December 30, 2009

6 Years Ago Today...

At the tender age of 23, I took possession of the keys to my first home. I remember how excited I was to get in there and make it my own. The woman I bought it from had lived here for 35 years and it needed some "freshening up". I spent so much time looking at new furniture, paint colors and I think this is when I can pinpoint my crush on Pottery Barn starting.

About 2 weeks before I got the keys, I remembered my good friend Elizabeth was in town for Christmas and I wanted to show her the place. We went and got some ice cream from Alinosi's and came and knocked on the door of my soon-to-be house. Luckily, Violet (the previous owner) was home and was kind enough to let me show Elizabeth the house in the current state. Elizabeth and my parents were the only ones to see the house that Violet had lived in for 35 years (so they can all attest to the decor)...and I think Violet was convinced I was leaving it exactly how she had it.

We did our walk through and once Elizabeth and I got back into our car she said to me, "It has great bones, but you are changing everything, right?". And boy did we ever.

6 years ago today, we started the labour of love of taking down a wall of mirrors in not just one room, but 2, ripping down wall paper in I think every room, ripping up carpet, finishing hardwoods, ripping out plastic tile from the bathroom and painting....lots and lots of painting. And how can I forget the accordion folding interior doors??? Ahh, the memories.

As I type this post, I can't help but get a little nostalgic and my eyes have some tears in them. We have decided to put this house up for sale to move on with the next phase of our lives together. As much as I love this house, it is time to move on. The neighborhood has changed so much, it has gotten to a point where we no longer feel safe. Also, this goes without saying for those that live in Michigan, but we have also lost so much value, to the tune of 75%, it is just time to cut our losses. We can't wait 5-10 years they are estimating for things to get back to 50% of where they once were. No one ever could have expected this to happen. We did what we were supposed to...invest in real estate, you will always gain value! Ha. C'est la vie. As hard as it is to think about what will come of this house both myself and my parents have put so much sweat equity into, I have to let it go. Who would have thought I would have become so emotionally attached to a house? Oy vey...

Anyways, over the next week, I am planning on taking you through a little journey through memory lane and post the before and after pictures. I wish I had more before ones, but in some cases, you will have to take my word for it. Trust me...there was A LOT of wall paper. Did I mention the kitchen cabinets even had wall paper on them? Luckily, I do have a picture of that! Stay tuned!

December 25, 2009

Breakfast Pie

For Christmas, I wanted to make a nice and easy casserole dish for Steve and I to enjoy. I have been finding a lot of good recipes on All Recipes lately, and this one is no exception! It is almost like my quiche recipe, except with potatoes in it. The other added bonus, I had every ingredient in the house already! I love it when that works out.

I was also able to use the "Delay, Bake & Hold" function on the oven so we could have breakfast ready for us when we came home from Christmas morning mass with the Griffiths side of the family.

8 strips of bacon
1/4 cup crushed cornflakes
5 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced (next time, I might add another stalk or two for more flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash brown potatoes
  1. Cook the bacon as you normally would. Reserve around 2 Tbsp drippings. (Steve and I love cooking it in our oven since that is what all the Food Network chefs do. :) ), crumble or cut into small pieces.
  2. Pour the bacon drippings into a small bowl with the crushed cornflakes.
  3. Combine the eggs, milk, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, salt and pepper until blended.
  4. Stir in hash browns.
  5. Pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate.
  6. Sprinkle with cut up bacon and cornflake/dripping mixture.
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, remove from the fridge and set out for 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 325.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

December 20, 2009

5 Minute Fudge

I kind of felt like a failure this past weekend in the baking department. I was all ready to make sugar cookies and break in our new cookie cutters, decorate them and put them into fun little bags for friends and family. Well, the sugar cookie gods were laughing at me after 2 botched batches. I am hanging up my sugar cookie apron for awhile...not only did my cookies burn, but I felt burned too! Sugar Cookies 2, Amy 0.

I did, however, have some success with an easy fudge recipe given to me from a friend at our shower. My wonderful husband, knowing well my bruised baking ego after Sugar Cookie Debacle 2009, told me this fudge was like Mackinaw Island's and that I may have found my calling. Isn't that sweet of him!

I made 2 batches of this fudge and put it into the cute little bags to share with Steve's team and our friends. It literally takes around 5-10 minutes and is so easy!

1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 large marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Line a 8x8 dish with wax paper.

In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, bring sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt to a boil. Stir constantly for 5 minutes while boiling.

Add the chocolate chips and stir until well blended.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts and marshmallows until well mixed. I left the marshmallows somewhat still intact...some swirled in and there are chunks of them in the fudge.

Pour into 8x8 dish. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

*I would store this fudge in the fridge. The people on Mackinaw say to not store fudge in the fridge, but it was kind of getting melty on my hands when I was cutting it.*


December 13, 2009

Crockpot Meatballs over Noodles

I wanted to throw something in the Crockpot for dinner that was warm, gooey and mindless. I found this on All and thought we would try it. It is kind of like Swedish meatballs, but better. And SO easy. I mean, really easy. No measuring or anything!

The recipe originally called for 24 servings!! I would love to see the size of the Crock Pot you would use for that one! I cut it in half to 12, because that is what took 1 can of each item. So that is what I am listing here. If you want to mess around with the serving size, just follow the link above. This made enough for Steve and I with leftovers...not a ton, but some. It was really good and hit the spot on a cold winter's night!

