Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dusting Off The Old Mrs Fields Cookie Book

It's been a while since I've flipped through the Mrs Fields Cookie Book that Greg's mom gave me. I remember how excited I was when I first got it and marked all these yummy recipes to try! I turned to it for some inspiration tonight and decided to make Cocomia Cookies. These cookies are full of Coconut and Macadamia Nuts and just perfect for summer!




Ingredients: (3 dozen cookies)


2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c shredded sweetened coconut
1-1/2 c macadamia nuts


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 300°F.


2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt.


3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend sugars and butter at medium speed to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.


4. Add the flour mixture, coconut and nuts, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.


5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies with spatula to a cool flat surface.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Muffins to Share with my Girls!

I have some girlfriends visiting this weekend (including my future sis-in-law!) so I baked some Strawberry Muffins to share. I'm the baker of the group (surprise surprise!) so I'm sure they're expecting a yummy treat and these sure won't disappoint!




Ingredients: (12 muffins)


1/2 c sugar
2-1/2 c all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c fresh diced strawberries


Prep:


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place 12 paper baking cups in a muffin pan.


2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour and baking powder with a spoon. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and combine them with the buttermilk, butter and vanilla extract with a whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Add the diced strawberries and stir until combined. Spoon the batter into the baking cups.


3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Sweet and Savory Pork Chops in Nectarine Sauce

You might not think of putting pork and nectarine together but they totally work. We're big fans of sweet and savory at our house and this was the perfect combination. I used lemonade as the base of the sauce here but any type citrucy juice would work. The sauce reduces down into a thick glaze that's PERFECT on top of the chops! I served them over our favorite Cheese Grits that soaked up all the yummy sauce. A perfect dinner to get us through Hump Day!




Ingredients:


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 boneless pork chops (1/2-inch thick)
1/4 c onions, diced
1 nectarine, sliced
1/2 c lemonade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp butter


Prep:


1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over med-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Brown each side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.


2. Add the onions and nectarine to the pan. Sauté until onions are soft, 4 minutes. Stir in juice and scrape up brown bits. Stir in mustard and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and add back the chops. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the pork reaches the desired doneness. Remove chops to serving platter.


3. Turn heat up to high and let boil until sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Stir in butter and serve over chops.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's Cheesy, Meaty and SUPER Yummy?

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage! When I saw this recipe I KNEW I wanted to make it ASAP! I mean what can be better than pasta with meat sauce baked with cheese on top? It was also such an easy and quick meal to put together too, which makes it the PERFECT recipe! Oh and not to mention the left-overs will be good too!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yes Meatloaf Can Be Asian!

A while back, I watched Ming Tsai make Dijon Meatloaf and really wanted to give it a try. I didn't think meatloaf could be Asian but why not right? Ming added Sambal, which I'd never heard of, but found out that it was just another version of Asian Chili Sauce. I actually ran out and bought a jar right away but didn't get to make the meatloaf until tonight. I'm so glad I did cuz it turned out SO yummy! I used a mixture of ground beef and pork cuz we're not big fans of ground turkey at our house. The flavors of the Dijon, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire and Sambal all went so well together and the meatloaf came out really juicy. I'm glad we have left-overs cuz I have a feeling it'll taste even better tomorrow!

Watching More Cooking Shows @ The Gym!

If you know me you know I like to watch cooking shows during my workouts (or any other time of the day for that matter). There's no Food Network at my gym but PBS is available and they air America's Test Kitchen around lunch time. It's quickly become one of my favorite shows cuz they have great recipes and the Product Taste Tests and Equipment Guides are really helpful too! I watched an episode on Blueberry Muffins earlier this week and have been wanting to make them ever since. They're different than any other muffins I've made before cuz besides the berries themself, you also add a swirl of blueberry jam. The jam is basically just blueberries cooked down with some sugar but it really takes the muffins to a whole new level! I omitted the Lemon Sugar Topping cuz I didn't have any lemons but they came out really yummy anyway. This is a MUST try recipe if you like Blueberry Muffins and I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't?




