Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fast Five Followed by Fast Pizza!

We've been waiting for Fast Five to come out for months now and were so excited to watch it. My verdict? LOVED it! It's one of those movies with lots of action, funny dialogues and some of my favorite actors! We went to a 5pm showing to avoid the crowds and were starving by the time we got out. (I swear Popcorn and Skittles only make me hungrier!) Dinner had to be quick so of course, pizza was on the menu. This one was definitely yummy topped with Rotisserie Chicken mixed with Honey BBQ Sauce, Smoked Gouda Cheese and fresh Thyme. What a perfect Saturday!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Creamy Pillows of Yumminess!

We LOVE any type of stuffed pasta at our house and I always keep a few packages from Trader Joe's in the fridge for an easy dinner. Tonight, I made their Chicken Sausage Ravioli, which has Wild Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes in them and were HUGE! I used our favorite Bertolli Garlic Alfredo Sauce and added some grilled chicken for extra meatiness. Super quick and SO incredibly yummy!

Mexican Brownie Bites to Welcome Cinco de Mayo!

It's almost time for Cinco de Mayo yet so I baked some Mexican Brownie Bites. What makes them Mexican? Well, I added some cinnamon and chipotle powder to my favorite Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix so they taste like Mexican Hot Chocolate. You can really taste the kick from the spices and everyone's loving them! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going Caribbean with my Chicken!

Mangos went on super sale this week and I remembered saving this recipe for Caribbean Chicken with Mango Coconut Sauce from McCormick. I LOVE the sweet and savory flavor combo in this dish! It tasted so exotic with the mango and coconut and I'm sure using fresh mango definitely tasted better than frozen. The sauce was rich and full of flavor and tasted like a trip to the Caribbean. Not bad on a weeknight huh?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yummy Yummy Tomato Chutney!

Our pork chop dinner tonight was inspired by Martha Stewart's Pork Chops with Tomato Chutney. I made just a few changes, which made it a one pot dish and it came out amazing! The Tomato Chutney was sweet and savory with a lil bit of kick (my addition!) and just perfect with the pork!


2 pork chops
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c onion chopped
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 c chopped tomatoes with juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp raisins
1 tsp brown sugar


1. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork until browned and cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

2. Add onion, mustard and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, vinegar, raisins and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat.

4. Add pork back along with any juices. Cover and simmer until pork is cooked through, 10 minutes. Remove pork to serving platter.

5. Turn heat up to high and boil until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over pork.

A "Taste of Thai" Dinner

We LOVE Thai food and I'm so glad I started making it at home cuz it's so much faster (and cheaper!) than takeout! This Green Curry Chicken with Ginger meal was so quick and easy! Do you know the secret to moist and tender meat? Cornstarch! Yes, a simple dredge in cornstarch will ensure that your meat never dries out in a stir-fry! It works with chicken, pork, beef and even shrimp. This was my first time with Green Curry and I love the slightly milder flavor. The Coconut Milk made such a wonderful rich sauce and I served it over rice noodles, which is Greg's new favorite side dish. YUM!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lamb is a Must for Easter Dinner!

When I think of Easter Sunday, I think of Champagne Brunch in the sun and a big dinner that involves lamb. Growing up, we would gather with family and friends and the table would be filled with a big Honey Baked Ham, my cousin's potato salad, some type of asparagus dish, sweet rolls and my favorite, a leg of lamb. Since there was only the 2 of us, I thought a whole leg would be a bit excessive so I made chops instead. I had just watched Aarti make her Spicy Sticky Lamb Chops and definitely wanted to try them! I used ground coriander and cumin instead of the coriander and fennel seeds so I skipped the toasting and grinding part. I just stirred all the marinade ingredients together and added the meat in the morning so that it could soak up all the yummy flavors. It turned out SO yummy and easy too. Perfect Easter dinner for 2!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Meatballs Tagine...WOW!

We LOVE meatballs at our house and so when I came across this recipe for Moroccan Spicy Meatballs, I knew I had to try it immediately. I mean, meatballs in a tomato sauce with eggs cracked in it? How can that NOT be good? It was even better than I had imagined! The meatballs were so flavorful and stayed super moist in the sauce. The eggs baked in them were just genius, pure genius! I served the meatballs with couscous and we enjoyed every last bite. What a great way to start the weekend!

All Store-Bought but ALL GOOD!

It's my baking night so I kept dinner VERY quick and easy. Here's a bowl of yummy Lobster Ravioli from Trader Joe's with a sauce made from jarred Alfredo Sauce and Imitation Crab. I do think that Imitation Crab has a bad name cuz it doesn't really taste much like crab but it's REALLY good and good for you too so I'm glad Greg loves it. You can't beat a 15-minute meal that tastes this good!

Easter Fun Time Cookies

I've been saving this recipe for Fun Time Cookies just for Easter and couldn't wait to finally make them! Rolling the dough in all the pretty sprinkles was so much fun and they turned out SO cute too! The recipe says it makes 3 dozen cookies but I only ended up with 16 so maybe mine are just bigger? Anyway, they are REALLY buttery and yummy so definitely a keeper! Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's All About the Shiny Glaze!

While searching for something different to make with pork chops, I ran across this recipe for Hoisin Pork Chops. It was adapted from Emeril so I knew it had to be good! I had a bit of time so I marinated the meat for about 30 minutes before cooking it. I also just finished the dish on the stovetop, covered and simmered on low, instead of putting it in the oven. The meat was SO flavorful and the sauce was just SO sweet and salty and spicy in the most perfect way! What a great way to get over the hump of the week huh?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Great "Stolen" Recipe!

Whenever we visit my mother-in-law, I always find time to flip through her cookbooks and "steal" some great recipes. She's got a whole shelf full of them in the kitchen so I'm sure I'll never run out of stuff to read. This is a recipe for Braised Cod with Vegetables from her Illustrated Kitchen Bible, which BTW is a great book with lots of good recipes and yummy pictures. You can also find the recipe here at iVillage. The only thing I changed was using baby potatoes instead of big ones and omitting the leeks cuz Greg's not a fan. I also served the dish over some couscous to soak up all the sauce. It was an easy and flavorful dish that's a bit different than what I would normally make and that's always fun!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Halfway Authentic Chicken Korma

Why halfway? Cuz it's a McCormick's recipe (so obviously NOT authentic!) BUT my cinnamon stick and Garam Masala came straight from India! That's right, Greg's coworker works at their India office and she's sweet enough to bring me goodies every now and then. The real stuff just makes such a difference and the spices are much more potent than what you find around here. My Chicken Korma turned out SO incredibly flavorful and I made sure there was enough rice to soak up every drop of that yummy curry sauce!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giada's Yummy Beefy Manicotti!

It's been a while since I've made Manicotti so when I watched Giada make her Beef and Cheese Manicotti, I immediately got a craving. I chose to make it on Sunday night cuz it was a bit time consuming although easy using pre-made Marinara Sauce. I always love stuffing the tubes cuz it's kinda messy but a lotta fun! Beefy with 3 types of cheeses, how can this NOT be good?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spicy Mexican Meatballs and the EASIEST Mexican Rice Ever!

Do you know what Masa Harina is? Masa means dough is Spanish and it refers to the flour used to make tortillas, Tamales, Pupusas and all sorts of other yummy Mexican dishes. Masa Harina is just Masa in powdered form and I was super excited to find it at the grocery store the other day! I tested it out with these Mexican Meatballs but as usual, made a few adjustments to the recipe. I also served the meatballs with my version of Mexican Rice, which is basically just plain rice cooked with some onions and a can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies. It doesn't get easier than that. What an awesome Mexican Feast to kick off the weekend!

1/4 c Masa Harina
2 Tbsp warm water
1 lb ground pork
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 tsp Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine masa harina with water in a large bowl. Add pork, beef, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper; mix well. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place onto baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until no longer pink.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender, 5 minutes. Add tomato and cumin. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

4. Add cooked meatballs; stir gently to coat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, until meatballs are completely cooked through.

I LOVE Easter Colors (and M&M's)!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays mainly cuz I LOVE all the pastel colors and even better are all the candies featuring the colors! I can never resist buying at least a couple of bags of Easter M&M's so to stop myself from eating entire bags by myself, I decided to make some PB Cookies with them. I can't think of a better combination than PB and chocolate, especially when they're in such pretty colors!

Ingredients: (4 dozen cookies)

1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 bag M&M's


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in M&M's.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning Something New About My Hubby Everyday

A few months ago, I made Martha Stewart's Pork Chops with Apple Relish and left out the raisins cuz I could've sworn Greg said he hated them. Anyway, after trying out some Moroccan dishes, I found out he only hates fresh fruit and loves the dried stuff! So tonight, I made the recipe again but this time, kept the raisins and added my own spin on it. It came out SO incredibly good and even better than the last time if I do say so myself!


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 bone-in pork chops (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 c onion, diced
1 apple, cored and diced
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 c raisins
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c cream
1 Tbsp butter


1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of pork chops; add to skillet. Brown 3 minutes on each side and remove.

2. Lower heat to medium and add onion. Cook until translucent and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add apples and cook 3 minutes more. Add vinegar, raisins, ginger, curry and cayenne. Stir well to combine.

