Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken with Lemon and Capers

I wish chicken was more interesting to talk about. But it's pretttty boring. Not like brownies and cake.

But chicken is such a staple in my diet. It's so versatile. And chicken cutlets? Oh em geeeee they are so simple yet so good.

And this recipe is so simple. And so good. Go make it for dinner!

Chicken with Lemon and Capers
source: Feast Ur Eyes

4 chicken cutlets
1 egg
1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons flour

1.Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with water.
2. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
3. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the chicken broth, lemon juice and capers.
4. Heat a large sauce pan to medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture then into the breadcrumb mixture.
5. Cook chicken in saucepan until brown on both sides and cooked through. Once it's cooked move it a plate and tent it with foil to keep warm.
6. Deglaze the saucepan with chicken broth mixture making sure to get all the brown bits off the bottom. Lower the heat to medium, slowly add the flour whisking constantly until dissolved. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until sauce is thick. Plate the chicken and top with sauce.

Cookies 'N Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies

I did something silly. I gave up chocolate for lent. 40 days of no chocolate. So Tuesday night I got my last chocolate fix for over a month and naturally I finished off the chocolate  cake from the birthday celebration. And it was just as good as it was Saturday. And I really could go for some right now too.

So if I didn't already torture myself enough with the bowl of Cadbury eggs sitting on the table, the Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate sitting on the microwave that I walk passed every minute, I decided to make brownies with four different forms of chocolate. O okay Meli.

I really did it because I got a request for them and it was Thursday at 9:30 and I had yet to make anything to bring to N's the next day. And these were super simple and they looked super amazing. And they were gone oh in about an hour of me being there, so I'm assuming they were super good tasting too.

Cookies 'N Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies
slightly adapted from: Kevin & Amanda

1 family size box brownie mix
eggs and oil (as called for on the box)
1 over flowing half cup of cookies & cream ice cream
1/4 cup hot fudge topping, plus more for the topping
16 Oreos  

1. Preheat oven as directed on the box and spray a 8x8 pan generously with cooking spray.
2. Combine brownie mix, eggs and oil as directed on the box but do not add the water. Add the ice cream and hot fudge to the brownie batter and stir to combine. Pour half the brownie batter into the baking dish then layer the Oreos on top. Add the remaining batter on top. Dollop hot fudge on top of the brownies and swirl with a knife.
3. Bake for 40-50 minutes or as directed on the box.

 Just look at the hot fudge oozing out. Oh my.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A very special Birthday

This past weekend I got to go home to escape reality for a few days and do a whole bunch of relaxing, cooking and eating. Oh, and be spoiled. And it wasn't even my birthday weekend!

I wish I was kidding when I say our whole weekend was based around our meals, but it really was. It got thrown off a little when B surprised us and came home a day early so we all could go to Compane, which is always a must when we're all home. Saturday for lunch we had paninis, Sunday for lunch we had spinach tortellini soup and then for dinner dad and I tackled homemade pizza crust in the Kitchen Aide which I obviously lugged home. Kitchen Aides are just magical let me tell you.

We obviously had to have cake to celebrate after daddy opened prizes. Let me tell you I searched and searched trying to find a recipe for the cake, because it had to be perfect if it was for my daddy. And I think I did a pretty good job. This may have been the best chocolate cake I have ever had. It was SO good.

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Caramel Buttercream
source: Kevin & Amanda

the BEST chocolate cake
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small pkg Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon milk
2 cups mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350, line two 8-inch circular pans
2. In a large bowl, mix everything except the chocolate chips until well combined.
2. Stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be thick!
3. Bake for about 32-36 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Coffee Caramel Buttercream
Between 3/4 cup and 1 cup Caramel Bits
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Stir instant coffee into heavy cream to dissolve.
2. Over medium-low heat, cook caramel bits and heavy cream until the caramel bits are completely melted, stirring constantly. About 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Add the remaining ingredients plus cooled caramel mixture in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy. About 3-5 minutes.

Pick a cake to be the base, top it with buttercream and place the second cake on top. Cover the top and sides with frosting.

 Happy birthday, daddy! I'm so glad we got to spend it together as a family. I love you so very much and am so thankful for all that you do for me. I hope you had an extra special weekend because you deserve nothing less. I love you, thanks for being the best dad a girl could ever have.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gooey Butter Cookies

I spent my Friday morning cleaning the kitchen. I figured I would spend it in bed lounging around, doing nothing. Too bad I can't sleep, ever. Even though I have been battling a head cold all week and can't seem to kick it. But I cleaned high and low, even cleaned out the refrigerator and came across a half a block of cream cheese that was from the buffalo chicken poppers so I decided to whip up some cookies I saw a recipe before earlier in the week.