1 can cream of celery soup (I used Healthy Request)
1 can condensed French Onion soup
8 oz. sour cream (about a cup)
3 pounds frozen Italian style meatballs (I ended up only using 2 pounds)
egg noodles
melted butter

Throw the cream of celery and french onion soup into the Crock Pot, mix well. Add the meatballs. If you choose, you can add the sour cream at this time as well. I followed some suggestions from other readers and added it in the last 3o minutes. I also added 2 small jars of mushrooms.

Cook on high for 3 hours. I cooked ours on low for around 6 and found the meatballs were breaking up a lot when I was stirring it around, so my advice would be to not cook it for too long.

Serve over cooked egg noodles that you can add butter to if you want, I didn't.

Fiesta Lasagna

This is another great recipe we got from one of our showers before the wedding. I highly recommend brides-to-be to do that...we got so many great options from "trusted" friends and family!

I apologize for not taking a picture...but picture your normal lasagna, just without the red sauce. This was so easy and SO good. It required minimal dishes to be dirtied and since we don't have a dishwasher, this always makes me like a dish that much more!

I invited my parents over to help us eat this, because as much as I love lasagna, I don't like to make it for just us because it is just too much! Between the for of us, we ate about half of it. The other half I froze for another day.

Cook and then drain
1 lb. ground beef (I am sure ground turkey would be just fine too)
1/4 cup chopped onion

If you choose to use regular lasagna noodles, then you should be boiling and then draining those as well, at this point. You will need around 9. I tried out the "no bake" kind this time and boy, were they awesome. I highly recommend them.

Add the cooked meat and onion to a large bowl. Add:
1 can refried beans (14 oz.)
1 can mild chili beans (14 oz.)
1 can mexican stewed tomatoes (14 oz.)
1 cup salsa
1 can green chilies (I used a small can of chopped ones)
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix well.

In another bowl mix together:
1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 1/c cup Monterrey jack cheese, then divide in half into another bowl.

In one half of the shredded cheeses, add:
3/4 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup sour cream. mix well.

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan, preheat oven to 350.
Spread appx. 1 cup of the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish.
Layer with 3 lasagna noodles.
Then layer 1/3 of the cheese with sour cream mixture and more meat sauce. Repeat twice. Your top layer should just be meat sauce, not noodles (like I did :) )

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Uncover and spread 1/2 cup sour cream and remaining cheese. Bake for 10-12 more minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

December 12, 2009

Tis the Season!

Where did November go? I realize that it is nearly mid December, but I am confused as to where the fall went and how is it already Christmas time?! Things have been a little chaotic in the Horgan household over the last few months. I am really enjoying weekends where we have nothing planned besides spending time together.

I was able to get to get the house decorated for Christmas the weekend of Thanksgiving before I had to head to Boston for the first week of December...and boy am I glad I did it then! I was borderline on even putting the tree up! Gasp! That is a big deal coming from the girl who had her tree up 2 weeks before Thanksgiving her first Christmas in her new house!

So here it is!

I was hoping to get some new tree decorating ideas at Blumz Christmas Open House, but I was out of town. Next year for sure!

I did find these fun things at Pier One that I am hoping to get more off on the 26th once they go on sale.

Eventually, I would like to have two trees. Once in all red, silvers and that kind of grass green color and kind of funky and the other with all the ornaments I have been collecting since I was born.

My mom started this great tradition for us kids to always get us an ornament from Hallmark (that we got to pick out) each Christmas. Then I worked at a Hallmark for around 6 years in high school and college. Needless to say, I have a a TON of ornaments. Most of which, I don't even put up because I don't have enough room. Next house...

Let's hope we keep the amount of ornaments that Benny breaks this year to a minimum!

December 1, 2009

Awesome and Easy Creamy Corn Casserole

I volunteered to bring a side dish to Thanksgiving on Steve's side of the family. Since most of the basics were covered, I had to venture out and find something easy and different. I got an email from All Recipes with the Daily Dish, which was this. At the same time, my co-worker was suggesting to make this exact thing! It was meant to be.

This was about the easiest thing ever to make and it was delicious! I didn't take a picture on Thanksgiving, so I stole this one from All Recipes.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs beaten
1 8.5 oz. package dry corn bread mix.
1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14.75 oz.) can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x9 in baking dish. I used an oval shaped Corningware.

In a medium size bowl, combine eggs, corn bread, the corns and sour cream. Pour into dish.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

This will probably be one of the last pumpkin related posts I do this year. I have really enjoyed trying out various pumpkin "inspired" recipes! I made these cookies twice within a week (not for just us, but my manager for a party she was having), but have not had a chance to post them yet.

I got this recipe from my friend Amy and I am so glad I got to try them. They were really good and easy to make.

Amy said they yield about 40 cookies...I made around 24 bigger sized ones. As much as I like cookies, I really hate getting them on the pan.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
2 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips (I used white chocolate)
1/2 cup nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup rasins (optional, I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, egg and pumpkin.

Mix dry ingredients together and sift 2 times. Then add to pumpkin mixture, mixing well. Fold in the chocolate chips, nuts and raisins.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Now, I baked mine longer because they were a larger sized cookie. Mine were closer to 20 minutes until the tops and the bottoms were golden brown.

Cool completely. Enjoy!

November 6, 2009

Simple Artichoke Dip

My dear friend Lindsay gave me this recipe at our shower and I have been meaning to make it. There is minimal ingredients and prep work and it is so good! It was perfect to bring over to our friends' Katy and Tim's house to hand out candy for Halloween!

