Monday, December 29, 2008

Better than Bisquick

I've come to hate bisquick. Everything that it makes tastes the same. So I'm on a quest to find the best recipies for biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and taco pie. Thus far, I have conqured biscuits:

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Appx 3/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and softened butter in a bowl. If you wash your hands and use your fingers, its easier. Add salt.
  3. Add milk and mix together to form a dough. Flour the counter and dump the dough onto it, kneeding for 30 seconds. 
  4. Flatten with a rolling pin to 1 about 1/2in thick.  Cut biscuits to desired size.
  5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I love chinese food. I've been eating it my whole life. Donald and I have perfected a few recipes, this is one of mine. Homemade sweet and sour chicken is nothing like what you get from the store, the sauce is far superior, a little saltier, but so good.

Sweet and Sour Chicken


  • 2 tsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cubed chicken breast
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp thick soy (optional)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 c pineapple juice (from can of pineapple, you'll also use the pineapple)
  • 1 c pineapple in chunks (see, told ya)
  • Sliced vegetables of your choice, I recommend carrots and possibly onions, but this is totally up to you. 
  • Peanut oil (you can't use olive oil for this step, veggie or canola is also OK but peanut works best)

  1. In a small sauce pan, add the soy sauces, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and pineapple juice and heat thoroughly, but do not allow to reach a hard boil. Heat for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. In a bowl, mix the olive oil and flour and mix to create a paste. Put the chicken into the paste and coat thoroughly. NOTE: This is called velveting, which is a way to coat chicken so a sauce holds without deep frying and adding calories!
  3. In a wok, heat enough olive oil to cover just the bottom of the wok. Once heated, add the veggies and cook for a few minutes. Do not cook thoroughly or you'll end up with mushy veggies... gross. Remove the veggies from the oil and set aside.
  4. Add the chicken to the heated wok and cook completely.
  5. Once the chicken is done, add the veggies back and then the pineapple chunks. Pour the sauce over the entire mixture and allow to heat, which will only take 1-2 minutes. If you want to thicken the sauce, toss a spoonful of flour into the mixture.
  6. Serve over rice!

Easy homemade brownies

I love brownies, and I used to make the box kind all the time. I'm now ISO the best fully homemade recipe, and this was my first try. I gotta say, it was quite good, but made way too much.  Enjoy!

Easy Brownies

  • 1 c butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c walnuts (omitted)
  • 4 1.0 oz squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1.5 c flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate together on low heat, stirring constantly. 
  3. Allow to cool.
  4. Beat eggs until light, then add sugar, chocolate mixture, and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder,. salt) and mix well. 
  6. Add walnuts (optional).
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Yumm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day Chili

Today was a snow day! The husband and I both stayed home and enjoyed a bonus day at home, we cleaned, played games, relaxed, and I made chili! I love stews and chilis on snow days, they warm the soul. I've also been on a spicy food kick. 

Here are a few pictures of our snow day: 

Snow Day Chili - in one dis


1lb ground beef
2 cans diced tomato
1 small can tomato paste + 1/2 that same can of water
2 cans kidney beans (or 1 can kidney, 1 can
 pinto, your call, I just hate pinto beans)
1 tsp trader joe's chili sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
Black pepper to taste
Garlic, cumin, corriander to taste

  1. Brown the ground beef in the same pot you will cook the chili in, and I highly recommend a dutch oven, specifically the enamel covered one from Calphalon. The heavy cast iron allows for very even heating over long periods of time. Plus, since it is enamel coated, you can clean it with soap unlike regular cast iron.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, if its too think, use some of the juice from the kidney beans to thin it out. 
  3. Simmer for as long as you can, at least an hour. 
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice, like cheese, sour cream, chives, chopped onion... 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Russian Tea Cakes

I love Christmas cookies but I don't generally go through the efford to make 30 different ones. These are a family favorite and I've gotten Donald to love them too.  They are a little dry and best served with tea or coffee. My grandmother used to make these all the time.

