Monday, December 6, 2010

Pasta with Truffle Butter

YUM YUM YUM. This pasta is so amazing, I am coming off of my long hiatus just to share this recipe with you. Yesterday, as I cleaned the apartment I turned the tv to food network to watch one of my favorite peope, Ina Garten, get down in my dream kitchen. Hmph. Anyway, I discovered two things:

1) inexpensive way to make truffle pasta
2) a wonderful food blog, Big Girls Small Kitchen

If you are looking to impress family and friends with a delicious meal, and aren't about spending hours in the kitchen, please try this recipe. It won't dissapoint. I served this with a roasted tomato on the side stuffed with sausage and rice.

Pasta with Truffle Butter:
Courtesy of Ina Garten


Kosher salt

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white truffle butter  (I found this at Whole Foods)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8.82-ounce) package Cipriani tagliarelle dried pasta or other egg fettuccine (I used whatever egg fettuccine I could find in the store)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler

Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low, and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, exactly. (If you're not using Cipriani pasta, follow the directions on the package.) When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan and toss it with the truffle-cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserved cooking water, as necessary, to keep the pasta very creamy.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

My friend hosted a brunch this past Sunday and since we had not yet made our grocery run for the week, I needed to make something that I already had the ingredients for. Enter, cinnamon doughtnut muffins. These were so delicious! I don't like cinnamon that much so that is saying something.

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins
Courtsey of Noble Pig 

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; whisk to combine. In another bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half-full; place one teaspoon jam on top.  Cover jam with enough batter to fill muffin cups three-fourths full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (mine took 20) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place melted butter in a small bowl; combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Immediately after removing muffins from the oven, dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm or room temperature.  Below is a shot of the inside of the muffin. Great with a glass of champagne or a glass of milk! 


Black Bean Burrito Bake

 I made these for dinner last night. I love love love black beans so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it out. I made these early, set them in the refrigerator, and Christian popped them in the oven once he got home. They also didn't take any time to prepare...15 minutes tops! The only thing I would change is I would add a bit of salt to the bean mixture. I must admit this is a picture of  some of the leftovers today...which were still delicious!

Black Bean Burrito Bake
Courtesy of Cooking Light

  • 1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1  cup  frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 4  (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  bottled salsa
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove one chile from can. Chop chile. Reserve remaining adobo sauce and chiles for another use. Combine sour cream and chile in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
Place half of beans in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add chopped beans, remaining beans, and corn to sour cream mixture.
Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread salsa over tortillas; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

**Half of the beans are finely chopped to give the filling a thick, creamy consistency. This dish can be made up to 8 hours in advance and chilled; just bring it back to room temperature before baking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baked BBQ Chicken with Peach Salsa

I have finally mastered a baked bbq chicken recipe! The key to this recipe is making little individual  boats for your chicken and of course...butter. If you do this, the chicken will be very moist and yummy.The peach salsa was the perfect contrast to the bbq chicken. I served this with a side of onion and garlic cous cous. Delicious!

Baked BBQ Chicken:

4 chicken breast
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While your oven is heating, cut pieces of foil large enough to completely wrap each piece of chicken. Season chicken breast  in the foil with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once seasoned, layer the chicken with bbq sauce and put a small piece of butter on top of the chicken. Press all sides of foil together so that the chicken is completely covered. (should look like a boat). Bake in a pyrex for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Top with peach salsa if desired (recipe below).

Peach Salsa:
2 medium firm peaches
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
salt to taste
pepper to taste


Dice peaches, jalapeno peppers and onion and toss. Toss in fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Let the mix sit for at least 5 minutes before tasting for seasoning. Make at least 1 hour ahead or up to 2 days ahead so the flavors will blend

Grilled Vegetable Salad

This is a great side dish to any meal as it is very quick and full of flavor! I served this as a side to bbq grilled shrimp and it was a great summer weeknight meal. If you don't have a grill, I'm sure you could roast the vegetables and it would be just as tasty.

