Monday, June 30, 2008

Father's Day French Toast

Sorry for the lack of posts...I have had computer issues with pictures. I was suppose to do the daring bakers challenge this month, but unfortunately ended up sick and couldn't do it. Hopefully, they let me try again next month because I really want to do it!

These pics are from Father's Day, so I have had them awhile. I have really wanted to post this recipe, because it was easy, fun, and oh so delicious!

I got this French Toast recipe from the Walt Disney World recipes...I guess it is served in The Magic Kingdom. It is insanely bad for you, and insanely good. You all know me though, I can't feed my family straight up I did make a few changes to try and make it healthier!

I couldn't bring myself to use that wonderful huge Texas bread...instead I used my very healthy and nutritious Alpine Valley bread. I also used less flour, but pretty much everything else was the same.

Puffed French Toast
from Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom

2 whole eggs
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally
cinnamon sugar mix (4 tsp. cinnamon + 3/4 cup granulated sugar)

Mix eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk until blended.

Slowly add flour and baking powder, mix until smooth.

Dip bread in batter.

Fry in hot skillet with 1" oil until browned ( I did not use 1" of oil...just a little bit of butter!)

Drain on paper towels, and roll in sugar mix.

Enjoy! These were delicious with the healthy variations...I cannot imagine how good they are just as the recipe says!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thai Pineapple Chicken Curry

Once again, I received an email that caught my eye. I absolutely LOVE curry dishes, so when I saw this one, I just had to try it. It is made with red curry paste, which can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. The receipe is simple, colorful, and absolutely delicious!

2 cups uncooked jasmine rice (follow directions on back of package to cook--I used our rice maker)
1/4 cup red curry paste (about half of a small jar)
2 cans coconut milk (I used lite, and only 1.5 cans)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
3 TBLS fish sauce (I omitted this)
2 TBLS white sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced bamboo shoots, drained (I omitted this as well)
1 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 red green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, cut into thin strips
1 can pineapple chunks, drained

In a bowl, whisk together curry paste and 1 can coconut milk. Transfer to a wok (or large pan) and mix in remaining coconut milk, chicken, and sugar (also fish sauce and bamboo shoots if you use them). Bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.

Mix in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion into the wok. Continue cooking 10 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and peppers are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in pineapple. Serve over cooked rice.

This was such a beautiful meal while it was cooking!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

mmmm...the classic

I was browsing my favorite foodie blog, pickypalate, and she made these delicious looking chocolate chip cookies. She gives references on her site about where she found the go check it out by clicking on picky palate on the sidebar.

I am always on the hunt for the BEST chocolate chip cookie has to be soft and gooey on the inside, and slightly crisp on the outside. In my opinion, Paradise Bakery has the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER! The pics of the recipe on picky palate, made me think these could be a close second. I made a few tweeks to the original recipe and they came out absolutely delicious!

Levain Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycats
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 1 cup brown sugar)
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups BREAD flour (13 1/2 oz)(I used 3 cups enriched flour)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 to 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped, untoasted walnuts (I didn't have walnuts, so we went without)Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
I also added 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and both sugars just until they come together. Don’t overbeat. Add the egg and beat just until incorporated. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. The dough should be neither sticky nor dry.
Divide dough into about 12 mounds, but keep the mounds kind of raggedy. That is, don’t smash them into compact balls. Bake on ungreased insulated cookie sheet or an upside down rimmed cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350 (I baked mine for 11-13 minutes). Cool on sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
This should make a dozen 4 oz. cookies or eight 6 oz. cookies

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lemon Butter Chicken

I received an email the other day from again...and once again, the recipe caught my eye. It was a lemon butter chicken pasta...yummmmmy! Right up my ally! However, one of the first things I noticed about this recipe is that it had over 900 calories and 60 grams of fat! YIKES! The original recipe can be found at, and looks absolutely delicious. But, I do have to say, that the one below came out absolutely wonderful, with probably HALF the fat and calories.

The original recipe called for a CUP of butter...YES A WHOLE CUP! WOW! Then, you bread and fry the chicken, and cook everything else in the bacon grease! YIKES...

I cut the butter in half (actually a little more than half), used a combination of heavy cream and half n' half, and grilled my chicken. I also used olive oil instead of bacon grease to mix everything together in the end.

Finally, I used whole wheat pasta instead of the regular farfalle it called for.

I am sure my version was still pretty calorie ridden and fattening, but I must say it was absolutely delicious, and we never missed the added fat!

