Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marinara My Way

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my marinara is drinkable!!! I love love love this recipe and I think it has a few unique twists that make it a step above the rest. It's super easy to throw together and can be done in start to finish 30 minutes! I like my marinara a tad sweet a tad creamy, and not to chunky. I am not a measure-er on this kind of stuff so my recipe is an estimate of how much I think I am adding. So if it needs fine tuning please comment and let me know. Try it, and I think you'll be kissing those cans of sauce at the store goodbye.

1 T olive oil
3/4 c of a large red onion chopped (1 medium, or 2/3 of a large onion)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c shredded carrot
1 16oz can diced tomato
1 16oz can tomato sauce
1/2 t salt
1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
1 t oregano
2 t basil
1 T sugar
2 "shakes" Worcestershire sauce (1 T?)
1/2 c water
1/2 c half and half

Start by sweating out your onions and garlic in the olive oil. Add the carrot and allow to cook another minute or two. Pour in your diced tomato/tomato sauce and stir. Add spices, sugar, water, and Worcestershire. Allow to simmer on low heat for at least 20, but up to 30 minutes. At this point I remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender you can blend 2/3 of the mixture in a blender or food processor. (watch out blending too many ounces of hot liquids can make a huge mess!) Stir in half and half and serve. Yum!

Sticky Sweet Asian Lemon Chicken

This is not the bright yellow chicken dish that you order at your favorite Chinese restaurant, but a homemade, less yellow, milder version. This is a recipe that my neighbor has made for me after having babies was so delicious and my kids gobbled it up so of course I needed the recipe. She was nice enough to share it with me and I know it will become a staple at our house for years to come!

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t ground ginger
1 T sesame seeds

(I strongly suggest doubling the sauce)
4 T butter
1/4 c honey
2 T lemon juice
1 T soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut Chicken into bite sized pieces. Put flour, salt, pepper, and ginger in a ziploc bag and shake to mix ingredients. Add chicken to bag and shake until all pieces are evenly coated. Remove chicken from bag shaking off any excess flour and put in a greased 9x13 and bake for 20 minutes.
Melt butter in saucepan and stir in other sauce ingredients.
Turn chicken and coat with sauce. Top with sesame seeds. Bake another 15 minutes. The last 3-5 minutes turn on the broiler in oven to brown tops of chicken. Serve over sticky rice.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Honey Balsamic Dressing

This dressing was introduced to me by my friend and it is similar to one they serve at a popular local restaurant as their house dressing. After trying this recipe it is my new obsession and I have some in my fridge for salads at all times!!! I am addicted and you will be to. This is amazing for events and you can make a lot or a little of the dressing. Oh, also amazing on roasted beets! This recipe makes a lot of dressing so feel free to half it.

1/2 c honey
2 T whole grain mustard (the seedy kind)
1 c balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 to 1 1/2 c oil (use half Olive Oil half Canola)****
1 to 2 t red pepper flakes (depending on how much kick you want)
1 t salt

Place all ingredients in a blender except oil. Put the lid on and drizzle the oil thru the hole in top of blender until dressing is fully emulsified.

*** Why half olive oil half regular??? Because using all olive oil will give you a super thick consistency...using all regular oil will be runny...thus I like to use half of each so the consistency is just right.

Serve dressing over:
a bag of spring mix
a bag of baby spinach
1 c of crasins
1/2 c feta
thinly sliced red onion
hearty croutons (I love the focaccia croutons from Costco..worth buying especially if you are making this for a shower, or other event)

Add any other ingredients that you like...this dressing is good on everything!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oatmeal Creme Pies

I went to the beach last week, and got a few "Beach snacks" for the kids. This category would be things I don't normally buy for the house. I.e. packaged cookies (NOT worth the calories) and chips. I got a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme pies because if I am going to eat a packaged cookie, it is going to be that, or double stuffed Oreos.

They were better than I remembered, but I still have an aversion to the process and preservatives that go along with packaged cookies, so, I decided that when I got home, I was going to find the best oatmeal creme pie recipe I could find. And guess what, I think I did, on first try.

