Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baked Eggs over Potatoes

Serves 1

1 russet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 of an avocado

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean the skin of each potato and dice into small cubes.  Place the olive oil in a ramekin or small baking dish.   Put the diced potato on top and toss in the olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt.  Toss in the rosemary, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Once potatoes are cooked, take them out of the oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Crack an egg into another small bowl.  Gently pour the egg over the cheese and potato mixture so that is lands in the center.

Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until egg sets.

Dice the quarter of the avocado into cubes.  Toss on top of the egg.  Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Braised Beef Tacos

2 lb top round steak
1 packet taco seasoning
1 quart beef stock
2 cups water
1 jalapeno pepper

Corn Salsa:
2 cups frozen corn
1 jalapeno pepper
1 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove
1 lime

Roasted Poblanos:
2 poblano peppers
1 large onion

corn tortillas
monterey jack cheese
sour cream

Heat a large pot on high heat with a tablespoon of oil in the bottom. Salt the beef on all sides and brown in the pan on all sides.  About 2-3 minutes a side.  Once browned, pour the beef stock, water, and taco seasoning into the pot.  Half the jalapeno and put into the pot.  Remove seeds and membrane for less spicy beef.  Cover and put on low heat for 3-3 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

To make the corn salsa, half the jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds and finely dice.  In a skillet, saute the corn, jalapeno peppers, red onion, and chopped garlic clove until brown.  Once browned, pour the juice of one lime over the salsa and stir.

Cut open the poblano peppers and remove the seeds.  Slice into thin strips.  Slice the onion into thin strips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast the peppers and onions together for 15 minutes.

Once beef is tender, shred on a cutting board and place back into the pot.  Allow to cook with the lid off for another 15-20 minutes.

Now you can assemble the tacos.  I start with a corn tortilla and top it with cheese.  I like to microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese and soften the tortilla.

Top with your braised beef, corn salsa, peppers and onions, guacamole, and sour cream.  Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Gingerbread Cake

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 water
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and whip until combined.  Mix together the water and molasses in a separate bowl.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, and salt until everything is evenly distributed.

Alternately pour in the molasses mixture with the flour mixture into the creamed mixture beating after every addition.

Line a 13 x 9 in baking dish with oven safe parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.  Evenly spread the batter into the pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 2 minutes and then remove the entire parchment paper from the pan and place on a very clean kitchen towel.  Put another layer of parchment paper on top.  Roll from the short end to the other short end, wrapping the kitchen towel in every time you turn.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

While chilling, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until very creamy.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until a smooth frosting forms.  Leave out at room temperature while the cake cools so it is very easy to spread.

Once the cake is chilled, gently unroll it and quickly fill with the cream cheese frosting.  Roll back up very tight with a towel around the entire thing.  Chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.

You can chill the frosting now, but take it out of the refrigerator for a half hour before frosting the entire cake.

Once you are ready to frost the whole cake, take it out of the towel and place on your serving dish.  Frost the entire thing with the cream cheese frosting and allow to chill for another few hours.  I decorated mine with a leaf stencil and some cocoa powder.  I also put a few mint leaves with a cherry to look like holly leaves.

Serve and enjoy!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

1 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners.  The recipe should be enough for 16 cupcakes.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric ixer.  Add one egg at a time and beat well after each egg.  Stir in the vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and beat in between each addition.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then beat in the peanut butter and slowly add in the milk until thick and creamy.  I put mine into a plastic bag so that I could pipe it on by cutting the corner of the bag.

Once cupcakes are out of the oven, allow them to cool for at least a half hour.  Once cool either pipe or frost each cupcake with the frosting.  Serve and enjoy!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Microwaveable Mug Brownie

If you do not want to eat a warm brownie at least once a day do not read this recipe!!!!!  It literally takes 1 minute to mix together, 1 minute to cook and is probably the best brownie I have ever tasted.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsweeted cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Mix together all of the ingredients in a coffee mug.  Stir completely so that nothing is stuck to the bottom.  Microwave for 1 minute in the microwave.  EAT!