Ingredients: (12 muffins)


2 c fresh blueberries
1 c + 1 tsp sugar
2-1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Prep:


1. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.


2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray or line 12 muffin cups.


3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 cup sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds (remember, 80 strokes). Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be very lumpy with spots of dry flour; do not overmix!


4. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon 1 teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound, pushing it below the surface. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure eight motion.


5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, about 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin (front to back) halfway through cooking time. Cool muffins in tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 more minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Yummy Recipe from Sunny!

I watched Sunny Anderson make Corny Mango Salmon a while ago and knew it was something I wanted to try. The combination of mango and salmon just sounded so perfect for the summer! It came out really good and cooked in no time at all. I served the salmon over couscous along with some reserved mango sauce on top. The perfect Sunday night dinner!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not Too Pretty but Sure Was TASTY!

This may not look like much but it was a VERY yummy dinner! It's my Pineapple Honey Mustard Chicken served over Couscous, the perfect combination of sweet and savory.




Ingredients:


1/2 c crushed pineapple
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 c onions, minced
1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter


Prep:


1. In a small bowl, stir together the pineapple, honey, Dijon and curry.


2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-heat until shimmering. Add chicken thighs skin-side down; cook until well browned and most of fat has rendered from skin, 5 minutes. Turn chicken and lightly brown other side, about 5 minutes longer. Remove chicken and set aside.


3. Add onions and mushrooms; sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until moisture evaporates and vegetables begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.


4. Add broth, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Stir in the pineapple mixture.


5. Submerge chicken pieces in liquid and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender and internal temperature reaches 170°F, about 25 minutes, turning with tongs halfway through cooking.


6. Remove chicken to serving platter. Turn heat to high, stir in butter and boil until mixture thickens, 5 minutes. Serve over chicken.

Finally...Pecan Shortbread Cookies!

If you ask my mom what her favorite cookie is she wouldn't even think before saying "Pecan Shortbread". So since I didn't get to see her last weekend, I decided to make a special treat for her Barefoot Contessa style! I ended up making the dough a day before and then letting it soften a lil before rolling it out. I cut my cookies with a 2-1/2 inch fluted cutter to make them look a bit more fancy. I made sure not to over-bake them and they came out perfectly browned on the edges but still soft in the middle. Don't you feel loved mom?

New Laughing Cow Flavor!

I LOVE Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges and was totally excited when I saw a new flavor at Trader Joe's the other day, Blue Cheese! It's REALLY REALLY good! It's got tons of Blue Cheese flavor and tastes good on just about anything! I saw on their website that they have 2 other new flavors, Sun-Dried Tomato Mozzarella and Queso Fresco Chipotle. Where can I find those???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Redeeming Dinner!

Since last night's Curry Burgers weren't so successful, I decided to make a fail-proof meal tonight to redeem myself. That means Sausage Stuffed Shells! Meat and Pasta is always a winner at our house and I always have the ingredients ready to go. Instead of the bell peppers used in the Jimmy Dean recipe, I added mushrooms cuz that was what I had on hand. A yummy back-to-the-basics kinda mea!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunny's Curry Pork Burgers

I watched Sunny make some Curry Pork Burgers that looked really yummy so I decided to give them a try. The verdict? I'm just NOT a successful burger maker! I mean, they weren't bad but I think I'll let the restaurants (or Greg's dad!) make the burgers from now on. The curry and coriander added a nice exotic touch to the meat and I topped them with slices of Provolone that matched well with all the flavors. I also made a side of Macaroni Salad, which was pretty tasty and rounded out the meal nicely. All in all, not a total fail but not our favorite dinner so far!

Pineapple + Butterscotch = The Perfect Combo!

