Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CEiMB: No-Cook Lemon Bars

Thanks to Amy from Playing House for choosing Ellie Krieger's No-Cook Lemon Bars for this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe.  Ellie lightens up this dessert by using reduced-fat cream cheese, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, Egg Beaters, and whole-grain graham crackers.  Adding the gelatin allows the bar to set.  If you have never used unsweetened gelatin, it's super easy.  All you have to do is mix the gelatin powder with boiling water.  Once it cools for a couple of minutes you simply add it to the cream cheese batter.

I would recommend this recipe if you enjoy cream cheese as a base in your desserts.  For being a "lighter" version I couldn't really taste the difference. 

I've included the recipe below, but here are some tips that may be useful when you are making this:
  • Buy at least 4 lemons -- I only bought 3 and I barely managed to squeeze out 1/2 cup
  • After you chill the bars for 8 hours, throw the whole dish in the freezer for an hour or so -- this will make the bars easier to cut / hold their shape
  • Save some extra lemon zest for the top -- Ellie doesn't recommend this, but I think these bars would be even better dusted with a little powdered sugar and lemon zest on top

No-Cook Lemon Bars
So Easy, Ellie Krieger
(serves 16)

If you love cheesecake and you love lemon, you will double-love these delicious bars.  They have a velvety, cream cheese filling with just the right citrus kick and that crave-able classic graham cracker crust.  All that and you don't even need an oven to make them.

14 whole-grain graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1 - 8oz. package Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese), softened at room temperature
1 - 14oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pasteurized egg product (such as Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed.  Add the butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pulse until crumbs resemble wet sand.  Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and pack the crumbs firmly into the bottom of it.  Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, condensed milk, and pasteurized egg product and beat on high with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and zest and beat until fully incorporated, another 30 seconds.  In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water and whisk until the gelatin is entirely dissolved; let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.  Using a spoon, stir the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated.  Pour the filling over the crust.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Slice into 2-inch squares using a chilled knife coated with cooking spray.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CEiMB [Rewind]: Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

A few weeks ago, Tessa from Handle the Heat, chose Ellie Krieger's Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly.  Unfortunately I've all but dropped off the planet from food blogging -- what's with me?! I'm sure a lot of people get tied up with the holidays, tons of gatherings, and the extremely small window of light available during the weekend (if you work full time). 

Lucky for me I have off all this week! Just ask my husband, I have been cooking / baking up a storm the last couple of days.  I really wanted to do a CEiMB recipe because I haven't done one in FOREVER.  I decided to go with the Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs recipe for my rewind because I had everything but the chicken on hand.  I looked at the recipe and it was simple too - bonus.  I did make one minor change.  I substituted chicken drumsticks for chicken thighs.  I think next time I make this recipe I might even just opt for chicken tenders.  I always have those around and they are somewhat better for you since it's all white meat.

So, I ended up making these yesterday for Kyle's Guys Night and they were a hit!  I think I made the sauce a little too wet by not measuring the maple syrup.  I thought it was around 3 tablespoons, but with the way I guess on things it was probably a 1/4 cup.  Next time I plan to add a little less maple syrup or more mustard that way the sauce actually stays on top of my chicken and doesn't run off.  Now that I think of it, it probably ran off because I used drumsticks and not thighs (which are more flat).. hmm.. oh well!! They were still tasty and I definitely plan on making these again.  Thanks Tessa!

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs
The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
Ellie Krieger

The grainy mustard and maple syrup form a delectable tangy-sweet crust on these juicy chicken thighs.  This recipe may have a small ingredient list, but it has really big flavor!

8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lbs.), skin removed
1/3 cup grainy French mustard
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon dired marjoram
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the mustard, garlic, marjoram, and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Spread about 1 tablespoon of the mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust".  Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a large baking dish.  Bake until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mari's Clam Lovers Chowder

I love clam chowder.  Whenever I eat clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder or at Anthony's I always add a ton of crackers and fresh cracked pepper.  Ahh.. perfection.  I'm not a thick chowder lover.  I would rather have a rich and creamy chowder with a thinner broth.  I find it funny how much I enjoy clam chowder, yet I have never attempted to make it myself?! Craziness.  Then I tried it.  The most wonderful clam chowder recipe I've tasted in awhile.   It was rich, creamy, thin, and full of clams.  My friend found the recipe on  It's Mari's Clam Lovers Chowder recipe.

