Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Butterfinger Chocolate Trifle

Well hallelujah, I'm alive and baking!

Sorry I've been MIA lately with this blog... I recently decided to pursue a part-time photography business. Between that and being a full-time Mom to two kids, well, my time for baking fun new things is gone! Boo!

Here are my photography links if you're interested in following me:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MelissaDeVoePhotography-stop by and like me!
Website: http://www.melissadevoephotography.com/
Blog: http://www.melissadevoephotos.blogspot.com
I will check in here from time to time if I make something irresistible... like this trifle.

That's right - I'm here to talk about the trifle! This is an amazing tasting dessert and amazingly easy to make! If I could have fit my head into that trifle bowl, I would have licked it clean. Seriously, people! I contemplated it, but I didn't want pudding in my hair.

Mine's a little messy looking, but that's what happens when a three-year-old helps. I always opt to make it with Butterfinger because it's my favorite, but really any candy bar would do.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Butterfinger Chocolate Trifle
1 box fudge brownie mix
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
2 regular or 1 large size container Cool Whip
6 Butterfinger bars

Bake mix as directed and allow to cool. Break brownies into large pieces. Use half for bottom layer. Mix pudding as directed on box, then spread half of pudding over cake layer. Break candy into small pieces. Sprinkle half of candy over pudding. Top with half of Cool Whip. Then repeat layers. Use your imagination for a topping - shaved chocolate, chocolate chips or a little more of the chopped candy bar.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

{Not-That-Pretty} Mac Salad

This is a FABULOUS Macaroni Salad recipe that I made last week and brought to a friend's. It made a huge amount - perfect for a picnic or potluck. The flavors were just awesome, and I think this will be "my" mac salad recipe from here on out.

It calls for a lot of veggies - celery, peppers and carrots (and you can throw in onion too if you like that). I threw them all in my food processor to save me the time chopping, and I ended up with little tiny specks of veggies and a few big chunks here and there... lesson learned. Next time I guess I'll chop, or try not to be so trigger happy on the food processor.

This Mac Salad would be a great 4th of July picnic recipe. If you're looking for some more recipes for your 4th of July parties, check out these:

Southwest Corn Dip
Grilled Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo
Grilled Sausage and Vegetables
Grilled Pork Kabobs
Potato-Egg Salad
Mandarins and Ice Cream Cake

Macaroni Salad
(adapted from Allrecipes.com)

16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
4 carrots, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups mayonnaise
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the carrots, green pepper, red pepper and celery. Mix in the mayonnaise, condensed milk, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the macaroni, toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Stir occasionally to blend the flavors. The macaroni will absorb some of the liquid.

Makes 16 servings.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spicy Chicken Fried Rice with Peanuts

Here's a tasty, quick, and figure friendly dinner. This Chicken Fried Rice has a tad bit of a kick to it, but it really isn't that spicy. The spice factor can be adjusted by putting more or less of the red pepper into the dish.

I found the recipe in a Cooking Light article, but it was created by guest contributor Ellie Krieger. I've heard a ton of great things about Ellie Krieger's low-cal foods, but this is the first time I've made one of her recipes. The dish turned out really delicious and I'm so glad I tried it.

The recipe calls for red peppers and would probably make the dish look twice as nice. However, we had two green peppers from the farmers market that I needed to use up, so in they went! Tasted fantastic. We'll make this again and again!

Spicy Chicken Fried Rice with Peanuts
(by Ellie Krieger)

1/4 cup less-sodium soy suace
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cup diced red bell pepper (about 2)
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
5 cups cold cooked brown rice
2 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 lb.)
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped, unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stir well with a whisk.

2. Heat canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, diced onion, and 2 Tbsp. green onions to pan; stir-fry for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add rice, chicken, and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring gently. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons green onions and peanuts.

Makes 5 servings (each serving is about 1 and 3/4 cups rice mixture, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons green onions, and 1 Tbsp. peanuts).

Calories/serving: 482, Fat: 14.8g (sat 2.1g), Protein: 26.3g, Carbs: 61.8g, Fiber: 6.9g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Iron: 2.8mg, Sodium: 479mg, Calcium: 59mg

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cowboy Calzones

I found this recipe in my fabulous The Pioneer Woman Cooks book, which Denny bought me back at Christmas. And is it just me, or is The Pioneer Woman taking over the world? I remember reading her blog back when no one really knew who she was, and now you can't turn on the TV without seeing her somewhere and everyone knows who she is... not to mention she's totally making lots of moolah. And man, can she cook!