I'm meeting two of my friends to work on homework together later (we have three classes together, aka we spend a lottttt of time together..12:30-6:30 on Tuesdays/Thursdays to be exact) so I thought I'd bring some cookies to help the homework be a little less painful.

Gooey Butter Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 8oz package  cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 confectioner's sugar for rolling and dusting
1. Preheat over to 325. 
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. set aside. 4
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, and sugar together until fluffy. add the eggs and vanilla extract. 
4. Incorporate the flour mixture. chill for at least 30 minutes. 
5. Scoop balls and toss in the confectioner's sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, a couple of inches apart. Bake until they spread and puff slightly, about 12-16 minutes. they will be really soft in the center. if they start to brown, they've gone too far. cool to room temperature. 

*refrigerate and serve cookies cold out of the refrigerator...these cookies are said to taste much better cold than warm. 


Pasta and White Beans with Broccoli Pesto

One of my favorite things during the summer at home is the garden my dad prepares every year. For as long as I can remember we would go out and plant onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs so all summer long we had fresh vegetables and herbs. There's nothing better than that. We had lots and lots of basil and my mom would make pesto, sans pine nuts for this one. I realllllly like basil. And I realllllly like pesto.

I think it's so neat you can make pesto out of other things than just basil, like broccoli! My dad sent me a picture of a recipe he found in Everyday Food that he thought I would like. And I did indeed like it!

Pasta and White Beans with Broccoli Pesto
source: Everyday Food

Coarse salt and ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
10 ounces short pasta
5 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a food processor. Return water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.
2. To food processor, add oil, parmesan, lemon zest and juice, parsley, and garlic. Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down side as needed.
3.Transfer pesto to pot with pasta. Stir to coat, adding enough reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Stir in beans and heat over medium heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 13, 2012

5 minute Chocolate Fudge S'mores Cake

If I didn't win you over with the title, I'm not sure who you are.

Who doesn't love 1. Chocolate. 2. S'mores. 3. Five minutes to make a cake?!

That's what I thought.

Best part of all? You make it in a mug so it's cute and personalized just for you. And it's perfect for a study break watching the Syracuse win by the skin of their teeth. That's when you shove the whole cake in your mouth when you're dying with anticipation.

Oh and because there is no crystal light in the house. Not a single packet. I go through a pack a week usually, and when I have tests, usually a pack in two days. It calms my nerves.

Anyway, back to this delicious mug of happiness. Go make one right now, ready go!

5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S'mores Cake
source: How Sweet Eats 

2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 ounces chocolate chips
marshmellow fluff or mini marshmallows 

1. Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of chocolate in a small bowl, then melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham crumbs into the bottom of your mug.
3. In a bowl. whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir until a thick batter forms. Stream in melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Add half of the mixture on top of the graham crust, then throw on a scoop of marshmallow fluff/cream or a few marshmallows. Add remaining batter on top, then pop in the microwave for about 1 minute 30 seconds.
4. Remove and top with additional marshmallow if desired. Sprinkle with graham crumbs.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pasta with Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas

I really like pasta. Like really, really I could eat it everyday of the week like it. It's just so versatile and delicious and easy peasy.

I found this recipe and thought why not, I mean it contains like all my favorite things..pasta, peas and prosciutto. Oh how I have a soft spot for prosciutto it reminds me of home. Especially weekend lunches at home when mom would come home from Wegmans then whip up prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato paninis. I want one now, please. Anywho, back to the pasta. We had E over for dinner last weekend and I served this up with some salad and garlic bread on Mariah's homemade bread. YUM. Then the next night T and T came over and finished it off for us!

Pasta with Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas
slightly adapted from: Healthy Delicious

1 large Cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 cup Skim Milk
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/3 cup shredded Pecorino-Romano
1 tablespoon Flour
1 cup Frozen Peas
1/8 pound Prosciutto, roughly chopped
10 Sundried Tomatos (not packed in oil), rehydrated and chopped
1 pound pasta (any kind you like)
Black Pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place 1/4 of the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender and slightly browned.
2. While the roasts, add the remaining cauliflower to a large pot of water set over high heat. Bring to a boil then cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Lower the heat to medium.
3. Add the milk, chicken stock and cheese to the pot. Use a handheld mixer or immersion blender turn the cauliflower into a smooth puree. Whisk in the flour and bring the sauce to a gentle boil to help it thicken.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, peas, prosciutto and roasted cauliflower. Combine the sauce and pasta in a serving bowl and toss gently to coat the pasta. Season with black pepper.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream

I am still pinching myself to remind myself, this is not a dream. I actually a Kitchen Aid owner.

