Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lopsided Lego Cake

Don't be like me kids. I decided exactly 3 days before Dave's birthday that I would make him a lego cake. Unfortunately, something came up the Thursday before his birthday, so I didn't get to make it and take my time like I wanted. Regardless, he loved his legos and I got 800 cool wife points.

Normally I would have made the cake from scratch as well as the frosting, but that whole time crunch thing had me using a boxed cake and frosting in a can. Truth be told, I was embarrassed, but no one knew since I always make cakes from scratch. TA DA! My comments are in italics.


1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® cake mix (any flavor)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
Tray or cardboard, 15x12 inches, covered (I ended up getting smart and using my large cutting board.)
2 containers (1 lb each) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
Red, yellow and blue paste food colors
12 large marshmallows, cut in half crosswise (Use kitchen scissors to cut them.)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan.) Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pan.

  2. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

  3. Using serrated knife, cut cake crosswise into thirds. Cut one of the thirds in half crosswise to make 2 squares. On tray, place cake pieces. Cover; freeze 1 hour or until firm.

  4. In small bowl for each color, tint 1 cup frosting red, 1 cup frosting yellow and 2/3 cup frosting blue with food colors. Leave remaining frosting white.

  5. Frost top and sides of 1 square cake with blue frosting. Frost 4 marshmallow halves with blue frosting; place in square design on cake. Frost remaining square cake and 4 marshmallow halves with white frosting; arrange marshmallows on top of cake. Frost 1 rectangular section of cake and 8 marshmallow halves with yellow frosting; arrange marshmallows on top of cake. Frost remaining section of cake and remaining marshmallows with red frosting; arrange marshmallows on top of cake. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Recipe from Betty Crocker.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but anytime I use a photo that's not my own, you can click on it and it will take you directly to the photographer's site. In this case, that's the recipe on because this photo was taken by them for this particular recipe. Moving on, I made this for the 4th of July just like everything else I've posted this week. Even my husband who hates guacamole loved this. It's a really easy recipe, and was no problem for me even though I've never made guac before. Actually, I'd never made anything I made for the 4th before. I'm a daredevil like that.


  • If you're an avocado virgin like me, I think it's best to buy under-ripe avocados and ripen them in a paper bag yourself than trying to figure out just what a ripe avocado feels like.

    The unripened avocados are a bright green. Just buy them a day or two before you need them and put them in a brown paper bag. When they are dark all over and give into the pressure of your finger when you squeeze it, they're ripe.


    3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
    1 lime, juiced
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup diced onion
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

    1. 1. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Brownie and Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

    I'm not going to lie. These were a pain in the butt to make. Actually, that's probably an understatement. So many things went wrong, but I looked into my inner Bob Ross to realize mistakes are just Happy Little Accidents and an opportunity to be creative. Because she is Martha Stewart, the recipe actually calls for you to MAKE your own ice cream. I'm lazy so I bought Breyers Double Churn Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream. It worked okay, but even after sitting out for 15 minutes, the texture never was really spreadable. It went straight from a solid to a liquid, so I had to work quickly.

  • If you make the full recipe, make sure your cooling racks are as large as the pan you use. Otherwise your brownie will break, but this makes for a delicious ice cream topping.

  • If part of your brownie breaks after assembly while in the freezer, don't fret. The split topped brownie actually looked really beautiful with some ice cream peaking through.


    Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    11 ounces (2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
    7 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    2 2/3 cups sugar
    4 large eggs
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    4 cups Peanut Butter Ice Cream

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 13- by-18-inch rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment.

    2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time, and then stir in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. (Do not overmix.)

    3. Divide batter between pans. Use an offset spatula to spread batter into thin, even layers. Bake, rotating pans once, until batter just begins to set, 8 to 10 minutes. (The surfaces will look dry, and testers inserted in the centers will come out wet.) Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.

    4. To assemble, place the flat side of a large wire rack over 1 brownie, and invert rack, brownie, and pan together. Remove pan and parchment. Repeat with remaining brownie. Place a clean rimmed baking sheet over 1 brownie, and invert pan, brownie, and rack together. Remove rack. The brownie should be in the pan, top side up.

