Sunday, May 31, 2009

Banana Bread

For Christmas, I made banana bread for my boyfriend, Stephen's parents. When we went to his parents' house at Easter, his little sister waited until Stephen walked out of the room, turned to me and said, "Now that he's gone... do you think you could make some more of that bread?" She asked me to make 2 or 3 loafs of the bread. I only agreed to making one, and it took me a while to get around to that. So this is for you Lillian.

I have had this recipe for well over 10 years and I have no idea where I got it from. So, unfortunately, I cannot give the source credit for it.

Banana Bread
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. oatmeal
4-5 overripe bananas, smashed

Mix together. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hotdog Mini Corn Muffins

There are very few things that my niece, Siena, will eat. Hotdogs is one of them. She pretty well likes anything involving hotdogs and some sort of bread. So I mixed cornbread mix with cut up hotdogs and cooked them in mini muffin tins. They are the perfect size for her and my nephew, Luke, to munch on.

Hotdog Mini Corn Muffins
2 boxes cornbread mix
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk
4-5 turkey hotdogs, cut up

Mix cornbread mix, eggs and milk together. Add hotdogs and mix. Put into greased mini muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes, or until done. Makes 48 mini muffins.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Satay Noodles

I enjoy the process of cooking, I love providing food for people and I think that I am a good cook. But I still love to be validated for everything I make. I could say that I only want the feedback to improve my recipes and cooking, but that wouldn't be true. Sure, I do like that kind of feedback, but mostly I just want to hear that people like it. My family is the best at this. I partially think it's just to ensure that I keep making Sunday lunch, and hey, it works.

Chicken Satay Noodles
Wheat spaghetti noodles
Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Matchstick carrots
Bean sprouts
Green onions, cut on the bias

1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. coconut milk
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. oil
1/3 c. warm water

Mix all sauce ingredients well. Cook noodles, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with sauce. Top with carrots, bean sprouts, chicken, green onions and peanuts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turkey Club Burger

Unfortunately, neither my boyfriend or I have a grill. So, our Memorial Day meal did not have the yummy char grilled taste, but it was still very good.

I roasted potato slices, onions, poblano peppers and mushrooms. I topped the burgers with mashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion and chipotle ranch. I made the chipotle ranch specifically for my boyfriend, Stephen. He loves ranch dressing and he's my spicy boy, so it's a perfect match for him.

Chipotle Ranch
1 bottle ranch
4 chipotles

Mix well in a food processor.

Turkey Burger
2 lbs. ground turkey
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. grill seasoning
1 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin

Mix well. Make into 4 burger patties.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Ok, are you ready for this? It is my boyfriend's, brother's girlfriend's birthday... Did you get that? Stephen and I were not able to stay and try the cake with them yesterday, so I hope that she liked it.

Though I don't mess with baking recipes, I did get a little creative with this cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, added fresh raspberries in between the layers and on top, and used a meringue from Rachael Ray mag in between the layers and on top.

4 egg whites, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and the egg whites. Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl, and heat just until the sugar dissolves, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chili Rubbed Fajitas

As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of repeating meals. But this post is really much more about my boyfriend than it is about what I cooked. So, please bare with me for a minute as I am going to be a cheesy girlfriend... My boyfriend, Stephen, loved the Chili Rubbed Steak and Shrimp so much, he said it was 'The Bomb'. He then took some to work to show off the meal to his coworkers and asked me to make more for him to take for everybody at work. I think it is the cutest thing that he gets so excited about the meals I cook for him and wants other people to try my food too. I think that is the biggest compliment. He is so adorable! ... Ok, I promise I'm done with my cheesy girlfriend moment.

So, I made them some more steak and shrimp. I also made some sauteed mushrooms, onions and green peppers, and sent tortilla shells and sour cream to make fajitas.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jazzed Up Shrimp Cocktail

I wanted to do something different with shrimp for dinner. So I decided to make an old school favorite a little more fancy. I made the cocktail sauce thinner by using tomato juice. And obviously cooking for my boyfriend has carried over to what I make for just me, because I made this spicier than I usually do. And why, if I made this for just me did I put it in a martini glass? Because it looks pretty...

