Friday, January 30, 2009

Platinum Chef: Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops & Mashed Butternut Squash

It's Platinum Chef time again! This time our ingredients were: onions, apricots, cream, nuts and butternut squash. At first I was a lil scared that I wouldn't been able to come up with anything since I'd never really cooked with apricots or butternut squash but after some major brain-wrecking, I came up with the most perfect recipes. The sweet apricot preserve mixed perfectly with the salty pecans and the crunchy pork chop was the perfect contrast to the creamy mashed butternut squash. Talk about Comfort Food!

Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops


2 bone-in pork chops
¼ c apricot preserve
¼ c ground pecans
¼ c Italian breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush oil on a baking dish.

2. Salt and pepper pork chops on both sides. Spread preserve over chops; coat with nuts and breadcrumbs. Place in baking dish.

3. Lightly place tin foil over baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes more or until chops are golden brown and juices run clear.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Butternut Squash


1 Tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
1 Tbsp butter
¼ c heavy cream
1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch of nutmeg


1. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until gold brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, place squash in a large pot and cover with cold water with a dash of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain completely and return to pot. Mash and add milk, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in caramelized onions.

A Trip to the Castle

We decided to take a little trip to Wine County to take advantage of the GORGEOUS sunny weather we've been having! We started with a late lunch at Rutherford's Grill, which was a lot like Houston's with HUGE Burgers and awesome fish plates. Greg got the usual Cheeseburger and I had the Ahi Tuna Salad. We also got a small plate of Marinated Olives to start cuz we were both starving when we got there!

Then we went on for a tour of the Castello di Amorosa, better known as the Castle. I had seen Rachael Ray talking about this place on her Tasty Travels Show and been wanting to check it out ever since! It was AMAZING! Our guide said that the owner spent over $40 Million building this place and importing everything from Europe! The tour lasted for about an hour and then we got to taste 10 different wines. (Don't worry, the pours were tiny so I could still walk outta there!) Our fav were the Chardonnay and Merlot and we came home with 2 bottles of each. It was SUCH a wonderful day and I can't wait to go back to Wine Country!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Carrotcake + Cream Cheese = A Match Made in Heaven

A while back I made some Carrotcake Muffins with Frosting in the middle and this time I'm bringing them back with even more Cream Cheese! Yes that is a BIG chunk of creamy goodness you see in the middle of each of those muffins! The Raisin Bran also added a nice crunch factor.

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 c all-purpose flour
¼ c sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp nutmeg
1½ c Raisin Bran
¾ c milk
1 egg white
1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
½ c shredded carrots
1 oz cream cheese, cubed into 6 pieces


1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In large mixing bowl, combine Raisin Bran cereal and milk. Let stand 2 minutes or until cereal is softened. Add egg white and oil. Beat well. Stir in carrots. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion batter evenly into 6 muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. Press cheese cube into top of batter in each muffin-pan cup.

4. Bake for about 23 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Switching it up on a Cookie Friday

So I'm finally finished with my bottomless box of Raisin Bran! I decided to do something different for Cookie Friday this week and baked a dozen muffins instead. These were really yummy and super easy to bake. I can't wait to try using different cereal too! Oh I bet Honey Bunches of Oats would make GREAT muffins!

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 c Raisin Bran cereal
1 c milk
1/2 c melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 c brown sugar, firmly packed


1. Preheat over to 400F; prepare a muffin tin with paper liners or by spraying with cooking spray.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cereal and milk in large bowl; let stand 3 minutes.
3. Stir in egg, applesauce, sugar and butter; stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy).

4. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.

5. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown, and they test done with a toothpick.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tomato RICOTTA Bread in the Bread Maker!

I just realized that this is the first time I've blogged about my Bread Maker and I've had it for almost a year! I've made a few different breads when I first got this machine but didn't take any pictures and I'm not sure why. Then it got put away under the counter until TONIGHT! here's my official first Bread Maker post! Homemade bread may sound like a lotta work but it's SO easy and SO worth it! The bread comes out SUPER fresh and the house smells SO good! All you really have to do is dump the ingredients in, wet first, then dry, then yeast and let the Bread Maker do it's magic. You can be as creative as you like, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can put in bread right? My only word of advice is that if you're not gonna eat the entire loaf right away (which is hard to imagine!), seal it in a nice baggie and it'll last for at least a week, which probably won't happen with bread this good! :)

Ingredients: (1½ lb loaf)

⅓ c milk
1 c ricotta cheese
½ c sun-dried tomato packed in oil, chopped
2 Tbsp oil, from tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped
1 whole egg, beaten
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 c whole wheat flour
2½ tsp bread machine yeast


1. Place all of the ingredients into the Bread Maker according to your machine's manual.

2. Bake on the basic cycle.

Toad Muffins (remember Super Mario?)

