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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Tadd & I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary on Monday. I surprised him with a trip to the Beau Rivage to see Hall & Oates (the greatest band ever - according to Tadd). I asked for, and received, a Gel Pro mat for the kitchen. I've been wanting one for years but didn't want to spend the money. Well, Bed Bath & Beyond just started selling them so I gave Tadd a 20% off coupon and told him to get it for me!




I love it! It is so comfortable to stand on. The cats are scared of it right now; I am sure they will come around and be laying on it soon. It will really make a difference when I am baking. We are going back this weekend to get another one for in front of the sink (for Tadd).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas

This recipe is from the Giada cookbook that I got for Christmas. I had never had a frittata with pasta in it and I thought it sounded interesting. This was easy to make. It smelled wonderful while it was cooking in the oven. The frittatas were really good. I would definitely make these again. These would be great at a brunch.




Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas
(Printable Recipe)


1/2 pound linguine pasta
7 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
6 ounces diced prosciutto
5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (1 cup diced)
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Special equipment: 1 regular-sized muffin tin for 12 muffins

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. While the pasta is still in the colander, use kitchen sheers to cut the linguine into smaller pieces. The pasta should measure about 3 cups.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the muffin tin.

In a blender combine the eggs, milk, cream, and mascarpone cheese. Blend until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the cut pasta, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, Asiago cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until the ingredients are combined.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, fill each of the muffin tins until both the pasta and liquid are at the top. Bake until firm and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from the tin. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/linguine-and-prosciutto-frittatas-recipe/index.html

Sunday, March 29, 2009

English Muffin French Toast


This is one of our favorite breakfast recipes.  I love English Muffins and this is no exception.  I mixed the egg and milk mixture up the night before and let the English Muffins soak in it overnight in the refrigerator.  Chicken Legs is the designated breakfast maker, and he does a great job grilling up the French Toast!  It is SO good and no one would ever know it was made with Egg Beaters!





English Muffin French Toast

1 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 tsp vanilla
6 english muffins - split

Mix egg beater, milk and vanilla. Pour over english muffins. Let soak for at least 8 hours. Heat greased nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, cook muffins, cut-side down, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn, brown other side, about 3 minutes more..



Friday, March 27, 2009

Parmesan-Basil Biscuits

To go along with our FABULOUS Chicken Saltimbocca I whipped up these flavorful Parmesan-Basil Biscuits. I made the biscuit dough in my food processor and they took no time! These were really good. I might add Italian Seasoning next time instead of just basil. The description of the biscuits says this is a Weight Watchers recipe - nobody would guess it though!




Parmesan-Basil Biscuits

(Printable Recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
cooking spray
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese and basil. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist. Spoon dough evenly into 8 mounds on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray(I used my Large Scoop from Pampered Chef to make the biscuits). Lightly coat tops of biscuits with cooking spray (I used a butter flavored spray) and sprinkle with finely shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

http://www.recipezaar.com/Parmesan-Basil-Biscuits-345899

Chicken Saltimbocca

If you liked the Chicken Piccata then you will love this Chicken Saltimbocca recipe!!! This is prepared very similarly to the picatta. You brown the chicken and then add sage, prosciutto and mozzarella on top. You top it with a simple white wine sauce. This was quick and easy to make. I will definitely be making this again. You must try it!!


Chicken Saltimbocca
(Printable Recipe)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz., lightly pounded to an even thickness
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp. dried sage
2 large slices prosciutto, not paper-thin, trimmed to fit chicken breasts
1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced and trimmed to fit chicken breasts
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate and dredge each breast, coating evenly and shaking off the excess. Set aside.

In a large fry pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil until very hot. Add the chicken breasts and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over and continue to cook until they feel firm when pressed in the centers, 4 to 6 minutes more.

Reduce the heat to very low. Sprinkle the breasts evenly with the chopped or dried sage. Top each breast with a piece of prosciutto, then divide the cheese slices evenly among the breasts. Cover the pan tightly and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil, being careful not to allow the foil to touch the cheese.

Increase the heat to high. When the pan is sizzling, add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck on the pan bottom. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter.

Spoon an equal amount of the sauce over each breast, then garnish with a sage leaf. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/recipedetail.cfm?objectid=3FBBB3F3%2D9961%2D4604%2DBDF46D5A47CE6241

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicken Soft Tacos


This is a quick and easy weeknight meal. I thought it was really good. It only took about 5 minutes to dump everything into the crockpot before work and it was done when I got home. I served the tacos with black beans and some chicken fajita flavor Rice-A-Roni.