Click here to view the site with a link to her recipe.  The recipe is also included below after a couple of photos.  Enjoy!

Mari's Clam Lovers Chowder

8 (6.5 oz.) cans minced clams, drained with juice reserved
4 oz. bacon, chopped
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
2 qts. water
2 cups chopped celery
2 tbsp. minced parsley (I substituted dried parsley because that's what I had on hand)
5 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1 1/2 cups butter (Paula Deen would be proud!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 qts. heavy cream (don't ask, just do it-- it tastes fantastic)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1. In a large stockpot, saute bacon until almost crisp.  Drain fat.  Add clam juice, onion, carrots, water, celery, and parsley.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Add potatoes and simmer 20 minutes more.  At the time you add potatoes start the cream sauce.
3. In a Dutch oven (I used a medium sauce pan) melt butter and add flour; blend until smooth.  Slowly pour in cream, stirring constantly.  Do not boil! When smooth, transfer to the stockpot.
4. Stir in clams, salt, pepper, sugar, and red wine vinegar.  Simmer, never let boil, until smooth and slightly thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Double Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream

Guess what I got for Christmas from my lovely In-Laws.....the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Mixer Attachment!  This attachment is so cool.  You pop the bowl in your freezer for 15 hours, make your ice cream mixture and let chill completely, then pour your chilled mixture into the mixer and let it do its thing for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, spoon the very soft ice cream into a container and let it "ripen" in the freezer for at least an hour. 

So simple and delicious.  I love the fact that I know exactly what went into the ice cream - no fillers or junk. 

I took this Double Chocolate Ice Cream recipe off of Cooking Light and made a few changes.

Double Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk,divided (I substituted with 1% milk and it still tasted great)
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I substituted with 2 1/2 oz. of Hershey's Dark Chocolate & Mint chips)

Combine sugar and cocoa in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks. Stir in remaining 2 cups milk. Cook 12 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Place half-and-half in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at high 1 1/2 minutes or until half-and-half boils. Add chocolate to half-and-half; stir until smooth. Add half-and-half mixture to pan; stir until smooth. Place pan in an ice-filled bowl. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.

Nutritional Information*

*May change somewhat since I substituted 1% milk

Calories:255 (30% from fat)
Fat:8.4g (sat 4.3g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.3g)

Look at all that calcium! You need to give this recipe a try! Oh, and if you don't have one.. buy the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker attachment -- it rocks! (No ice or salt needed).


Chocolate-Hazlenut Meringues

I surprisingly made a lot of recipes this year from the Holiday Issue of Cooking Light magazine.  I made their Cooking Light Dinner Rolls, Chili-Spiced Almonds, Frisee Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette, and Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues (substitued with pecans because that's what I had on hand).

My husband bought me a Sil Pat from Williams and Sonoma for Christmas this year so I had to use it on something.  I decided to venture out and make meringues.  When I previously looked through my Holiday Issue of Cooking Light, I saw a recipe for Chocolate-Hazlenut Merginues.  I had everything except the hazlenuts so I decided to substitute pecans.  They are so good! Without the chocolate and pecans they taste like the top of a perfectly browned marshmallow. 

I think these will become another gift to give away next year during Christmas.  Enjoy!

Chocolate-Hazlenut Meringues
Cooking Light

5 large egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup blanched whole hazlenuts, toasted and finely chopped (I used pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 250F.
2. Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and salt, beating until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugars, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Add vanilla; beat 1 minute.
3. Cover two baking sheetswith parchment paper (I used my Sil Pat).  Spoon 24 (2-inch-rounds) mounds (I piped rosettes) onto prepared baking sheets.  Place in oven; bake at 250F for 1 hour or until dry to touch, rotating pans halfway through cooking. (Meringues are done when surface is dry and meringues can be removed from paper without sticking to fingers.)  Turn oven off.  Cool meringues in oven 1 hour.  Remove from oven; carefully remove meringues from paper.
4. Place chocolate in a medium glass bowl.  Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth.  Dip side of meringue in melted chocolate and chopped hazlenuts.  Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 meringues).

