Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Sounds weird, right? Mexican+Italian= ??? But let me just tell you these are just awesome!!! Who would have thought that a "Mexican" style filling would work so well with stuffed shells!!!

I found this fabulous recipe on the Love deliciousness blog and all I can say is they were just awesome. I'm embarrassed to admit that my husband and I devoured them until we felt sick from eating so much. So make this and enjoy it...I promise you will!!!


1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese (we used non-fat)
12 jumbo pasta shells (we used about 20)
1 cup salsa (omitted-my husband doesn't like "chunky" stuff...weird I know)
1 cup taco sauce (I used an entire small jar)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
(we used 2 cups mexican blend cheese)
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips (we omitted)
3 green onions (omitted because I didn't have any)
Sour cream


1. In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.
2. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.
3. While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don't stick together.
4. Pour salsa (I used taco sauce) on bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
5. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9x13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
8. Add any condiments you'd like (onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Adult" Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

If you have never made homemade hot chocolate before, I beg you to try this recipe! It was so so so good and way better then the Hot Chocolate mix in the little paper packets with the teeny tiny marshmallows. My husband and I drank this twice this weekend and will continue to do so for a while I'm guessing!!! Just writing about it makes me want to whip up another batch right now it was that good.

Why is it "Adult" you ask? Well because this little bottle right here...isn't it cute?

I just did on online search for "homemade hot chocolate" and found this recipe on It made just enough for my husband and I to enjoy a big mug full! I did do a few changes, so here is the recipe how I made it.


  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half (I used fat free)
  • 9 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 (or more!) tsp. Frangelico


Heat everything in a saucepan, except the vanilla, until chocolates melts and sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into a blender and mix until foamy. Return to the saucepan, and add vanilla and Frangelico. Stir briefly then serve.

Homemade Whipped Cream
For my Bridal Shower last year, I received a "Magic Bullet" blender and I love it! It's so cute and perfect for little projects when I don't want to haul out my actual blender. It's also perfect for making whipped cream!!

Add as much heavy cream as you want...I did about 1/2-3/4 of a cup for the two of us. Then add a little sugar..I did about 2-3 tablespoons full.

Screw on whipping blade to the magic bullet "cup" and start blending!

After about a minute or two you will hear the sound of the motor change and that's when you know your cream is now whipped and delicious! After making homemade whipped cream, I promise you will never go to the stuff in the can again!

Pork Chops with Gouda and Balsamic Carmelized Onions

It's pretty obvious that I make a lot of chicken...too much. What can I say, I'm comfortable with it and it always turns out good. Well this week my husband requested something different, so I turned to Pork Chops which I have never made before! I know, how sad. I've just never been a huge pork fan. So as I was browsing through Blog recipes that called for pork, I saw this recipe on the "Elly Say Opa!" Blog. When I saw Gouda and caramelized onions, I knew it would be something that my husband and I would both enjoy. I thought this recipe was really good. I did a few things differently...mainly I did not add mushrooms (which are my mortal enemy...thinking about them makes me gag) and I added a good amount of balsamic vinegar to the carmelized onions. Also, I had a problem with my Gouda oozing out of the pork chop from the slit I made in the center so I had to add a slice to the top of the chop before I put them in the oven for the final time. Next time I will run a toothpick through the cut to hold in the cheese better. All in all this recipe was great and I will definately make it again!!!


2 pork chops
1 oz. shredded or sliced smoked gouda
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 yellow or vidalia onion, cut in half and sliced
2 sprigs thyme (omitted)
2 cloves garlic, minced (omitted)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced (omitted)
2 Tbsp. dry sherry or marsala (I used merlot instead)
1/3 cup beef broth
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 350. Slice a pocket into each pork chop and fill it with the gouda. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Sear the pork chops for about a minute per side, just to brown them. Move the chops to a baking dish and cook in the oven until just slightly underdone.

Meanwhile, melt the butter to the skillet in which you pan-fried the chops, over low heat. Stir in the onions and thyme and cook over low heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally--about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the sherry (and balsamic). Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cook until the sherry is almost completely evaporated, a couple minutes. Stir in the broth and cook it for another couple minutes to reduce it, slightly, too. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops back into the skillet, spooning the onions and sauce over them. Place the skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the pork chops have cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Venison Meatloaf

I feel a little silly posting a recipe for meatloaf because everyone has their "own" recipe for it and it's not exactly rocket science...but maybe you're looking for something a little different and venison just might be the answer!

