Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Huevos Rancheros My Way

My take on huevos rancheros!


whole wheat tortillas
refried black beans
your favorite salsa
shredded cheddar cheese
avocado (optional)

Take a whole wheat tortilla and put it in a hot pan with a bit of oil to prevent it from sticking. Let it brown and crisp up a bit on both sides, then place it to the side. Scramble eggs. While those are cooking, heat up your refried black beans and dice your avocado. To assemble, put a tortilla on a plate, spread a layer of refried black beans, salsa, and then top with scrambled eggs. Put the shredded cheddar on top of the eggs and let the cheese melt. Top with diced avocado if desired, and serve!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

Facebook has become a place to get inspired for food ideas, as a lot of my friends and family have begun posting what they are having for dinner that night, or what they are baking that day. Spaghetti squash was one such inspiration, as both my cousin and mom were using it for their dinners.

I have tried spaghetti squash once before, and while I am not a big fan of squash, I was pleasantly surprised to find that just like it's name, it looks and tastes much like spaghetti, without the calories and guilt of eating a huge plateful of pasta. In fact, this recipe is all vegetables- so eat as much as you want! It's good for you!


1 medium spaghetti squash
white button mushrooms
red onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
your favorite pasta sauce
parmesan cheese (optional)

1.) Wash your spaghetti squash and then pierce multiple times with a knife. Stick the squash into the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, or until tender. (Mine took about 12 minutes.)

2.) While the squash is cooking, put the garlic and red onion with olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and cook til soft. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.

3.) Let the squash cool, then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds from the middle. With a fork, scrape the squash strands out into a large bowl- this will take some time. There are a lot of strands of squash!

4.) Once all the spaghetti squash strands are in the bowl, top with the red onion, garlic, and mushrooms.

5.) Serve immediately. You can either put pasta sauce directly on top, or have it in a bowl for people to add themselves. Add parmesan if desired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Penne in a Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe from the Pioneer Woman is really very good. How can it not be with heavy cream in it? However, it is incredibly rich. I had copied this recipe when first reading it on the PW site, but hadn't planned on making it anytime soon since it called for heavy cream, and that is something I most definitely do not make a habit of purchasing.

Change of plans when I had to buy heavy cream for the caramel apple pie- with most of the small carton still left, and not wanting to waste it, I turned to this pasta dish.

I must admit I winced as I followed the directions with the use of a lot of butter, olive oil, and oh yes, did I mention the heavy cream? This is a once a year kind of dish. It is absolutely delicious though!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza

At the end of May, my husband and I went to the Taste of Cincinnati. Being from Chicago, I was well used to and loved The Taste of Chicago, and was excited to see what Cincinnati had to offer.
There weren't as many vendors, but the portions were bigger and the prices smaller. My favorite "taste" was of a chicken and bacon Caesar salad pizza. I knew I wanted to try and repeat this at home. When I looked up recipes, I found that this pizza seemed to be "the" thing to make.

I got my recipe from another blogger, dinners for every year, and made a homemade salad dressing from a Moosewood cookbook. Of course, you can use your favorite bottled Caesar dressing, but trust me when I say that Moosewood's is fantastic, and worth it to make.


pizza dough
3-4 tablespoons of Caesar salad dressing
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup cooked chicken strips
1 heaping cup shredded romaine lettuce
black pepper

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. If using fresh dough, roll out to a 12 inch circle. Place on a baking sheet or stone, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is golden. If using a pre-made crust, just put it on a cookie sheet and brown.

2.) Brush the crust with 2 tablespoons of Caesar dressing, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top it with the chicken and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

3.) Remove the pizza from the oven and put it on a cutting board. In a bowl, toss the lettuce with 1 tablespoon of dressing and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Top the pizza with the salad and cut in wedges. You can add black pepper if you so desire.

Caesar Salad Dressing:

(Makes 1 cup)

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

*Produces a thick and tasty dressing!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Best Apple Pie Ever!

