Monday, February 28, 2011

Julia Child's Basic Viniagrette Salad Dressing

Somehow I kinda got away from simple side salads. And I've made more vinaigrettes than I can count, but the other day I decided I needed a simple vinaigrette I could toss on some greens to complete a meal. Doing a quick search, up popped Julia Child's Basic Viniagrette. Well, it had to be good, right? Of course it is.

I can already tell this is going to be on our dinner table several nights a week. And what a lovely, delicious salad this was: half romaine, half spring mix tossed with JC's viniagrette, and topped with crumbled goat cheese and halved grape tomatoes. Simple, lovely, and absolutely delicious.


Whisk together:

1/2 Tbsp finely minced shallot

1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp wine vinegar

1/3-1/2 cup EVOO

freshly ground black pepper


OK, so once again, not the best photo. But if you are looking for a healthy, low-fat meatball, this is the best! I altered the recipe from one I got while working at Char's restaurant in Red Wing, MN. I simply took out the ground beef and pork and substituted ground turkey breast. And the surprising ingredient: raisins! I can count on one hand the foods I just won't go near and raisins had always been at the top of the list until I tried these meatballs. So many pluses to these meatballs: you can also make them in advance and freeze them. And just keep a jar of your favorite pasta sauce on hand and some spaghetti in the cupboard and you're set!

This recipe makes 18 meatballs (I weigh the meat out at 50 grams) which I freeze (after cooking) and then just take out how ever many we feel like eating (usually 2 each) and heat them in the pasta sauce. I served this with a basic Caesar's Salad, dressing recipe listed previously.


20 oz ground turkey breast
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves, chopped (2-3 tsp)
handful of raisins
1/2 cup milk (I used skim, you can use 2% or whole)

Mix together with your hands. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes (I like to undercook them about a minute or 2.....they will cook further when you put them in the sauce to heat up. Also, they will not be the dark brown meatballs you are used to, they will be a much lighter color.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

White Chicken Chili

OK, once again, let me apologize for the photo. I would have omitted this altogether if this chili weren't so good! But it was so good, even if the photo isn't. I took a few recipes and used what I like and added a few things that weren't in the ones I chose. The combination was just wondeful. I can't wait until fall so I can try it again!


8 oz dried navy beans, soaked overnight
3 cups chicken or turkey broth
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (depending on size)
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 lb diced cooked chicken or turkey
shredded Jack or Mexican-blend cheese, to taste

Bring navy beans and broth to a boil, then turn down to a simmer until beans are tender (mine took about an hour).

In the meantime, saute onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno in canola cooking spray until tender. Add cumin and paprika, stir and saute a minute or two. Add to beans. Add meat.

In a bowl, sprinkle a bit of cheese on the bottom. Fill with chili. Sprinkle a bit more cheese on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage w/Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

So, I was at Publix yesterday and just happened upon their demo-ing this dish. I had collected the recipe card and really hadn't even given it a second thought. And then I tasted it.

WOW! OK, I'm not sure which I liked better. The entree or the side dish. I love, love, love shrimp, but I also love, love, love okra. This idea was the best of two worlds. My version of Publix's recipe SERVES 2.

The okra dish is so very fast and easy. Put a can (14.5 oz) of Italian-style tomatoes in a pan with 1/2 cup chicken broth and some hot sauce to taste (we prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce). Bring to a boil and throw in about 3/4 lb of sliced fresh okra. Cook at a simmer, about 15 minutes, until okra is done.

Now, for the shrimp and sausage recipe. The Publix recipe called for threading the shrimp and sausage on skewers and grilling them. But I found a much easier way to prepare. First, get about 1/2 pound of medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined, and about 5 oz of smoked turkey sausage sliced into about 1/4-1/2" slices (Publix used beef know the kind, like a rope, usually shaped into a ring. I went to the turkey sausage because it only contains about 1/3 of the fat that the beef version has and has all of the flavor).

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/4 cup of apple jelly (yes, jelly, NOT apple butter. You can find it in the jam/jelly section of your supermarket), 1 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp of liquid smoke. Cover and cook on high for about 60-90 seconds, or until liquified. Stir.

Coat hot skillet with canola cooking spray. Add shrimp and sausage. Cook until shrimp turn pink and sausage is warmed. Add jelly mixture and mix to coat.

