Monday, May 17, 2010

Leek and Potato Soup

Before you go running in the opposite direction, please just hear me out. I wanted to try some vegetables that I'd never eaten before and so I came across this recipe and thought it looked innocent enough (after all, leeks are just a mild form of onion). So, I tried it and thought it was delicious- very classic flavors. And to top it all off, Kate asked a few days ago when I was going to make the "green soup" again because she liked it so much. Very healthy and very good.
picture courtesy
Potato and Leek Soup

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
1 pound leeks
2 cloves of garlic
1 ¾ quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound potatoes
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water, and cut them into ¼-inch slices. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼-inch dice. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables . Add your potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad

This was so delicious. The family was a little skeptical when I first put it on the table, but after one bite, we could not get enough. Oh, and don't even get me started about how delicious it was the next day....mmm. You could serve this as a side (although it was our main dish) or as a great dish at a shower or party. OR...its amazing stuffed in a burrito or quesadilla. Love it.
Picture courtesy My Kitchen Cafe
Southwest Rice and Bean Salad
From My Kitchen Cafe

5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
1 (16-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 (12-oz.) can corn, drained
4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
4 pickled jalepeno pepper rounds (found in the Mexican section)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in blender until peppers are finely minced. Toss with salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry

I don't know if any of you watched Food Revolution, but I did and I loved it. His signature dish on the show is a stir-fry, both with chicken and beef. I've tried both, and this one is going up first. It was absolutely delicious and light and healthy and EASY. You can use whatever veggies you like, just make sure that you take into account the varying cooking times of each. You'll love this too- and bonus, its seriously ten times better the next day and the flavors really pop.
picture courtesy
Jamie Oliver's Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Adapted from

1 box spaghetti noodles (I used Barilla plus)
1-2 Tbs. vegetable oil
.5-1 lb. steak, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 package beansprouts
soy sauce to taste
sesame oil to taste
juice of ½ a lime
1 large red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
1 head of broccoli
a handful of baby corn, quartered lengthways
6 green onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until just tender. I added my broccoli in for the last 3 minutes of cooking and then drain, place in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a large wok or a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add a splash of vegetable oil then stir fry the beef slices with the sliced garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until just cooked. Add the beansprouts, a good splash of soy sauce and sesame oil and the lime juice for the last 30 seconds of cooking.

Tip the contents of the wok into a large bowl, including all the juices. Put the wok back on the heat, add a splash more vegetable oil and all the vegetables. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the cooked noodles and toss well over the heat. Toss everything together in a large bowl and serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes

These pancakes are money- there's no other way to put it. They are fluffy, have a perfect texture, and the oatmeal gives it an unreal flavor. And, they're healthy? Yes. You could even switch out the vegetable oil for some applesauce if your diet won't permit that sort of thing. Or, you could do like we did this morning and put a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top- even more money- just ask Taylor...she ate about a full cup of it with her one pancake. Next time you're wondering what to make for breakfast, look no further than these.
Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes
Adapted from

1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or 2 Tbs. applesauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed
Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes- this is a crucial step, so don't skip it!

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Corn Chowder

For the sake of doing something without meat...except bacon!  You would never know it's meatless because it's so dang hearty!

Corn Chowder   
Loves to cook, Loves to eat Blog
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced celery (2-3 stalks)
1-1/2 cups carrotts, sliced
2-1/2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 can corn, drained (or 2 cups frozen corn)
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
1 15 oz can evaporated milk
4-5 chicken bullion cubes
2-3 quarts water
1 lb cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup potato pearls or flakes, for thickening
In your favorite soup pot, saute the onion and celery in the butter until they are softened. Add 2-3 quarts water, carrots, potatoes and chicken bullion cubes. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until veggies are soft. While that is simmering, cook the bacon in a frying pan. I like to slice it in small pieces while it is still a little frozen and then fry it–that way it is all ready crumbled and cooks pretty evenly. Set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain. Now, back to the soup pot. Add corn, cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk. If you want to you can add potato pearls or flakes at this point to make it thicker. Let chowder simmer 5-10 more minutes. Serve with warm rolls or bread. If you know you will be eating all of the soup at one meal, you can add all the bacon to the soup. I don’t like soggy bacon, so at my house, we add our own bacon to our individual bowls. *This chowder will definitely warm you up on a cold evening. It also makes an easy dinner to take to someone who is sick or struggling.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How to Bake Chicken

Just a little tutorial I got from  This is the only way I cook chicken now.  It's moist and the clean up is so simple!

How to Bake Chicken
Oven Roasting
Okay, for this one, you can use bone-in or boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Boneless skinless is quick and easy, but bone-in will give you chicken with more flavor and it tends to be juicier.  But they both work great.  If you're after a particular flavor, marinating is a great way to go. However, if you're after a more neutral flavor for something like chicken salad or a casserole, rub the chicken with a little extra-virgin olive olive oil

and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If you want to meet somewhere in the middle, you could go the salt-based seasoning route from the Fauxtisserie Chicken method again--just sprinkle it on there.
Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. If you're using bone-in chicken breasts, place chicken, breast side up, on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until the juices run clear and, if you've somehow magically found a meat thermometer that works (see diatribe here), the internal temperature is 160 degrees.

