Monday, February 25, 2008

What Spice are You?

You Are Cilantro

The bad news is that there are some people who can't stand you.

The good news is that most people love you more than anything else in the world.

You are distinct, unusual, fresh, and very controversial. And you wouldn't have it any other way.

January SBGEX

So, now that February's gadgets are here, I realized that I never posted January's. I know she's been scolding me about my updates so here's to Clara and her awesome cupcakes! Thanks friend :)
My favorite Girl Scout cookies are the Tagalongs so she made me Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes!
She did send 4 but we couldn't waste anytime taking pictures. We had to taste test them first, pictures come later.
The verdict by both Jake and I: A+

Thanks Clara! (Sorry for the delay!)

February SBGEX

This month instead of exchanging baked goods we decided to exchange kitchen gadgets! It was fun. Jennifer was my gadget giver and she did an awesome job!
She sent me oodles of fun gadgets!:
a silicone muffin/cupcake pan-though I've been told this bake ware is not wonderful, I've really been wanting to try it
a rubber spatula-you can never have to many of these
silicone baking mats-I've really been wanting to try these, my mom loves hers
egg slicer-one of those handy gadgets I just didn't own (and I've been craving egg salad)
and a bonus! Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies! :)

Thanks Jennifer!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Roasted Red Potatoes

This recipe came from Amber's Delectable Delights. It was a great side dish to our turkey burgers. They were awesome!

Roasted Red Potatoes
(Source: Amber's Delectable Delights )


4 red potatoes (we used regular potatoes since that was what was in the pantry)
2 tablespoon bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Your choice of seasonings (I used garlic power, onion powder, and parsley)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Slice potatoes into wedges and place into medium bowl. Season with all the remaining ingredients and place into preheated oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are done to your desired crispness.

Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers
(source: me)

1 lb. ground turkey
3/4-1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup or BBQ sauce
1 egg
fresh ground pepper
onion salt
garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together. When mixing together, if they are too "wet" looking add more bread crumbs. They should be a little dry. If the mixture isn't dry enough, your burgers will come out mushy (believe me, mushy burgers are NO good!)
Make into patties and grill with non-stick cooking spray.
We top them with with BBQ sauce or salsa; Jake's favorite is the Wal-Mart brand Peach Pineapple Chipotle salsa.

Italian Stuffed Chicken

These were super easy to prepare and have great flavor! I found this recipe at One Tiny Pink Kitchen. As far as spices go, I don't really measure, I just eye it. It is my attempt to becoming more creative in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Italian Stuffed Chicken Breasts

(source: Kara @ WW)

4 – 4 oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/8 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Dried Basil – divided
1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (I know I used less than that)
1/4 cup Minced Green Bell Pepper (I didn't use)
4 (3/4 oz) Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
2 Tbsp. Fat-Free Italian Dressing
1/8 tsp. Paprika (I didn't have any)
1/4 cup Dry Breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano

Cooking Spray

Pound chicken to 1/4” thickness; sprinkle with salt, 1/4 tsp basil and crushed red pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle each breast with 1 Tbsp. minced bell pepper. Place 1 cheese stick lengthwise down the center; roll up jelly roll fashion. Brush rolls evenly with Italian dressing. Combine paprika and breadcrumbs, and dredge chicken breasts rolls in mixture, turn to coat. Place on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray – seam side down. Lightly coat with non-stick spray; sprinkle with remaining basil. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until done (mine took about 22 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

1st Married Valentine's Day!

Jake has always done very well at buying me presents and is even better at keeping the secret until the right moment! And on this first Valentine's Day as husband and wife, he did not let me down.

Wednesday, February 13th:
He called me on Wednesday after I left for work to tell me that when I got home I was NOT allowed in the kitchen. It was very difficult but I managed to keep myself from going near the kitchen (thanks Jknotties for the entertainment!).

The final surprise revealed... Ultimate Chocolate Cake!

The weekend leading up to Valentine's Day I had a major craving for chocolate. Every show on the Food Network was dedicated to chocolate, thus fueling my need for chocolate. I drooled over the recipes by all my favorite chefs: Giada, Jamie Oliver, Tyler Florence. But my favorite was Tyler's Ultimate Chocolate Cake! Apparently, it was then that Jake decided what to get me for Valentine's day.
He even researched and found a specialty baking store to buy real chocolate. He said the store was amazing. We are planning to go visit together this coming weekend. Stay tuned for a review (as I hope to come home with a few new kitchen items!).
His master plan was to make the cake, do all the dished and then hide the cake behind a curtain until he got home. Well, his timing was ruined when the weather caused me to have a short work day. Thus, the phone call telling me to stay out of the kitchen. He hadn't had enough time to finish. Well, I was still very much surprised!
The recipe can be found here. The only change Jake made was a raspberry syrup instead of the liqueur because we didn't have any raspberry liqueur.
The frosting was a little rich the first day. I liked it much better the morning after!

