Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brown Butter Frosting

So I made banana bread bars using a recipe that my mom posted, which was delicious, and decided to add frosting to half of them. This recipe for the frosting came from Life's Simple Measures, except that I cut it in half since I only wanted to frost half of the bars (I made two pans of bars so this recipe would frost one full pan of banana bread). It complimented the banana bread very nicely. Needless to say, the frosted banana bread bars went more quickly than the unfrosted ones.

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tbsp of milk
  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan on medium-high heat until it boils. Let the butter turn a little brown and then immediately remove from heat.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk together until smooth. 
  3. Spread over warm bars with a spatula. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cilantro Lime Rice Black Bean Burrito Bowls

We found this recipe from Two Peas & a Pot. We made some modifications (substituting rice for quinoa, not adding as much cilantro, and serving with tortilla chips) and it was delicious. One lesson we learned is that Greek yogurt is an awesome substitute for sour cream!

Cilantro Lime Rice (or Quinoa) Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Ingredients for Rice/Quinoa:
  • 2 cups of rice or quinoa (we used red rice)
  • 1 tbsp of cilantro
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
Ingredients for Black Bean Mixture:
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 1 15 oz can of sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp of cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
Ingredients for Serving:
  • Lettuce or spinach (chopped or shredded)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Salsa
  • Tomatoes (chopped or diced)
  • Avocado (chopped)
  • Cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  1. Cook the rice (or quinoa) according to package directions (generally 2 cups of rice or quinoa need about 4 cups of water and cook for either 45 minutes or 20 minutes respectively). Add cilantro and lime juice when done cooking.
  2. In another pan on medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil until slightly browned. 
  3. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few more minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add the black beans, corn, water, cilantro, and chili powder to the onion/garlic mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until most of the water is gone (about 15 minutes). 
  5. Stir in lime juice. 
  6. To serve, put rice (or quinoa) on the bottom of the bowl then add the rest of the ingredients in the order of your preference. We did the rice first, followed by the black bean/corn mixture, then all of the serving ingredients (lettuce, tomatoes, greek yogurt, salsa, cheese, avocado). Then we mixed it all together and ate it with tortilla chips. You could also crumble the tortilla chips into the mixture or put them on the bottom of the bowl. The most important thing is to find a way you like and enjoy!
All the serving ingredients (except the tortilla chips)

Ready to eat!
Before mixing everything together.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Turkey Burgers

Will and I made these turkey burgers this week. They did not turn out as expected but with a few small modifications to the recipe (which I will include below), they would be delicious.  We made them too thick so they didn't fit well inside the buns and the outside of the burger got burnt because the insides weren't cooked all the way through yet.

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients for burgers:
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup of onions (minced or chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of mesquite seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of Season All seasoning salt
  • 1 egg (this holds the ground turkey together)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
Ingredients for serving:
  • Buns (I used whole wheat sandwich thins)
  • Spinach or lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Barbeque sauce or ketchup
  1. Mince (or chop) the onions.
  2. Mix the egg and onions into the raw ground turkey (this is easiest to just mix with your hands). 
  3. Add in the seasonings (mesquite and Season All) and mix more. 
  4. Spray a large skillet or large griddle with cooking spray. Let it heat for a few minutes.
  5. Roll the ground turkey mixture into medium size balls and flatten them when you put them on the skillet/griddle.The size doesn't change much when you cook them so make the flattened turkey balls the right size and thickness to fit your buns.  Do not make them too thick otherwise you will end up with what happened to us below where the outside gets burnt. 
  6. Cook the turkey burgers for about 15 minutes; flipping occasionally so both sides get equally cooked. 15 minutes is approximate; make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey is thoroughly cooked. Do not eat undercooked turkey - it should be cooked all the way through.
  7. Serve on a bun with spinach/lettuce, tomato, and BBQ/ketchup. 
Too thick and therefore a little burnt; make sure to make your turkey burgers thinner so that they can cook all the way through without getting burnt.

Parmesan Garlic Orzo

This recipe was pretty good - my only complaint was that it could have been a little more flavorful, next time I make it, I will probably add more Parmesan cheese or seasonings.

This recipe came from I doubled the recipe from because I was making dinner for 4 adults and wanted this as a side.

Parmesan Garlic Orzo


  • 2 cups of orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 4 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp of milk
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper (I would recommend adding more or other seasonings to up the flavor)
  1. In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Cook orzo in boiling water for about 10 minutes. 
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Add garlic to skillet for a few minutes until slightly browned. 
  4. Stir in the orzo to the garlic butter mixture. 
  5. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, and salt/pepper. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Andes Mint Squares Dessert

I was looking for an Irish dessert to go with the corned beef and cabbage dinner tonight.  I didn't have all the ingredients for the recipes I researched, so I made up a quick recipe of my own.  The result was a light, slightly rich dessert.


Chocolate Crust
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all these ingredients together  and press into the bottom of a 9x9 inch pan

Chocolate layer
3 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk (adult version may substitute Bailey's Irish Cream)
3 cups non-dairy whipped topping
1/4 cup Andes mints chopped

Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.  Add cocoa and milk and beat until smooth.
Gradually fold in whipped topping
Spread on top of chocolate crust

Sprinkle with crushed Andes mints and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Andes Mint Squares

Herbed Potatoes

We had these potatoes as a side dish to our corned beef and cabbage. They were a big hit with he family.


3 pounds baby red potatoes
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean potatoes and chop in two
Boil potatoes until tender, approximately 15 minutes
Drain potatoes.
Melt butter and sauté garlic briefly before adding potatoes back to the pot.
Sprinkle with parsley, mix, and serve.

The herbed potatoes were a nice addition to the corned beef and cabbage dinner.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Today was a fun day to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with most of the family.  We decided to try a new version of the tried and true corned beef and cabbage.

I liked the new recipe which I got from the food network website.


3 pounds corned beef with spice packet
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
2 medium onions chopped
1small head of cabbage, cored and coarsest chopped
2 cups apple juice
1cup water

Put carrots and onion in the bottom of the crock pot.
Put corned beef brisket on top
Arrange cabbage around the corned beef
Mix spice packet from corned beef with the apple juice and pour over the brisket.
Pour in water.
Slow cook for 6-8 hours.

Carrots and Onions in the bottom of the crock pot
Corned Beef Brisket added

Cabbage added on top

Liquid  and spices added

Corned Beed and Cabbage with Herbed baby potatoes

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Braised Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

I experimented with another quick chicken recipe. The sauce I created was good, but a little more liquid than I wanted, so I might have to try again.

5 chicken tenderloins
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon corn starch

Season tenderloins with salt and pepper.
Heat a Dutch oven over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat.
Dredge chicken in flour in a shallow bowl, then cook for 5 minutes each side.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Add onion, garlic, and rosemary to the pan and cook until tender.
Add wine, chicken broth, sugar, diced tomatoes, and bay leaf to pan. Bring to a boil.
Add chicken back to pan and simmer for 15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked, turning chicken once.
Sprinkle corn starch in and stir to thicken sauce.

Seasoning Chicken Tenderloins

Cooking Tenderloins

Cooking onion, garlic and rosemary
Bringing wine and other ingredients to a boil

Adding Chicken to Cook for 15 minutes

Finished Tenderloin and Sauce

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since my kids were little, one of our favorite treats has been chocolate chip cookies.  Typically when I make a batch, I like to double the recipe and freeze some for later.  I'll give the single version of the recipe which makes between three and four dozen cookies.


2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extra
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 package chocolate chips (I prefer 60% Cocoa chips from Ghiradelli)

Heat oven to 375 degrees
Cream all ingredients except for the flour and chocolate chips until well mixed.
Add flour one cup at a time until all has been added
Hand mix in chocolate chips
Use a teaspoon to measure out a small amount of dough and roll into a ball, place 12 on a cookie sheet at a time.
Bake at 375 for 11 minutes.  Cookie will be  a little gooey, so I let them rest on the cookie sheet for one minute before placing them on paper towels to cool.

Creaming all ingredients except for flour and chocolate chips

Flour mixed in

I really recommend Ghiradelli chips for the cookies

Chocolate Chips added in 

Cookies ready to bake

Finished cookies

Chicken, Mushrooms, and Broccoli in Garlic White Wine Sauce

I found a recipe Cooking Light that I wanted to try.  It was a tasty, quick dinner so I thought I'd share.  I added broccoli to the original recipe just to give it a little color and some veggies.