Excuse my lack of picture, it was gobbled right up! Trust me, it is a delight!

1 cup mayo
1 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (I used shredded and split it evenly between asiago and parmesan)
2 15 oz. cans of artichoke hearts in water
2 cloves fresh garlic.

Preheat oven to 350.
Drain and chop artichoke hearts
Chop up garlic

Combine all ingredients and place into a uncovered casserole dish (I used a smaller size oval Corningware, I think it was around 1 1/2 quarts).

Top with more cheese

Bake for around 20 minutes until it bubbles. Serve with Triscuits or Carrs crackers.

November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Roll Cake

This roll is one of my favorite things about fall. Now that I had all the right tools at my disposal, I couldn't wait to make this! I looked around some websites until I found a recipe that was simple enough for me to fit into my fall cleaning schedule on Sunday (sorry Paula Dean, I will try yours some day!). This one is courtesy of All Recipes.

I think mine came out OK taste wise, but I need to work on the presentation. I ended up using a jelly roll pan than what was bigger than recommended, so it is a little thin. Also, the filling doesn't go to the edges, so there is some non-filling parts. I think if I would have used the right pan size, it would have been perfect.

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts * (see my note below)
6 oz. cream cheese softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar until thick and lemon colored. Add pumpkin and lemon juice.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture.
  4. Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour the paper. Spread batter into the pan. Sprinkle with walnuts* (I actually missed this part and added them when I spread out the filling).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cake springs cake when lightly touched.
  6. Immediately turn out onto a dish towel dusted with confectioners sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up into towel, starting at the short end. Cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy.
  8. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the filling over the cake to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar if desired.

November 3, 2009

BBQ Ranch Chicken

I have been meaning to blog this recipe the last 3 times I have made it and finally remember to take a picture tonight! We love this super simple and tasty recipe courtesy of Molly. This is one of our simple go-to chicken dishes we can make during the week with minimal prep work and dishes! Try will love the simplicity and great flavor!

I made this with just 2 chicken breasts, but here is the original:

4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used appx. 2/3 cup)
3/4 cup ranch dressing (I used appx. 2/3 cup)
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions (optional)
Bacon bits (optional)

Mix ranch and BBQ sauce together and pour over the chicken in a frying pan. Let simmer on medium to high heat for around 20-30 minutes until cooked.

I usually flip them a few times while cooking. I usually have a lot of sauce left over, so I pour some on top. The chicken never gets dry for me, but if the sauce mixture starts to dry out, you can always add some water.

Sprinkle with shredded cheddar, green onions and bacon bits. Enjoy!

November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

Work has been so insanely busy for me lately, that I have not had enough time to cook and bake as much as I was hoping to this month. So, Friday night, I sat down and looked for some fall recipes to make this weekend since we didn't have a whole lot going on for a change.

Steve and I love to go out to breakfast on the weekend. Last weekend, we went to a place our friends Lisa and Joe recommended in Ferndale (we also call Ferndale the "Breakfast Capital of Michigan"), Club Bart. I was dead set on getting pumpkin pancakes, but decided on an omelette instead. It was delightful. The place looks like a total hole in the wall dive bar, but the breakfast menu was impressive. If you are ever in the neighborhood, go check it out (Elizabeth and time you are in town, we will go out to brunch there!). But I digress...

So, I really wanted to make pumpkin pancakes this weekend to make up for not getting them last weekend. I found this recipe on All Recipes and loved it! Full of pumpkin flavor and easy to make.

This made enough for Steve and I to have 4 pancakes each (not overly huge, maybe around 4" across) and we had batter left over for next weekend. I hope it stays good in the fridge!

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. (I used my hand mixer to mix it up well.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, all spice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. (as I am typing this, I realized I forgot baking powder...whoops. It still turned out OK for us!)

Stir into the liquid ingredients just enough to combine. (Used the hand mixer again)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium to high heat. We have one of those fancy electric skillets, so I had the temperature at 375 if you have one of those. Pour or scoop batter onto heated griddle, using appx. 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown both sides and serve hot.

I sprinkled them with a little bit of powdered sugar per Steve's request for "presentation". :)

October 11, 2009

Apple Cake

I grew up having this often thanks to my mom making it. It is so simple and so good! The hardest part is peeling the apples. Thanks to my Grandma Van for giving me the recipe for our shower!
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs beaten
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups apples, peeled sliced (make them into about 1 inch in size). I used Macintosh
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine oil and sugar, blend in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to oil and sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract, apples and walnuts. Place in greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

October 7, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

My mom had picked up some Macintosh apples for us last weekend, since I wanted to bake apple cake. I had peeled too many for my cake, so I had to figure out in a hurry what to use them for since they were getting brown before my eyes.

I didn't want to make more sweet goodies to lay around the house and I wanted something simple. I Googled a few applesauce recipes and something similar to this one. Simple and quick. And boy was it a delight warm!

Here is my version:

4 apples, peeled cored and chopped (I used Macintosh)
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add apples and water to pot. Bring water to a boil. Allow to boil at a medium/high heat for around 20 minutes. Add sugar, allow it to dissolve then add the cinnamon. Stir until well blended.

