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I enjoy cooking,eating food, being creative with food, and like to try new things. I try to avoid pre-packaged foods as much as I can.

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Aug 31, 2011

Parsley Buttered Potatoes: A simple side dish

This was actually a side dish that I had when I was in Scotland. It sounds a bit strange, but it was quite delicious. I hope that you will try these out, as they make a fab side dish when you are having meat or vegetables or any main dish really.

Parsley Buttered Potatoes


Ingredients:

  • 1 red potato (or however many you need), peeled if you'd like and boiled  **{make sure you scrub up the potato/potatoes a bit just to wash off the dirt and such. Do not use soap! Just use water and your hands or a washcloth}**
  • 3 tsp. butter (to brush on top)
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Boil your potato(es). Strain them.
  2. Put your potato(es) on a plate, split them in half, and brush the whole potato with butter.
  3. Sprinkle on the dried parsley flakes and add salt and pepper to taste.
Time: 15 -20 minutes max

My meal had chicken with a peppercorn sauce, mixed vegetables and these potatoes. So yummy! If you would like to try and re-create my meal, feel free to try this Roast Chicken with Cracked Peppercorn Sauce recipe. Thanks for reading and as always...

Bon appétit!

Aug 30, 2011

Blueberry Almond Bread

So, for our dorm we lack a kitchen which makes me quite sad. I will do my best to post recipes that still taste good, yet I can experiment with them in the microwave/fridge/freezer. Haha. Well, here is a recipe that still requires an oven. I don't think there was much "vanilla" taste to it, so I am not going to put that in the title.

Blueberry Almond Bread

Ingredients:


  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (plus a few more to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus ¼ cup to coat berries and nuts)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
                                                                         ** note: this is the bread turned upside down from the pan**
Instructions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325°. Grease a 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan.
  2. Toss the berries and almonds with 1/4 cup of flour to keep them from sinking in the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of flour, oats, baking powder and salt. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. 
  5. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Fold in the almonds and blueberries.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 55 - 65 minutes, rotating the pan partway through. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

I got this recipe from here. I enjoyed the bread, even though I used quick cooking oats... I think it messed up the texture a bit. I also chopped my own almonds instead of buying slivered almonds. I made two loaves, one with blueberries and then one with mixed berries. 
This is flavorful and can even have a simple glaze added to it, like this vanilla glazehoney glaze, or lemon glaze. The glaze will make this bread turn into a lovely dessert instead of a bread. I hope you all enjoy and as always... 


Bon appétit!

Aug 29, 2011

Buttermilk Cookies: Similar to sugar cookies

Well, today was a lazy day. All of my classes were cancelled, and I dropped the one class that was gonna be absolutely horrible. So, today I am providing a recipe for a cookie that is similar to a sugar cookie, but slightly less sweet. With frosting they are absolutely delicious!


Buttermilk Cookies


Ingredients:


For cookies
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For glaze

  • 1 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 TBSP well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Make cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets (or use parchment paper).
  2. Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and beat in, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until smooth.
  4. Drop level tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are puffed and edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks.

Glaze cookies:
  1. Whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush onto tops of warm cookies.
  2. Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.

Yield: 5 1/2 dozen cookies
Time: About 1.5 hours

* I added walnuts on top of mine for garnish
**If you do not want to make the glaze, then feel free to frost with a pre-made frosting or some other sort of frosting. :)

As always...


Bon appétit!

Aug 27, 2011

Veggie-licious Lasagna

Well, last time I blogged, I posted the meat version of the lasagna. I decided that I should probably post my veggie version of it today. I know that many of you out there will be skeptical, but you could also take this lasagna and mix it with yesterdays lasagna and have a very healthy lasagna. My brother didn't even notice when I mixed the veggie and meat one to serve him leftovers. Hehe. I am sneaky. But really, you should try out this recipe!


