Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is one of the easiest pasta dishes and it uses ingredients that you probably always have in your refrigerator.  Enjoy!

1 lb spaghetti
2 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 white onion or 3 scallions
4 slices bacon

After boiling a pot of water, salt the water and put in the spaghetti and cook for 7-8 minutes.

Slice the bacon and add to a small sauce pan with the chopped onion or scallions.  Allow the bacon to become brown and the onions to become translucent. 

In a small bowl beat the eggs and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. 

Once the pasta is done drain the pasta.  Put the 2 tablespoons of butter into the original pasta pot.  Then add the pasta.  The pot should be off the heat by now.  Add the bacon and onions and stir the pasta.  Then slowly add the eggs in 3 increments.  After every increment of egg add more of the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  Stir continuously until the cheese has melted and the egg has become a sauce.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Peanut Brownies

This is another different way to make brownies.  They taste just like giant peanut butter cups.  Enjoy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in eggs one by one until the ingredients are completely combined.  In a separate bowl combined the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Add a little bit at a time and stir after each addition until all has been completely combined.  Stir in peanuts and chocolate chips.

Spread half of the batter into the bottom of a 9 x 9 greased baking dish.  Now take teaspoon fulls of peanut butter and dollop them on top of the brownie.  Taking a knife swirl the caramel in to get a marbelized effect of caramel throughout the brownie.  Add the rest of the batter and add the remaining peanut butter in teaspoonfuls.  Swirl to get a marbelizes affect.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Allow brownies to cool and enjoy!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spinach and Artichoke Manicotti

Do you have some leftover spinach and artichoke dip? Here is a great recipe that uses those leftovers to create a new delicious dish! Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups spinach and artichoke dip
8 oz ricotta cheese
6 oz can tomato sauce
2 slices of bacon
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
10 manicotti shells
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Begin boiling a pot of water for the pasta.  Once water has boiled, put in manicotti shells and cook for 7-8 minutes.  Drain well and lay on a baking sheet to cool.

Heat a medium sauce pan and brown the bacon.  The bacon will release all of its fat.  Then add the onion and the garlic cloves.  Stir and cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic begins to turn brown.  Add the can of tomato sauce and stir.  Allow tomato sauce to boil and cook for about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl but the 1 1/2 cups spinach and artichoke dip and mix with the ricotta cheese.  Add 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. 

To the sauce add 3/4 cup of milk and stir.  In a cup stir the remaining 1/4 cup milk with 2 tablespoons of flour until the flour has dissolved.  Stir the milk and flour mixture into the sauce.  Add the other 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Allow sauce to boil and thicken, about 5-6 minutes.

Grease the bottom of a baking dish and cover the bottom with a thin layer of the sauce.  Stuff each manicotti shell with the spinach, artichoke, and ricotta cheese filling.  Place them in the pan and top with the remaining sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top has become golden brown.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whoopie Pies

This recipe is actually a low fat recipe.  They are so easy to make and absolutely delicious.  You won't even know they aren't the original full fat kind.  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening 
  • 1 egg white 
  • 1/2 cup low-fat 1% milk 
  • 3/4 cup marshmallow spread (I used strawberry marshmallow spread)
Preheat oven to 425F Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar shortening, and egg white in a medium bowl until fluffy and well blended, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour mixture, then the milk, until just blended.
Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto large,  ungreased baking sheets, making 36 cookies.  Bake until top  springs back when lightly touched, 5-7 minutes.  Cool completely on the sheets on a rack.  Spoon 2 teaspoons marshmallow spread on the bottoms of half the cookies.  Top with the remaining cookies.  Enjoy!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lemon Bars

This is a very easy dessert that is perfect for the spring time! You could switch out the lemon zest and juice for any other citrus.  Lime and Orange bars would be delicious!

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Filling:
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  • Directions:
    For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking sheet (otherwise known as a quarter sheet pan) with some cooking spray.

    In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or you can use a food processor), cream your butter with the sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy. Whisk the flour and salt in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Turn the mixer speed to low, add the flour into your butter and mix until just incorporated. (Make sure not to over-mix.) Turn the dough onto the baking sheet, flour your hands and press it out evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Pop in the fridge for an hour (or overnight) to chill.