• Lemon Butter Sauce:
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 5 tablespoons heavy cream (or half n’half for healthier version)
• 1/2 cup butter, chilled
• salt and pepper to taste

• Chicken and Pasta:
• 1/2 pound dry farfalle (bow tie) pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 ounces bacon
• 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
• 6 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and halved
• 2 teaspoons capers, drained
• chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. To make the sauce, pour the wine and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook at a low boil until the liquid is reduced by 1/3. Stir in cream, and simmer until it thickens. Gradually add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time to the sauce, stirring until completely incorporated. (I only used 6 TBS of butter instead of the full ½ cup) Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and keep warm.
2. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
3. To make the chicken, butterfly it, and add a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I grilled it for 16 minutes (8 on each side).
4. While the sauce is cooking, pasta is boiling, and chicken is grilling, cook the bacon by itself. When finished, place it in a paper towel to soak up the grease.
5. Stir the bacon, mushrooms, artichokes, and capers into the oil; cook until the mushrooms are soft. (I used a clean pan and just used some olive oil…you can cook it in the bacon grease if you like)
6. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size strips, and return them to the skillet. Stir half of the lemon butter sauce into the chicken mixture.
7. To serve, place pasta in a large bowl. Stir the chicken mixture into the pasta. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Stir in additional lemon butter sauce as desired. Toss well, and garnish with parsley.


Friday, May 16, 2008

BBQ beef sandwhiches

When I first got married, I had a lot of people recommend that I get a crock pot. It was by far the easiest and fastest way to make sure we had dinner on the table at night. I bought my crock pot, and a crock pot recipe book, and went to town. I found that most recipes over-cooked the meat, and were extremely mushy in the end. But, I did find that crock pot definitely has its place in my family. Though rarely used, I try to make it worth while when I do choose to use it. I make two things really well in the crock pot...BBQ beef sandwiches and a wonderful roast that I will post at another time. This recipe I actually got from my sister, and it is delicious.

Now, when it comes to the world of red meat...I am still learning. I don't know the different cuts very well, so I do my best price wise and fat wise.

2 onions quartered
1 4-6 lb boneless pork or beef butt or shoulder roast (I used a shoulder roast)
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS paprika (I omitted this because I didn't have any)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 TBS cider vinegar

Line the bottom of slow cooker with quartered onions. Combine all spices above and rub all over the roast. Cover with 1/4 cup water, and 2 TBS cider vinegar. Cook on high for 6 hours. Remove beef and shred onions and beef. Return beef to slow cooker. Cover with BBQ sauce recipe that follows, and cook on low for 2 more hours, or until ready to serve.

BBQ sauce:

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar)
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. mustard
2 tsp. chili powder
Garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients above and pour over the shredded beef in slow cooker.

I served it with store bought BBQ sauce, as it was thicker than the sauce in the crock pot and I didn't want a watery bun. Next time, I will try adding some plain quick-cooking tapioca as a thickening agent.

This was delicious, and even the four year old, who first looked at it and said, "ohhhhh, yucky" ended up liking it!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Recipe!

Each morning in my email, I am sent the "daily dish" from Yesterday was Artichoke chicken. It looked easy, delicious, and had received great reviews. It was actually my shopping day, so it all worked out to try this new recipe. The original recipe calls for mayonnaise, which I absolutely despise. I tend to shy away from anything with mayonnaise in it for this reason...but I had an idea to substitute Ricotta and sour cream. It worked wonderfully...the original recipe called for 3/4 cup mayonnaise, so if you like mayonnaise, then you can always make the original recipe. I also added some Dijon mustard, which was not in the original.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I butterfly mine so they cook faster)
1 jar/can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
garlic powder

Heat oven to 375 (I cooked it at 400), and spray a 9x13 casserole dish. Place the chicken evenly in the casserole dish. Next, in a bowl, mix together the chopped and well drained artichoke hearts, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, ricotta, sour cream, and Dijon mustard. Once it is stirred, add in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. (I tasted mine before I put it on the chicken, and played with the garlic powder some). Spread the mixture evenly over the chicken breasts.

Bake at 400 uncovered for 25 minutes; or until top is golden brown and chicken breasts are cooked all the way through.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mac n' Cheese with a twist!

One of my most favorite meals is homemade mac n' cheese. YUMMMM!!! My mom use to make it and she would always put in tomatoes...which we all LOVED!

I have been trying to "perfect" a recipe for awhile, as the sauce is harder to make than you think. Maybe it is because I have two children pulling on me, and so the idea that I have to stand and whisk the sauce the whole time is overwhelming.

This mac n' cheese is more of an Italian version...and a compilation of many recipes I have tried. The sundried tomatoes give it a kick, just like the diced tomatoes my mom use to put in hers.

1 bag whole wheat pasta (whichever kind you choose)
2 cups Parmisean cheese (divided)
2 cups milk (using heavy cream or half n' half would work better, but for the diet's sake, use milk)
4 TBLS butter
2 garlic cloves chopped
garlic powder
1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes (drained)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Start a large pot of water for pasta, when boiling, dump in pasta and cook just before al dente. While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 350. Then, in a sauce pan, add the 2 cups of milk, and 4 TBLS butter. Heat together until the butter is melted all the way. Bring the milk to a small boil, without burning the bottom. Turn down the burner and add 1.5 cups of cheese. Keep stirring while melting the cheese. Keep it on low, so that the cheese stays melted, but don't let your sauce burn. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Add in the chopped garlic cloves. Keep stirring. Drain your pasta and place in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour the melted cheese sauce over the pasta and stir together. Stir in the sundried tomatoes. Add the remaining cheese and bread crumbs to the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown.