Friday, August 29, 2008

Key Lime Cupcakes

I found this recipe in my bon appetit magazine and just about started salivating as I turned the page to this picture... These are AMAZING!!!

That little Atlanta bakery, Buttersweet Bakery, sure does know how to make a cupcake! If I ever go to Georgia, I will for sure be going there. I scanned in the picture from the magazine because I know no picture I took could do them justice - and I was right... but then I of course, found the recipe online with a picture... but to save you from one more click - here it is...

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (batter may look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.

Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread over cupcakes.

Ava and I call them "SHREKCAKES" because of the really cool green color.

Cumin Grilled Chicken Breasts

Cooking spray
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each) pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spray a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil. Combine cumin, salt and pepper and rub spice mixture evenly onto chicken breasts. Grill until grill marks have formed and chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove from heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve over coleslaw, if desired.

In picture: Creamed Spinach with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Fennel from Picky Palate - AMAZING!

an Ellie Krieger recipe from Food Network

Brazillian "Lemonade"

If you have ever been to Tucano's in Provo -- this is the recipe for their lemonade (really, it's a limeade) YUMMY!

3 fresh limes
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk

Quarter limes and place in blender (rind and all), add sugar and sweetened condensed milk and 4 cups chilled water. Blend until limes are chopped up. Strain. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Dee-lish, fresh and totally healthy...
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine (i used white grape juice)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Stir in basil and tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Return the shrimp to pan and cook just until heated through.

Serve with orzo pasta, rice or crusty bread.

Ellie Krieger from Food Network

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Chicken & Ham Favorite

{{this is one of my favorite childhood meals that my Mom made... such a comfort food for me.}}

chicken breasts
sliced ham
12 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
cream cheese, about 4 oz. cut up into 1/2 inch cubes

Wrap each chicken breast with 1 slice of ham. Arrange in a 9x13 or 9x9 glass casserole dish - depending on how many breasts you're cooking. Mix soup and sour cream together and spread over wrapped chicken. Place the cream cheese cubes evenly over each chicken breast. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 1 1/2 hours. Serve chicken with brown rice on the side and remaining "gravy" over the top of rice and chicken.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 c. flour
3 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 egg
1 c. plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
2 T. butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 T. for the skillet

1. Preheat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. In a bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg for 30 seconds. Add yogurt, pumpkin puree, and 2 T. melted butter and beat well.

3. Stir in dry ingredients and beat just until combined.

4. Grease skillet lightly with butter. Pour 1/4 c. batter per pancake; flip with spatula when tops bubble and edges are slightly dry. Cook until other side is golden brown, 2 minutes per side.

Keep pancakes warm until ready to eat. I like to add chocolate chips if my kids have been good and if I've got the craving for chocolate - which is usually the case.

Yield: 4 servings
Parenting Magazine, October 2006

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mini Meatloaves with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy

This is one of my absolute favorite meals. It's a RR, and I serve it with mashed potatoes. It is seriously heavenly, and a huge step up from just plain ole meatloaf.

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
2 cups breadcrumbs
3 sprigs sage,
leaves removed from stems and chopped
1 cup
(about 1 large handful) parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch scallions,
finely chopped on an angle
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO),
for drizzling
1/2 medium red onion, sliced

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, pork, veal, breadcrumbs, sage, parsley, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt and a palmful of freshly ground black pepper.

Using a 6-cup muffin pan, divide the meat mixture into 4 equal parts and scoop the portions into four of the muffin cups. Bake the mini meatloaves until cooked through and golden on top, about 30 minutes.

While the mini meatloaves are cooking, toss the grape tomatoes and onion slices onto a baking sheet along with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the meatloaves have been in the oven for about 15 minutes, put the tray of veggies in and roast until the onions are caramelized and the tomatoes have burst open, about 15 minutes.

While the tomatoes and onion are roasting away, get the roux started: Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the balsamic and stock to the pan, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened, then remove it from the heat and reserve.

Remove the mini meatloaves and the tomatoes from the oven and set the meat aside to rest for about 5 minutes.

Add the roasted tomatoes and onion to the sauce and break up the veggies with a potato masher. Serve one mini meatloaf per person with a hearty ladle of the tomato balsamic gravy.

Rachael Ray Yields 4 servings

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicken Picante

{{This is good and fresh tasting... although not the most amazing chicken I've had - it's really easy and simple and uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. It's a great standby meal.}}

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 c. salsa
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. sour cream
1 lime sliced into 4 wedges
chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix salsa, mustard and lime juice. Put chicken in pan and cover with salsa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Place chicken on plate and top each breast with 1 T. sour cream, cilantro and lime wedge.