Every time I walk downstairs I see it sitting on the counter in all its glory and I die a little bit of happiness. Obviously we're keeping it on display on the counter, we cleared off room for the baby it is our pride and joy.

Usually we plan out what we're going to make,but today we were scrambling to find somethiiiing to make. We decided cupcakes because my mom got us these cute little Valentine's Day cupcake holders so we decided why not.

Let me just say the mixer is a God. We put hard butter in there with the sugar and BAM it creamed with the sugar like it was nothing. We sat there in awe. It's the simplest things in life, let me tell you. Even though this isn't simple by any means. I just wish there was a video camera to record what happened when I opened the door this afternoon.

Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
adapted from: The Pastry Affair


Cinnamon Sugar Cake
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Grease two muffin pans.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract.
Gradually add in cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until smooth. Batter will be very thick.
3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and spread out batter until level. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Cool in pans for at least 10 minutes before removing cake and allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons heavy cream (or buttermilk)
1 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the ground cinnamon. Beat in the powdered sugar slowly, adding the cream gradually. If frosting is too thick, add a small amount of cream until desired consistency is achieved. If frosting is not thick enough, add powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.


I have the best parents. In the entire land.

Sooo this afternoon Mariah and I were peacefully in our rooms eating lunch, watching TV when there was a knock at the door. I peak out and say was that our door? She said I think so. We don't get many knocks, usually it's the girls next door. So I prance downstairs thinking nothing of it and it's the UPS man with one very large package. I take it from him and see Kitchen Aid on the side of the box and immediately starting screaming. Mariah comes running down to see what the commotion is and asks if that's what is really inside. That would have been a cruel, cruel joke if it wasn't. So we tear it open and what do you know, inside is a KITCHEN AID MIXER. The kitchen tool we have been pining over for forever. We both scream and literally tears of joy is going on. Teresa comes running over because of all the noise. I am in shock. Still. This is not real life. So I call my parents, freak out some more with them and now we are searching the internet for our first recipe. It must contain the words "in the bowl of a standing mixer..." BECAUSE WE FINALLY HAVE ONE!!!!

This was the best surprise of my entire life. I had absolutely NO IDEA that they were planning this.

Thank you so very much momma and daddy you two are the best. I can't wait to play with my new toy and make delicious things! You guys are amazing in more ways than I can count and always know how to make me feel like the most special daughter in the entire land. I love you both so much!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Popovers with Avocado Blue Cheese Dip

I may have found my new favorite buffalo chicken recipe.


At first I was a little skeptical. I am solely a blue cheese as my only condiment with my buffalo chicken kind of girl. Nothing but blue cheese. Especially not ranch. I think I ate that too much as a kid. But when I came across this recipe I decided it only had 3 teaspoons of ranch I could live. And it had cream cheese which I'm not really a fan of either. So why the heck did I even try them? Because they looked so good. And thank goodness I ignored my reservations and made them anyway. Holy moly.

We had quite the spread at our Superbowl gathering: Taco Dip, Ranch Potato Skins, Artichoke Bread, Brownie Batter Dip, Cookie Dough Dip and Buffalo Chicken Poppers

Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Blue Cheese Dip
source: Iowa Girl Eats

4oz cream cheese, softened
3 teaspoons ranch dip mix, divided
1 large chicken breast, cut into small pieces
3-4 Tablespoons buffalo wing sauce
1, 8-count tube crescent rolls
Avocado Blue Cheese Dip
1 avocado
1/3 cup blue cheese dressing

1. Preheat oven according to crescent roll package directions. Mix together cream cheese and 2 teaspoons ranch dip mix in a small bowl. Season chicken with remaining teaspoon ranch dip mix, and cook in a non-stick sprayed skillet. Toss with buffalo wing sauce, and set aside to cool.
2. Lay crescent rolls out flat, and cut each triangle in half with a pizza cutter. Gently flatten each triangle, and place 1 teaspoon cream cheese mix in the center. Top with a spoonful of chicken. Bring all three sides of the crescent roll triangle to the top, then pinch all three seams to seal. Place on a baking sheet, and bake according to crescent roll package directions.
3. While the poppers are baking, mash avocado until smooth. Stir in blue cheese dressing, and serve with poppers.