I've made homemade calzones just once before trying this recipe. I'm not sure why I don't make them more often, because they're much easier than you'd think. I liked this recipe because it uses both ground beef and sausage (Denny's favorite) and lots of cheese. They're so yummy! And you can make the dough ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two, so when it comes time for dinner, you don't have much to do. I'm pretty certain you'll like these! Very delicious!

Cowboy Calzones
(from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond)

For the dough:
1 tsp. or 1/2 packet of active dry yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups warm water in a bowl and sprinkle in yeast.

2. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in olive oil until just incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture. Drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture; mix until the dough forms a ball. (You can also mix by hand until the dough comes together.)

4. Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

For the calzone:

1/2 pound hot breakfast sausage
1 pound ground beef
1/2 diced onion
8 oz. can tomatoes and chilies (such as Rotel)
8 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large skillet combine the ground beef, sausage and onion. Brown over medium heat. Drain excess grease. Pour in the tomatoes and chilies. Stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and egg. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

3. Add the cooled meat mixture to the cheese mixture and stir gently to combine.

4. Divide the pizza dough into 8 equal-size balls. With a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each ball into a 6-inch circle.

5. Place one-eighth of the meat/cheese mixture in the middle of each circle. Fold half of the circle over the other half, gently pressing to slightly spread and flatten the filling inside. Press a fork along the edge to seal closed, then transfer the calzone to a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the calzone with olive oil.

8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the calzone to a basket or wrap individually in foil.

Makes 8 calzones, calories too high to warrant counting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TWD: Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

So I'm a day late and a dollar short... or something like that. The Tuesdays with Dorie group made the Burnt Sugar Ice Cream last week. I had some technical difficulties with my ice cream maker so I didn't have it made in time to post last week. Turned out the freezer bowl to the ice cream maker wasn't cold enough to churn the batter into ice cream. So the batter sat in my fridge for a few days while I made the freezer colder and allowed the bowl a full two days to freeze. Then, it came out magnificently!

I continue to be surprised at the ease of Dorie's recipes. Besides my own issues with operating my ice cream maker that I've had for years and you'd think I'd know how to use correctly, I had no other problems! The ice cream tasted like caramel and was really very good!

I was, of course, impatient to eat it, so I didn't allow it to harden in the freezer very long after it churned. Therefore, my photo looks like ice cream mush. Tasty ice cream mush, though!

For the recipe, visit Becky at Project Domestication. She was kind enough to choose this recipe for us and has a gorgeous blog!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Salisbury Steak

How come the thought of Salisbury Steak makes me think of the high school cafeteria? I guess it's probably the only time I've ever had salisbury steak... many, MANY years ago now. I wasn't even really sure what it was, or how to make it. But I saw a recipe at Mommy's Kitchen (have I stolen enough of her recipes, or what?) and I was interested.

They looked like little meatloafs, but with gravy. Since Denny really can't get enough of meatloaf (is this a guy thing? Or just a Denny thing?) I figured I should give it a try. And oh my, it's yummy! Very easy to make and really delicious. I used the recipe exactly except substituted bread crumbs for the cracker crumbs and left out the mushrooms (I've never been a mushroom fan). And we loved it with mashed potatoes. We'll make this again for sure!

Salisbury Steak
(adapted from Mommy's Kitchen)

2 pounds ground beef
1 package Lipton’s French Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 packets (0.75 oz) brown gravy mix, prepared
1 cup sour cream
1 small can mushroom stems, optional

1. Make hamburger patties using ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and soup mix. Fry or grill until patties are browned on both sides.

2. While the hamburgers are cooking mix together the brown gravy and sour cream. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and lay cooked patties in the pan. Cover the patties with the sour cream and gravy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees covered for about 40 minutes, turning patties halfway through. Serve with egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Makes about 6 steaks, but don't be surprised if someone wants more than one!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

This week we are baking Chockablock Cookies for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. My first reaction was, "chocka-WHAT?" I was completely clueless what to expect as I was opening the cookbook to find the recipe.

And after I read the recipe... I was still completely clueless what to expect. Molasses? Coconut? Oatmeal? Raisins? Chocolate Chips? NUTS?!?! What is this world coming to?

So I only made a half batch. And the smell of the molasses kind of turned my stomach as I poured it in. Boy, I hope these are good.

