Sunday, January 27, 2008

While Life is Throwing Lemons...

...I am still here making lemonade. I am still here cooking as well however, I have not had the time to update my blog. So, please stay tune in because when I do return, I have a ton of supplicious things to share with you! :)

A preview of what's in store...

Raspberry Tarts (guilt free!)
Grilled Salmon
Chicken Enchiladas
Italian Stuffed Chicken
Turkey Burgers
Roasted Red Potatoes
Chicken and Dumplings
Oatmeal Chocolate Filled Cookies

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Foodie BlogRoll!

I jumped on the food blog bandwagon with some friends a few months ago. I try to post regularly although sometimes it turns into 3-4 posts all in one sitting! It started with just swapping recipes with a couple friends and a place to write about our experience making the recipe.

Shortly after starting my blog I was introduced to Google Reader. (thanks to CB!) Somewhere deep inside a fire was lit. There was a whole new world out there of people with food blogs from all over the world. Well, now I have a full blown bonfire inside of me. I have almost 200 blogs in my reader. I am constantly finding more. And, don't get me started on my starred items! There are so many fantastic ideas out there.

So, I joined another bandwagon, the Foodie BlogRoll Please direct your attention to my toolbar menu on your right. You will find a great big list of foodies and their blogs. I haven't even looked at a 1/4 of them yet! (I need a husband-free, rainy Saturday!)

Well, my blog is now on the list, won't you please join me?!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Frugal Foodie Challenge!!

I am so excited to tell you about this challenge. First, the history, my friend Lorena from Food Revolution challenged her readers to her first frugal foodie challenge. I wanted to support her first challenge but I was at a loss for ideas. A meal for 2 people using mozzarella cheese for a grand total of $7. I am often in shock when I read her blog. I know that NYC living is expensive but she's just good!!

So, on to the challenge, as I mentioined it required a meal for 2 people using mozzarella cheese and spending no more than $7 total. Without going to the obvious pizza, I was stumped for a good idea. Finally, driving home from work one day I decided to call my mom, a nutritionist and see if she had a recipe in her collection. We talked over a few ideas and she mentioned a panini but I was pretty sure I couldn't stay in the budget (not to mention I don't own a grill or panini press!). But it got me into sandwich mode and finally it just hit me!

I present to you Italian Quesadillas!


1 boneless chicken breast
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 burrito shells
3/4 cup tomato (or marinara) sauce-We used Prego's Three Cheese sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
non-stick cooking spray

Slice chicken into strips. Cook in a skillet using non-stick cooking spray. After putting the chicken in the pan, sprinkle with Italian seasoning. While chicken is cooking, spray the insides of 2 burrito shells with non-stick cooking spray and layer one with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Once chicken is cooked, layer onto the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese onto the chicken and top with remaining burrito shell. Place in toaster over or oven until browned. Cut into wedges and serve with tomato sauce for dipping. Makes 1 quesadilla.

Recipe and Picture from me!

Now for the grand total!
It was easier to write the list of ingredients and directions for 1 quesadilla however, the challenge was for 2 people so that is how my budget is written.

chicken breasts $5.00 bag, used 2 pieces =$2.00
mozzarella cheese $2.39, used 3/4 of the bag =$1.80
burrito shells $1.99, used 4 out of the 8 shells =$1.00
tomato sauce $1.72, used half the jar =$.86
Italian seasoning blend staple
non-stick cooking spray staple

Grand Total: $5.66

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Snickerdoole Muffins

Jake and I celebrated New Year's Day in style! Sleeping in and then cooking brunch together. We had so much fun. I came across this recipe for Snickerdoodle muffins and we had to try them. The were so good! Light and fluffy and yummy!

Recipe from Peabody
Photo from my kitchen

Grandma's Eggnog

Jake and his dad love eggnog. Jake wanted to make some for his dad for Christmas Eve. I was flipping through on of my mom's cookbooks when I came across my Grandma's recipe. I was never really allowed to drink it as a kid because it always had too much sugar for me (and usually it was spiked!)
Ours didn't come out quite as good as Grandma's but it was good. I think we'll try again next year!

1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk, scalded
1 teaspoon vanilla or 2 tablespoon cooking sherry
2 egg whites
3 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Beat 1/3 cup sugar into egg yolks. Add salt; slowly stir in milk. Cook in doulbe boiler over hot, not boiling water, stirring constantly, till mixture coats spoon. Cool. Add vanilla.
Beat egg whites till foamy. Gradually ass 3 tablespoon sugar beating till stiff peaks form. Add meringue to custard and mix thoroughly. Chill 3-4 hours.
Fold 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar into whipping cram, dot eggnog with islands of it. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Makes 6-8 servings

Mom 2's Meatballs!

Every year Jake's parents host an open house around the holidays. Since we moved away from home this year, they planned the party during our time at home so we would be able to be there and see all of our friends. I offered to help my mother-in-law with the cooking preparation. The menu was simple but it did include her meatballs. Everyone loves her meatballs and sauce.
There is not really a recipe written down as much of it is in her head and done by sight. I was excited to learn how she makes hers because I am going to try making my very own in the near future.
This is a picture from my kitchen last night when Jake and I ate some of the leftovers that were sent home with us. I just wanted to show off my hard work. I rolled 20 pounds of ground beef into meatballs!!

