Sunday, August 30, 2009

Williams Sonoma Technique Class #1

A few weeks ago when as I browsed through Williams Sonoma, I discovered a list of technique classes they offer each month for free. Yes, FREE! I signed up for 10 classes and my first one was today, Crepes and Croques. I had so much fun and it was such a learning experience. Our instructor, Allison, was a joy and so helpful. The crepes were delicious. She filled them with thinly sliced pears and strawberry jam. I am more of a savory crepe person but I enjoyed these. I can't tell you how delicious the croques were. I have been thinking about them all day. If I had a griddle (which I plan to purchase this week) I would have already made a batch.  They were just fantastic! I plan to make the croques next Saturday for brunch. I may even invite a few friends over and showcase my new french skills! Once I make them I will post pictures and the recipe. For now, consider this post encouragement to visit or call your local Williams Sonoma and sign up for a few classes!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

I found this recipe on a blog that is full of great ideas. Mine did not turn out quite the way I would have liked, but they were tasty nonetheless.  I think I used too much cream cheese which is why they did not brown  on the top as they should have. Since I will be making these again in the future, I hope to master it on my next try!

6 jalapenos, sliced in half, ribs and seeds removed (I use a papertowel to get the
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.Cut a thin strip off the back of each jalapeno half so they will sit flat on the baking sheet. Mix the last 5 ingredients together until well combined.Spoon mixture to fill each jalapeno half. Bake for 15 minutes, until jalapenos are just tender and the cheese filling is bubbling & brown on top.

Baked Brie with Red Pepper Jelly

This is one of my favorite appetizers to make. It is fantastic! More importantly, its easy to make and is always a hit whenever I make it. This time I used red pepper jelly, but sometimes I leave it out. It is delicious either way!

Baked Brie with Red Pepper Jelly:

1 round of good brie (I use the one in the wooden box)
2 tablespoons of red pepper jelly
2 cans of crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating use a sharp knife to remove the rind from the brie. Spread the red pepper jelly on top of brie and wrap the brie with crescent rolls until completely covered. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crescent rolls are brown and flaky on the outside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato Stuffed with Chicken Salad

I decided to save some time in the morning and make my lunch tonight. I haven't made chicken salad in forever and for some reason it has been on my mind for the last two weeks! Needless to say, I was excited to finally get around to making it and will be even more excited around lunch time tomorrow. I got this recipe a few years ago from my good friend, Susannah. It was so different and I fell in love with it immediately. I love chicken salad and I always like to look for unique ways to make it so if you have a recipe send it my way. This is one of my favorites. The white pepper is such a nice surprise! I eyeballed the measurements so just taste as you go.

Chicken Salad:
2 cups of diced cooked chicken (I use white)
1/2 cup of fat free mayonnaise  
1 medium red onion
1/2 cup sliced almonds
white pepper to taste
a few dashes of hot sauce

Stuffing the Tomato:
Slice the tomato to remove top. Cut and spoon out inside of the tomato until clean.

*The original recipe calls for celery as most traditional chicken salad recipes do. I don't like celery so I left it out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I made another batch of hummus tonight. It is crazy good and I already have big plans for it. I kind of just eyeballed it but here are the ingredients with my best estimate on the measurements:

1 16 oz can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup of reserved liquid from chickpeas
1/3 cup of tahini
4 cloves of garlic
juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well blended.

Stocking Up On Healthy

Today I decided to visit the Women's Health website to see if I could find a few healthy tips and ideas that I could incorporate into my cooking. . I found a list of healthy, yummy items that I plan to stock my pantry with. From breads to spreads, this comprehensive list will be the perfect companion on grocery store trips.Hope you find this useful!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Night Dinner Part 2

Well, obviously I have not been in the kitchen this week. This "staycation" turned into a little vacation and I've been spending most of my time on the road, poolside, or at the beach. Not a bad way to pass time, huh? With that said, I still need to post pictures and update you on our little dinner party from last week.
We had such a great time! I was a little stressed at first since dinner was to be on the table at 7:30 and I didn't leave the grocery store until around 5...with a list of chores still waiting for me. Somehow, things came together wonderfully.
Roasted BBQ Chicken:

Courtsey of Christian Haines

1 Chicken cut into pieces (2 each of: Breasts, Thighs, Wings, and Drumsticks)

1 Large Yellow Onion
Olive Oil
16-18 oz. of Barbeque Sauce (Bullseye or Sweet Baby Rays)
Spice Rub Ratios (didn't really measure the spices but here is an estimated guess)
3 parts Brown Sugar
2.5 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Garlic Powder
1 Part Paprika
1/2 Part Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Poultry Seasoning

Mix the spices together until homogenous. Coat both sides of the chicken thoroughly with the rub and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add olive oil to skillet and brown the chicken until a golden brown crust forms on all sides.