Nutritional Info:

Calories 135
Fat 4.3 g (sat 1.4g, mono 1.7g, poly 0.3g)
Protein 2.6g
Carb 22.7g
Fiber 0.4mg
Chol 0mg
Iron 0.6mg
Sodium 51mg
Calc 13mg

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MSC: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cookie Cutouts

Kayte from Grandma's Kitchen Table chose this month's Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club recipe, Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cookie Cutouts.  I was really excited to make these, but unfortunately by the time I got around to making these I had already baked over 100 gingerbread cookies and 5 gingerbread house kits (for a gingerbread house making party I had last Friday).  I almost considered skipping this month, but didn't want to get axed from the club so I made a half batch.  The normal batch yields 22 standard cupcakes, but half a batch definitely does not yield 11 cupcakes.  I spread the batter into 11 lined cupcakes and they only baked about halfway up the liner - so lame! Next time I'm going to fill them 3/4 full even if that means I only get 5 or 6 in a half batch.

I used a Royal Icing for the top -- it was way too runny.  It was the same recipe I used to frost the gingerbread house and cookies.  I've decided that I'm a big fan of fluffy tall frosting piped on top of my cupcakes so next time I would probably make something different.

I don't know if I would make the cupcakes again, but I will definitely continue to make the gingerbread cookies and gingerbread house.  I've never made a gingerbread house from scratch, but I loved doing it and I hope to make it a yearly tradition.

Thanks Kayte for such a great seasonal pick!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Juliann's Special Pancakes

A few weeks ago, Kyle and I went a visited some friends of ours from church.  Their daughter, Juliann, makes these special pancakes that are really good.  I asked for the recipe and as her mom started to let me in on the secret she got "sushed" from Juliann to not give it away.  Juliann finally gave in when I agreed to let everyone know it was her Special Pancake recipe.  I obliged.  They are special and very tasty.

The recipe starts with 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix.  The homemade pancake mix recipe that their family uses is:

Mix together 5 cups white flour, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. baking powder, and 2 tsp. salt.

To make traditional pancakes, you mix 1 1/2 cups of the pancake mix above, 2 eggs, and  1 1/4 cups of milk (this makes a pretty thin and flat pancake (which I love), but if you want a thicker pancake, reduce the milk).

Now... on to the Special part!

You add, in no certain amount, some vanilla extract and cinnamon.  I loved seeing her handwritten recipe on a paper towel that said there was no certain amount to the vanilla and cinnamon - so cute.  So for mine I added a splash of vanilla and a few shakes of cinnamon.
Here are some action shots of the pancakes sizzling:

The finished product.  So good! I added a few chocolate chips to a couple and those were good too.  Kyle also loved them which is a plus.  I will definitely be making these babies again.  Thanks Juliann!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CEiMB: Peach French Toast Bake

The Not So Skinny Kitchen chose this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe, Ellie Krieger's Peach French Toast Bake.  For being a lighter, healthier version of a french toast bake it wasn't bad.  It had great flavor with the cinnamon and nutmeg I added and I also really enjoyed the warm peaches nestled on top.

I did make a few substitutions... I used really stale bread (which usually is perfectly fine for recipes like this) and I left out the lemon juice and vanilla extract because I was out.  I decided to add nutmeg in place of the vanilla extract and it seemed to work just fine.

I will definitely make this again if I'm craving a french toast bake, but don't want all the calories that come with the normal Paula Deen butter and cream laden recipes.  Trust me.. those are rich and extremely decadent, but you'll pay for it on the scale.  If that doesn't bother you, check out a really good French Toast Bake recipe here.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

MSC: Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

The Martha Stewart's Cupcakes recipe this month was chosen by Karen at Karen's Cookies, Cakes, & More.  I'm not going to lie - I really didn't want to make this for some reason.  Maybe it was the thought of sweet potatos in a cupcake recipe, I'm not sure.  Regardless, I made it.  And it was wonderful.  It reminded me of the pumpkin patch cupcakes I made last month.  I couldn't really taste the sweet potato - they had the same fall-like taste with nutmeg and cinnamon. 

