Monday, November 3, 2008

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry

I've been in the mood for a stir fry lately, and in the past when I've made them I've used a bottled stir fry sauce. I wanted to make it a little healthier so I searched online for a recipe on Cooking Light. I found this one, made a few modifications, and voila! Dinner is done. I don't have a picture, but it looked delicious, I promise.

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry

2 vertically sliced sweet onions
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
3 pork loin chops, cut into thin slices and lightly coated with flour
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chutney (I used a peach vidalia chutney, mango would be good too)
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
Cooked angel hair pasta

Mix the chutney, chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl, place to the side. Place a large wok coated with wok oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet onion; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the sweet onion from pan; place in a bowl. Recoat pan with wok oil. Add broccoli; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add broccoli to sweet onion. Recoat pan with wok oil. Add pork and red pepper; stir-fry 4 minutes or until pork loses its pink color. Reduce heat. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in onion mixture, noodles and sauce; cook 1 minute.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicken Spanakopita Burgers

I stumbled across this Rachel Ray recipe a couple of years ago, and it's one of my favorite ways to use ground chicken. I usually don't eat this on a bun (the burger pictured is Chad's), I just eat the patty with some basil aioli. There is so much flavor in the burger, it doesn't need much to accompany it!

Chicken Spanakopita Burger

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped,
1 red onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
1 box, 10 ounces, frozen spinach, defrosted
2 teaspoons dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm, divided
1/4 pound feta crumbles
1 1/3 pounds ground chicken or ground turkey breast, 1 package
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. To one side, add a little extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When butter melts, add the chopped garlic and chopped red onion and cook 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl to cool. Return pan to heat.

Wring the defrosted spinach dry buy twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with cool onions, garlic and season with 1 teaspoon of oregano. Add in feta crumbles then chicken or turkey, grill seasoning and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix and form into 4 patties, 1-inch thick. Raise heat on pan to medium-high. Add patties and cook 6 minutes on each side.

For basil aioli: mix basil pesto with mayo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

After the weekend BBQ, we have a ton of grilled chicken leftover. I love BBQ chicken potato skins, so thought a BBQ chicken quesadilla would be tasty. What a great combination...these were great!

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

3 large tortillas
2 cups cooked BBQ chicken
sliced onions
shredded cheese (I used cheddar and colby jack)
BBQ sauce

Heat a pan over medium heat, and saute onions and mushrooms. When they are fully cooked, add chicken to warm it up. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Heat a griddle pan over medium heat. Spray with olive oil. Heat tortilla on one side for about 1 minute. Flip and layer cheese and chicken mixture on top. Drizzle with BBQ sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes (tortilla will brown). Fold in half and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with BBQ sauce and sour cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette

Our good friends Courtney and Eric had a baby in June, and they came from Orlando for the weekend to introduce Luke to the Tampa crew. I wanted to do upscale BBQ, so I searched for a good grilled chicken recipe that was different. I found this Bobby Flay recipe on Food Network and it sounded good, so that was the winner. The color of the vinaigrette was a little interesting, but it was really tasty. I will make this again.

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette
from Bobby Flay

For the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette:
8 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (oops! I forgot this!)

Combine garlic, vinegar, oregano, parsley, honey and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until emulsified. Stir in the red chile flakes.

Rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken, arrange on platter and drizzle immediately with vinaigrette.

BBQ Chicken

I wanted to make regular BBQ chicken just in case the green sauce didn't appeal to some people =) so I called mom for some tips on making a dry rub. She just rattled some ingredients off, and I put this together with what I had on hand. I put it on the chicken early in the day and let it sit, then basted with BBQ sauce when it was grilling. Delish!

BBQ Chicken

For dry rub:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp. Montreal steak seasoning
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. garlic salt

Mix together and rub into your chicken. Grill, and baste with favorite BBQ sauce.

Mashed Baked

This is a Paula Deen recipe, and features her usual stick of butter (plus cream cheese, sour cream, colby jack cheese) so it only comes out for special occasions. It was great for our BBQ since I could make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when it was time for dinner. Everyone loved them!

Mashed Baked
from Paula Deen

4 cups frozen hash browns
1 (7.6-ounce) package butter and herb mashed potato mix
1 stick butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I use colby jack)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups boiling water
2 cups prepared French-fried onion rings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the hash browns. Cook for 5 minutes and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked hash browns, mashed potato mix, butter, cream cheese, jack cheese, sour cream, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Stir in the boiling water. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle the onion rings over the casserole and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes longer until onions are golden brown.

100th Post!

So this is my 100th blog post, pretty amazing! It's been over a year since I started and while I've had some slow periods, I've kept up with it pretty well. The best thing about this blog is that it inspires to try new recipes all the time so I have stuff to add! And once I've made something and blogged about it, I can easily access it to make it again and also can share it with friends.

