Sunday, November 29, 2009

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

I'm always looking to try new recipes in the crock pot. This recipe is exactly what the recipe says. It requires 40 cloves of garlic. I thought this would be overpowering, but the flavor was perfect. It also had a little bit of heat in the rub because of the red pepper flakes. You can always alter the amount of red pepper depending on your preferences and the chicken will turn out fine. By the way, this is what 40 cloves of garlic looks like:

Source: Cuisinart


2 pounds chicken thighs (about 8 to 10), skinless, bone-in

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

40 garlic cloves, peeled

½ celery rib, sliced

½ cup sliced onion

¼ cup white vermouth or dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

3 tablespoons chicken broth


Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the chicken thighs, herbes de Provence, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Make sure to coat the rub all over the chicken. Lay the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot. Layer the garlic, celery and onions on top of the chicken. Pour in wine and chicken stock. Set the crock pot on low 8 hours then serve.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

This recipe is one of the first recipes I've made where I made good use of orzo. I think it's a lot easier to make than rice and able to hold in more flavor than rice. If you ever want to cook with orzo, I recommend cooking it in beef or chicken broth, depending on the dish you want to combine it with. The shrimp was flavorful, but the orzo really completed this dish.

Source: Stephanie Cooks, adapted from Cooking Light


1 cup uncooked orzo

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp

Garlic Powder (several heavy dashes)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 can of chicken broth

Parmesan cheese (I used shredded instead of grated)


Spray a small sauce pan with cooking spray. Add the orzo, stirring frequently until slightly toasted. Pour in the chicken broth. Cook until almost all of the broth is absorbed. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic powder to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Stir the orzo back into the skillet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

If you like to go to Red Lobster, you probably love their cheesy biscuits that come with the meal. They are so warm, fluffy, and have the perfect amount of melted cheese in each biscuit. I found this recipe that said it tasted exactly like the biscuits at the restaurant and they were absolutely right. The biscuits turned out perfectly and we enjoyed them with some pasta and sauce.

Source: Joyful Abode


2 c. buttermilk biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 to 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 c. milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt (I used 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cooking sheet with nonstick spray. In a bowl, combine the biscuit mix, the garlic powder, and the shredded cheese. Stir to combine. Pour in the milk. Stir until combined. The dough should be lumpy, but not sticky.

Using the two-spoon method, drop the lumps of dough onto the cooking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, melt the butter. Add the oregano and garlic salt and mix together. Brush the butter mixture over each biscuit then put back into the oven and bake for another 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I was going to a birthday party the other night and I wanted to bring a fun dessert to share. I found this recipe a few weeks ago and I was excited to try it. I had a blast making this recipe. It was simple to make and delicious and it was a hit at the party. People asked me how I hallowed out the strawberries and it was very easy. I saw a recommendation online to use a potato peeler, but I didn't have one so I used a small knife and a very small measuring spoon to scoop out the insides.

Source: The Novice Chef


2 crates of fresh strawberries
1 box Jello No Bake Cheesecake
Crushed graham crackers
Milk Chocolate chips


Wash the strawberries and cut off the tops. Hollow out the strawberries.

Mix the cheesecake according to the directions on the box. Use a decorating bag and a large tip to fill each strawberry until it is slightly overfilled. Place the crushed graham crackers in a bowl and dip the tops of the strawberries into the graham crackers.

Heat up the milk chocolate chips in 10 second intervals until melted thoroughly. Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag and cut off a very small tip. Squeeze the bag as if it were a decorating bag and drizzle the chocolate on top of the strawberries as desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I was eating dinner by myself for this meal so I wanted something that was a little simpler. This was a good recipe to try because you can easily alter the amount of chicken and pasta. I actually added a little bit more pasta and chicken, but only because I wanted extra for lunches at work. This dish was very filling and tasty and it was fun to cook with pastina. If you don't have any pastina handy, you can use any other smaller type of pasta and the dish will turn out just fine. I also read a few suggestions to add a lemon pepper rub to the chicken before cooking it and adding it to the pastina.

