Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 5

Day 5 of being thankful. Tonight, I'm so exhausted that I'm thankful for a roof over my head and a warm bed to snuggle up in and pass out. Tomorrow is a new day with a new recipe. Sorry to disappoint tonight, but I just don't have it in me. I'm going to go snuggle up with my down comforter and saw some logs. Here's where I'll be dreaming tonight!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Goodnight all!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

White Wine Scallop Pasta

Day 4 to be thankful. Today I'm thankful for this smiley face only a mother could love. She's always happy when I get home, and especially when she thinks she's going to get fed!

White Wine Scallop Pasta

Whole Wheat Linguini
12 large scallops
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. dried basil
Shredded Parmesan cheese for top

Cook pasta according to package.

Sear scallops in a medium-hot, lightly oiled skillet until slightly brown on both sides. Remove from pan. Decrease heat to medium and add olive oil and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Add garlic and onion, sprinkle with salt and saute for several minutes. Return scallops to the pan and add wine. Simmer until scallops until cooked through. Add parsley and basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over linguini. Add Parmesan cheese to top.

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

White Chicken Chili Wednesday!

Day 3 to be thankful! Today I'm thankful for the world's most fabulous husband! He doesn't like soups or chili but he was a super trooper tonight (err, right meow-haha) and ate it anyway. (He went back for seconds too, don't tell anyone!) :) He is the best person ever to go through life with. He knows all the right words to say and when to keep his mouth shut. :) I love him to pieces!

So for tonight's dinner (minus the schnozberries)...

White Chicken Chili

3 strips pre-cooked, refrigerated bacon, crumbled
1 small white onion, diced
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 can original Rotel
1 (15 ounce) can Northern beans
1 pkg. chicken breast tenderloins, boiled and shredded
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can white corn
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
pepper to taste

Boil chicken in a pot of water until cooked through. When cooled, shred and set aside.

In a large pot, saute the bacon pieces with the diced onions and garlic. Cook with the bacon over medium high heat until they are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the green rotel, beans, and chicken then dump in the chicken broth. Stir over heat until the soup becomes very hot, but isn't quite boiling. Stir in the sour cream and corn.

To serve, top chili with cheese and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Italian Tortellini Soup Tuesday!

Day 2 to be thankful! I'm thankful that I live in a country fought for by soldiers, so that I have the right to pick who I think is best to lead this country to the best of their abilities. I voted today, did you?

Italian Tortellini Soup

3 Italian turkey sausage links
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 pkg. fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 1/4 tsp. basil (3/4 tsp. dried oregano)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
dash crushed red pepper
shredded Parmesan cheese

Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion. Cook and sir over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir two minutes longer. Add chicken broth and tomatoes then bring to a boil. Stir in tortellini; return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 5-8 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the spinach, basil, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Happy Tortellini Tuesday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

November 1st starts my 25 days to be thankful before Thanksgiving. So today I am thankful for a God that is love, shows love and gives love freely to anyone who will accept it. And I'm pretty sure that God loves pumpkin creme brulee too! :)

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
8 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 small can pumpkin
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Arrange 8 (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the prepared custard cups.

Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 45 minutes to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Alternately, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Bread!

Happy Halloween and in the spirit of the holiday, instead of tricks, I made treats! 15 loaves to be exact! 12 for BaBa to bless her friends, 1 for a dear friend who just lost her loving and loyal companion after 60+ years and two for me to take to work. I'm still new there, so I have to show them what I'm made of! ;)

Pumpkin Bread

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. all spice
1 29 oz can on pumpkin

Cream butter and sugars together in a mixer. When mixed well, add eggs. Mix on med-high speed until thoroughly combined. Add spices, baking soda and baking powder and mix well. Add flour one cup at a time until mixed well. Add pumpkin and mix until combined.

Liberally grease, I used Baker's Friend (greatest stuff on the planet!!!) 2 or 3 loaf pans. I used 3, 2 regular sized and one smaller, but I didn't fill them up all the way. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes and then test with a toothpick for doneness. When the toothpick comes out clean take them out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. You can serve it warm with butter, cream cheese icing, or try a nut topping before you bake it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

White Hot Chocolate

White Hot Chocolate by Martha Stewart

2 cups heavy cream
6 cups whole milk
12 ounces white chocolate , finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 block dark chocolate

Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate into curls; set aside.

Place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside. Place milk and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan (about 4 minutes). Do not boil.

Remove mixture from the flame. Immediately pour over white chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, gently stir to combine.

Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until light foam forms.

