Friday, June 29, 2012

Jazzing up the Old Chocolate Chip Cookies with Raisins!

This is another yummy cookie recipe from my Mrs Field's Cookie Book. They jazzed up the old chocolate chip cookies with some raisins, which made an amazing addition! These were gobbled up in no time at the office!


2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 c white sugar
1 c (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c raisins 
2 c semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend sugars and butter until grainy, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing at medium speed until smooth.

4. Add the flour mixture, raising and chocolate chips. Blend at low speed until just combined.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake 20-22 minutes.

Nothing Run Down about THIS Rundown!

I had no idea what Rundown was when I came across recipe for Curry Crab Rundown. Apparently it's a Caribbean dish featuring seafood simmered in a spicy coconut sauce. Hey, there's nothing I don't love about the sound of that! I used Imitation crabmeat instead since my hubby loves it and served it over some Coconut Rice. All the flavors were amazing together and we definitely loved it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spaghetti in Pie Form!

My hubby LOVES spaghetti but it's just so boring making the same thing over and over again so when I saw this recipe for Spaghetti Pie, I knew I had to give it a try. It was so much fun to make not to mention incredibly delicious! The noodles created a nice crust and I love the addition of cottage cheese along with the Mozzarella. It was like spaghetti and pizza all in one! GENIUS!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Porkchops and Cherries, AMAZING Combo!

I've been saving this recipe for Porkchops in Cherry Sauce for a while now and finally make it tonight. The combination was just amazing! The tart cherries and sweet marmalad created the most flavorful sauce for the pork. I served them over some mashed potatoes and it was a weeknight feast at its best!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Porkchops from Paula and Jazzing Up Cheater Mashed Potatoes

Paula Deen hasn't failed me yet and neither did her Double-Orange-Glazed Porkchops that I made tonight. I added a sprinkle of Chipotle powder to the sweet orange glaze and it was the perfect combination! On the side, I made my very first mashed potatoes from a box. I jazzed it up by adding shredded Cheddar, garlic and LOTS of black pepper and it actually tasted really good! The texture was really creamy and went perfectly with the porkchops. As a working bee, I'll take any help from the store that I can get!

LOVIN Shaun T!

I tried Shaun T's Rockin Body workouts and I'm officially hooked! The workouts feel like dance parties and even more fun than Zumba! The music is just awesome with some of my all-time favorite Michael Jackson and Disco beats thrown in the mix. I've only tried the Dance Party and Party Express but I can tell that I'll like anything Shaun T's on cuz he's just so fun and motivating! I definitely worked up a sweat without even realizing it since I'm having so much fun! The moves are easy to learn and he repeats them throughout the workout but not in a boring way. If you like to dance, you should definitely try Shaun T's Rockin Body!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The (not so pretty) Neely's Lasagna

I finally found No-Boil Lasagna Noodles and decided to make The Neely's Mama's Lasagna. Unfortunately it was getting late and we were getting VERY hungry so I didn't let the pan cool enough before cutting us a piece. Not so pretty to look at but trust me, it tasted fantastic! An ooey gooey cheesy mess but oh SO yummy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tamale in Pie Form?

My hubby LOVES Tamale (who doesn't?) but the whole process of making them from scratch is way too much work for me. I mean, there's a reason they're made by Mexican grandmothers that don't work! Anyway, I came across this easy recipe for Chicken Tamale Pie and knew I had to give it a try! It was SO simple yet incredibly tasty even though not so traditional. I used Foster Farms Southwestern Chicken Strips and also added chili and cumin powder to the Biscuit topping. Just 30 minutes and we had a fiesta on a Friday night with plenty of leftovers!

PB, I mean Nutella Mini Muffins!

Ever since I discovered Nutella, not so long ago, I've been completely hooked! So much that I actually bought 2 HUGE jars from Costco while they were on sale. (Don't judge!) When I came across this recipe for PB Mini Muffins, I immediately knew I could make them even more yummy by substituting Nutella. Oh yea, I was totally right! How can you go wrong with Nutella AND chocolate chips right? Excuse me while I put everyone in a Chocolate Coma! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Ordered LOTS of Curry Paste from Amazon!