Pineapples make me think of sitting on a warm tropical beach and since it's closer to winter weather here in SF, I can only bake and dream! I found this recipe for Pineapple Butterscotch Bars from the Dole website and thought I'd give it a try since I've never thought of that combination before. I tweaked the recipe just a bit to make a smaller batch and they came out perfect! The butterscotch chips weren't too sweet at all and went really well with the refreshing taste of the pineapples. The walnuts added a nice lil crunch too. Perfect summer snacks except that we're not having summer weather right now! :(




Ingredients: (9 Bars)


1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 oz (1/2 of a 20 oz can) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c butterscotch chips
1/4 c chopped walnuts


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8-ich baking pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; set aside.


2. Beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in crushed pineapple. Stir in flour mixture, butterscotch chips and nuts until blended.


3. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Dust cooled cake with powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into squares.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pulled Pork Enchiladas Take 2!

Remembering how good my last Pulled Pork Enchiladas turned out, I decided to make them again using the left over pork. This time I mixed the meat with a can of Rosarita Spicy Jalapeno Refried beans to give it a kick. The Enchilada Sauce I used is our favorites, La Victoria. A simple and delicious meal on a Monday night!

Wish We Were Still in SoCal!

We're back from another fun trip to SoCal and I wish we were still there! The weather was AMAZING down there (well, a lil hot but SO much better than foggy cold SF!) and as usual, we had a great time! We enjoyed some sun and another yummy Mexican feast at Javier's. Can't wait to go back!



More Tomato Feta Muffins

My last batch of Tomato Feta Muffins turned out so yummy that I decided to try the combo again. This time I added some sour cream to the mixture and they came out even BETTER! As usual I used Athenos Crumbled Feta (awarded "Best Feta" at the 2009 World Dairy Expo) and this time in Garlic and Herb flavor. Trust me, there's NOTHING like the flavor of this yummy combo!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


1/4 c butter, melted and cooled
1/3 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 egg
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Roma tomatoes, about 1/2 c, chopped
4 oz crumbled Feta cheese


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners.


2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the butter, sour cream, milk and egg. In another bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in wet ingredients just until combined. Stir in tomatoes and cheese.


3. Fill muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned on top and toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Future Sis-In-Law Requested

Kanika, my future sis-in-law asked if I'd ever made Strawberry Muffins before and what could I possibly do but make some? These are Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins and they're the PERFECT breakfast treat!




Ingredients: (12 muffins)


1 c oatmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 egg
1/4 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 c fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped (do not thaw)


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 12 medium muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.


2. In large bowl, combine remaining oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In small bowl, combine milk, egg, oil and vanilla; mix well. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. (Do not overmix.) Gently stir in strawberries. Fill muffin cups almost full.


3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

Guys Fieri Has Done It Again!

I have no idea why some people don't like Guy Fieri but in my opinion, he's AWESOME! I watched him make something he called Taj Maholla Chicken and immediately knew that I wanted to make it! I mean, even the name sounds cool! The only thing I changed was using canned chopped tomatoes instead of fresh so that I didn't have to puree the mixture in the food processor. Other than that, the recipe was followed and it was perfect!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Condiments Needed?

Tonight, something amazing happened! No, I didn't win the Lottery and no, I didn't discover an ancient artifact. I made a dish that Greg didn't need to put condiments on! Yes, it's the little things in life that matter. The fresh plum sauce I made was SO flavorful that it was just PERFECT on its own!




Ingredients:


2 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
Salt and ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 c onion, chopped
2 red plums, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 c chicken broth


Prep:


1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.


2. To the same skillet, add remaining oil and onion; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add plums, brown sugar, vinegar, curry powder and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken and any juices that have accumulated. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until chicken’s internal temperature reaches 170°F.


3. Remove chicken and turn heat to high. Boil until plums are softened and liquid is slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Serve chicken with chutney spooned on top.

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins...TOO Cute!

