Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Zucchini Bread

I had never had this before, and quite frankly I did not think I would like it. Nate convinced me & he shredded up all the zucchini and we made a few loaves of zucchini bread. I do like it, but it's just not my fave, it was fun to make something new and different though!

We sort of improvised the recipe but got tips from several reviews on ALL RECIPES

3 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 large eggs
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. no sugar added apple sauce
2 T. vanilla
1 c. loose brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. chopped walnuts

Grease 2 regular loaf pans
Preheat oven to 325

In medium bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder,baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg. In separate bowl cream eggs, sugars, vanilla, oil, applesauce until well combined. Sift & mix in dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in zucchini using spatula or wooden spoon, stir in walnuts.
Pour into prepared pans, bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife (or shish-kabob stick) comes out clean.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Root Beer Slow Cooker Pulled Pork~

AKA "The best crock pot dish I've ever made", according to Nate.
This is the famous recipe from All Recipes. Click Here for the original recipe.

We had friends over for dinner and I wanted there to be leftovers so we amended the recipe a bit.
I bought 2 pork tenderloins that were about 1-1.5 lbs each so it was just under 3 lbs. I used 2 12oz. bottles of Henry Weinhart's Root beer
Into the slow cooker for just over 7 hours (because traffic was yucky)on LOW.

I removed the pork from the Crock pot, drained the liquid and shredded it with a fork in a large bowl & mixed in about 3/4 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce.
Served smothered in a bit more SBR's sauce on Toasted wheat buns.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chineese Chicken Salad

We made Chinese Chicken Salad Wednesday and I was really happy with how it turned out! The only bummer was I couldn't find won ton wrappers at the store to bake for the little crispy strips. Definitely something we'll do next time.
The measurements on the dressing were non-existent, we just kept tasting it until it was perfecto!

Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Red Cabbage
Chopped/torn Romaine Lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breast cut up into bite sized pieces (marinate in dressing for extra flavor)
Chopped green onion
Thinly Sliced Almonds
Won-ton wrappers cut into strips and baked- (couldn't find them at the store I happened to be at)
Roasted sesame seeds
Shredded Carrots
Rinse and prepare all ingredients and toss in a large bowl
Top with dressing

About 3 Large spoon fulls of Hosin Sauce
A small (like tip of a butter knife) spoon full of Chinese Hot Mustard
Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil and Low Sodium Soy Sauce (just kept adding bits of each until the taste & texture were right)
A dash of sesame seeds
Whisk with fork until all ingredients are well combined

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cheesecake Brownie Bars

Ahh, my favorite type of desert~ This can be as homemade or semi-homemade as you like it and the possibilities are endless. Next time I will either top this with crushed oreo cookies and drizzle with chocolate syurp, or top with fresh fruit like we did tonight (sliced strawberries) OR I'll add a layer of either black cherry or blackberry pie filling in between the brownie & cheesecake layer.
I made these the other night LATE while Nate was playing with his new toy~ The Xbox360~

Start by preparing your favorite brownie recipe
Or Make brownies from a box
I use the Ghiradelli recipe (shown here below) or This One from ALL RECIPES

2 Eggs
3/4 C Sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 butter, melted
3/4 Cup sweet Ghiradelli ground chocolate powder
2/3 C unsifted flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter- mix well
Sift in chocolate powder, flour, baking powder and salt
Mix well and bake in a 9 x 13 or 8 x 8 pan greased baking pan at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let Cool completely
Prepare the No-Bake Cheese Cake mix
8oz Cream Cheese
1 T Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla extract
A bit of lemon zest
1/3 C White sugar
Lastly, either 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream whipped or 1 tub of coolwhip thawed (your choice)

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until smooth, but with out overmixing- fold in whip cream
Spread evenly over cooled brownies and refridgerate covered for 2 hours before serving.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Black & Blue and Good All Over!

I love alllll cheese, but Blue Cheese is one of my favorites. Last night I made Blue Cheese Burgers (sometimes called Black & Blue's because of the black pepper and blue cheese) This was a super easy meal that took very little time and was oh so delicious!