    5. Spread ice cream in a smooth, even layer over brownie in pan. Align pan lengthwise with remaining brownie on rack, and use rack to quickly and carefully flip brownie onto ice cream. Remove rack. Press top brownie gently. Cover and freeze until firm, at least overnight (or up to 1 week).

    6. Uncover, and cut into squares. Serve immediately (or cover and freeze ice cream sandwiches overnight).
    Yeilds 3 dozen sandwiches.

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Spicy Bean Salsa

    DON'T JUDGE ME. Sometimes, I crave something that looks complicated, but is incredibly simple. Sometimes that involves vegetables in a can and pre-made dressing. I've accepted my flaws, and enjoyed it without shame! It was delicious. So delicious, that I plan on making this on a regular basis either as a side, or as a salsa served with chips. I made a few changes to the recipe, which I'll post here, but you can click here to see the original recipe.


    1 (15 ounce) can chick peas
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    2 Roma tomatoes, diced
    1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    1. In a medium bowl, combine chick peas, black beans, corn, red onion, and tomatoes. Season with Italian-style salad dressing and garlic salt; mix well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Crock-Pot Pizza

    YAY! I'm back from vacation and it's only taken me 3 weeks and a lot of people beating me with wet noodles to update. We had a GREAT vacation and you can check out a few highlights here.

    On Sunday we had some friends over, but I didn't really feel like cooking. I decided to browse crock pot recipes on Taste of Home and found this. I'll be honest. I wasn't crazy about making it, but it was easy and didn't require a lot of prep. Everyone loved it however, except for me. I thought it was just okay. More of a "kids" meal, but hey, most the time I'm a big kid anyway! On a side note, I could NOT bring myself to use 6 CUPS of cheese in one recipe, so I only used 4 cups instead...still a lot of cheese and I could probably get away with using less.

    1 package (16 ounces) wide egg noodles
    1-1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
    1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
    1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni, halved
    3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
    3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

    1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Drain noodles.

    2. In a 5-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray, spread a third of the meat sauce. Cover with a third of the noodles and pepperoni. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through and cheese is melted.
    Yield: 6-8 servings.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Spahgetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Chicken, and Parsley

    What do you do when you have leftovers, but no food in the house? Mix them all together of course! Looking at my pictures... I really want to learn to take better photos. I'll work on that.

    1 left over fully cooked chicken breast
    3 cups left over spaghetti
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    Garlic salt to taste
    Publish Post

    1. Cut chicken breast in thin slices and saute until warmed through in a little cooking spray.
    2. Add olive oil, pasta, tomatoes, and garlic salt cook for 10 minutes or until everything is hot.
    3. Eat and pat yourself on the back for coming up with something so yummy so quickly.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    That's a lot of Rum Cake

    To finish my Caribbean dinner, I made a rum cake with more rum and butter than any other cake in my life, but it was worth it. A few tips I can give you are, I didn't have a bunt cake pan, so I used a 10 or 12 inch spring form pan, and I would also suggest making it the day before so the flavors can mellow out a little unless you just reallllly love rum.


    Rum Cake
    1 1/2 cups butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 egg yolk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
    1/2 cup dark rum
    1/4 cup banana liqueur*
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 cup whipping cream
    Rum Syrup
    Powdered Sugar

    Rum Syrup
    10 tablespoon butter
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup dark rum
    1/4 cup banana liqueur*


    Rum Cake

    1. Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended. Add lemon rind, beating until blended. Gradually add rum and banana liqueur, beating until blended. (Batter will look curdled.)

    2. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to batter alternately with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.

    3. Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

    4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Pierce cake multiple times using a metal or wooden skewer. Pour Rum Syrup (recipe Below) evenly over cake. Let stand 45 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar before serving.
    *1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted for banana liqueur.

    Rum Syrup

    1. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and cool 10 minutes.
    *1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted for banana liqueur.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Jen's Quick Coconut Rice

    When I made the spiced chicken, I made some coconut rice to go with it. I understand that in theory when you have very few ingredients in a recipe, you should use the best ingredients you can find. Then, there's life where you need dinner on the table in 30 minutes and there just isn't enough of you to make several time consuming recipes at once. I chose to use 5-minute rice, and it was delicious!