Grilled Vegetable Salad


1/4 cup(s) parsley, fresh, finely minced
1 medium garlic clove(s), finely minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp olive oil
2 medium green pepper(s), cut into 8 chunks each
12 medium grape tomatoes
12 medium  baby bella, wiped clean, stems trimmed
Feta cheese 


Preheat grill to high. In a medium bowl, combine parsley, garlic, salt and oil; add vegetables and toss to coat. Thread vegetables onto 4 long metal skewers. Grill, turning once, until tender and charred, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending on desired degree of doneness.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Now, these may look like chocolate blobs (an oopsy on my part) but they are so delicious that you will forget what they look like once you taste them. These are incredibly easy to make and the best part is you can use any cake mix you want to make different flavors.  If you are looking to satisfy your sweet you go!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Courtesy of Paula Deen


8 oz of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 stick of butter )room temperature)
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 18 oz box of moist chocolate cake mix (I used devils food)
Confectioners sugar ( I omitted) 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

    My mom was in town for a few days so I decided to make dinner one night for everyone. What can I say other than that this is a new favorite. I've never thought of roasting shrimp before but this has to be the next best thing to heaven (besides cheeseburgers or chocolate). The shrimp was perfectly moist and the lemon pasta was so refreshing. Perfect summer meal...and so fast you can make it on a  weeknight! We served with a simple garden salad, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bottle of white.

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp
Adapted from Ina Garten

2 pounds (17 to 21 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Zest and juice of 2 lemons ( I used 1 1/2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.Toss well, spread them in one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they're pink and cooked through.
Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add the angel hair and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the angel hair with the melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the shrimp and serve hot.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pigs In A Blanket

To celebrate America's birthday, we hosted an impromptu 4th of July party. Since we were last minute getting everything together, we needed a few fast and fun eats for the party.  I wanted to stick with an All American Cookout theme but without the hassle of fighting for the grill upstairs. Enter mini sliders (recipe to come) and pigs in a blanket.  These were so cute and so yummy! If you like pigs in a blanket then you will love this quick and easy recipe. The recipe makes about 72 piggies.. much more than you see in the picture. We brought them out in batches.

Pigs in a Blanket

2 packages of hot dogs
2 cans of crescent rolls


Preheat oven to 375. Roll out crescent rolls and split each triangle into thirds. Cut each hot dog into three pieces. Roll crescent rolls around the center of hot dog. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fried Pickles

Summer time means rooftop party time! We had some friends over the other night and everyone brought something to the table. I made 2 batches of parmesan balls and a batch of friend pickles. Let me just warn those with small prepared for a "fried"smell to linger for a few hours post frying. This was my first time to deep fry anything and I must say I thought it was a success. I found two different recipes and modified/combined the two. I was pleased with my results and being that these were gone in about 15 minutes...I think my guest were pleased too! 

Fried Pickles

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
36 dill pickle slices, cold
Canola oil
Ranch dressing for dipping

Beat egg, milk and a pinch of cayenne.  Place 1/2 cup cornstarch in a shallow dish.  In another dish, mix 1/2 cup each cornstarch and cornmeal with dill, paprika, salt and pepper.

Dip cold pickle slices in the plain cornstarch, then the egg wash, then the cornmeal mixture.  Fry in 2 inches of 375
F canola oil until golden, about 3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve with ranch dressing.

Individual Lemon Mascarpone Trifles

I have a fabulous bookclub that meets once a month and this was my month to host. I decided to make shrimp and grits and individual trifles for dessert. I didn't know what to expect with my trifle but it was so delicious! The lemon and the creme de cassis were such great compliments to each other and really exceeded my expectations. The best part...this took all of 5 minutes to make.  I am already planning to make a larger version for the 4th of July!

Adapted from Giada 

1/2 cup sugar 
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
16 ounces mascarpone cheese 

1 cup of whipping cream
1 store-bought angel food cake, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 
1/2 cup creme de cassis liqueur 
2 cups quartered strawberries 
Fresh mint leaves, chopped, for garnish (i skipped this) 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar with the lemon juice. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooled sugar mixture with the mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, and the lemon zest. Using a whisk, whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.
To build the trifle, line the bottom of a glass with a layer angel food cake. Brush the angel food cake with some creme de cassis liqueur. Spoon a layer of the cheese mixture over the pound cake, and then a layer of berries. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a top layer of berries. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped mint leaves.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

My friend and I had been eyeing these on Noble Pig for quite some time, so for her birthday I decided to surprise her with her own birthday batch! They were so cute and yummy and would be perfect for a gathering or to take with you on a picnic. Don't forget to serve with pizza dip for dipping. 