Also, fun fact we can lick someone's elbow (without them knowing) and they won't even feel it. T came across it on Twitter during the game and we tested it out and it was true. It was also quite the site and has become a game for us now. It'll be a great way to meet friends don't ya think?

Friday, February 3, 2012

M & M Bars

Today I got my hair cut. For the first time since summer. I have this thing about getting hair cuts. That thing cuts are bad. I cannot part with my locks if my life depended on it. It's a problem. So today when I went in I braced myself for the fact that two inches of dead ends might just have to come off, but then I was relieved when she only had to take an inch off. Whew, all that worrying for no reason. I got so excited and texted my mom saying I finally got a hair cut! And when I told her only an inch she replied that's not a hair cut, that's a trim. No, no, no that's a cut in my book.

After my hair cut I zipped into Wegmans because every time I drive by I feel the need to go in. And I wanted sushi for lunch. And I'm nearing the end of my Crystal Light stash. Well. They were all out of Peach Mango Crystal Light. WHAT THE HECK. But I did pick up some Valentine's M & M's and whipped up some cookie bars. In one bowl. Magnificent. Because I hate dishes.

M & M Bars
adapted from: Butter

1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup  Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup  M &M's

1. Preheat oven to 325 and spray a 9 x13 pan.
2. Mix together oil and sugars in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
3. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt until combined.
4. Add in about 3/4 cup of M & Ms or as many as you desire.
5. Spread the dough into the prepared pan and press the remaining M & M's on top.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool before cutting.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Three, make that four, real life not sugary sweet treat posts in a row? Who am I.

Don't worry we've still been busy in the kitchen. Mainly Mariah. As in a loaf of pumpkin bread and a loaf of homemade wheat bread busy.

Me? I made a batch of boxed brownies tonight. In 12 minutes. Brownies take 25-30 last time I checked. Sometimes it pays to have the worst oven in the world. Other times, your sweet potato fries burn.

It's officially my weekend and I did all my homework. Go me.

Dinner tonight literally took 10 minutes tops. This is the easiest recipe in the world and perfect for nights I have class until 6:20 and I'm starving.

I whipped up some guac real quick when I got home (I even used my cool new tool I got for Christmas that takes the pit out and slices it for you, it's magic!) and heated some corn and we called it a night.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
source: Chocolate Therapy

1 envelope Taco Seasoning
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Jar of Salsa

1. Pour in the salsa and taco seasoning and mix together.
2. Throw the chicken in and mix it all around.
3. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or low for 6-8.
4. The chicken should shred nicely when done!

(It's a bit blurry, I was hungry!)

Kale Chips

This is what happened when I went on a search for kale for our pizza..

We didn't even put a dent in it on Tuesday so I decided to make Kale Chips because I've been seeing them everywhere and needed to see what they were all about. We never eat chips here, in fact the only time I eat chips are when I'm home and I could probably eat the whole bag because I haven't had them in so long and I remember just how good they are. 

The first time I made these I went a little crazy on the salt, but try two was better.

Kale Chips 

Kale (cleaned and cut)
Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Put kale on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
3. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until crisp!

These aren't exactly the most photogenic things.. but their tasty!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I have an odd obsession with anything buffalo chicken. My favorite being Pontillo's Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Oh my, heaven. Brings me back to senior year in high school when it'd be the lucky day we went to Ponts for lunch. The slices were as big as my head and we gobbled every bite up dipped in blue cheese. A close second is buffalo chicken wraps from Wegmans, blue cheese only none of that other stuff. The simplest things.

We get the Martha Stewart's Everyday Food at home and I always love the days when it comes in the mail and pouring over its contents. This gem of a recipe caught my eye because it had the words buffalo chicken in it, clearly I was hooked. This isn't your typical buffalo chicken though, it only has 1 tablespoon of hot sauce!! Don't get me wrong, it still has a bite to it but it's not your typical buffalo chicken.

One Saturday morning I found myself wide awake at 8 am. And I went to bed at 2:30. Yet I was wide awake so I headed down to the kitchen and got cooking, quietly of course. We had  T squared over for dinner and watch the basketball game..the fateful game we lost (we all know what I'm talking about since we only have one loss, yay Go 'Cuse!!). But we drowned our sorrows out that night, not to worry.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Adapted from: Everyday Food

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/8 cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank's
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
6 hamburger buns

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible.
2. To skillet, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add 1/8 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits (the goodness) from skillet, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.
3. To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours. Shred chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat oven to broiler. Spread butter on both sides of the rolls and toast under the broiler until golden brown. Pile the chicken high and enjoy!