I didn't end up having quite enough oatmeal left, and I omitted the nuts because all I had were walnuts which I don't really like (explains why they've been sitting in my house for so long).

They were super quick to make. I took them out of the oven and thought... hhhmmm... well they're not pretty! But they're actually quite good. I'm really wishing I'd had some nuts on hand because I think the only thing they're missing is a little crunch. I may have to try them again after a trip to the grocery store.

Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet is our host for today. You can head over to her site to find the recipe! Thanks Mary!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That Super Sausage Gravy You All Asked About

Most everyone noticed the delicious looking sausage gravy that smothered my biscuits in the Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. And a ton of you mentioned that you'd like the recipe to make this sinfulness too. Thank you for that. You know how you make something so high in calories that it makes you feel fat immediately after eating it? Well, that's how this is... it feels wrong to tell the world how much I loved it. But you asked, so therefore I answer.

The recipe is actually from Bob Evans via Allrecipes.com. It has 5 stars and exactly 624 glowing reviews on the site. Uuummmm... do ya think it's good? Don't take my word for it - take the other 624 people who liked it!

I never knew sausage gravy was so easy to make. Which poses a dilemma... now that I know how easy it is, how do I NOT make it every Sunday morning? And how do I make my hips NOT grow? Anyone?

Super Sausage Gravy
(from Bob Evans)

1 pound mild or hot ground sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 prepared biscuits

1. Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

Guess what today is!! It's my turn to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie, the fabulous baking group that I joined nearly two years ago. 50 recipes later and the rotation finally got to me. I must say that I've come a long way since my very first recipe with the group - the summer fruit galette. Boy, that was good! I knew I was in for a lot of tasty treats and a few extra pounds after eating that galette. In two years, I've made my first pie dough from scratch, first cheesecake, first soufflé, first custard, first rice pudding, learned how to marble a cake, figured out what in the world rugelach is, acquired lots of new bakeware, and made the best darn ice cream I've ever had.

So the time has finally come for little old ME to pick a recipe for the entire group to make. And what did I pick? Well, I picked the Sweet Cream Biscuits. I compiled a bucket list about a year ago and put "make biscuits from scratch" on my list. They're something I've always wanted to make and never had. And since all of the best sounding desserts had already been chosen within the group, I decided that finally getting to try my hand at biscuits would be a fun task.

And boy, I never knew biscuits could be so difficult to make. It sounded like some other TWDer's were having problems as well. A few people complained their biscuits didn't rise much and were a little hard. Well, I baked my first batch... and had the same results. Just flat little round things that were too hard.

So I looked for some tips. It seems the most common thing I read about was handling the dough too much... which I figured was my problem. I tried a second batch and they came out better, but still not perfect. Here's how they looked... not bad, but not real good either.

So I researched a little more. And I shopped for new flour... and fortunately I found the crown jewel of biscuit making in the south - White Lily flour. So I used the new flour, barely handled the dough at all - to the point that I worried I hadn't mixed it enough, and tried another new technique I'd read about - not twisting the biscuit cutter as you press down on the dough to cut your biscuits.

And... it worked. Sort of. The biscuits were a lot lighter and they rose higher. For some reason there were a couple that came out sorta flat, but most of them were great. I guess biscuit making takes some practice!

At any rate, they were delicious. My husband insisted we have sausage gravy with them, so they were completely smothered in it. Soooo good and calorie laden. Totally sinful. Now that I know how to make biscuits and sausage gravy, I might be gaining a few pounds, because I know my husband will be asking for it frequently.

Thank you to all the TWD members for baking along with me this week! I hope everyone enjoyed the biscuits!

Here's the recipe for anyone who'd like to try it. And I'll be posting the sausage gravy recipe tomorrow, so check back!

Sweet Cream Biscuits
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 23)
Makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter (I used a glass, and it was fine), and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and start tossing the ingredients together. If necessary, add more cream, a spoonful at a time, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even – a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Serving: Ideally these biscuits should go from oven to table and be served with cold sweet butter.

Storing: You can keep the biscuits in a plastic bag overnight and give them a quick warm-up in the oven the next day, but you won't recapture their freshly made flakiness.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekly Menu - 4/19/10

I haven't posted a menu in a while just out of plain old busy-ness. But as I was just coming up with our menu for the week, I figured I'd take a minute and post it - in case it can give anyone any ideas for their week!