Serve the shrimp/sausage on rice with the okra mixture on the side.

Oh my!!!! This is SO good!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pico de Gallo Chicken Quesadillas

Back to my mission of trying to use things I have on hand for dinner. I still have a stash of the most wonderful tortillas from Central Market in Texas in my freezer. And I roasted a turkey yesterday. So I thumbed through some recipes I'd been saving and found one which incorporated these two ingredients. Fast, easy, delicious. And just a smidge more space in my freezer!

This recipe made just enough for the two of us.


1 large Roma tomato, diced
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbsp+ chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced (mine was especially juicy, I should have only used half of it)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
S&P to taste

Canola oil cooking spray
Cooked chicken or turkey, amount to taste (I used one thick slice of turkey and it was just right)
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (10" or 12") flour tortillas
About 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese (I used the reduced fat version with great results)
Sour cream, if you like

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, S&P. Set aside.

Spray a hot pan with canola oil cooking spray and saute the sliced onion and green pepper until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and saute. Mix in half of the pico de gallo and cooked poultry. Set aside; keep warm.

In a heavy skillet or griddle which has been heated, spray with a bit of cooking spray. Put one tortilla on grill. Spread about 1/4 cup cheese on the tortilla and top with half of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup cheese over the chicken and top with another tortilla. When bottom tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has started to melt, flip quesadilla and cook on the opposite side. Remove from skillet and cut into quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients. (I used one griddle and one large skillet so I could do two quesadillas at a time.)

Serve quesadillas with sour cream and remaining pico de gallo. I also served a green salad with it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Swedish Meatballs

This is another Publix "Apron's" recipe. My stash of my favorite meatballs was running dangerously low. I always keep them in the freezer to pull out for a quick and delicious dinner. So I decided to make a new batch, but pulled out enough of the mixture (sans raisins) to make 6 Swedish Meatballs (weighing 50 grams each). I served it on top of egg noodles with some steamed broccoli on the side. This recipe served 2 (plus leftovers for The Girls).
1/2 Tbsp butter
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp flour
7 oz beef broth
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (this was a bit heavy for me....I'll try 1 tsp next time)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 lb fully cooked meatballs (OH! I thought I had posted the BEST meatball recipe, but now I can't find it.....stay tuned.....I'll do spags & meatballs soon and show you these wonderful concoctions!)
4 oz wide egg noodles
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
Bring water to boil for noodles.
Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Place butter in pan, then add mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cook and stir 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned. Stir in flour, cook and stir 2 more minutes.
Whisk in broth, Worcestershire, and sour cream; bring to boil. Add meatballs, cover, and return to boil; boil 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Cook noodles following package directions.
Combine cornstarch and water until well blended. Slowly pour into meatball mixture, stirring until thickened. Drain noodles. Serve meatball mixture over noodles.
NOTE: I would have preferred more sauce than this made, so I think I'll double the sauce recipe next time I make this.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vegetable Stir Fry

On with my mission to clean out my frig/freezer/pantry. I actually bought this stir-fry mix the other day at Publix because they were on sale ($1). I thought I was getting all broccoli, but when I got home I noticed it was a stir-fry mix. OK, one more thing to use up.
I sauteed some garlic and ginger in a bit of canola oil until tender then added 1/2 pound of diced chicken breast until done. Then I added about 1/2 of a sweet onion (julienned) and the stir-fry mix which had broccoli, carrots, and snow peas. Just before it was done, I added some of my favorite Soy-Vay Veri Teriyaki Sauce. That was it. I served it on jasmine rice with plum halves.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tri-Color Pasta Salad

My resolve this week (and, hopefully, beyond) is to use at least one item out of my freezer or pantry (I'm trying to thin it out a bit). So, going back to Superbowl Sunday, I still had a bunch of those wonderful mini Italian egg rolls I wanted to experiment with. Now when I made them (the batch I made made 60 egg rolls) they were just a tiny bit labor-intensive. Or maybe I just felt that way because I was preparing 5 or 6 different appetizers and the clock was ticking. My original recipe said they could be cooked, frozen, and reheated. I did freeze the uneaten egg rolls, but I also froze some of the uncooked egg rolls. So this morning, I took the uncooked ones out of the freezer to thaw in the frig. These take less than 5 minutes to cook in a Fry Daddy. For the frozen, cooked egg rolls, I heated the oven to 375 (maybe 350 next time) and cooked for about 12 minutes. They got a bit dark, so I'll turn down the heat and check them at ten minutes.