I decided to bring them to Oscar Night at my church and a lot of people like them.  I talked to a few people to see what they thought and they both wanted the recipe.  My mother-in-law also loved them. 

My only recommendation is to put the candied pecan pieces on the marshmallow pile before they get toasted.  I sprinkled the candied pieces on top after I transferred the toasted mallow piles and they didn't seem to stick that well. 

I definitely recommend you give this recipe a try.  Thanks Karen for such a great pick!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CEiMB: Linguini with Shrimp and Vegetables

I was excited to make this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe because I love shrimp, garlic, and asparagus.  I never thought I would add asparagus to a pasta dish, but it was surprisingly good and crunchy - the perfect bite.

It's also really simple and fairly quick to make.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet and sauté the asparagus and garlic.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Remove mixture and use the same skillet to make the sauce (lemon juice, reserved pasta water, and white wine).  Add the mixture back once the sauce is reduced and add parsley and halved cherry tomatoes.  Add cooked linguini noodles and toss until combined. 

Yum!  It also tasted great reheated this week at work.  Another plus, my husband also really liked it.  I was happy that he did too because this dish has a lot of good brightly colored vegetables.

Thanks Confessions of a Novice Baker for such a great CEiMB pick!  To view the complete recipe, click here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

I've made this recipe a couple of times and it never fails to please those who are lucky enough to get some.  I believe my mom first introduced me to it - Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup.

It's the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.  You prepare almost everything the night before and all you do in the morning is add the pecan topping and bake for 40 minutes.  It makes your house smell wonderful and it tastes delicious.  It has the perfect texture - crunchy and soufle like.

Recipe below.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
Paula Deen


1 loaf of French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup


Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each.  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13 inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat with a rotary beater until blended but not too bubbly.  Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all is covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CEiMB: Pumpkin Pie Muffins

I adore pumpkin pie.  Just ask anyone in my family, especially my mom.  We like to buy extra pumpkin pie from Costco around the holidays so we can eat it for breakfast have more leftovers. 

I really do like making muffins, especially Ellie Krieger's.  I know they are a healthy treat that I can eat with my cup of coffee in the morning or as a snack later in the day.  I usually make a big batch, individually wrap them in wax paper, and store in a big plastic bag in the freezer.  Just take one out the night before and place in the refrigerator and they will be ready and thawed in the morning.

Earlier this month I made Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes.  They got rave reviews from family and coworkers, so I was excited to see how Ellie's would match up since they have half the amount of brown sugar and no butter.

They tasted great - super moist thanks to the pumpkin puree.  My only recommedation is to not put them in cupcake liners.  I'm not really sure why I used them, but half of the muffin stuck to the bottom liner.  Muffin tops anyone? 

Thanks Amanda of Oddball Oven Mitt for such a great Craving Ellie in My Belly pick!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see my new Ellie Krieger cookbook in the mailbox. Her new cookbook is called So Easy - and she doesn't lie.

She breaks the book into 4 main sections - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Within each section she has two categories - one quick section (recipes you can make ahead of time or recipes that take less than 5 minutes to make) and one longer section (recipes that take 20 to 30 minutes to make).

I really like the recipes too. I've tried 5 or 6 so far and one of my favorites is the Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Can you believe this whole recipe rolls in around 460 calories? Full of flavor and it only took 20 minutes to make - my kind of meal.

Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pg. 131-133)
Ellie Krieger
Pork Piccata
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch thick medallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsle
Combine the flour and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a sealable plastic bag. Place the pork medallions in the bag and shake until well-coated.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillt (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the pork until it is browned on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the garlic to the same skillet, then immediately add the wine and cook over medium-high heat. As the wine reduces, stir to dissolve the small bits and juices remaining in the pan from the meat. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, capers, and remaining salt and pepper and cook until the mixture has reduced slightly, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Return the medallions to the skillet along with the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat until the sauce thickens and the meat is cooked to medium doneness, about 3 minutes.
Serve over the Express "Steamed" Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and top with the parsley.
Express "Steamed" Spinach
5 ounces pre-washed baby spinach leaves
Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly. Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 1/4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, left unpeeled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the potatoes and garlic in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until the potatoes are knife tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan on the stove or in a glass container in the microwave. Remove the steamer basket and drain the water from the large pot. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to the pot, add the oil, salt, and broth, and mash until smooth.
Definitely a dinner worth trying. The lemon in the piccata sauce is refreshing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Vacation..

So no posts for a week or so!! Hope everyone else is doing well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

This Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club recipe was chosen by Kim of What the Whisk. I had very good intentions of making these for an after church potluck last Sunday, but couldn't find time with all of the festivities on Saturday for the UW vs. Arizona game. I ended up making the cupcakes late Sunday night. I started at 9:30 and climbed in bed by 11:00 or so. On Tuesday I finally found time to make the frosting. I decided to color the cream cheese frosting green to resemble the patch in 'pumpkin patch' cupcakes. I didn't have any time at all to figure out how to make / buy marzipan to shape into pumpkins. Although I do someday want to use marzipan, I decided to buy the Branch's mixed candy bag with candy corn and pumpkins. I picked out all the pumpkins and ate the candy corns.

My husband and I ate these cupcakes hot out of the oven on Sunday night without the frosting and they tasted great - almost like dough because they were so moist.

On Monday I brought in a couple unfrosted cupcakes as a morning snack for myself and a coworker and she really liked hers.

On Wednesday (after I made the frosting and frosted the cupcakes Tuesday night) I brought in a whole plate full to work. I sent out an email at 9:30 and within 5 minutes I had the first person stopping by. By the time I left work around 6:30 I had 2 of the 17 I brought.

I would definitely make these and recommend them. I wouldn't recommend making the mini ones.. for some reason I couldn't taste the pumpkin or spices as much and they weren't as moist.

I did get to use my Halloween cupcake liners - so much fun.

Happy cupcake baking, photographing, blogging, and eating!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UW vs. Arizona... and the food that made the day.

This last weekend we were faced with a small dilemma. We didn't have a RV for tailgating. We usually always tailgate before the Husky football games in my father-n-law's RV. We couldn't resist the thought of missing out on all the pre-game good eats, so Kyle and I decided to invite everyone over to our house before the game.

We had French Style Grilled Potato Salad, Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, the Bacon Explosion, no bake cookies, and root beer floats. We also grubbed on some cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, and salmon spread with wheat thins. Oh, did I mention we also had steaks? Well, not all of us decided to have a steak after the mountain of glutenous eating, but some us did. Hint: Kyle and I actually decided to pass. I know, right? Big surprise. Seriously.

So, here are some pics of the French Style Grilled Potato Salad I made, courtesy of Bobby Flay.

This was a really good potato salad if you like mustard. I'm a big fan of mustard (especially on hot dogs with relish and onions) so this salad hit home. I liked the idea of grilling the salad and let me tell you, its what made the salad.

This is the perfect dish for a potluck or picnic. To view the complete recipe, click here.

... and then there was the grill.. and meat...

A whole plethora of chicken drumsticks.. slowly cooking away on the grill for the Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

I was really drawn to this recipe because the chicken is cooked at a lower temperature on the grill for around 25-30 minutes. The end result is a moist, flavorful piece of chicken with a crunchy skin. Yum.

What makes this dish fabulous is the tangerine-maple glaze. I had to be a little creative this week because Kyle couldn't find Orange-Tangerine juice. I used Orange-Pineapple instead and I think it tastes near the same.

Garnish with green onions and a grilled slice of tangerine and you're good to go!
If you want to view the recipe, check out the post here.
... and then there was the Bacon Explosion. Kyle's ultimate tailgating food that he insists he has to make every football game.

I'm going to have to admit, this weekend the Bacon Explosion tasted great! Kyle bought hot Italian sausage from the market and it really gave the kick I love.
To see more detailed post on how to make / smoke the bacon explosion, click here.
And how could I forget the chocolate?