Monday - Swedish Meatballs with egg noodles
Tuesday - Ceasar Salad with Chicken
Wednesday - Chicken Tikka Masala (hubby's choice - I make him pick something every week) with storebought Naan
Thursday - Salisbury Steaks (recipe from Mommy's Kitchen - this will be my first time making it) with mashed potatoes and a veggie
Friday/Saturday - eat out/order in
Sunday - pizza

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunken Burritos

Well, if you know me at all, you know I love just about anything Mexican. So when I happened upon a recipe for burritos using some of my favorite ingredients - chicken, black beans, yellow rice, red peppers - I knew we were going to love it.

I've made these burritos twice now and they came out great both times. I think they're ranking up among one of our favorite meals. They're pretty easy to throw together, and I served up the extra yellow rice for a side. Probably the most important thing to be aware of is to not over-stuff the burritos or you'll have a mess. I'm including the original recipe below, but I cut the ingredients in half and ended up with 6 HUGE burritos. I also skipped grilling the chicken because I'm not the grillmaster of the family (that title is reserved for the hubby). Instead, I cooked the chicken in a skillet and then cut into strips. I also left out the ancho chile powder because I only had the chipotle on hand.

Tell me this doesn't look sinfully delicious!!

Sunken Burritos
(recipe from Good Things Catered)

4 large chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
10 extra large flour burrito tortillas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 can black beans, strained and 1/2 of liquid reserved
1 box Zataran's yellow rice
4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small can red enchilada sauce

1. Light grill on high and preheat oven to 350 degrees, preparing a 9x13 pan. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. In small bowl mix together spice mixture. Pound out chicken breast to equal thickness throughout. Coat chicken with spice mixture evenly on both sides. Turn grill down to medium low and place chicken on, breast side up. Cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 15 mins. depending on the size of the chicken. Remove from grill and set aside, letting cool slightly.

3. In medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add oil and heat. Cook pepper and onion, salted and peppered to taste, until cooked to a tender crisp, about 10 minutes. In small saucepan add beans and reserved liquid, heat through over low heat. Slice chicken into strips 1/2 inch wide.

4. Assemble burritos: On large tortilla, add chicken, vegetables, rice, beans, top with cheese and roll, tucking in sides first. (Do NOT overload - this is a common problem). Place burrito in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining burritos. Spoon enchilada sauce over burritos and tops with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Makes 10 servings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

It sure is a joy to make a recipe you typically wouldn't give a second glance to and have it be DELICIOUS.

The selection for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie is the Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake. I followed the recipe to the "T" this week... with one big exception. As I was deep in the middle of baking, I opened my fridge to find *gasp* we didn't have enough butter! So, desperate times call for desperate measures... and in went some margarine. I used about a 1/2 cup of margarine instead of butter. I'm sure this is a huge no-no to real bakers. I'm sure those people are shaking their heads right now. But whatcha gonna do? It turned out fine. Nice and moist and delicious. And I gave myself a pat on the back for my nice marbling job.

And right after I took the picture on my really cute zebra plate which never gets used, my son attacked it. Hey there! I knew it was a bad idea to take pictures of cake while he was around. Lesson learned for next time.

Thanks to Erin of When In Doubt... Leave it at 350. She selected this delicious cake and has the recipe posted for everyone who wants to give it a try.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TWD: Coconut Tea Cake

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie selection was the Coconut Tea Cake, a bundt cake made with coconut milk and shredded coconut.

The was such a cinch to make. I took it to my family's early Easter celebration and had been fretting about having enough time to make it. I contemplated skipping it and throwing together a quick batch of cookies. This cake, however, ended up faster and easier to make than any cookies would have been.

We thought this cake was so yummy. It tasted like a pound cake with coconut, and the coconut wasn't too overwhelming. It was so good with ice cream. Thanks to Carmen of Carmen Cooks for picking this week's recipe. She'll have the recipe posted if you'd like to make it yourself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TWD: Thumbprints for Us Big Guys

Dorie created this cookie as an adult verson of her smaller thumbprint cookies. The cookies are made with hazelnuts, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and almond extract. I actually substituted almonds for the hazelnuts just to avoid having to peel the skins off of hazelnuts. They were delicious! They tasted like those danish butter cookies that come in the big blue tins. Yum!