In honor of my 100th post, I wanted to do my top 5 here they are in no particular order =)

1. Our first anniversary was this past July 14th, and we decided to have dinner in. Our steaks with gorgonzola and crab cakes were just as good as any restaurant, and we got to enjoy spending a quiet evening together.

2. I love entertaining and cooking for friends, and this recipe from my mom for Chicken Marbella was soooo good and great to make for company since all the prep is done the night before.

3. I love looking on other people's blogs for inspiration, and Elly's is a favorite. Her pasta with shrimp and goat cheese sauce is one of my favorite pasta dishes and inspired me to get creative with my own pastas and sauces.

4. Even though I only participated in Tuesday's with Dorie for a short time, her cookbook is full of amazing recipes. The Brown-Sugar Apple Cheesecake and La Palette's Strawberry Tart are two of my favorites!

5. I love to cook (obviously) and am excited that my friends also enjoy cooking. I am a part of 2 cooking clubs, one here in Tampa and the original group back in Orlando. My friends have contributed some great recipes that are featured on my blog...Karen's chicken lasagna, Jenn's tilapia (well, actually I guess it's Keith's!), and Kelly's chocolate eclair cake. And I can't forget my favorite inspiration and go-to person for the perfect recipe for anything, my mom! LOTS of recipes on this blog come from her, but this chicken salad is one of my favorites.

So I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my blog as much as I've enjoyed publishing it. Please leave comments when you visit, I love seeing who's been here and what they like!


Spinach Mushroom Quiche

For our last Orlando cooking club, Karen was the hostess and we decided to do a brunch. She had a great menu, and two of my favorites were this quiche and the fruit salsa below. I'm so lucky that Chad will eat whatever I put in front of him...when I told him we were having quiche and fruit salsa for dinner, he said "Sounds great!". Which it was!

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

5 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained (I used fresh)
1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled (I only had plain so I added some Italian herbs and garlic powder)
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
4 eggs, beaten (it overflowed at cooking club so I used 3 eggs!)
1 cup milk (and 3/4 cup of milk)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 15-20minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

This was delicious...I would eat this for breakfast, brunch, a snack, dessert, you name it. Chad loved it as well and it was very easy to make. This recipe makes a lot, so I halved it since it was just the two of us.

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tilapia with Lemon Pesto and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I saw this on Elly Says Opa! and knew I had to try it. I love making KQ's tilapia, but was ready for a new fish dish to put in the rotation. This was simple to make and cooked quickly, perfect for a weeknight meal. I loved the roasted tomatoes with the pesto flavor. I still think KQ's is on top, but this is a great 2nd.

Tilapia with Lemon Pesto and Oven Roasted Tomatoes
From Elly Says Opa!

1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (I had Campari tomatoes, so I used those)
5 cloves garlic, peeled/smashed
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp pesto
1 lemon (I only used half)
3 tilapia filets, about 6 oz.
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the tomatoes and the garlic with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice the lemon and reserve both the juice and the juiced lemon. To the juice, add the pesto and stir to combine. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper and then spread the pesto mixture on top of the fish.

Take the pan of roasted garlic and tomatoes out of the oven and nestle the cut lemon into the pan. Place the tilapia on top of the lemon and tomatoes and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and no longer opaque. Spoon the tomatoes over the fish.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grilled Potato Skins

I was watching Food Network the other day and saw Paula Deen do a show with her son Bobby that was all grilling foods. They made these potato skins and I knew that I had to try them. They were absolutely delicious. I was wary about how crispy they could actually be when cooked on the grill, but they were very crispy...better than fried I think! I always eat my potato skins with BBQ sauce, and these were no exception. Chad says between these and the crash hot potatoes he never wants a baked potato again!

Grilled Potato Skins

4 russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
minced garlic
Salt and pepper
shredded Cheddar
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
sour cream

Preheat oven at 350. Clean and bake potatoes in oven for 1 hour. When done, allow to slightly cool and cut into halves.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell for the toppings. Put garlic in melted butter. Cut the potatoes into quarter wedges, brush with butter and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes of grilling, remove potatoes and place on a cookie sheet. Top the potatoes with cheese and bacon and place back on top of grill.

Apricot Pork Loin

Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged. My poor little site has been neglected. Now that the move is completed and life has settled down a bit, I'm going to catch up on all my posts that I've been meaning to do and make a resolution to blog more frequently.

Last week I had Kelly over for dinner and made her my apricot pork. I don't know if this recipe started with my mom or my Aunt Carm, but it's a regular in our house. It's great for company as well, because it's so easy and you don't have to stand in the kitchen and cook's an impressive dish that is simple to prepare.