Point being......both experiments came out great! So anytime you're in the most for these fantastic appetizers, know that you can prepare the entire batch, cook some or all, and freeze whatever you have leftover, cooked or not. I mean, how much more perfect can an appetizer get??!!!

OK, so back to tonight's recipe. I needed something to go with the egg rolls. I was just going to do some pasta with marinara, but had been holding onto this creamy pasta salad recipe for a while and decided to try it. I just happened to have everything on hand (some more clearing out of frig!) so I went with this. It all went together very nicely.


6 oz tri-colored rotini, cooked and drained
10 grape tomatoes, quartered, or 1 large or 2 small Romas, diced
1/2 small can sliced olives, drained
2 Tbsp red onion, finely diced
heaping 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
3 large basil leaves, julienned
2 Tbsp basil pesto
1/3 cup creamy Caesar dressing
S&P to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/4-1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Combine Caesar dressing and pesto, whisk together. Cook pasta and coat with dressing mixture while pasta is still warm (I didn't use all of the dressing.....add a bit at a time until it is the consistency you like). Add the rest of the ingredients except pine nuts. Top with toasted pine nuts.


1 1/2 cups mayo (I used 1/2 regular, 1/2 low-fat)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use large cloves because I want to taste it!)
coarsely ground black pepper (I just sprinkled it until it looked right)
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Whisk together well, then keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zucchini Side Dish

Over the last week, I haven't been making many new dishes because looking back on the blog, I've kinda been repeating some dishes that simply appealed to me at the moment. So while this one isn't an entree, it's a wonderful, colorful side dish that will go with just about anything.

There are six never-varying components:
Chopped onions
Minced garlic
Zucchini, sliced thick then cut in half
Yellow crookneck squash, sliced thick then cut in half
Grape tomatoes, cut in half

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil under soft. Then add the zucchini and squash. Stir well and cook over a medium heat (covered) for just a few minutes.......I like the center to just begin to cook and the outer parts to be a bit crisp. About a minute before it's to your liking, throw in the tomatoes just so they heat throughout.

I generally season with salt and pepper and one of my seasonings: Nunu's or Joe's Hot Stuff. Once my herb garden is up and running, I generally throw in one or two fresh herbs.....depending on what my entree will be.

This is so quick, easy, beautiful, nutritious, and delicious!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Carrabba's Chicken Bryan

This is a dish Jim ordered at Carrabba's a few weeks ago. It was wonderful. I found a copy-cat version on-line and decided to give it a try. My favorite part is the goat cheese, I just love it. I think I'll tweak it a bit next time I try it....this recipe (cut to Serve Two) calls for 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, I'll cut that in half next time. And instead of melting the chevre on the chicken while on the grill, I think I might try just stirring it into the tomato mixture to make a creamy tomato topping for the chicken. Either was, this is a fantastic flavor combination. I served it with steamed asparagus and my favorite Rosemary/Salt rolls from Fresh Market.
CARRABBA'S CHICKEN BRYAN (as found on is their recipe which I'll alter next time I try it) Serves 2.
1/3 Tbsp minced garlic
1/3 Tbsp minced yellow onion
2/3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cold butter, sliced
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I'll go for 1/4 cup next time)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 chicken cutlets (4-6 oz each)
2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese
Saute garlic and onion in 2/3 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat until tender.
Stir wine and lemon juice into skillet, increase heat to medium high, and simmer to reduce by half.
Reduce heat to low and stir in cold butter, one slice at a time.
Stir in tomatoes, basil, kosher salt, and white pepper; remove from heat; set aside. (At this point, I would add the goat cheese to melt into the tomato mixture.)
Brush chicken with EVOO & S&P.
Put chicken on grill. As soon as there are marks on one side, turn. Cover with goat cheese and close grill until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked throughout.
Plate and spoon tomato mixture over chicken.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Easy Mango Chicken and Rice