October 2, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I have made this recipe we got at our shower from Steve's best friend's wife, Dacia. We love it! It is almost like a wet burrito rather than enchiladas and it is so easy. We have made some modifications which I included here. The modifications started because of what we had in the house and we think it came out fabulously! picture. It really isn't a attractive dish, it is more like a hot, gooey mexican blob of goodness. :)

8 medium size flour tortillas (I think they are considered burrito size), we use 6 and stuff 'em nice and fat.
4 large chicken breasts (we usually use 3 Costco size)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (we use one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom...again, this started from having one of each in the house and it worked. It gives it a great flavor)
1/2 cup of salsa (we usually use about a cup of enchilada sauce)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 cooking dish and set aside.

Cook chicken and chop or shred into small pieces.

Mix chicken, salsa (or enchilada sauce), 1/2 cup of shredded cheese together and set aside.

In separate bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Place a spoonful of soup mixture and a spoonful of chicken mixture inside each tortilla (I usually use one heaping spoonful of soup mixture and spread it out on the tortilla and at least 2 spoonfuls of chicken since we are only using 6 tortillas).

Roll up and place seam side down in the dish. Pour remainder of soup mixture over the enchiladas and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let sit out for about 5 minutes before serving so it will set a bit.

September 30, 2009

Easy Banana Nut Bread

I love when our bananas get all brown and mushy and you can't eat them...but they are perfect for banana bread! This recipe is from my mom's super old Betty Crocker Cookbook and is a classic, easy and quick recipe that is always a hit! Plus, it makes your house smell so good while baking!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I omitted this time because we didn't have on hand, and I didn't want to run to the store)
1 cup mashed bananas (appx. 2-3)

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and line with flour.

Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and mix.

Pour into the greased and floured pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until a knife comes out clean in the center. Remove from pan and cool throughly before slicing.

September 29, 2009

Cheez-It/Laughing Cow Chicken

I got inspired to find a recipe with Cheez-Its as I was munching on a box of them after work. I figured there had to be a recipe out there that used them as a breading for the chicken we had thawed out that morning. I did find one, but it called to deep fry them. Since we didn't have the means or desire to do that, I decided just to bake them at 400 degrees like I do with Laughing Cow chicken. Since the chicken breasts were very thick at one end, I decided to add a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese to each breast and it was a hit!
This is the original recipe for 6 servings. I modified it for 4 on the site and they adjusted the ingredients accordingly.

  • 1 1/2 cups Cheez-It® Original Baked Snack Crackers, crushed (we used Reduced Fat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt (garlic if preferred)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese (whichever flavor you prefer) per breast

Preheat oven to 400.

Lightly grease a baking dish. I used a small oval Corningware, a glass 8x8 dish would work too.

Mix together the egg and the milk. Place in a shallow bowl. Crush the Cheez-Its (I use my mini food processor) and mix in the salt, oregano, celery salt (we used garlic). Place in a shallow bowl.

Open up each chicken breast and spread one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese in the middle. Fold back over to original shape.

Dredge the chicken breast in the milk/egg mixture and then roll in the Cheez-It mixture until well coated. Place in baking dish. Cook in pre-heated oven for around 35-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Keep checking the chicken, ours seemed to take forever, probably because of the thickness at one end. Enjoy!

September 23, 2009

Chicken Dijon

This is a yummy recipe that we got from one of our guests at one of our showers. It is a great recipe because most of the ingredients we always have in the house. The downside of this recipe was, no offense to the person that gave it to us, written so confusing, I had to start over 2 times! I will do a much better job for you when I post it! That is also why I don't have a picture, I was so annoyed, I just wanted to eat the thing! It is delicious though. Don't let the name fool you, it is a really light mustard taste. In a way, it reminded me a lemon rice chicken soup from National Coney Island, but not as lemony!

Rice Ingredients
2 cups water
1 cup rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pat of butter

Chicken and Sauce Ingredients
3-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 level Tablespoons flour
16 oz. can of chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2-3 Tablespoons dijon mustard

In a medium pot, place all the rice ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer till all liquid is absorbed (around 10-15 minutes).

Cut up the chicken breasts into strips and cook throughly. I lightly seasoned them with some salt and pepper before cooking. Set aside. The original recipe calls for browning the chicken, then placing it into the butter (next step), but I did it my own way, mostly because I was confused. :) It came out just fine and the chicken was nice and tender and cooked perfectly.

In a medium sized pan, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter until it begins to bubble. Gradually stir in 3 Tablespoons of flour. As you are stirring in the flour, gradually start adding the chicken broth, stirring constantly (like a rue almost) until the broth, flour and butter are well combined. It may be a bit clumpy...that will work itself out.

Add the milk and heat until warm. Then add the dijon mustard, bring to a boil. I was constantly stirring at this point to make sure the sauce was well blended and thickens up a bit.

Add the chicken to this mixture and let it all get warm together for a few minutes.

Serve over cooked rice.

September 22, 2009

Fall is arriving!

Well almost! It got really cold here in Michigan, and now the temps are back in the 80's with humidity...ick! I am ready for sweater weather. Call me crazy, but I love our 4 seasons we get in Michigan and I have just come to realize, the more you hate on one specific season (winter), the more awful it is. So I just embrace it...along with my North Face coats and Uggs!

My previous post was about my journey to Eastern Market this weekend. I thought I would share with you what I bought and the touches of fall I have begun to add around our house.

Our front yard has this light post in it, which I always decorate with corn stalks, usually a bale of hay and some pumpkins. I decided to switch it up this year with the mums since I got such a great deal over Labor Day weekend for these at Eastern Market...all 5 for $10! Woo hoo! If I kill them, I won't feel so bad! I bought the corn stalks this past weekend, 2 for $5. Gotta love<>

Next up, the interior. I got two large bunches of sunflowers for $10 total as well. Fresh flowers make me happy, but I don't like to spend a lot on them...which is why going to the Market is so worth it to me!