Although I bought vanilla ice cream and root beer for root beer floats, I couldn't resist making some quick no bake cookies.
I grew up eating these as a kid and I L-O-V-E them! My mom always would whip up a batch on the fly.
No Bake aka Mountain Bar Cookies
12-15 cookies (depending on size)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup or one stick of butter
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (hehe Jen, thanks for the reminder!!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats, plus more for setting
Heat the sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa on high heat over the stove. Once the mixture begins a rapid boil, start the timer for ~ 1 minute, 8 seconds, or 1 minute, 15 seconds if you're my mom :)
After the mixture cooks for 1 minute and 8 seconds, turn off the heat and add the vanilla and peanut butter. Stir in quickly and immediately add the oats. Stir until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a strip of wax paper and let dry (or set). If when you are stirring the mixture looks a little too loose or glossy, add a handful of oats.
Note: if you make mondo cookies like I do... they need to set for a lot longer.
Oh, and as for the Husky football game... we won!!! Yipee!! Seriously, the most amazing, well, second most amazing game I've been to this year. Well, I've only been to two home games, but they were both great!

Check out my post on the USC game here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

I haven't felt too good the last few days, so I've been at home with a little extra time to watch the Food Network than normal. I usually cook solely out of Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave, and occasionally I cook out of Cooking Light, but I try my best to stay clear of Paula and other chefs who cook with a lot of fat.

This time I was watching Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay. I couldn't help but drool over this Tangerine-Maple Glazed Drumsticks & Thighs recipe. He also made a french potato salad that I'm going to try this weekend, but last night I was craving some good grilled food.

I actually never, never buy chicken with the bone in and skin on. Major no-no for healthy eating, however, I haven't been feeling well, and comforting, real flavorful food sounded good.

I was surprised to find I only needed to buy a few things at the store for this recipe. Let me warn you, this recipe is off the hook!! Kyle was raving when he got home about the smell of the house and the flavor of the chicken.

The trick to this recipe is to cook the chicken on the grill on a low temperature for a long period of time, like 25 to 30 minutes. The skin is brushed with canola oil and it gets nice and crunchy. About 5 minutes before they are done, you brush with the tangerine-maple glaze.. mmmm.

Ok, so here is the recipe, you have to try this!

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs
Bobby Flay


5 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 quart tangerine juice or orange-tangerine juice, not from concentrate
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tangerine or orange zested
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 chicken drumsticks (I only cooked drumsticks)
8 chicken thighs
2 green onions, sliced for garnish
Grilled oranges or tangerinces, for garnish


Heat the grill to medium high.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat, add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the juice and thyme, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to approximately 1/2 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the syrup, soy sauce, and black pepper and let cool to room temperature. Can be made 2 days in advance and brought to room temperature before using.

Brush chicken on both sides with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through. Begin brushing with the glaze during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Remove to a platter and sprinkle with the green onion. Garnish with the grilled citrus.

To find the complete online recipe, click here.

Try this!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Chop Suey

My grandma could always get us to her for dinner by promising to make this dish. My version incorporates more fresh vegetables than she used and gets its crunchy topping from the baked wonton skins instead of canned fried noodles. The result is a sumptuous stir-fry of chicken, meaty mushrooms, and tender cabbage melded together in a thickened, mildly flavored sauce that would make Grandma proud. This recipe is a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey.

Chicken Chop Suey was the Ellie Krieger recipe chosen this week by The Healthy Hostess in the Craving Ellie in My Belly group.

Don't you love my picture of the dish?! Ha. I'm not kidding when I say I really need to figure out how to take photos during the winter. By the time this was ready for dinner on Monday night it was dark outside. I then packed it for lunch on Tuesday and I was so not going to take a camera phone photo of the dish in my Glad tupperware dish!

So, please be satisfied with this shot of my cookbook. I think the best option for me is to start making the food after church on Sundays for an early dinner.

I really did enjoy this dish. I made quite a few substiutions and I have some recommendations. Here are the substitutions I made:
  • Beef stock for chicken stock (this was an accident! I totally grabbed the wrong can)
  • White button mushrooms for the shitake (still tasted great)
  • Water instead of the dry sherry (for the thickener)
  • Peanuts instead of wonton chips (I was too lazy to find the wonton papers and knew I wouldn't have the time to bake)
Some recommendations:
  • Don't use beef stock-ha!
  • Add salt.. I know everything is low-sodium, but Ellie wasn't lying when she said it was a mildly flavored sauce. I recommend adding some salt.
  • Add more scallions and garlic to enhance the flavor
  • Add something to kick up the heat-if I were making this at home again, I would add red pepper flakes. When I was at work on Tuesday I added some red chili sauce and that added the perfect spicy touch - mmmm.
I hope everyone else enjoyed this recipe and I'm excited to see what you all thought and how you changed it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

This soup has exotic African origins but the ingredients are all comfortably familiar; chances are you already have everything on hand you need to make it. Its sweetness, from sweet potato and carrot, is heightened with honey and balanced with the clarity of ginger and hot pepper. Peanut butter brings it all together and makes it extra rich and satisfying. And don't forget the fresh scallions. Much more than a pretty garnish, they add an essential zingy freshness and crunch.

