Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Windy Weather Calls for Comforting Italian!

SF has been hit with some super windy weather so we definitely needed some comfort food for dinner. I had some boneless chicken thighs thawing in the fridge so I decided to create one of our favorite Italian dishes, Parmesan Chicken. It's the ultimate comfort food topped with warm Marinara Sauce and LOTS of ooey gooey Mozzarella! YUMMY!


1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c dried bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
1 c Marinara Sauce
1/2 c shredded Mozzarella
Hot cooked pasta


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

2. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.

3. Pour garlic butter into a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side.

4. Spread half of the Marinara Sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place browned chicken pieces on top. Drizzle with garlic butter from the pan and top with remaining Marinara Sauce.

5. Sprinkle with Mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbly. Serve with pasta.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Crust Tastes Like Tater Tots!

Did you LOVE Tater Tots as a kid? I know I did and tonight, my Potato-Crusted Fish tasted just like it! I dredged some cod fillets in a mixture of Instant Mashed Potato Flakes, flour and Parmesan and then pan-fried them. It was quick and oh SO yummy! I served them with Mashed Potatoes (from REAL potatoes!) and it was the perfect fishy dinner!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Easiest Beef Stroganoff EVER!

If you have a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, you can make this Beef Stroganoff in minutes. It's not only easy but also REALLY tasty! The meat stays really tender and moist thanks to the creamy sauce. Perfect weeknight comfort food!

Left-Over Mashed Sweet Potatoes Turned into MUFFINS!

We had some left-over Mashed Sweet Potatoes so I decided to make these Sweet Potato Muffins minus the Cranberries, since I didn't have any. I had my hubby taste-test them and he determined they were yummy before I took them to work. They were a HUGE HIT and VERY appropriate for an After-Thanksgiving Treat!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Something Different After LOTS of Turkey!

After an entire week of turkey and other Thanksgiving goodies, I decided to make something different for dinner, Crabmeat Enchiladas. The crabmeat was actually Imitation Crab, which we both absolutely LOVE. It was definitely what we needed to get out of that turkey coma, (not that we don't love Thanksgiving)!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tis The Season for LOTS of Bubbly!

Pretty much from mid November to the end of the year, I tend to drink LOTS of Bubbly cuz hey, it's the HOLIDAYS! I saw this recipe from Emeril for Champagne-Poached Salmon and was inspired to cook with it. I made a few adjustments and came up with my own. It was REALLY yummy and a good change from all the holidays meals we have coming up that will definitely involve lots of turkey and ham!


2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 c Brut Champagne
1 Tbsp shallots or onions
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp Champagne vinegar


1. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the Champagne, shallots, mushrooms, dill, salt and pepper; and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the fish and spoon the poaching liquid over it. Cook uncovered until the salmon is firm and cooked through, about 10 minutes. (If the poaching liquid does not cover the fish, spoon the liquid over the fillets as they cook.)

3. Using a slotted spatula, remove the fish from the pan and blot excess liquid with a paper towel.

4. Bring to poaching liquid to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and simmer until cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon, and is reduced by nearly half, about 3 minutes.

5. Whisk in the butter until smooth and serve over fish.

My Mother-in-Law Has NEVER Had Nutella?

My hubby always told me he never had Nutella before and now I know why. I was asking my mother-in-law if she liked Nutella and she told me she'd never had it before. OMG! Ok, so I knew I DEFINITELY had to let her taste how yummy this spread is. I decided to make add it to some Pumpkin Muffins to bring down for Thanksgiving and they turned out amazing! Chocolate, Hazelnut AND Pumpkin, how can you go wrong?

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
1 c Nutella


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spice and salt.

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, pumpkin puree and Nutella

5. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Because Knorr Soup Mix Comes with 2 Packages!

Since Knorr Soup Mix comes with 2 packages, I had 1 left over after making my Chili. I decided to try another recipe from their website, Pork Chops with Apple Onion Sauce. I used bone-in chops and served them over Mashed Sweet Potatoes. VERY appropriate for fall and VERY yummy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Yummy Chili Inspired by Knorr

For some reason, Knorr French Onion Mix always go on sale during this time of the year. Probably cuz it makes the easiest Spinach Dip that's perfect for those last-minute parties. I always stock up and then have so many packets left over that I need to find ways to use them. Tonight, I was inspired by the Two Bean Chili on their website. I only used Black Beans (Cuban style from Trader Joe's) and also cooked the whole thing on the stovetop instead of baking it. The Corn Muffins I used were Bobby Flay's Blue Corn Muffins, which has always been a favorite at our house. A VERY yummy and comforting dinner on a cold Sunday night!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tis the Season for Pumpkin Obsession!

Around this time of the year, I become a bit pumpkin-obsessed so you'll be seeing lots of pumpkin creation like these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. They're loaded with dried cherries and white chocolate chips and absolutely delicious! They're also very soft, making them taste almost bread-like. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mac and Cheese Made with Evaporated Milk!

Evaporated Milk is on sale everywhere this time of the year so I stocked up. Tonight, I made Mac and Cheese with it and it came out creamy and delicious! I added some Italian Sausage to the mix and baked it all off in the oven with cheesy breadcrumbs on top. What a great weeknight meal!


1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c diced onion
2 links sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 can (12 fl oz) Evaporated Milk
1/2 c water
1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c dry small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained


1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese


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

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add the sausage, cornstarch, salt, mustard and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, 3 minutes.

3. Stir in evaporated milk and water. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

5. Stir together topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and light brown.

My Work BFF! (and a BIG Turkey!)

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week and today we had our potluck at work. There was SO MUCH FOOD and everyone went into a food coma for the afternoon! ANYWAY, I wanted to share a pretty picture of me and my Work BFF, Jessica...