1 lb. ground venison
1 medium onion, very finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
aprox. 1 - 1 1/2 cup of italian breadcrumbs
1 "squirt" of ketchup
1 "squirt" of Ranch dressing
1 egg
aprox. 1/4 cup marinara sauce
grated cheddar cheese
panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl by hand until thoroughly combined. In a greased loaf pan, add meatloaf mixture until it is evenly dispersed in the pan. Top with a thin layer of marinara sauce, then add grated cheddar cheese and panko bread crumbs and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and serve.

Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin

My husband loves Potatoes Au Gratin and has been asking me to make them for him for a while now, and for some reason I have always put it off. I mean, I like them but they aren't my favorite. Well, this past Saturday I got down to business and made my husband the potatoes that he loves so very much! I found this great recipe on and we both really enjoyed them. I think I will start to make them more often. They were really easy to make and the flavors really blended well together. It was a great comfort dish and was a lot easier to make and better tasting than I expected.


  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings (I diced them)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
  2. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I got the idea for this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, "More Healthy Homestyle Cooking" by Evelyn Tribole. The concept is great, but I have totally gone on my own with the recipe and I love it. This is a staple in our house. Of course, I had to fatten it up a little. "My" version is as follows:

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts, pounded thin and dried
1/2 "box" of fat free Philly Cream Cheese
1 tbsp flour
1-2 fresh sages leaves, minced
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup Italian style Panko Bread crumbs
1/2 cup Plain Panko Bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese, flour, sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment. Dry chicken breasts on both side, and lay out on a plate, "bottom" side up. Spread cream cheese mixture on the bottom of both chicken breasts, and "roll" breasts around the cream cheese. Secure with toothpicks. Again, make sure top of chicken breast is really dry. For extra insurance, dust with a little flour. Set chicken aside.
In a small bowl, beat egg and milk together. On a separate plate, combine both types of breadcrumbs. Grease a 16"x9" baking dish. Dip chicken "roll" in egg wash, then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place in baking dish, cover with foil and cook for about 45-55 minutes. (I'm always a little over-cautions when cooking chicken!) or until chicken is no longer pink on the inside.

White Wine sage sauce is an excellent sauce for this dish.

White wine sage sauce

Lately I've been a huge fan of sauces over chicken, veggies, etc. I play around with them a lot, but so far this is by far my favorite. It pairs so well with any baked chicken and just brings the dish up another level.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
Splash to about 1/4 cup of white wine, I use Chardonnay. If you want a more subtle wine flavor I'd probably use much less than 1/4 cup.
aprox. 1 cup skim milk
1 fresh sage leaf, minced

In a small saucepan melt butter and add sage over medium-low heat. Let simmer for a minute or two. Add flour and whisk vigorously for about 2-3 minutes. Do not let the roux brown too much, it should be golden in color. Add your wine and continue to whisk vigorously until the wine is absorbed and the mixture becomes very thick. Then add your milk and continue to whisk until sauce is very smooth and there are no lumps. The longer the sauce remains on the heat, the thicker it will get. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk to thin it out. At this point, it's easier to make it thinner rather than thicker. Add a little salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Will serve aprox. 2 people.

Cheddar Baked Chicken

I found this recipe on and it was awesome! My husband and I really enjoyed it although I think I've done something very similar with chicken before. Either way, it was a great weeknight meal.


  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal (I used Panko bread crumbs instead)
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut in half (I used 2 whole chicken breasts pounded thin)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a medium baking dish with 1/4 cup melted butter.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and milk. In a third bowl, mix the cheese, bread crumbs, cereal. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture, dip in the egg mixture, then press in the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons butter evenly over chicken.
  3. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until coating is golden brown and chicken juices run clear.

Macaroni & Cheese

(sorry of the hideous picture...I had to snap one fast before my brother and husband got to it!)

I know, I know. Mac and cheese. How boring. However, mac & cheese is one of my all time favorite comfort foods and I've searched high and low for the *perfect* recipe. This is offically the only recipe I use for mac & cheese and it comes from one of my food network favorites, Alton Brown. I play around with the recipe in terms of using different cheeses, toppings, noodles, etc. but I always use this base recipe because my husband and I just love it and can't get enough of it. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni(I used Rotini last time and it was really great!)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard (I don't have powdered, so I just squirt in a little yellow mustard and it always tastes great!)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter (I don't use the butter, I just sprinkle Panko on top!)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