Chicken Tacos


2-3 chicken breast
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup water

Put everything in the crockpot and cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Mix some of the sauce left in the crockpot with the shredded chicken for more flavor. Put shredded chicken into soft taco shells - top with favorite toppings.


Black Beans

1 can black beans
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder

Mix everything in a small saucepan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cheesecake

This is my "go-to" cheesecake.  Everyone raves about it.  I took it to work on time and people ran down the hallway to try and snag a piece!  My Mom got this recipe years ago from a parent that gave her the cheesecake as a gift. I have been making it ever since. The best thing about this cheesecake recipe is that you beat the egg whites and then fold them into the cheesecake batter. The result is a light and creamy cheesecake. You can't go wrong with this cheesecake!




Cheesecake
(Printable Recipe)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 T sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine and press against sides and bottom of springform pan. (I use a measuring cup to do this - works great!)

Filling:
3 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks (save whites)
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla

Mix well with an electric mixer and set aside.

In another bowl, beat 4 egg whites until stiff and creamy. Fold egg whites into cheesecake mixture. Pour into crust in springform pan.

Bake at 325 for 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour with the door closed.

Freeze several hours before serving. Remove from freezer and remove from pan before allowing the cheesecake to thaw.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hershey's Best Brownies



I love brownies. I bought some amazing ice cream Friday - Blue Bell Snickerdoole - and I wanted to eat it with a brownie. I decided on Hershey's Best Brownies - I figured that I couldn't go wrong with a name like that and I was right! The brownies are perfectly chewy and chocolately! I used my Williams-Sonoma chocolate bar pan and the brownies turned out super cute!


HERSHEY'S Best Brownies
(Printable Recipe)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts(optional)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost if desired. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.

http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipes/detail.asp?id=98&page=1&per=25&keyword=best%20brownies#content_area

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken



This is supposed to be a copycat of the Cracker Barrel's grilled chicken tenderloins. I love the chicken tenders at Cracker Barrel. I have made this recipe in the past, but it has been YEARS ago. I decided to make these tonight and I am glad I did. The chicken was juicy and very flavorful - I could really taste the honey and lime. I'm not really sure if they taste like the Cracker Barrel, but it is really good! I wish I had extra!



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pampered Chef - Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco & Three Cheese Garden Pizza

I went to a Pampered Chef party last night and we made some really great recipes - Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco and Three-Cheese Garden Pizza. The pasta was wonderful and not a heavy pasta dish. The pizza was fantastic too! I took the cookies I made last night and the famous "crack" dip! YUMMY.


Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco
(Printable Recipe)

4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
1/2 tsp each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts
Additional grated fresh Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

1. Spray Deep Covered Baker with olive oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Slice garlic into baker using Garlic Slicer. Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes using Mix ‘N Chop. Add pasta, broth, wine, salt and black pepper.
2. Return baker to microwave; cover and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil with Chef's Knife. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. Grate cheese using Rotary Grater.

3. Carefully remove baker from microwave and remove lid, lifting away from you. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken to baker; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

http://www.pamperedchef.com/our_products/recipesearch/recipedetail.jsp?recipeId=85206




Three-Cheese Garden Pizza
(Printable Recipe)

1 package (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Pantry Italian Seasoning Mix

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using lightly floured Baker's Roller™, roll pizza crust into a 14-inch circle on Large Round Stone. Bake crust 7 minutes. Remove from oven; place on Stackable Cooling Rack.

2. Using Ultimate Slice & Grate fitted with v-shaped blade, slice onion, zucchini and tomatoes. Slice mushrooms using Egg Slicer Plus®.

3. Using Garlic Press, press garlic over crust; spread evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheeses evenly over crust; top evenly with onion, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. Grate Parmesan cheese over vegetables using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Sprinkle with seasoning mix. Bake 15-18 minutes or until crust is golden brown; remove from oven. Cut into wedges using Pizza Cutter.

Yield: 8 servings

http://www.pamperedchef.com/our_products/recipesearch/recipedetail.jsp?recipeId=9680

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies & Buttercream Frosting

Tadd said these cookies were AWESOME! They killed his first day of no junk food. Oh well, there is always tomorrow! I thought they were really, really good as well. I would make these again. My dough was too soft to roll out and cut shapes. I just rolled the dough into balls and flattened them with the bottom of a glass. I made the frosting green in honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening(I use Crisco)
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Stir 4 1/2 cups flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Add additional 1/2 cup flour if needed. Works best if you refrigerate the dough for one hour. Roll, cut and bake cookies at 400 degrees until just barely light golden brown on the bottom, ~10 minutes. After cookies have cooled, frost and decorate.

