Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roast Chicken

One thing that I've been wanting to do for a while now is roast a chicken. If I do say so myself, I make a pretty mean Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey, but I've yet to roast a chicken for my husband and I! So with nothing else to make on a Sunday evening, I decided to roast a chicken!

I went straight to Martha Stewart to find a recipe (that's where I got my favorite roast turkey recipe from) and was again, very happy with the results. The chicken was moist, tender and very flavorful! My husband really raved over it and it was honestly not that hard to make! A little time consuming perhaps, but it was definitely worth the effort! This was a really great Sunday dinner, and I will certainly be making it again!

Source: Martha Stewart

1 six-pound roasting chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 lemon
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I used Rosemary instead)
1 cup Chicken Stock

  1. Let chicken and 1 tablespoon butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. In the center of a heavy-duty roasting pan, place onion slices in two rows, touching. Place the palm of your hand on top of lemon and, pressing down, roll lemon back and forth several times. This softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork (I just sliced the lemon in half and put both halves in the chicken cavity). Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in pan, on onion slices. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
  3. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, and roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. When chicken seems done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 180 degrees.and the thigh 190 degrees. (My chicken was getting very brown after an hour, so I covered it with foil to prevent it from burning).
  4. Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board with a well. Let chicken stand 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle. Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a shallow bowl or fat separator, and leave onions in the pan. Leave any brown baked-on bits in the bottom of the roasting pan, and remove and discard any blackened bits. Using a large spoon or fat separator, skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Pour the remaining drippings and the juices that have collected under the resting chicken back into the roasting pan. Place on the stove over medium-high heat to cook, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, raise heat to high, and, using a wooden spoon, stir up and combine the brown bits with the stock until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Strain the gravy into a small bowl, pressing on onions to extract any liquid. Discard onions, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of cold butter until melted and incorporated. Untie the legs, and remove and discard garlic, thyme, and lemon. Carve, and serve gravy on the side.

Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

My mom used to make glazed carrots when I was younger, and I loved them! So the other night I made them because I thought that they would be a perfect accompaniment to my roasted chicken. I found this recipe on Food Network, and it was really fantastic.

The recipe was simple, straight forward, and didn't use any crazy ingredients. I did add a few different spices to the recipe though which added a wonderful fall/Thanksgiving feeling to the carrots. Overall, this was a great veggie side dish and I will make it again!

Adapted from Sunny Anderson, Food Network

1 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I omitted)
A dash of the following spices: (I added these)
All Spice


In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil (it's not clear in the recipe about how much water, so I just added enough to cover the carrots which worked well). Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey, lemon juice and spices. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Rosemary Mustard Pork Chops

I was browsing through Tastespotting the other day, hoping to be inspired to make something different for dinner, when I saw these Rosemary Mustard Pork chops. I had everything on hand, so I was anxious to try them.

These were fantastic. What a great way to prepare pork chops when you are sick of the "same old way". These were a fantastic departure from the normal pork chop, and all of the flavors worked so well together. In addition, the recipe is simple and most likely you have all of the ingredients on hand; that's my kind of week night meal! Definitely try these out if you are looking for something new to do with Pork Chops!


Source: Zesty Cook

4 Pork chops (I used 3)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. mustard (I used Yellow Mustard)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 Cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tsp. paprika (I omitted)
1 Tbsp. rosemary (dried) (I used about a twig and a half of fresh Rosemary, minced)
1 Tsp. black pepper
1 Tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350°.

Preheat saute pan/frying pan to medium high heat and dry the pork chops with a paper towel.

Combine soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar and rosemary in a bowl; mix together.

Season pork with salt and pepper.

Add pork to pan and begin to sear on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Once complete on one side, flip and do the same on other side.

Remove pork chops and place on plate.

De-glaze the pan by adding the chicken stock and scraping all the bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the sauce mixture from step 3 and let thicken for 2 minutes.

Add pork back on the pan and place into the oven to finish the cooking process; about 12 minutes. (After I put my chops in the pan to coat them in the sauce, I put them in a greased baking dish and drizzled the leftover sauce over the chops. In addition, I baked them for about 15-20 minutes because they were still really pink inside after 12).

Remove from oven, baste with sauce.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fried Risotto Cakes

I've seen this concept done quite a bit on the food network and even on other food blogs, but I'd don't make risotto that often so I haven't had the chance to try it yet. However I did make risotto this past weekend and had some leftovers so I thought it would be fun to try! I didn't use a recipe since I've seen it done on the food network and it's basically just breading and frying! But I will share how I did it!