A had a beautiful Yellow Bell Pepper in my fridge waiting to be made into something so that something became MUFFINS! These were a lot like my Zucchini Muffins (but with Bell Peppers, of course) and I added some dried Cranberries instead of nuts. Don't they looke like Toad from Super Mario? See the resemblence?
Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 cbell pepper (1 small), chopped in food processor
1/3 c melted unsalted butter
½ c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1½ c all-purpose flour
½ c dried cranberries


You don't need a mixer for this recipe.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the bell pepper and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add these dry ingredients to the pepper mixture. Fold in the dried cranberries.

2. Grease or line 6 muffin cups. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely.

3. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

Rice Krispies Carrot Bars

Wouldn't you like to take these babies on a hiking trip? I swear homemade bars just look SO much more wholesome than any store-bought ones no matter how healthy they are! AND you can put just about anything you want in them! These have walnuts, carrots and Rice Krispies Cereal...sweet, crunchy and light.

Ingredients: (12 bars)

1½ c Rice Krispies cereal
½ c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp nutmeg
½ c firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c shredded carrot
¼ c finely chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to at 350° F.

2. In large mixing bowl, mix together cereal, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla. Stir in apple, carrot and walnuts. Stir into cereal mixture just until combined. Spread evenly into 8x8x2-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who Needs In-N-Out?

When you can have 2 AWESOME Cheeseburgers with Grilled Onions at home in less than 15 minutes? How good do these look? I mean, come ON! Who wants to wait 30 minutes in the drive-through for burgers anyway?

And ready to be eaten...

The secret to making these In-N-Out style? Thousand Island Dressing! Yes, you heard me right...they taste JUST like the real thing! (Except super-sized of course!) I know I've out-done myself when Greg can't even finish them! hehe

Monday, January 26, 2009

What to do with Left-over Meatloaf...

Make Meatloaf Mac and Cheese of course! All you need is some dried Macaroni (or any type of short pasta), some CHEESE and breadcrumbs! Just cook the pasta until al dente, drain, stir in some CHEESE (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Mexican, whatever you like!), then bake it in the oven @ 350F with some breadcrumbs sprinkled on top for about 20 minutes. Then Viola! You have a TOTALLY transformed meal! (Of course you can also just make good old sandwiches with your left-over meatloaf and some Ketchup!)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Yellow Squash = Savory CHEESE Muffins!

I went back and bought some more Yellow Squash since I loved them so much and decided to be even more creative. I wanted to make something savory that we could have for a light meal with some soup since it's been so cold here lately. So I decided to add some CHEESE and Roasted Red Peppers and make them sorta like Corn Muffins. They turned out PERFECT!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

½ c all-purpose flour
½ c cornmeal
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ c vegetable oil
¼ c sour cream
1 large egg
1 c yellow squash, grated
¼ c roasted red peppers, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1 c Mexican cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease or line 6 muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add oil, sour cream and egg, beating at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Add squash, peppers, onion and cheese, stirring to combine.

3. Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pepperoni Pizza in a Muffin?

Yes you read that right! I made Pepperoni Pizza Muffins and they were AWESOME! The idea came to me cuz we had Pizza Sauce and Pepperoni left over in our fridge and you know I like turning just about anything into a muffin! I know the idea might sound a lil weird but if you like Pepperoni Pizza, you should definitely give these a try. They're so easy too so you've really got nothing to lose!

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

1½ c biscuit/baking mix (Bisquick)
1 c Pizza sauce
½ c shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c diced pepperoni
1 tsp Italian seasoning


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place biscuit mix in a large bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients; stir into biscuit mix just until moistened. Fill greased or lined muffin cups ¾ full.

3. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yellow Squash + Yellow Peaches = YELLOW BREAD!

The Yellow Squash were looking REALLY fresh at Safeway so I brought some home. At first I couldn't really find any good recipes for baking with them but then I realized that Yellow Squash was pretty much the same as Zucchini. SO if I can make Zucchini Bread (and Muffins!), I can make Yellow Squash Bread! I really liked the canned peaches in this cuz it made the bread really moist and fruity. It's definitely a yummy variation to the good old Zucchini Bread!

Ingredients: (1 loaf)
2 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chopped yellow squash (about 1 small)
1 can (10 oz) diced peaches, drained
2 cs all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 c chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, oil and vanilla; beat well. Stir in squash and peaches.
2. Combine dry ingredients; stir into squash mixture. Stir in walnuts.
3. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 5-in loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack.

Giada's Almond Blueberry Cookies

I had some Blueberries in the fridge so I decided to make Giada's Almond Blueberry Cookies this week. My best friend, Kat, was the one who told me about these and she raved about how good they were! OMG she was SO right! These cookies were soft and moist and FULL of Blueberry and Almond flavor. They totally put me in the mood for spring even with the rainy and dark weather we're having today!

Ingredients: (30 cookies)

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick (½ c) unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1 egg yolk
⅓ c whole milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp lemon zest, about 1 lemon
½ c chopped almonds
1 c blueberries


1. Toast the almonds: Place almonds in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Stir often over medium heat until golden brown. (You will SMELL the wonderfull TOASTY aroma!)

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

3. In another medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer. Add egg and beat to incorporate. Add milk, almond extract, and lemon zest.

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the almonds, then the blueberries. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

6. Using an ice cream scopper, drop mix onto cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Healthy & Hearty Zucchini Pear Bread

Zucchini AND Pear were on sale at Safeway so I thought I'd put them together in a healthy and hearty bread. Now, I've made Zucchini Bread and even Muffins before but the addition of the Pear added a wonderful fruitiness to the bread, making it moist and just a bit sweeter! And of course, I had to add some Pecans for some crunch! SO yummy and you won't even guess that it's so healthy too!

Ingredients: (1 loaf)

1 c all-purpose flour
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ c sugar
¼ c packed brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c finely chopped peeled pears (2 small)
½ c shredded zucchini (1 small)
½ c chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the pears and zucchini. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-in loaf pan.

3. Bake for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Little Ears & Little Meatballs

I was watching Giada and saw this really cute Orecchiette dish that she made for a kid's picnic. I thought it was a great idea since the little round pasta shapes match so well with the little round meatballs! I decided to make my own version using ground beef instead and a simpler pasta sauce with just some mushrooms and onions added to store-bought Marinara sauce. What a great dish! I even managed to freeze some meatballs for something yummy later on! I'm thinking Meatballs Sammies maybe? :)

Ingredients: (2 servings of pasta & 24 meatballs)


1 lb ground beef
1 egg
½ c Italian syle bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

2 Tbsp butter
½ medium onion, chopped
2 c mushrooms, sliced
1 (26 oz) jar pasta sauce

½ lb Orecchiette pasta, cooked according to package directions


1. Melt butter in a sauce until sizzling; add onion and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened (2 to 3 minutes). Stir in sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens (20 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Combine all meatball ingredients in large bowl. Shape mixture into 24 (1½ inch) balls; place onto greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until no longer pink inside. (Freeze half in Tupperware.)

3. Stir remaining meatballs into sauce; serve over hot cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Greek Yogurt = My New Love!

I've been reading so much about Greek Yogurt on other people's blogs and decided to give them a try. OMG! I mean, the creamy taste is great but the nutritional stats are AMAZING! SO much protein in these little containers (15g compared to just 5g in my usual fat free yogurt)! And did I mention they're about the SAME number of calories per container? So they're a lil more expensive ($2 vs $0.60) but TOTALLY worth it! I tried the Plain Oikos on Friday and the Fage 0% today and loved both of them! Our tiny Safeway only carries the Oikos brand but I found the Fage at TJ's. I'm sure they'll become a regular on my Sunday shopping list! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This is Why we LOVE Trader Joe's...