Burgers (recipe by ME)
1 lb ground sirloin
Whole Wheat Buns
4oz Blue Cheese (this is the size of the container, I used almos all of it but not quite)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
Chopped Green Onion (2 of them)
Worcecstershire Sauce 3-4 big dashes
Pinch of Kosher Salt
3 pieces fully cooked bacon crumbled or chopped up
(I usually make bacon in the oven of easy clean up) line a baking sheet with foil lay bacon on sheet and back at 350 for about 15 minutes or until as well done as you'd like it :)
Avacado for the top :)

Knead everything but the buns and the acvacado in a medium bowl and form burger patties. Grill over medium low heat for about 7 minutes each side. Lightly toast buns on the grill for about 2 minutes. Top burgers with avacado slices & dijon mustard or condiments of choice and served (in this case) with Sweet Potato Fries~

On the Side
Sweet Potato Fries
This was so simple! I just ran one large sweet potato through the mandoline, put them on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with Olive Oil using my Misto and sprinkeled lightly with kosher salt. Bake at 325 for 20-25 mintues

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nate's Crab Cakes

Nate LOVES crab cakes~ and I do too! This was our first time making them, and we looked up a few recipes Like This and Nate decided to make his own recipe based on crab cakes that he's had that he liked (and avoiding ingredients that are not his fave like celery)
This was totally a make-it-up-as-you go type of deal, and really the only thing we'll do differently next time is either make a smaller batch or make the same sized batch and size the crab cakes as silver-dollar sized apps. This recipe made 7 crab cakes about the size of the palm of my hand.

1 lb crab meat (we used cooked snow-crab clusters from the fish market- YUM!)
Olive oil
Small Maui Sweet Onion
8-10 minced radishes
3 T Dijon mustard
Bread Crumbs
1/2 C mashed potatoes - cooled (... and we happened to be making mashed red potatoes as a side dish with our main course)
1/4 c mayo
2 1/2 T chopped finely chopped chives
3 T chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp cayenne or to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon or to taste
Zest of 1/4 (or a little less)of a lemon

Spicy Mayo~
Mayo 1/2 to 3/4 C
1 T finely chopped chives
a few dashes Tapitio or Tabasco to taste
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Salt (a pinch of Kosher salt)
a bit of horseradish like 1/2 tsp
Mix up all of the above

Medium Pan, saute onions and radishes, seasoned with salt for 5-7 minutes in a few T of Olive Oil. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl combine (mix after each ingredient- use a fork to keep the larger piece of meat from crumbling) crab, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, chives, mashed potatoes cayenne bread crumbs (adding by the 1/4 cup until they're good patty making texture.) Season with salt & pepper. Carefully stir in radishes and onions, add a little more lemon juice to taste or bread crumbs if necessary. Form big or little cakes by hand- coat both sides with bread crumbs. Heat oil in a medium or large skillet- saute about 4-5 minutes each side or until golden & crispy on medium heat.

They were totally spectacular- we actually went to a beautiful dinner at a great restaurant a few nights later and I liked Nate's crab cakes better!!
My photos are no bueno on this one, they do not do them justice~ I am dreading daylight savings time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Oh ya, I HAD to try it! The BBFCCCC's (as in Best, Big, Fat, Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies)
All Recipes BBFCCCC link
This recipe has a zillion fab reviews on All Recipes and I needed to find out what all the hype was about.
Well, it was all about these excellent cookies!!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips for mine)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

They came out spectacular! Nate loved them and I took two to work today and they received rave reviews!! I'll still make my ole reliable Chocolate Chip Cookies, but this is a great tried and true recipe that really is fantastic!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beer Can Chicken~

Oh MY! This is every bit as good as everyone says!! We saw it for the first time several years back when Bobby Flay did it on the Food Network and I've been dying to try it for ages! There are a million differnt rubs, sauces in-can ingredients, possibilities to how you make it and I'm sure eveyone does their own thing a bit so here is what we did...

The Basics
1 4-5 lb whole chicken (not frozen, giblets removed)
1/2 full can of Bud Light beer
Disposable baking pan/dish for the grill
A Grill

In the Can
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 spoonfull spice rub * recipe below
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Spice Rub (not exact measurements, just made aprox 1 1/2 cup total of the stuff)also I had some leftover...
Kosher Salt about 1/3 c.
Black Pepper about 1/3 c.
Onion Powder about 1/4 c.
Garlic Powder about 1/4 c.
Cayanne Pepper about 1/4 c.