Wine of the week

Last week i forgot to put up a wine of the week...oops! Well I'll make up for it today. I picked up Sterling Vineyards "Vintner's Reserve"2005 Merlot yesterday oh a whim and boy is it fantastic. They berry flavors are the definite feature of this wine. I am, by far, no wine expert but as soon as I sipped this wine the berry just came right through to me. I thought it was a very comforting wine...perfect to sip by the fire watching the snow fall (which was the scene in my house yesterday). I definitely thought this wine was very good and would most certainly buy it again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Parmesan Risotto

I've recently discovered how much I love making risotto. I always thought it was something that your order out, not make at home. But I got daring one night and now it's my new favorite side dish to make because A) It's easy and B) It's just plain delicious!
I found this recipe from the Pioneer Woman's website and adapted this risotto from that one. Here is my take:
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp butter
2 Cups Arborio Rice
6 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock, warm
1/2 Cup White Wine, heated
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1 very small onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup half and half
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
Melt butter and Olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add Garlic and Onions. Cook 2-4 minutes until Onion is translucent. Add Arborio Rice and stir until coated with olive oil. Add warm wine into rice mixture until absorbed. In a seperate medium saucepan next to your risotto sauce pan, add Chicken Stock and heat through. Now add 1 ladle of chicken stock. When one ladle has been absorbed, add the next. (You can also add the chicken stock in 1-cup incraments but I find that just using a ladle works best for me.) Keep stirring! You can walk away from the stove, but not for too long. You don't want the rice to burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. This process should take about 30 minutes and you want to constantly be stirring your risotto.
When all chicken stock has been absorbed, add your half and half and keep stirring until thickened. Then, add your salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Serve with some chives and enjoy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

As I was looking through chicken recipes from, I came across Chicken Cordon Bleu. This is something I know my husband likes and I've never made. I sort of based this dish loosly on 2 different recipes from this one and this one but I mainly just put it together myself and it came out really great.
2 Chicken breasts, pounded thin and very dry
3-4 tbsp. butter, melted
4 slices of very thin ham
2 slices of thick swiss cheese
1/2 - 1 cup Italian style Panko Bread crumbs
aprox. 1 tbps flour
1 tbsp. butter
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
splash of white wine
Shredded Parmesean Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 2 slices of ham on one side of thin chicken breast. Add swiss cheese in the middle of the ham. Roll up chicken breast and secure tooth picks. Do this with both Chicken Breasts. Make sure top of chicken is very dry, and season with salt and pepper. Spread flour all over Chicken "roll", then dip in butter until coated, then roll in breadcrumbs. Place in a greased baking dish and then cover with foil. Bake for aprox. 40 - 50 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
While chicken is baking, melt butter in small saucepan or skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of white wine and cook another minute or two. In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and cornstarch then add it to the wine/butter mixture. Keep whisking everything in the pan until thickened and smooth. Add salt, pepper and a little bit of shredded Parmesean Cheese. Drizzle over Chicken Cordon Bleu just before serving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crash Hot Potatoes

I got this recipe from After reading many rave reviews, I decided to serve them with my Chicken & Wine. They were really good, but I'm not going to "rave" over them. They were seasoned potatoes. They were good, but nothing to write home about. My husband enjoyed them. I served them with some low-fat sour cream.


Small, red potatoes (as many as you want to serve...I did 6 for 2 of us and my husband ate 4 and I ate 2)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Any herbs you want to use...I used an italian seasoning herb mix

Cook potatoes until fork tender. Generously drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over a large baking sheet. Place potatoes on sheet giving room between each potato. Using a potato masher, press down on the potato. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Bake 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crispy and starting to brown.

Quick Chicken & Wine

I found this recipe on I was a little hesitant at first because I wasn't sure how the breading would work out or how it would taste after simmering in wine but it was really fantastic!!! I think it's my new favorite chicken dish! The chicken was SO moist and the flavors were really great....the Parmesean added such a great bite and you could really taste the flavors of the wine. I would highly reccomend this for a great, simple weeknight meal.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into strips (I used 2 chicken breasts and pounded them thin...did not cut into strips)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I don't measure anything when I cook, but I'm positive I used more than 1/2 cup of Parmesean. I used more like 1/2 c. per breast)
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine (I used a Lightly Oaked Chardonnay)
4 tablespoons butter