Jazzed Up Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp, cooked and chilled
Avocado, cubed
Celery, cut on the bias
1 can tomato juice
2 T. horseradish
2 t. worchestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 t. hot sauce
Mix together tomato juice, horseradish, wochestershire sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce. Add in shrimp, avocado and celery. Mix well. Chill slightly before serving.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Greek Salad

I saw a picture of a Greek salad on a TV commercial last week and have been thinking about it ever since. I used all my favorite Mediterranean toppers: kalamata olives, red onions, pepperocini peppers and tomatoes. It would also be great with artichoke hearts and feta cheese. I used the Greek seasoning on the chicken and dressed the salad with a balsamic drizzle and extra virgin olive oil.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chili Rubbed Steak and Shrimp

As I've mentioned before, my boyfriend Stephen, loves his food spicy. So I have started to use a lot more ground red pepper when I cook. For this rub, I use primarily chili powder, but I also add some of my new staple (ground red pepper) to add a little more heat for my spicy boy. For the mashed potatoes, I added some shredded cheese and green onions.

Chili Rub
Chuck steak
Shrimp, thawed
Grill seasoning
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Ground Red Pepper

Season and cook separately.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pork Chops with Creamy Balsamic Mushrooms and Potato Croquettes

I'm a big fan of sauteed mushrooms and onions with balsamic vinegar. For these, I added a little cream. It's a great combination, on that my boyfriend, Stephen, enthusiastically proclaimed, "I like it!" I adopted the recipe for the potato croquettes from Rachael Ray's magazine. I added cheese and green onions to my mashed potatoes. I recommend getting the mashed potatoes as cold as possible so they will be easier to handle.

Pork Chops
Thin cut, bone-in pork chops
Ground Red Pepper
Garlic Powder
Dried Thyme
Dried Rosemary
Salt and pepper

Creamy Balsamic Mushrooms
1 container mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. heavy cream

In skillet, caramelize onions. Add mushrooms until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and let it reduce, add cream and reduce.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


My nephew and niece love when I make them granola. Wait, they love when I make them anything sweet. But at least the granola has some sort of healthful value to it. So, I made them some granola to snack on tomorrow while they are waiting for their baby sister, Claire, to be born.

4 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. honey, slightly warm
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. peanuts
1/2 c. raisins
1/4 c. dried pineapple, cut in small pieces
1/4 c. dried apricots, cut in small pieces

Mix all the ingredients together. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool completely, remove gently so it stays in clusters.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Greek Seasoned Steak and Pasta

My boyfriend, Stephen, is working a 12 hour shift today. You would think that I would feel bad for him for having to be at work, on his feet for 12 hours straight... Yeah sure, I hate that for him, but the thing that bothers me is that he would be eating 2 meals from the cafeteria today. So, I took him dinner to work. Yes, he is spoiled. He may deny it, but he knows it's true and he really does appreciate it.

Greek Seasoned Steak
Chuck Steak
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried mint
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. crushed red pepper

Trim steak of fat and cut in bite size pieces. Mix herbs together and season steak. Cook in skillet.

Greek Orzo
1/4 lb. Orzo pasta, cooked
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 c. feta cheese

Mix warm pasta with lemon juice and oil. Let cool slightly, mix in all other ingredients.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Caribbean Pork and Plantain Chips

This meal was such a hit with my boyfriend, Stephen, he was still talking about it the next day. He even told his mom about it and showed her the picture on my camera. The plantain chips were inspired by my favorite restaurant, Cuba Libre. I sliced them lengthwise with a mandalin and fried them. I made a honey mustard sauce to go with them, and they disappeared quickly.

Caribbean Pork
Thin cut pork chops
Caribbean Jerk seasoning
Pineapple juice, from canned pineapple chunks
1 T. red pepper jelly

Season pork with jerk seasoning. Mix together pineapple juice and red pepper jelly(you may have to put in microwave briefly to soften jelly). Marinade pork chops with mixture for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Saute in skillet 4-5 minutes per side.

Pineapple Salsa
Canned pineapple chunks, diced
Tomato, diced
Red onion, diced
Jalapeno, finely minced
Salt and Pepper
Cilantro, chopped

Mix well and let flavors come together for at least 30 minutes in fridge.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Italian Halibut with Asparagus and Sweet Potatoes

My Mother's Day present to my sister-in-law, Kris, was a special dinner. Yes, I cook for her and the fam almost every Sunday. But this meal was a little bit more fancy and expensive than usual. Kris was truly pleased, she said it was the highlight of her Mother's Day.