I had some Pineapple Rings left over from making my Pineapple Duck Fried Rice so what did I do? Make Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins of course! How cute are they right? They taste amazing too! Full of walnuts and raisins and just the right size!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


6 pineapple slice, drained (reserve juice)
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c reserved pineapple juice
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c walnuts


Prep:


1.Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray 6 muffin cups VERY well with cooking spray.


2.Place 1 pineapple slice in each muffin cup. (Cut a bit off to fit the muffin cup if needed.)


3.Stir together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the egg, brown sugar, oil, vanilla and pineapple juice in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture, raisins and walnuts just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.


4.Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Loosen edges immediately; turn muffins out onto cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes and serve upside down with pineapple rings displayed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What's Better Than Pineapple Fried Rice?

Pineapple DUCK Fried Rice! Ever since I made my Pineapple Fried Rice with BBQ Pork and Shrimp, Greg's been asking me to make some more. So when my mom got me a Roasted Duck from the Asian market, I knew EXACTLY what to do with it! The thing about Roasted Duck though is you really don't get much meat out of them. There's a lot of yummy skin and fat but I was only able to get about a cup of actual meat from the entire animal! The meal turned out great though, a lil bit sweet from the pineapples, some heat from the Chili Sauce and lots of yummy Roasted Duck flavor!




Ingredients: (2 servings)


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 c cooked rice
1 c roasted duck meat
1 c pineapple chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili sauce
2 Tbsp pineapple juice
1 Tbsp sesame oil


Prep:


1. Heat the oil in a large pan or Wok. Add the green onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 2 minute.


2. Add the rice, duck and pineapple. Stir until rice is lightly browned, about 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps.


3. Pour in the eggs, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce curry powder, chili sauce and pineapple juice. Stir until egg is set, about 2 minutes. Drizzle sesame oil on top before serving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Secret to Perfectly Cooked Lamb is Braising!

Lamb Shoulder Chops are a lot cheaper than Lamb Loin Chops, which also means that they're a tougher cut of meat. Not to worry though, braising will make them tender and juicy just like an expensive cut! These are perfectly cooked Moroccan Lamb Chops served over a bed of yummy Couscous. I've never been to Morocco but now my tastebuds have!




Ingredients: (2 servings)


2 lamb shoulder chops
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 c beef broth
1 c canned chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves


Prep:


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chops; brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside.


2. Add onions; sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Add broth; scraping browned bits from pan bottom with wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then return chops to pot. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until the internal temperature of the chops reach 160°F, 15 to 20 minutes.


3. Remove chops to serving plate. Turn heat up to high and boil sauce until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over chops and serve.

Lemony Raisin Walnut Muffins

I had some lemons laying around so I used them to make some Lemony Raisin Walnut Muffins. I used my Daisy Pan cuz when I think of lemons, I think of sunshine and flowers. (Not the case in SF this week, but one can dream...)



Ingredients: (6 muffins)


3/4 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 rolled oats
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c milk
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c chopped walnuts


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line or grease 6 muffin cups.


2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Add oats and lemon zest.


3. In a mixing cup, whisk together the egg, oil and milk. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in raisins and walnuts.


4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just Throw it In, Turn it On and Walk Away...

And that's exactly how I got this yummy Pulled-Pork Sandwich meal! I bought some boneless pork shoulder ribs yesterday and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them...make pulled pork. I literally put the meat in, added a bottle of Honey BBQ Sauce, turned the slow cooker on low this morning and went shopping! When I got home, the kitchen was filled with the yummy smell of BBQ! The best part? Dinner was served in less than 5 minutes! That was the amount of time it took to toast up a bun, slice a tomato, open up a jar of pickles and plate some store-bought Potato Salad. Now, THAT was a great way to end the weekend!

Cheesy Tomato Muffins

It's Tomato Season so I thought I'd make some Cheesy Tomato Muffins for a nice Sunday snack. Hey, gotta keep my energy up while I'm doing laundry and cleaning the house right? Cheesy and savory and perfect summertime muffins!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


2 Tbsp bitter
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped (1/2 c)
1/4 c onions, chopped
2 Tbsp green onions, chopped
1 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 egg
1/4 c Cheddar cheese, shredded


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line 6 muffin cups.