Source: Giada de Laurentiis


1 c. pastina pasta (or any small pasta)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. cubed chicken breast (1 inch cubes)

1/2 c. diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 c. shredded mozzarella

1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dry leaf parsley)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c. bread crumbs

1/4 c. grated Parmesan

1 tbsp. butter


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Place the mixture in a buttered 8 x 8 baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture, Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

This was the first time I ever tried making manicotti. I hadn't eaten it in several years and my husband had never had it before. After eating this dish, we couldn't believe what we were missing. I had a lot of fun assembling this dish and the results were fantastic. This is sure to become a family favorite with us. Hope you'll enjoy it as well!

Source: Apple a Day, adapted from Giada de Laurentis


4 tsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 lb. ground beef

salt and freshly ground black pepper

14 (8 oz. package) manicotti

1 (15 oz.) container whole-milk ricotta (I used part-skim)

2 c. shredded mozzarella

1/2 c. grated Parmesan

2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (I used dry parsley flakes)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 c. marinara sauce

2 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces


Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. of the olive oil, onion, and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain the drippings, and cool.

Brush 1 tsp. of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 c. mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c. Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the remaining 2 tsp. of oil over a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.

Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 c. of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken and Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

This is a new recipe I learned about a month ago that I have made two times already. It's easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and a really filling and tasty meal. I made six tomatoes and they were more than enough for my husband and I for dinner as well as some leftovers. I highly recommend this recipe.

Source: Things That Make You Go Mmmmmm


6 large, ripe tomatoes
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
3/4 lb. ground chicken or cut up chicken breast
1 c. cooked rice
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish, large enough to accomodate the tomatoes, with non-stick spray.

Wash tomatoes. Cut off tops and scoop out insides into a bowl. Reserve.

In a non-stick skillet, brown chicken. Add onion. Make sure you break up the chicken into little pieces, it makes stuffing the tomatoes easier. Remove from heat.

Add rice and seasoning to the meat and onions. Take the reserved tomato guts and put into blender. Blend for a moment and pour back about 3/4 cup into the meat mixture. Mix well.

Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture; place tomatoes in baking dish. Top tomatoes with cheese then bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. (After 10 minutes of baking, I added extra mozzarella cheese to the tomatoes)

Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This recipe has become a fairly regular side dish for our meals. It's very simple and tastes great. The recipe calls for mixing the potatoes with an electric mixer to smooth them out, but I didn't think it was necessary.

Source: All Recipes


8 medium red potatoes, cubed
2 tsp. crushed garlic (I used minced garlic), divided
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. half-and-half cream
2 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. steak seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the crushed garlic to the water for flavor. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

Drain the potatoes, and add the butter. Mash until the butter is melted. Mix in the half-and-half, sugar, steak seasoning, garlic powder, and remaining garlic. Mix potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tart

I'm not sure about how well this recipe went. I followed the directions carefully and the only issue I had was that I ran out of vanilla extract so I used 1 teaspoon instead of the required 2 teaspoons. I cooked it for about 45 minutes in the oven and the outside edges turned golden, but it was really chewy in the middle. The good news is that the cookie tart tasted delicious and was cooked all the way through, but I think I will have to work on the texture.

Source: Blissfully Delicious


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips, (about 12 ounces)

Vegetable-oil cooking spray


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie tin with vegetable-oil cooking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Press 3 cups of this dough into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden and center is almost set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes, and remove from pan. Bake remaining dough as cookies at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This was a really easy recipe to try, but I actually did very little of the work because of the long cooking time. My husband did most of the job which involved shredding the pork and adding the ingredients. All I did was plop the pork roast in the crock pot and set it to low for 10 hours. This dish was very tasty and is a great recipe to try for those who work long hours during the week!

Source: Crockpot Tuesdays


2.5 lb. pork roast
14 oz. bottle of bbq sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped


Put pork roast in crockpot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

Remove roast from crockpot. Trim excess fat and shred the meat. Dump out any excess liquid that is in your stoneware, and return the pork to the crockpot. Combine pork with remaining ingredients.

Cover and cook on high for 2 more hours.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lasagna Supreme

Of all the recipes I can make, this is mine and my husband's favorite. I found this recipe in a little cookbook that I got as a stocking stuffer a few years ago. This lasagna is perfect for us because we prefer the cottage cheese mixture over riccotta. Sometimes I substitute the mild sausage for spicy for the extra kick. This is definitely a family favorite and I hope it can be a favorite for you, too!