1/2 stick of butter cut into thin slices

Or use any spice rub that you want! :)

Crack the beer and drink half of it- I love recipes that start this way!

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel & put it on a plate
Mix all the rub ingredients together in a bowl.
Use a spoon to spoon rub mix onto the chicken and rubdown until completely covered
Add Garlic, Rosemary and a spoonfull of rub mix to beer can
Insert beer can in backside of the chicken and stand it up in the pan (as shown above)

On the Grill on low heat, roast the chicken for 3 hours.
Basting and adding little slices of butter to the drippings every 30 minutes for first hour, every 15-20 minutes for second hour and every 10 mintues 3rd hour.

Remove from grill & let sit for 5 minutes
Using tongs and a helper hold the chicken and lift up, the helper can poke with the baster through the neck hole to push the beer can out- be really careful, the liquid is all VERY HOT!

Quarter the chicken using a very sharp knife and kitchen shears.
Here are Food Network's Instructions:
How To Quarter a Chicken

We had this with garlic mashed red potatoes, and grilled corn on the cob. I can't wait to make it again. Moist, delicious and WONDERFUL!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bakingblonde's Berry Cheesecake Muffins~

I hope I didn't mess this recipe up too bad! I definately pulvurized the raspberries, and used 6oz of cream cheese but the cheese mixture seemed thin,which could have been the liquid from pulvurized berries~ sometimes even with directions right in front of me- chaos is the only outcome! Nate freaking LOVED them, I was expecting something that had like a layer of cheesecake in it, and since I wasn't sure what they were supposed to look like, so I was on the fence till I had one. They might have come out a little funky looking- but the taste was gooood!
I got this recipe from Bakingblonde on the Nest's What's Cooking? Board. Thanks, it's a keeper! I'll defintely try to make them again sometime... Also, I skipped the pecans because I totally spaced buying them at the store!

Definitely Berry Cheesecake Muffins
By Bakingblonde
1/3 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
6 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 3oz. regular, 3 oz. 1/3 less fat)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temp
1/2 cup fresh raspberries (I used about 3/4 cup)
1 cup fresh blueberries (I didn't have quite a full cup)
3 TBS brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 TBS butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a muffin tin with PAM spray.
In a small mixing bowl combine the baking powder, flour and cinnamon. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared muffin cups 1/2 full with batter. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg and mix to combine and mixture is smooth.
Fold in the fresh berries. Divide mixture evenly over batter in muffin tin by dropping by tablespoonfulls on top of batter in the muffin tins.
In another small bowl combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and pecans. Stir to combine well. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.
Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over cream cheese/fruit mixture in each muffin cup.

Bake for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to rack.
Serve warm for breakfast or with a scoop of ice cream for dessert

Monday, August 6, 2007

300 Gougeres

No I did not make 300 of these lil'devils~ On Sunday we went to a friends for dinner & to watch the movie 300 on DVD (they have some special DVD player and TV so it was all 1080p which was exciting) I don't think I'm going to include a movie review, so back to the baked cheese balls). We brought these with some dry salami and wine. The recipe comes from the Williams Sonoma Briday & Groom Cookbook that we recieved as a shower gift.
Next time I'll add some roasted garlic and herbs, maybe try different cheeses...(makes about 2 dozen cheesy balls)Here is a link to a WS recipe on their site, different than the book a bit, but for reference~
Recipe on Williams Sonoma

3 T Butter
3/4 C Flour
3 Large Eggs
1 1/3 C Gruyere Cheese
1/4 tsp Ground Cayenne
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt or more to taste

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchment (baking) paper.
Combine butter and 1/2 C water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the flour all at once, quickly stirring with a wooden spoon, until the batter is glossy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
The dough will form a ball around the spoon.
Remove from the heat and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in cheese, cayenne, and salt.
Use 2 spoons or a pastry bag with out a tip to form 1-inch balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake untill balls double in size and turn golden brown and a thin bladed knife incerted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cook slightly or compeltetly before serving.