Russian Tea Cakes


1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp confectioners sugar 
2 cups of flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
extra confectioners sugar to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cream butter and vanilla, add sugar and stir until creamy
3. Slowly add flour to the mixture, it will be very dry and cumbly
4. Add walnuts and mix
5. Using your hands, press dough into balls, place onto baking sheet
6. Bake 12 minutes or until the outside looks dry
7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then roll each cookie in the confectioners sugar

NOM! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Loss of a friend, gain of a new one

My trusty Casio exslim has met a sad end... its lens won't deploy anymore.  I think this is because on Thursday, I bought a new camera through which is arriving on Tuesday. The new camera is pink, a Pentax 8MP pretty nice camera I got for 90$!  I'm looking forward to its arrival, but I will miss my Casio, who has seen me through my honeymoon and through many other wonderful days of my life.

*cues When Will I Hold You Again*

(I get super emotional when electronics die, and don't get me started when stuffed animals get thrown away... I can't do it)


Donald needed something for his work potluck last week, and I didn't have a whole lot of time to whip up something awesome (like a typical guy, he gave me exactly 1 evening's notice). I found this recipe on which is one of my favorite cooking blots. They're simple and basic, but act as a good base that you can add fun things to. Enjoy!

The ones on the left have chocolate chips, the ones on the right have chopped walnuts.

8 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white flour
Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add flour, salt to the mixture.
  4. Put in 8x8 pan, greased
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the center is set
Suggested additions: 
- chocolate chips
- chopped nuts, toast them in cinnamon/spices for extra flavor
- raisins or other dry fruits

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baked Chicken with Garlic and Shallots and Random Chili

I appologize for my absence, I was kinda... GETTING MARRIED! 


Ok, so now that I'm married and back from an amazing 2 week honeymoon, I am dying to cook. Last night I made "Hey look, kidney beans" Chili. No pics unfortunately, the camera was still packed (and tired). But here's the basic idea:

Random Chili

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 16oz can petite diced tomato
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • Appx. 6oz beer
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
  • Chili powder to taste - I used about 3 tbsp
  • Red pepper to taste - I used about 2 tsp
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

  1. Spray dutch oven with cooking spray, brown ground beef with 1/3 of each of the spices (peppers) and all of the garlic and onion. 
  2. Once browned, add the diced tomatos and tomato paste, along with the beer.  Drain and add kidney beans.
  3. Add the rest of the spices. Heat mixture until heated through, then drop heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour.
  4. Serve over rice with sour cream and cheese (if desired)

Ok, and now for tonights dish. We got shallots today at the grocery store, they looked so good and they inspired my chicken dish. I also wanted some Thanksgiving-y food since I missed the holiday due to my honeymoon.

Baked Chicken with Garlic and Shallots

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 shallots, remove outer skins and cut in half
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (or 8 pealed garlic cloves, I was just kinda lazy)
  1. Preheat oven to 425, and while oven is preheating, put the butter into the caserole dish you'll use to bake the chicken in the oven, remove when the butter is melted.
  2. In the caserole dish with the melted butter, add the thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, and make sure all onions are coated in the butter. 
  3. Dredge the chicken through the buttery spice mixture then line the chicken breasts in the caserole dish. 
  4. Bake for 50-60 min or until chicken is baked completely.  Serve and YUMM!
Side suggestions:
- Mashed potatos
- Stuffing 
- Scalloped corn caserole

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Beef Tenderloin with Portobello Duxelle and Mac and Cheese

I haven't been posting a lot because the wedding is exactly 1 week from today! Oddly, I find myself having a bit more time this weekend than previous weekends, mostly because I have been working so hard I have done nearly everything I can ahead of time!  Its an awesome feeling to not be super busy this weekend. 
We haven't had a ton of interesting food in the house, and tonight was not real exception.  I knew I wanted to make homemade mac and cheese with velveta, a childhood favorite.  We also had some fresh portobellos and enough filet in the freezer to feed everyone actually coming to the wedding.  So, I found this recipe and it is seriously. awesome.  Easy? No. Good, oh yeah.