Veggie Lasagna


Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil, plus extra for the pan
  • Approx. 1 lb of Portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1  cup celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic (If you want to add more or less, you can. I just like it really garlic-y!), minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (24 oz)  jar of tomato sauce (use one with spice in it)
  • 2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) box of no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tsp. freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of shredded Cheddar
  • 1 - 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
  3. In  a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp Olive oil and saute mushrooms, garlic, celery, and onion. Cook about 5 minutes, to mix the flavors. 
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, shredded carrots, and tomato paste. 
  5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add in the cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and spinach. 
  7. Spread a little of the sauce in the bottom of the pan and start laying your noodles, making sure they overlap by 1/2 inch. 
  8. Spread half the egg/cheese mix on top and then sprinkle on half of the Cheddar and half of the mozzarella. 
  9. Layer more noodles on top and then put on the meat sauce and cheese mixture until it is all gone. 
  10. Sprinkle leftover cheese and Parmesan on top. 
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the center of the oven until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. 
  12. Let cool 10 minutes and then enjoy!
Time: 1 hr 40 minutes
Yield: about 12 servings (a little less if you like larger squares of lasagna)

If you want to, you can include different veggies like they use in this recipe or in this recipe. Really it is up to you to know what the family will eat (or what you will eat) and add veggies according to that! I hope you all give this a go and definitely leave a comment if you enjoy it! As always...

Bon appétit!

Aug 25, 2011

Lasagna: It's time to get saucy!

So, I do apologize for my absence of blogging. I honestly had zero energy left at the end of the day for blogging. However, I saved a really good recipe for today! I based this recipe on this.  I added my own twist on it to include some healthy stuff.

Dreamy Lasagna


Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 - 2 lbs of ground beef or turkey (depends how meaty you like it)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic (If you want to add more or less, you can. I just like it really garlic-y!), minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced (You could also use a can or two cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (8 oz.) jar/can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) box of no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tsp. freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of shredded Cheddar
  • 1 - 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
  3. In  a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp Olive oil and saute meat, garlic, and onion. Cook till the meat is brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
  4. Drain the pan of fat (greasy liquid) and add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, shredded carrots and tomato paste. 
  5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add in the cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and spinach. 
  7. Spread a little of the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan and start laying your noodles, making sure they overlap by 1/2 inch. 
  8. Spread half the egg/cheese mix on top and then sprinkle on half of the Cheddar and half of the mozzarella. 
  9. Layer more noodles on top and then put on the meat sauce and cheese mixture until it is all gone. 
  10. Sprinkle leftover cheese and Parmesan on top. 
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the center of the oven until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. 
  12. Let cool 10 minutes and then enjoy!
Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Yield: about 12 servings (a little less if you like larger squares of lasagna)

I know that this recipe seems scary because of the ingredient list and the amount of steps, but it really isn't bad. This lasagna is a family favorite and it is easy to freeze for later meals! To put it simply, you put in all the time now and you will have at least 3 or so meals! Yum! I hope you all enjoy and as always... 



Bon appétit!

Aug 23, 2011

Blah!

I am sorry that I have missed a couple days of blogging! I was without internet for three days. O.O Quite nutty. Anyway, I will get back on track once I have finished with band camp stuff. I only have tomorrow and then a morning practice on Thursday so I should have a tasty recipe on Thursday! :)

Aug 20, 2011

Mustard Chicken: This allows a bit of freedom

So, today was another chaotic day, especially since I move in tomorrow! :O Hopefully everything will go smooth when I wake up at 6 am. *twitch* Early mornings bite. Anyway, today was crazy shopping day and crazy packing day, so I am all tuckered out. However, this recipe is easy to make either in advance or just a few minutes before you pop it into the oven. But, the flavors do sink into the chicken when it is marinated more.

Mustard Chicken


Ingredients:

  • 1 - 2 lbs of chicken, cut into pieces
  • A couple types of mustard (I used honey dijon, spicy brown, and regular mustard)
  • 4 TBSP water 
  • Honey
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the mustards together, tasting as you go. If you need a bit of sweetness, add the honey. Dilute the mixture a bit so it isn't so thick. However, just use a bit of water, stir it in, and then add more if necessary. Try to keep it at 4 Tablespoons of water max, especially since you don't want to rid the mix of flavor!
  3. Put the chicken in a gallon sized baggie or your marinating box (if you are marinating it) and let it sit in the fridge for up to 2 days (I recommend marinating the chicken at least for a couple of hours). If you are not marinating the chicken, then put the chicken and the mustard mix in a baking pan. 
  4. Cook for about 20 - 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 
  5. Serve with a nice salad or side dish of your choice. 
Really the exact mix of everything is up to you! I hope you all enjoy and as always...