I took a chance and ordered a set of Curry Paste from Amazon and was itching to try them out. Tonight, I opened the Yellow Curry flavor to make some Meatballs in Peanut Curry Sauce (not sure where I got the idea from) and I was NOT disappointed! As soon as I opened the can, I could smell the wonderful aromas of tumeric, coriander, cardamom and cumin, basically everything that I love about Thai cuisine! I even asked my hubby to come smell the can and he was thrilled! I added a big spoonful of curry paste to the meatballs themselves and another to the sauce. The sauce was definitely the best part, creamy from the coconut milk and the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and savory! You can't see it but there was some rice down there to sock up all the yummy flavors! 


1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp curry paste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


1/2 c chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp curry paste
1 c canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar


1. Put the flour on a plate. In a bowl, mix together the beef, curry paste, salt and pepper. Shape into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the meatballs in the flour.

2. Heat the oil on high in a pan. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the onions, garlic and red curry paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the coconut milk , peanut butter, fish sauce and sugar until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil.

4. Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and simmer until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fiesta Style Mac and Cheese!

We LOVE Mac and Cheese at our house so I always try to jazz it up in different ways. Tonight, I went Fiesta Style by adding chili and cumin to the beef and using Salsa as the sauce. Then I stirred in some corn and Mexican-style cheese. I also sprinkled some more cheese on top (can never have too much cheese!) so it would create a yummy brown crust under the broiler. And what Fiesta would be complete without a generous topping of sour cream and chives right? Quick and easy and incredibly comforting on a Sunday night!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Fruity Way to Start the Weekend!

I love the combination of Balsamic Vinegar and Citrus so I knew I had to make Rachael Ray's Orange Balsamic-Glazed Chicken. It came out incredibly flavorful and just amazing! I used Cherry-flavored Balsamic Vinegar cuz I thought it would go nicely with the Orange Marmalade and served the chicken on a bed of couscous to soak up the yummy sauce. As Rachael Ray would say "YUM-O!"

Summer Jam Cookies

Fruity Cookies seemed very fitting for the warm summer days we're getting so I decided to make these Buttery Jam Cookies from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. They were so yummy, like soft pillows of fruity goodness!

Ingredients: (4 dozen cookies)

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c jam


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt until well blended and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium high speed until creamy and smooth.

4. Add the egg and beat until the mixture becomes satiny, about 2 more minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and beat just to combine.

5. Add the jam with the mixer on low and beat for another minute. Add the flour mixture with the mixer on low, and beat just until everything is combined.

6. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, 1-inch apart. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until just firm and lightly browned around the edges.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chili-Style Macaroni and Cheese!

Who doesn't love chili or mac and cheese right? BUT when you put them together, it gets even better! Tonight, I made a very comforting meal of Chili-Style Mac and Cheese. It's got some Mexican flavors from the Green Chiles and Chili Powder so I topped our bowls with sour cream and green onions. Can't beat that!


1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 c onions, chopped
1 c black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chile
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 c macaroni, cooked until al dente
1/2 c shredded Mexican cheese
Sour cream and green onions, for garnish


1. In a pot cook beef and onions over medium-high heat until meat is brown, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. 

2. Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chile, chili powder and garlic salt. Bring to a boil and add cooked macaroni. 

3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in cheese until melted. Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to the Island Mon!

It's been so warm lately so I decided to make something tropical for dinner inspired by this Jerk Chicken. I love the fact that it's served with a mixture of rice, pineapples and black beans. VERY tropical and fitting for this summer weather! 


2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp reserved pineapple juice
1 tsp Jerk seasoning
1 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c cooked white rice
1 c black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz pineapple chunks (drained, juice reserved)
Parsley, for garnish


1. Combine the vinegar, pineapple juice, jerk seasoning, hot sauce and ginger in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil and deglaze.

4. Add back the chicken and turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir the beans and pineapples into the rice. Serve chicken over rice garnished with parsley.

Happy Father's Day

One of the best parts about getting married for me is finally having a dad and being able to celebrate Father's Day! Hope you like the card I made you Jon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seems Complicated but SO Worth It!