These were really great! Like my husband said, they aren't something that you'd want every night but they certainly were a nice treat to have every so often. I totally agree with him. The whole cake itself is on the heavy/rich side, which is why I don't think you'd want it every night. But it certainly was a nice treat and a perfect way to use your leftover risotto!


Leftover cooked risotto, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
aprox. 1/2 cup flour*
1 egg white*
splash of skim milk*
aprox. 3/4 cup Italian Style Panko Bread Crumbs*
Extra Virgin Olive Oil*

* All measurements are approximate because the amount you will need depends on how much leftover risotto you have!

Create a "breading" station; place flour on one plate, Panko on another and whisk together the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Create small "cakes" out of your risotto and coat with flour, then dredge in egg white mixture then lightly press into Panko, making sure there is a complete coating. Repeat with all cakes.

In a small - medium skillet, add enough Olive Oil to completely coat the bottom. Heat the oil on medium-medium high heat and when the oil is hot add about 3 cakes to the skillet. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the cake with a spatula and cook on the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Repreat entire process with remaining cakes, if you have any. Place cooked cakes on a paper-towl lined plate and serve immediately.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Green Tea Shortbread

When I first saw this recipe on Tea Spot NYC I bookmarked it right away. Tea is perhaps my most favorite drink, so the combination of Green Tea and Shortbread sounded very appealing to me. I was concerned that I would not be able to find Matcha powder (we all know the issues I have with trying to find specialty ingredients in my country generic grocery stores!) but low and behold, I found Matcha in the health food section of my local Wegmans! It wasn't powdered, but that was nothing a quick trip through my magic bullet blender couldn't fix!

This was a fabulous recipe. The shorbread is buttery, crumbley and has a fantastic flavor. The texture is perfect. I was on the conservative side with the Matcha since I haven't used it before and didn't want the green tea flavor to be too overwhelming, but next time I would definitely use the whole tablespoon and maybe even a bit more! Also, I don't have a tart pan (don't worry, it's now on my list for my Birthday!) but I loved the look of the wedges, so I used my springform pan which worked perfectly! This is a great shorbread cookie recipe. Even my husband who doesn't like tea really enjoyed this cookie, it's a must try!

Source: Tea Spot NYC
Originally from: Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Matcha powder (Japanese green tea powder)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Turbinado or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

1. Grease a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom, or line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with nonstick foil.

2. In medium bowl, stir together butter, granulated sugar, matcha, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Pat dough evenly into prepared pan and let rest at room temperature at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.

3. Position a rack in lower third of the oven and heat to 300°. Bake shortbread for 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven, leaving oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface with turbinado sugar, and let cool 10 minutes.

4. Carefully remove shortbread from the pan. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice into wedges or squares and place pieces slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly toasted, then let pieces cool completely on rack.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rosemary Couscous with garlic and shallots

Confession: I've never had couscous. Well, until last night that is. On my quest for healthy and different side dishes, I stumbled upon couscous. It seemed like it couldn't be easier to make, and could be adapted to suit many different flavors. So I had some rosemary that I wanted to use before it went bad, so I added some of that with the garlic and shallots. I thought it was absolutely delicious! The texture was really pleasing to me. And while I'm not sure if this could even be considered a "recipe" because it was so easy, I thought it was great and should be shared!

3/4 cup dry couscous
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
4-7 rosemary "leaves", minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add about 1/2 - 1 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic, shallots and rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes or until rosemary is fragrant and shallots are soft and almost translucent. Set aside.

In a medium pot, add water, chicken stock, and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Bring just to a boil and add couscous and all of your softened shallots, garlic and rosemary. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes, and salt and pepper to taste, and fluff with a fork. Serves 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lemon Chicken with Oregano and Feta

The other day I happened to find this recipe while browsing through FoodGawker, and thought it looked really good and fresh...perfect for this time of year. I hate being weighed down by "heavy" winter foods when it starts getting nice around here, so this looked like a great option and it really was! It definitely had a Mediterranean feel to it, and the flavors worked very well with each other. Plus, I've totally been craving lemon like crazy lately so this was another great way to sneak it in! The only thing I'd do differently next time is add a bit more feta, I was admittedly skimpy with it to try and save calories! Other then that, this recipe was a winner!