Beef Tenderloin with Portobello Duxelle
  1. Filet mignon, 4 steaks about 7 oz (we used smaller steaks because that's what we had) each
  2. Olive oil
  3. Salt, pepper to taste
  4. About 2-3 large portobello mushroom tops cut into small pieces
  5. 1/3 cup onion, very finely chopped (food processor if you have one)
  6. 4 cloves galric, finely chopped
  7. 1 cup white wine
  8. 2 tbsp butter
  • Rub salt and pepper into the filet, cut a slit into one top to stuff later w/ the portobello duxelle
  • Melt butter in heavy-bottom fry pan (I use cast iron), saute portobello, onion, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until softened and browned
  • Add white wine and allow to cook until ALMOST dry - about 5 minutes
  • Remove mixture from pan and allow to cool slightly
  • In the same pan, heat olive oil until smoking, sear the filet for 1-2 min on each side
  • Place steaks on a cookie sheet, stuff with the protobello duxelle
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, serve immediately

Homemade mac and cheese - the easy way
  1. 1 box cavatappi noodles
  2. 1 lb of velveta cheese, cut into marble sized chunks
  3. 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  4. Milk
  5. Salt, pepper to taste
  6. 3 slices bread, cubed
  • Cook noodles, drain except for about 1/2 cup of water
  • Over a low heat, melt the velveta and water into the noodles, add shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper
  • Put in caserole dish, place bread on top
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Monday, September 22, 2008

I love Trader Joes!

Donald and I went to Trader Joes and picked up some awesome things this week.  Tonight I used some chicken sausage and pasta sauce to create dinner!

Spicey Chicken Sausage Pasta

1 pack of chicken sausage from Trader Joes, in spicy Italian, sliced into medallions
1 jar Trader Joe's Tomato Basil marinara sauce
Italian seasoning
Sweet basil
Red pepper 
(all spices to taste, but I recommend making this one spicey)
Pasta noodles of your choice

  1. Slice chicken sausage, brown in a pan in a little olive oil until slightly browned
  2. Add pasta sauce and spices to taste
  3. Simmer for 1h stirring occasionally (or, if you're like me, cook it in cast iron and go running, when you come back, its delicious)
  4. Make pasta and serve!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pecan Muffins

Yeah yeah, long time no update.  Cooking has become a rarity in my house.  I always find that in the fall my life picks up.  Its like people get concerned that soon, it will be winter, so we better get the fun stuff out of the way.  Plus we have 48 days until the wedding, so things are nuts.

I made these muffins last weekend, and froze 1/2 of the batter so I could make the second half this weekend.  I used my KitchenAid Stand mixer, new calphalon measuring cups and spoons, and some silicon muffin baking pans (including one I got from a kno
ttie from a Something Blue Secret Santa exchange).  I love to bake.  

Ok, without further ado, nomily goodness:
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip and Pencan Muffins 

  • 1c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1c milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1c chocolate chips
  • 1/2c chopped pecans
  • 1c white flour
  • 1/3c EACH of wheat, gluten, and millet flours
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl, set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together oil, milk, egg, and sugar until smooth.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, stir until moist.
  5. Add chocolate chips and pecans.
  6. Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter (I don't use muffin cups, instead I just grease the cups of the muffin pan and it works fine)
  7. OPTIONAL: Combine 1/2c chopped pecans with 2tbsp brown sugar and sprikle on top of each batter cup for a topping
  8. Bake 20-25 min or unti golden brown and firm
Serve warm or heated up in the microwave!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Herb Baked Chicken

Its been a while, and I've only cooked very little since my last real post. You know how life gets, with the end of the summer rush and wedding planning I can't keep up. My sisters bought me my spice rack for my bridal shower last weekend, and I was dying to make use out of it. I got this spice rack:

So for dinner tonight, I made:

Herb Baked Chicken

2 chicken breasts, defrosted and with the skin dried
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
Lemon Juice (2 fresh lemons or about 1/2 cup juice)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic

  1. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Combine oil through garlic and marinate chicken in mix for 30 minutes (or more).
  3. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with a side, I used Kashi Rice Pilaf, but I recommend the potatoes from

And for desert: Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


OK, so besides cooking, I also love makeup. This is my new favorite product! If you're a little daring with eyemakeup, I highly recommend it. You'll need a few good brushes to use it well.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Shells Florentine

So yeah, I have been super busy. I haven't made many 'new' things over the last few weeks. I made some killer tacos, but you've seen those already.

Tonight I made one of my favorites.

Shells Florentine!
1 15 oz package of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese
Appx. 6oz fresh spinach, remove stem and wash well
Italian Seasoning
Salt, Pepper
1 egg

1/2 box jumbo shells

1 jar pasta sauce, or homemade pasta sauce
Cooking spray

  1. Mix the top set of ingredients together (all the cheese) and set aside.
  2. Boil the shells according to the directions on the box, they should be cooked but very al dente to work well.
  3. In an 11x17" baking dish coated with cooking spray, put 1c pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  4. Fill each shell with the cheese mix, line up in the baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining pasta sauce over shells. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until warmed all the way though.
  6. Serve with a little extra sauce on top, with a veggie and bread of your choice! ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

30 minute dinner: Grilled Chicken and Kashi Pilaf

Another 30 minute dinner night. I was lazy!

Grilled Garlic Chicken and Kashi Rice Pilaf

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4c Salad dressing, oil based, garlic flavored (add cloves of garlic to make it even better)
1 packet kashi rice pilaf

  1. Make the rice pilaf according to box directions
  2. Heat grill, grill chicken until cooked.
  3. Serve.
  4. I feel like there should be a 4th direction....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Scalloped Potatos and Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are really good, and I discovered a good mix for them a few months ago. Its called Not So Sloppy, you'll find it in a small jar near the canned chili in the grocery store. Use the best ground beef you can to keep the fat content down, serve on a bun.

The scalloped potato recipe is from Cooking Light Magazine, I highly recommend it.

Scalloped Potatos
2 medium or 3 small potatos cut into 1/8" slices
2 tbsp butter
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2c cheese (I used cheddar, but asiago and Greuyer are great too)
1c skim milk
1 clove garlic, halved

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Rub the clove of garlic onto the bottom and sides of your baking dish, then coat with cooking spray.
  3. Lay 1/2 of the potato slices on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle 1/2 of the butter, salt, pepper, and 1/4 of the cheese onto the potatos. Repeat.
  4. Warm the 1c of milk on the stove, then pour over the potatos.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until the potatos are tender.
And trust me, these are REALLY good.

Spicy Hot Sausage Pasta

Tonight I made the spicy 30 minute sauce a few posts back, but this time I added 3 links of hot italian sausage and served it over whole wheat pasta with whole wheat bread toasted with garlic. No new recipes, but doesn't it look good? It was ungodly spicy. So good.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breakfast of Kings

Donald and I decided to make breakfast this morning. Usually on saturday mornings we go out to our favorite diner for breakfast. All the waitresses know us and everything, and will give us crap when we go there next (probably tomorrow...). However, we woke up to a monsoon. It was pouring, windy, and thundering. The RADAR told me that this wasn't a short lived storm, so we decided to make breakfast. And let me tell you... it was good.

Breakfast of Kings (for 2)

100% wheat toast, mexican omelette (cooked hard like I like) and hashbrowns.

2 medium potatos, shredded using a cheese shredder or something like that, they should look like this:

1/4 onion, also shredded
Olive Oil

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium pan, the oil and pan need to be very hot. We used our express burner on medium high.
  2. Add the potato and onion to the pan, add salt and pepper.
  3. Cook potatos over med high heat for 5-8 minutes or until they're cooked through (they start to shrink a lot). Stir occasionally to keep from browning too much. The moisture will begin to cook out of the potatos. You may have to add a little more olive oil.
  4. Once the potato is cooked through, use the bottom of your spatula to flatten the potatos into the bottom of the pan. Cook that way until the bottom of the potato pancake is dark brown.
  5. Flip the entire potato pancake (cut if you need to before flipping) and repeat on the other side. Remove from pan when its done cooking. YUMM!
Mexican Omelette:
5 eggs (for 2 omelettes)
Shredded cheese, mexican blend
Chopped tomato
Cooking spray.
  1. Heat pan and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Scramble eggs in a bowl then pour into heated pan. Allow to cook for a few minutes or until you can flip it.
  3. Put cheese, tomato (if desired) on top. Once cooked, fold the omelette over onto itself and allow cheese to melt. Serve immediately with salsa on top (there is no salsa on ours, but normally we do this!).
Serve breakfast with toast, preferably made from the bread in my last post.

Here's a picture of Donald's half eaten breakfast!

Friday, July 11, 2008

100% Whole Wheat 'Crunchy' Loaf

Mmmm. Homemade bread. Seriously, the best thing in the world. I got some gluten at the store today, which apparently helps make wheat loves work a bit better. This is my first attempt at a 100% wheat loaf. Its cooling on the counter now.

100% Whole Wheat 'Crunchy' Bread
3/4c+1tbsp warm water
4tbsp EVOO
4tbsp honey
3tbsp brown sugar dissolved in 1tbsp warm water
2c wheat flour
3tbsp gluten
1tsp salt
2/3c seeds (I used flax and sunflower)
2tsp active dry yeast... proof your yeast!

Whole wheat setting, medium crust, 1.5lb loaf. Enjoy!

Swedish Meatballs

This is a favorite of mine. I used to buy the packet of spices, but I can't find it anymore. I make them from scratch now, and by god they're good. Enjoy!

Swedish Meatballs
I used my ugly plates. These are why people should buy our china.

For the meatballs:
1.0-1.5 lb ground beef, 90%lean or better
1c breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp butter, soft
2tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Sale, pepper to taste
2 tsp paprika
Lemon zest (I use lemon pepper seasoning if I have no zest, about 1tbsp)

Olive Oil to cook

For the sauce:
1c milk
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper to taste
Flour (to thicken)

  1. Mix 1/2c breadcrumbs and all other ingredients to the meat.
  2. Add additional breadcrumbs as necessary, the mix should be relatively dense to hold meatball shape.
  3. Make 1" meatballs.
  4. Heat oil in pan, add meatballs. Cook about 10 minutes, moving often. Check that the meatballs are cooked thoroughly before moving on.
  5. Remove cooked meatballs and drain on paper towels.
  6. In the same pan, add the ingredients for the sauce. Heat on medium until about to boil, then drop the heat to low until the sauce is thickened.
  7. Add the meatballs back to the pan, cover in sauce.
  8. Serve over rice, egg noodles, or whatever your little heart desires.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Choosing China

We've registered for 2 different sets of china for our wedding. We like both a lot, but I'm considering dropping the 'fancy' one for now and keeping the casual set. Here are both, what do you think?


Birthday Panini!

For Donald's birthday, which was the 4th of July, I made him corned beef paninis to take on a picnic in the local park. It was a gorgeous day, and the corned beef was fresh and great. They're simple but good. I had to take the pic while they were still on the grill, but you get the idea!