Make sure chicken is VERY dry before starting...otherwise the breading won't stick. Additionally, I coated my chicken with flour before proceeding which also helped the cheese stick.
Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. In a shallow plate, spread Parmesan cheese. Divide chicken into three parts and dip seasoned and floured chicken in eggs, then coat well with Parmesan cheese. Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are well coated (if you run short on egg and Parmesan, add one more egg and more Parmesan as needed).
In a skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium high heat. Cook chicken, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
Reduce heat and add wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
You could very easily serve as is. However, I then took the chicken breasts out, put on a baking dish (sprayed with non-stick spray) and spread panko bread crumbs over the top. I then put the chicken in a 450 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes until browed. It gave the chicken a nice crunch. I then drizzled the remaining butter from the skillet over the top of the chicken.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Ahhh pierogi. What can I say? These little dumplings of happiness might possibly be my favorite food ever...thus my blog's name (and I'm just about 100% Polish and what's more polish than pierogi?). I should have made this my first post but didn't get around to making my little pierogi until this past weekend. I play around with recipes/ingrediants quite a bit in an effort to find "The best pierogi recipe ever" and I may have found it with this one. The dough was fabulous...and the potato "stuffing" was great. This one is definately for the archives. My husband devoured these little pierogi! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from
(Comments in italics are my notes!)

Sauerkraut Filling (I didn't make the sauerkraut filling this time around...My husband and I perfer potato!)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and minced
salt and pepper to taste

Potato Filling:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
I also added quite a bit of chopped sharp cheddar. Adds a nice bite!

3 egg
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

To prepare the sauerkraut filling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the drained sauerkraut and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove to a plate to cool.

For the mashed potato filling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir into the mashed potatoes, and season with salt and white pepper.

To make the dough, beat together the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; stir into the sour cream mixture until dough comes together. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until firm and smooth. Divide the dough in half, then roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut into 3 inch rounds using a biscuit cutter... I find that the large end of a drinking glass works just as well, if not better!
Place a small spoonful of the mashed potato filling into the center of each round. Moisten the edges with water, fold over, and press together with a fork to seal. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and the sauerkraut filling.

You can now freeze your Pierogi. I put them on wax paper on a baking sheet and freeze for about 20 minutes or so. Then I put them in a larger air-tight container and layer them between wax paper. They freeze very well.

To cook pierogi (frozen or not) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add perogies and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until pierogi float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon. In a seperate pan, melt about 1/2 stick of butter. Add about 1/2-1 cup of chopped onions and cook until traslucent. Add boiled pierogi to pan and fry until golden brown on each side. Serve with sour cream or just eat them plain! Enjoy!

Pierogi Education

You might be wondering why I'm refering to Pierogi in what appears to be the singular when it really should be plural. Well I was brought up in a Polish household always referring to pierogi as pierogi..never "Pierogies". While my parents aren't from Poland, their parents are. My parents both speak Polish but never taught it to my brother and i'm not Polish-speaking wiz. I just know a few basics. But to help me explain the plural vs. singular for Pierogi, I went to Wikipedia which explains it as follows:

"Pierogi are usually small enough to be served several or many at a time, so the singular form is rather rare; people usually talk about several of them. This has affected forms of the word in different languages. In Polish, pierogi is plural, pieróg being singular. Other Slavic languages follow the same scheme, with Russian vareniki the plural of varenik and Ukrainian varenyky the plural of varenyk (both derived from the root varit', "to boil"). --Wikepedia under "Pierogi".

So, this being said, the title of my Blog doesn't make much sense...Le Petit being Singular and Pierogi being plural. However...I didn't think it made sense to have an American blog entitled "Le Petit pieróg" when most (if not all) Americans call a pierogi a pierogi. In addition, "Les Petits Pierogi" sounds odd to an American reader, in my opinion. Plus I'm combing French and Polish which makes absolutely no sense at my blog title is a little quirky and gramatically incorrect, but hey, it's my blog and I can do what I want!

Hopefully this is all you ever wanted to know about pierogi!


I've never made blondies before but I have heard a lot about them. So on a lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to give them a try! I found the recipe here:

They were really good, but I definately prefer a chocolate brownie. My husband loved them however, and devoured them!! It was just such an easy recipe, I might make them again to give out as gifts for the holidays.

8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Butter an 8×8 pan
Mix melted butter with brown sugar - beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions (below).
Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I always err on the side of caution with baking times — nobody ever complained about a gooey-middled cookie. Cool on rack before cutting them.