So easy. So good. So Carribbean. This will definitely be a staple around here this summer.
1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
Cumin to taste
Lemon Pepper to taste
1/2 can corn, drained
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Mango Salsa
Put chicken in a small crock pot. Add spices and about 1 cup chicken broth. Cover and cook until tender (I cooked it for about 2 hours on high, turned down to low for less than an hour.......If you increase the recipe, you may need more cooking time). Shred chicken on a plate. Remove about half of the broth and set aside. Return the chicken to the crock pot.
Add corn, beans, and salsa. More salsa can be added to taste. If mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved juices.
Serve over coconut jasmine rice (I used half a can of coconut milk in the water). Garnish with cilantro or parsley.
This recipe would make 3 large or four smaller servings.
**Substitute regular salsa for a Mexican taste and serve over regular rice or tortilla chips.
20 oz jar mango slices, diced
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
1/2 c red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
Mix together. Keep refrigerated. Makes 2-3 cups.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mini Italian Egg Rolls

This was my absolute favorite Super Bowl appetizer. There are several incredible bonuses to this appetizer. The biggest: this is something that can be made the day before and then cooked in an instant. Another, they can be cooked, frozen, and reheated in the oven (I'm also experimenting by freezing some uncooked eggrolls and try cooking them in a day or two). And it makes a BUNCH! The package of wonton wrappers I bought had 60 wrappers and the recipe below almost filled every one (I had a few bites of sausage mixture left to snack on). Oh, and they are absolutely delicious!!!!!!


1 package wonton wrappers (6)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 medium green pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage

1 (10 oz) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed

1/4 cup Parmesan

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/4 tsp garlic powder

oil for frying

Brown onion and green pepper wtih sausage, add minced garlic. Cool completely (this is important or you will get big clumps of melted cheese in the mixture instead of shredded pieces). Add spinach, Parmesan, mozzarella, and garlic powder.

Heat 3" of oil in wok, fry pan, or Fry Daddy (this is what I used.....I could easily fry 10 egg rolls at a time with plenty of room). Oil should be 350 degrees.

Spoon filling into the center of the wonton wrapper. Fold up the bottom and then the sides as to make an envelope. Roll envelope-shape into a cylinder. "Glue" top flap with a small amount of water. Fry mini egg rolls until skins get golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

(To make ahead, fill the wrappers with the sausage mixture and seal each egg roll. Lay on a flat plate. If you need to make layers of uncooked egg rolls, place a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper between each layer. Cover tightly with several layers of plastic wrap.)


1 Tbsp EVOO

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (crushed in mortar with pestle to release flavor)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 32-oz can crushed tomatoes


1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Add olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. When the pepper snaps and the garlic sizzles, add the tomato paste, cook for a minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for five minutes.

UPDATE: OK, so I froze the uneaten cooked egg rolls, and then froze 10 of the uncooked egg rolls. I thawed the uncooked egg rolls in the frig and then cooked them in the Fry Daddy for about 5 minutes. As good as the original batch. And I put the frozen cooked egg rolls in a 375 oven for 12 minutes......maybe a bit too high of a temp and a few minutes too long because they got a bit dark, so next time I'll try 350 and check them at 10 minutes. But they were still crisp and delicious. So if you're going to make a batch as big as mine and want to do so ahead of time, DO IT!!!!! What a fantastic recipe, all the way around!!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Green Chili Cheesecake/Mango Salsa