I sometimes serve with black bean, corn and avocado salsa.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tips for Better Whole Wheat Bread

Use white wheat rather than red. It has a milder flavor. I buy Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana Farm & Bakery 1-800-535-2798

I use a Nutrimill wheat grinder. It can be purchased at for $249.95.

Freeze any excess wheat that you grind so you do not lose any of the nutrition.

I make my dough in a bread maker. I bought the Sunbeam Programmable Breadmaker for $42.22 at Wal-Mart.

You can make dough for two loaves in a Kitchen Aid Mixer and six loaves in a Bosch Mixer.

Dough Enhancer really makes a difference in your bread. I use Blue Chip Baker Dough Enhancer that I bought online for $6.99. You can purchase it at

Use the recipe on the back of your dough enhancer. My recipe is:
1 1/3 cups warm tap water
2 tsp dough enhancer
3 Tbsp oats
2 Tbsp dry milk
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp gluten
3 cups whole wheat flour
2tsp yeast

Always start with water in a bread maker. Flour should be second last. Yeast is always last. This is important in a breadmaker.

Add 3 Tbsp of rolled or steel cut oats for added nutrition if you like. You can not taste it and is a way to use up some of that food storage.

Measure your honey after the oil to prevent sticking to your measuring spoon.

Mix the gluten with a cup of flour before adding it to your breadmaker. Gluten is what will keep your wheat bread from becoming crumbly. It also will make lumps of chewy spots if you do not mix it with some four. You can purchase gluten online at for $8.99.

Roll your dough out flat on a plastic cutting board to prevent sticking. I got mine at Sam’s Club for $10. Then roll dough into a loaf and place it in a loaf pan.

Let dough rise for 30 minutes covered with a towel.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 350°.

If your crust is too hard lower the temperature of the oven.

Bread bags can be bought online for easier storage at $7.50 for 100.

Warning: If you leave warm bread unattended, this could happen to you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mel's Award Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, after much persuasion, here it is. Yes, it is award winning (even if it was just a competition at work) and yes, this is the exact recipe. For best results, and a chance at your own award, follow exactly.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 T vanilla (I only use real vanilla)
2 t salt
2 t baking soda
4 -5 cups flour
1 pkg. Hershey's milk chocolate chips (these are my favorite, although I understand Guittard is an excellent chip)
1 pkg. Hershey's special dark chips (again, you can use your favorite dark or semi-sweet chip)

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (or the kneading hooks--that's what I use on my Bosch) cream all ingredients except flour. You want to mix this until it is just barely incorporated, in fact, you will still have a few lumps of butter. Add 4 cups of flour, mix. Continue to add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the right consistency is reached (this is all by feel for me). Add chocolate chips. Bake 340* for 7-9 minutes for soft, slightly undercooked cookies; 9-10 minutes for fully cooked (and still soft) cookies.

These are best fresh from the oven in my opinion. I use a cookie scoop to make my cookies. I will scoop and place the dough on a plate or cookie sheet and freeze them. You can then pull frozen, perfectly shaped, dough balls from the freezer and cook for fresh hot cookies anytime.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salsa

1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, well rinsed and drained
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 avocados, chopped
1 pkg. DRY Italian dressing seasoning (salad dressing isle)
1/4 c. oil, salad or olive
1/4 c . vinegar
2 T. water

Mix and serve. Good if you let it sit mix the flavors - if I do this, I just add the avocados in last so they don't brown.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wontons or Egg Rolls

1 pound lean sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Regular)
1 egg
1 can (4 1/2 ounce) tiny shrimp
1 can (4 ounce) water chestnuts, finely chopped
3/4 cup celery, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chipped
1 package wonton skins OR egg roll skins

Brown sausage. Drain off fat. Put in bowl. Mix in egg, tiny shrimp, water chestnuts, celery, and green onions. Put rounded teaspoon sausage mixture on each wonton skin. Wrap. Seal edges with moistened fingers, Deep gry in 365* oil (until golden brown). Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel in warm oven until ready to serve. You can fry ahead and heat in 450* oven.

Cranberry Meatballs

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Melanie. When she first gave it too me I thought, "No way am I going to make that, it sounds too weird." But she made it and I tried it and it is GOOD! And, it is SO FAST and EASY, added bonus!!!