Further additions, use one or a combination of:
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon mint extract in addition to or in place of the vanilla
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the prepared batter
Top with a vanilla butter cream or chocolate peanut butter cream frosting

Tomato & Garlic Pizza

I make this pizza once every 2 weeks or's fabulous and I love it!The toppings on this pizza are amazing...light, fresh and oh-so-delicious!!! There's no recipe, a lady at work said her husband's Italian grandmother made it this way so that's where it came from!


pizza dough
1-2 fresh tomatoes, very thinly sliced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
Motzerella cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll/Toss pizza dough and lay it out on your pan or stone. Drizzle Olive Oil over dough and spread to coat evenly. Add a little salt and pepper. Then add your minced garlic over that and spread it around the bottom of the dough evenly. Arrange tomato slices over pizza. Top with Motzerella cheese. Place in oven for about 20 - 25 minutes and enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wine of the Week

Ahhh love at first sip. Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay is, and has been, my favorite wine for the last 5 years or so. The flavors of this wine are amazing..when you take the first sip the flavors seem to just explode in your mouth and put a smile on your face. I don't get this wine very often (so I don't get sick of it) but it is, by far, my favorite wine.
The tasting notes, as followed, are from
"Tropical flavors such as mango and pineapple dance with aromas of peach, apple and pear. Richly layered and balanced throughout. Lightly buttered toast headlines the indulgent, lingering finish." – Randy Ullom, Winemaster
I promise, if you've never tried this wine you will not be dissappointed!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Last week I knew I was going to have a busy week ahead of me, so I found this easy recipe on and got the ingredients for a week night "no time to cook" emergency. Well, last night happened to be that night! After a long meeting after work and horrible traffic, DH and I got home late so I whipped up this meal.

It was surprisingly good! I had my doubts with canned soup, instant rice etc. but the flavor was there and it was very hearty. I think this meal was perfect what it was...a "no time to cook" emergency.
Some changes I made were:
1) I used venison instead of Chicken
2) I used motzerella instead of Cheddar! I know, how odd. But it was all I had and it was ok...I'd definately use cheddar next time though!
3)When layering, I used a new layer of tortilla each time with refried beans.
4)Instead of making a round casserole, I did it in a square pan.
5) I used about 4oz. of cream cheese instead of one!
6) Did not use red bell pepper...I don't like them!

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin bite-size strips
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (18.5 oz) Progresso® Light Southwestern-style vegetable soup
1/4 cup uncooked instant brown rice
1 oz fat-free cream cheese, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons Old El Paso® fat-free refried beans (from 16-oz can)
4 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat mild Cheddar cheese
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook chicken and bell pepper over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until chicken begins to brown and bell pepper is crisp-tender. Sprinkle with cumin.
2. Stir in soup. Heat to boiling. Stir in rice; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook about 10 minutes or until rice is tender.
3. Stir cream cheese into chicken mixture until well blended. Spread 1 tablespoon of the refried beans on 1 tortilla; place, beans side up, in bottom of ungreased 1-quart casserole. Top with 1 cup chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the cheese. Repeat 2 times. Top with remaining tortilla; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
4. Cover; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spicy Peanut Penne aka "Thai Pasta"

adapted from "More Healthy Homestyle Cooking" by Evelyn Tribole

This meal is a staple in our house. For a while, we ate it once a week. I found it in one of my favorite cookbooks, "More Healthy Homestyle Cooking" by Evelyn Tribole. I got it on sale at Barnes and Noble and I have made so many great things from it! It's like a collection of all my favorite meals...but healthy(er)!

I've made a lot of changes to this recipe...for one it's not exactly spicy because I don't like spicy food. My husband will add some ground red pepper to his meal after I take mine! :) I also omitted and added ingredients and changed some I'll post "my" take on this great meal!


1 box of Penne Pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Cooking Spray
1 small-medium onion (can be omitted...I use this because my husband loves onions)
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3-5 fresh chives
1/4-1/2 cup Creamy reduced fat peanut butter
1 tsp Cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground Ginger
1 Lime
2/3 Cup skim milk
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch


Bring large pot of water to a boil seasoned with salt and extra virgin olive oil. Cook Penne Pasta aprox 12-13 minutes, then drain. While pasta is cooking, cut up chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to a medium-large frying pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and cook through. Halfway through cooking, add onions to the chicken and let cook so they are translucent and just start to carmelize. Remove from heat.

In a medium mixing bowl add Peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, juice of 1 lime, cilantro and chives. Set aside. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk and cornstarch. Put over medium-low heat and let thicken, about 5 minutes. When thickened, pour over peanut butter mixture and whisk together until smooth.