Thursday, February 14th:
Jake and I had both requested to take the day off because we were going to go to the taping of a television show. Unfortunately the tickets never came through. We decided since it was Valentine's day that we still keep the day off and celebrate together.
We have been working opposite schedules for quite a few weeks and the time we have had together has been spent doing stuff like laundry and grocery shopping. So, some quality time together for Valentine's day was exactly what I wanted!
Instead of a big heavy meal that neither of us really needed. I wanted something light and relatively healthy (especially now that there is a chocolate cake in the house!). I read another blog that had the idea to do a picnic. Perfect!
It didn't turn out to be super healthy in terms of fat grams but it was certainly wasn't heavy and we had a lot of fun! It was an indoor picnic of course, watching No Reservations.

Our picnic:
variety of cheese: brie, sliced mozzarella and sharp cheddar
spinach-artichoke dip
nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)

A perfect First Valentine's Day! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A New Twist...

...on an old favorite! We added spinach to our Fresh Tomato Pizza. It was so yummy. I bought a package of frozen spinach, thawed it in the microwave, drained all the excess water and sprinkled it on top of the tomatoes. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Raspberry Tarts (Guilt Free!)

I was in great need of something to satisfy my sweet tooth. The problem was that all sweets were banned from our home for the month of January in an attempt to get rid of unwanted holiday pounds.
Then, I came across my friend Nina's blog. I immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list for the week.

1 Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crust (I bought the individual sized tarts)
1 Box of Sugar Free Gelatin - I used raspberry
1/4 cup of boiling water
2 6 oz. containers of light yogurt - I used raspberry
1 tub of fat free cool whip

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Stir in yogurt with wire whisk. Fold in cool whip. Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours - overnight preferably.
You can also make this with cherry Jello and cherry yogurt or lime Jello and key lime yogurt- any combination like that will work.

Recipe from Weight Watchers and Love-Sweet-Love
Photo: my kitchen

Husband Rating: A+, He could have eaten all the tarts in one sitting.
Wife Rating: A+, I love them as well and didn't feel guilty for having something sweet!

Grilled Salmon Marinade

One of our cooking resolutions is to expand Jake's palate. He doesn't like a number of vegetables or seafood. Since, I wanted to introduce more healthy options for both of us I needed to introduce Jake to some new foods. His first comment upon seeing the fish was "It has scales on it??!!" (its a slow process!)
He has had salmon once before and didn't love it but said he'd be willing to give it another try. I found this super easy marinade recipe and we both loved it.
I have actually made it twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly. As much as I love it I thought there wasn't a need for so much oil. I know marinade wise, it breaks down the fish but it just came out a little too oily. So, the second time we made it I only used 1 Tablespoon of oil. It was certainly less oily but I think I can still do better. I may try eliminating it altogether and try a red wine.

Grilled Salmon with Soy-Brown Sugar Marinade

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets (we also use salmon steaks from time to time)
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 C soy sauce
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C water
1/4 C vegetable oil

Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large, resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Preheat grill for medium heat.
Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Source: Allrecipes and I Bake. and Cook?
Photo: my kitchen

Husband Rating: B, He is learning to like the new texture and flavor of fish but A+ for the marinade.
Wife Rating: A+, I wish I had made more!

Chicken Enchiladas...Take 2

I really wanted enchiladas again but I wanted something new not my standard go to recipe.
I had found two different version that I was interested in trying. One from Trisha at One Tiny Pink Kitchen and one from April at Wine Lover's Cooking Diary. I decided to do a combination of both.


1 lb chicken
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup enchilada sauce (I used the green enchilada sauce)
2 oz diced chilies
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
2 cups cooked rice
6 tortilla shells
reduced fat sour cream


Preheat oven to 350. Cook chicken with chili powder and cumin. Shred with fork. Add1/4 cup of enchilada sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, chilies and rice to the chicken. Stir to combine.

Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Fill tortillas with mixture and roll, placing tortilla seam side down.

Mix together remaining enchilada sauce and cream of chicken soup. Pour over tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-25 minutes till soup and cheese are bubbly. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Husband Rating: A+

Wife Rating: A-, I like my enchiladas saucy. I think next time I'll use a less rice. I really liked the green enchilada sauce too!

Recipe: adapted by me
Photo: my kitchen