This last week I made Ellie Krieger's Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup (recipe is on page 77). It's officially fall and I wanted to make some sort of soup I could bring for lunch. I've made Ellie's Curried Butternut Squash Soup in the past and was quite pleased with the thickness of pureed vegetables in my soup. It makes it hearty and I love that.

This soup is super good for you. One serving, about a cup and half, rolls in around 295 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, 56 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein. It has an excellent source (at least 20% of your Daily Recommended Value) of calcium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, thiamin, vitamin a, vitamin b6, vitamin c, and vitamin e.

Don't be scared off by the peanut butter, honey, and vegetables. They surprisingly work well together.

I really need to figure out how to take photos in the winter or else this is going to be a long winter...

Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup (pg. 77)


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
One 14.5-ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)


Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Sitr in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in two batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Server warm, garnished with the scallions.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It always amazes me what people search for on the internet. I myself have probably searched some pretty ridiculous things..

... so I thought it would be fun to do a post on the key words that other people searched that led them to my blog.

I've only see three things so far:

1. Caper & Fish (which led them to this post)
2. Butterscotch Biscotti Recipe (which led them here)

and my favorite... drum roll please....




3. Can you put shrimp cocktail tails in a garbage disposal? (which led them here)

HAHA.. made me laugh, and I had to share.

MSC: Banana-Pecan Cupcakes

The September Bonus Round recipe was the Banana-Pecan cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting on pg. 41 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook.

I instantly knew I was going to make the bonus recipe this month because I love, love, love anything reminiscent of banana bread. The banana-pecan cupcakes are just that.. little pieces of banana-bread with a glorious tasting caramel buttercream frosting.

I actually made these early on a Friday morning, before work, at 4:30am. Call me crazy.. I know I am. I got up super early to make these because I wanted to bring them to my Aunt for her birthday and we were going to see her that very night.

This recipe took quite a while. Not sure how everyone else in the MSC club did, but it took me 2 - 2.5 hours to bake, cool, and frost.

After taking some photos in the morning sunrise, I hopped in the shower, got ready, and headed to work. I decided to bring a few to share the love, and share the love did I. Everyone enjoyed them, or at least said they did.

I will definitely make these again. The caramel buttercream was killer. The perfect touch.

Happy cupcake making!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bacon Explosion

Sometime ago my husband discovered the Bacon Explosion recipe. I believe he heard it from a co-worker, but I can't remember. Regardless, this recipe is true to its name - bacon explosion. The recipe can be found here on BBQ Addicts website.

It's the ULTIMATE tailgating recipe, so my fellow CEiMBer's beware.. this thing is not in Ellie's healthy cookbook.

I believe it clocks in around 5000 calories and 500 grams of fat, but I can't remember, nor choose to.

1. Start with thick cut bacon and weave:

2. Spread 2 lbs. of Italian sausage on top of the weave:
3. Cook up some more bacon:

4. While cooking the additional bacon (did I mention you need about 1.5 packages of bacon?), add a generous amount of pork rub:

5. Smile at your wife while you're cooking the extra bacon ;)

6. Chop up the cooked bacon:

7. Add the cooked bacon to the top of the seasoned sausage:

8. Add some of your favorite BBQ sauce, like Sweet Baby Rays:

9. Roll up the sausage into a log and wrap with the bacon weave:

10. Add more seasoning to the bacon explosion:

11. Cook in a smoker for 4 hours until 165 degrees:

12. Slice and serve (usually on a dinner roll):
Mmmmm, if that doesn't give you a heart attack, I don't know what will...!
If you love to smoke food, or love tailgating, or simply just love a lot of meat.. you need to make this.