Apricot Pork Loin

pork loin roast or pork tenderloin
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 package onion soup mix
2 tbsp. honey mustard

Preheat oven to 375. Mix preserves, soup mix and honey mustard in a small bowl. Line a baking dish with foil, leaving enough overhang to fold over the pork and make a packet. Place pork in dish and cover with preserve mixture. Seal foil around meat, and bake until pork is cooked through. Slice and serve with juices.

Crash Hot Potatoes

Any potato is a good potato to me, but these were pretty special. The baked potato inside with the crunchy, salty outside was a perfect combination. This definitely beats out a plain old baked potato, and it was just as easy to make.

Crash Hot Potatoes
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks

16 small, round potatoes with skin left on (I only had russet so I picked out the smallest ones)
olive oil

Add the potatoes to a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil. Simmer briskly for 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked. Remove potatoes from the pan and place on a baking tray. Using a masher or the back of a big spoon, gently squish each potato until they are half intact, half broken up. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (a lot!) and pepper. Roast in a very hot (450) oven for 15-20 minutes. I added some shredded cheddar cheese about five minutes before they were done, and served with sour cream.

Pork with Sweet Pineapple BBQ sauce

For my friend Daniela's 30th birthday we threw her a luau. I was excited to plan a menu that fit the theme, and knew I wanted to include my pineapple bbq sauce. It goes perfect with pulled pork.

Pork with Sweet Pineapple BBQ sauce

large pork loin roast

Place pork in crockpot and cover with liquid. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred and return to crockpot and moisten with sauce, saving some to pass on side. Serve on Hawaiian sweet rolls.

For sauce:
28 oz. ketchup
1/2 box brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons worsteshire sauce
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
juice from one lemon

Mix all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Crab Rangoon

I love, love, love crab rangoon. When Kelly made it for a get-together that Chad and I were out of town for, I was really bummed that I missed it. I thought it would be good for the luau party, and people ate them up. I should have made a double batch because they went quick. I bought imitation crab meat to cut down on costs, but when I make these again I will use real crab meat.

Crab Rangoon
From My Sweet Life

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 green onions, finely chopped (I used about 6)
1 cup of crab meat
1 tbsp of hot sauce (Sriracha)
1 package of wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients well in bowl, except wrappers. Put about a teaspoon and a half of mixture in center of each wrapper. Twist wrapper and pinch to seal. Place won tons on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake until they start to brown - should be about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with sweet chili sauce (we used the Smack My Sweet Ass and Call Me Sally from Tijuana Flats...yum!).

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

These were simple to make, were good for the party because you could prep ahead and were really good. Perfect party food! The picture looks pretty was hard to try to take food pictures in the middle of a party =)

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
From Paradise Found Online

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1/2 pound bacon
1 can pineapple chunks
teriyaki sauce/marinade

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Wrap with about 1/3 slice of bacon, thread onto toothpick, and top with pineapple chunk. Marinate for 4 hours or longer in teriyaki sauce. Preheat oven to 375. Place marinated appetizers onto foil lined baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is done and bacon golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a vegetable people love to hate, but I love it. I think if you cook it the right way it's absolutely delicious. This is my second favorite way to prepare brussel sprouts (my favorite way is here). This is also really good with broccoli.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the stem
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400. Toss brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. During the last few minutes of baking, heat olive oil in a small pan and saute garlic. Toss sauteed garlic with roasted brussel sprouts and squeeze fresh lemon juice over.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This was a breakfast from one of my many trips this summer. My mom, aunts, cousins and I went to Hilton Head for a girls weekend and this was a highly requested dish from all of us. I didn't actually make this one, so credit goes to my mom!

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

2 packages flaky layers biscuits
1 box cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups granola
1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan (if you don't have one you can use a loaf pan). Mix the brown sugar and granola in a bowl. Take a biscuit, separate in half and put a spoonful of cream cheese in the middle. Pinch biscuit back together so the cream cheese is enclosed in the biscuit. Dip biscuit in melted butter and roll in granola mixture. Place upright in pan. Repeat with remaining biscuits, fitting them all tightly in baking dish. Pour rest of melted butter over the top of the biscuits and sprinkle with remaining granola. Bake for 30 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through and coffee cake is golden brown.

Carmelized Shallot Blue Cheese Dip

This was also from my girls trip to Hilton Head. The aunts, mom and I all love snacking on dips, and this was a favorite of the weekend. It's really easy to make and tastes delicious.