...cuz they've got Trader Joses Carne Asada Autentica! What is that you ask? It's pre-marinated tender beef sirloin that's ready on the grill pan in 10 minutes! OMG this plate is even better than your Steak Fajitas Plate at any Mexican restaurant (and yes, we mean Chevy's too!) I just chopped up some Yellow Bell Peppers and Onions and threw everything on the grill pan. Add a side of Sour Cream, Salsa and Tortillas and you can have a Fajitas Dinner for 2 right at home in no time!

More Avocados = MUFFINS!

We had invited a few friends over to watch some football but the boys decided to watch the game at a bar instead. SO having already bought 2 avocados to make Guac, I had to think of something else to do with them. Since I've already made Avocado Bread, I thought "why not muffins?" These actually turned out really good and not too sweet at all. You could definitely add Raisins or any type of dried fruit in them to give them a sweeter flavor but I wanted something that was more savory. I think the Avocados give baked goods a really good nutty flavor. Hum...I wonder why these didn't turn out green?

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

3/4 c sugar
1 stick (½ c) butter
2 eggs
1 c mashed avocado (2 medium)
½ c buttermilk

1 ½ c flour
½ tsp

½ c pecans, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix all ingredients together and divide evenly among 12 muffin cups lined with paper liner.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Orange Rice Krispies Muffins

I had an orange left over from my Biscotti so I decided to make some muffins. I also had some Rice Krispies in the pantry and thought they would go great with the fresh citrus taste. I was SO right! These muffins were fresh and yummy tasting without being too sweet or heavy.

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c Rice Krispies®
1 orange segments and juice

3 Tbsp buttermilk
1 egg white
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2. In large bowl combine RICE KRISPIES cereal, orange and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and oil. Beat well. Add pecans and flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Portion evenly into uffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray or lined with foil bake cups.

3. In small bowl stir together 1 tablespoon sugar and cereal; sprinkle on top of muffins.

4. Bake about 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely.

Premade Ravioli to the Rescue AGAIN!

OK how much do I LOVE premade Ravioli? I mean, you really can't make an easier and more yummy meal! These are the good old Buitoni refridgerated kind with Roasted Chicken inside. I just tossed them in a jar of Marinara Sauce and added chopped ham and Mozzarella Cheese. SO good! Sorry Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals ain't got NOTHING on me! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Christmas Colored Avocado Bread

I call this Christmas-Colored Bread cuz of the green from the Avocados and red from the dried Cranberries! SO pretty and SO healthy too! Look at the list of ingredients, NO oil, NO butter and nope, Buttermilk is definitely NOT unhealthy especially since I used the lowfat kind! In fact, you really can't get healthies than a loaf of bread FULL of monounsaturated fat (that's the good kind), Omega-3 AND antioxidants! Yes, I know I'm a genius...


2 c all-purpose flour
½ c sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 ripe, medium sized avocado. mashed
½ c buttermilk (I used lowfat)
½ c chopped walnuts

¼ c dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. In another larger bowl, beat egg and avocado together. Stir in buttermilk.

3. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in walnuts and cranberries.

4. Spoon into loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.

Guacamole + Pasta? Not Bad!

Ok so I had some Avocados left over and decided that if Guac was good with chips, it must be good with pasta too! It's not bad. I added some Southwestern-Style cooked chicken chunks and Mexican cheese and it literally tasted like Chicken Fajita Nachos but with pasta instead of chips. If you like Guac, you should definitely give this a try! Greg said it tasted even better with some Salsa added to it!

Ingredients: (4 servings)

2 c dry macaroni (or any type of short pasta)
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 c sour cream
1 Tbsp Chili seasoning
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 c cooked diced chicken (any flavor but Southwestern worked great!)
1 c Mexican shredded cheese


1. Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions; drain well.

2. Meanwhile, blend avocados, sour cream, Chili and olive oil in a small blender until smooth.

3. Add chicken and avocado mixture into the pasta pot. Stir until heated through. Mix in cheese before serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giada Would be Proud!