Bon appétit!

Aug 18, 2011

Potato chip cookies: Say what?

Well, it's been another busy day. It seems that the closer we get to school time, the crazier our schedule gets. But hey, it's the way it always is. Today I lifted bins and packed bins, along with running people to and fro. Tomorrow will be a bit better, especially since I have packed the big stuff and just have to finish with the little things. I think the little things can be tedious and annoying, but it is necessary to move locations.

Anyway, today I am giving you all a cookie recipe that sounds really weird but the product is absolutely addicting. I really mean that, by the way. So, if you are a fan of sweet and salty, here's the recipe for you! I know, I know, the name does sound a bit odd. Every time I mention it people repeat "potato chip cookies?" really slow and confused like. However, the recipe is simple and delicious and I hope you all get a chance to try it out!



Potato Chip Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups of crushed potato chips (I find it easy to use the food processor to chop my chips, but you can smash them by hand or use a spoon)
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
  3. Combine the flour and baking soda in another bowl.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well.
  5. Fold in potato chips and butterscotch chips.
  6. Drop by tablespoons about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. (Parchment paper is amazing!)
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool for 1 minute before removing off the baking sheet to cool.
  9. Enjoy!
Yield: 4 dozen

Once again, I hope you all try out these awesomely delicious cookies! As always...



Bon appétit!





Speedy Minestrone Soup

So, first off I would like to apologize for my blog-of-the-day being a bit late. Truly, though, my Wednesday was whacky. I was going from task to task to task, along with a few mild breaks. Gah! However, I did not forget that I need to put up an entry for today. This recipe would be fabulous for any crazy day, especially since soup is a comfort food and this soup is super easy! My brother was skeptical about this soup, but after he tasted some, he told me he wants this to be made again. Hahaha. It is definitely a favorite for our family!

Speedy Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans beef broth (each 14.5 oz. or you can get the slightly bigger square item like I did)
  • 1 pack (24 oz.) of frozen vegetable and pasta medley in garlic sauce
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into slices approximately 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 can (16 oz.) of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese [Optional]
  • 1 can of corn [Optional]
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots [optional]
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the broth, veg and pasta medley, sliced sausage, kidney beans, onion, basil, salt, and pepper (also add the corn and carrots if you are adding them).
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese to serve. 
Yield: 6 servings
Prep/total time: 25-30 minutes


Hope your Wednesday wasn't too whacky. As always...


Bon appétit!





Aug 16, 2011

Blueberry or Berry Muffins

One recipe, two versions... sounds fabulous to me! I've posted a recipe for a main dish, a cookie, and some zesty salsa. I figured it was time for a bread recipe. Muffins!

Blueberry or Berry Muffins


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 TBSP. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or mixed berries (if using mixed berries, see note below)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. 
  4. Mix the wet ingredient mix with the dry ingredients until moistened.
  5. Carefully fold in the blueberries or berries.
  6. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 18-22 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. 
  9. Serve warm. 
****NOTE: if your mixed berry mix has strawberries, make sure they are sliced up.****

Yield: 1 dozen muffins
Prep/total time: about 30 minutes

I used frozen berries that we had left in the freezer. They were simple to use, but make sure you keep them in the freezer until you are ready to put them in! Do not defrost them! 


I liked the berry muffins more, but either way, these muffins are a big hit!


Bon appétit!

Aug 15, 2011

Two Chip Caramel drop cookies: A sweet Monday

Monday tends to be one of the worst days of the week, especially since it is right after the weekend. However, I am here to sweeten up your Monday with a sweet recipe! Mmmm, it is cookie time!