Pour cooked and drained penne back into an empty large bowl or pot (I use the same one I used to cook the pasta in), add chicken and then add peanut sauce. Mix well. Serve with a salad or bread.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I'm always on the quest to find new ways to make chicken, and up until I made this dinner I never did an "Asian-Style" meal. Mainly because I just don't like Chinese food. But when i saw this on the "My Kitchen Cafe" blog, I knew it was something that I'd like to try.
I paired the sweet and sour chicken with some brown rice and steamed broccoli.

My husband just raved over it...he said it was his "new favorite". I've already made this recipe twice and am sure that I'll make it again and again! It was great and easy-a perfect weeknight meal!
Sweet and Sour Chicken:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.
Tips: The first time I made this, I made another batch of sauce because I thought my husband would like it. We definately did not need it. The recipe itself makes pleanty of sauce for 2 people!

Chicken Amadine

I found this recipe on the blog "Cook Like a Champion". I had a ton of almonds that I wanted to use up so when i found this I was really excited.
What a great recipe this is. It's so fast, easy and really delicious. My husband said he bragged about his "Almond encrusted chicken" the next day at work. :) It was super moist and had a really great balance of flavors. I will most certainly be making this for dinner again.

Chicken Amadine
Taste of Home 2007, p.256

1-1/2 cups sliced almonds

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs

1 tablespoon water
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

In a food processor or blender, process the almonds until finely chopped. Place in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. In a third bowl, beat the eggs and water.Coat chicken with crumb mixure, then dip in egg mixture and roll in almonds. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Olive-Oil Pasta
So if you're interested in the pasta seen next to the Chicken Amadine, here's the 'recipe' for that. I didn't use a recipe for it, just sort of concocted it, but it turned out really good!
Spaghetti (use as much as you will need for the amount of people you are serving!)
1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Freshly minced Garlic
1 tsp. Italian herbs
Freshly Grated Parmesean
1 slice Turkey Bacon, cooked
Boil Spaghetti in water with olive oil and and salt. Drain. In small microwave-safe bowl, combine Olive Oil, garlic and Italian herbs. Microwave on high about 30 seconds until garlic and herbs are fragrant. Drizzle olive oil mixture over pasta and toss. Crumble bacon on top of pasta and then add Freshly grated Parmesean to taste.

Roasted Chicken with Risotto & Carmelized Onions

This was my 1st attempt at Risotto and I'm pleased to say it came out very good! It was a bit time consuming, but I was prepared for that. I had orignally planned on following the recipe exactly, so I put my Chicken in the oven early so then i could just chop it up and put it in with the risotto. However, when my husband got home he said he'd rather have the chicken on the side. So i had to re-heat my chicken which made it a little dry but really it was fine. I just roasted 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts with some olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.
The risotto itself was great. The balsamic and carmelized onions added a lot of unique flavor. I also added a lot of freshly grated parmesean cheese right before serving because I just love it! I also served it with a side of French bread drizzeled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
7 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are a dark golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and mix well. Let heat for about 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Reduce heat to medium low and start pouring in the broth about 1 cup at a time. Add more broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue in this manner until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the reserved onion mixture and allow to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each serving with fresh thyme & Freshly grated Parmesean Cheese.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Savoury Pumpkin Soup

Sunday Afternoon rolled around and my husband requested an all time favorite...soup and grilled cheese. Just when I was decided that I didn't feel like using canned soup, I remembered that I had some canned pumpkin in the fridge left over from my marbled pumpkin cheesecake. Thus, Savoury Pumpkin Soup was born. I didn't follow a recipe or anything, and I didn't take any measurements. So these are very rough measurements for the soup. The great thing about this soup is that A) It's delicious and B) it's a 1-pot soup. SO easy and quick. I will most certainly be making this again; it was SO yummy and perfect for a fall afternoon!

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 -1 cup fat-free half and half
1-2 tbsp butter
3-5 fresh chopped sage leaves
Parmesan Cheese

Combine pumpkin and half and half in a small-medium saucepan until smooth. Add more half and half for a thinner soup, and less for a thicker soup. Then add chooped sage, a little shake of cinnamon & nutmeg, and aprox. 1 tbsp butter until all ingredients are combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Pour into serving bowl. Add a little more butter to enrich the soup and then top with a few slices of Parmesan.

Tips: If you're feeling more motivated than I was today, I think that melting the butter in a seperate saucepan and adding the sage and some freshly minced garlic to that would be excellent. Let the sage and garlic become fragrant and then add that to your pumpkin/cream mixture.

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