Apr 28, 2012

Ravioli with Italian Cheese & Herb Cream Sauce, Chicken and Veggies

Happy Saturday peeps! Today I have a throw it all together dinner recipe that my mom came up with. It is so tasty, let me tell ya. It isn't baked, so no need to heat up the kitchen by using your oven. The combination of the roasted bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes really adds a ton of flavor so I highly recommend using both if you can. Enjoy!

Ravioli with Italian Cheese & Herb Cream Sauce, Chicken and Veggies
Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 container Philadelphia Cooking Creme - Italian Cheese & Herb
  • 20 oz package four cheese ravioli
  • 4 oz sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb grilled chicken, cut into cubes
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 10 oz. roasted bell peppers (jarred kind, which was 2 bell peppers worth)

1. Cook the ravioli until al dente. While that is boiling, add the cooking creme to a sauce pan over medium heat and stir until melted. Pour over cooked pasta. Stir in chicken, spinach, peppers and tomatoes. Serve warm with breadsticks.

Recipe from my mom

Apr 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

 Last time around we tried out Chocolate Chip Donuts which were delicious. Today let me introduce you to a moist pumpkin treat -- Pumpkin Spice Donuts. Topped with cinnamon and sugar, they are sweet but not overly so. Ready for the recipe?

Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Makes about 18 donuts

  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pumpkin (canned)
  • ½ cup milk

For Topping:

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

1. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, mix together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined.

3. Pour dry ingredients into liquid ingredients and mix on low speed until moistened. Do not over mix. Fill each donut reservoir with about 2 tablespoons of batter.

4. Bake about 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean.

5. Melt butter in a small bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in a paper bag.While donuts are still hot, dip each one in melted butter, then shake in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to add topping.

Recipe from babycakes

Apr 21, 2012

Shredded Beef Nachos

 This weekend I have a special treat for you guys. Flavorful and delicious Shredded Beef Nachos. The recipe for the shredded beef comes from Epicurious and originally, Texas Cooking.

While the ingredient list may seem a little long, it is broken up into three sections. The marinade for the meat, the ingredients added and simmered with the meat until it is falling apart, then the garnishes to serve it. It is amazing with a spiciness that isn't overwhelming but still packs a little bit of a bite. Ready for the recipe?

Shredded Beef Nachos
Makes several servings

  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil or olive oil

Shredded Beef (Machaca):
  • 2-3 lb Chuck Roast or Skirt Steak, trimmed and cut into lb portions.
  • 1 Large Texas Sweet Onion (yellow onion) diced
  • 2 Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce + 1 spoonful of sauce
  • ½ green bell pepper diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno Pepper, minced
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 1 Tb dried oregano
  • 1 Tb ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for searing the beef

1. For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl then whisk them to form an emulsion. Add the beef making sure every piece is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate.

2. Marinate the beef overnight in a bowl in the refrigerator. Before preparing, drain thoroughly and allow meat to come up to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3. In a large soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the beef a few pieces at a time to develop a rich brown color on all sides as well as on the bottom of the pan. Do this in several batches if the pot is too crowded.

4. When all the beef is browned nicely and removed from the pan, add the onions, peppers, and garlic to the hot pan. Saut for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients to the pan along with the beef. Bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for about 2 hours. The meat should be very tender and should easily fall apart when pricked with a fork.

5. Remove from heat, remove meat to a cutting board and shred with a pair of forks. Return to the pot and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Reduce the liquid until very thick, almost dry. At this point, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and whatever additional heat you want to add if any.

For serving:
  • tortilla chips
  • shredded cheese (whatever kind you like)
  • sliced jalapenos
  • sour cream

1. Put down a layer of tortilla chips. Spoon the shredded beef and juices over the chips. Top with garnishes and serve.

Recipe from Texas Cooking

Apr 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Donuts

 Normally I am not a huge fan of lots of appliances in the kitchen, but my mom picked up a little Sunbeam Donut Maker and I have to say, I love it. Having made both fried and baked donuts in the past, I prefer this appliance as it is very convenient, it cleans up quick, and most importantly it makes some damn tasty little donuts.

The recipe provided in the manual for these Chocolate Chip Donuts made tender and delicious treats that my family loved. I topped them off with a dark chocolate glaze and chocolate sprinkles. Ready for the recipe?

Chocolate Chip Donuts
Makes 10-12

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 9 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • chocolate glaze (recipe follows)
  • chocolate sprinkles

1. Preheat donut machine. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk in the butter, milk, egg and chocolate chips until the mixture forms a smooth batter.

2. Spray machine with cooking oil. Fill bases of preheated donut rings with batter. Close lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the donuts are golden and cooked. Use a non-stick spatula to transfer donuts to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. Let cool then glaze.

Chocolate Icing

  • 1 c. confestioners sugar
  • 1/2 c. sifted cocoa powder (I used Hershey's special dark chocolate powder)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. milk

1. Sift confectioners sugar into a medium bowl. Stir in enough milk to make a soft, spreadable icing.

2. Drizzle over cooled donuts. Sprinkle with decorations if desired and set aside until set.

Apr 18, 2012

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

 One of the new recipes we tried out this Easter was this delicious Twice Baked Potato Casserole by Six Sisters' Stuff. Instead of going through the hassle of having to scoop out and refill potato skins, it is all mixed up and baked in one giant casserole dish. It received many compliments at our dinner and I bet it will at yours too. Many thanks to Six Sisters' Stuff for sharing this! Ready for the recipe?