*Our store did not carry Gruyere (and we didn't have a great back up plan- so we went with an aged Gouda, which was good- I still want to try it with Gruyere and definately want to try it with roasted garlic and some herbs. It was yummy and there was not one leftover!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Turkey Fajitas & Guac

This week we went to our local farmers market for the first time. It was still open when we got home from work Tuesday night so we walked over there with Leela and scoped it out. I still had red bell peppers and a maui sweet onion from our excursion so I thought fajitas would be good. I found this recipe on Foodnetwork.com and modified it only slightly.
I also made some brown rice and guacamole and our friends brougt over chips & beans and it was really good!
Food Network Recipe

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless turkey breast, cut into thin strips
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 dashes cayenne pepper
6 large red leaf lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
4 ounces shredded Colby Jack cheese, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar
1/4 cup sour cream
Equipment: toothpicks
Heat the oil in large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring, until slightly softened. Add the turkey, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Spoon a couple tablespoons of the turkey mixture on the inside of a lettuce leaf, top with a tablespoon of cheese and a dollop of sour cream, and roll up like a burrito. Close with toothpicks. Repeat to make 6 wraps total.
Serve with salsa picante and guacamole, if desired.

*here's what I changed;
(first I noticed they include cilantro as an ingredient then...never mention it in the instruction...anyhow...)
I used Olive Oil and sauteed the onions, bell peppers (I used 2 red instead of 1 red one green), cilantro and garlic- then set aside and covered.
Then satueed turkey and spcies (using Misto Olive Oil sprtizer a bit while stirring)
I served it with warm tortillias (instead of lettuce wraps)topped with guacamole and sour cream with refried beans and brown rice & chips on the side.

Guacamole- winged it;
3 ripe avacados
1/4 chopped maui sweet onion
Lemon juice (squeezed most of the juice of one small-med lemon)
1 finely chopped jalapeno
a few pinches of chopped cilantro
pinch of kosher salt
dash (or two)hot sauce
spoonfull of sour cream

Mix & serve... (and usually cover an refridgerate about an hour befoer serving, but we ate it right away)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pineapple Cherry Whomp Cake

This is a pretty well-known uber basic recipe~ It is usually knows Pineapple Dump Cake but Nate was not thrilled when I told him that's what it was called. It got the name because all you have to do is dump the ingredients into a baking pan and cook.
Also Nate's note on this one is that he prefers it in small amounts ontop of vanilla icecream. I agree that is a very, very sweet desert!

1 Can Cherry Pie Fillin
1 Can crushed pineapple (in it's own juice)
1 Box yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 c. Butter)thinly sliced or small cubes
1 lg bag crushed pecans

8x11 baking pan

Preheat oven to 350
Spray baking pan with non stick spray
Spread cherry pie filling in a even layer across bottom of pan
Pour & spread can of pineapple and it's juice evenly over cherries
Sprinkle the cake mix (dry) as evenly as possible over cherries & pineapples
Spread even layer of pecans over top
Spread butter as evenly in possible either in thin slices or little cubes over top
Bake 40-50 minutes or until brown & bubbly~

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce

This recipe came from All Recipes.com, it was perfect because it was already a "for two" recipe- and I actually had almost all the ingredients, so we gave it a whirl and really liked it!
All Recipes Link to Recipe

1 pinch salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 lemon wedges

Mix together salt and flour in a plastic bag, then coat chicken and shake off excess. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Shake excess flour from chicken, then brown in hot oil until both sides are golden-brown, and the inside has turned white and firm, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken, and set aside in a warm place. Pour white wine into the skillet, and allow to boil as you dissolve the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, and allow to come to a boil, cook for a few minutes until reduced by half.
Sprinkle the cubed butter into the boiling sauce. Swirl and shake the pan vigorously to dissolve the butter, thus thickening the sauce. The butter must never come to rest, or the sauce will separate and become oily. Once the butter has completely incorporated, remove from heat and stir in capers.
To serve, pour lemon-caper sauce over the chicken, and serve.

A "Little" Tip~

I am not a white wine drinker for the most part, and everytime I buy a bottle "for cooking" so much of it goes to waste. I found these little bottles (they come in a 4 pack) and one was the perfect amount (minus the "make-sure-it's-not-poison" swig I took)and no waste!