    Pop the crust in the oven and bake until a light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

    For the filling: While the crust is cooling, make your filling. Crack your eggs into a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Whisk until combined. Pour into the crust and spread evenly. Put back in the oven and bake until the filling is completely set, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

    Dust with confectioners' sugar and then cut into 20 to 24 squares to serve. Enjoy!

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    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Crispy Lemon Chicken

    This recipe is not only easy and delicious, but it looks so fancy.  There are just a few simple tricks that make this dinner extraordinary.  Enjoy!

    4 chicken breasts
    2 lemons
    2 eggs
    1 cup flour
    2 cups panko bread crumbs
    2 teaspoons paprika
    2 teaspoons dried parsley
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    oil for frying

    On a plastic cutting board, using a very sharp knife slice the chicken breaks horizontally.  You should get about 5 cutlets out of each chicken breast.  If you don't feel comfortable enough with a knife, slice the chicken as thin as you posibly can and then use a heavy pan to pound it out very thin.  The chicken should be about 1/8 inch thick.  This may seem ridiculously thin, but it is the first step in getting a very crispy chicken breast.  Salt the chicken on both sides once they are sliced. 

    Begin heating about 1/4 inch of oil in a very large skillet.  The skillet should be large so that the chicken will not be crowded in the pan. 

    While the oil is heating begin making the breading station.  In one plate or bowl mix the flour with a pinch or salt, pepper, the paprika, and the garlic powder.  The next bowl beat the eggs together with the juice of both lemons.  Before you juice the lemons, zest all of the yellow part of the lemon off and put it into the panko bread crumb.  Also add salt, pepper, and the paprika to the panko and stir around.  The flour helps the bread crumb to stay on the chicken and not end up in the pan.  The panko is a Japanese breadcrumb known for its crunchy texture. 

    Noy you are ready to make the chicken.  Put the chicken in the flour getting all sides completely coated, then shake off the excess.  Dip into the egg, but do not leave it in the egg.  Make sure to remove any excess.  Then dip into the breadcrumb and be sure to get the panko all over the chicken breast.  Now place into the hot oil. You should hear a very loud sizzle.  Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on both sides.  Crust should be golden brown.  Remove from pan and place on a platter.  Enjoy!

    The chicken here is served with roasted potatoes! Pin It Now!

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Grilled Margherita Pizza

    This is such a great way to make pizza especially in the warmer months.  The crust gets very crispy as if it was cooked in a huge wood fired pizza oven.  There is no better way to make pizza at home!

    1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
    6 ounces tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
    6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
    5 basil leaves
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper

    Preheat grill until it is about 400 degrees.

    Roll out pizza dough until it is 1/8 inch thick.  Make sure to flour the dough and your surface to prevent sticking.  If you are using a rolling pin, put flour on the pin also.  Spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the top side of the dough.  Flip the dough over onto the grill.  Close the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes

    While the pizza is cooking on one side, slice the mozzarella cheese very thinnly.  If it is too thick it won't melt on the dough.

    Open the grill.  Check the bottom of the pizza.  It should be golden brown and crispy now. Oil the top side of the dough. Then using tongs and a spatula gently flip the dough over.  As soon as the dough is flipped, spoon the tomato sauce on and spread leaving a one inch border around the sides.  Then lay the mozzarella slices over.  Sprinle the salt and pepper.  Tear the basil leaves over the dough.  Close the lid and cook for another 5-6 minutes.  After this time open the lid to see if the cheese has melted.  Once melted take off the grill and slice into pieces.  Enjoy!

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    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Roasted Corn and Bacon Guacamole

    This is an easy and delicious dip and great for parties.  I got the idea from Chili's, but changed it a little by adding bacon.

    2 Hass avocados
    2 slices of bacon, sliced
    1 cup corn kernels
    1 garlic clove, chopped finely
    2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
    juice from 1 lime
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
    Tortilla chips for dipping

    Heat a small saute pan and add the bacon.  Cook the bacon until it begins to turn brown.  Then add the corn kernels and the garlic clove that has been chopped finely.  Saute these together until the corn begins to turn brown.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Add the cayenne pepper and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. 

