Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mixed Berry Smoothie

For the past 11 years of my life, I have had crazy bad allergy problems. So I was super excited when my friend, Marisa, invited me to a Wellness talk about allergies and your immune system.

The talk was at the Clinic where she is a nutritionist. The ladies were fabulous and very informative. It was amazing to find out how much your diet can effect your allergy problems. One of their recommedations was to start your day with a healthy smoothie. I swear I'm starting to feel better already. Check them out so you can start feeling better!!

Mixed Berry Smoothie
2/3 c. almond milk
1/2 c. frozen mixed berries
2 frozen peach slices
1 T. Whey protein powder
2 T. flax seeds, ground

Blend well in a blender.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tilapia Club Sandwich and Rosemary Potatoes

I don't have anything against mayonnaise, but if someone told me that I could never have mayo again, I wouldn't cry. I just didn't grow up with it. In fact, my mom didn't even allow it in our house. So, even though mayo is typically apart of club sandwiches, I left it out. My boyfriend, Stephen, added Ranch dressing to his sandwich, but I thought it was great without.

Tilapia Club Sandwich
Tilapia filets
Creole seasoning
1 egg
cooking spray
hoagie rolls
lettuce, shredded
tomato, sliced
avocado, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

Season tilapia with Creole seasoning. Coat tilapia with egg and then bread crumbs. Spray both sides with cooking spray. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Build sandwich.

Rosemary Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
dried rosemary
salt and pepper

Mix and roast in 400 degree oven until crispy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caramel Layer Brownies

When I was in college, my mom would send me care packages. My mom makes the best care packages. I'm not going to pretend that I can make a better care package than my mom, but she's never sent homemade brownies in her care packages. I'm just sayin'...

These brownies are addictive. They are from-scratch with a layer of caramel in the middle, with a chocolate glaze on top. I admit, they are over the top, but once you try them, you won't be able to stop. Don't say I didn't warn you.

2 oz, unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 c. margarine
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 t. salt

Caramel Filling
1/2 bag Kraft Caramel Bits
2 T. milk
Melt in small sauce pan.

Chocolate Glaze
2 T. margarine
2 T. cocoa powder
2 T. milk
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

For brownies:
Preheat oven to 350.Melt margarine in microwave. Stir in chopped chocolate and stir until melted. In bowl, mix sugar, eggs, vanilla and chocolate margarine. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix until just combined. Pour 1/2 of brownie mixture to greased cake pan. Bake until just done. Top with caramel topping, add the rest of the brownie mixture and bake until just done. Let cool and top with warm chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:
In sauce pan, bring margarine, cocoa powder and milk to a simmer. Remove from heat, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well and pour over brownies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dessert Pizza

Every week when I go to see my nephew and niece, my niece Siena asks what I am going to make her for dessert. Usually I get a disappointed "AAAWWWWWW!!!" from her, but occasionally I make them a special little treat. Nutella has become a fast favorite for dessert. If you've never had it, you don't know what you're missing. It's amazing!

Dessert Pizza
1 container refrigerator biscuits
Stawberries, sliced
Peaches, sliced
Whip topping, optional

Spread each biscuit out until it is a thin disc. Bake according to package directions. Let cool slightly. Spread each biscuit with nutella and top with fruit and whip topping.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby Shower

I have another niece on the way. So, of course, for Kris' baby shower, I provided the food. I wanted the food to be simple, elegant and miniature. And yes, I'm a dork who loves a food theme (get it... miniature... baby shower... small versions of... oh, never mind).

I made mini Italian sandwiches, hummus, fruit skewers with a fruit dip in mini plastic martini glasses and lemon meringue babycakes (oh, come on, that's cute!).

Mini Italian Sandwiches
I took pesto and mixed it with canned artichokes in the food processor. On foccacia bread I used the artichoke pesto, turkey, provolone, lettuce, red onion and tomato.

2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves glaric, finely chopped
juice from 1 lemon
2 T tahini
2 T water
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Add all ingredients to food processor, except olive oil. Process for 30 seconds, then stream in olive oil until you get your desired consistency.

Fruit Dip
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 container marshmallow creme
1 t. vanilla
Mix well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BBQ Pizza

I have realized that in posting stories about my boyfriend, Stephen, I may not be painting the best picture of him. He is an absolutely wonderful guy. My friends have told me that I light up when I talk about him. And it's because he really is adorably precious. And if you are rolling your eyes at me right now, it's because you've never met him.