Tomorrow will be my first Cookie Friday in 2009 and I decided to test out a recipe from my new Everyday Italian Cookbook from Giada. Remember the last time I attempted Biscotti? Well, this time I actually SUCCEEDED! The only thing I changed was using chopped pecans unstead pistachios just cuz I LOVED pecans! What beauties huh? Twice baked and twice as yummy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BB: Banana Sour Cream Pancakes...I mean MUFFINS

Our latest Barefoot Blogger assignment is Banana Sour Cream Pancakes. BUT I thought I'd kick it up a notch and make some muffins instead since they're way more portable and easier to share! The sour cream and bananas were a new combination for me but they were PERFECT together! Sour, sweet AND creamy, how could you go wrong? The walnuts add a slight crunch making these great for breakfast, brunch, snacking, whatever!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

¼ c (½ stick) butter, softened
½ c sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
¾ c all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ c (1 large) mashed banana
½ c walnuts, chopped
¼ c sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in banana, nuts and sour cream.

3. Spoon into greased or paper lined muffin pan to ⅔ full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TWD: Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins

So I've been slacking a lil with my Tuesdays with Dorie through the crazy holidays but I'm BACK! I was SO excited to make these muffins cuz I'm always looking for savory muffin recipes since sweet ones really only work for breakfast and snacks. AND Greg LOVES Corn Muffins! Remember my Bobby Flay wannabes? I changed the recipe just a lil (you know me!) by using jarred Roasted Red Peppers, omitting the jalapeno and cilantro, and adding some Mexican shredded cheese. They came out SO yummy and great for a hearty meal!

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 c buttermilk
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg yolk
1 c frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 c roasted red bell pepper, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, chili powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper.

3. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and egg yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir to blend. Stir in corn and peppers. Batter will be lumpy.

4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Bought a Pound of Beef...

So I decided to make some NOODLES! This dish was my spin off of Beef Stroganoff but with a tomatoey flavor. The sauce is still creamy and yummy but not brown and yucky-looking! hehe

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/2 c)
3 c uncooked extra-wide egg noodles (5 oz)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 c Marinara sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian style diced tomatoes
1 c sour cream
2 c shredded Mozzarella cheese


1. In a large pot, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked.

2. Stir in noodles, seasoing, sauce and tomatoes. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 to 12 minutes or until noodles are tender.

3. Turn heat off and stir in sour cream and cheese. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Batch SUPER Healthy and YUMMY Muffins!

I found this cool bag of Tropical Treasures at Safeway today and decided to make some EXOTIC and HEALTHY muffins! The mixture has dried Mango, Papaya, Raisins, Coconut Flakes AND Pineapple! I made them super healthy by using Applesauce instead of oil and a mix of Whole Wheat Flour and Oatmeal. They came out SO moist cuz of the Applesauce and just enough sweetness from the dried fruits. Now here's a treat you can feel good about eating!

Ingredients: (8 muffins)

3/4 c milk
1/2 c applesauce
1 c Tropical Mix
1 egg
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/3 c sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven 400F degrees. Line muffin pan.
2. Stir together all the ingredients in a big bowl. Spoon into muffin pan.
3. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Sausage and Ricotta Pasta Bake

Are you ready for another Cookie Pantry Invention? Of course you are! This was a quick and easy meal that gives you TONS of left-overs! What's better on a Friday night than some comforting SAUSAGE and RICOTTA CHEESE right?


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2" thick
1 (14.5 oz) can diced Italian tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (10.75 oz) tomato soup
1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese
6 c bow tie (farfalle) pasta, cooked (about 12 oz uncooked)
1 1/2 c Mozzarella Cheese, shredded and divided


1. Cook sausage in hot oil over medium-high heat in skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain well. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato soup. Simmer 3 minutes.

2. Combine ricotta cheese, cooked pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon half of pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with half of sauce. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 °F, 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lovin the Premade Ravioli!

So I picked up another package of refrigerated Buitoni Ravioli from Safeway today. This time they were stuffed with Chicken and Roasted Garlic. I just cooked them and then mixed them with some heated Marinara Sauce. SO quick and yummy! Oh yea and I also stirred in some Mozzarella Cheese! :)

World's Healthiest Foods is a really popular website and I think it's a great way to find ideas to try out different types of fruits and veggies. They feature a Food of the Week every week and describes what its health benefits are and how to enjoy it. Since my NY Resolution is to eat lots of different fruits and veggies, this website will give me some great pointers! :)