3. Stir in cream and bring to a boil. Add pork back, lower heat to medium low and cover. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through, 5 minutes. Remove pork to serving platter.

4. Turn heat up to high and stir in butter. Boil until thickened, 5 minutes. Serve over pork chops.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Fun with Emeril's Essence

I keep a jar of Emeril's Essence at all times cuz it's literally good on everything. It's the perfect blend of spices and really "kicks things up a notch" (as Emeril would say)! Tonight I made his Southern-Style Pan-Fried Catfish and served it with my go-to Cheese Grits. The fish turned out so incredibly flavorful and the cornmeal crust gave it such a nice texture. Greg's usually not a big fish eater but he finished every bite (with some extra Louisiana Hot Sauce, of course!) so that shows you how yummy this was!

I Discovered a NEW Cooking Show!

I always get so excited when I discover a new cooking show and I've recently fallen in love with Mad Hungry with Lucinda on the Hallmark Channel. I've watched her before on Everyday Food and she's got this "Mommy" calmness that I really like. (Kinda like a more modern version of Martha Stewart!) Anyway, I was watching her make Baked Parmesan Romano Chicken over the weekend and it looked SO good that I had to make it. I got some chicken thighs and marinated them overnight since Lucinda said the longer you marinate them the better. They turned out incredibly flavorful and perfectly crunchy on the outside but still moist on the inside! I served the chicken with some mashed potatoes and Greg absolutely loved them! I can't wait to see what she cooks up next!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is Bobotie?

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's never heard of Bobotie. It's a South African dish very much like our meatloaf but with an egg custard on top. I came across this recipe a while ago and had been talking about it ever since. I was finally able to find Mango Chutney from Trader Joe's and couldn't wait to make it. It was amazing! All the spices and the chutney made it so much more flavorful than regular meatloaf (not that I don't still love meatloaf!) and the egg custard on top was creamy and just perfect! Sadly but definitely not surprisingly, there aren't any left-overs. Oh well, guess I'll just have to make it again!

Friday, April 8, 2011

IMPOSSIBLY Easy Chicken Pot Pie!

I love making meals from scratch but on a Friday night after a LONG week, I have nothing against taking shortcuts. ThisImpossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie was definitely as easy as you can get. Instead of frozen veggies, I used a can, and dinner was done before I could change into sweats! Total comfort food on a Friday night!

Butterscotch Cookies with a Hint of Lemon

I think lemon totally represents spring and they just add a brightness to everything. These Butterscotch Lemon Cookies happened purely by mistake cuz I actually wanted to make some White Chocolate Lemon Cookies but ran out of White Chocolate Chips. I didn't know if the flavor combo would work but the sweetness of the butterscotch paired perfectly with the tartness of the lemon zest! They may look pretty small but they're packed with flavor and just PERFECT for Cookie Friday!

Ingredients: (2-1/2 dozen cookies)

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 c Butterscotch Chips


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

2. Beat butter, brown sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in chips.

3. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Version of Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

A while back, I made Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese from The Food Network Magazine and we just loved the flavor combination! Tonight though, I made my own slightly different version using Crispy Chicken Strips and a topping of Mozzarella and Italian breadcrumbs. It came out just as good, if not better! I guess you can't go wrong with combining 2 of our favorites! Trust me, the left-overs (if there are any) only get better!


3 crispy chicken strips, cooked and diced
1 c small elbow macaroni
1/2 c hot pepper sauce (Frank's RedHot)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 c chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 c whole milk or half and half
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs


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

2. Cook macaroni in a pot until al dente. Drain and toss with chicken and hot sauce.

3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft but not brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk or half and half. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer sauce 2 minutes.

4. Add cheeses, paprika and mustard. Whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Stir in pasta mixture until mixed well.

5. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella and panko evenly on top. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and drizzle on top. Bake, uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just Do What the Ad Says!

Flipping through one of my cooking magazines the other day, I came across an ad for Johnsonville Sausage featuring a recipe for Italian Meatballs. You KNOW how much we love meatballs at our house so I had to give it a try. Spaghetti and Meatballs really never get old and Greg is always happy when I make it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Orangy Take on Spice Cookies

I LOVE Spice Cookies! They're the perfection combination of sweet and spicy and smell just like the holidays. Since it's no where close to November yet and we're finally getting some spring-like weather, I decided to make these Orange Spice Cookies. Instead of rolling the dough balls in orange zest and sugar, I just added the zest right into the mixture. The combination of molasses, maple syrup and all the spices made these cookies SO flavorful and the hint of orange added a nice brightness. They were SO good and my coworkers totally love them! Happy Friday everyone!

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