I swear it is that easy and absolutely unbelieveable!!!  This is the kind of recipe a college student creates the week of finals! After you make it once you will want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a  large bowl beat together the brown sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.  Stir in the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt until everything is combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.  Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a tablespoon measurement.  Place them about 2 inches apart.  Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 2 minutes on the baking tray and then move to a wire rack.  Cool completely.  Serve and enjoy!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Thing I Ever Ate: Meat

Gnocchi Genovese
Luca's Ristorante
Somerset, NJ

For my birthday my parents decided to choose a new restaurant in the area to take me to dinner.  They stumbled upon Luca's Ristorante.  It was voted in the top 20 best fresh pastas in all of New Jersey and I can definitely agree with that.  The decor is beautiful, the service is fantastic, and the food is some of the best I have ever eaten.

The dish I ordered was gnocchi with braised sirloin steak and caramelized onion in a white wine beef reduction.  It came out hot in the disk it had been cooked in and was steaming at the table. This was an absolutely beautiful presentation because the smell perfumed the entire dining room.

The sirloin was absolutely tender, I didn't need a knife at all.  It had an extremely meaty flavor without being too overpowering of the gnocchi underneath.  The gnocchi were light as a cloud and the perfect complement to the braised meat.

Definitely check out this restaurant if you are in the area.  Everything else my family ate was fantastic and you can tell everything is extremely fresh and homemade!

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Earl Grey Shortbread

1 cup all purpose flour
4 tea bags
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Open the tea bags and sprinkle in the leaves.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture and beat on low speed using an electric mixer.

Roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least a half hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut log into 1/4 inch slices and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly golden.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar after they come out of the oven.  Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

3/4 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 water
3/4 milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  It should make 16 cupcakes.   I used leopard print ones!

In a large bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Place marshmallows and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds.  Stir until combined.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Beat with an electric mixer until frosting comes together and is spreadable.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in pan.  Remove and cool completely.

Once cooled frost with frosting and serve!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pear, Walnut, and Bleu Cheese Salad on Endive

2 heads of endive
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 pears
1 cup bleu cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl whisk together the strawberry jam, oil, and vinegar until it forms a vinaigrette.  Peel the pears and dice into small cubes.  Toss in the vinaigrette with the cranberries and store in the refrigerator for a half hour.

Peel the endive leaves away carefully from the core and rinse.  Arrange on a platter.

Take the pear mixture out of the refrigerator and stir in the walnuts.  Spoon a tablespoonful on the end of each endive leave.  Top with bleu cheese and serve!

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

4 oz bittersweet chocolate bar
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1oz bottle red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

4 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted.  Stir every 30 seconds to prevent burning.  Whisk in the sugar and allow to cool for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and whisk completely until blended after each addition.  Gently stir in the flour.  Add the baking powder, vanilla, and salt.  Finally stir in the food coloring.  Be careful to not get it on clothes!

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool completely.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla together until it forms a frosting consistency.  Once brownies are cooled remove from the pan and cut into squares.  Frost each one with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Pie


  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup mini milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 9 inch deep dish unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave for a 60-90 seconds.  . While butter is melting, add beaten eggs to a medium sized bowl. Stir in brown sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and corn syrup until combined. Add butter when just melted.
Mix in the pecans and chocolate morsels. Mix all together. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Place on a sheet tray and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

Last weekend was my birthday and my mom asked me what cake I wanted HER to make me!  Being the baker that I am I decided baking my own birthday cake would be the best option! I decided on a chocolate cake with caramel frosting and decorated it cheetah print! It is not as difficult as you might think, I promise!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 16-ounce box confectioner’s sugar

milk chocolate frosting
black gel icing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Melt butter in saucepan.  Add brown sugar and cream.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.
Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
Once cake is completely frosted, chill in the freezer for a half hour.  Take a butter knife and smear dots (spots) onto your cake with the chocolate frosting sporadically.  Once you have done this to the entire cake, freeze for another half hour.  Then outline half  or 3/4 of each spot with the black gel icing.  Refrigerator until service.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay pumpkin seeds in a flat layer in a baking pan.  Drizzle with melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon.  Toss around until everything is completely coated and lay in a flat layer.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Serve and enjoy!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Artichoke Bread