My Birthday Dinner

Ok, I know this post is long overdue as my birthday was 2 weeks ago but I had to give credit to my husband for an amazing birthday dinner! I requested stuffed shells and he totally came through. Unfortunately I was terribly sick so it was a challenge to eat and breathe at the same time. I was very grateful for leftovers. I tasted them a couple days later! They were so good.

This was also delivered on my birthday from some friends of mine. A birthday cake made from flowers. The really sad part was that when I opened the box I really thought it was a cake decorated with flowers. I was only slightly disappointed there was no sugary goodness underneath!

December SBGEX

This was my first time participating in the Secret Baking Gift Exchange. I had so much fun planning, baking and receiving.
I decided to deliver my baked goods in person because one of my job locations was not not far from her job. Kat was so surprised when I showed up. Then, she walked into her office and when she came out she handed me my cookies because she was also my secret baker! We couldn't have planned it more perfectly if we tried!
She made me Carmel Filled Chocolate Cookies. They were amazing. The recipe can be found on her blog. Thanks Kat!

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

This is part 2 of the return blog (i.e. Christmas cookies) I was so excited about this recipe. I went looking for a biscotti recipe and came across this on the Betty Crocker website. The reviews were great so I decided to give it a try. They turned out fabulous and I thought I stumbled upon a really great cookie recipe for Christmas. Well, I did stumble upon a great recipe I just wasn't the first!
The recipe uses the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix that is already prepackaged. It made making these super simple but a little on the sweet side. I might try another recipe next time so that I can cut the sugar and taste more of the pistachio.
My favorite part about making these was the green dough!

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 box pistachio instant pudding (4 serving size)
1/4 flour
1/2 butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Stir in pistachios and cranberries. Divide dough in half. On each of 2 ungreased cookie sheets, shape half of dough into 15x2-inch log.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Place logs on cutting board. Cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices cut sides down on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 40 minutes, turning once. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool 10 minutes. With small, fine strainer, lightly sprinkle powdered sugar over tops of cookies. Store loosely covered.
Makes approx 40 cookies

Recipe from Betty Crocker
Photos from my kitchen

The Return Blog!

As many bloggers, I have to apologize for my absence. It all started when I got sick a week and a half before Christmas (and a few days before my birthday!) I was so sick it was awful. However, I was still determined to make Christmas cookies. I had an obligation to my secret baker. My amazing husband stepped up to the plate. He not only did the normal chores of cooking, cleaning and dishes. He even wrapped Christmas presents and helped me bake Christmas cookies. I have to give him more credit than myself as I did one cookie and then scooped the rest onto the pans from my seat on the couch!

Baking is such a huge tradition for most at Christmas time and this being our first Christmas together and married in our apartment, I wanted something special. I decided on two of my favorite Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Cheese Snowballs (or Snow People). I drooled over a cookie I saw on Clara's blog awhile ago and had even bought the ingredients at the time and never made them. So, I added Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies to the list. My dilemma was that the girl I was baking for doesn't really like chocolate and so far I only had one cookie without chocolate. I went looking and came up with Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti.

Without further a Christmas cookies 2007!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
I have already posted these cookies on my blog but I wanted to show them again. You can substitute M&M for the chocolate chips to make them festive! I baked one pan before adding the m&m for my secret baker who didn't like chocolate,

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I loved these cookies! I origonally found them on Clara's blog (also found here and here). When I went back to find the source for the cookies, I was led on a wild goose chase. I didn't end up finding the original as the last blog poster doesn't remember the source. So, if you are the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit!
For some reason, mine didn't come out quite right. I didn't actually make these so I can't confirm the accuracy of the process (he is a wonderful cook though!). We mixed them up and ended up putting the dough in the fridge to bake the next day. The next day the dough came to a full room temp before baking and when we went to scoop them, the dough was very dry. We ended up shaping them into balls by hand and flattening into cookies. They tasted amazing! I'm just not quite sure what went wrong. I will be trying them again in the future!

Cream Cheese Snowballs (or Snow People!)
This cookie became a new favorite when Jake and I started dating. His mom introduced me to this cookie and well what can I say...Mom2 is fabulous! Other than my MIL I don't have a source for this cookie. The card says the Meredith Corp and the picture came from Tupperware. So I give credit to my mother-in-law
The recipe is written to make snow people, however, they are very time consuming so we shortened them to snowballs and just have little bite-size cookies!
These cookies are also amazing and the cutest of the snow people is worth it in the end!

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, coftened
2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I omitted this year as it is not yet in my pantry)
miniature chocolate pieces
red cinnamon candy
decorator icing
peanut butter cups

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese. Beat in flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, vanilla and almond extract till combined.

For Snow Balls
Using a small cookie scoop; scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes for until edges are firm and bottoms are slightly brown.

For Snow People:
For each snow person, shape dough into a 1' person, 3/4' person and a 1/2' person. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet in decreasing sizes with sides pressing; press together slightly. Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate pieces and cinnamon candy. Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes for until edges are firm and bottoms are slightly brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Add peanut butter cup for hat allowing to melt slightly to create the snowman's hat. (We transferred to pan to the freezer to cool the cookies quickly so the hats didn't melt too much) Decorate with decorator icing to make scarf.