Thursday, December 31, 2009

I just came across this website that helps you prepare an entire meal- It has a shopping list, tools and detailed instructions. So if you need extra help this could be great!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Balsamic-Tomato Chicken

This is a recipe that I make often. Whenever I want something flavorful, filling and light I head straight to this. The balsamic mixed with the tomatoes is so good. I have made it with rice and brown rice instead of the couscous lately, because David decided that he doesn't like couscous. Picky guy! Anyway, try it. It's worth it.

Balsamic Chicken from Ellie Krieger

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

The first time I made this was for our first married Valentines Day together. I originally used Ina Garten's recipe, which is delicious, but very involved. I made a variation using inspiration from Rachael Ray.

what you need:

2 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup onion, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 russet potato, chopped into small chunks
1-2 chicken breasts, chopped
2-3 tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1-2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 package store bought puff pastry
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat the oil. Add carrots, onions and celery. Also add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken. Saute until chicken is white. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and chicken and stir it in to allow the flour to cook for a few minutes. Add the milk and chicken stock (one cup first, then add more if it's too thick) into the vegetable and chicken mixture. Ideally you want the gravy to look like...pot pie gravy. Thick but not too thick.

You can make individual pot pies in little ceramic dishes or one large one in a pie dish. I like a bottom and top layer, but you can just do a top layer if you prefer. Cut the pastry to fit into the dish and fill with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Top with pastry if desired. I bake mine for 10ish minutes if I do individual pies, or probably 15-20 minutes if it's one large one. Keep any eye on the top crust; you want it golden brown.

When I make this much I do two individual ceramics that are a decent size and we both don't eat it all. So it can serve 2-4 depending on how hungry you are.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cake Doughnuts

Last Sunday morning, cake doughnuts sounded really good so I decided to try to make them. I found this recipe and they turned out amazing. I made a glaze from melted butter, powdered sugar, a splash of milk and vanilla.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Potato Gratin

A gratin is basically a baked dish you can create with any vegetable (tomato, zuchinni, eggplant). I made this dish for our anniversary as our side. It's easy and so good.

Yukon gold potatoes, about 4 large ones
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (i fresh grate mine)
1 cup cheddar cheese (i used sharp, but white cheddar would be gorgeous)

Heat the cream and milk in a large dish. Slice the potatoes so they are very thin and all around the same size. Add the herbs, salt, pepper + nutmeg into the cream. Simmer until the liquid is very hot. Put the potatoes in the cream and cook for 5 minutes. Butter a baking dish and then pour the potatoes and cream mixture into the dish. Top with cheese. Bake for 40 minutes at 350.

Puffy German Pancakes

This is a recipe I grew up with. It's one of the easiest breakfasts! The best part is that you blend everything and just dump it in a pan, so there's no hassle of flipping individual pancakes. You just bake, cut and serve.

Preheat oven to 400
Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a 9 x 13 baking pan and put it in the oven

In a blender put:
4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (i use kosher)
2/3 cup milk
Blend and pour over the melted butter in the 9 x 13

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes
Then turn down the oven to 350 and bake for about 15 more minutes. Check it periodically. You want the sides to be puffy and the center to be firm. That's how you'll know it's done.

Tomato Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 pounds tomatoes on the vine- peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

I boiled my tomatoes in hot water for about 1-2 minutes, then took them out of the boiling water to cool. I peeled all of them so that the skins don't get into the soup. Then I chopped them up.

Saute carrots, onion, salt and pepper in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes. Add sugar, tomato paste, basil and stock. Simmer on low for 40 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be very tender. Ideally you'd want to use a hand blender at this point to blend up the soup. I don't have one so I just ladled small portions into my regular blender and blitzed it up. You have to be careful with blending hot things because the heat and pressure can blow the top off of the blender (so I held a kitchen towel over the top of the whole blender while blending. You can also use a food processor. Once it's blended as thin as you like it, reheat it and eat!

I served the soup with a drizzle of cream on top, because the soup is already so rich.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Favorite Vinaigrette

I made this salad for Thanksgiving one year and fell in love with the dressing. I found it on the Food Network website under Rachael Ray's recipes. I always have all of the ingredients on hand so it's always a go-to.