Corned Beef Panini for a picnic

1/2 lb corned beef, shaved thin
1c sauerkraut
Thousand island dressing
8 pieces Italian bread, sliced moderately thin
Fat Free butter (I can't believe its not butter makes a good one, but don't eat it on bread, just use it for cooking)
- Makes 4 sandwiches
  1. Butter one side of each piece of bread, place buttered side down on George Foreman grill.
  2. Place 2-3 slices of corned beef on the bread and then 1/8 to 1/4 cup sauerkraut to taste.
  3. Place other piece of bread on top, butter side up, and lower the lid of the grill. NOTE: If serving immediately, add the thousand island dressing before grilling.
  4. Once heated through, wrap in foil to keep warm. They will stay warm for 20-30 minutes like this.
  5. Add thousand island dressing just before eating, if necessary.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I got a craving for tacos on the way home. I do the seasoning myself, and it turned out great this time. The picture sucks, you can't see anything. I think I was too hungry to bother to take a great picture.


1 medium onion, chopped
1tbsp fresh minced garlic
1lb ground beef
2-3 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder, or more!
Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder if desired

Chopped tomato
Shredded lettuce
Mexcian cheese blend
Fat free sour cream

Side dish: Refried black beans topped with mexican cheese blend and sour cream

  1. Brown the onion and fresh minced garlic over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the ground beef and then immediately add the spices.
  3. Brown the meat completely.
  4. Top as desired and serve.
TADA! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pecan Chocolate Swirl Loaf

I have a bread baking book I bought when I got my breadmaker for Christmas this past year. I love my breadmaker, but the book isn't great. 90% of the time, the dough is too dry. I almost have to double the liquid in the recipe. Additionally, it usually takes 2x the rise time.

So I take the recipes and 'fix them'. This is their Pecan Chocolate Swirl Loaf. It can be made in a breadmaker or by hand.

Pecan Chocolate Swirl Loaf

3tbsp butter
1c milk (add additional milk to bring dough together)
2eggs, beaten
4.5c white bread flour
1/4c sugar
1tsp salt
1.5tsp fast-action dried yeast

4oz plain dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2c pecan, roughly chopped
2tbst sugar
1 egg yolk, to glaze

Breadmaker directions: Follow the directions for your breadmaker, usually this means placing the wet ingrdients in the bottom of the pan, dry ingredients on top, and the yeast at the very top. Run on "dough" or "sweet dough" setting. Bread should rise to 2x the original size.

By hand:
  1. Put flour into large bowl, add butter and mix with fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add salt, sugar, and yeast.
  3. Add beaten eggs and gradually mix in milk until a soft dough forms.
  4. Kneed on floured surface for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Place bowl in warm place for 1 hour or until dough reaches 2x original size.
After first rise from breadmaker or by hand:
  1. Tip dough out onto lightly floured surface. Kneed well, then roll out to 11" square.
  2. Sprinkle with 3/4 of the chocolate and pecans, plus all of the sugar for the filling:
  3. Roll up dough and place into bread tin. Cover losely with oiled plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 30 min or until the bread reaches the top of the tin. (NOTE: I had to rise mine overnight in the fridge, so it got a little big)
  4. Preheat oven to 400.
  5. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the egg yolk plus 1 teaspoon of water (beaten) onto the top of the bread.
  6. You have 2 options here, top now and bake with toppings, or use a chocolate icing afterwards. I chose the chocolate icing, but you can also add the last 1/4 of the chocolate and pecans to the top of the bread.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the bread is well risen, deep brown, and sounds hollow when tapped with the finger tips. (NOTE: If you do bake with the pecans/chocolate on top, after 10 minutes, cover the bread loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning).
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, losen with a knife and remove to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Option: If you didn't bake with the chocolate, melt the remaining chocolate/pecans in the microwave or double boiler, spread onto top of the bread. (NOTE: I didn't have enough pecans, so there's just chocolate on top of mine!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hungarian Pork Chops, Scalloped Corn

Good evening!

I had a very rough afternoon today, and I wanted to make something I really love and experiment with something new. Cooking helps me relax somewhat. Hungarian pork chops are a recipe that I honor my grandmother with, though it is one she never made me herself. After she passed away in 2006, my father and I were at his house and we decided to make one of her recipes for dinner. We paged through her cookbook, which I had spent hours and hours copying for everyone in my family. She was famous for her pasta sauce, but we did not have time for that. We found the recipe for Hungarian pork chops, so we made that for dinner that night. It was a wonderful way to honor her memory.

Hungarian Pork Chops

1lb thin cut pork chops, trim off fat and bone
Salt, Pepper to taste
1 medium onion
2tbsp minced garlic (or, ya know, more)
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1c fat free sour cream
2tbsp paprika
Cooking spray
Egg nooodles
  1. Prepare the pork chops by trimming the fat and bone, then put salt and pepper on them. Set aside.
  2. Chop 1 medium onion (coursely), brown in a pan (use cooking spray, not butter or oil), and add garlic.
  3. Once the onions are browned and soft, move to the sides of the pan or remove.
  4. Brown pork chops for a few minutes on each side, but do not cook through (see picture):
  5. Add can of chicken broth, bay leaf, and add back garlic/onion mixture if you took it out.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour, covered. This cooks the pork slowly and makes it very tender!
  7. With 20 minutes left of the simmering, boil water for the egg noodles.
  8. After the hour, remove the pork chops from the broth, cover to keep warm.
  9. Mix sour cream and paprika together, then add to the broth. Increase heat and reduce the sauce by about 1/2. Add flour to thicken if necessary. Remove the bay leaf.
  10. Add back pork chops, serve over the egg noodles!

Scalloped Corn - Bottom left of dinner plate shown above!
(based on idea from, altered with help of

2tbsp butter
2tbsp flour
1c milk
Salt/pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
3c corn kernels, fresh, frozen, or canned
1 green pepper, chopped finely (I used an orange pepper, because that is what I had)
1tsp sugar
1/2c bread crumbs mixed with melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan, add flour and cook for 2 minutes, do not brown!
  3. Stir in milk slowly, stir continuously.
  4. Add a little bit of sauce to the egg and beat, add egg back to sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the corn and green pepper and sugar to the sauce mixture.
  6. Put mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top. Top with a little paprika.
  7. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned, about 15 minutes.
Donald has approved this dish for future use! It is a little bit heavy for a side dish, but still very good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

30 Minute Dinner: Steph's Quick Spicy Pasta

Sometimes, I don't have time to make much of a dinner. I have a few quick dinners in my arsenal that I use on such a night. Tonight, we did not get home until 7pm because we went on a cake tasting. We also ran tonight, so dinner didn't even get started until almost 9pm! Its late, but we don't make a habit of that, nor do we go to bed until 1am or so. Still, as a note, its best to eat 3 hours before bed at least.

So this is one of my quick dinners. Enjoy!

Steph's Quick Spicy Pasta

(note: These are estimates, I don't measure my spices!)

2c basic pasta sauce (the more basic the better, I like Hunts in the can or Ragu traditional)
2tbsp Italian seasoning
2tsp Oregano
3tsp Pepper
1tsp Salt
2tsp Crushed red pepper flakes (if you really like it spicy, add more of this, or even a dash of tabasco)
1tbsp Finely grated romano cheese
1tbsp Minced garlic
2 tsp Dried minced onion

Heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble, then reduce to low until ready to serve.

Serve over pasta of your choice, we use whole wheat angel hair. Top with freshly grated romano.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shortbread dipped in Chocolate and Pecans

I needed to bake today, but I wanted to make a small amount of something. This recipe (the shortbread part) is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (may 2008) which is where I get a lot of my inspiration. This makes only 16 cookies, which is nice for a small gathering or treats for a few days around the house. Plus, I love shortbread!

Shortbread dipped in Chocolate and Pecans

1 c flour
1/4 c sugar
Dash of salt
5 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp milk (fat free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate wafters
Chopped pecans
Cooking spray

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a beater, whip the butter until it is soft (or if you're me, still waiting for someone to get your beater off your registry, stir it a little and it will still work, just not be so fluffy).
  3. Add butter to flour mixture. Add milk and vanilla extract. Form into a soft dough.
  4. Place dough onto plastic wrap, form into 4" circle.
  5. Wrap dough and place in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Remove dough from fridge, unwrap and place a second piece of plastic wrap on the top.
  8. Roll dough to 8" circle.
  9. Spray cooking sheet with a good layer of spray, move dough onto cooking sheet.
  10. Cut dough in 16 wedges. NOTE: Do not cut all the way though, but rather score the dough into 16 wedges. Use a fork to poke holes in each of the 16 pieces.
  11. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  12. Once cooled, melt the chocolate wafers in a bowl in the microwave or using a double boiler.
  13. Dip each wedge into the chocolate, the sprinkle with chopped pecans. Place cookies onto wax paper, allow to cool for 30 minutes or until the chocolate is shiny.

Chicken and Onion Enchiladas

This recipe came from my mom. It is really tasty, and easy to make ahead of time. I use canned sauce because it tastes better than my own, but one day I will perfect it.

Chicken and Onion Enchiladas (for 2-3 people with leftovers)

Ingredients:(This picture is of last nights leftovers, plus it is my second dish specifically for lunches this week.
There isn't much cheese because my fiance prefers none on top to reduce the fat content)

2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
Olive oil
2 cans Old El Paso Enchilada sauce (Medium is best)
1c shredded cheddar cheese, sharp, reduced fat
6 soft Tortillas, medium size or 10 small size (I recommend the lowfat tortillas from Tortilla factory, they're not dry and gross like most lowfat ones)
Sour cream (fat free) and salsa if desired

  1. Heat oven to 375c
  2. Boil the chicken in water, you may need to add a touch of olive oil to keep it from boiling over.
  3. While the chicken is boiling, heat up a small amount of olive oil in a separate pan and sautée the onions until they're not-quite-but-almost soft.
  4. Once the chicken is done boiling, remove the chicken from the water and let it drain.
  5. Shred the chicken using 2 forks. You can cut the chicken into fajita-like chuncks too, but trust me, its better if you shred it. This is best done right after draining the chicken, its easier.
  6. In a bowl, mix 1.5 cans of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Then add the chicken and onions. Mix well.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the tortillas and wrap, placing the open end of the enchilada facing the bottom of a greased baking dish.
  8. Once all the tortillas are in the dish, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15-20 minutes until warm.
  10. Serve with salsa and sour cream (fat free) on the side as desired.
Side suggestions:

  • Meijer Organic's Black Bean Refried Beans with a little cheese and fat free sour cream on top. SO GOOD!
  • Regular refried beans
  • Red beans and rice, the boxed kind by Zataran's is pretty good
  • Spanish Rice (recipe for this soon, but I did not make this tonight)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Welcome to Loki's Kitchen

My kitchen is kind of like Hell's Kitchen, with less yelling at others and more yelling at myself. I will make 10 confessions to the cooking gods before I begin my blog. That should relieve me of my sins, right?

1) I don't understand why you add salt to boiling water.
2) While I have perfected the art of chocolate chip cookies, I can not make edible ones with splenda baking blend.
3) My favorite dessert are Rice Krispie Treats. Seriously.
4) Raw chicken totally freaks me out.
5) I have not once gotten a sauce to thicken correctly when trying to make it without pan drippings.
6) Cooked mushrooms are fine, raw mushrooms I just can't eat.
7) I love to bake bread, and only 1 out of every 3 loaves I make come out perfectly.
8) I hate brown rice.
9) Pasta sauce should be spicy.
10) I love to cook healthy, but my favorite dinner is an appetizer of mozzarella cheese sticks dipped in pizza sauce and a cheeseburger, with ice cream for desert.

Pancake Bunny

Pancake Bunny
Sometimes, I don't know what I'm doing.