If you're using boneless skinless chicken breasts, roast for 7 minutes, turn the chicken, and cook an additional 7 minutes. (I keep mine on convection at 400)
Whether you use boneless or bone-in chicken, remove from oven and allow to stand about 5 minutes before serving. This keeps the meat juicy and flavorful (and hey, not burning yourself is a positive side benefit).  You can just toss the skin from the bone-in chicken.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken Caesar Wrap

I made these with the Flat Out Wraps and they were so good, healthy, and easy.  I baked the chicken with the caesar dressing as marinade.  Yummy!!

Chicken Caesar Wrap

Serves 4
3 Chicken breasts
1 head Romaine lettuce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese-grated
Caesar Salad dressing
4 tortillas

Marinate chicken in about 1/4-1/2 cup of caesar dressing for 2 or more hours. Usually when I pull my chicken breasts out of the freezer to defrost, I just put them in the marinade for the day. Grill outside, or on George Forman. Slice into bite size pieces. Chop up your lettuce, add cheese and dressing and mix. Put about 1 cup of salad mixture down the center of your tortilla. Then add chicken. Roll your tortilla and enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Waffles

We've kicked the Bisquick to the curb and started making pancakes and waffles from scratch lately. I can never go back to the box after eating these...they are moist, fluffy, perfectly flavored, and super-easy to make. What more could you want? Enjoy!
Homemade Waffles

2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs. white sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until foamy and fluffy (on medium speed for at least one minute). Lightly beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until combined- do not overmix or your waffles will be dense.
Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot. Makes 16 waffles.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Picture courtesy of

In honor of Cinco de Mayo today - here is a simple homemade salsa recipe.

adapted from Carol Ramirez

1 bundle of green onions
1 tsp crushed red pepper (dry)
2 tsp garlic salt with parsley
1 large can Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes

Cut green onions. Using the white ends only,chop in small pieces. Break off small handful of cilantro and wash. If you want it really spicy use more cilantro. (I use enough to fit in the palm of my hand).
Chop onions and cilantro in the blender. Add crushed red peppers, garlic salt & tomatoes to blender. Blend well.

Refrigerate. It is better after it has been cooled. Enjoy.


I'm not a huge fan of maple but I couldn't stop eating these cookies.  Maybe because I made them with real maple syrup which is so much better than the store-bought kind.

I couldn't get the recipe on here so visit the link where I found the recipe at Cookies and Cups!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Always fun to do something a little different.  These potatoes were deliciously creamy and different.  Plus it never hurts to gave a little greenery!

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes 
Publix grocery store recipe

8 oz cream cheese
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
2 (20-oz) packages refrigerated homestyle sliced potatoes  ( I just sliced my own potatoes and cooked them a bit longer)
8 slices bacon
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut cream cheese into chunks; place in large bowl to soften.
  • Coat 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  1. Cook bacon following package instructions. Crumble bacon into bite-size pieces.
  2. Stir broth and sour cream into cream cheese; gently stir in potatoes, bacon, peas, and 1 3/4 cups cheese. Transfer to baking dish and cover; bake 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Remove cover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Serve.

Total Time: 70 minutes, Active Time: 15 minutes (Makes 12 Servings.)

Monday, May 3, 2010


These chicken sandwiches were so good- totally packed with amazing flavor. While the original recipe calls for cutting the chicken into cubes and then grilling it, if I make it again, I will leave them as breasts and serve them on whole wheat hamburger buns with some sort of green (like arugula or spinach). Seriously though, this is one flavorful dish. It would also be great served just as a chicken breast with rice on the side. So good.
picture courtesy The Little Kitchen
The Little Kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed)
6 (6-inch) sub rolls

Mix the oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper and pepper flakes in a large bowl. Take 2 Tbsp of the oil mixture and place into another bowl and set aside. Prick the chicken breasts with a fork all over on each side. Cut into 1 1/4 inch chunks. Add to large (first) bowl of marinade. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes and no longer than 3 hours.

Whisk together mayo, vinegar and lemon juice with the 2 Tbsp of oil mixture set aside earlier. Remove the chicken and thread onto metal skewers. Heat your gril for 10 minutes on high. Oil your cooking grate. Place the skewers on the grill, turning frequently. Cook for 10-15 mintues. Remove from grill and allow chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes. Grill the rolls on grill for a few seconds each. Remove quickly or they will burn. Remove the chicken from the skewers and place directly on the rolls. Drizzle with mayo sauce mixture

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Charlotte

Okay, this looks funky but it was so easy, so different, and so good!

Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Charlotte

from Publix grocery store 

1 (12-oz) Bakery butter loaf cake
8 small dark chocolate peppermint patties  (I used York patties)
8 square fudge mint cookies  (I used Grasshopper cookies)
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 (12-oz) box no-bake cheesecake mix (filling portion only)
Whipped topping (optional)

  • Cut cake into very thin (1/4-inch-thick) slices.
  • Chop peppermint patties finely.
  • Chop cookies finely.

  1. Place milk and filling mix in medium bowl; beat with mixer on low 1 minute. Add chopped patties; mix on high 3–4 minutes or until thick.
  2. Line 3-quart dessert bowl with cake slices, covering bottom and sides (reserving some slices for top). Spoon one-half of the filling over the cake slices, then add one-half of the cookie crumbs; repeat. Finish with a layer of cake slices. Chill 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. Dessert may be inverted onto serving plate before slicing. Serve with whipped topping.

Total Time: 45 minutes, Active Time: 15 minutes (Makes 8 Servings.)