Serve immediately. Garnish with chocolate shavings or marshmallows.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Beverage Week!! Chai Tea!!!!

There is even a brisk chill in the air in Florida this morning so this week we are going to do yummy beverages that will surely warm you up!

First on the list today, Chai Tea!

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons Chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.

This could be made into a gift as well. Make the mix and display in a pretty jar with a label. The holidays are upon us!! Less than 12 weeks until Christmas!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salsa Verde

So Sunday evening I tried my hand at making Salsa Verde. I'm not one who likes tomatoes so anything I can make without them in it, I'm game! Low and behold it turned out really well and I thought I would share! I am starting to believe I have some Latino in my heritage somewhere down the line. :)

Salsa Verde

2 pounds tomatillos, husked
1/4 cup sliced jalapenos
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dash black pepper
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

Place tomatillos in a large pot. Pour in just enough water to cover the tomatillos; they will float, so press them down with your hand as you measure the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the color of the tomatillos lightens to a yellow color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatillos from the pot of water. Place into the bowl of a food processor; add the cloves, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, pepper, and chicken bouillon. Puree until smooth.

The guys that were at the house were my guinea pigs, such a tough life they have. They ate it with tortilla chips. Then that night for dinner I grilled chicken breasts until cooked through, put the chicken breasts on a baking sheet, topped with the Mexican blend shredded cheese and some salsa verde and put it under the broiler until the cheese was melted. It was delicious!!!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

500 calorie dinner deliciousness!

We are turning over a new leaf at the Bierbaum household... With that being said we had our inaugural 500 calorie dinner tonight, and if I must say, it was doggone good!!!

Here is what we had...

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

2 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and tenders removed (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
2 tablespoons dry vermouth, or dry white wine
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, or scallion greens

Season chicken with pepper and salt on both sides.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once or twice and adjusting the heat to prevent burning, until brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes. Pour in vermouth (or wine); simmer until almost evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Pour in broth and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream and chives (or scallions); return to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

We also had:

Fresh Cut Green Beans

2 cups fresh cut green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 Tbsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Steam the green beans for 10-15 minutes until tender. Melt butter in a skillet and add onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add the green beans. Add oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes and serve.

Skinny Mashed Potatoes

**Please be advised, these are no where near as good as my other mashed potatoes! Then again, that's why they are skinny!**

baby red potatoes (minis- about 9, large- 4-5)
1/4 cup non-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and mash with a fork. Add butter and buttermilk and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sauted Shrimp Rice

Haven't been on in a couple of days, we've had a big weekend and I'm just now getting caught up. We went to Atlanta over the weekend and went to watch the Cardinals and Braves play. LOVED it being the Missouri girl that I am! Here's a snapshot from that!

Love me some Albert Pujols!

Today my recipe is for Sauted Shrimp Rice

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
2 cups parboiled long-grain rice, such as Uncle Ben's
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cup whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat 1/2 of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and rest covered for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the shrimp, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Stir in the cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a fork, fluff the rice and arrange on a platter. Spoon the shrimp cream sauce over the rice and serve.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Friday!! Herbed Green Beans

War Eagle! It wasn't a slaughter session, but we pulled it out.

Herbed Green Beans

1-1/2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
3 Tbsp. sesame seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/3 cup butter

Place beans in a steamer basket, over 1" of water. Bring to a boil, cover and steam for 7-9 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the onion, celery, sesame seeds, garlic and seasonings in butter until vegetables are tender. Add the beans and toss to coat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cupcake Wednesday!!

I am busy, busy, busy today making cookies for a shower. (I will post pictures later.) I have a crazy week to finish out. Cookies, painting to finish, packing to do, and last but not least, baseball to watch!! So since I'm making cookies today, I'm going to keep my brain in sweet mode. :) Today's recipe is for Bananas Foster Cupcakes!

Bananas Foster Cupcakes

For the Bananas Foster:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe, but still firm bananas quartered (halved crosswise, then lengthwise)
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon dark rum
Banana mixture already prepared
3/4 cup sour cream

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon dark rum

Bananas Foster:
In a saute pan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until butter melts and sugar is dissolved (4 to 5 minutes). Add the banana slices and cook until tender, turning once for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Stir together rum and vanilla. Turn off the burner and add the rum mixture to the pan.
Using a long match, light the alcohol by placing the flame just in the outer edge of the pan. Stand as far back as possible. The flame should extingish in a few seconds.
Gently shake the pan from side to side to coat the bananas with the sauce. Spoon the bananas into a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, vanilla, rum and banana. Mix well.
Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream; blend thoroughly but do not overmix. Pour into prepared cupcake pans. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for 1- minutes in pan on rack. Remove and cool completely before frosting.