And Dorie recommended raspberry jam for the centers of these thumbprints. But that just didn't sound fun enough for me. So I used Nutella. I stuck it in the microwave for about 15 seconds (even though it says on the jar not to microwave... so you probably don't want to put it in for very long). But it softened up just enough to pour right into the centers. And it tasted delicious! Mmmm... these are so good and so easy.

And even though they're supposed to be for the "big guys", my little guy liked them too.

The recipe was selected by Mike from Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Very catchy blog title, don't ya think? Go check out Mike's site for the recipe and to see why men can have fun baking too!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tex-Mex Lasagna

This Tex-Mex Lasagna is delicious! It's a meatless, southwestern version of lasagna. And my meat-loving husband actually raved about it. I tried to conceal the fact that it had no meat because I knew if I told him that beforehand, he wouldn't be very excited about dinner. But he DID notice right away, and said he didn't even miss the meat. Wow, he's coming around!

This is a really quick and easy meal that's perfect for a weeknight. Use the oven-ready lasagna noodles to save a lot of time. And a can of store-bought salsa and cumin give it that southwestern flair. I used a chunky mild salsa, but you can really use any type of salsa to experiment with the flavor.

Tex-Mex Lasagna
(adapted from Cooking Light)

3/4 cup bottled salsa
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
8-ounce can tomato sauce
Cooking spray
6 pre-cooked lasagna noodles
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients; spread 2/3 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with 1/2 cup corn and half of beans. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; top with 2/3 cup sauce. Repeat layers once; top with remaining 2 noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.

3. Cover and bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with onions.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD: Honey Wheat Cookies

Honey Wheat Cookies were the pick for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. They're a simple little cookie with unusual ingredients - wheat germ, lemon, and honey. Very easy to put together and quite good, too!

The only other time I've baked with wheat germ was for the Granola Grabber cookies I made for TWD a while back. I pulled out that jar of wheat germ, only to find that it expired. But I'm happy to share my newfound knowledge - wheat germ can be frozen. So my new jar will NOT be going to waste! I also found a recipe for adding in wheat germ to oatmeal, so I'm planning to use up my wheat germ for that.

We've been enjoying these cookies. I wouldn't rate them as the best cookies I've ever had, though. I typically prefer chocolate or peanut butter in my cookies. But these are a great option for a healthier cookie and I love the honey and lemon combo. My 2-year-old son has been really enjoying these, and I haven't had to feel guilty when he chows down a couple of cookies in one sitting. They're healthy!

Many thanks to Michelle at Flourchild for selecting this week's recipe. If you'd like to make these, head on over to her blog to find out how.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week we made Chocolate Chip Cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie. These are Dorie's tried and true chocolate chip cookies. And since I always love a good homemade cookie, I decided I had to try them. That, and I had some company coming that I wanted to have something sweet for (thank you Rachel and Katie for being my guinea pigs!).

I read the comments about this recipe before I started and everyone complained about the cookies spreading and being really flat. So I cut back on the butter by about a 1/4 stick. Mine still spread quite a bit, but they turned out pretty good! I baked mine for the minimum amount of time (10 mins.) and thought they probably only needed about 9, since my edges were just a tad darker than I'd have liked. They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Overall, a solid chocolate chip cookie! We all enjoyed them!

If you'd like to make Dorie's chocolate chip cookies yourself, the recipe can be found on Kait's Plate.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ooey Gooey Bars

I'm so excited to share this recipe. My Mom has been making these Ooey Gooey bars since I was little. She'd recruit me and my brothers and sister to help her unwrap all of the caramels. And we loved it, because it also meant we got to eat a few of the caramels. And of course we had to taste test the bars to make sure they tasted alright!

These are just too good for words. If you love chocolate and caramel, then this is the dessert for you. Ooey and Gooey just about sums these up. These will have you licking caramel from your fingers. They're easy to make and pretty easy to eat... way too many! They'll be gone before you know it, and then you'll be wanting to make another pan. I need to make these more often!

Ooey Gooey Bars

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
60 caramels (from two 14 oz. bags)
1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 plus 1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup pecan pieces (optional)

1. Melt 60 caramels with 1/2 cup evaporated milk in microwave (this takes about 5 minutes on 50% power - stirring often). Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter or margarine and add to one box cake mix. Add 1/3 cup evaporated milk and mix well. Add pecan pieces if using.

2. Spread 1/2 to 3/4 of the mixture in a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake 8 minutes at 350°F. Cake will be puffy.