First, let me say: THIS PHOTO DOES NOT DO THIS RECIPE JUSTICE. This is an appetizer we made at a restaurant I worked at in Minnesota, the owner a true foodie. I could live on this stuff. It has it all.....creaminess, spiciness, crunchiness, and GORGEOUS color!!! It was a top-seller at the restaurant and makes such a beautiful presentation!
The recipe below is for a large 8-9" cake, but I cut the recipe in half and line 9 holes in a regular cupcake pan and fill them with the "dough." You would then have 9 individual cheesecakes (as shown above). These cheesecakes freeze beautifully, so you can make a bunch of them and freeze them, take them out the day before (or just a few hours before), and as long as you have some of this wonderful salsa and chips on hand, you've got yourself a wonderful appetizer.
1 1/2 cups roasted poblano peppers (place poblanos on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, broil on high, turn about 3 times until the entire pepper is blackened and blistered. Then, place in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and let steam so the skins will peel off easily. When I halved this recipe, I need 2-3 poblanos, depending on size, to get the 3/4 cup chopped peppers I needed. If you do the large cheesecake, you'll probably need about 5-6 peppers, depending on size)
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
16 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
4 Tbsp chopped marinated jalapenos
1 Tbsp minced fresh dill leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Mango Salsa (recipe below)
Blue Tortilla Chips
Roast and peel poblanos. Remove tops and seeds and finely chop.
In a food processor blend sour cream and eggs, add cream cheese and butter and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to bow and stir in poblanos, jalapenos, cheeses, dill, and cilantro. Pour into a 8-9" springform pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes, until center is just set but will still "jiggle." Don't overbake.
Cool to room temp and serve or freeze/refrigerate. Top with Mango Salsa and serve with blue tortilla chips.
(I cut the recipe in half so I could use the jarred Mango sections you can find in the produce is a jar of 20 oz mango slices and SO much easier than trying to use fresh mangoes)
20 oz jar mango slices
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 chopped finely minced red onion
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
Stir all ingredients together.
NOTE: I'll be saving some of this salsa and serving it with a crock-pot chicken sometime next week. Stay tuned.

Chocolate Haystacks

I have always loved this candy. I LOVE crunchy coconut. And this recipe is so incredibly fast and easy. Oh, and delicious!


1/2 package sweetened flaked coconut (3 1/2 oz)
1 extra large Symphony bar (regular chocolate, not with toffee and almonds)

Spread coconut on a plate and microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds. Watch carefully to avoid burning (after about the second time, the coconut in the middle started to brown.....I took that coconut off the plate onto another plate, and then continued to microwave the remaining, unbrowned coconut). Continue until all coconut is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes or so to dry out completely and then it will become brittle (you can also toast coconut in the oven, but I've burned it too many times because I forget about it!)

Break apart the chocolate bar and place in a glass bowl. Microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted.

Pour the coconut into the chocolate and stir until completely coated. Using a spoon, drop balls of choc/coco onto a piece of waxed paper placed on a cookie sheet. Let dry (I put the tray on my back porch in cold temps and it set up pretty quickly).

5-Minute Marinara

This is a basic Marinara sauce to use for dipping. I'll be using it Sunday for some Mini Italian Egg Rolls I'll be using at our Super Bowl Party. It freezes wonderfully, so freeze any leftovers for future appetizers. Adjust any of the ingredients to your taste.


1 Tbsp EVOO
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, ground in a mortar with pestle
1 Tbsp tomato paste
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian dried seasoning
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Add the olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed pepper. When the pepper snaps and the garlic sizzles, add the tomato paste (do quickly, DON'T let the garlic burn), cook for a minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Season the sauce with S&P and Italian seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes and stir in parsley.

Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies

Here is the ultimate chocolate cookie. It's as close to fudge as you can come in a cookie. The recipe I have calls for semisweet chocolate chips, but I substituted some chopped up Hershey's Kisses I found over the holidays. I split the dough and put half Irish Cream and half Mint Truffle in each half. I can't decide which I like better.
**Resist the urge to bake the cookies longer than indicated; they may appear underbaked at first but will firm up as they cool** Also, this recipe is a bit tedious and labor-intensive. The dough is very thick and heavy and there is no way you'll be able to scrape the bowl clean (maybe lick it!). Dividing the dough definitely made more work for me, just adding the chocolate chips the recipe calls for would make it a bit easier.
2 cups (10 oz) flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) baking cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (the stuff in bars in the baking aisle. "Baker's" is the brand I usually find. NOTE: Each box is only 8 oz so you'll need two boxes to save yourself another trip to the grocery store 5 minutes after you start this recipe, like me!)
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
10 Tbsp (1 1/4 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (when I divided the dough, I added 4 oz unwrapped, chopped Hershey's kisses to each half of the dough. It was about 3/4 cup each)
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (50% power for 2 minutes, then stir and microwave in 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted-be careful not to overheat or chocolate will seize). In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork; set aside.
Beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in the sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; the mixture will look granular. Reduce the spped to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally add the chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate). Do not overheat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is fudge-like, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Roll the dough into 1 1/2" balls (I weighed them at 20 grams each) and place them on the cookie sheets, spacing about 1 1/2" apart.
Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking time (I baked at 6 minutes, turned pans and changed shelves). Cook the cookies on the sheets about 5 minutes or until set and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
Made 4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fish Tacos

I ran across this recipe for Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce last night on-line and it sounded good. It is, and so much faster and easier than I had expected. I wish this were a better photo. The taco recipe below served two. I served it with rice and Garlic Black Beans (saute 1 tsp minced garlic in oil or cooking spray. Add 1 can drained and rinsed black beans, 1/3 cup tomato juice or V8, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro. Heat throughout).