    2 Cups White 5-Minute Rice
    1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk (found in the Asian food aisle)
    1 Cup Water
    1 Tbsp sugar
    Salt - to taste

    1. In a sauce pan bring milk and water, sugar, and salt to a boil.

    2. Remove from heat and add rice.

    3. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. I usually add it back to the cooling eye to cook off more of the liquid if there is some left over in the rice.

    Yeilds 4 servings.

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Grilled Spiced Chicken with Citrus Mango Sauce

    This weekend I was in the mood to try all new recipes, and being that my best friend's husband lived in Jamaica for a while, I went with a Caribbean theme. There'll be three new recipes this week, but I'm starting with the main course. The recipe called for it to marinate for only 20-30 minutes, but I did it for 3 hours. I liked this, but it was interesting to get used to cinnamon on chicken. Next time, I think I'll leave that out, but everyone else really liked it.

    EDIT: I really could have used this video the other day! How to Cut a Mango.


    Chicken Rub
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed
    1 dash cayenne pepper
    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

    Citrus Mango Sauce
    1 mango - peeled, seeded and diced
    1/2 cup orange juice
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 1/2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons dark rum


    1. In a medium bowl, mix the ginger, cinnamon, cumin, anise, and cayenne pepper. Rub the chicken with the spice mixture, and place in the bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.

    2. In a small saucepan, mix the mango, orange juice, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small cup, mix cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir into mango mixture, and simmer one minute, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir in dark rum.

    3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. When grill is hot, brush the grate with oil.

    4. Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Serve over the cooked rice, and top with the mango sauce.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Tortas Ahogadas/Drowned Sandwiches

    I participated in a Recipe Exchange for the first time and the theme was "Regional". I sent off Granny's Quick Cobbler and received in exchange (ha, get it?) the recipe for Tortas Ahogadas. Let me just tell you, me and these sandwiches are cursed, but I am stubborn and would NOT give up. Being that this is a Tex-Mex recipe, I had some trouble finding the peppers. Of course, once I DID find them at a local Tienda de Mexicana, I got home only to find that I had bought TWO of the same types of peppers instead of the two different ones I thought I'd picked up. I will do this post a little differently than others and very much in the style of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.


    3 Anaheim Chiles, dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane
    3 Pasilla Chiles, dry…cleaned
    1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
    1 onion, coarsely chopped
    4-6 cloves of garlic
    Salt & Pepper, to taste
    Teaspoon of oregano
    10 sun-dried tomatoes
    1-3 canned chipotle chilies to taste

    Now see... in Tennessee, we don't really have access to a lot of peppers in our area. The ONLY place I had any luck was at the Mexican Market. Unfortunately, I ended up with 2 bags of Pasilla Chiles, which are actually sweet and not spicy by the way, so I added 5 Pasilla Chiles instead to make up for not having any Anaheims.

    You know what else is hard to find in Tennessee? Sun-dried tomatoes. I went to several stores looking for these as well, but settled for roasted red peppers instead. Oh, and don't even plan on finding Bolillo rolls. I went with a Keisar roll, but it really wasn't a great choice. The bread is too airy and becomes like mush with the gravy. So you, you try something different. Maybe a sub roll would work nicely.

    The night before I planed on making these, I put all of the above ingredients (minus the chipotles) in the crock pot and let it cook while I slept. Now THAT's my kind of cooking! The next morning I just put the removable pot in the fridge and heated it up on the stove when I got home from work for about 20-30 minutes.

    Now, let's get to the fun part! The pictures.

    You see this? DON'T DO THAT! I learned a very valuable lesson. Don't add too much hot liquid to your blender, and whatever you do, DO. NOT. USE. PULSE! The blend function on your blender is there for a reason. After that fiasco...yes... twice...I finally got smart.

    Do this instead! This is when you should add the chipotle peppers. I am a wimp, so I only added one chipotle, cleaned of seeds and membrane.