Italian Halibut
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried marjoram
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper
2 T. fresh parsley
lemon zest
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 shallot, minced

Put all the ingredients except halibut in large ziploc bag. Mix well, using enough oil to make a paste. Add halibut and coat well. Let marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cook on grill pan.

Roast Asparagus and Onions
fresh asparagus
onion, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Mix asparagus and onion, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chicken and Pasta

I was making dinner for my boyfriend, Stephen, last night. I didn't feel like making a trip to the grocery store, so I came up with this dinner from the items I had on-hand. I would have added some mushrooms too, but I didn't have any at home.

Chicken and Pasta
Chicken breast, cut up and cooked
Penne Rigate pasta
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
sundried tomatoes, sliced
ground red pepper
1/2 c. white wine
Cook pasta. In skillet, saute onion 2-3 minutes. Add sundried tomatoes, chicken and ground red pepper and mix well. Add wine and let reduce. Add about a 1/2 c. pasta water before drainng pasta. Add drained pasta to chicken. Mix well, top with parsley.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chicken Stir-Fry

I'm a firm believer that the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. My best friend, Kelly, does not exactly share my love for cooking or my views of cooking for her husband. I occassionally take it upon myself to cook for them so he can come home to a hot meal.

Chicken Stir-Fry
3 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/2 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 c. matchstick carrots
1 head broccoli, cut up
1 c. snow peas
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 t. cornstarch
2 t. honey
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. hoisin sauce
brown rice

In large skillet, saute onion for 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper, carrots and broccoli, saute for another 2-3 minutes. In a bowl, mix soy sauce, cornstarch and honey. Add cooked chicken to skillet, add soy sauce mixture and hoisin sauce, mix well. Let flavors blend, 4-5 minutes. Add sesame oil and snow peas. Remove from heat and mix well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Verde Sauce

If I'm eating by myself, I can have a sandwich everyday. But, when I'm cooking for my family or my boyfriend, Stephen, I rarely repeat the same meal. I just feel that there are so many recipes and meal ideas out there. Repeating a meal is just kind of boring. I have made this for Stephen before, but he really liked it and in honor of Cinco de Mayo, it was an easy go-to. Maybe the margaritas make the repeat less boring...

To the rice, I added lime zest, chopped jalapenos, fresh cilantro and black beans.

Chipotle Marinade
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 chipotle chili's
salt and pepper
chili powder
1/2 c olive oil

Mix well in food processor. Marinade chicken for at least 10 minutes

Creamy Verde Sauce
1 c. sour cream
1 jar Verde salsa

Yep, that's all. Put small amount in bottom of small casserole dish and on top of enchiladas.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pork Fried Rice

I've been sitting in front of my computer for the last 15 minutes trying to think of a some cute and/or funny story to go with this meal... I got nothing. I wanted something easy, different and yummy for dinner. I know there are tons of ways to jazz up fried rice, but I was feeling traditional. And it was good!

Pork Fried Rice
Boneless Pork Chops
2 T oil
4 c. cooked rice, preferably day old
Carrots, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
Frozen peas

Thinly slice pork, saute until cooked through. Remove from skillet, set aside. Put oil in skillet, add carrots and onions. Saute until tender. Add rice and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Make a well in the middle of the skillet, add eggs and stir until scrambled up in small pieces, mix into rice. Add pork back into the skillet, stir in peas.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Italian Beef

This meal takes me back to Sundays as a kid. Sundays, helping Grandma clean up and watching football with Grandpa. The family members have changed and it was playoff basketball today instead of football, but the feeling was still the same. I made this old school Sunday dinner a little bit healthier with brown rice and fresh green beans instead of the cooked-to-death canned beans.

Italian Beef
Boneless Chuck Pot Roast
1 envelope Italian Seasoning
1 can beef broth

Trim fat from roast. Put roast, seasoning, broth and enough water to cover roast in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or until tender. Slice pepperocinis and add to beef.

Balsamic Green Beans
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fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
balsamic vinegar

Boil green beans for 2-3 minutes. Saute onion and mushrooms until tender and browned. Add balsamic vinegar, mix. Top green beans with mushrooms and onions.