...and a picture of the HUGE TURKEY we had! YUM YUM!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Season Continues!

I had half a can of pumpkin left over from making my Pumpkin Muffins so I decided to try this Baked Ziti with Pumpkin and Sausage. (I halved the recipe.) I used Italian Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe's, which is one of our favorites, and the dish turned out so good! The Pumpkin Sauce was super creamy from the Evaporated Milk and just went so well with the slightly spicy sausage. Quick and perfect dinner on a fall night!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Season Has Arrived!

I LOVE baking with pumpkin and I'm always really excited when it's finally time for pumpkin season! I decided to kick off the occasion by making these Pumpkin Muffins. The only thing I changed was subsituting 1 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice (which I ALWAYS keep on hand around the holidays!) for all the other spices in the recipe. My favorite part about these muffins is the sunflowers seeds on top, which added a wonderful crunch and texture! Can't WAIT till Turkey Day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We'll NEVER Get Sick of Stuffed Shells!

There was a time when I wanted to make stuffed shells but didn't have all the ingredients but that time is gone! I now make sure I ALWAYS have Ricotta Cheese and Jumbo Shells on hand for when the craving hits. Tonight, the craving hit and we had Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Tyson's Chicken Strips and Bertolli Alfredo Sauce. SO easy and SO good! Ready to go into the oven...

...ready to be devoured!

2 Muffin Recipes Featuring a "Secret Ingredient"

What's the "Secret Ingredient"? Kelloggs Corn Flakes! I noticed that we have boxes of them being untouched at work so I decided to "steal" some to bake with. (Hey, since they're for my coworkers, I can justify that!) First up are Banana Muffins, which came out REALLY REALLY yummy!

Next, I made a few changes to this recipe by adding raisins and increasing the sugar to 1/2 cup. Also, a definite winner! My coworkers loved them!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tyler Florence Never Fails Me!

Tyler Florence's "Ultimate" recipes are just that and they never fail me! Tonight, I made his Braised Lamb Shanks with Green Olives and Apricots and it was a definite winner! Braising the lamb in wine really helps tenderize them cuz shanks can be a pretty tough cut. Then cooking them low and slow for over an hour makes the meat just fall off the bones! I love the addition of the green olives and apricots, which gave the dish a unique flavor and texture. YUM YUM! Thanks Tyler!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Easiest Tetrazzini EVER!

We have a LOT of Cream of Mushroom Soups at home so I'm always looking for ways to use them. I came across this recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini and couldn't wait to try it! It was one of the easiest recipes I've ever made but tasted amazing! Creamy sauce with a cheesy topping, what could be better?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Getting Chili!

The temperature has literally dropped 10 degrees overnight so I'm totally craving something warm and comforting! Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I decided to make Turkey Chili (especially since ground turkey was on sale!). I did make a few changes by substituting canned green chilies for the serrano and creamed corn for the hominy. I also topped my chili with a dollop of sour cream and served it with some REALLY yummy Corn Muffins. Why were they REALLY yummy, you ask? Cuz they've got Creamed Corn in them! Oh yea!

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c cornmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c creamed corn
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 c grated sharp cheddar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line or spray muffin cups.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

3. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My First Crazy Cooking Challenge!

If you've never heard of the Crazy Cooking Challenge, please click on the logo above. I discovered it a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to participate! This month, we're asked to make Mashed Potatoes and I chose this recipe from Fearless Kitchen that adds horseradish to the mix. I served it with some Pork Chops in Champagne Sauce inspired by Robin Miller. To jazz it up though, I also added chopped apples and mushrooms. We really enjoyed every last bite and I can't wait until the next challenge!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs new potatoes, skins on
1/2 c cream
4 oz horseradish cheddar cheese, grated


1. Chop the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the potatoes are tender, 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes and immediately return them to the hot pan. Add the horseradish cheddar and cream. Sse a masher to mash the potatoes to desired texture.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Perfect Fall Treat!

I don't know about you but when I think of fall, apples definitely come to mind. Zucchini is also not far away since we're still seeing plenty of them after the summer harvest. So when I saw this recipe for Zucchini Apple Bread, I knew I was in for a seasonal treat! They came out so moist and since I made mini loaves, they only took about 25 minute to bake. (I'm VERY impatient!) The coconut flakes also gave them a tropical flavor, which I really loved. Perfect weekend treats!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tonight My Chicken Got Angry!

Tonight, I made Chicke all'Arrabbiata, which means Angry Chicken in Italian and it's got some serious kick to it! Spiced with a mixture of Poblano AND red chili flakes, you can really taste the heat and why this bird is angry! I used a red bell pepper instead of yellow and I also finished the dish on the stovetop instead of the oven. A VERY yummy treat on a Friday night!

Banana Split in Cookie Form? Oh Yea!

As a kid, my favorite thing about summer is ordering a Banana Split at Baskin Robbins. The combinations are endless but my favorite was always the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry topped with a mountain of whipped cream, LOTS of nuts and of course, a cherry on top. I mean, what could be better than a huge platter of ice cream on a hot summer day? Anyway, so when I found this recipe for Banana Split Cookies, I knew I had to make them ASAP. They actually taste JUST like the real thing and totally took me back to my childhood!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Bowls of Baked Ziti!

Can you believe my hubby's never had Baked Ziti before? I definitely had to school him on that one with Robin Miller's recipe. Instead of canned tomatoes, I used Prego's Flavored with Meat Sauce and it was just perfect! I mean, sausage, pasta and LOTS of CHEESE, what can be better?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Moroccan Goodness!

We LOVE Moroccan food even if it's not authentic like Emeril's Chicken Thighs with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives. I used Pimento-Stuffed Olives (which are my favorite) and it went really well with all the other flavors! The chicken was so tender and super moist. I swear Preserved Lemons make everything taste better! BAM!

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