A small bunch in our living room:

Another small bunch in our newly painted and drywalled ceiling bathroom:

And another big bunch on our kitchen table, with some new placemats from Kohl's! I was inspired to stop by there at lunch yesterday after seeing My Happy House's cute fall table runner. I got these placemats for 50% off! Yay! Thanks for the tip Molly!

Last but not least, my favorite thing so far, my fancy pumpkins I spent at least 20 minutes trying to decide which ones to get at Eastern Market. I wanted ones that stacked just right, but weren't too big for our buffet in the kitchen. I got all 3 of these for $15 and it was so worth it! There were so many different kinds, white ones, green ones, orange with green. I highly suggest you check out your local farmers market for some of these pumpkins. They are great fall decor!

September 21, 2009

My Love of Eastern Market

This past weekend, I spent Saturday morning at one of my most favorite places in Detroit, Eastern Market. Steve was at a golf tournament, so I got to walk around and enjoy it all by myself.

The Market will forever hold a very special place in my heart, because the morning of the wedding, before heading to St. Mary's for the ceremony, my bridesmaids and I walked around the stalls taking pictures with some of the locals. Those moments were some of my favorites from 05.09.09. There was just this immediate out-pouring of love and joy for me and us. Random cheering, picture taking and just Detroit Love. I specifically recall a woman walking by us and saying "You are the most beautiful thing I have seen in the Market all day." How could you not get warm fuzzies from those random words of kindness?

I now walk through the stalls and remember those moments and I find myself smiling at everyone while being there and just loving being a Detroiter...which I say with pride. This city has had its face shoved in the mud so much lately (some of it much deserved, cough, Kwame), but I have nothing but love for Detroit, which I hope to share with all of you. If you haven't been, I highly suggest you go. It is truly one of the best things the city has to offer.

Here are some pictures from that morning which I just had to share.

Enough of the trip down memory lane...I had a list of things I was looking for and was able to get most of them, with the exception of bananas.

I also broke down and finally bought a little portable, collapsable shopping cart at J.R. Hirt. For as much as we go down there, we waited long enough to get one. It really made walking from one end of the market to the other much easier without having to walk back to the car.

I was so excited to get some fresh, fall decor for the house, of course, for cheap since I was at Eastern Market. Bunches of sunflowers, funky pumpkins and corn stalks for the front yard. Misson accomplished! Fall is on its way!

September 20, 2009

A bit of a new look, name and "direction"

You may or may not have noticed that I have changed the name of our blog, from the un-original "Horgan's Cooking Blog" to the bit more original "20 Paws 4 Feet, Our Journey as Mr. and Mrs.". I did this because as much as I loved the idea of having a blog for just our house stuff, I know I can't maintain this blog will now be recipes, home and more! We hope you enjoy it :).

August 18, 2009

Cheesy Turkey (or Chicken) and Spinach Pie

I have been meaning to try this recipe from one of my cookbooks for some time, so I was happy I finally had the opportunity last night. It was fairly easy to put together, but a bit time consuming. The end product was really delicious and flavorful! It did make a lot, so I think we are going to freeze the leftovers to save for another day.

Nonstick cooking spray
4 oz. cooked angel hair pasta
3 eggs
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup fresh snipped basil (I did a rough chop) or 1 Tablespoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
14 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken (this was about a breast and a half for me, Costco sized)
1 10 oz. packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup chopped bottled roasted red sweet peppers

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9" deep dish pie plate or a 2 quart square baking dish with cooking spray (I used my round, 2 1/4 quart Corningware and it worked perfectly), set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, basil, garlic salt and crushed red pepper until well combined. Stir in cooked pasta, turkey or chicken, spinach, cheese and roasted red peppers. Spread mixture into prepared dish. (if you are using a pie plate, it will be very full)
3. Bake uncovered, in the pre-heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until edges are slightly puffed and golden. Let stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes prior to serving to cool.

Makes 6-8 servings.

August 17, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

I had bought some sweet potatoes at Trader Joe's this week and I was anxious to try them out. I knew I wanted to make some fries out of them and I will be attempting them mashed this weekend or next week.

I found this recipe on All Recipes and again, was very happy we had everything in the house! Based on some of the comments su
ggested by others on the site, I omitted the microwave with water part so they wouldn't get soggy.

(I had to put a picture of the potatoes while I was prepping. I just loved the color of the fries with the bowl and my spatula. :) )

I didn't follow the measurements on seasonings exactly. I kind of eye-balled it to taste and they were yummy! We gobbled them right up with our brats!

4 sweet potatoes cut into large French Fries (I used 3 small/medium ones and it was perfect for the 2 of us)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss cut potatoes with Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, salt and pepper and olive oil.
3. Arrange fries on a baking sheet in a single layer.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once, or until fries are crispy on the outside.

Finished product! So good with ranch...:)

August 16, 2009

Pretzel Jello

I have made this recipe, which I got from a fellow Detroit Knottie's food blog, twice now, both with rave reviews!  It is so easy and I think a great summer dessert dish.  Unfortunately, I do not have pictures as the finished product is always consumed somewhere I don't have my camera with me!