This is the thrid meal that I made for him for the week. There is nothing different or super special about this BBQ pizza. It's just bottled barbecue sauce, chicken, pineapple, mozzarella cheese and green onions. Though it is very basic, it is very good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chile Rellenos

My boyfriend, Stephen, has just one meal that he cooks for himself. The meal has appropriately been dubbed 'The Concoction". I will spare your appetite the details of this recipe. This is yet another reason for me making meals for him to eat throughout the week. This is the 2nd of the three meals.

Chile Rellenos
4 Poblano peppers
1 c. rice
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 T. chili powder
1 t. cumin
2 t. ground red pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Cook rice according to box directions, set aside. Slice poblano pepper down one side and remove seeds and ribs. Flatten pepper out on sheet pan and roast in oven until blistered on both sides.

Brown beef in a skillet. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, ground red pepper and garlic powder. Add onions, cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir in rice and tomato sauce. On sheet pan, lay peppers flat, skin side down. Top the pepper with beef and rice filling, top with cheese and broil in oven until cheese is melted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Now I enjoy eating out as much as the next person, but I have great issue with people eating out for the majority of their meals. Not surprisingly, I know several single men who live such a lifestyle, my boyfriend, Stephen, being one of them. I have been saying for months now that I am going to make several meals for him to eat throughout the week. I've done this for other people before, but I've just never gotten around to doing it for my boyfriend. So, here is the 1st of three meals that I made for him for the week.

Chipotle Sloppy Joes
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper
1 t. chili powder
2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. mustard

Brown beef in a skillet. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Add onion and chipotle peppers, cook 4-5 minutes. Mix in tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Saute over medium heat until sauce thickens.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Sunday lunch with the family. Kris' husband, Mark, is always excited about what I'm going to make for Sunday lunch. When I told him that I was making Chicken Lettuce Wraps, he started looking for some tortillas because he didn't think that he would be filled up without having carbs. But even without his tortillas, he was so stuffed, he couldn't finish his last lettuce wrap.

Chicken Lettuce Wrap
chicken breast, cooked and finely chopped
matchstick carrots
shittake mushrooms, chopped
green onions, chopped
slice water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 c. hoisin sauce
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
iceberg lettuce
bean sprouts

In large skillet, saute mushrooms until tender. Add carrots, chicken and water chestnuts. Mix in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, a small amount of sesame oil and water (to thin sauce). Remove from heat and stir in green onions. Plate with bean sprouts and serve with lettuce.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chicken Fajita Burgers

Yesterday, while at the grocery store, I walked the aisles conflicted. Do I make traditional fajitas for dinner, or chicken fajita burgers? As much as I love the classic, sometimes it's fun to mix things up a bit. In the end, the burger won out. It's simple, and as my boyfriend, Stephen said, "Yum, yum, yum."

I used a premade Fajita Seasoning and mixed into the ground chicken. I also used it with the onions and green peppers. Then put them on a simple club roll. Couldn't be easier.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I actually have a good reason for baking again. No really, I do. My nephew, Luke, has a swim-a-thon tomorrow evening and after the swim-a-thon they are having a party. The parents were asked to bring an international dessert. Since Kris doesn't make any kind of dessert, it was Aunt Leah to the rescue. And I decided that baklava was my international dessert of choice. See, I told you I had a good reason this time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have no good reason or cute story behind making these cookies. I wasn't craving them, nobody asked for them, I just wanted to make some triple chocolate cookies.

** After chilling the cookies, let the dough come back down to room temp. If you put the cookie dough in the oven cold, they spread too much and get crispy. And I say BOOO to a crispy cookie. Oh, and I left out the cloves. Wasn't the flavor match I was looking for today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chicken with Gnocchi

When I told my boyfriend, Stephen, that we were having Chicken with Gnocchi for dinner, he said, "Um, I don't know what that is, but OK." There was no real point in telling him that gnocchi is potato dumplings, because he was already on his third bite.

Chicken with Gnocchi
Chicken breast, cut up
white onion, thinly sliced
mushrooms, sliced
1 c. red wine
1 c. heavy cream
baby spinach

Cook chicken in a skillet, over medium-high heat. Remove chicken and add onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes and add mushrooms. Once onions and mushrooms are browned, add chicken back into skillet. Add a couple glugs of wine and reduce by half. Add heavy cream, reduce by half. Add spinach and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, boil gnocchi until they float to the top of the water. Melt butter in skillet. Add cooked gnocchi. Coat and cook until gnocchi is slightly browned.