Butter Cream Frosting

2 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 cube), melted
2 t. vanilla
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 t. salt
food coloring, if desired

Beat all ingredients together until smooth. This frosting is great on sugar cookies and also great on cinnamon rolls.

http://thesistersdish.blogspot.com/2009/02/soft-sugar-cookies-with-butter-cream.html

Jack couldn't stay awake long enough to try the cookies.....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lemon Cake

I've had this cake on my list for a while and I finally decided to make it tonight. I got some giant lemons at Fresh Market yesterday and used my microplane (finally!) to zest them. My lemons were huge - it only took 5 lemons to get 1/3 cup of zest. This cake was very moist and lemony. We really enjoyed it. I am taking the extra cake to work tomorrow.


Lemon Cake

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used large)
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift)
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan ; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-cake-recipe/index.html

Saturday, March 14, 2009

War Eagle!

I got a new wine glass today and it is AUsome!!


I used it tonight in honor of the great run the Tigers had in the SEC basketball tournament.  Auburn played great!  It has been a LONG time since we were any good in basketball.  I hope they make the NCAA.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Brownies & New Packaging

Michele's birthday is this coming Sunday and I made her favorite Cookie Dough Brownies for her! I also bought some new cookie boxes to package my goodies in.  I got them from Nashville Wraps.  


I got these blue and brown stripes and I also got pink and brown striped boxes.  The ribbon is connected to the box.  The X-Large box held almost an entire 9x13 pan of brownies.  Pretty good!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me!  I had a great birthday weekend.  I started celebrating on Friday afternoon by shopping at Ann Taylor and buying a new pair of shoes!   I shopped all day Saturday - Ann Taylor again and Pottery Barn.  We ate at Gianmarco's on Saturday night (best Italian in town!) and tonight is Superior Grill!! 

My cake was a mixture of Baby Bites from Pastry Art - strawberry, red velvet, vanilla & caramel.   The cake is so moist and the icing is wonderful!  This is my new favorite bakery.  I could eat these Baby Bites every day.  I think the Red Velvet is the best - I don't usually eat Red Velvet Cake but this is to die for!  They are the perfect size - you can eat 2 or 3 (or 6!) at a time and not feel bad!





Tadd gave me great presents - I got a new charm for my bracelet and a new Coach purse!















It was a great birthday!   

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chocolate Panna Cotta

This recipe is from my new Giada cookbook - Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites. I've had this on my list to make since Christmas. I took a half day off today, so I decided to make it!

It was simple to make. It took about 20 minutes to put together and an hour to bake. I let it cool for a couple of hours before we ate it.

This was really good. Kind of like a mousse/pudding/brownie. It looked really fancy, but it was a simple dessert. Beware - it is very rich. A little goes a long way!





Chocolate Panna Cotta
(Printable Recipe)

2 cups cold whole milk (I used 1% b/c that is what I had)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon almond liqueur such as Amaretto

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

In a small saucepan, combine 1½ cups of the milk, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining ½ cup of cold milk and let it dissolve for 2 minutes. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (Heat the milk gently if the gelatin is not dissolving easily.) When the gelatin is dissolved, combine the eggs with the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger baking pan or roasting pan and add hot water to the larger pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Place both pans in the oven and bake the panna cotta until the sides are firm and the center just jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond liqueur and whip to combine. Spoon the panna cotta into individual serving bowls and dollop the top with the almond whipped cream.

Pioneer Woman Ranch Style Chicken


Holy Cow! This was good chicken!! Sweet & tangy and topped with bacon & cheese - what's not to like?!?!  Simple to make. I let it marinate overnight in the honey mustard mixture and it makes for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  All my favorite things!!  I love to make this during the week, but it is worthy of company.  I will be making this again!



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chicken Roll Ups


This is one of my all-time favorite dishes.  My mom made these YEARS ago when I was in high school and I LOVED them! I have been making this dish for myself since I was in college. It is simple to make and really good!  I could eat the whole pan myself!



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow!!!


It snowed on Sunday for the first time this winter. We actually got a good amount of snow - about 2 inches! That is a blizzard for Alabama!!

Here is Jack in the snow - he didn't like it!




Sunday, March 1, 2009

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