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Adapted from Noble Pig

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepperoni, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375o.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 Tablespoon basil.  Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 Tablespoon basil.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Potatoes

Christian and I have both had very busy weeks for the past few weeks but still want to enjoy a nice homecooked meal when possible. Enter the slow cooker. I really can't decide which I love more...the slow cooker or the food processor. They both amaze me. When we got home from work tonight the apartment smelled so good that we had to dig in immediately. If you are pressed for time and want a good meal to come home to, you should definitely try this recipe. It's a winner!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Potatoes
Adapted from Southern Living

8 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lbs)  -- i used skinless
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and sliced ( i used about 2 1/2)
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 
4 garlic cloves, minced

-Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned
-Place onion in a 4 quart slow cooker; top with potato. Arrange chicken on top of potato
-Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, broth, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour; reduce to low and cook 4 hours until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. (I cooked on low for about 8-10 hours). 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Feta Pepper Dip

One of my favorite people in the world moved  to DC(my college VP)  and us Millsaps DC Alumni decided to celebrate with a small dinner party. I love dips and since I had to take public transportation to the party (that is until Christian offered to give me a ride) I decided a dip and chip would be easiest to transport.  If you love feta cheese...this dip is for you! 

Feta Pepper Dip
Courtesy of Noble Pig 
8 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup pepporcini, sliced
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Black pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
Barbecue chips

Blend feta cheese, mayonnaise, and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl periodically.

Fold in sliced, green onions, lemon zest and black pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and chill dip for at least one hour before serving.

Drizzle dip with extra-virgin olive oil.  Serve with a sturdy, barbecue chip.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I'm back! Our building had a rooftop party the other weekend and everyone was asked to bring a dish. I decided to make a twist on the stuffed jalapeno peppers I made a few months ago. Let's just say it was a great idea. It was the hit of the party...well actually it was second place to Christian's guacamole.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 - 4 ounce can chopped green chilis (do not drain)
1 - 4 ounce can sliced jalapenos (do not drain)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a food processor add cream cheese, mayonnaise, Mexican cheese, green chilis, jalapenos and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Spread the dip into a greased (I used PAM spray) 2-quart casserole dish.

In a bowl mix bread crumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Pour melted butter over the crumb mixture and mix well.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  The top should be browned and the dip bubbling on the edges.  Do not over heat or the mayonnaise will separate and a grease puddle will form in the middle of your dip.  Serve with buttery crackers, French baguette or chips.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Penne with Braised Short Ribs

I should really rename this blog to "Boops Scoops About Pasta." I would love to say it's by coincidence that I end up making so much pasta...but it's not. I just love it. I have never attempted to make short ribs before so I was excited to test my skills. Braising the meat took some time but the actual preparation was fairly quick. If you have the time, you should definitely try this recipe. It is delicious! The flavors were very complimentary and the short ribs were so tender I didn't even have to separate them from the bone. 

Penne with Braised Short Ribs
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis 

  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I forgot to add this ingredient) 

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the ribs to the pan. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls easily from the bone.
Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Using a ladle, transfer the cooking liquid in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces. Stir the shredded meat into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and add to the pasta. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Toss well and thin out the pasta with more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before serving.

Raspberry Bars

A few weeks ago my friend made these for a party and I could not stop eating them because they were so delicious. After she referred to them as "sinfully easy" so I put them down as a must make. I made them for my office staff meeting a few days ago and they were a big hit. Once they see how simple the recipe is, they will laugh for ever asking if the jam was homemade...

-2 containers of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
-1 jar of seedless 
raspberry preserves
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Spread out 1.5 tubes of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Cover with 
raspberry preserves. Drop rounded pieces of remaining cookie dough onto raspberry to create a crumb-like appearance. Top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 until golden brown(about 20 minutes).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Parmesean Cheese Balls

My good friend and co-worker raved about these cheese balls so I have been anxious to make them for quite some time. When I was invited to an Easter lunch I decided this was the perfect time to try them out. They were delicious and packed with flavor!  I have to admit I had a few before I took them over...I just couldn't resist. If you want something quick, easy and yummy to make for a must try this recipe.

