerate it overnight and reheat the next day for even more delicious results!  Serve over egg noodles.  Top with chopped parsley if desired.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

English Muffin Bread (What's Baking?)

Lindsay from Peace, Love and French Fries must have had me in mind when she chose this month's What's Baking? theme.  As many of you know, baking with yeast is a fear I've been tackling, slowly but surely.  If this challenge were presented to me last year I probably would have broken out in a sweat.

This year?  No sweat.

Welcome to one of the easiest (and delicious!) breads you will ever bake.

Now, I have to tell you, I was worried about the dough, before and after the rise.  It was VERY sticky and wet.  Like, to the point that I was pouring it into the baking pan and thought for sure it wasn't going to come out.  I guess I was concerned because there was no mention of the consistency being like that in the original recipe...it was just odd.

Thankfully, I was wrong!  I have a feeling this is going to become a regular thing in our house.  It's just too easy for it not to be.  Plus, this little one was enjoying it a whole lot...

Big thanks to Lindsay for helping me continue my quest for conquering my fear of yeast!

English Muffin Bread
from Laughing Spatula

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons milk

Add yeast, water and sugar to mixing bowl.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.  Add remaining ingredients and knead in mixer with dough hook attachment for about 3-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth.  Add dough to oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double in size, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.  Punch down dough and knead gently on floured surface.  Place in loaf pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

Linked to: Tastetastic Thursday
                    Bread Blog Hop

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Fried Onion Mac & Cheese

Our recipe swap them this time around was your favorite celebrity recipe.  When I received Alton Brown's Mac & Cheese from Does Not Cook Well With Others, I knew right away I'd be making a few adaptations.  After all, I already have a great go-to recipe for baked mac & cheese.

The night before I made this dish, Frank, Bella and I went to a new local burger place for dinner.  We ordered the "crispy onions" as a side dish, since Bella and I love onion rings.  Little did we know we'd be faced with a ginormous plate of pieces of fried onions.  Very good but WAY too much to eat.

The light bulb over my head lit up and I had those suckers packed up to go.

So, as you can guess, I made some adaptations to Alton's original recipe.  And great changes they were!  Yum.

Even celebrities can stand to use some improvement once in a while :)

Fried Onion Mac & Cheese
adapted from Does Not Cook Well With Others, originally from Alton Brown

3/4 pound elbows
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
fried onion pieces (I guess you could use canned, but this recipe looks pretty easy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook elbows until al dente and drain.

Melt butter in a pot over low heat, then add flour and mustard.  Stir constantly until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Stir in milk, bay leaf and paprika.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the bay leaf.

Add a ladle of the milk mixture to the egg and mix, then pour into the pot with the rest of the mixture.  Stir in most of both cheeses, reserving about 3/4 cup for the top.  Season with salt and pepper.  Gently stir in macaroni, then pour into casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 25 minutes.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  Top with onions and serve.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Corset Cake

My sister-in-law's bachelorette party was this past weekend.  When my husband's aunt, who coordinated the party, asked me to bake the cake, my mind started racing.  And my fingers started googling.

I saw this, and became inspired to make this:

Va va VOOM!

I borrowed cake bowls from my friend Rebecca (local peeps, check out her cake business...she does great work!)  

I decided to make a two-layer cake so I could fill it with something pink, and also so we could have more cake, because of course I was paranoid that there wouldn't be enough, as usual.  

And, as usual, there was MORE than enough.  So, the bachelorette got to take the boobs home to her fiance.

I used my favorite yellow cake recipe...yum.   Oh and by the way, it's 3 batches worth.  One for each layer, and one divided in half for the boobs.

Then, I made this icing recipe for the outside, and on the inside, I actually had some icing in the freezer from my very strawberry cupcakes that I pulled out, and added a layer of chopped fresh strawberries.

Icing the cake where I carved it wasn't easy...honestly, it wasn't easy icing it anywhere, probably because I put it on that tray beforehand.  I strongly advise using a flat board or platter without "walls" so you don't run into the same problem.

I also had to use skewers in various places to hold the boobies up and together...because, you know, nobody likes saggy boobs.

It definitely could have looked better, but it tasted delicious!

Oh and incase you're wondering what we did for the party...we took a Viking cooking class.  And, we made this.  Which was also delicious.

Homemade hibachi!  SO good.

Maybe one of these days I'll try using fondant...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lemon & Dill Bean Salad

Beans, beans, good for your heart...

...and good for a quick lunch, or side...and easy on the wallet...and delicious!

LOVE this salad.

Lemon & Dill Bean Salad

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Gently toss all ingredients together in a bowl.  Serve or refrigerate.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Wine and Garlic Marinated London Broil

It's amazing how your body and food cravings change as the weather does.  When it's cold, I'm all about soups, stews and other types of comfort food.  The past few days have been in the 80-90 degree range and all I could think of eating was grilled meat.

So, I marinated a ton of it on Sunday night for Frank to grill last night for a few dinners and lunches this week.  Included in the batch were two pieces of london broil, so I separated them and used two different marinades...this is one of them.

This was delicious!  It really hit the spot and satisfied my warm weather need.  If you aren't already aware, it's a very tough cut of meat and needs to marinate for a long time...I recommend at least 12 hours.  This piece sat for about 24 hours and it was perfect.

And now, I want a hot dog! :)

Red Wine & Garlic Marinated London Broil
adapted from Hola Jalapeno

6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds london broil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or ziploc bag.  Add meat and cover (or seal).  Refrigerate overnight, turning meat occasionally.

Remove meat from refrigerator and let sit for about 30 minutes.  Turn on grill and set to medium, or 350 degrees.  Place on grill and cook until desired temperature is achieved (we like our steak rare...ours cooked for about 5-6 minutes on each side).

Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting.  Thinly slice against the grain.  Serve.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Asparagus Carbonara

Another spring day, another use for asparagus.  And this one is a new favorite!

This dish was seriously delicious, even with "thinning it out" by using fat free half and half in place of heavy cream.  I was a little worried that it wouldn't hold up, but fortunately I was wrong.  It was creamy and flavorful and perfect.

And while we're talking about spring days, what's up with this weather?  80 degrees yesterday...a predicted 93 degrees today...I can't believe I'll be turning on the AC in mid-April.  I want my spring back!!

Well, at least eating this will make me feel like it's 60 degrees...

Asparagus Carbonara
adapted from Closet Cooking

6 ounces penne
1 bunch asparagus
5 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons fat free half & half
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, cut bacon into bite size pieces and fry in a large skillet.  Once cooked, drain most of fat out of pan.

Cut asparagus into penne shaped pieces then add to pan.  Add garlic and pepper and toss together.  Mix egg yolk, half & half and cheese in a bowl.  Set aside.

Drain pasta, reserving a little bit of water.  Add pasta to pan and toss.  Remove from heat and wait for sizzling to stop.  Add egg mixture and toss to coat.

Taste at this point and decide if you need to add reserved pasta water.  I didn't need to, but if you do, add slowly, then toss.  Top with more pepper, if desired, and serve.

Linked to: Tastetastic Thursday

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicken Souvlaki

The grill is back in business.  Just in time for my warmer weather cravings!  Bring on the fresh ingredients and Mediterranean flavors.

I could eat Greek food every day.  Seriously.  And although there are a few places in my area that serve good eats, there's nothing better than homemade.

This dish is a cinch to make.  It literally takes minutes.  You can make the tzatziki and the salad ahead of time, and dinner will be on the table fast.

Fire up the grill and try it out this weekend!

Chicken Souvlaki
adapted from Food & Wine

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
pita bread
butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped red onion
chopped fresh dill

Turn on grill.  In a bowl, add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add chicken to mixture and toss.  Thread onto skewers if you like.  Grill over high heat until done, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Spread both sides of pita with butter and grill until golden, about 3-4 minutes.

Place pita on plate and top with chicken, followed by tzatziki, onion and dill.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scalloped Ham and Potato Bake

This week has pretty much been all about Easter leftovers.  The other night, we had stuffed shells and meatballs.  Another night was eggplant parm.  For lunch, I've been eating egg salad (or straight up hard boiled eggs).  I'm pretty sure many households across the country have been doing the same thing...

I'm also pretty sure that many households have turned their leftover ham into deliciousness that looks something like this:

Photo credit goes to Frank (I was working late)...not bad for an amateur!

I made this dish the day before we ate it - threw it in the fridge and reheated it before serving.  Perfect for a busy work night!  Another successful use of leftovers, which you know always makes me happy.

So, what leftovers have been on your table this week?

Scalloped Ham and Potato Bake
slightly adapted from RecipeTips

2 cups ham, diced
5 cups potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
5 tablespoons flour
dash of pepper

for the sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup colby jack and cheddar cheeses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first 5 ingredients and place in a greased casserole dish (approximately 2 quarts).

For the sauce, melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour and cook for one minute, until smooth.  Add milk, mustard and cheese.  Stir over low heat until cheese melts.

Pour sauce over potato mixture and bake for 60 minutes or until potatoes are done.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shaved Asparagus Salad

What words pop into your mind when you're thinking about spring?  I have a few:

baseball (go YANKEES!)
cleaning (guess I should start my spring cleaning one of these days...)

Yes, asparagus.  One of my favorite vegetables.  And perfect this time of year.

I made this salad on Easter and it was a big hit.  It was nice to bring something different to the table, literally.  And you can bet this will be seen on our table a lot in the near future.

Shaved Asparagus Salad
from Chow

zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot (from about 1 medium)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons pignoli nuts, lightly toasted, cooled
1 pound asparagus spears, tough bottoms removed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves

Combine lemon zest, lemon, vinegar, shallot and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Using a peeler, thinly slice asparagus lengthwise into strips and place in a bowl (I threw the tips in, too).  Whisk oil into vinegar mixture in a thin and steady stream.  Adjust seasonings according to taste.

Add pignoli nuts, dressing, half of the cheese and all the parsley to the asparagus and toss.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.  Add remaining cheese to top and serve.

Linked to:  Tastetastic Thursday

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cannoli Cheesecake

We celebrated Easter at my sister-in-law and future brother-in-law's house this weekend.  Since Joe's birthday was yesterday, I told him to pick a cake that he wanted me to make to bring to dinner.

His answer, "either a cannoli cake or a cheesecake".

My decision?  A cannoli cheesecake.  Naturally.

The only problem with this cake is that we didn't bring home any leftovers :)  Oh, and I guess the fact that the crust didn't go as high as the cake might be another minor infraction.  I think next time I'll keep it strictly on the bottom...no need for it on the sides anyway.

Frank has already requested this for his birthday in June...I may need to make it again before that :)

Cannoli Cheesecake
barely adapted from Fine Cooking

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons AP flour
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Position oven rack to middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Stir cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons sugar together in a bowl, then mix in melted butter until crumbs get slightly clumpy.  Transfer to a 9 inch springform pan and press evenly along the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan (like I said, I'll probably just cover the bottom next time).  Use a plastic bag or wrap to press gently.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly brown.  Let cool on a rack.  Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Put paddle attachment on stand mixer.  Mix cream cheese, ricotta, flour and salt on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Make sure cheese has no lumps.  Add sugar and beat until well blended and smooth.

Add chocolate chips, orange zest and vanilla.  Beat until just combined, about 30 seconds.  Add eggs, one at a time, also beating until just blended.  Do not overbeat.  Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth top.

Bake for about 55-65 minutes.  The sides will be puffy and the center will look soft and jiggle.  Set on rack and cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.  (it can also be frozen at this point for up to one month...see original recipe for freezing tips)

Unclasp and remove side of pan and run a long, thin spatula under the crust.  Slide onto flat serving plate carefully (or leave it on the bottom of the springform pan like I did!).  Garnish with confectioners' sugar.  Dip knife in warm water before cutting each slice, wiping inbetween cuts.

Linked to:  Sweets for a Saturday

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Tilapia & Veggie Packets (Secret Recipe Club)

How was your holiday weekend?  We had a great one...lots of food, family and fun.  Everything was delicious, but as usual, I just ate way too much...which is when meals like this come in handy.  Something light to kick off the week after a big holiday meal is always a good way to go.  So, the timing of this Secret Recipe Club post couldn't be more perfect, even though I made this dish about 3 weeks ago.

My assignment this month was Erica's blog, Itzy's Kitchen.  Erica has a lot of good recipes, many which are light and healthy.  I had a hard time choosing one to pick, but ended up making this on a Friday which were meatless for us these past 6 weeks.

If you haven't used this technique at home, don't be afraid to.  It's easy and delicious, and yields great results.  A healthy one-pouch meal that hits the spot!  Feel free to use whatever type of protein and veggies you have on hand, and whatever seasonings you prefer.

Thanks for a great recipe, Erica!