For a Labor Day picnic with the in-laws this past weekend, I decided to make an apple pie. I didn't want to make the plain old apple pie though- I wanted it to have a twist. After searching online, I found this recipe for a caramel apple pie. It won first place at a Food Network Challenge, so I knew it would be good. Everyone loved it!

It is a bit time consuming, and I had a bit of difficulty in rolling out the pie dough and shaping it on the pie pan, but it turned out wonderfully. The best part was the taste of the toffee bits that hit you after you took a bite.

I will definitely be making this pie again!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lighter Sesame Chicken

Yet another version of sesame chicken! This one comes from Martha Stewart, and as the title states, is a healthier version as it coats the chicken in egg whites. This was a much different sesame chicken then the one I previously made from Joy of Cooking. While Joy of Cooking's recipe was a thick sauce with peanut butter, this recipe turned out a strong soy flavored chicken that was very crispy. Both were good- though I may prefer Joy of Cooking's better just because I liked the peanut butter flavor. However, the crispiness of this dish made it more like a traditional sesame chicken. So... try both and decide for yourselves!


3/4 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2 inch chunks
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut in large florets, stems peeled, and thinly sliced

1.) Place a steamer basket in a large sauce, fill with 1 inch of water, and set aside for broccoli. Cook rice.

2.) Make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch. Add the chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

3.) In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Return all the chicken to the skillet; add the reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.

4.) Place the saucepan with the steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook til crisp tender, 4-6 minutes. Serve the chicken with the broccoli and rice.

*A few changes I made: I used frozen chopped broccoli that I just heated in the microwave, and instant brown rice. I also omitted the scallions.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I had such a taste for stuffed mushrooms- had to try these! They were delish- both the husband and I loved them. Super quick and easy to make, not to mention healthy, these are staying on our go-to dinner list!


portobello mushrooms
olive oil
feta cheese

1.) Clean the mushrooms, remove the stems, and scrape the gills out with a spoon.

2.) Place the mushrooms on a greased baking sheet and put a little olive oil inside the caps.

3.) Bake the mushrooms for 10 minutes, at 350 degrees F.

4.) Pull out the mushrooms and fill them with spinach and feta cheese. Put back into the oven and bake until the cheese melts.

* I served these with green beans and potatoes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chocolate Madeleines

My Nana was one of the best bakers. Every time we came to visit, she always made us her special chocolate chip cookies. We also got to bake with her while we visited- brownies, cakes, cookies, and much more. Nana had a baking day and every week she would make something. Often, she would make treats to bring to the Elkette's meeting, or something to bring to friends or neighbors. My Papa also got to partake in the desserts she made.

It is because of Nana that I love baking so much- it brings back many fond memories of measuring flour and carefully distributing cookie dough in her kitchen. I have many of her recipes, and hope that I can try them all at some point.

Today, I decided to make her recipe for Chocolate Madeleines. I inherited one of her madeline cookie sheets, and was excited to try this new type of baked good. As with many of her recipes, she put little notes on the side, tips for baking, or whether she had made them before. This recipe she made several times, and she indicated that they were good.

She was right! These are more of little chocolate fudge cakes than cookies. They have a very intense chocolate favor that quickly satisfies your craving. She suggests dusting them with powdered sugar once finished (which I did) for an extra touch. You will love these!


1/2 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 pound stick (1 stick) lightly salted butter (refrigerator firm), cut in 16 pats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

1.) Use 2 madeleine pans, each with 12 wells. Grease wells generously with unsalted butter. In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.

2.) In a medium bowl, beat til blended: butter, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, until blended. Add flour mixture and beat gently until blended.

3.) Spread a rounded tablespoonful of batter in each well, filling about 2/3 full.

4.) Bake in 425 degree F oven until cake tester in center comes out clean, 5-7 minutes.

5.) With the tip of a paring knife, loosen the edges and remove the madeleines to a wire rack to cool, shell side up. Serve while still warm or cool completely. You can add powdered sugar to them as well.

*Makes about 24 little cakes.