Thursday, April 30, 2009


My life is forever changed because of Janssen's croutons. She makes them herself. With her bread that is getting "questionable". Actually I think she may use regular bread but I used my questionable bread and it was awesome.

Per Janssen's instructions

Cut bread in squares

put in bowl

drizzle with olive oil

put on salt, pepper and italian seasoning


bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Or in my case 400 for however long I had until the rest of dinner was ready.

They were awesome. Give it a try!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I made these sunday and i was a little skeptical because they were made with whole wheat- but they were delicious! So whole wheat means you could technically eat them for breakfast!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

72 -96 cookies

* 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
* 4 large eggs
* 3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 5 cups rolled oats
* 3 cups whole wheat flour
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Beat together the butter or margarine, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
2. Add oats, flours, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
3. Bake at 325°F (170°C) for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ina Garten's Creme Brulee

I've made this a couple times now and I officially love it. I made it for Janssen this weekend when she was here and it got her stamp of approval, so I feel confident passing it on.

I don't have enough ramekins for this recipe, so I poured the mix into two 1 1/2 quart baking dishes. The baking time ended up being about the same.

I just do the sugar under the's not quite the same as with a torch, but it's still really yummy.

Recipe here.

Blueberry Lemon Cake

Janssen made this for Easter dessert and...whoa baby. Serve with a little ice cream and then contemplate how you can every repay me for sending you this recipe.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Nonstick cooking spray, for pan
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.
In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving, if desired.

Janssen made a lemon glaze to put over it which is just a little lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar. DELICIOUS!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cherry Chicken lettuce wraps ****

I got this recipe from my sister in law, and we thought it was delicious, justin even ate it and he considers lettuce "rabbit food". The reviews say it tastes just like PF changs, but I have never actually had them there, but either way they were way good. I did not do the recipe like it says though, it was recommended that I make them according to the viewers reviews, I will post the link if you want to read all the suggestions, but here is the real recipe and I will put the notes after.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon honey

1 pound dark sweet cherries, pitted and
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup toasted and sliced almonds
12 leaves of lettuce
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ginger and chicken and saute until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce and honey until mixed together. Add chicken mixture, cherries, carrot, green onion and almonds; toss together.
3. To Serve: Spoon 1/12 of the chicken/cherry mixture onto the center of each lettuce leaf; roll up leaf around filling and serve.

Mix 3/4 cup shredded mushrooms and 1 can drained chopped water chestnuts with the chicken before cooking. Cook them all together. (After the chicken was cooked I chopped up the chicken/mushroom/water chestnut mixture pretty small cuz i guess that is how they do it at PF changs). Omit the cherries. Double the sauce ingredients (but omit the honey) and add 2 Tbs of soy sauce. Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and some red pepper flakes (to taste)_ to sauce. Use the freshest, crunchiest inner lettuce cups for best flavor (some recommended bib lettuce, but we like the crunch of the iceberg lettuce. It was pretty easy to prepare too.. oh- one more thing, I didn't want to pay extra for toasted almonds so i just bought the regular sliced almonds and toasted them in a pan with sugar until the sugar melted on it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Okay, here is a call out for recipes. I went to Costco and now my fridge is overflowing with

so...what is one of your favorite recipes that uses one of those items?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Berry Torte

Kristi asked about this one, so here it is:

(So a REAL torte is suppose to use little or no actual flour, but oh well.) This looks fancy, but is SUPER easy and tasty.

Berry Torte

1 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 pint berries (Any kind works but they should be reasonably bite-sized. I usually use blueberries or blackberries. They can be fresh or frozen and there's no need to thaw.)
dash salt
lemon juice

Cream 1 cup sugar and butter. Mix in flour, baking powder, dash of salt, 2 eggs, and the almond extract. Place into a greased and floured 9" spring form pan. Cover entire top surface of batter with berries. Sprinkle some sugar and lemon juice on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove spring form and serve warm or cooled.

May be frozen after a quick cooling. Defrost then reheat for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Easiest Chicken Pot Pie Ever

This is my friend's go-to frozen meal for people who have had new babies/deaths in the family/surgery/etc. She's brought it to me several times and I've always loved it, so I finally asked her for the recipe. Turns out it's pretty much the easiest dinner ever.

One can cream of chicken soup
One can chopped chicken
One can diced potatoes
One can sliced carrots
One can peas
One can any other vegetables you'd like to sneak in
One splash milk

Open and drain chicken and veggies. Stir together with cream of chicken soup and add milk until you reach your desired consistency (a couple tablespoons does it for me).

You COULD pour it all into and top it with a homemade pie crust (I like Pioneer Woman's pie crust has never let me down) but my friend buys pie crust shells at the store and a sheet of refrigerated pie dough to top them with. I did a combination, using a store bought shell and topping it with one of my PW frozen dough discs. Whatever floats your boat.

Bake at 350 for one hour and enjoy! OR cover with foil and freeze it. When you're ready to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge at least most of the way and then bake at 350 for an hour (maybe a bit longer, depending on how frozen it was). Cover the pie crust edges with foil if necessary to keep them from over browning.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chili's Monterey Chicken

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tsp. BBQ sauce
2 slices of well crisped bacon
1/4 cup mixture of monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese

pound chicken breast until it is somewhat flat, and season with salt and pepper (I add a few more of my own seasonings). spray pam in a nonstick skillet, and cook chicken breast until it is done. transfer to a serving plate. top chicken with bbq sauce, bacon and cheese. broil chicken breast in oven, or melt the cheese in a microwave. Sprinkle with a small amount of cold chopped tomaotes and chives.

obviously just multiply this reciped by how many people you are cooking for. I do three for my family of five, (the kids all share one chicken breast)

Andes Mint brownies

Whoa baby. Janssen brought these bad boys to a party last night and....yeah, whoa baby. I have an affinity for andes mints.

Mint Brownies
3/4 c flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla
1/3 c butter
2/3 c sugar
2 T water
2 eggs
2 pkg Andes mints
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square pan.
2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips and vanilla.
4. In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and water. Bring this mixture just to a boil. Pour hot mixture over chips and stir. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in nuts at this time, if desired. Pour 1/2 the batter into the pan, put down a layer of the mints, and then top with the remaining batter, spreading evenly.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly firm to touch. Cool completely before frosting or cutting.
Chocolate Frosting
3 squares of unsweetened chocolate
3 T butter
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 c half & half
1 t vanilla
Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. Put the powdered sugar in a mixer bowl and pour the melted chocolate and butter on top. Add half & half, salt and vanilla. Beat with wire beater until creamy. Chill for better consistency before spreading.

German Pancakes, yum!

We made these for breakfast yesterday and, if I do say so myself, they were quite tasty.

6 eggs
1 C flour
1 C milk
1/8tsp salt
1/4 C butter
3t sugar
1 t cinnamon
dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 450, while it is preheating put the butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven so it will melt (don't let it burn though, pull it out when all melted, my butter was frozen so it took a while for me).

In the mean time, whip the six eggs until thick and lemony color. Add the flour milk, salt, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon and mix together. Dump in the buttered pan and cook 15 minutes at 450dgs.

Don't freak out, if you've never seen a German pancake come out of the oven, they puff up huge all up over the sides of the pan (kids love it!), it will shrink down, so be ready to serve it hot.

Okay now here is the kicker, we normally serve these with just syrup, but this time we mixed powdered sugar with lemon juice and spread it over the pancake and then topped with strawberries, and I have to say, it was delicious! Seriously. I don't really care for eggy things, but that lemony sugary stawberry-y glaze was amazing.

I also learned that you just can't make these ahead of time, plan for it to be pulled out of the oven right before serving. You can mess around with the time, for instance, you could cook it at 350 for 40 minutes, 400 for 20 minutes or 450 for 15-17 minutes. Just make sure you serve that baby soon after you pull it out.

Anyway, it is one of the simplest, least messy, serves-a-crowd, breakfast foods I have found!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Brown-Sugar-Mustard-Glazed Salmon

1/3 C Brown Sugar
2 1/2 TB. Dijon Mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
4- 7oz salmon fillets
2 tsp vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 400. In small bowl whisk together brown sugar, mustard, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Heat large oven proof skillet over high heat. Rub salmon with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place skin-side up in skillet. Cook until a crisp brown crust forms (about 3 minutes).

Remove from heat, flip the salmon, and coat with brown sugar mixture.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the glaze caramelizes and the fish is cooked through (about 5 minutes).

Enjoy! This was quite yummy! And it was courtesy of Rachael Ray.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Warm Greek Pita Sandwiches

1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c plain low-fat yogurt (I use full-fat)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, grated and squeezed as dry as possible (or very finely diced)
2 tsp red or rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste (I added only salt)
4 large pitas
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, halved and cut into chunky wedges
3 cups leftover turkey, pulled into bite-sized pieces (I omitted the turkey to make vegetarian)
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 c shredded lettuce (preferably romaine)
1 c cherry tomatoes, quartered and lightly salted (I left out the salt)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In small bowl, mix sour cream, yogurt, cucumber, vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
3. Place pitas in oven; bake until warm and pliable, 7 minutes. Cut in half and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until spotty brown, but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add turkey (optional), oregano, and remaining minced garlic; continue to saute until heated through, another 2 minutes.
4. Serve, letting guests fill their own pitas with lettuce first, followed by turkey, tomatoes and cucumber sauce.

Note: I made this for my family last night and spaced at the grocery store and accidentally bought flat bread pitas instead of the pocket sort. They actually preferred it made this way, wrapping the pita around the filling like a burrito.

This recipe is from

Fruity Popcorn Balls

Do you remember these from your childhood?

1 cup butter
1 package miniature marshmallows
1 - 3oz package raspberry jello (or any flavor you prefer)
6 quarts of popcorn (plain)

Melt butter in a large saucepan, add marshmallows until melted. Stir in jello. Pour over popcorn to coat. Form balls and let cool.

I love these. 3 Stars.

(I had forgotten that gelatin is not vegetarian :0( )