This week it's the good old BROCCOLI! Did you know that it protects the body against all types of cancer, helps to detox and eliminate toxins, supports stomach health, builds stronger bones AND boosts the immune system? WOW! You just can't get enough of this good stuff!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Yummy Healthy High Fiber Blueberry Muffins

Every year during January it seems that the commercial industry just can't get enough of "Diet Foods" and "Weight-loss Supplements". Even the Food Network is doing a whole day of "Healthy Recipes"! order to join the Bandwagon, I decided to bake up some really healthy Blueberry Muffins. They're super high in fiber and antioxidants and has very little fat and sugar. They've even got some Omega-3 from the Walnuts! Now try not to eat the entire batch! :)

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 c high-fiber cereal (I used Trader Joe's)
1/2 c milk
1/2 fresh blueberries
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg white
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c chopped walnuts


1. Prejeat oven to 400°F. Line a regular-size 6-muffin pan with paper baking cups.

2. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with rolling pin or meat mallet (or crush in food processor). In medium bowl, stir cereal, milk and vanilla until well mixed. Beat in oil and egg with fork until blended.

3. Stir flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into cereal mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries and walnuts.

4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cheesy Ham AND Chicken Rotini

We're running very low on left-overs in the fridge and freezer so I decided to whip up a big batch of pasta. There's really not much of a recipe here since I just threw together a bunch of stuff I had in the fridge. I cooked up a box of Rotini Pasta according to the pacakge directions, then mix it with a jar of Vodka Cream Sauce, 1 cup of cooked diced ham and a package of pre-cooked diced chicken in a large baking pan. Then I topped everything with 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese and baked it for 30 min in a 350 degree oven. That's it! You can add whatever seasoning you like but I left everything just as is since I figured there's enough flavors going on in there already. Super easy right? AND Super YUMMY! Now we have left-overs again! YEAH!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I cannot BELIEVE it's 2009! I guess a lot happened in 2008 but it just doesn't seem like a whole year's gone by. ANYWAY...I'm sure 2009 will be a great year! We started the night with our friends at Hime Restaurant, which was a Sushi and Japanese place in the Marina. It was a really cute restaurant and the food wasn't bad either. The sushi was fresh and the service was really fast. We had numerous bottles of Sake and Soju going, which made everything taste even better! Me and Greg called it a night around 11:30 and went home to watch the fireworks from our balcony. It was a LOT better than trying to find a cab AFTER midnight! :)

Here are my favorite boys: Greg (duh!), Gregg, Bryant and Ron! Happy 2009!

My 2009 Workout Plan

This Workout has been adapted from my new Muscle and Fitness HERS Magazine. (I had to alter a few of the exercises since my gym doesn't have the machine listed.) It's called the Back-on-Track Workout Plan and even though I haven't really fallen off my track, I thought this was an easy to follow plan that works perfectly with my schedule. I plan to do 3 sets of 12 for every exercise. Wish me luck! :)

Monday: Upper Body

1. Chest
-Incline Dumbbell Press
-Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye
2. Shoulders
-Overhead Dumbbell Press
-Lateral Raise
3. Triceps
-Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension
4. Biceps
-Dumbbell Curl

Tuesday: Lower Body

1. Quads/Glutes/Hamstrings
-Barbell Squat
2. Quads
-Leg Extensions
3. Hamstrings
-Seated Hamstring Curl
4. Calves
-Dumbbell Calve Raise
5. Abs

Wednesday: Upper Body

1. Back
-Bent-Over Row
-Lat Pulldown
2. Chest
-Flat-Bench Dumbbell Press
3. Shoulders
-Dumbbell Upright Row
4. Triceps

Thursday: Lower Body

1. Quads/Glutes/Hamstrings
-Dumbbell Lunge
-Leg Press
2. Hamstrings
-Roman Deadlift
3. Calves
-Seated Calf Raise
4. Abs
-Reverse Crunch

Chicken Fettuccini for the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I'm feeling surprisingly great, well not really that surprising since I didn't do any shots or drink a whole bottle of Champagne by myself! I've matured so much! hehe
I decided to go down to San Jose and take my mom to lunch so I made this Chicken Fettuccini for my Honey to eat while I'm away. There are also a LOT of left-overs! It's amazing what I can just whip up in just 30 minutes with a bottle of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce and a package of Tyson chicken nowadays. Rachael Ray would be proud! :)

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