Source: Comfort Food


8-10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried majoram leaves
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
2 eggs
2 cups (16 ounces) cream-style cottage cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese


Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain

Cook meats, onion, and garlic in large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is brown, stirring to separate meat. Drain drippings from skillet. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, basil, and marjoram. Reduce heat to slow. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in mushrooms; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Beat eggs in large bowl; add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place half the noodles in bottom of greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over noodles, then half the meat mixture and half the Cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake lasagna 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

I was browsing through recipes late last night and I found this super easy recipe and I happened to have all of the ingredients. These muffins were great. I think I can say I definitely like muffins that are made with brown sugar, it made such a difference! I didn't have any muffin liners handy, so I just used a disposable muffin pan and the muffins came out of the pan perfectly.

Source: So Tasty, So Yummy


3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)

Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups; 12 foil or paper muffin liners


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries gently.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs

The crock pot is truly a wonderful thing. I like using it just for the wonderful smells it creates in the kitchen. Anytime I cook beef in the crock pot, it comes out so tender. This dish was no exception. The meat fell off the bone as soon as I took it out of the pot.

Source: My Adventures in Food, loosely adapted from Cooking Light, March 2008


2 Tbs canola oil

3 lbs beef short ribs, trimmed

Salt and pepper

2 c low sodium beef broth

1 ½ c cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine

3 Tbs tomato paste

3 celery ribs, sliced into 1-inch chunks

3 carrots, sliced into 1-inch chunks

6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

2 rosemary sprigs

3 Tbs all purpose flour

4 c hot, cooked wide egg noodles

Chopped parsley (optional)


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, heat until hot. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Add ribs to pan, and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat. Place short ribs into a crock pot. Add beef broth to the pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Add wine and tomato paste to the broth, whisking to combine.

Add celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and rosemary to the crock pot. Pour broth mixture over the crock pot contents. Cover and bake on medium, about 6 hours, until ribs are fork-tender.

Uncover crock pot. Remove ribs carefully and set on a plate. Strain the broth mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Discard the remaining solids. Separate the drippings from the fat using a fat separator. (If a fat separator is not available, use a zip-top plastic bag, letting the drippings settle, snipping a small hole in the bottom corner, and draining the drippings. Stop draining when you reach the fat, which should have risen to the top.) Discard the fat.

Pour drippings into a small saucepan. Add flour, and stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, or until thickened.

Serve ribs on a bed of noodles, and pour gravy on top. Garnish with parsley.

Zuppa Toscana

This recipe was outstanding. I LOVE the Zuppa Toscana soup from Olive Garden, and this recipe tasted exactly the same, if not better. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. I definitely plan on making this at least once a month. In this recipe I cut the potatoes in chunks, but next time
I want to slice the potatoes thinly with the skins still on them. Also, I recommend removing some of the grease from the sausage after you brown it. I used the grease to help sautee the onions, but when the soup was finished, the red grease floated to the top and I had to spoon it out.

Source: Annie's Eats (adapted from Recipezaar)


1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine to deglaze the pan (I used Sauvignon Blanc wine)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper


Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot.

Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Skillet Lime Chicken Tacos

My husband and I often have tacos, but we have never used chicken. We always just browned the beef, added the packet taco seasoning, and added some cheese and veggies. It was time for a change! This recipe turned out to be tasty. Next time I make this, I will probably used a little less vinegar and more chicken. The vinegar slightly overpowered the overall taste of the chicken.


1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tomato, diced

10 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1/4 cup shredded lettuce

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup salsa


Saute chicken in a medium saucepan over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, green onion, garlic and oregano. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa

Trying something new

Hello all!

My friends and family know that I really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. I could cook all day and night if I could. Unfortunately, I work a LOT. At least 50-60 hours a week. However, weekends are fair game so my goal for the upcoming year is to cook at least one different thing every weekend as well as repeating favorite recipes along the way. I know nothing about Blogger or web design, so bear with me on the layout. I hope to improve as I go along! Now it's time for some recipes...