Here's the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon orange marmalade (I've also made it with apricot jam)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (I like to chop it up a bit)
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix it all together in a bowl with a whisk. I like to make vinaigrette instead of buying bottled dressings- I haven't found a bottled dressing that I really love.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kitchen Essentials

I saw a post about what you need in your kitchen. This is a really good thing to know, especially if you are engaged and planning on registering soon. I didn't know everything that I needed, but I had a pretty good idea of the basics... there are a few things I would have changed though.

#1 If I registered all over again I wouldn't register at Target. Their return policies are a can only exchange something for another item in the same was a nightmare.

#2 I would not get a pot & pan set. Ours is from Crate and Barrel, and I love it, but I have a lot of small pans that I don't really use. I would recommend registering for individual pieces, as in a large stock pot, a large non-stick skillet, another non-stick skillet with higher sides, and a sauce pot. Those are the ones I mostly use, and I cook 6/7 nights. Later, if you realize you might use it, I would recommend getting something in cast iron. I have a smaller dutch oven style cast iron pot and a cast iron skillet that are Le Creuset and I'm obsessed with them :)

What I recommend:
2 pairs of tongs
2 spatulas (for flipping things such as pancakes) I have one that is rubber material and one that is metal.
2 bowl scrapers (I actually own 4 and use them all often)
2 ladles
1 pasta grabber
1 hand held strainer
1 potato masher
1 cookie scoop
2-3 cookie sheets (I use these for cookies but also things like roasting potatoes)
1-2 loaf pans
2 9 x 13 baking pans for cakes
1 rolling pin (I like wooden ones)
1 vegetable peeler
1 pair of kitchen scissors
1 pie pan
1 cooling rack (perfect for cookies)
4-8 mixing bowls (I own a lot. I have melamine, glass and plastic ones.)
2-3 whisks (I have 3 in different sizes)
1 large colander
1 microplane (for grating zest, nutmeg)]
1 stand grater (I recommend investing in a good sturdy, sharp one. I hate grating)
2 cutting boards (I use mine every single day. It's a really nice one from Crate & Barrel. Make sure you pick one that has a non-slippery surface...I hate when a knife can slide around on the board. Also pick one that has some kind of grippage at the bottom so it doesn't slide on you. Very dangerous!)
3 wooden spoons(Again, I love mine from C & B. I also recommend some kind of flat edged wooden utensil for breaking up ground meat when you're browning it)

I have a set of Kitchen Aid knives that we got for our wedding, and they are really good. There are better brands that I like more, and will get someday. Wusthoff seems to be my favorite ones right now- I only own their bread knife at this point. If you don't want to splurge on a set, the most important knife I use is a chef's knife. I like the ones with indentation so that the food you chop doesn't stick to your knife. I prefer a blade that is rounded at the end on top and straight along the bottom. It's my go-to knife.

My favorite appliances:
kitchen aid mixer- I use this for making all of my cookies, cakes, and even breads. I also have the pasta making attachments. You can use a hand mixer just as well, but the stand mixer lets me walk away and come back without having to turn it off.

food processor- mine broke recently. It wasn't the best quality and I used it at least once a week. My favorite brand of processor is Cuisinart. They make large ones and small ones- I would like to own both. If you don't have a large family, the small one would be perfect. I use it to make pesto, pastry dough, sauces...

rice cooker- not a necessity, but I use it often. We have rice every week and I love being able to turn it on and leave it alone. It stops cooking when it's done and keeps the rice warm.

bread maker- I use this once a week too- to make homemade pizza dough! I used to make bread in it a lot, until I mastered my mom's homemade recipe. If you like homemade bread but are afraid to do it by hand, I would definitely recommend one. Mine cost about $50 so it's not a huge splurge.

What can you not live without in the kitchen?
Here's my fave:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

It's about time for another post! I feel like we've been eating the same things for the past few weeks, but I realized last night that my favorite soup recipe isn't on my blog. Here it is!

Pasta Fagioli Soup

This is a hearty vegetable, ground beef, pasta and bean soup. It's easy and really good.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (any color. I like yellow because I think it's sweeter)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 pound ground beef or turkey or italian sausage
1 small zuchinni, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (cannelini or white northern)
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup small pasta (ditalini, macaroni)
1 can stewed tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt (salt as you go, and taste at the end)
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions + celery and a little bit of salt (this helps the onions sweat and release their juice). Cook 3 minutes. Add chopped garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Add in ground meat. Break it up and brown. Once there is no more pink in the meat, add the grated veggies.

Stir in the chicken broth (I like to use bullion cubes or canned broth. either one is fine) canned tomatoes, herbs, salt + pepper, + beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the pasta and cook for 15 more minutes, or until the pasta is soft.

Serve in bowls with some parmesan over the top, or more pepper- thats how I prefer it :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This is my mom's recipe for waffles. They are SO good, and light and fluffy. The trick to tender waffles is not overmixing. Mix all of these ingredients until they are just combined.

In a bowl combine:

2 cups flour
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) melted butter
2 eggs (separate the egg whites into a separate empty bowl, and put the yolks into the other ingredients. beat up the egg whites with a whisk until they are foamy, then add gently into the batter)

Put a scoopful into your waffle maker. You will not be disappointed!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

homemade pasta

I've been making a lot of homemade pasta lately since I got the pasta making attachments for my kitchen aid. You can also just buy a hand crank machine or even roll out the dough by hand and cut it into strips with a knife. We like to use the linguine attachment. The best part about making pasta from scratch (besides the fact that it is so tender and delicious) is the cost. For the two of us I use 1 cup of flour and 2 eggs, and then about a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it up with a fork and then finish with your hand. Keep surfaces and your hands really floured. The pasta goes directly into salted boiling water and takes about 3 minutes to cook- literally! Here we made the pasta with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour. We put it into marinara sauce with meatballs. It was amazing!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chicken and Pasta in Cream Sauce

From Hot off the garlic press

This is Kristine's sister's blog, and she posts really yummy stuff on there. I tried this pasta recipe last summer, and the first time I made it I fell in love. It is one of my favorite meals now and it takes MINUTES. The first week I tried it, I made it 4 times. The recipe calls for basil and parmesan, and I didn't add either of those things...I just do the cream, salt, pepper, garlic, chicken, bowties and broccoli.

It would also be delicious with spinach added into the sauce at the end, or even asparagus and chopped tomatoes. You can't go wrong with heavy cream :) The best part is that the chicken and broccoli and pasta all cook in the same pot, so you don't need 10 different pans to make dinner with. TRY IT. It's the best! Here's the link: Pasta

Yes, we eat a lot of pasta at my house!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shrimp Scampi Verde

The won tons turned out great- so good, in fact, that there were none left over for me to photograph. I think we will have them again this weekend and I'll shoot 'em then. Tonight I'm making one of our all time favorite pasta dishes:

Spicy Shrimp Scampi Verde

It's a Rachael Ray recipe and it is so easy and delicious. I love the combination of the basil and lemon, and shrimp in anything is really a good thing, to me :) If I can't find arugula for the recipe, I'll just use spinach. I also don't have any chives so I'm going to use leftover scallions that I already have in the fridge. YUM

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pork Won Tons

1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pepper
40-50 wonton wrappers
A few inches of vegetable oil in deep pan
(i like a deep pan to prevent oil popping on me)

I usually mix up the meat and seasonings in a bowl, then divide the raw meat mixture in half, put it in a ziploc and freeze it to use another time.
With the rest of the mixture, fill teaspoon with the mixture and place on half of the won ton. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edge of the triangle. Stick the other side to it so it seals well. At this point you can either steam them (I have a bamboo steamer but I've also used the vegetable steamer that goes on top of my rice cooker) and then fry in the oil, or just put them straight into the hot oil. Make sure if you steam them to try to get as much moisture off of them as possible so the water doesn't pop in the oil. When frying, let them cook until golden, then flip. I drain mine on a paper towel. Then I dip them in this:

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Thursday, June 11, 2009

english muffin pizzas

like i said before, we have pizza usually once a week. i try to mix it up between pepperoni, pesto or asian. when we're really busy or i do not feel like waiting for my breadmaker to mix up some dough, we make pizzas on english muffins or bagels. you can add whatever toppings you like and even us whole wheat bagels or english muffins as the base. they are so good! and i can imagine kids liking the individual portions and even helping assemble the toppings.

english muffins or bagels
pizza sauce (i like the jarred kind)
mozzarella cheese
i also like to add pineapple to mine
a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or garlic salt

i toast the base before putting the toppings on, to ensure that it is crispy and not soggy. bake at 400 until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom seems crisp. keep an eye on them, they're done fast. never gets old :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

rainbow cake update

here is the link for the rainbow cake!

it was so fun to make! i would definitely make it if i had a baby or a kid having a birthday. instead i just made it for fun :) the best part is cutting it open, because i covered mine in white frosting so you couldn't tell what was inside.

coconut banana bread with lime glaze

this sounds like the perfect summer snack! i am totally going to try this out.

coconut banana bread with lime glaze

this blog is very inspirational

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I found a great sounding recipe for a Caprese Burger from a commenter on a blog i frequently read, This Week for Dinner.
A caprese salad is usually made with slices of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves. This hamburger has all of those ingredients and it sounded fabulous, so I bought the ingredients and they turned out awesome. We grilled ciabiata rolls with the aioli (which is just a jazzed up mayo, basically) on them. I added tomato, David didn't. It was nice to have something more than the regular ketchup and mustard.

What is your favorite hamburger?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

bbq pork sandwiches

these are so easy and delicious. even david makes them for me sometimes :)

put these in your crock pot:
1 pork tenderloin (it's super lean but very flavorful)
1/2 c bbq sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1/4 c orange marmalade
1/3 c of water

put on low and cook for 6-8 hours. i serve it on french rolls with extra bbq sauce on top. it makes your house smell so good!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

rules of dinner making

i've always loved to cook, but i know that most of my girlfriends hate doing it, or don't know how to go about it. there are a few things that help me make dinner a big part of my week without it taking over.

my number one rule:
pick a day- saturday, or monday afternoon, for you to go to the store with a list that you've planned out. write down what you plan on eating for dinner each night (realistically) and search your pantry and fridge for what you have. write down what you need to get at the store.

if you make a list and pick a day to shop, you wont be running to get pizza or a missed ingredient right in the middle of making the meal. just doing this has saved me hours of time at the grocery store and hundreds of dollars in the past 3 years.

2buy every day items and keep them on hand. i normally buy these items at costco in bulk so they are always available. some items i regularly buy at costco are:

cheese (it's an amazing deal)
olive oil
frozen chicken, pork tenderloins, salmon
chicken bullion cubes

3start slow.
don't try to do all new recipes every night of the week. stick to what you know most nights and if you know you're going to have a little free time to try something new, fit it in.

4make it easy. think of cooking as a time to relax and enjoy. cooking is fun. you're creating something for your family to enjoy. make a main thing and one side. you only have two things to assemble and worry about cooking times for.

what days do you like to grocery shop, and why?

Friday, May 8, 2009


this blog will help me organize all of my recipes and allow everyone to access them.

here is what i want to know for all of my family/friends who might read this blog:

what are your meal making dilemmas?
what stops you from making dinner?
what do you want to learn how to make?

comment and let me know what you'd like to see.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

what we're having tonight

Pizza! Lately I've been making homemade pizza once a week. Kristine introduced me to the pesto pizza which is delicious, but tonight I'm making regular pepperoni. I use our breadmaker to make the crust.


Throw all of this into the breadmaker and set on the dough setting

2 1/4 c flour
1 T dry milk
2 T olive oil
1 T honey
1 1/4 c warm water
1 t yeast (heaping)
2 t salt

another option for the dough is stopping by your favorite pizza joint and asking them if you can purchase some of their dough. usually it's cheap and delicious.


1 can pizza sauce
4 garlic cloves chopped


3 c grated mozarella

I add pepperoni to the top or sometimes I add pineapple pieces too.

For the sauce I buy canned pizza sauce and add chopped garlic to it. The dough makes enough for about 3 personal pizzas.