    MMMM....beef. ROAST beef. Start your assembly by pilling up as much beef as you think you can eat on one side of your bread.

    And that gravy you made in the blender that you DIDN'T get all over your house, car, cat, and that little spot on your back that's just out of reach, pour that all over the beef. Don't be shy. These aren't called drowned sandwiches for nothing!

    Now, you'll want to add some avocado. Go ahead, it's the good kind of fat. You can have all you want.

    Okay, something ELSE I couldn't find...okay I lied. What I really meant to say is I forgot to buy the crema. I hear it's a lot like sour cream, so I used that instead like the recipe suggested. Now drizzle that sauce over your avocado. Are you ready for the next step? Are you sure you can handle it?

    Put the lid on and eat. And eat. And eat. And then debate with yourself about making another one for you to eat. Go on... You don't have to watch what you eat everyday....

    These were delicious and definitely worth all the frustration of looking for ingredients. I consider it a scavenger hunt! Now, the OP said to not even attempt picking these up, but Dave is a rebel and ate with his hands. I'm too sophisticated for that, I really did need a fork and a knife...and then I might have licked my plate...just don't tell anyone!

    "This recipe originally came from close family friends of ours who are from Mexico but it has become a family favorite for us too! My mom made it all the time growing up and now I have carried on the tradition. They are so delicious but don't be afraid of a little "kick"! I am from Texas and I think these represent the strong Tex-Mex culture that exists there. So many of my favorite foods are thanks to the Mexican influence so I thought this a fitting tribute!"

    Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)

    3 Anaheim Chiles (dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane)
    3 Pasilla Chiles (dry…cleaned)
    1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
    1 onion (coarsely chopped)
    4-6 cloves of garlic
    Salt & Pepper (to taste)
    Teaspoon of oregano
    10 sun-dried tomatoes (you can use dry or packed in oil…I use dry)

    2-3 canned chipotle chilies (depending on the amount of spice that you like) to add to broth, after meat has been stewed

    Cook the above ingredients in 2 liters of water until meat is tender (I use slow cooker on low for about 8 hours)…take out the meat and shred with two forks (so that the pieces aren't too big for the sandwiches)…cool for a while before proceeding with the next step so that you don't burn yourself…add the chipotle chilies to the broth (with meat still removed) and process either in small batches in food processor/blender…or use immersion blender. The mixture should be thick, like a gravy.

    ½ litre of Crema Fresca (or sour cream works too)
    3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
    1 Teaspoon of mustard (roughly)
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Avocado (slices to go on sandwiches)
    Bolillo Rolls

    Assembly: Lay out a roll and place meat on one side. Then ladle some of the sauce over the top of the meat and top with avocado and Crema. These are fork & knife sandwiches…don't even think about trying to eat with your hands! Enjoy!

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Strawberry Swirl Cake

    I found this recipe last year in my Kraft Foods Calendar (Why oh why have you forsaken me and quit making the only calendar I ever wanted to use again?! Curse you Kraft and your delicious recipes!) and it is UNbelievably good. I'm so happy it's finally spring, I may just make this for Easter. Or this.


    1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix

    1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
    2/3 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
    2/3 cup powdered sugar
    1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
    1-1/2 cups sliced strawberries


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans; set aside. Prepare cake batter as directed on package. Pour half of the batter into medium bowl. Add dry gelatin mix; stir until well blended. Spoon half of the white batter and half of the pink batter, side-by-side, into each prepared pan. Swirl batters together using a teaspoon.

    2. Bake 30 min. Cool 30 min. in pans. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

    3. Mix sour cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Place one of the cake layers on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup of the whipped topping mixture. Top with 1 cup of the strawberries and remaining cake layer. Spread top and side of cake with remaining whipped topping mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup strawberries just before serving. Store any leftover cake in refrigerator.

    Monday, March 17, 2008


    I have been wanting to make tiramisu for years, but I was always intimidated. I finally found a recipe I was comfortable with from Joy of Baking and found the time to do it when I had the day off a few weeks ago. It's definitely labor intensive, but I would by no means call it difficult.The hardest part is waiting for the custard to cool.