Parmesan Cheese Balls

1 cup flour
1 cup grated Parmesancheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup butter melted

Mix flour, cheese, salt, pepper and mustard in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and combine so the mixture forms crumbs. Press into 1/2" balls and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 until lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Makes about 30 balls. Store in an airtight container.

Mini Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo

My friend invited us over for a lovely Easter lunch and I decided to bring over a few nibbles for everyone to enjoy. These mini crabcakes are so easy to make and the best thing about them is...they are baked not fried! At first, I was a little hesitant about their appearance but decided that they were so yummy they deserved a post a boops scoops. These are perfect for a weekend brunch or a cocktail party.

Mini Crab Cakes
Courtesy of Noble Pig

Makes 24

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
4 teaspoons plus 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Large pinch cayenne pepper
6 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, picked over, patted dry, coarsely shredded
1-1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter , melted
Fresh chives cut into pieces

Horseradish Mayo:

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup horseradish
salt and pepper to taste
dash of hot sauce


Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus zest, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, coarse salt and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat. (This can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Spray mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. Toss 1-1/2 cups panko, 3/4 cup Parmesan and 4 Tablespoons chopped chives in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter over, tossing with a fork until evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded Tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup (makes a well with your thumb), forming crust. Spoon 1 generous Tablespoon crab mixture into each cup. Sprinkle more panko mixture over each.

Bake crab cakes in a 350 degree oven until golden on top and set, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Gently lift each crab cake out of the pan with a fork onto a serving platter. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Arrange on baking sheet, let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BBQ Cups

To top off my comfort food weekend, I also made these yummy bbq cups that I found on Big Red Kitchen. These are very easy to make and so delicious that you won't be able to stop with 1. I  have already put these on the menu for our next party (mini versions of course). The best thing about this recipe is its very versatile. Whatever you want your filling to be, I'm positive it would be good wrapped in a buttery biscuit! I think I may try a breakfast version and make a sausage, egg, and cheese cup.

What you will need:

1 pound browned ground beef, cooked and drained
1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's original)
1 T. dried minced onion
1 tube butter flavored Flaky Grands biscuits (10 count)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Mix first three ingredients and heat through. Flatten each biscuit between the palms of hands and place each in a greased muffin tin cup. Divide meat mixture evenly between each cup and top with cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10– 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10 cups.

Creamy Ranch Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of my favorite dishes and there times when I need a nice helping of it to make it through the day. After a rainy weekend, mac and cheese is just what I needed to lift my spirits...and bbq cups ...and a glass of wine.  I usually bake my mac and cheeses but when I stumbled across this recipe on a new fave of mine, Noble Pig , I was intrigued. A stovetop mac and cheese that doesnt involve a cheesey powder packet...yes,please! It also gave me an excuse to break out he dutch oven. I am always looking for new ways to make mac and cheese and since I love ranch, this seemed like a must try. This was easy, fast, and a delicious blend of ranch and cheese.

What you will need:

1 package (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
1 cup milk 
(I used skim)1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon garlic pepper blend
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 cup  shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream (I used light)
1/2 cup crushed saltines
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions, however, do not use salt in the pasta water.  Meanwhile in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through.  Stir in cheddar cheeses until melted.  Stir in sour cream.

Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the saltines.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

Another fuzzy picture...but I am so excited to share this recipe because I know you will love it! I found this recipe on Closet Cooking and I knew that I had to make it when I saw the words bechemel sauce. I love love love a good white sauce. I made this lasagna for a few friends that came over for dinner. In order to maximize my friend time, I decided to go for a one dish meal that I could make ahead and pop in the oven. This was perfect...and a crowd pleaser!  I served this yummy salad on the side. This entire meal is a must try!

Bechemel Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)


1. Heat the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until melted.

2. Whisk flour and stir until smooth.

3. Whisk in milk and stir until smooth.

4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

5. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Sauce will thicken



1 package lasagne noodles ( I used Barilla no boil)

2 tablespoons butter

4 cups sliced mushrooms (portabello, shiitake, etc)

2 servings Bechamel Sauce

2 cups parmigiano-reggiano (grated)


1. Cook the noodles as directed on the package. (Add a splash of oil to the water to prevent sticking.)

2. Saute the mushrooms in the butter.

3. Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

4. Spread some of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish. Place a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then a third of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup of the grated parmigiano-reggiano. Repeat 2 more times. Top the final layer of noodles and sauce, and the remaining parmigiano-reggiano.

5. Bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes. The top should be a bit browned the sauce should be bubbling.

6. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 or so minutes and serve hot.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Easy Roasted Broccoli

So, the bottom line is...I need to eat more vegetables. It's not that I don't like vegetables, it's  just I never think to buy any at the grocery store unless I am making a recipe that calls for specific produce. I decided to stock up tonight at the grocery store and put myself to a 'don't let it spoil' challenge. You can of course find many recipes for roasted broccoli but I always just stick with what I know.

Zandria's Roasted Broccoli

2 cups of broccoli
olive oil for drizzling
fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt to taste
pepper to taste
parmigiano reggiano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place broccoli and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss broccoli and garlic with olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmigiano reggiano  to taste and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.

Herbed Baked Goat Cheese Salad

First of all, sorry for the shadow in the picture. I have never been good with a camera.

As you know, I am a fan of America's Test Kitchen. If you don't watch it, you should. It is awesome and full of great ideas and recipes. I have recently spotted their magazines when checking out at the grocery store and I simply can not resist.  I found this recipe in the "best of" addition and I have been wanting to make it for a while. It's very easy but you just have to plan ahead since preparing the cheese will take you 3 hours.

Herbed Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Courtsey of The Best of America's Test Kitchen 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 cups pecans
12 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 large eggs
12 cups hearty salad greens (i used spring mix)
vegetable oil spray


For the vinaigrette, combime all ingredients in a jar, seal lid and shake until combined


Pulse pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Add cheese, chives, and thyme to the food processor and process until smooth ( i chopped the herbs in the food processor then added the cheese). Refrigerate the cheese mixture in a covered bowl until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Using your hands, take 2 tablespoons of the chilled cheese mixture at a time and roll into twelve 1 1/2 inch balls. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. One at a time, dip the balls in the egg, allow the excess to run off, then roll them in the nuts, pressing gently to adhere. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Press the balls into 2 inch disks with a greased measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Remove the plastic and spray the cheese lightly with the vegetable oil spray. Bake until the nuts are golden brown and the cheese is warmed through, 7-10 minutes.  Toss the greens with the vinaigrette and serve the warm cheese rounds over the dressed salad.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fusilli with Spinach and Tomato

I know what you thinking. This dish may not look like much...but it is full of flavor! Christian and I normally don't celebrate Valentine's Day but I decided at the last minute that I wanted to make him dinner. Due to the recent snowpocalypse and my last minute dinner idea, I knew my options were going to be limited. I decided pasta would be a good choice for many reasons. a) it's fast  b)fewer indgredients increases my chances of having a successful grocery trip c) i love pasta and  d) it's not a romantic meal so it technically doesn't count as a celebration. The entire meal took about 15 minutes and was absolutely delicious. I plan to make this again and again...especially on weeknights.

Fusilli with Spinach and Tomato
Courtesy of Giada

1 pound fusilli pasta

1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 ounces (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Yep, you read it right...pumpkin pecan pie!  I couldn't decide what I wanted to make because both of these are Thanksgiving staples. So, I decided to look for a recipe for a hybrid of the two. On the good side, everyone seemed to enjoy it. On the bad side, I did not enjoy it as much as I expected. Since others enjoyed it so much, I decided to post the recipe.  If you decide to try it out,  let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Courtesey of Several Recipes on the Internet

3 eggs, divided
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of salt
2/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 frozen pie crust*

*thaw pie crust as directed on the package
Preheat oven to 350°.

In small bowl, combine one egg, pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Spread in pie crust.

In medium bowl, beat remaining two eggs slightly. Stir in corn syrup and remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the butter and vanilla; stir until well blended. Stir in pecans. Carefully spoon over pumpkin mixture.

