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.