Beat together cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add about half the powdered sugar and beat until mixed well. Then gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until you reach a spreading consistency.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

French Onion Casserole

Back to the grindstone! I had a fabulous full holiday weekend! I had a fantastic photo lesson on Friday with a special cousin who was patient with me. This is the product of that, is she not cute!!?

Then yesterday, I had another photo shoot with Miss Riley. Is she not a baby doll??

So getting back in the swing of things, today's recipe is French Onion Casserole. Since fall is quickly upon us, this French Onion Soup inspired recipe is great for cool fall evenings!

French Onion Casserole

8 medium onions, sliced
5 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Dash pepper
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup sherry or additional beef broth
1-1/2 cups salad croutons
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute onions in 3 Tbsp. butter until tender. Stir in flour and pepper until blended; gradually add broth and sherry. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until thickened. Transfer onto an ungreased 9" square baking pan.

In a microwave, melt the remaining butter. Add the croutons; toss to coat. Spoon over the onion mixture. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Broil 3-4" from heat for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Happy Tuesday!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guilt Free Nachos

Day 4 of Healthy Recipe week!! Today's recipe: Guilt Free Nachos!!!

Guilt Free Nachos

1 tsp. taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 small chicken breast
1 whole wheat pita
2 Tbsp. roasted red pepper hummus
2 Tbsp. canned black beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped red onions and red peppers
2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
4 tsp. guacamole
fat free sour cream

Preheat oven to 450F. Set grill on high heat.

Sprinkle taco seasoning and garlic powder on chicken. Place the chicken on the grill and cook through. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Place pita on the grill rack. Grill 1-2 minutes until toasted. Place pita on a baking sheet. Spread evenly with hummus. Top evenly with beans, chicken, onion, pepper, tomato, cilantro and cheese.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes and transfer to a serving plate. Slice into 4 wedges. Top each with guacamole and sour cream.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Non-Fried Chicken

Day number 3 for Healthy Recipe week! And today is Non-Fried Chicken!

Non-Fried Chicken

3 Tbsp. fat free plain yogurt
4 lg. basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
2 small chicken breasts, skinless
mustard or low fat marinara

Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly mist a baking sheet with Olive Oil spray.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs in a bowl and set next to the yogurt mix. Dip one chicken breast in the yogurt mix to coat. Transfer to the crumbs to coat. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts and bake for another 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Serve immediately.

Happy Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parmesan Pepper Sweet Potato Fries

Day 2 on the Healthy Recipes week!

Parmesan Pepper Sweet Potato Fries

1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut in 1/4" sticks
1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes, cheese, olive oil and spices. Place potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet.

Bake 8 minutes, then flip potatoes and bake 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned in spots.l

Serve immediately.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall decoration ideas!

My best friend gave me a bug... Not the flu kind, but it's extremely contagious! She gave me the fall decorations bug. WARNING: it will make you want to bust out the totes of decorations, including autumn leaves, garlands, raffia and acorns. This bug will not make you turn green, but instead you will turn various shades of reds, oranges, yellows and browns! Hopefully these ideas will help you prepare for "Fall Season" instead of Flu Season!


It may be too early to get pumpkins at the Farmer's Market, but we all know a very classic decoration for fall is pumpkins. Gourds are very popular too. However, Michaels or Hobby Lobby can help you out tremendously! They have craft pumpkins! They look just like real pumpkins but they gloriously don't rot or smell by the end of the season. You can carve them, paint them, or just enjoy them! I got lucky and stocked up on mine last year after Thanksgiving and got them all half off. They can be pretty pricey if you are stocking up. But pretty pricey in my book is $5-10 a pumpkin. A hot trend this year is painting your pumpkins in a metallic color. Look at these fabulous silver ones!

And you can even mix them with other painted pumpkins or pumpkins decorated with ribbons! You can make a cute arrangement of pumpkins on candlesticks of various heights.

This wreath is made out of a grapevine wreath with gourds and a bow. You could even paint them if you would like them a different color to match your house.


I inherited my love of candles from my mother, but they are easy, inexpensive and fabulous decoration! You can never go wrong with candles. However, I know some of you have children that you wouldn't want to get their little hands on them, so just remember instead of doing without, just put them out of reach. Mantles, shelves, or taller tables. And when in doubt, decorate the hurricane and put the candles inside it. It's good flame prevention.