Carmelized Shallot Blue Cheese Dip
From Epicurious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 ounces)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
4 ounces blue cheese, room temperature

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots. Cover and cook until shallots are deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool.
Whisk together mayonnaise and sour cream in medium bowl to blend. Add blue cheese. Using rubber spatula, mash mixture until smooth. (I used the blender, and when I've made it at home I use my food processor) Stir in caramelized shallots. Season dip to taste with salt and pepper. Cover dip and refrigerate until flavors blend, about 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Serve dip chilled or at room temperature. It's great with pita chips or veggies.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pizza Bagels

I have not blogged in a long time...July was my month of travels, and I was up and down the East coast, from a Bahamas cruise to Hilton Head to Boston. And even though we've been back for a week, the dinners at the Trecida house have been pretty unexciting because I haven't gotten paid for 2 months so we're eating cheap! But now that the summer is over and I'm back to work hopefully the food will get more interesting around here.

Tonight, though, we had a dinner that shows that cheap eats can still be delish. There is a great bagel/sandwich shop in Tallahassee called Bagel, Bagel that we hit up every time we go up for an FSU game. Back in my college days I didn't eat sandwiches (I was weird, I know) so I always got their pizza bagel. This is my re-creation. The topping ideas for this are endless, this is just what we used.

Pizza Bagels

2 bagels, toasted
cream cheese
favorite jarred sauce (I used Newman's Own Marinara)
sliced tomatoes
meat of choice (I used ham)
Italian seasoning
mozzarella or provolone cheese slices

Preheat oven to 375. Spread each toasted bagel half with cream cheese. Spoon on sauce. Add meat and slices of tomato, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and top with cheese slice. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our 1st Anniversary Dinner!

Chad and I celebrated our first anniversary yesterday! I can't believe it's already been a seems like we were just walking down the aisle. We're going to Boston next Wednesday to celebrate, so we decided we would just make dinner at home on our actual anniversary. We drank some wine, ate a delicious dinner and watched our wedding video. It was an awesome night, and I'm so lucky to be able to share these moments with such a wonderful man!

The table set-up, with roses from Chad

Great wine Karen and Jon brought us back from Greece

The food!

Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Sauce

I love beef tenderloin steaks, and there is nothing better than adding cheese to make something good even better. I went to a cooking class in Orlando with my mom at a place called Truffles and Trifles and we made this gorgonzola sauce that is absolutely fabulous on steak. This recipe is to make enough for a party so I usually half or quarter it for fewer people.

Gorgonzola Sauce

2 cups heavy cream
3-4 ounces gorgonzola (or other good blue cheese)
3 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan
fresh ground pepper

Bring heavy cream to a full boil, and continue cooking on a rolling boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cream should thicken up like a cream sauce. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and pepper. Serve immediately.

For our steaks, we just shake a little Montreal steak seasoning and grill.

Lani's Ultimate Crab Cakes

When Chad and I first decided to have our anniversary dinner at home, I knew I wanted to make homemade crab cakes. I have wanted to make them before, but when I saw crab meat was $15.99 for 8 oz. I figured I would wait for a special occasion! My mom has used Tyler Florence's Ultimate Crab Cake recipe before and liked, so I thought I would try that. But as I kept looking I saw some recipes on Epicurious, Cooking Light and even the back of the crab meat container that I thought looked good. So I decided to do a combo of them all and come up with my own recipe.

These were soooo good. My mom had made the suggestion to break up the crab a little instead of leaving the jumbo lumps, and when Chad shopped for the crab meat he found one called "Special" which the seafood guy told him refers to the cut of the was more shredded. And it was $5 cheaper, which was a bonus! We decided we liked how the crab was shredded throughout the cake. It actually tasted like the ones we used to buy at the Publix seafood counter but have since been discontinued. This recipe made 4 crab cakes, so we ate 2 and froze 2 for later.

Lani's Ultimate Crab Cakes

4 slices of white bread, crust removed
1 egg white
2 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped fine (flat-leaf)
1 green onion, chopped fine
6 shakes hot sauce
3 shakes Worsteshire sauce
fresh ground pepper
8 oz. crab meat
3/4 cup panko crumbs

Tear the bread and process in the food processor until you have fine crumbs. Place in a bowl. Add egg white through ground pepper and stir. Gently fold in crab meat.

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Form 1/4 of the crab mixture into a cake and dip each side in the panko crumbs. Lay on wax paper. Continue with the rest of the mixture. (This part is really messy and the crab cakes will be pretty sticky.) Place cakes in the fridge until you're ready to cook them (at least 30 minutes).

Heat large pan on medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, and pan-fry the crab cakes until they are golden brown on both sides (about 8 minutes per side). Serve with remoulade sauce.

Grilled Zucchini

This is a really easy way to prepare zucchini. If you don't want to fire up the grill, this can also be baked in the oven.

Grilled Zucchini

2 zucchini, sliced length-wise
olive oil
white wine vinegar
dried oregano
fresh ground pepper

Place all zucchini in a large plastic bag, and add marinade ingredients. I probably use about 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. oregano, and a few turns on the pepper grinder. This is one of those that I just throw it all in. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. Grill for 5-7 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of your zucchini).