    Cream Filling:
    2 cups (480 ml) milk, divided
    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
    1/4 cup (35 grams) all purpose flour

    6 large egg yolks
    1/4 cup (60 ml) dark rum or Marsala
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    8 ounces (1 cup) (227 grams) mascarpone cheese

    32 crisp ladyfingers (Savoiardi)

    Coffee Soaking Syrup:

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) very strong brewed coffee or espresso
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) dark rum or Marsala


    Cocoa Powder for Garnishing
    1 ounce (30 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, grated or chopped
    Fresh Raspberries (optional)


    Cream Topping:
    In a medium sized saucepan heat 1 3/4 cups (420 ml) milk and 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar just until boiling. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk, 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar, flour, and egg yolks. When the milk comes to a boil, gradually whisk it into the egg yolk mixture. Transfer this mixture into another clean large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. When it boils, continue to whisk the mixture constantly for another minute or so or until it thickens. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl. (This will remove any lumps that may have formed.) Whisk in the Marsala (or rum), vanilla extract, and butter. Immediately cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Refrigerate until cold, approximately two hours.

    Once the custard has cooled sufficiently, remove from the refrigerator. In a separate bowl, with a wooden spoon, beat the mascarpone cheese until it is soft and smooth. Gently fold, or whisk, the mascarpone into the cold custard until smooth.

    Coffee Soaking Syrup:
    In a large shallow bowl combine the coffee (espresso), sugar, and rum. Taste and add more sugar if you like. Set aside.

    To Assemble:

    Line a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap extends over the sides of the loaf pan.

    Have ready the ladyfingers, coffee mixture, and cream filling.

    Working with one ladyfinger at a time, dip 8 ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and place them side by side in a single layer over the bottom of the loaf pan. Spoon 1/3 of the cream filling over the ladyfingers, making sure they are completely covered. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers by dipping them (8) ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and placing them on top of the cream. Again, cover the ladyfingers with cream and repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, cream, and ladyfingers. Cover the Tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

    To Serve:
    Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the tiramisu. Gently invert the Tiramisu from the loaf pan onto your serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Sift cocoa powder over the top of the Tiramisu and decorate with grated or chopped semisweet chocolate and fresh raspberries (if in season).

    Makes 8 - 10 servings.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Jen's Secret Recipe Corn Muffins

    Tonight I wanted Macaroni and cornbread. I always cheat and make cornbread from a mix, but this time, I discovered something incredible. I had some leftover buttermilk, so I used that. Then I went to reach for the eggs and...realized I didn't have any. No problem right? I just added a little vegetable oil. Dave normally doesn't respond to food until they day after when he'll say something like "hey, can we have that yellow stuff again sometime?". Tonight though, the first words out of his mouth was "Write this recipe down!". So, now I have my very own "secret recipe", but I'll share it with you. I'd have posted a picture, but dave ate them all. I'm using a photo from instead.


    1 package Martha White Corn Muffin Mix
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 tbsp vegetable oil

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
    2. Measure milk in a 2 cup measuring cup and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Stir in muffin mix until well incorporated.
    3. Poor into muffin tins until about 2/3 full and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

    Yeilds 6 corn muffins.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Todd's Famous Blueberry Pancakes

    I made these tonight and they were UNbelievably good! Dave's first bite include a "oh man", and he wouldn't even put butter or syrup on them. They're THAT good.

    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup skim milk
    1/2 cup buttermilk

    1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
    1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed

    1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together egg and milk. Stir milk and egg into flour mixture. Mix in the butter and fold in the blueberries.
    2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    To Die For Blueberry Muffins

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1/3 cup milk
    1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup butter, cubed
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
    2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
    3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
    4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Salsa Chicken


    1 lb Chicken breasts or tenders
    1/2 packet taco seasoning

    1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Sprinkle 1/4 packet of seasoning onto the bottom of a baking dish. Place chicken in dish and sprinkle remaining seasoning over chicken.
    3. Top with as much salsa and cheese as your little heart desires.
    4. Bake covered with foil for 25-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through, and then bake uncovered for 5 minutes to melt any cheese that hasn't melted