Bake 60 minutes or until filling is set around edge. Cool pie completely on wire rack.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffins

I made these corn muffins for a New Years Eve party my friend hosted. She mentioned they were going to serve Italian soup so I thought these would be a perfect addition. Since I thought to make these at the  last minute, I was very happy they were incredibly easy to make. As they baked in the oven the smell literally permeated the entire apartment and I could not wait to try them out. I have to admit I tried a few before I took them to the party!  Everyone at the party raved about how good they were so needless to say they were a hit.

Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffins
Courtesy of Giada's Kitchen

2 (8 1/2-ounce) packages Jiffy corn muffin mix

2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

3 garlic cloves, minced

2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil ( 8-ounce jar)

2/3 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 muffin tins.

In a large bowl combine the muffin mix, corn, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the muffin mix. Stir to combine. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins, filling up the cups about halfway. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My New Toy

I can't wait to make many delicious meals in this baby!

Chicken Enchilada Verdes

Lime Shrimp Tortillas...Chicken Enchiladas Verdes, can we say that I am on a Mexican food kick this week? I watched one of my favorite cooking shows, America's Test Kitchen , the other night and they made these yummy enchiladas that I just could not resist. So, I decided to make them for  a weekend lunch and have a couple of friends over. They weren't exactly the fastest dish to make but let me tell you, these were amazing! These were much better than traditional enchiladas with red sauce. They were a perfect combination of tanginess, sweetness, and heat and the chicken was delicious and tender. I cant wait to make these again!

Chicken Enchilada Verdes
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen 

4teaspoons vegetable oil 
1medium onion , chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2cups low sodium chicken broth
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of excess fat
1 1/2pounds tomatillos (16 to 20 medium), husks and stems removed, rinsed well and dried  (canned is a fine substitute) 
3medium poblano chiles , halved lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded (see note)
1 - 2 1/2teaspoons sugar 
ground black pepper 
table salt
1/2cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8ounces Pepper Jack cheese or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (2 cups) ( I used pepper jack) 
12(6-inch) corn tortillas

1. Adjust oven racks to middle and highest positions and heat broiler. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic and cumin; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Decrease heat to low and stir in broth. Add chicken , cover, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken  to large bowl; place in refrigerator to cool, about 20 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup liquid from saucepan and set aside; discard remaining liquid.
2. Meanwhile, toss tomatillos and poblanos with remaining 2 teaspoons oil; arrange on rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, with poblanos skin-side up. Broil until vegetables blacken and start to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking. Cool 10 minutes, then remove skin from poblanos (leave tomatillo skins intact). Transfer tomatillos and chiles to food processor. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Discard foil from baking sheet and set baking sheet aside for warming tortillas.
3. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining teaspoon garlic, and reserved cooking liquid to food processor; process until sauce is somewhat chunky, about eight 1-second pulses. Taste sauce; season with salt and pepper and adjust tartness by stirring in remaining sugar, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Set sauce aside (you should have about 3 cups).
4. When chicken  is cool, pull into shreds using hands or 2 forks, then chop into small bite-sized pieces. Combine chicken with cilantro and 11/2 cups cheese; season with salt.
5. Smear bottom of 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce. Place tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, 2 to 4 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place warm tortillas on countertop and spread 1/3 cup filling down center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly and place in baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining tomatillo sauce over top of enchiladas. Use back of spoon to spread sauce so that it coats top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and cover baking dish with foil.
6. Bake enchiladas on middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes

*top with sour cream and chopped fresh green onions

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lime Shrimp Tortillas

I love the combination of citrus and seafood...especially lime and shrimp. You may notice a trend. I wanted to make something light and quick last night after the gym, so I decided to make shrimp tortillas. I saw the recipe in my Southern Living cookbook but I made a few variations. This recipe is really easy and has a lot of flavor. I will definitely make these again. They will be perfect for a quick weekend lunch. Feel free to add any toppings you like. I added a little guacamole and sour cream to mine.

Lime Shrimp Tortillas

whole wheat tortillas, warmed
12-16 jumbo shrimp
1 tbs olive oil
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice

1-2 palmfuls of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Suggested toppings: light sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fat free cheddar cheese

Boil shrimp in hot water until pink. Sautee the onions and peppers in oil until soft. Add the shrimp and  remaining ingredients to pan and coat nicely. Spoon ingredients into the warm tortillas and top with any toppings you like!