3. Take 1 cup chocolate chips and sprinkle them over cake. Pour caramel sauce over chocolate chips. Drop remaining cake mixture over top of caramel sauce by small spoonful. Bake 18-20 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Malaysian Chicken Pizza

Here's another great "light" recipe that I found in Cooking Light. And oh my word, this pizza is GOOD. Like, gotta have it again next week, good.

Be warned - Malaysian Chicken Pizza doesn't really taste like you're eating pizza. My husband took his first bite and said, "This is chinese food." And I said, "well sorta... but on pizza." And that's just how it tastes. It's so amazingly good. Take my word for it.

We usually have pizza night on Sundays. I'm not even sure how it came about, but somehow it's become our little weekly tradition. But with my diet, I figured it would be rather hard to keep pizza night going. Amazingly, it's just the opposite. I've found a lot of great low-cal pizza recipes out there. So far, this is my favorite. This one has about 295 calories per slice (1/6th of the pizza). And not only that, it's really quick and simple. This is a must-try!

Malaysian Chicken Pizza
(adapted from Cooking Light)

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 storebought thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

4. Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

5. Sprinkle cheeses over prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and top with chicken mixture. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, checking often to make sure your crust isn't browning too much (crusts vary so read the instructions on the packaging). Sprinkle with green onions. Place pizza on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Healthy Green Chile-Chicken Casserole

This is a really delicious, and HEALTHY casserole that the whole family will love. With chicken, tortillas, green chiles, and low-fat cream of chicken soup, it's creamy and has a lot of great flavors. I'm currently trying to lose all of that stubborn baby weight and have been trying out a lot of new low calorie dishes. But I hate the typical diet food that doesn't have any flavor. This one far exceeded my expectations and was great!

This dish makes 12 large servings, with only about 330 calories in each one. And it can be prepared ahead - just cover with cooking spray-coated tin foil and refrigerate until needed. If you go that route, you'll need to bake it covered for an hour, then uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes until bubbly. And it makes for great leftovers!

Green Chile-Chicken Casserole
(from Cooking Light magazine)

1 and 1/3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted (such as Campbell's)
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray
24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

3. Spread 1 cup soup mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 6 tortillas over the soup mixture, and top with 1 cup chicken and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese. Spread remaining soup mixture over cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick was made by Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm. She picked the Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars - the bar cookies with a layer of oatmeal and chopped peanuts, topped with a layer of chocolate, and finished off with another oatmeal and peanut layer. The recipe called for raisins too, but I'm NOT a fan of raisins in my desserts.

These are really quite tasty! I was supposed to be on a diet and yet I think I had four of these.... hhmmm... funny how that happens. I made a half batch and baked it in my 8-inch square pan. They cooked for about 28 minutes and I'm pretty sure I overbaked them just a little. My edges were pretty hard... but I had a tough time telling when it was done, so I guess it's better to be TOO done than UNDERdone, right? I'd definitely make these again - they're something different and really good!

For the recipe, check out Lillian's blog!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Southwest Corn Dip

I tried out this dip for New Year's Day. I happened to see it on the Pioneer Woman's blog - she recommended it, and you know she doesn't steer us wrong! I was intrigued because it seemed a little different than some of the dips I usually make.

Well, I thought it was really good. A warning, though - it makes a TON OF DIP. Like, enough to feed an army. So you may want to cut it in half if you don't have a big crowd to feed. We ate it with Fritos and when those ran out, we resorted to tortilla chips and it was good with both. I definitely recommend it for your next get-together!

Southwest Corn Dip
(from Karenpie at Tasty Kitchen)

•4 cans Corn (15 Oz.), Drained
•1 can Chopped Chilies (4 Oz), Drained
•1 can Chopped Jalapenos (4 Oz), Drained
•1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
•1 whole Red Bell Pepper (Chopped)
•1 bunch(es) Scallions, Chopped
•1 cup Sour Cream
•1 bag Finely Grated Mexican Cheese (8 Oz)
•½ bunch(es) Fresh Cilantro, Coarsely Chopped (or To Taste)

1. Drain corn, chilies and jalapenos. Put in a large bowl with the beans and tilt the bowl on its side while you chop the other veggies. Add the rest of the veggies and drain – there will be liquid accumulated in the bowl. Stir in the sour cream and grated cheese. Add the cilantro last.

2. Refrigerate before serving if you have time and the self-control to keep from eating it.

3. You must eat this dip with Fritos Scoops or lime Tostitos. It’s like the law or something.