Simply filling a glass candle holder with loose leaves and nuts or pine cones gives it character. Just be sure to keep the flame away from the decorations so that they don't catch on fire.

Using vegetables and raffia give makes them beautiful.

Another simple solution is a simple fall ribbon and an ornate gathering of cuts or a wood cutout in the middle of a hurricane.


Apothecary jars are a universal necessity of decoration. You can fill them with a vast variety of things for each and every season! Filling them with pecans, acorns and pine cones with fall ribbons are a great way to decorate.


Frames (we all know Walmart has the conveniently cheap $2 frames)are an easy way to decorate. A hot way to use them now is with no picture in them, just the frame itself. This one with just a simple strand of leaves across it is just too cute!

Have a mantel? These would be perfect decoration for above your fireplace or on a shelf! Simple matching frames with single letter print outs to spell out a word.

This one can be used as a frame or as a wreath. Pine cones do not have to be drab brown. Jazz them up with your favorite color!

Acorns are easy to use as well as pecans to line a frame or to make a wreath with. You could even attach a mirror to the back of this and hang it in your house.


Napkin rings with a fall flare!

An unusual alternative to a bowl for fall foliage...


Don't forget your stairs! Use bundles of wheat or cattails to decorate your stairs!


Don't forget the mums!


One of my absolute favorite things right now is a website of all things!!! Save-On-Crafts is one of my newest favorite cyber places to visit!!! They have tons of things that you can use to decorate your house, an event, a dinner party, or anything your heart desires! Here is the link to the website and their fall decorations page!!!

I thoroughly suggest you check it out and stock up! They are EXTREMELY affordable!!!

I hope this gives you some ideas and that the bug doesn't get you too soon!

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast

This week I am going to do diet-friendly, healthy alternatives for dinner! You will be shocked that meals can still taste good and be good for you! So today, we have Balsamic Chicken Breasts!

Balsamic Chicken Breasts

8 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. dried onion flakes
3 tsp. Italian Seasoning
3 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper

Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, thyme, salt, pepper and onion flakes in a 1 gallon ziploc bag along with chicken. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Heat grill on high heat, place chicken on grill and sear. Reduce heat and then cook through.

You can serve this on its own or you can serve it on a bed of fresh greens as a salad.

Bon appetit!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Tonight's menu consists of Pepperoni Pizza Casserole. It's super easy and a crowd pleaser.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

1 lb spiral pasta
1 lb pepperoni
1 lb ground beef
1 (15 ounce) jar pizza sauce
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
dried parsley
onion powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

Pour into large mixing bowl.

Finely chop half of the pepperoni. Brown hamburger meat and pepperoni along with onion powder and minced garlic. Drain.

Mix pasta, pizza sauce, and meat in bowl. Stir in half of the cheese.

Pour in lightly greased casserole dish. Put pasta mixture in the casserole dish and sprinkle remaining half of cheese over top.

Place remaining pepperoni slices on top. Sprinkle with parsley.

Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese bubbles, about 15-20 minutes.

Happy Friday! Stay tuned tomorrow, I'm starting Cupcake Saturdays!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's on the Menu Tonight?

What's on the menu at my house tonight???

A replica of Red Lobster's Cajun Chicken Pasta!!!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine
1 -2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces linguine or 4 ounces fettuccine pasta, cooked and drained
grated parmesan cheese, to taste

Place chicken an Cajun seasoning in a bowl or resealable plastic bag; toss or shake to coat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until almost tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Reduce heat. Add cream and seasoning; heat through. Add pasta and toss; heat through. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese if desired. Adjust the Cajun seasoning if you like it spicier.

I'm serving mine tonight with, you guessed it, Cheddar Biscuits! Don't get excited, they are the make from a bag Bisquick ones! LOL

Monday, August 23, 2010

Margarita Madness Monday!

After the weekend I've had I could use a few of these. Friday I had a horrible allergic reaction to a stinkin fire ant sting, my lips were swollen and everything. Not to mention those darn things HURT and ITCH like no tomorrow. So I spent most of my weekend doped up on benadryl. Then as if that wasn't bad enough, my computer got a horrible virus and the hubs had to work on that the rest of the weekend. (Hence no posts) So, having said that, I'm going to catch up on posts lost and give you Margarita Madness!!

The first recipe I'm going to do is for Margarita Cupcakes!!