Adapted from Gina's weight watchers recipes

2 Boneless skinless Chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness and patted dry
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Oregano to taste (aprox. 1 tsp)
Feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish with non stick spray. Place chicken breasts in dish, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. Squeeze lemon liberally over both breasts. Cover dish with foil and bake for 55 minutes. Remove foil from baking dish and sprinkle feta over both breats. Broil chicken for 2-3 minutes or until feta is golden brown.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Healthy Lemon Cranberry Muffins

I was going to name these muffins "The best muffins on the face of the earth" but I thought Lemon Cranberry muffins was a more descriptive title. Seriously though, these muffins are amazing. It's like all of the sweet, tart and fresh flavors of Spring came together in this little muffin for a perfect combination that will delight your senses. AND there is no sugar, but through the honey they are perfectly sweet. Anyways, if you actually want to taste spring, I encourage you to try this muffin. They are wonderful!

Adapted from Cooking Books
Originally from Canyon Ranch Cooking

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup agave nectar (I pretty much knew I would not find this in any of my local stores, so I used Honey instead. It worked perfectly!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup non-fat milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup fruit, diced if needed (I used dried cranberries. In addition, I am going to use a full cup next time because I love me some cranberries!)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used the zest of half a lemon)
Juice of half a lemon (I added this)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and oil your muffin tin or use paper liners.

Mix the flours, baking powder and salt in a medium-large bowl.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, honey, juice of half a lemon and butter until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and add the cranberries and lemon zest. Fold everything together until just combined.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes. Halfway through cooking, rotate the pan. You might want to keep an eye on them after 15 minutes... make sure a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out dry. Cool slightly and move to a wire rack.

The original recipes yields 7 muffins, however I got 12. I do make smaller muffins though, because I don't want anything too filling in the morning!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Oven Baked Onion Rings

The other day I was in the mood for Onion Rings but was not in the mood for all the fat that deep frying brings! So I baked them! It was really easy to make and a great side dish for some simple chicken wraps. I knew how I was going to make them, but checked out this website for an oven temp. and baking time. Also, I used an organic yellow onion (all I had) but next time I will use a Vidalia. There just didn't seem to be enough onion taste coming through. But other then that, they were great!

Adapted from

1 onion, sliced into rings
1/4 - 1/2 cup AP flour
1 egg white
2 tbsp skim milk
1/2-1 cup plain Panko Bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a large baking sheet covered with foil with non stick spray. Sprinkle onion rings with salt and pepper to taste.

In one bowl, place flour. In another, mix together egg white and milk with a fork. In a third bowl, place Panko.

Dust onion rings with flour until coated thoroughly. Then, dip in egg white mixture. Next, cover in Panko making sure there is a nice coating. Place in a single row on your baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Creamy Corn Casserole

Wow was this good. It was so easy to come together and was a really delicious side to my pulled pork sandwiches. My husband (who absolutely loves corn) thought this dish was the greatest! I found the recipe on where the poster said that this was "A bit like a cross between corn souffle and a slightly sweet corn pudding" which was the perfect description.
Originally from Paula Deen

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn and sour cream. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

I felt like making Chicken Parmesan the other day, but my husband and I are really trying to watch what we eat before our vacation in a few weeks. So I remembered seeing a Light Chicken Parmesan recipe on Annie's Eats blog and decided to try it out.

It was really good, although my husband and I both like my traditional fried version better! But if you are looking for a light version of a not so light classic, this is a great recipe. I really liked toasting the panko before I breaded the chicken, it made for a super crispy crust. Either way, I will definitely be making it again!

Adapted from Annie's Eats
Originally from Cook's Illustrated, October 2006

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I used Italian Style Panko)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
3 large egg whites (I used 2 egg whites and that was plenty)
1 tbsp. water
vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total) (I used 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin, for a total of 2 pieces)
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed (I used about 1.5 cups)
about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil (I omitted)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F**(see note)**. Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray (I used a baking dish). Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired, with extra Parmesan and marinara sauce.

**Note: In terms of the cooking time, I put the chicken in for 1 hour at 350 degrees, which is what I always do for chicken parm. In addition, I cover the baking dish with foil. It always works out perfectly for me and leaves me with very moist chicken that I know is completely cooked through! About halfway through cooking time I add the Marinara and the cheese.

Brown Sugar Glazed Meatloaf

Last weekend I was totally uninspired to make anything great for my Sunday Night dinner. I usually try and make something new and exciting on Sunday nights, but really couldn't think of anything. So I looked around at what I had and just decided to make a meatloaf, but I wanted to try a new version. So I went online and found this recipe, had everything, and made it.