2. In a skillet, melt butter overn medium-high heat. Cook the tomatoes, onions and green onions for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.


3. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking pwder and salt. In a measuring glass, whisk together the milk and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the tomato mixture and cheese.


4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups using a large ice cream scooper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Funny Movies Make Us Want Pizza!

Ok, actually what doesn't make us want pizza? We saw Grown Ups this afternoon and absolutely loved it! It was the perfect mixture of "guy humor", romantic comedy and stupid funny...otherwise known as the perfect summer movie (for us anyway)! I totally recommend it! Anyway, when we got home, we wanted nothing but an easy homemade pizza. Pepperoni, mushrooms and Mozzarella and DONE!

What is a Kuchen?

I love baking with fruits that are in season and I picked up some juicy plums the other day. I found this recipe for Plum Kuchen and looked up what a Kuchen was since I'd never heard of it. According to Wikipedia, Kuchen is the German word for cake and it can be anything from a Pie with Filling to a Coffee Cake. See, you do learn something new everyday! I adapted the Plum "Cake" recipe to make muffins and they turned out perfect...sweet and juicy, just like what a summertime muffin should be!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


2 eggs
1/3 c milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 medium plums, diced (about 1 c)


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line or spray 6 muffin cups.


2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and butter. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to the egg mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the plums.


3. Pour into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.

Monthly Cracker Treat

My mom absolutely LOVES Ina's Parmesan Thyme Crackers so I try to make them about once a month. I swear, they get easier every time! The trick really is to add a few teaspoons of water until the mixture comes together. It's such a great recipe cuz you can keep the dough a few days in the fridge or a month in the freezer for last minute guests or just when the cracker craving hits!

Saturday Afternoons were Made for Panini!

I've noticed that I make Panini for Saturday lunches a lot cuz they're just so easy and perfect after running my errands. Plus we never get sick of them cuz you can make them so many different ways! Today's sandwiches featured Foster Farms Grilled Chicken Strips, along with Trader Joe's Pesto, Provolone Cheese and tomatoes. Simple and delicious!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Crabmeat-Stuffed Manicotti

Now, this is my idea of a perfect Friday dinner! Crabmeat-Stuffed Manicotti, how good does that sound? I used Imitation Crab for my stuffing and it was such an easy meal! I mean, who wants to slave over a hot stove on a Friday night right? My usual go-to dinner is pizza but this was just as easy and REALLY REALLY good!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Drunk and Stuffed Chops!

Man these chops are living the life huh? Drunk AND stuffed! For dinner, I made some stuffed pork chops braised in Greg's favorite beer, Sierra Nevada. Served over some more cheesy grits and it's comfort food to the max!




Ingredients: (2 servings)


1 Tbsp butter
1 c cubed bread
1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c onions, chopped
1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 bone-in pork chops (3/4-inch thick)
1 (12 oz) bottle beer
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


Prep:


1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Add bread, onions and mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add seasoning and parmesan.


2. Make slits in pork chops to form a pocket. Stuff with bread mixture and skewer shut with toothpicks if necessary.


3. Heat olive oil in the same pot. Brown chops over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side. Add beer and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160ºF, turning chops once in the middle. Remove chops to serving plates.


4. Turn heat to high and boil the liquid until thickened, 5 minutes. Pour over pork chops and sprinkle with parsley.

Lemons for Summer

For this Cookie Friday, I wanted to make something that says "Summer" (even though it doesn't quite feel like it in SF). I decided on Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours but in miniature form. Lemons are just so refreshing, especially during the summer months, and I love baking with them! I used my Mini Tea Cake Pan and they came out SO cute! I had some left-over batter after filling all the mini molds so I made 2 normal muffins as well. Can't waste that yummy batter right?