It seems like I can't make a recipe without a few alterations these days, and this is the same. So, I will post my recipe that I made including adjustments.

1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I actually did not measure at this part!)
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream Filling (Can be doubled if necessary)

2 teaspoons very hot water
pinch of salt
1 jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Cream butter, sugars, eggs and molasses together. Add vanilla. Combine salt, flour, cinnamon, baking soda. Add to creamed mixture. Then mix in the oats.

Drop dough by tablespoon (I used the small Pampered Chef cookie scoop, and it was the perfect size) on cookie sheets. It is a good idea to use parchment, or stones because cookies lie very flat, and they like to stick to the pan.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Let cool.

Prepare the filling while the cookies cool.

In a batter bowl, dissolve salt in water. Add marshmallow cream and shortening and beat. Add powdered sugar and incorporate well. Add vanilla and pipe on to cooled cookies to make sandwiches.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

If you have ever had the pleasure of trying this's needs no further introduction...


1 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1 c pecans
1 stick softened butter

Sweet Potato mixture

3 c sweet potato (mashed)
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 beaten eggs
1/3 stick butter

Whip mashed potatoes with other ingredients for 4 mintues...Place in lightly sprayed 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until peaks are starting to brown. Top it with pecan mixture and put back in oven for 10 additional minutes.

Heres the video of the chef at the restaurant preparing it...

Greek Lemon Rice

2 c long grain rice
3 c chicken broth
juice from one lemon (maybe 1 1/2 according to taste)
2 T butter
fresh cracked pepper

Cook rice in chicken broth according to package directions....about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Heat butter in a skillet on high heat until it sizzles. Lift the cover of the pot and quickly pour in the hot butter and close the cover quickly (it will spatter). When the sizzling stops (a few seconds), remove the cover, stir briefly, and recover.

Alow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving. The pilaf is supposed to be smooth and creamy, and slightly mushy. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Black Bean Chilaquile

(this pic is ugly sorry...)
This recipe comes together quickly and is healthy. It's similar to the Mexican Lasagna recipe that is also posted, but I think I prefer this one. Give it a try. I love a good veggie filled dinner that my kids will eat!

1 c chopped onions
1 T olive oil
1 can diced tomato or 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 1/2 c frozen/canned corn
15 oz can black beans rinsed/drained
2 T fresh lime juice
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c rinsed stemmed and chopped spinach
1/2 c cilantro
2 c crushed baked or regular tortilla chips
2 c of your favorite salsa
8 oz grated cheddar

1.Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions in oil until translucent. Stir in tomatoes, corn, black beans, lime, salt, and pepper. Heat thru.
2.Blanch spinach greens or use thawed frozen spinach..drain all water from spinach. place spinach and cilantro in food processor and pulse to chop finely (do not puree)
3.Prepare an 8x8 dish with cooking spray. Spread half of crushed tortilla chips on the bottom. Spoon vegetable mixture over chips and sprinkle on 2/3 cheese. Arrange spinach mixture over cheese and top with 1/2 the salsa. Repeat layers once more ending with cheese last.
4.Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

P.S. I have made this without the salsa before and it also works well, it will just not be as moist...but still delish!

E-E-Evil Cookie Dough Brownies

This dessert is for a special sort of person...a person who like me sometimes just needs a sugary, gluttonous, gut bomb. If you've ever uttered the phrase, "this dessert is too sweet" then don't even attempt this recipe, because it is too sweet. I love it because sometimes your craving something and you can't decide between cookies or brownies...this time you don't have to.

This recipe can also be found on the back of the betty crocker chocolate chip cookie bag...
1 box ofyour favorite brownie mix...I am a brownie snob and will only use ghiradelli
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
1 pouch Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting, if desired (my brownie mix came with it's own frosting...

Heat oven to 350ºF (325ºF for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box. Spread in pan. (My mix was only for a (9x9 pan so be sure to check the back of the box...if it's a 9x9 pan just use about 2/3 of the cookie dough and feed the rest to your hubby)
Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
Bake 42 to 47 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. (again refer to cooking times on back of brownie mix) Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 7 rows by 6 rows.
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