Margarita Cupcakes

1 (18 1/4 ounce) boxes white cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
1 (10 ounce) cans frozen margarita mix, thawed (undiluted)
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime zest

For Icing:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 -5 cups confectioners' sugar

In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer.
Stir in lime zest; mix completely.
Fill prepared pans 2/3 full.
Bake according to box directions (usually 325 degrees - be sure to check box!) 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.

In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, juice and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time; continue beating until light and fluffy.
If icing is too thin add additional confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

Then you're ready to ice your cupcakes. Don't forget to sprinkle the outside edge of the icing with clear sugar crystals and garnish with a lime wedge!

The next recipe I have is for Margarita Fruit Dip

Margarita Fruit Dip

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup frozen margarita drink mix, thawed
2 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate (frozen)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 tbsp. tequila

In a medium bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, margarita mix, orange juice and powdered sugar and tequila until smooth. Fold whipped cream into mixture until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve dip with strawberries, cherries, peach slices and other fresh fruit. 12 servings

And last but not least... Margaritas


Salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
1 1/2 ounces tequila (blanco, 100 percent agave)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Cointreau (not Triple Sec)

If using salt, place in a shallow dish. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with a dampened paper towel, then dip in salt.
Fill the glass with ice; add tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau; and stir a few times until chilled. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Au Gratin Celebration

Happy birthday to my mom today!

She is one person who has been there for me through thick and thin, good times and bad, all of my life. I've gotten a lot of "I told you so's" and "if you'd only listened to me the first time's" but regardless, she's loved me no matter what. She went out of her way to make sure I had the things I needed and wanted for that matter. She's my best friend.

I remember as a kid that she loved asparagus. I tried it a few times and the taste about made me gag. It even got to where I couldn't handle the smell. So at the beginning of the week, I got a whim to buy some fresh asparagus when I was shopping for groceries. Why, you ask. You've GOT me! haha! So in an effort to let bygones be bygones, I tried to make it a little different last night to take to dinner with family. I mean, who's going to really give you an honest opinion other than family right?! I feel bad for these people because they are often my guinea pigs! Anyway, the asparagus turned out pretty tastey. I even ate it and didn't gag!!! I may have turned over a new asparagus leaf. So today, in honor of my mom, I'm going to do an asparagus recipe!

A new Asparagus Au Gratin

1 bundle of fresh asparagus, rinsed, stems cut
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano
shredded parmesan cheese
Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs

Wash and cut the stems of your asparagus. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay the asparagus out on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. Roast in the oven, on 400F for 6 minutes. Flip your asparagus and roast for another 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and turn your broiler on. Sprinkle shredded parmesan over the asparagus and put under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs over the cheese. Spray the panko with cooking spray and return to the oven under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Serve right out of the oven.

Happy birthday mom!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blue Crab Dip

School is starting and summer is coming to a close. So before we hopefully see cooler temperatures here in the South, I thought I would share an excellent dip recipe.

Blue Crab Dip

1/2 cup butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 lb. fresh lump blue dungeness crab meat
crackers or toast baguettes

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add green onions and garlic, and saute until tender. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in half and half, then add swiss cheese, parsley, and dried sherry.

Gently fold crab meat in without breaking up the lumps. Pour into a lightly greased
8x8 baking dish. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve with crackers or toast baguettes.

Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best appetizer ever!

It's versatile, it's delicious, it's easy, it's a MUST HAVE at parties.... it's a what I call Gouda Goodness. However, you can change this up many different ways!

1 can of crescent rolls
1 disc of smoked gouda cheese
honey dijon mustard
dried basil

Lay your crescent rolls out in a square, pressing the seams together. Cut your gouda cheese in half so that the disc stays in tact. Between the halves of cheese spread a generous amount of honey dijon and sprinkle some basil. Wrap the crescent rolls around the cheese, tucking the extra underneath. Place on a cookie sheet and bake on 300F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown or cheese is melted. Serve with wheat thins!

*Note- with gouda cheese it takes longer for the cheese to melt because it is a harder cheese. In this case, we are going to lower the temp on the oven and cook it longer so the cheese has time to melt.*

This is what it looked like when I served it at our Superbowl party last year.

Variations to this:

- You can use a puff pastry if you don't want to use crescent rolls.

- You can use Brie cheese instead of Gouda. Brie melts quickly because it is a softer cheese. I would cook this one on 350F for 15-20 minutes. You can do a lot of things with Brie. It pairs really well with fruit. Serve it with sliced apples or grapes. Before you wrap the Brie in the pastry of your choice, you can add almonds or pecans, fruit like figs, cranberries, or apples.

Happy Tuesday!!!