Wedding Cake - 1 Year Later

I have to say that I had my doubts that a cake would last a year in the freezer and still taste edible, let alone good. Lucky for us, not only was it edible, it was DELICIOUS! I only had a small piece at the wedding so I was happy to get a whole piece all to myself.

The only thing I did to the cake was to place it on a paper plate, wrap it really well with plastic wrap, then wrap the whole thing with a lot of aluminum foil. We put it in the fridge for about 48 hours, then on the counter for about 3 hours before we ate it.

Lemon-Raspberry Swirl deliciousness

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The best birthday cake ever!

There is a deli in Tampa called Wright's, and they have some really good cake. My favorite is the Hummingbird Cake (I like it so much I served it at my rehearsal dinner!). When my mom asked what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, I knew she would be the one to recreate this for me. I found a recipe on Oprah's website and forwarded it to my mom. Like everything my mom makes, it was absolutely delicious. We were up in Keaton for the weekend, and even though I'm trying to eat healthy, I had a piece for breakfast and a piece for dessert every day!

And thanks mom and dad for the new pictures are so much better now!

Hummingbird Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 bananas)
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped pecans (she didn't use nuts for me!)


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 4 1/2 cups sifted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cake, position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly butter two 9" round cake pans, sprinkle evenly with flour and tap out the excess. (If you wish, butter the pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then flour the pans and tap out the excess.) Mom didn't have 2 round cake pans in Keaton so she used a 9x13.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, stir or whisk the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Pour into the dry mixture and fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. Do not beat. Fold in the pecans. Spread evenly into the pans.

Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks (remove the parchment paper now if using). Turn right side up and cool completely.

To make the icing: Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the sugar, then the vanilla, to make a smooth icing.

Place 1 cake layer, upside down on a serving platter. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the icing. Top with the second layer, right side up. Spread the reaming icing over the top and sides of the cake. The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored, uncovered in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

And because I love it so much, a picture of my birthday/anniversary present from my wonderful husband, a matching band to compliment my wedding and engagement rings. He's the best! =)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sausage, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Before I went grocery shopping this past weekend, Chad and I looked through the freezer to see if we had anything we could use for meals and Chad pulled out a package of venison sausage we had gotten from my dad. I usually make sausage with peppers and onions on a roll, but decided this time I would use it for pasta. I had a recipe pulled out from my Cooking Light magazine that used shrimp, and I thought the sausage would substitute well. I changed up the recipe a bit, but I couldn't find the original one online. So you'll just have to trust that the changes I made were for the better (if you're not into venison...shrimp, chicken or turkey sausage would be great). This pasta was delicious...yet another meal that Chad proclaimed to be the best I've ever made! =)

Sausage, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

1 lb. venison sausage, casings removed
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (if packed in oil, drain as much as possible)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup light cream cheese
noodle of choice
1 cup chopped broccoli
parmesan cheese

Put water on for noodles. Heat a large pan on medium heat, and cook sausage. When the sausage is mostly cooked through, add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Start the noodles. Add sun-dried tomatoes and saute for 1 minute. Add broth, wine and cream cheese. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then turn to medium-low. When noodles have about 4 minutes left of cooking time, add chopped broccoli. Drain noodles and broccoli and toss pasta with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TWD: Apple Cheddar Scones

This week the Tuesday with Dorie recipe was apple cheddar scones. I like scones, but thought the apple and cheddar was an interesting (weird) combination. But I made the scones as the recipe stated and I thought they turned out pretty good. They weren't over the top wonderful, and I think I would tweak the ingredients next time I make them, but the overall flavor of the dough with the cornmeal was good. I think my problem was that neither the apple nor the cheddar was a very strong flavor, so it didn't really stand out much. Maybe making an all the way savory (more cheddar and rosemary?) or all the way sweet (more apples and sugar with cinnamon?) would be better. And these babies definitely taste best right out of the oven...but don't all baked goods?

So I would say this recipe was a success because I am no longer intimidated by scones (although the sticky dough made it difficult to work with) and I have a good base recipe for the next time I make them. To see the recipe check out The Floured Apron.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Honey-Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Last week, after searching through my older Cooking Light cookbook, I came across a bunch of recipes that sounded tasty and were good for you. One of those was the honey-pecan crusted chicken. I made this using chicken tenders instead of the breasts and drumsticks the recipe called for, and it was delicious! It also cooked extrememly quickly since the tenders were so skinny. Chad and I both thought that these would be great on a salad.

Honey-Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders

boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 cups finely crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Combine honey, mustard, paprika and garlic in a small bowl. Combine cornflakes and pecans in a shallow dish (I crushed up the cornflakes and pecans together in my mini food processor). Brush both sides of chicken with honey mixture; dredge in cornflake mixture. Place chicken on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat the chicken with cooking spray. Cook at 400 for 15 minutes or until done.