Two Chip Caramel Drop Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup (or approx. 8 oz) of semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup (or approx. 8 oz) of dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup (or to taste) of caramel squeeze dessert topping [Optional]
  • 2 cups of crushed pretzels (keep them chunky though) [Optional]
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Put out 2 sheets of wax paper or get out your cooling rack(s). Get out your cookie sheets and put parchment paper on them or spray with baking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and beat well. Then, beat in the vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour.
  6. Gradually add flour mix to the wet mix and mix together until combined.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips [pretzels and caramel as well if you are using them].
  8. Drop by heaping tablespoons (I like to use a melon scooper) approximately 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. (It is a nice time to mention that parchment paper is a wonderful thing to use on baking sheets. Hardly any mess!)
  9. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  10. Cool for 2 minutes before moving onto wax paper or cooling rack. 
Yield: 4-6 dozen cookies

With or without the caramel and pretzels, these are still heavenly. You could also add in 1 cup of chopped peanuts/nuts and 1 cup of raisins/dried fruit to add to the sweet and salty aspect if you wish.

Anyway, I hope that your Monday is a little bit sweeter. Thank you for reading and as always...

Bon appétit!



PS: This is where I got the basis for this cookie recipe. :)  I adore this recipe book!






Aug 14, 2011

Salsa time

I thought that today was a good day to go south of the border for recipe inspiration. The recipe that I used didn't have the serano chili pepper so it was a little flat. I found this recipe here and thought that it sounded a little bit better than the recipe I used. I found that it was ok to touch the jalepeno, but I did wash my hands a few times after. It was my first time dealing with a jalepeno pepper, so I am glad that it all turned out alright. Hehe. Now, without further ado, here is the recipe:


Fresh Tomato Salsa

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • 1 serano chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: oregano and or cumin to taste

METHOD

1 Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the chilies. Be very careful while handling these hot peppers. If you can, avoid touching them with your hands. Use a fork to cut up the chilies over a small plate, or use a paper towel to protect your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn't hot enough, you can add a few for heat.
2 Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add some ground cumin.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.
Makes approximately 3-4 cups. Can last for approximately 4 days in the fridge. 
Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, pinto beans, or black beans.



I would say that if your salsa still lacks flavor to add some pepper and maybe some salt when you spoon out your portion. I wouldn't add it to everything though. If you wish, you could also run it through the food processor a bit, but still keep it chunky. Well, I hope you enjoy the recipe today!


Bon appétit!

Aug 13, 2011

Seasoned Parmesan and Breadcrumb Chicken: 1st recipe!

Yesterday I posted my very first post about why I am blogging about food. So, that means today is a recipe day! Since it is my first recipe posting, I figured I would start out easy. Without any further commentary, here it is:

Seasoned Parmesan and Breadcrumb Chicken Strips

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 and 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP. liquid yellow mustard 
  • Approx. 1 lb. of chicken breasts, cut into strips *it is easier to work with if they are still partly frozen* (I used more than 1 lb. It was more like 1.5 pounds or so because of having 5 people to feed) 
Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine the eggs and mustard. 
  3. In another bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, dried basil, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. 
  4. Prep your baking dish or baking sheet (whichever you prefer) by coating it with cooking spray or lining it with pan lining paper/parchment paper. 
  5. Place the bowl of mixed liquids (from step 2) and cheese mix (from step 3) close to your dish/sheet, with the cheese mix closest to the dish/sheet.
  6. Take your chicken strips and dip them into the liquid mix, and then the cheese mix before you put them onto your baking dish or sheet. Try to get them in close, but try not to have them touch. (if you have any leftover of the mixes, you could always cut some more chicken!) 
  7. Bake them for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown and juices run clear. 
Is this recipe exactly from one place or exactly from another place? No. I actually combined two recipes to make it my own. It was quite nice and the rest of the family ate it without complaint! 

**NOTE: You could easily make this gluten-free by using gluten free bread for the breadcrumbs**

Bon appétit!





Aug 12, 2011

Why I blog

I have had a passion for food ever since 8th grade and that passion has caused me to collect loads of recipes and cook books. However, I have been a bit more health conscious the last 2 years, especially after I learned about all the health mishaps that run in our family. So really there will be a bit of this and a bit of that in this blog, but every recipe that I post will have my commentary, suggestions, and inform you all about how an untrained cook got by. Besides, blogging about food is something simple to bring order into the chaos of life. :)

Well, here goes nothing! Hope you enjoy my blog!