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts
2 garlic cloves
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 loaf italian bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain the artichokes from the can and chop into bite sized pieces.  Mix this with the chopped garlic cloves, cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Make sure everything is evenly combined and distributed.

Cut open the loaf of bread lengthwise.  Slather both sides of bread with the artichoke mixture coating every piece of bread.  Sprinkle with a little bit more mozzarella if you would like.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.  Slice and enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Honey Mustard

Everybody loves chicken nuggets, but honestly they are one of the most unhealthy things you can eat.  Between the mystery meat, preservatives, and frying, they aren't really worth it.  My chicken nugget recipe is made from all natural ingredients and its also baked.  No calories from oil but no wasting your time standing by a hot stove and frying.  And they are way better than the store bought kind.  I swear you get a crispy crust on the outside which is what always makes me nervous when I bake something instead of fry it.

Chicken Nuggets:
4 chicken breasts
2 eggs
5 rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cooking spray

Honey Mustard:
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1/2 cup mustard
1/4 cup honey

Cut the chicken breasts into chunks or nugget sized pieces.  I usually did about 4 strips and then cut each strip into about 4 cubes.

In one bowl, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water. Mix so everything is homogenous and the yolks are not separate from the wipes.  In another large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, chopped rosemary sprigs, salt, paprika, garlic powder, lemon zest, and cornstarch until everything is evenly distributed.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray evenly with cooking spray.

Dip each nugget into the egg and shake off the excess.  Then put into the bread crumb to make sure everything is evenly coated.  Put on the baking sheet.  Once all of the nuggets are done, cover the baking sheet with foil and refrigerate for about an hour.

For the honey mustard, mix the mayo, mustard, and honey all together.  Make sure to taste it, some people like sweeter sauce and others like more tangy.  Set aside for later.

One the nuggets are finished chilling, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Liberally spray the nuggets with cooking spray.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until outside is golden and crunchy.

Serve with honey mustard and enjoy!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fiesta Cheese Fondue

The Melting Pot is one of my favorite restaurants.  Making their fondues at home is actually way easier than it looks.  For Halloween I decided to make their fiesta cheese fondue, serve it in a roasted pumpkin, and make homemade tortilla chips.  Boy was it good!

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons corn starch

8 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

For the roasted pumpkin, you want a medium sized pumpkin.  Cut about an 8 inch circle in diameter off the top of the pumpkin.  Use a sharp knife to cut down at an angle.  Once you do this, you can pull the top off.  Clean out the inside with a metal spoon and get rid of the pumpkin seeds.  Roast them if you'd like.  Clean out as much of the flesh as possible to make a smooth inside.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roast the pumpkin for a half hour or until it turns golden.  Set aside for later.

Heat the oil in a small sauce pan about 2 inches up the side.  Cut each corn tortilla into 8 triangles.  I use one to test the oil.  Once it floats to the top it is finished.  Toss in about 8 at a time and stir around with a slotted spoon.  Cook until they turn lightly golden.  It should only take about a minute or two.  Drain on paper towels and LIGHTLY season with salt.

Get a fondue pot of a small sauce pan and begin heating the vegetable broth with the salsa.  Grate your cheese by hand.  Do not buy pre-shredded cheese as this makes the fondue clump.  I learned that the hard way.  Once all of your cheese is shredded, mix with the corn starch.  This will also prevent clumping.

One the broth is hot, stir in your cheese one small handful at a time and slowly whisk in.  Allow all of the cheese to melt before adding more cheese.  Once all of the cheese has melted, pour into the pumpkin.  Serve hot with the chips!