Tilapia & Veggie Packets
slightly adapted from Itzy's Kitchen

tilapia filets (one per packet)
chopped vegetables (I used tomato, red onion, green beans, mushrooms, garlic)
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
chili powder
parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in a pan and saute veggies until slightly soft.

Cut parchment paper in a piece and place fish in the center, then sprinkle chili powder over it and top with lemon juice.  Place veggies on top and fold parchment into a sealed envelope.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes and use caution when opening since steam will come out.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Our latest recipe swap theme was fruit.  Fruit in anything - sweet or savory.  And I was very happy to receive Katie's recipe for these delicious muffins.  Be sure to check out her blog if you don't already know about it...she's got some great recipes!

I LOVED these muffins...they were sweet but not too sweet, soft, fluffy and really tasty.  You could really feel the creaminess from the cream cheese.  And, talk about easy to make.  I brought most of these to work and they were a huge hit with my coworkers.

If you're looking for a last minute addition to your Easter brunch, definitely make these!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins
from So Tasty, So Yummy

2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Batter will be thick, like cookie dough.  Fold in strawberries.

Spoon batter into paper lined muffin pans.  Fill each cup about 3/4 high.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden.  Cool on rack for at least 15 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Key Lime Squares

Key lime - one of my favorites.  What's not to love?

It's a big favorite with a few of my close friends, too, as you may remember from my post with my key lime pie recipe.  And speaking of Chach, we had a blast at the Bruce concert Tuesday night (hence the reason I had no post for you yesterday...sorry!).  To all the fellow Bruce fans - make sure you see him this tour - it was a great show (then again, when is it not great?  Um, never!)

Just a little peek to show you how amazing our seats were...be jealous!

It never gets old, even after seeing him...oh, probably close to 40 times :)

So, now I've got two of my favorite things in this post...The Boss, and anything key lime.   These squares are perfect if you're still trying to figure out what to make for Easter dessert.  Give them a try!

Key Lime Squares
slightly adapted from Baked Perfection

2 1/4 cups AP flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
5 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup key lime juice
a few drops of green food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine flour, confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Cut in butter with 2 knives or pastry cutter until crumbs are formed.  Press evenly into greased 9x13 pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until slightly browned.

While crust is baking, combine eggs, sugar, lime juice, food coloring, 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Pour mixture over hot crust and bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool completely and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Linked to: Sweets for a Saturday
                   Easter Blog Hop

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hawaiian Pork & Pineapple

We ordered Chinese food over the weekend for the first time in a while.  I was beat from a busy day and just didn't want to worry about cooking or dishes.  We were all about chilling out and watching a movie (which, by the way, Bridesmaids was hysterical!).

I like to change up what I order most of the time, but one thing I'm consistent with is rice.  I never eat the rice that comes with my dish.  I guess I'd rather just fill up on the good stuff.  So, into the fridge went my pint of white rice.

Yesterday, while staring at my pork tenderloin, a few ideas went racing through my head over what to do with it.  I had a craving for pineapple, and then remembered the rice.  So, I threw this dish together in a matter of minutes, and I must say I was pretty pleased with the results.  Frank really loved it too.

Speaking of Frank, I asked him what I should name this dish.  His reply, "I mean, come on - pork...pineapple...what else would you call it?"  Well alrighty, then.

Hawaiian Pork & Pineapple
1 (approximately 1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 can pineapple rings, drained and cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (I use Frank's)
3 cups baby spinach leaves

Coat pork with cornstarch, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat canola oil in a large pan, then add pork and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from pan.

Add rice and onion, followed by sesame oil.  Stir to combine and cook for about a minute.  Add pineapple and stir.  Cook for another minute or two.

Add pork and chili sauce, then stir and cook for another few minutes.  Turn off heat and add spinach.  Stir to combine until wilted.  Serve.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Raisin Glaze

So what's on your Easter menu this coming weekend?  

Deviled eggs? 

Leg of lamb? (my personal Easter favorite...yum)  

We know that ham is a common answer to this question, so I thought this recipe would be helpful right about now.  I love this sauce, and it's a cinch to make!  Try it this weekend...that is, if you're serving ham.

Raisin Glaze
from food. com

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

Combine first three ingredients in a pot.  Stir in water, raisins, vinegar and lemon juice until blended.  

Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened.  Stir in butter until melted.  Serve.

Makes approximately 2 cups.

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