Banana-Pineapple Bread, the light version

I submitted my mom's banana-pineapple bread to one of the What's Cooking recipe exchanges, and it was made with rave reviews by Lauren. I had one lonely black banana, so I thought I would make banana bread muffins, but since I already had cheesecake this weekend I wanted to make them light. A few substitutions, and voila! The same deliciousness with less fat and sugar.

Banana-Pineapple Bread Muffins

(I halved my usual recipe and made 6 muffins)

1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 overripe banana, mashed
1 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
nuts (if you want them...I made 1/2 and 1/2)

Preheat oven to 350. Beat first 3 ingredients until fluffy. Add banana and mix well. Add Bisquick and pineapple and beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Add nuts if wanted. Spoon mixture into greased measuring cups and bake for 30 minutes. Best served warm with butter!

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Ok, so I'm supposed to be eating healthy, but I had blueberries in the fridge I needed to use, company coming in town and it was the weekend. You have to indulge every now and then! I watched Tyler Florence make these a few weeks ago and thought they looked good, and they were! Creamy, very lemony with a touch of blueberries. I would put even more blueberries on these next time.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Tyler Florence's recipe, directly from Food Network.

For the base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For the base:

Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.

For the filling:

Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed -- as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Garden Frittata

On to day #3 of healthy eating, and Cooking Light's Summer Garden Frittata. This was delicious, and very easy to make; another great weeknight dinner. The tomato topping really made the whole dish. I will make this again for dinner, experimenting with different veggie combinations, and it would be great for a weekend breakfast. The portion size is big...this was only supposed to feed two but we had a quarter of it left over. I served it with roasted asparagus.

Summer Garden Frittata

1 cup chopped tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil (fresh is definitely best)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup cooked small seashell macaroni (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 large egg whites, lightly beaten (I used egg beaters in place of eggs)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons reduced-calorie margarine (I used butter...I don't like margarine!)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced zucchini
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Set aside. Combine macaroni and next 4 ingredients (macaroni though egg yolk) in a medium bowl; stir well. Set aside.

Melt margarine over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet coated with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add zucchini; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in macaroni mixture; spread evenly in bottom of skillet. Cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until almost set.

(If using a skillet with a plastic handle, wrap handle of skillet with foil.) Place skillet in oven, and bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until almost set. Sprinkle with cheese; bake an additional minute or until cheese melts. (Oops, I'm just reading this and realized I put the cheese on before I put it in the oven!) Top each serving with 1/2 cup tomato mixture.

2 servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 329(30% from fat); FAT 10.9g (sat 4.3g,mono 3.5g,poly 1.7g); IRON 2.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 125mg; CALCIUM 250mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.4g; SODIUM 656mg; PROTEIN 23g; FIBER 3.8g

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

I've been wanting to make fish tacos for a while, and that was my plan for this week...but when I went to the grocery store they had a huge bag of shrimp on sale for $4.99, so my fish tacos became shrimp tacos. The mango salsa is from my friend Amber (who served it with must fancier tuna steaks), and the slaw I just kind of made up on my own. These were pretty good, but I think I would have like flour tortilla betters. Damn those whole wheat tortillas being better for you! This made 4 tacos with a little extra salsa left over.

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

For shrimp:
28 medium shrimp
Emeril's essence
quarter of a lime
olive oil

For mango salsa:
1 mango, finely diced
4 big spoonfuls crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 jalepeno, seeded and finely diced
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
juice from 1/2 lime
finely chopped cilantro to taste

For cabbage slaw:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
chili powder to taste
coleslaw mix

4 tortillas, heated

Make the mango salsa the night before or at least in the morning before dinner so the flavors have time to blend. Just mix all the ingredients and chill.

For the cabbage slaw, mix mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar and chili powder together. Add coleslaw and stir (you want it to be pretty creamy, so just add coleslaw mix a little at a time until you think it's right).

Heat a pan on medium high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with some olive oil, the juice of the lime, and as much Emeril's essence as you like...more for hot, less for mild. Cook shrimp about 5 minutes.

Spread slaw on tortilla, top with 7 shrimp and mango salsa.

The start of my healthy week - Bruschetta Chicken

I'm going on a cruise in 2 weeks, so I'm trying to drop those few extra pounds before I go (and because I know I will put on a few pounds with all that yummy food on the boat!). This week, I planned all my meals to be light and healthy but still hopefully satisfying. This is one I've made before, but I decided to leave out my beloved fresh mozzarella cheese for the sake of losing weight. It was very difficult. This is a great weeknight dinner because it comes together in a flash. There are a ton of variations out there that I've seen for bruschetta chicken, and here is mine!