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Pumpkin Brownies

So brownies are one of my favorite things ever.  I found a recipe for brownies that are actually faster than box brownies and way better.  And adding pumpkin in the middle made them absolutely unbelievable. Make these for any fall occasion.  They are warm, gooey, with just the right amount of pumpkin.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
7 oz canned pumpkin (usually half of a normal can, NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for about 1 minute.  Stir in the white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and eggs.  Once completely stirred, place about 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  It is very thick so it might take some good spreading, but don't worry if it doesn't completely cover the bottom of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

While the bottom layer is baking, in a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Then put 1/2 cup of the remaining brownie batter and stir together.  

Once the bottom layer comes out of the oven, pour the pumpkin mixture on top and spread.  Then put the remaining brownie batter on top of that and spread.  Again it is very thick and may be difficult to spread.  I would put small spoonfuls all over the top and then try to spread.  

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares and enjoy!  Beware, you can't eat just one!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Menu

Halloween is such an awesome time of year!  It is one of the best times to throw a party because all of your food can be Halloween themed!!  Here is a list of recipes from my blog and others to make your Halloween Party great!

Mummy Dogs

Goblin Dip with Bone Crackers

Individual Spooky White Pizzas

Main Courses:
Ghostly Shepherd's Pie

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Brownies

Candy Apples

Candy Corn Cookies

Spooky Halloween Punch

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters

Have you ever had the shooter desserts at Applebee's? Well this is a take on those.  I love strawberry shortcake, but I wanted to keep myself from eating the entire cake.  So I thought why don't I make individual ones in a shot glass and then it's automatic portion control.  Well except for when you eat 6 of them...which is what I did.  This dessert is super simple and super delish!  To make it even faster, use yellow cake mix instead of making your own and add a little bit of strawberry extract to it.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
3/4 vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons strawberry extract

1 quart fresh strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons strawberry extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened.  Add flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla and strawberry extracts.  Beat for one minute or until smooth.  Pour into loaf pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the stems of the strawberries and slice them.  Put in a large bowl and mix with strawberry jam.  Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.  It will make a strawberry syrup and the strawberries will soften slightly.

In a large, cold bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer.  After about 5 minutes, sprinkle in the sugar slowly while beating.   Continue to beat until it becomes very thick and forms soft peaks on your beater.  Pour in the strawberry extract and beat for another minute.  If desired, you can pour into a piping bag or into a ziploc bag.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

 Once cake is done, allow to cool for an hour.  Remove from pan and make 1 inch slices down the loaf.  Take each slice and using a shot glass, cut out circles of the cake.  To build your dessert, put one piece of cake in the bottom.  Cover with whipped cream.  Then top with a few strawberry slices.  Continue with one piece of cake and top off with whipped cream.

You can also just make a layer cake by making 2 8-inch rounds of cake.  Put all of the strawberries in between the two cakes.  Frost the entire outside with the whipped cream.

Chill for about an hour.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Okay so this might actually be the best recipe I have ever created! It has a lot of ingredients, but is super easy and one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted! It makes a pretty big batch, so you will have plenty of leftovers to enjoy!!!

4 large tomatoes
2 poblano chilis (optional, 1 for less spicy)
1 1/2 onions
5 garlic cloves
4 corn tortillas
2 32oz containers chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
1 taco seasoning packet
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1 6 oz can tomato paste

Crushed Tortilla chips or homemade tortilla strips

In a large skillet, char the tomatoes, onions with the skin, poblano peppers, and garlic with the skin for about 5 minutes on each side or until brown.  Don't worry if it gets very dark.  This is flavor!