1/2 lb cod or tilapia

1 Tbsp oil

Blackening sauce (1 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 Tbsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1/2 Tbsp oregano, 1/2 Tbsp cayenne {WAY too much for me, personally, I leave it out altogether}, 1 tsp chipotle powder {I used chili powder} 1/2 Tbsp garlic, 1/2 tsp dry mustard........or you can buy prepared blackening seasoning in the spice aisle)

1/2 head purple cabbage (I used 1/2 bag finely shredded cole slaw mix)

1/2 lime

1 green onion, finely sliced

2 small Romas, diced

6 corn tortillas

Chipotle yogurt (3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 1/2 tsp chopped cilantro, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 chipotle pepper, finely minced, no seeds, 1/2 tsp adobo sauce)

Combine cabbage, green onion, and squeeze the lime to cover with juice. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Preheat grill.

Oil fish (I sprayed with cooking spray). Thinly coat both sides with blackening spice.

Grill on both sides until done.

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in 275 oven for 10-15 minutes.

Slice fish into 1" pieces.

Assemble: Cabbage, fish, sauce, and tomatoes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FINALLY!!!!! The Best Homemade Tomato Soup!!!!

Who among us did not grow up with Campbell's Tomato Soup as a staple? A comfort food. Harkening memories of our childhood and beyond?

Ever since becoming a foodie, I have been searching for a homemade tomato soup to rival Campbell's. Something I could call my own. Something homemade with ingredients you could pronounce. Years and years and years of trying to end up with oh-so-that'll-do results.

And then I found it. This date will go down in my foodie history: February 1, 2011. Finally, a homemade tomato soup which, THANK GOODNESS, I have leftovers! And as if it couldn't get any better.....this is a crock pot soup recipe that you can throw in in the morning and finish off at dinner time. I served this with Dilly Cabbage Potatoes (see below), but next time I will only serve it with a really good artisan bread. This soup stands on its own. Excuse me, I think it's time for leftovers.


28 oz diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely diced onions
1/2 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large slow cooker, combine tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and basil (****IF USING FRESH OREGANO AND BASIL; IF USING DRIED OREGANO AND BASIL ADD THOSE TWO INGREDIENTS IN THE LAST HOUR OF COOK TIME). Cover and cook on low 5-7 hours (I left it for 7 hours) until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

About an hour before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour, stirring consistently with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup from the crock pot. Add another 3 cups soup and stir until smooth.

Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, S&P. Cover and cook on low for another hour until ready to serve. Garnish with Parmesan and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Dilly Cabbage Potatoes

I ran across this recipe so many years ago (1999) on Better Homes & Gardens. This is such a delightful twist on twice-baked potatoes! So, so, so good!!! It is such an interesting meld of flavors. I do so hope you'll give this one a try, it is just so different and wonderful. I did serve it with a bit of low-fat sour cream on the side, but the flavors speak for themselves!

DILLY CABBAGE POTATOES (Makes 4 side-dish servings)

4 baking potatoes large (2 pounds)
3 cups cabbage shredded
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dill weed, dried
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-4 Tbsp milk
Sour Cream (optional)
Snipped Dill or Chives (Optional, for garnish)

Scrub potatoes, pat dry. Prick skins iwth a fork or knife. Bake at 450 for 45-60 minutes until done.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook cabbage and onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add water, soy sauce, and dill. Bring to boiling. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes.

When potatoes are finished baking and set out long enough to handle, cut a slit lengthwise on the top of the potatoes. Using a spoon, gently scoop out pulp leaving 1/4" thick shell.

In a medium bowl, mash potato pulp. Stir in butter, lemon juice, S&P. Stir in cabbage mixture. Add milk to desired consistency. Spoon mixture into shells. Place potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 15 minutes, until heated.