2 cups coarsely chopped pretzels (I use the stick kind)
3/4 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons of Sugar plus 1 Cup
1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
1 small carton of Cool Whip, thawed
2 6 oz. boxes of Raspberry Jell-O
2 10 oz. packages of frozen raspberries
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix pretzels, butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar and press into a 9x13 inch pan.  Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  Let cool completely.

Beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar together until creamy.  Add Cool whip and blend into all mixed together.  Spread on cooled pretzel crust.

Mix together Jell-O and water.  Add frozen raspberries until slightly jelled.  Spread on cream cheese mixture and refrigerate until set.

August 14, 2009

Cheesecake Cupcakes

I volunteered to make a dessert for a little gathering my manager was having for some co-workers and their spouses.  I wanted to make something really great, but it is so hard to bake during the week lately!  

My mom suggested making cheesecake cupcakes since they were so easy and delicious and she was right!   

(sorry, no pictures, I put the final touches on at my manager's house)

3 8 oz. packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 eggs
Nabisco Vanilla Wafers
1 large can of and kind of pie filling (I used cherry)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream all of the ingredients (except wafers) together and beat for 5 minutes.  No less than 5 minutes.  Put wafers in the bottom of cupcake papers, rounded side down.  Fill papers about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 for 18 minutes, no less.  Let cool completely.  (I actually made mine the night before and stored them in the fridge until serving).  Top with fruit pie filling...I used 2-3 cherries on each cupcake.

Makes around 20-24.

August 13, 2009

Campfire Potatoes

My very kind and generous co-worker gave us some fresh potatoes and onions from her garden, so we wanted to make something with them to compliment our steaks we were grilling that night.  I remember my mom always making some potatoes on the grill that were wrapped in foil and delicious, so I tried to find my own version.

I found this recipe on AllRecipes and liked that I actually had everything in the house!   And you don't need a campfire...just a grill.  Oh, and it was delicious and very flavorful.  Next time I make it, I will add the cheese on at the end so it doesn't bake into the foil like it did this time. 

I altered this to make a smaller serving size on the is the original.

5 potatoes thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cups cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat an outdoor grill
2. On a piece of heavy aluminum foil, appx. 20x20 inches, places the potatoes and onion.  Dot with butter.
3. In a medium bowl, mix cheddar cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle mixture over the potatoes.
4. Fold edges of foil.  Cover potatoes with chicken broth.
5. Seal foil tightly and place on prepared grill.  Cook 35-40 minutes over medium heat.

June 23, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Steve asked me to bake something for his team meeting where they celebrate whomever's birthday it is that month. Yes, his work team. Of grown adults. I would rather celebrate with a nice cocktail...but to each their own. I jokingly asked if he wanted me to make clown cupcakes or those cupcakes in ice cream cones since I was having a flash back of elementary school, but he assured me that wasn't necessary.

As we were in Costco (one of my favorite places to shop) this weekend, I found a Barefoot Cookbook I didn't have yet, Barefoot Contessa at Home. It was just $20 and I was thumbing through it, came across the recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting that looked yummy. Steve said make it, so we got the book and I made these tonight.

They are delicious! The cupcake recipe itself is kind of involved, but it is worth it. At one point, when alternating the wet and dry mixes into the main mix, the cupcake batter was looking like an Irish Car Bomb shot gone bad...but I kept the Mean Green Kitchen Aid 'a goin' and it all came out great in the end.

The frosting is so light and creamy and not over-powering. I was also pretty excited to use more of our new kitchen gadgets, a sifter and my cake decorator!

This recipe said it made around 14-15 cupcakes. When I made them, it yielded 23. Nothing like having these left over to munch on!

Cupcake Ingredients

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup good cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes (our oven took 20 minutes exactly), until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

June 22, 2009

Lonestar State Cheesecake

When we went to go complete our registry at Williams Sonoma, the sales associate was really pushing the springform pan I had on my registry but chose to not get.  She claimed it was the best thing they had in the store, so I caved.  I like to bake and I had never tried a cheesecake and this Kaiser pan would allow me to do that.

I got this recipe off the Food Network website, from a cook I have never watched before, Sunny Anderson.  It seemed easy enough and it was getting high ratings, so I gave it a whirl.  Plus, I got to use some new kitchen gadgets...springform pan, food processor, Kitchen Aid mixer and a mandoline slicer (for the strawberries)!

I am not one to brag about my mad skillz, but this was a pretty gosh darn good cheese cake.  Creamy, not too rich and simple to make.  Again, this got a resounding "yum" from my parents and hubby, so that made me happy!

Note:  You do need a 9" springform pan to make this recipe.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (original recipe called for cinnamon, I opted for regular)
6-8 tablespoons butter, melted (I used 8)
4 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar plus,
2 Tablespoons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sour cream
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, sliced (you could probably use what ever fruit strikes your fancy)

Heat oven to 325.

In a food processor, blend graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until moist, but not wet.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.  In a large bowl, using an electric beater, combine cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the lemon juice until light and smooth.  Slowly mix in the eggs until well blended.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 55 minutes or until the center sets.  (Our oven took about 60 minutes)

Turn oven off and remove the cake.

In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and remaining vanilla.  Spread this over top of the cheesecake and return to the warm oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and then let cool to room temperature before removing the springform.  (I actually let the cheesecake get to room temperature and then put in the fridge for 4 hours until post-dinner...came out great).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl toss together blueberries and sliced strawberries with remaining sugar.

Serve slices of the cheesecake with the fruit as a garnish.