Bruschetta Chicken

4 thin chicken cutlets, marinated in balsamic viniagrette dressing
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
fresh basil, chiffonaded
olive oil

Mix the tomatoes, garlic and basil in a small bowl, and add a little olive oil and fresh pepper. I like to do this a few hours prior to dinner and let it set in the fridge. When ready to eat, heat a skillet on medium high heat. Cook chicken on both sides until done. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add tomato mixture to pan and cook about 1 minute until warmed. Serve tomato topping on chicken.

I served this with zucchini...I sliced it into long thin planks, and threw it in a big plastic bag with olive oil and lots of lemon pepper. Bake at 400 on a cookie sheet for however long the chicken takes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Scallops Provencal

I absolutely love scallops, and when I saw this recipe on Kelly's blog, I knew I had to make them. I had a bag of bay scallops that we caught last year in Keaton during scallop season, so I was ready to go. This was good and light, and a great way to use the bay scallops. We find that they are hard to cook because they are so small and can over cook really easily. Bay scallops are wonderful with pasta. Next time I make this, I think I will use chicken broth along with the wine because it was a bit strong.

Scallops Provencal

1 lb of fresh bay or sea scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tbsp of butter
1/2 cup of chopped shallots (2 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp dried parsley leaves
3/4 cup of dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in 1/2
pasta of choice, cooked al dente (I used angel hair)

Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.

In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in one layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on one side without moving them. Then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should only take 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the butter to the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the scallops with the seasoning. Add the white wine, simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring slowly and letting the wine reduce. If you have lemon, squeeze the lemon on the scallops and serve over the noodles with fresh parmigan cheese.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

My good friend Kelly at My Sweet Life tagged me earlier this week! I feel like a kid on the PE field who was waiting to get picked for a team...I've seen this in other people's blogs and wanted someone to pick me, pick me! Thanks Kelly for making me feel like a member of the cool kids club =)

The rules:
Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I had just finished up my sophomore year at Florida State University. I was home in Orlando for the summer working with my best friend Karen at a little restaurant called Julie's.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
Well, the day is almost over but here is what my list was this morning...
1. was Teacher Interview Day
2. Go to the gym...I've been so good lately!
3. Update my blog
4. Dentist...yuck
5. Out to dinner with Chad and my MIL

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Cheese
2. Wheat thins
3. Chips and homemade onion dip
4. Cape Cod dark russet chips
5. Strawberries or grapes

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Pay off debt
2. Buy an awesome house (actually, 2 houses - 1 in Tampa, 1 in Orlando)
3. Travel a LOT
4. Help out family
5. Donate to charity

Places I've lived:
Most recent listed first...
1. Tampa, FL
2. Orlando, FL
3. Ft. Lauderdale, FL
4. Tallahassee, FL
5. Orlando, FL

Jobs I've had:
Most recent listed first...
1. Assistant principal
2. Teacher
3. Catering/Convention Services Assistant
4. Wedding Planner
5. Assistant Buyer

Tag, now you're it!

Ashlee from A Year in the Kitchen
Amber from Amber's Delectable Delights
Ally from Culinary Infatuation
Cara from Cara's Cravings
Lauren from Lauren's Kitchen

Chicken Marbella

My mom made this dish a couple of months ago and said it was so good...I've been wanting to try it ever since. I invited some friends over for dinner so I would have an occasion to make it, and now I wish I hadn't waited so long! This is one of the best chicken dishes I've had in a long time, and will be an addition to my "favorite meal" cooking rotation. It's a very good meal to make for company, because you can prep it all the night before and just throw it in the oven when you're ready to start dinner. And I highly recommend mashed potatoes as a side...the pan juices were great on the potatoes.

Chicken Marbella

1 whole chicken, cut up (this dish really needs skin-on chicken to keep the meat moist)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Italian seasoning
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried apples
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1 bag carrots, peeled and julienned

Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic and dried fruit in a bowl. Place the chicken in a large bowl with lid. Pour olive oil mixture on top of the chicken, and let marinate in fridge overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375. Arrange carrots on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place chicken and marinade with fruit on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and pour wine around chicken. Cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes, occasionally basting with juices. Remove foil and cook for 10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TWD: La Palette's Strawberry Tart

I love fruit desserts, so I was excited when the pick for Tuesday's with Dorie was a strawberry tart. I was also looking forward to making homemade dough...a first for me! This was definitely a learning experience, and there were a few moments when I was worried that it wasn't going to turn out well. I started with the crust, which took forever to mix into what I expect a dough mixture to look like. The receipe said after you put the butter in, it should have crumbles the size of peas and oatmeal...weird way to put it, but ok...after 10 minutes of mixing (well, really probably only 4 or 5 but it felt long!) still no peas and oatmeal. I mixed it a little with my hands and turned the mixer back on and voila! It resembled crust dough. Who knows how that happened, but whatever I did worked.

I pressed it into my new tart pan, and put it in the fridge to be ready to bake for my dinner guests the next day.

Then I started reading other TWDer's experiences with the crust, and panicked. So many people said their crust was hard and crumbly, and they thought it was because they pressed it in the pan too hard. I tried to gently press the dough in and leave it so "the edges of the pieces cling to one another" but doesn't lose the crumbly texture...that is easier said than done. I figured there was no changing it now, and I just hoped for the best. Into the oven in went.

At this point I was joined by my favorite baking friend Kelly, and we continued on with the tart. She thought it smelled great as it was baking and I have to agree. I let it cool to room temperature while she cut the strawberries, and then we were ready to put on the jam.

I thought that if it was really hard, putting the jam on a couple of hours before eating it might soften it up a bit. Kelly and I both thought that this tart was already looking delish (as was that glass of wine in the background).

Now on to the whipped cream. Since this is a very simple tart, I thought it was important to use high quality ingredients, and therefore I should make homemade whipped cream. I was worried that I wouldn't like it because I do like my whipped cream sweet, but I just added more sugar and it was perfect. It took Kelly and I a little while to figure it out, but now I know you just have to let it mix for a LONG time to get creamy...and I shouldn't stress out too much about it turning to butter =)

Homemade Whipped Cream (also from Dorie)
1 1/2 cups very cold heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix the cream and sugar slowly together until the cream starts to thicken. Start slow and increase the speed as the cream gains texture. Based on other tips I saw, I put my mixer bowl and beater in the freezer for a bit before I started. I made this ahead of time, and it held up just fine in the fridge until we were ready for dessert.

Finally, after our fabulous dinner (see above) and some fun game time, we were ready for the tart. It was well worth the wait! I absolutely loved this tart, and will make it again and again. I'm excited to try new fruit variations.

From Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
See the recipe here

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chicken Artichoke Panini

I absolutely love paninis, and got a panini press back before they were all the rage. One of the first paninis I created was this one, and I would say it's still one of my favorites. This panini is very easy to make, so it's a perfect weeknight meal.

Chicken Artichoke Panini

1 package of Italian style chicken strips
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp. basil pesto
8 slices of your favorite bread
olive oil

Spread one tablespoon of pesto on 4 pieces of bread, and top with chicken, artichokes and cheese. Brush the outside of each sandwich with olive oil, and place on panini press. Grill until golden and the cheese is melted.

Party Potatoes

A few of Chad's good friends came in town for Memorial Day, which means we had a crazy weekend of drinking, going out and hanging out in the sun. The beach was beautiful on Saturday, and then Sunday we had a pool party and BBQ. Greg made some amazing ribs, Robby did a low country boil and all the girls brought sides. One of my contributions? Party potatoes. Or picnic potatoes, hashbrown casserole, whatever you want to call it. My mom used to make these for a breakfast potato casserole when she was's a versitile little dish. When I made them Sunday, they wouldn't all fit in the baking dish, so I threw some in a loaf pan for me, Chad and his mom to enjoy with dinner Monday.

Party Potatoes

1 bag frozen diced hashbrown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 large onion, finely diced or grated
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
1 tsp. garlic salt
ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the soup, sour cream, onion, half of the cheese, garlic salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in potatoes, and place in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden.

Broccoli Salad

This is another salad from Stacy's summer salad cooking club night, and it was perfect for the Memorial Day BBQ. I had this the next day and it actually tasted better because all the flavors had combined.

Broccoli Salad

2 heads of broccoli florets
1 large red onion, diced
1 lb. of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vinegar (I only had apple cider vinegar, so I used that)

Put broccoli, onion, bacon and cheese in a large bowl. Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl, pour over the broccoli and mix well. Chill at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Caprese Burgers

I saw a post by Ashlee on the What's Cooking board a few weeks ago for Italian burgers. It looked fabulous and I've been thinking about them (and the zucchini sticks below) ever since! I made a few changes to her originial burger recipe and they turned out pretty darn good. Thanks for the inspiration!

Caprese Burgers

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
10-20 leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded (I love basil, so I put a lot)
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
basil pesto
hamburger buns

Mix the beef, garlic, Italian seasoning and basil in a large bowl. Divide mixture into four equal parts. Working with a quarter of the meat, divide that portion in half and make two equal patties (they should be somewhat thin because you will put them together to make one burger). Repeat with remaining portions. Place one slice of cheese in the center of four patties. Place the remaining patties on top and pinch around the edges to seal. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until desired temperature. Toast buns, smear with pesto and top with a burger and tomato slices. (I like mine open-faced, so no top bun for me.)