    While that is sauteing, squeeze the lemon juice into the bottom of a medium bowl.  Take the skins off of the avocados and remove the pit and put into the bowl.  Add the hot sauce and the salt.  Mash everything together untilt the avocado is smooth and creamy. 

    Stir in the red onion and the corn mixture.  Stir these together until combined.  Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
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    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    Do you love this dip out in a restaurant.  Now you can make it at home and it tastes 10 times better than the restaurant version. 

    1/2 onion, finely chopped
    2 slices of bacon, thinnly sliced
    4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 cups milk
    1 package frozen spinach
    1 can artichoke hearts in water
    1 cup mozzarella cheese
    1 cup provolone cheese
    4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
    Tortilla chips or bread for dipping


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Heat butter in a small sauce pan until melted.  Add the onion and bacon and cook until the onion is translucent and the bacon is brown.  Then add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Add the flour until a thick paste forms.  Add the milk slowly until all clumps are stirred out.  Allow sauce to thicken for 10-15 minutes stirring every 3 minutes. 

    While sauce is thickening, defrost the spinach in the microwave and squeeze all of the water out.  Cut your artichoke hearts into small pieces. 

    Once sauce is thickened add all but 1 handful of both the provolone and mozzarella cheese.  Add 3 tablespoons of the parmesan.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Then stir in the spinach and the artichoke hearts.  Put into a greased baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining handfuls of mozarella and provolone cheese.  Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

    Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Enjoy with tortilla chips or sliced bread!

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    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    The Ultimate Cheeseburger

    1 lb of ground beef (preferably 20% fat, 80% lean)
    2 medium sized onions
    4 slices of bacon
    1 avocado
    4 slices colby jack cheese
    4 hamburger buns
    garlic powder
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    jarred jalapeno slices (optional)
    1/2 lemon or lime

    Slice each onion in half and lie the open part on the cutting board.  Remove the peel.  Then make very thin slices of the onion and separate the slices.  Put a little oil in the bottom of a saute pan and put onions in pan.  Leave onions on medium to medium low heat to cook them slowly.  If you put the heat on medium high or high they will burn.  The process will take about 20 minutes for the onions to fully carmelize.  After about 5 minutes sprinkle onions with salt and stir.  Continue to stir about every 3 minutes.  After 15 minutes add the balsamic vinegar and stir. 

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lay the 4 slices of bacon on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown. 

    Cut around the pit of the avocado and remove the pit using a spoon or a knife.  Using a large spoon scoop the flesh of the avocado out of the skin in one large piece.  Then make thin slices of avocado and squirt lemon or lime juice onto the slices so they do not turn brown. 

    For the actual burger patties, take the meat and separate into balls of meat.  Some people like bigger burgers than others, so you can make them to suit people's tastes.  The trick to a juicy burger is to handle the meat minimally.  Form each ball into patties and make an indent in the middle with your finger so the middle is thinner than the outside.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides of the patties.   Get a large skillet very hot and put oil in the bottom.  Put the patties into the pan.  Do not touch them once they are in the pan.  Allow them to cook for 6-7 minutes without being touched at all in the pan.  A brown crust should have formed on one side, then flip the burgers once.  Again, do not touch the burgers at all.  After another 6-7 minutes, place the slices of cheese on the burger and either put a lid or tin foil over the pan to melt the cheese. It should take about 2-3 minutes to completely melt. 

    One the cheese has melted, place the burgers on the bun.  Top with the onions, avocado slices, bacon slice, and jalapeno slices and enjoy!

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    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars

    These are the most delicious cookies ever.  They look so fancy and are so easy to make.  They are also a great gift because they are easy to wrap up and store!

    2 sticks butter, softened
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1-14 ounce can sweetended condensed milk
    1/2 cup chopped nuts
    1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 by 9 baking pan.

    Beat butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until crumbly.  With floured fingers, press 1 3/4 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan and reserve the remaining mixture for later.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

    Microwave 1 cup morsels and sweetened condense milk in a medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute.  Stir.  Morsels may retain some of their original shape.  If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.  Spread over hot crust.

    Stir nuts into reserved flour mixture.  Sprinkle over chocolate layer.  Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry jam over crumb mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of morsels.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.

    Makes 36 bars.
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