Tonight I made Baked Greek Pasta which seemed kinda complicated but actually didn't take long at all. There were a few more steps involved than just the normal mac and cheese but the result is SO worth it! I loved the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg in this dish and really took the flavors to another level! The cheesy topping was the best part and I broiled it for a few minutes to get the nice crust. What a comforting meal on a Monday night!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big O Lamb Shanks!

Ever since I discovered how yummy lamb shanks are, I can't seem to get enough of them! Tonight I picked up 2 HUGE ones from Safeway and couldn't be happier! I braised them low and slow in a sauce made from beef broth, curry powder, onions and carrots. The meat was fall-off-the-bones tender and incredibly flavorful! Served over some couscous and Sunday night dinner couldn't have been better!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fastest Chicken Adobo!

I had a bunch of errands to run after work so I knew dinner had to be something really quick. I found a Chicken Adobo recipe from an old magazine and decided to make a faster version using Foster Farms Southwestern Chicken Strips. It literally took me 15 minutes to make and couldn't have tasted better! I served the chicken over some Microwave-Ready Mexican Rice, which is another lifesaver for busy weeknights!


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pkg (6 oz) Southwestern Chicken Strips
Salt and pepper


1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, molasses, oregano, chipotle and cocoa.

2. Add chicken and cook until heated through and sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice.

Best EVER Double PB Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies!

When I find a recipe called Best EVER PB Oatmeal Cookies I just had to test them out. The verdict? They're at least ONE of the best ones I've ever had! I also used some PB and Chocolate Chips so these cookies were extra peanut buttery! Well deserved title of BEST EVER!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Asian-Inspired Pantry Dinner

My best advice for busy nights is to have a nicely stocked pantry. You won't believe how many times I've come home later than usual or not have had time to go grocery shopping like I'd planned. I'd open the fridge to find that nothing's been thawed and debate whether I should order takeout. BUT thanks to my pantry, I know I can always whip something yummy up like tonight's Salmon Pad Thai! It's basically canned salmon, rice noodles, eggs and lots of Asian condiments. VERY easy and VERY yummy!


1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
2 eggs, beaten
6 dried red chilies (more or less according to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
1 (14 oz) canned salmon, flaked (bones removed if any)
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
Rice noodles, for serving
Green onions, for garnish


1. Melt butter with oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add eggs and cook until set. Remove and set aside.

2. Add chilies, garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds to release flavors. Add salmon, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Stir to combine and cook until salmon is warmed through. Stir in reserved eggs.

3. Serve over noodles and garnish with green onions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

An Aarti-Inspired Meatball Dinner

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Aarti's Meatball Curry. I made a few changes according to our taste and what I had on hand and it was an amazing meal!


1/2 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp green curry paste
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt


1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 c onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
1 c tomatoes, diced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp lime juice


1. In a bowl, mix the ground beef, curry paste, ginger, parsley and salt together until just combined. Roll into 6 golf-sized balls.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove and keep warm.

3. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin, mustard and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook 30 seconds.

4. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the meatballs back. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. To finish, add the parsley and lime juice. Serve over rice or with Naan.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Many Uses for a Packet of Ranch Mix

I always keep some Ranch Mix around cuz they can be used for so much more than just making dressing. Tonight I made Ranch Beef and Noodles from the Hidden Valley website and it tasted like a super flavorful Stroganoff! Creamy and delicious, how can you go wrong? A very quick and easy Sunday night meal!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mac and Cheese is PERFECT on a Friday Night!

I can't think of a better way to start the weekend than with Mac and Cheese. This wasn't just any ordinary Mac and Cheese though, it's got Apple Sausage in it! I used Trader Joe's Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage, which is one of our favorites. Since I didn't have any Ritz Crackers, I used a combination of regular breadcrumbs and Parmesan for the topping. It came out incredibly flavorful with a touch of sweetness that you wouldn't normally expect from Mac and Cheese. YUMMY!

Mini Anything is Just WAY Better!

I have an obsession with all things "mini" so I knew I wanted to make these Banana Chocolate-Chip Mini Muffins. They even call for Mini Chocolate Chips, which I just recently discovered! They taste like little bites of banana bread with a super chocolatey kick and they disappeared REALLY quickly at the office!

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