Remove all of the vegetables and remove the skin of the onion and garlic.  Cut the vegetables up into smaller pieces.  A few cuts should do the trick.  No need to finely dice!  Put these in a large pot with 2 32 oz containers of chicken broth, half of the taco seasoning packet, and the tomato paste.  Stir and allow to cook on medium high heat for 45-50 minutes or until vegetables become very soft.  After about 30 minutes, chop up the 4 corn tortillas and put them into the soup! I know this sounds weird, but you are thickening the soup this way!

In another pot, put the chicken breasts and fill with water so that the chicken is just covered.  Stir in the second half of the taco seasoning packet.  Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until chicken becomes tender.  After 30 minutes, shred the chicken and put it back in the pot of seasoned water on medium low heated until needed.

In the same large skillet you charred the vegetables before, char the corn now.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until corn begins to turn brown.  Set aside.

After about 50 minutes of the vegetables cooking in the chicken broth stir to check for tenderness.  If they are tender, in small batches, blend them in the blender.  Once everything is blended, but it back in the pot and allow it to cook for another 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, not you can add your corn, shredded chicken, and one cup of monterey jack cheese.  Allow this to cook for another 20-25 minutes.

While the soup is cooking you can get your toppings ready.  Cheese is always great on the top.  I also like avocado! Don't forget to squeeze some lime on the avocado so it does not turn brown.

You can also crush up tortilla chips, but I made my own tortilla strips.  Slice a couple of corn tortillas into strips while a pot of hot oil is coming up to temperature.  About 375 degrees is a good temperature to fry at. Toss in the corn tortillas and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Drain on a paper towel and season with salt as soon as they come out of the fryer.

Once the soup is ready, pour a big ladle full into a bowl and top with cheese, avocado, and those delicious tortilla strips! Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chicken Marsala

4 chicken breasts, thinnly sliced
1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups dry marsala wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup flour

After you clean each chicken breast, slice it into 4 thin slices lengthwise.  Use a very sharp filet knife for the best results.  Season each side with salt and pepper.  Evenly coat in the flour and shake off an excess.  While you are coating, begin getting a large skillet warm with about 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom.

Once oil is hot, saute each chicken breast piece on each side, about 4 minutes a side or just until slightly browned.  Set aside.  Now toss in the mushrooms and saute until they begin to caramelize.  This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms.  With the heat on medium, deglaze the pan with the wine.  Scrape all of the bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and allow the entire sauce to cook for another 10 minutes.  Put the mushrooms back in and allow to cook for another 5-7 minutes.  Put the chicken back in and with the lid half on and half off cook for 25 minutes, flipping chicken over every 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stuffed Shells

Lasagna has always been on of my favorite recipes.  Here is something very similar but with a slight variation because its shells.  Also a quick tomato sauce is included, but feel free to use any store bought sauce if you are short on time!

12 oz box jumbo shells
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mozzarella cheese, split into 1 1/2 and 1/2 cup
1 egg
1 cup parmesan cheese
8 oz container frozen spinach
20 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup store bought alfredo sauce or heavy cream (optional)
4 basil leaves
dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil a large pot of water.  Once water has boiled, add 2 tablespoons of salt and toss in the jumbo shells.  Allow to cook about 14 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool in colander.

In a small sauce pan heat the oil and saute the crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, and onions on medium heat until they become translucent.  They will also smell fantastic!  This should take 5-10 minutes.

Then add the tomato paste and stir together with the garlic and onions.  Fill the empty can with water and dump into the pot.  Stir together until completely combined.  Stir in the 2 cans of tomato sauce and fill only one with water and empty into the pot.  Stir until combined. I know this water in a can thing sounds crazy, but it gives it the perfect consistency and flavor!  Leave on a medium low flame and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Put the frozen spinach in the microwave and cook according to the package.  Drain as much excess water as you possibly can.   

Mix the spinach with the alfredo sauce or heavy cream as well as one egg.

Stir in the ricotta,  1 1/2 cups mozzarella, and parmesan cheese until combined.

Line two baking dishes with about 1/3 of the tomato sauce.  Then stuff each shell with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling and line in the baking dish.

Cover the top with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve and enjoy!

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