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Makes a 9"x13" dish
  • 5 lb russet potatoes
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. chives, minced
  • 2 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

3. Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

4. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

Apr 14, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake

This past Easter we tried out a bunch of new recipes, one being this delicious Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake which I saw originally posted over at Easybaked.  A few things to note, besides that it is yummy, is that the lemonade 'frosting' is more of a filling mixture that is spread all over the cake and between the layers. If you make it and prefer a stiffer more traditional frosting, add a bit of powdered sugar (just a little at a time until you get the consistency you like).

Secondly, I only used half of a packet of lemonade in the filling and it was quite tart with just half. So I would highly suggest you taste test it with half and see if you want to use the rest. Many thanks to Easybaked for this awesome recipe.

Doesn't that look so good? I agree! Ready for the recipe?

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake
Makes one 9" layer cake

One box of strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
1/2 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid Lemonade
Yellow food coloring gel (as desired for color)
2cups Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
Fresh strawberries to garnish.

1. Make cake according to box and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans as directed.  Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.

2. Cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth. Mix marshmallow creme in and then mix in Cool Whip until completely smooth.  Refrigerate until cake is cooled and cut.

3. Cut each cake layer in half. Alternating layers of cake with layers of filling, assemble cake.  End with layer of filling. Refrigerate and serve chilled, garnishing with sliced strawberries just before serving.

Recipe by easybaked

Apr 13, 2012

Teriyaki Avocado Pineapple Burgers

If you haven't lived in California you may have never heard of the delight that is the Teriyaki Avocado Burger. It used to be available from a food joint named Spike's Teriyaki Bowl which have closed down. I have heard rumblings that one of Spike's children has opened a place, B-Man's Teriyaki & Burgers that serves similar food items.

Anyhow, back to the burgers. They are so delicious! When we lived in California we would make quite a long trip to get Teriyaki Burgers and Teriyaki Rice Bowls.  Now that I live very far away, making it at home is a great substitute. This is more of an outline of ingredients than a recipe per se, but I hope you enjoy it. Onto the recipe!

Apr 5, 2012

Bacon Horseradish Chip Dip

Delicious, easy to make and the flavors are awesome. Enjoy!

Bacon Horseradish Chip Dip
Makes many servings

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (regular or whipped, I used whipped)
12 to 16 oz. sour cream (Use as much as you need to get the desired consistency)
1/2 cup (or more to taste) real bacon bits, a small handful reserved to sprinkle over the top
1 - 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, to taste
3-4 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, more or less depending on how strong you want it
pinch of salt (I skipped)

1. Mix all ingredients and store in the fridge. Before serving, sprinkle with reserved bacon bits.

Recipe from Just A Pinch

Apr 3, 2012

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp

As it turns out, bacon does make most things better. Today we have a lightened up recipe for Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp, recipe courtesy of Cooking Light. It is delicious and light while still being filling. Ready ready?

Apr 2, 2012

5 Ways Using Pinterest Can Improve Your Food Blog

Pinterest! It is the wonderful time suck that many of us love to use. I was thinking this morning of how often I use their website. Let's just say, I use it a lot. Lot lot lot. Which led me to think about some ways that you can utilize their website to improve your own. Are you ready? Let's jump in.

1. Create a visual recipe index.

One way to (somewhat) quickly create a visual recipe index without having to mess with creating one hosted at your own site is to create a board on Pinterest.

How to do it: 

After you have added the Pin It code to your posts, simply click and add them all to the boards of your choice. You can do one board and pile them all in there, or create categories if you would like.

Alternatively, you can put the Pin It code into your internet browser of choice and go through your archives and pin each of your old recipes.

It takes a bit of time but it really isn't too bad compared to creating a recipe index from scratch and having to upload all the photos, set up links, and hope and pray that you don't mess up somewhere along the way and lose your work.

2. Allow your readers to easily pin your posts by filling in the info for them!

When a reader clicks your Pin It button the box will pop up with all the information already in it. 
The end result! With a clickable link to your website.

How to add the Pin It Button for Web Sites:

The main page we are working with. The top half is the info we need to fill in. The bottom half is the generated code that we need to add to our website.

Taking a closer look at the important stuff. There are three boxes to fill out. 

URL of the page the pin is on: Be sure to use the direct link to your post. Not to a category, or a comment section, or anything silly like that.

URL of the image to be pinned: Go to the published post and right click the image and select Copy image URL.
Once you have all the fields filled in, copy the code generated and insert it into the HTML of your post. Update and you are done!

3. Gain exposure like woah. 

Did I ever imagine that 120,000 people would pin a very basic recipe for Cheesy Garlic Sticks? Nope, but they did!
Or 59,000 pins for my trashy Mexican Dorito Casserole? No way!

4. Analyze what is popular on your site.

At a quick glance I can see what has recently been pinned. People really like my trashy casserole, what can I say.

How to do it:

Type the following URL into your browser, replacing your URL with mine. Notice that when I typed in my personal URL at the end, I left out the 'www.' part. Just put in the address without that.

5. Organize your inspiration for future posts.

How to do it:

Create boards and organize them by course. It takes a few minutes to set it up but believe me, in the long run you will appreciate the organization.

Those are my five tips to improve your blog using Pinterest. If anyone wondered, this is not a sponsored post. I just enjoy using their website like many of us do. Do you have any Pinterest tips to add? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and before I forget, be sure to follow me!  Follow Me on Pinterest