June 21, 2009

Barefoot Potato Salad

Shocker...another Barefoot Contessa recipe, from her "Barefoot at Home" cookbook.  We were having my parents over for Fathers Day BBQ and I wanted to make a potato salad to accompany the steaks we were grilling.  Steve really likes potato salad with a mustard taste and I love potato salad with dill.  This seemed like a happy medium for both of our taste buds and I got to use herbs from our garden.  Both Mom and Dad gave their "yum" of approval...and my mom is not a huge dill fan!  

What I also liked about this recipe is that it seemed just about right for 4-6 people.  Sometimes the Barefoot seems like she is making food for a small army, but we only have a small Tupperware left of this!

3 pounds small red potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk, milk or white wine (I used 1% milk)
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion (we used shallots)

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife.  Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel,  Allow the potatoes to steam for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the mayo, milk (buttermilk or wine), Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size.  Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl.  While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten (as the salad sits, you may need to add more dressing).  Add the celery, onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  

Toss well, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

June 18, 2009

Sunburst Lemon Bars

My co-worker gave me this recipe so I could use my Kitchen Aid for another recipe. It is really easy and I had all the ingredients in the added bonus! This is a great dessert for summer, light and refreshing. It was also the first time I got to use my Williams Sonoma Gold Touch 9x13 rectangle pan and it was everything I hoped for! Ha!

A bit of advice...don't make this too late at night if you want to finish it up before you go to bed. You have to wait for it to cool completely before you frost it. That really bummed Steve out!

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients. With your paddle attachment, blend until crumbly. Press mixture evenly in the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake crust at 350 for 20-30 minutes until light, golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine all filling ingredients, except the lemon juice. Blend well. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour mixture over warm crust. Return to oven and bake an additional 25-20 minutes or until top is light, golden brown. Cool completely.

In a small bowl, combine all the frosting ingredients. Add enough lemon juice to desired consistency and taste, blend until smooth. Spread over cooled bars. Yields about 36 bars.

June 16, 2009

Basic Yummy Quiche

My mother-in-law gave us this recipe at one of our showers so I decided to make it this past weekend.  We had a big day of yard work planned (specifically, cleaning up tons of helicopters from our front yard), so I wanted a big breakfast to "power us up" for the day ahead.  My girlfriends had gotten me a bunch of baking things, including a quiche/tart pan and I was excited to put it to use!

This was so easy and yummy!  It is even great leftover!  This recipe is meant to be a base.  You can add whatever meats, veggies, etc. in it that you want...I just wouldn't add more than 2 otherwise it might not fit in the pan!

1 pre-made pie crust (my mother-in-law uses the ones already in a dish, you can also put the crust in a pie pan if you do not have a quiche pan)
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
12 bacon slices (I used more like 9) or 1 cup of ham chopped up
1 small can of mushrooms (can also use onions, green peppers, whatever you wish to taste)
4 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup cubed swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (you can use cubed too)

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread crust out into pan.  Spread the softened butter onto the crust and put in the refrigerator to chill.

If you are using bacon, fry up the bacon, drain and crumble.  Set aside.  
Mix together the eggs, cream, salt and nutmeg with a wire whisk.  Stir in cheese and other desired ingredients (mushrooms, onions, etc.).
Remove pie crust from fridge and spread out the bacon on the chilled crust.  Pour egg mixture on top of that.

Bake 15 minutes at 425.  Turn oven down to 350 and bake for 35 minutes.  When a knife comes out clean in the center, it is done.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

April 14, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

At our shower, we got 3 different recipes for a buffalo chicken dip. One of our showers was the same day that my bachelorette party was happening, so Steve was on his own for dinner. He ended up making this dip for himself for dinner! He loved it and I loved the leftovers and have since made it for my brother, sister-in-law and my parents...all who thought it was yummy! An added bonus is that I got to use our new Corningware portable to bake it in! Yay!

We plan on trying out the other two of which is for the crock pot! Thanks to Katy for this great recipe...Andrea and Jennifer, yours are on deck!

1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 oz. Franks Hot Sauce (I used 2 oz. and used the Wing version)
16 oz. Ranch Dressing
1/2 c. chopped celery
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil chicken, when completed. Shred the chicken with a fork. Mix with the Franks sauce once shredded.
Over medium heat, combine ranch and cream cheese and cook until cheese softens and mixes.
In a 9x13 size dish, layer the Franks covered chicken evenly. Pour dressing mix over the chicken. Layer the celery and top with the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips (Scoops work really well).

BBQ Ribs in a Crock Pot

We have been MIA from our kitchen for awhile...reverting back to old standards and frozen quick meals from Trader Joe's! I am anxious for the wedding planning and execution to soon be done so I can dig into all our new cookbooks and try out new recipes!

This recipe is from my grandma. At our showers, we included a recipe card for everyone to bring back completed with them at the shower. We got some great recipes! This one was quick, easy and delicious!!!

3-4 pounds spare ribs
onion (I just used a medium sized yellow one)
16 oz. jar of BBQ sauce (any flavor you like)

Heat up your broiler. Cut the ribs into serving size pieces. Rub salt and pepper on both sides. Place ribs on broiler pan. Broil ribs for about 10-15 minutes or until they start to brown.

Slice onion, place in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour the entire jar of BBQ sauce on top. Place ribs on top of sauce and onion and then stir all around so the ribs get coated. I kind of stood the ribs up on their sides to maximize the sauce coverage. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. The ribs will be just falling off the bone...delicious!!!