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Blue Cheese Inside-Out Burgers


    1 LB. Lean Ground Beef (or Sirloin)
    1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic (or more)
    1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    Salt & Pepper to taste
    1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles

    1. Combine first four ingredients and divide into four equal parts.
    2. Create a ball with 1/4 of the mixture, and then make a whole in the middle. Put a little bit of blue cheese inside, and cover with the hamburger mixture.
    3. Press until flattened a bit, and then continue with remaining hamburger mixture.
    4. Grill or pan fry hamburger patties until no longer pink in the middle.

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Apple Muffins

    I made some muffins to take with us on our trip to Jacksonville, AL this weekend. I made two different kinds, but this one came out the best.

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup butter
    1/2 cup white sugar*
    1 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    3/4 cup chopped apples

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.

    2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

    3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.

    4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.

    5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

    *These were too sweet for me as is, so next time I will probably only use 1/4 cup of sugar. Also, I did use red delicious apples, so if you have granny smith or another tart apple, I would use the 1/2 cup sugar

    Yeilds: 9 muffins.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Thai Pizza

    Make this. Do it. Now. I'm so mad I didn't take picture! I guess that means I'll be making it again soon!

    2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 pizza crust, unbaked
    1/4 cup peanut oil
    3 cups mozzarella cheese
    4 green onions
    1 carrot, pealed, coarsely grated
    1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
    Sweet Red Chili Sauce

    2 tbs. Fish sauce
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1/2 cup sesame oil
    1 large stalk lemon grass, crushed, diced (can substitute lemon zest)
    1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
    2 tbs. Chopped peanuts
    3 cloves minced garlic
    1/4 cup cilantro
    1 tbs. Brown sugar
    Marinate (refrigerated) for 0.5 – 8 hours (longer = spicier)
    Preheat to 325
    Bake for 30-40 minutes, until done
    Bring to room temperature
    Shred chicken into small pieces

    1. Prebake dough according to package directions.
    2. Prepare dough by brushing dough with oil and sweet red chili sauce.
    3. Top with cheese, leaving a 1/2" rim uncovered
      Spread chicken, green onions, peanuts.
    4. Drizzle oil over top
      Bake according to directions for crust.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Jen's Macaroni & Cheese

    I made up my own macaroni and cheese recipe after being disappointed with the recipes I was finding online.


    16 oz uncooked macaroni, prepared according to package directions
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 cups warm milk (whole milk ideal, but 2% will work)
    1 cup shredded cheddar
    1/2 cup shredded monterey jack


    1. In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium-low heat and add flour. Make sure heat is low enough that the flour doesn't clump.
    2. Add warm milk, increase heat to medium, and stir until the sauce thickens.
    3. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in cheeses until fully incorporated.
    4. Mix with cheese sauce with noodles and serve.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    Vegetable Tortellini Soup

    Besides making up pasta dishes, I also like to just make up soup recipes as I go along. I made this quickly last night, but obviously, if you can give it time to simmer for an hour or two, it will be even better.


    2 1/4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1/4 cup tomato sauce
    1 teaspoon poultry seasoning*
    1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
    1/2 small onion, diced
    2 stalks celery, diced
    1 1/2 cups cooked tortellini


    1. In a medium sauce pan add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and poultry seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
    2. To soften vegetables if you need dinner quickly, place them in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water, and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 4 minutes or until tender.
    3. Add vegetables and prepared tortellini to soup and simmer for 10 minutes.
    *Note: I like to use poultry seasoning because it has many different dried herbs in one bottle. In my small kitchen, anything I can do to save space helps. Of course, you can use any herbs you like.

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    Cucumber Water

    Okay, go ahead, laugh at me. I didn't think to do this until the other day when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were with us for the holidays. We had a girls night and I made some flavored water for us after we did some yoga. Try it! You'll be surprised.


    Cucumber sliced thinly
    Ice Water

    1. For every glass of ice water, add three thin slices of cucumber.

    That's it. Easy peasy and so very tasty.