Top gnocchi with chicken mixture.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dinner

I usually like to make something different for Easter dinner. But that just wasn't working for me this year. So, I went with a sure-fire staple for Stephen and I . Steak, loaded mash potatoes and corn on the cob. I also used some leftover baby spinach to make creamed spinach. But I didn't torture Stephen by putting spinach on his plate, I only shoved a small bite into his mouth...

Loaded Mashed Potatoes
potatoes, cubed
heavy cream
turkey bacon
finely shredded cheddar cheese
green onion, chopped

Boil potatoes, mash with butter, cream and salt. Stir in bacon, cheese and green onion.

Creamed Spinach
garlic, grated
heavy cream
fresh baby spinach

In sautee pan, reduce cream. Add garlic and spinach.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Eggs

I love Holiday traditions. Dying Easter eggs has always been one of my favorite. So I try to dye eggs with my nephew and niece every year. My boyfriend never dyed eggs as a child, and being the good sport that he is, he joined us in our family tradition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Farmers Market Special

Yes, that's a picture of cut up fruit. No, I do not consider this to be cooking. But after a visit to the Farmers Market, I just couldn't help it. This fruit is entirely too beautiful to keep to myself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Salmon with Black Bean Salsa

You will very easily see a trend in my cooking. When I cook for my family, I make fairly healthy food. When I cook for my boyfriend and I, not always so healthy. Obviously, this was a family meal.

For the salmon, I seasoned it with cumin, chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice.

Black Bean Salsa
1 can black beans
1 c. frozen corn kernels
1 tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 t. fresh lime juice
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pork Empanadas and Mexican Rice

Let me be honest, as much as I may like a meal the first time I eat it, I get tired of the leftovers. Especially when you eat it the same way as the night before. So, sometimes I try to mix it up a little. This time I mixed leftover pulled pork up literally with salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese. I stuffed the mixture in rounds of dough and baked them up. Yum.

For the Mexican Rice, I added canned diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and ground red pepper as I cooked the rice. I realized that I didn't quite add enough spice for my boyfriend's liking as he told me, "I'm from Africa babe, I like my food spicy." So sorry babe, I will work on that spiciness for you...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pulled Pork and Cole Slaw

I'm always looking for a reason to have a party with my friends. The latest party was for a friend whose boyfriend moved to a different city for a job. I told you, I look for a reason to have a party.

I cooked the pork overnight in my slow cooker. The next morning, it was so tender, it just fell apart. The Cole slaw recipe comes from a family friend. It's a great mayo-free slaw.

BBQ Dry Rub
8 T. brown sugar, tightly packed
3 T. kosher salt
1 T. chili powder
1 t. paprika
½ t. ground black pepper
½ t. Old Bay seasoning
½ t. rubbed thyme
½ t. onion powder
½ t. dry mustard

Mix well.

Cole Slaw
2 bags Cole Slaw
sunflower seeds
sliced almonds
1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles
1/3 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. sugar

Mix vinegar, oil, sugar and flavor packet from ramen noodles. Toss well with Cole slaw. Top with sunflower seeds, almonds and crushed, uncooked ramen noodles.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes, I just feel the need to bake. Also, I realized yesterday that I have not baked anything for my boyfriend, Stephen, for quite awhile. He's been deprived. I know, I know, I really should take better care of him...

Baking is about measuring and science. I don't mess with science. I find baking recipes, I don't try to create my own. This is my favorite recipe that I've tried. These are soft, puffy, yummy cookies.

*Note: The cookies have just a little bit of crunch around the edges after baking. I have found that the next day, they have softened up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meat and Potatoes for My Man

My meat-and-potatoes guy is happy, so very happy. And, being the good girlfriend that I am, I made his favorite. STEAK.

I sliced the steak and topped it with a mushroom and onion saute, and a fresh herb sauce. I added some minced chipotle to the mashed sweet potatoes. And then I served it all with corn, just to add a little more vegetables to the mix.

Fresh Herb Sauce
1/2 c. fresh parsley
4-5 fresh basil leaves
1 green onion
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Finely chop the parsley, basil and green onion. Mix in vinegar and oil. Salt and pepper to taste.