8 ounces whole wheat penne noodles
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
16 ounces mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Penzey's Country French Vinaigrette (or 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon)
1 cup broccoli
1 ounce parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package.  Drain and keep warm.
Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and place in a shallow bowl.
Combine whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl.
Sprinkle flour mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 TBS oil and swirl to coat.  Add chicken
cook 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to pan.  Add garlic and mushrooms; cook 3 minutes.
Add wine and cook 1 minute.
Add all purpose flour and broth with the 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cook an additional 2 minutes until sauce is slightly thick.   Add in pasta and broccoli mix and cook until chicken is completely cooked.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Chicken, Mushrooms, and Flour mixture prepped

Adding flour mixture to chicken

Cooking Chicken

Cooking Mushrooms and Garlic

Adding flour to thicken sauce

Adding pasta and broccoli to complete dish

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tortellini Sausage Soup

I found this recipe on Pinterest and have made it once before... it is DELICIOUS!! One of my favorites!

The recipe came from the blog Lil' Luna. It's a pretty easy recipe but does take about 45 minutes to cook so make sure to plan enough time.

Tortellini Sausage Soup

  • 4 links of sausage (chopped) (I used all-natural chicken sausage with apple in it and it was awesome!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp of minced garlic
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider (apple juice works if you can't find cider)
  • 15 oz of tomato sauce
  • 15 oz of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of carrots (chopped) or whole baby carrots (depending on your preference)
  • 3 tbsp of Italian seasoning (or 2 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, and 2 tbsp of parsley)
  • 2 medium zucchini (chopped)
  • 16 oz of tortellini (I used spinach and ricotta tortellini)
  • Parmesan cheese - optional (for serving)
  1. Chop sausage into bite size pieces and cook with olive oil in a skillet until browned.
  2. Add garlic to cooked sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
  3. Move the sausage and garlic to a large pot. 
  4. Stir in chicken broth, apple cider, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, carrots, and Italian seasoning.  Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, stir in the zucchini and cook for anther 10-12 minutes.
  6. After 10-12 minutes, stir in the tortellini and cook for 7-10 more minutes.
  7. Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Almost all the ingredients (I didn't include the apple juice or Italian Seasoning in the picture)

Steps 3 and 4 - combining the cooked sausage/garlic with the broth mixture in a large pot

Soup is all ready!

I recommend enjoying with wine. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Brownies

This brownie recipe is one that I got from an old Hershey cookbook.  I love chocolate, so chocolate brownies with chocolate chips inside are a double bonus.  These particular brownies are more fudgy than cakelike.


3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
In a large glass measuring cup, measure the 1/2 cup water, then cut up the 2/3 cup butter into the water and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Mix until all butter is melted.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and then put in the butter/water mixture.
Bake at 35- 40 minutes.
Cool and then Enjoy!
Brownies without frosting

If these aren't chocolatey enough for you, you can also sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, wait a few minutes and spread as frosting on top of the brownies before you cut into them.

With Frosting

Friday, March 1, 2013

Beer Cheese Dip

I have had this dip a number of times at parties and it is always the thing that I have a hard time stepping away from so I decided to make it for a get-together recently and it was a big hit.

It is so easy to put together - it only took me about 10-15 minutes total. I highly recommend this if you are looking for an quick and easy and delicious appetizer for a party.

Beer Cheese Dip

  • 2 8-oz containers of cream cheese (I used whipped cream cheese because it's easiest to mix)
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup of beer 
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 chopped green onions (optional)
  • Pretzels (for serving)
  1. Chop the green onions (if you are including them).
  2. Mix together the cream cheese and ranch dressing.
  3. Mix in the cheddar cheese.
  4. Gradually stir in the beer until the dip is the consistency that you want.
  5. Mix in or garnish with green onions
  6. Serve with pretzels; could also serve with veggies (carrots, celery, etc.).
The ingredients (except the beer, which I was trying to keep cool in the fridge)

The dip all finished and ready to enjoy with pretzels and beer!