1 bag frozen meatballs
1 can cranberry sauce
2 c. spaghetti sauce

Mix together, heat through and serve over rice. Whala, dinner is served.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vegetable Lasagna

6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 onion, diced
1 c. (about 2 1/2 oz.) fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. water
1 c. lowfat part skim ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 (9 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 egg whites
1 (14 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
3 oz. (3/4 c.) shredded lowfat part skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; rinse with hot water.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water; cover and cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender.

In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, carrot, spinach and egg whites; mix well. In an ungreased 12 x 8 inch (2 quart) baking dish, layer half of cooked noodles, half of sauce, half of mushroom mixture and half of ricotta cheese mixture; repeat layers. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons butter, melted
5 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
salt and pepper to taste
6 lemon wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, butter, and honey. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.

2. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with mustard-honey mixture. Cover the top of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.

3. Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

I served with brown rice and Pancetta Sauteed Haricot Vert with Cherry Tomatoes and Feta from Picky Palate. {though I used regular green beans, sun-dried tomatoes because that's what I had - yummy!}

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Harvest Veggie Whole Wheat Pasta

Really good, fresh taste - and good use of all the summer veggies. When I make this again... I think I'll roast some cherry tomatoes in with the veggies. And I didn't use the mint (to me, it belongs only in my desserts) or the ricotta cheese - and it was still "yum-o"!

1 pound whole wheat penne
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large or 4 small zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 yellow squash, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 red pepper, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, chopped into bite-size chunks
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched and toasted
1 cup basil
3/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 to 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Right before draining, remove and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta thoroughly, return to the pot and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, place chopped zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with 3 tablespoons EVOO, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

While vegetables are roasting, place the almonds, herbs, garlic, some salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the processor while drizzling in the 1/4 cup EVOO. Transfer the pesto to a large mixing bowl and mix in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add the cup of reserved pasta-cooking liquid to the bowl and mix it to combine. Add the pasta and the roasted veggies to the bowl and give it a good toss to coat everything with the pesto.

In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon pasta into 6 dishes and top each dish with dollop of the peppery ricotta mixture.

I served with Garlic Pull Aparts.

Rachael Ray
Serving 6

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Slow Berry Cobbler

This was SO good, and so easy because you just put it all in the crockpot. Great summertime treat because you're not heating up your house with the oven. Filling:
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen strawberries
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen blueberries
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen raspberries
1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar, depending on your level of preferred sweetness
1/2 cup baking mix

2 1/4 cups baking mix
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together all the frozen fruit, sugar and 1/2 cup baking mix. Transfer the fruit to the slow cooker. In another large mixing bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter and milk with a wooden spoon. With your hands, drop bits of dough on top of the fruit in the slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the dough and place the lid on the slow cooker. Turn the power onto high and slow cook for 3 to 4 hours until the topping has puffed and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Beef or Chicken Fajitas

{I posted part of this recipe before, but wanted to add my modifications}

fajita marinade (see below)
1 1/2 lb. beef boneless top sirloin steak, 1 1/2 in. thick OR 6 chicken breasts
onion, sliced
an assortment of bell peppers cut into strips {our faves are red, yellow and orange - they cook faster too}
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
spanish rice
black or refried beans
other fajita fixings you like: picante sauce, cheddar/monterrey jack cheese, avocados, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

Marinade beef/chicken for 4-24 hours covered in fridge, turning occasionally.

  • Heat grill.
  • Lay out a piece of foil, making a little tray for your grill. Place the strips of peppers and sliced mushrooms on it, and sprinkle with EVOO and salt and pepper.
  • Place the tray on the heated grill.
  • Throw the beef/chicken on the grill to cook till your desired doneness with the beef and til the juices run clear with the chicken.
  • Assemble with tortillas, beef/chicken, peppers, shrooms and other fajita fixings.

Beef Fajita Marinade
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1 t. dried oregano leaves
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper


Chicken Marinade:
¼ c. cooking oil
3 T. lime juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. chopped onion
1 clove garlic
½ t. sugar
½ t. oregano
¼ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
1/8 t. ground cumin

I've even done this in the crockpot. Instead of using olive oil in the marinate I used beef or chicken broth (whatever you're cooking). Put the meat in the crockpot, and then added the peppers 30-45 minutes before I'm ready to eat. Really good... and super fast!

And if you have any leftovers... make this tortilla soup... it's SO good. I threw the leftover chicken, peppers and Spanish rice in with the other ingredients and made fajita soup. REALLY good!!