Slice the onion and coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 pyrex casserole dish.

Place the chicken in the dish and add enough barbeque sauce to cover

the chicken.

Cook for 35-45 minutes, or until the breasts are done.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Julie and Julia: A Must See

Before I post about our Friday night dinner party, I must first discuss the pure awesomeness of this movie. I absolutely loved it and I think you will too. Like Julie, I started my blog as a way to unwind and do something that I actually ENJOY. When narrowing down my thoughts on what I wanted to blog about, I decided that I wanted to celebrate my creations in the kitchen. Well, maybe "re-creations" is a more appropriate term here. Either way, this movie is inspiring in so many ways. For me, it inspires me to continue to do what I love (cook) even though I sometimes have no idea what I'm doing...and to keep on blogging even though people may not be listening! Thanks to Christian, I will soon have an early edition of  Mastering the Art of French Cooking and on my "to cook" list is none other than Beef Bourginon. Bon Appetit! 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday Night Dinner

Tomorrow night we are having another couple over for dinner so I am anxiously skimming through my cookbooks tonight gathering ideas. I am in charge of appetizers and the salad so it won't be anything too complicated (I hope). I am really excited about putting my new apron  (in black) to good use! I know it's nothing special but I needed one and the price was right.  Tomorrow starts my week long vacation so on the days that I am home I plan to do a little experimenting in the kitchen. I will have all the time in the world to make my mistakes and learn from them! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomato Pie

Tuesday night is Christian's (my boyfriend) trivia night so I am home alone until about 10pm. Needless to say, Tuesday nights are usually a quick, fuss-free dinner since we eat at different times. I usually make a sandwich or nibble on snacks around the apartment but tonight I wanted to indulge myself and forget about the day in the process. I have been wanting to make this tomato pie for quite some time now and boy was I glad I did. This was absolutely delicious!If I hadn't gone to the gym this evening I probably would have eaten at least half of the pie! That was a tough task. Apparently tomato pies are a staple in most southern families. How did I not know about this?

Tomato Pie
Courtesy of Kasie

1 pie crust (I used store bought)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard ( I eyeballed this so I am sure I used a bit more)
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (also eyeballed this)
salt and pepper to taste ( I used sea salt and fresh black pepper)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the pie crust and fit into a pie plate. As you can see from the picture, I could have done a better job at forming the crust in my pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. While the pie crust is baking in the oven, saute onion in olive oil until tender and caramelized.

Once the pie crust is done, layer your pie starting with the onions. Place the sauteed onions on the bottom. Be sure you have enough to fill the bottom. I had to saute a little more at the last minute! Next, layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the onions.

In a bowl mix together the cheese and the mustard and spread on top of the layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for another 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.


Tuna Steaks with Fresh Greens

Well, I have to admit that I did not make these but I just had to share these beauties. I came home last night to these delicious tuna steaks that my boyfriend made. I haven't mentioned that he is an excellent cook and inspires me to become one as well. I have a long ways to go before I reach his level though! These tuna steaks are covered in a peppercorn mix and he made a homemade dressing for the salad. It was a yummy light meal and the flavors blended together perfectly. I don't have the recipe for his creation but if you would like it I can get it from him. This is the perfect meal to make before summer comes to an end.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pesto Chicken Salad

Lunch is usually my most unsatisfying meal of the day. I am guaranteed to pack a turkey sandwich, a lean cuisine, or grab a sandwich from Subway if I happen to forget to pack a lunch. So as you can see, I need to make some serious changes. I am looking for ways to spice it up a little this week and make something that is delicious, affordable, and interesting. I absolutely love chicken salad but clearly the idea of having a traditional chicken salad isn't exactly "spicing it up." I started to search for different recipes and I found a pesto chicken salad. I completely understand if the picture doesn't make you want to try it.. but hopefully the recipe will. It is a bit salty so if you don't enjoy salty things just cut out the kosher salt and I think you will be fine. I tried a spoonful after I made it and it was so refreshing! I plan to stuff a pita pocket with the mixture and add a few slices of tomato for lunch today. Next time I make this I think I will leave out the mayo, substitute basil for the arugula, and use the mixture to make a hearty chicken pesto pasta.

Pesto Chicken Salad
Courtesy of

1/4 cup low-fat or fat free mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup Arugula Pesto, recipe follows
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken diced
Arugula pesto (recipe below)

For the pesto, blend the arugula and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until well blended. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest and Arugula Pesto. Stir in the diced chicken.

Arugula Pesto:
2 cups packed arugula
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper