Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tasty Tortellini, Upside Down Peach Pudding cake ,awards and apoligies

I have to start this out by saying I am sorry I have been absent for a week or so and that my lack of commenting was just due to a very crazy week at my house, but it is over and done with and I can now move on to my regular schedule again, hopefully. I also want to apoligize for taking so long to acknowledge these two fabulous awards that were given to me. The first is from
Michelle, over at the cooking nurse, please check it out. Not only does she have great recipes, she has sites where you can get free samples and also many sites for moms to save money. So please take a quick peek, you will love it. Thanks, Michelle.

This second award comes from someone most of us know, Rachel over at rachel vs the kitchen, her blog is so much fun and everything always looks so good. Thank you so much Rachel, I appreciate it.

Now, onto two pretty quick and easy recipes. The first one is I found over at allrecipes.
I was looking for something quick to make for a light dinner and still have some to take to work the next day and I wanted to use what I had. I didnt want to have to run out to the store. I had these in the freezer:

Frozen cheese tortellini. I knew I could find something, and I did. This is a quick, tasty pasta salad that is open to so many possibilities. Here is the recipe and I will add my changes and additions in.

Tatsy Tortellini

20 oz frozen cheese tortellini
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 green onions, thinly sliced ( i did not use)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup black olives ( i did not use)
6 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to directions, al dente.
While tortellini is cooking, prepare marinade. Combine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, garlic, basil, parsley, onions and salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk well, to combine. Set aside.
Drain tortellini, and rinse under cold water. Pour marinade over tortellini, olives( add additional ingredients here, ie: artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, chunks of salami or mozzarella cheese) and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add parmesan cheese.

I added string beans, cannellini beans and tomatoes. I think artichoke hearts would work really well. The marinade has a great flavor from the mustard and I think it will taste better tomorrow after sitting in the fridge all night.

Up next is a quick but rather impressive looking cake. Peach Upside- Down Pudding Cake, I found it on recipezaar.
I had a can of sliced peaches in the cabinet, just waiting for me, calling to be used, can you hear them?

I think that most people probably have everything they need for this really beautiful cake at home.

Peach Upside-Down Pudding Cake

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 (29 ounce) can sliced yellow cling peaches, drained

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package vanilla instant pudding mix

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup veg oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine butter and brown sugar in small saucepan and heat up, until sugar dissolves. I took some advice from the people who reviewed this recipe and doubled up on this part. Pour into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Arrange peaches on top, like this:

Set that aside, while making the batter. Combine remaining ingredients and beat at med speed for 4 minutes. Spoon into pan and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. It will look like this:

I know, I know it doesn't look too impressive yet, but just wait a minute. Invert cake onto platter and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream, and Enjoy. Once you invert the cake, it should look like this:

Now, to me, that is impressive. It was so fast and easy and the smell in the house while it was cooking was out of this world. I think it would be great for a brunch or to bring to a BBQ. It is a perfect summer cake.

Want some? Try it. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No exact Recipe Chicken with Pasta and Broccoli

This is one of those dinners that I have no exact measurements for, there is no exact science to it, I only know it is a family all-time favorite of my kids and husband and the excitement builds in my house if they know it is being mad for dinner. I cannot even remember where the recipe comes from, I believe it is a firehouse recipe and you will notice the title says broccoli, but there is no broccoli in my pictures, because noone eats anything green in my house, other than myself , so there is no broccoli in my dish, but please add it to yours, if you like, it really is good.

Here is what you need:
1lb to 1 1/2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
olive oil
bread crumbs, Italian flavored
garlic, minced
1 can chicken broth, I use low sodium
1 box pasta, I use rotelli or my new favorite is pipette
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, if you choose
freshly grated parmesan cheese

First, heat up a large skillet with olive oil and add minced garlic. This is to your taste, I probably add about 5-6 cloves, minced. Add garlic to oil and be careful not to burn. Meanwhile, dip the chicken pieces into the egg and then into the bread crumbs, until well coated. I usually put the breadcrumbs in a large ziploc bag and then just shake up the chicken until I think they are coated. Add chicken to skillet. You may have to add more oil as it cooks, just use your judgement. It should look like this.

At the same time pour your can of broth into small saucepan and warm through on the stovetop. And in another pot have your pasta water boiling and get that cooking. And if you are using broccoli, you should have that steaming at the same time. Or if you want to use a box of chopped , frozen broccoli, go ahead and microwave it now .So, ideally you should have all 4 burners occupied at the same time, it is key to the dish that everything be ready at the same time. When your chicken is done, it should look like this:

Sorry, I couldn't rotate my picture, so dumb. When the pasta is ready, drain it and put it right back into pot you cooked it in, add chicken and scrape all the bits of breadcrumbs and oil you cooked it in to the pasta pot, add broccoli, if using, and finally add the warmed through chicken broth. Mix all together and add lots and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Mix it again and breathe it in, breathe again. It smells so damn good and it is quite honestly a 30 minute meal.

Here is my broccoli-less version. The chicken broth keeps everything so moist and makes a little light sauce. This is an all-time keeper in my house. They come running when this is at the dinner table. It is even better the next day, reheated. All you need with this is a salad and a loaf of bread. So, I know it is not exact, the ingredients are rather simple, the instructions are hopefully understandable, because normally I wing this, and have never written it down before, so forgive me if it sounds confusing. I think you will forgive me once you try it. It is so good and family friendly. Added bonus: Can easily be doubled or tripled for a party.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Snickerdoodle Blossoms and a huge sigh of relief

I have to admit, I don't panic often. I am usually in control to the point where I am annoying. I do not like surprises or to be thrown a curve. So when I got an email from my daughter's little league committee yesterday afternoon at 3:20, that everyone was expected to bring a salad or dessert to the picnic the next day at 3:00pm, I admit I panicked. I fell into the dessert category and now I thank my lucky stars I did, because I was able to make these beauties:

These awesome, delicious and simply fantastic cookies comes from Monica, over at Lick the Bowl Good. Her blog is soooo good. I have looked through pretty much the whole thing and yummy is the word that comes to mind. So go visit her if you haven't already, you won't be disappointed and maybe one of her recipes will save you the way it saved me. Monica posted these cookies just the other day and I printed it out to make at a later date, then this email comes and I am thinking what do I have, what can I make and then it hit me, I have these:

Everything I needed was on hand and it promised to make 4-5 dozen. Perfect. Then I had and idea, I decided to break out my favorite mini muffin pan, and bake them in that instead of just a flat cookie. Man, they turned out fantastic, even the husband was duly impressed. Hence, the sigh of relief.

Snickerdoodle Blossoms
1/2 cup wite sugar
1/2 cup packed, brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
48 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Heat oven to 375.
Combine 1/2 cup white sugar,brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, vanilla and salt; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; and add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 1/2 hour. I reccomend doing that, makes it easier to handle. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll dough balls into cinnamon sugar mixture.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate kiss in center of each cookie and sprinkle remianing cinnamon sugar mixture over them while they are still warm. Remove from sheets; cool completely on a wire rack.
*Instead of the cookie sheets, I put the rolled dough into my mini muffin pan and baked the same amount of time, maybe a few minutes more, took them out, placed choc kiss in and still sprinkled the cinnamon sugar over the top.
*If you do it the way I did, be careful not to make the dough balls too big or it will be hard to get them out of the pan.

The house smelled incredible and the result was so good. It is like having a chocolate kiss surrounded by a snickerdoodle cookie. I cannot thank Monica enough, because she saved me and because there is a new favorite cookie in my house now. This one will even make its way onto my holiday cookie trays, that's how good they are. So wether you do the original version or my version with a little twist, try these and you will see they are "keeper worthy".

C'mon, try one, you know you want to. I hope the other teeball moms will be impressed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Darleen's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have to admit, I don't know Darleen or the woman who blogged these cookies. I found them on Foodgawker. If you don't know about foodgawker, run there, right now, I will wait for you to come back. Ok, Foodgawker is a sight that, everyday posts the best pictures of all the blogs in one place and they will directly connect you to that blog. It is really amazing. I check it out everyday. Some of the things people make and the incredible pictures of them makes me want to cook and bake even more. I searched the sight last night for peanut butter cookies, and I found the picture of these and they looked so good. Thick and chewy, not your normal thin, crunchy peanut butter cookie, and maybe the addition of oatmeal will make you feel better about eating them, it didn't work for me, but maybe for you. This is the original recipe, her name is Suzy and she has great pictures and stories. But this recipe is so simple and seems like a classic to me. I added chocolate chips and it worked really well.

Darleen's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips( my addition)
2 eggs
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Beat shortening, then add both sugars, and then the eggs. Add peanut butter. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and then stir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls and press with a fork. Bake 350 for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven. I went about 14 minutes. Let them cool on the pan, then transfer to rack to cool. Makes about 5 dozen delicious cookies.

Don't they look great. Thick and chewy and the peanut butter is the star. So next time you pull out that old recipe for peanut butter cookies, maybe be daring and try this one. You won't regret it. This is my new go to peanut butter cookie recipe, which makes it keeper worthy, in my book.

Just an additional note, Congratulations to Justine and Emily this week. Justine is graduating preschool and getting ready for Kindergarten next year, yes, I am panicked over the bus, and my Emily had her moving up ceremony, she will attend Pre K next year. Congratulations girls, I am very proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Easy Summer Cucumbers and Mojo Skirt Steak

I know, I know you probably think you have stumbled onto my sister, Donna's blog, My tasty treasures, but you haven't. It is me and my favorite English Cucumbers. I love English cucumbers because you don't have to seed them. They are a little more expensive but for this really refreshing and delicious summer salad, it would be worth the extra cash. I found this recipe last summer here, on Recipezaar. This salad is the perfect side to have with your next BBQ. It is cool and so flavorful and it couldn't be easier. So here we go.

Easy Summer Cucumbers

2 Large Cucumbers, peeled and seeded if desired
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed(optional)
salt and pepper

Slice cucumbers, no thicker than 1/4 inch. Place in tupperware bowl or other container with tight fitting lid. Add sliced onions. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate, minimum 1 hour to overnight. Stirring occasionally. Enjoy.

I am warning you, these are addictive. The hardest part is waiting. I hate waiting, but they are worth the wait. Try them with your next BBQ or just make a batch to snack on, you will be glad you did. Or if you are stuck with what to bring to someones house the next time, double or triple these and bring it on over. Your host will be glad you did.

To go with my cucumbers I made skirt steak. I love,love,love skirt steak. I know it doesn't look so appealing when you buy it, but it turns into very tender meat. I just saw this recipe last week over at Dinners for a year and beyond, and it just called to me.I absolutely love this blog, everything I have tried so far has been spot on. So take a visit and look through the archives , you will find many things you want to try. I love everything that this marinade had in it, from the cumin to the fresh citrus juices and when it was done it did not disappoint. It was amazing and even my husband and kids said how good it was. ( pat on the back). This is what my skirt steak looked like after lounging around in the marinade overnight.
Mojo Skirt Steak

for the marinade:

1/3 cup orange juice
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp cumin
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or flank steak
1 lime, cut into wedges

Whisk together ingredients for marinade. Place in resealable bag and add the steak. Marinate 2-6 hours. I let mine go overnight.
Heat grill or grill pan. My hubby was kind enough to man the grill for these babies for me.

Remove steak from marinade and grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, for medium rare. For medium, cook steak a couple more minutes per side. Remove steak from grill and let rest, tented with foil, on a cutting board. Please do not skip this step. If you cut it right away, all the juice will run out, what a waste. To serve, slice on an angle and squeeze lime wedges over sliced meat.

This was so smoky and delicious. I can't wait to make it again. It does go perfectly with those cool, refreshing cucumbers, so if you are stuck in a rut when it come to what to BBQ next, try these, they are both keepers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My kid's Favorite meal...Easy, Peasy Chicken Legs

I am almost embarassed, really to share this recipe, because it is just my way of cooking my kids favorite dinner...Chicken legs. They love them. I don't know if it is because they can use their hands and not worrry about making a mess, but I really don't care, this is the one thing I make that they are guarranteed to do the happy dance for. I do not have to beg, cry or bribe them to eat. They happily come to the table and stuff themselves, it is such a relief, really. This can be adapted a million different ways, The Pioneer woman has a recipe for spicy,roasted chicken legs that is also really good. I have made that numerous times, but it may be a little too spicy for the little ones. Anyway here it is, it is not exact and it is not written in stone. Interpret it the best way to suit your family:

Easy, Peasy Chicken legs

1 jumbo package of chicken legs( usually contains around 14 legs)

olive oil

salt and pepper

garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.

Place chicken legs in large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, enough to cover them all, generously.

Sprinkle with salt,pepper and garlic powder.

Place on large baking sheet and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours, turning them to ensure crispiness on all sides.

Serve with french fries and get out of the way..

Can you see the joy on their faces, or maybe it is annoyance because Mom is trying to take their picture while they are eating, I haven't decided yet.
Like I said there are a million different ways to do this. You can use lemon pepper,adobo, if you like it hot, use cayenne peper, or maybe go with oregano or just lawrys seasoning. whatever works for you. These legs come out so tender on the inside, with a nice crispy skin outside, who doesn't like crunchy skin. These are also good the next day for lunch.

So if you are ever stuck for an idea for a cheap, easy dinner( chicken legs are always on sale) try these, I bet your kids will love them as much as mine. This is an all-time keeper in our house.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pioneer Womans Corn Fritters

One of the first blogs I ever started to visit regularly, even before I started my own, was The Pioneer Woman. I am sure most of you already check in on her , on a daily basis. Ree tells wonderful stories and even better has easy and really delicious recipes that deliver a punch. When I saw these cute and crunchy looking little corn fritters, I knew I had to make them immediately. It was a beautiful weekend, here, in New York, so we were going to BBQ, and I thought, this is perfect. These fritters will go great with the ribs we were having. I left out the chives, because nobody in my house, other than myself, eats anything green, but I feel like they were still as good. My kids loved them and ate them like popcorn.

PW Corn Fritters

4 generous cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
3/4 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk, more to thin, if necessary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
3 tsp fresh, chopped chive
canola oil, for frying

Mix flour,sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add eggs, milk, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir together to make batter. Add corn and chives. Fold together to combine.
In a skillet or pot, heat an inch or so of canola oil to 365. When oil is heated, drop spoonfuls of batter and cook, flipping them once, until golden brown, like this:

Remove fritters from pot with slotted spoon and drain on paper lined plate. Serve alone, with dipping sauce, or sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup. I served them in a big bowl and it was every man for himself.
So do yourselves a favor, and try these, as soon as possible. These will be a keeper and a regular at every BBQ we have. Thanks, Ree, for another winner.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Awards and Banana Bread Muffin Top Cookies

I know, I know, I am a total slacker when it comes to posting but honestly, TeeBall has taken over my life. These games are right in the middle of the day or at 6:30 at night and they throw me off schedule completely. I am a very schedule oriented person, any little change sets me back for days. But I have a few new posts that I will be putting up in the next few days, so stay tuned. Before I get to this great little recipe I want to thank Rachel over at Rachel vs "the kitchen" and Heidi over at tried and true cooking with heidi for this award. They both have fantastic blogs and if you haven't paid them a visit, please do. You won't be disappointed. Thanks, girls, it means alot to me.

Now on to these cookies. I found this recipe over at The Hungry Housewife. I love her blog. It has so many great recipes. Please check her out, if you haven't already. These cookies are a great alternative when you have these:

Instead of the predictable Banana bread, we all have one we like to make, try these. They are like the tops of a muffin, and who doesn't love those. They are so moist and really delicious. Here is the recipe:

Banana Bread Muffin Top Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 bananas, peeled and mashed

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchmant.( I love parchmant paper, you know).

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and banana. Combine flour, baking soda, slat, and cinnamon; Blend thoroughly into butter mixture to make batter. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Cool to room temperaature on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

These really are good and a great use fo those beautiful, darkened bananas, that some people, who don't know better , throw away. Please try these instead, you will find them to be a keeper.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chicken,Mushrooms and Artichoke hearts with Cheese tortellini in a light lemon, butter sauce

This is a picture of the beginning, the beginning of a fantastic recipe from Pam, over at For the love of cooking. Her blog is one of my go to blogs when I am looking to try something new. Please go visit her, if you haven't,I guarantee you will find a thing or two to try. Anyway, on to this great dish. Like I said, this is the beginning , chicken swimming in oil,lemon zest, garlic and basil. How bad could that be?Marinade:

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 leaves of basil, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil(for cooking )

Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and pound them, with a mallet, until 1/4 inch thick. Place chicken in ziploc bag and add 1 tbsp olive oil,garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix so the chicken is evenly coated. Let marinate for 1 hour. I let mine go for at least 4 hours.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet, over med heat. Once hot, add chicken breast and cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until juices run clear. You can also grill them, which I was lucky enough to have my hubby do for me. Let the chicken cool for 5 minutes before cutting into bite size pieces.

Don' t they look great? Right here at this point you could serve them as is, with a few side dishes and you have a great alternative to regular breaded chicken cutlets. I have served them as is and they are fantastic, but we must move forward.

The Rest:

8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 handful grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 package cheeses tortellini, prepared per instructions
juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp butter
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook tortellini according to package. While pasta is cooking, add mushrooms to skillet where you cooked chicken and add more oil, if needed.Saute 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes and garlic. Stir frequently for 1 minute. Add tortellini, chicken, lemon juice, butter, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Warm through and serve.

I love this recipe, it has so many of my favorite things in it and many of us probably have most of these things in our kitchen already. It is a light meal, great for when the weather is hot. Thanks, Pam, for a recipe that is a total keeper.