Ingredients: (12 muffins)


2/3 c sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 c all-purpose flou
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp poppy seeds


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.


2. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.


3. In a large measuring glass, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, with rubber spatula, gently stir to blend. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in poppy seeds.


4. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taco Supreme + Mac and Cheese?

This is my Taco Supreme Mac and Cheese! We love both so why not put them together right? It's basically Mac and Cheese but with all the flavors and ingredients you'd get from a Taco Supreme. SO good! It's like Mac and Cheese with a Mexican kick!




Ingredients: (2 servings)


1/2 c Macaroni pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c onions, chopped
1/4 c jalapeno, sliced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour
1 c milk
1 c Mexican blend cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Prep:


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook just until al dente, according to package directions.


2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepot over medium-high. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, garlic, chili, cumin and coriander; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top and stir for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.


3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta and toss to combine. Sprinkle parsley on top before serving.

Yummy Dijon Ham Muffins

These Dijon Ham muffins came from my Sweet and Savory Muffins cookbook. The only thing I added were some chopped fresh parsley for flavor and color. I love savory baking and these are great!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking pwder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/2 c chopped ham
1 egg
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners.


2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper. Stir in ham. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, mustard and parsley. Add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened.


3. Fill muffin cups 3/4 cup. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cherry and Pork, Not Traditional but YUMMY!

I bet you don't really think of pork chops when you think of cherries but if you've ever had cranberry sauce with your meat, then you know how yummy a sweet and savory combination can be. Summer is cherry season so I wanted to incorporate them as much as I can in my baking and cooking. Tonight, I braised pork chops in a cherry-flavored broth. Then I reduced the broth is a thick sauce to serve on top of the meat and cheesy grits. Total comfort food and very appropriate for the season!




Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce


Ingredients:


2 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped onions
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp dry ground mustard
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Prep:


1. Rinse pork chop and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper.


2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add chop and cook on one side, undisturbed, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the pork over and brown on the other side, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.


3. Add onions and mushrooms to the same skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. Add coriander seeds, mustard, cherries, broth, marmalade and vinegar and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes. Add back pork, and any juices that have accumulated on plate and bring to a boil.


4. Turn heat down and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until pork registers 155°F on a meat thermometer. Transfer pork to a plate and let stand, loosely covered. Simmer sauce, stirring, until slightly thickened and serve over pork.


Cheesy Grits


Ingredients:


1 c whole milk
1 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c ground cornmeal
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 sharp Cheddar, shredded


Prep:


1. Place the milk, water, and salt into a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover.


2. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.


3. Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time. Serve immediately.

What You Can Do with Instant Pudding

I picked up a box of Instant Pistchio Pudding Mix and got the idea to make muffins. I've always like the combination of pistachio and cranberries and the colors are really pretty together too! The pudding mix kept these muffins really moist and added the perfect amount of sweetness.




Ingredients: (12 muffins)


2 c biscuit/baking mix
1 pkg instant Pistachio pudding mix
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 egg
1 c milk
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c chopped pistachio nuts
1/2 c dried cranberries


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.


2. In a large bowl, combine the baking mix, pudding mix and poppy seeds. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in pistachio nuts and cranberries. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.


3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Left-over Stuffed Sole

I picked up a big piece of sole the other day and decided to stuff it with some left-over bread mixture I had in the fridge. It turned out realy good, especially with pesto on top! I guess you can't really see the rolled up fillet but it's under there somewhere. What you also can't see is the mashed potatoes underneath that caught all the yummy melted lemon butter! What a treat to end the long weekend!




Ingredients:


1 c stuffing mixture
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 flounder or sole fillets
1/4 c butter, divided
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c prepared pesto


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to at 350°F. Grease a small baking dish.


2. Mix stuffing with egg. Spread over fillets; roll up and secure with toothpicks. Place in baking dish.


3. Melt butter; add lemon juice and pour over fillets. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove toothpicks before serving.
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