February 10, 2009

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

I wanted to make an easy breakfast dish that I could just throw in the oven for Steve and his friend Joe on Sunday.  I knew they were basically going to be doing "dude things" all day and might be feeling a little rough on Sunday.  I made it Saturday night and threw it in the oven on Sunday.  This was so easy and yummy!  I think it would also be very easy to cut in half as well.  

18 slices white bread, cubed (I used more like 13)
8 oz. cooked ham, cubed (I bought the small pre-cut cubes)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups diced swiss cheese
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (I left out because we didn't have it)
2 cups crushed, cornflakes cereal
1/2 cup butter, melted

Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Line the bottom of the dish with half the bread cubes.  Sprinkle with the ham, cheddar cheese and swiss cheese.  Then top with remaining bread cubes.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and onion powder.  Pour evenly over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, blend the crushed cornflakes and melted butter.  Spread evenly over the casserole.

Bake 40 minutes in the pre-heated oven or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

January 15, 2009

Chocolate White Chocolate/PB Chip Cookies

My manager asked me if I would mind making a dessert for a homeless dinner she was volunteering at and I happily obliged!   Then, about an hour later, Steve asked me to make cookies for his team for their "monthly birthday celebrations" where they usually bring in a sweet treat.  Looked like I was going to be busy!

I wanted to a cookie that I thought most people would like, but also something unique.  I found these on the Food Network website and they sounded simple and tasty.  Of course, they are a Barefoot recipe.  The original recipe calls for chunks of white chocolate, but I opted to do one batch with white chocolate chips and the other with peanut butter chips.  The "test" audiences liked the peanut butter option better, but both were really moist and rich cookies.

The size I made the cookies (which were kind of big-ish), each batch made around 2 dozen.

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup good, unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds good white chocolate coarsely chopped (I used a 16 oz. bag of white c.c. and peanut butter c.c.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and 2 sugars together until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs...1 at a time, and mix well.

Add the cocoa and mix again.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly add to the chocolate mixture on a low speed until just combined.  Fold in the chopped chocolate or chips.

Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using an ice cream scoop or rounded tablespoon.  Dampen your hands and flatten each dough ball slightly.  Bake for exactly 15 minutes (the cookies may seem underdone...but that is OK)  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

With my new trusty Kitchen Aid mixer at my side, I can now make all kinds of sweet treats! Although, I prefer to make them and give them to others at the moment! This one seemed somewhat healthy and simple, so I thought I would make Steve a sweet treat on Sunday night.

This pound cake was so easy to make and was very yummy. I got the recipe from my Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics cook book.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature (which means, leave it out for about an hour)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finishing mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife through the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out and place on a baking rack to allow it to cool completely.

January 4, 2009

Recipe Manager!

On Friday at work, Steve told me he bought us a present but I would have to wait to get home to get it.  I was really curious as to what it could have been and I never expected what it actually was!  He bought us this software called 'The Recipe Manager".  It manages recipes, had some pre-existing recipes already in it, creates shopping lists based on recipes, measurement equivalents and most importantly for me, calculates nutritional value for the recipe you make!  

It is going to take a little bit of manual set up to get it going, but I am excited to start using it.  Now, when I post a recipe, I can also post the nutritional information with it!

January 1, 2009

Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin

One of my co-workers directed me to a blog she had recently found where she got the recipe for an amazing pork tenderloin. As I was checking it out, the most recent entry was for a Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin and I was immediately interested. I love Cauliflower and goat cheese and this sounded simple enough...and we had all the ingredients in house, except for the veggies and goat cheese. We decided to make it for our "stay at home" New Years Eve dinner last night and it was YUMMY! It went really well with the filets Steve made for us. It was a great way to ring in the new year!

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 green onions, chopped
3 ounces goat cheese, cut in small pieces (we could only find the Provencal flavor goat cheese crumbles and it really added some great flavor)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Add cream to a small pot with the garlic and bring to a simmer
  3. Turn off the heat and let the cream infuse and cool for about 15 minutes
  4. Toss the cauliflower, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, green onion and lemon zest in a shallow casserole dish (I used a 9x13 because that is all we had)
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Strain the cream over the cauliflower and top with the pieces of goat cheese. Add another grind or two of pepper to the top.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly and become golden around the edges.
  8. Remove from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

When I first got my Kitchen Aid mixer a few days ago, I was so excited to think about all the sweet treats I could make in it.  What would be first?  Brownies?  Coconut cupcakes?  Scones?  Then I started thinking about the wedding dress I need to fit in for the fast approaching date of May 9!  I opted to make treats for our 2 weiner dogs instead.

I got this recipe from a fellow Knotties blog...her dog Vernon gave his "woof"of approval and so did Olive and Dexter last night!  I was going to get a bit concerned if even our dogs didn't eat my baking!

1 1/4 cup of milk
1 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tablespoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flours and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. Mix milk and peanut butter in a large bowl until smooth (I used my mixer with the paddle attachment)
  4. Gradually stir flour mixture into wet ingredients
  5. Knead dough by hand, adding small amounts of milk if the dough is too dry.  (I used the dough hook attachment on my mixer)
  6. Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface to about 1/8 - 1/4", and cut into shapes with desired  cookie cutters
  7. Bake on cookie sheet for around 12-15 minutes (ours took around 13-14 minutes), the consistency when done is a cross between a cookie and a biscuit.
They do not rise a lot during baking, so you can place them fairly close together on the cookie sheet.


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