All I can say is WOW was this good!!! My husband thinks it's the best meatloaf he's ever had and he's a man who loves his meatloaf! I totally agree, this was a great meatloaf. I like it because it was different in a really good way. It's not the meatloaf your grandmother made! (Well, maybe yours did, but mine didn't)! The only thing I'll change next time is I'll add a 1/2 tsp. of ginger, just because I felt like you couldn't really taste it with just 1/4 tsp and I love ginger!

Adapted from

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I used ground venison)
3/4 cup milk (I used about 1/2 cup)
2 eggs (I used 1 whole egg and 1 egg white)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs (I used Reduced fat Ritz and also some breadcrumbs because I didn't think there was enough dry ingredients with just the crackers)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I added this)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a standard loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together Beef, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, ginger and cracker crumbs. Using your hands, mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Press into your loaf pan.

In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and ketchup until thoroughly combined. Drizzle over the top of the meatloaf until the loaf is completely coated with the glaze.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. (after the first 40 minutes of cooking, you can remove the foil and then cook for an additional 20 minutes). Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

I have to admit, I'm one of "those" people who don't eat breakfast. I know, so shameful. The main reason is because I really dislike breakfast foods, as I've said before. Eggs, pancakes, waffles, yogurt; yuck. However, when I came across these Muffins on the Two Peas and Their Pod blog, I decided that I'd like to try them out. I have been making a very strong effort to eat healthy lately (to improve my lifestyle and because I've got a beachy vacation in the near future!) and I know that breakfast is a very important meal.

These are really good! They have a wonderful flavor and don't taste healthy even though they are! I followed most of the modifications that Maria of Two Peas and their Pod made, and also added slivered Almonds which adds some wonderful texture to the muffin! Enjoy!

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Originally from Joy the Baker

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I didn't have any buttermilk so I mixed 1/2 tbsp white vinegar with 1/2 cup skim milk)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used 1 cup)
Handful of slivered Almonds


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil, egg, and extracts. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in berries and Almonds. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. I got 20 muffins that were on the small side.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Cool on rack. They also freeze very well!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Garlic Knots

I've always wanted to make my own garlic knots and last weekend I decided to do so! I didn't follow a recipe (I thought it was pretty self explanatory), but these were great, easy and are most certainly something I will be making again! They taste great dunked in warm marinara.

1 recipe Pizza Dough (I only used 1/3 of the what my dough recipe makes, and that was more than enough for my husband and me)
1/2 stick butter
2-4 cloves of freshly minced garlic

Preheat oven to 375 and spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Roll out dough into a rectangle and cut dough into long strips. Take a length of dough and start knotting! You want the first knot to be in the middle of your length of dough, and then work out from there. Position all knots in the casserole dish. Meanwhile, in a small bowl melt butter and garlic. When completely melted, brush over knots so they are completely coated. Bake for aprox. 12 - 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden in color.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Hazlenut Mousse

The Birthday Boy!

Last weekend we celebrated my dziadziu's (grandpa's) 95th birthday! He still gets along so well, and we're so lucky to have him in our lives. He's a smart, funny, and just plain wonderful man. For his birthday, my family took him out for a nice, quiet dinner at a wonderful restaurant and my mom asked me to bake him a cake. She thought he'd like that. So the waiters brought it out with candles and when we told him I made it he didn't believe us. He said it looked "so professional." So he was either being nice or his 95 year old eyes were failing because it certainly wasn't the prettiest thing on earth! haha! But it tasted SO GOOD. In my defense, however, this was my first time ever making a cake from scratch and then decorating it. So while it's not very pretty, it really was a great cake! I have heard so many wonderful things about this recipe, so I was very excited to try it. It definitely lived up to its reputation! I made a chocolate hazelnut mousse out of Nutella to go in between the layers which was a fantastic addition. I was worried it would be too chocolaty but it definitely wasn't. The mouse was nice and fluffy so it worked well.

So while I obviously need more practice with my cake decorating skills (or lack thereof), I will definitely be making this cake again. Actually, I'll be making it next week for a coworkers birthday!

And in the meantime, Sto Lat, Dziadziu!!!!

Source: Hershey's Kitchens
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse for center of cake:

Adapted from

3/4 cup heavy cream
4.5 oz. Nutella
1/4 packet gelatine
1/8 cup cool water

Whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Warm the Nutella slightly in the microwave. Meanwhile, sprinkle Gelatine over water and let sit for 1 minute. Add Gelatine to the Nutella and stir to combine. Fold Nutella mixture into the whipped cream. Spread on the top of the bottom layer of cake, and then put the top layer of cake over the mousse. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve so the mousse sets up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rosemary Garlic Croutons

A week had passed and I found myself with 1/2 loaf of my favorite french bread which was clearly past its prime. So what better to do with slightly stale bread? Make croutons! I had never made them before, so I found this guide online and went from there. These croutons are fabulous and couldn't be easier to make. Next time I wont be lazy and will mince up some fresh garlic rather then using the powder, but either way they were delicious. Honestly, I can't foresee myself ever buying croutons again. I think I might make a loaf of bread once a week just so I can make croutons.

Adapted from

Homemade Bread (slightly stale is fine!)
1/2 - 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
dried rosemary
garlic powder (or freshly minced garlic)
seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Mix rosemary, garlic powder and seasoned salt with your olive oil. All measurements are approximate, just use what you want to fit your tastes. Slice bread to your desired thickness, and brush both sides with olive oil mixture. Stack 2-3 pieces of bread on top of each other, and cut into squares. Repeat if necessary. Lay bread squares on the baking sheet in a single layer, and bake until dry and crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container. Use within one week or freeze for up to 6 months.

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Shallots

I think asparagus is just naturally pretty. Something about it entices me, so it is usually my veggie of choice. I usually roast it just like this, just because it's so easy to do and always comes out great. It always dresses up the plate. So enjoy this pretty veggie - in sight and taste!


Asparagus (as much as you want!) rinsed and dried
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and spray it with non-stick spray. Lay your asparagus on the baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle it with your garlic, shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over all of the asparagus. Roast in oven for about 10-12 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and shallots look semi-translucent to translucent.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Over the weekend my husband and I had SUCH a taste for pulled pork sandwiches! I have never made them, and we haven't been to our local BBQ joint in ages! So I found a recipe on Colleen's awesome food blog: Cooking this and that and gave it a go this past weekend. The recipe couldn't have been simpler and the pulled pork couldn't have been more delicious! My husband and I agreed that this is a fabulous recipe and one that I will be keeping for the archives!
Adapted from Cooking this and that

2 lb pork tenderloin or cut of your choice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 bottle of barbecue sauce of your choice (I use Dinosaur BBQ Roasted Garlic Honey BBQ sauce which is amazing!!!)


Pour a little BBQ sauce in your slow cooker to completely coat the bottom. Place pork tenderloin in slow cooker, and rub with a little salt, pepper and all of your minced garlic. Spread chopped onions over pork. Pour remaining BBQ sauce over everything to coat. Cook on low for 7 hours. Shred the pork with 2 forks and cook for 1 additional hour. Serve on fresh kaiser rolls.

Kaiser Rolls

I made pulled pork sandwiches over the weekend and decided to make my own kaiser rolls as well! I'm really glad I chose to make them rather then buy pre-made ones. The result was a super soft and fresh roll, resulting in a extra special pulled pork sandwich! This is a great recipe!
Source: King Arthur Flour

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup water


Manual Method:In a large bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, stirring till the dough forms a cohesive mass and begins to clear the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes (which gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid, and the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.) Knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes, or until it's smooth and supple. The dough should be quite stiff, but not at all "gnarly;" adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till it's noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.

Bread Machine Method:Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough's consistency; it should be quite stiff, but not at all "gnarly;" adjust it consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Shaping:Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Shape the pieces into round balls, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Working with one ball of dough at a time, center your kaiser stamp over the dough. Press down firmly, cutting to the bottom but not all the way through the dough. This is important; if you don't cut deeply enough, the shape disappears as the roll bakes; if you cut too deeply (all the way through), the roll will form "petals" as it rises and look like a daisy, not a kaiser roll. Practice makes perfect! Repeat with the remaining rolls. (note: I do not have a Kaiser Stamp, so I just used my knife and made cuts in the rolls! I think it worked out quite well!)

Place the rolls cut-side down (yes-cut-side down--this helps them retain their shape) onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the rolls, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they've almost doubled in volume. Turn the rolls cut-side up. Dip tops in milk and coat with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. (I brushed an egg/cream mixture on the tops of my rolls for a high gloss finish!)
Bake the rolls in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.Yield: six large kaiser rolls.


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