Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Creamy Italian Noodles

Baby Cakes has been chomping at the bit to grill this season. In the past I have been the chief executive grill master but at the very end of summer last year my husband grilled an amazing steak and I am thinking that the praise he received has created a grilling monster. I can certainly handle that, I get off pretty easy if you ask me. All I have to do is come up with a side dish and we are golden.

This post is one of those side dishes…

Creamy Italian Noodles
recipe from Becoming Betty

16 ounces farfalle pasta
1/2 cup butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 packet italian dressing mix

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Add the butter to the hot drained pasta and stir until melted. Stir in the cream and parmesan and mix until combined; stir in the seasoning mix and also stir to combine.

Serve warm or cold.

I have to say that this was a wonderfully delicious recipe. Seriously! I cannot think of a single thing to do to make it any better.

It went perfectly with some ribs and a salad but I could see it served at any BBQ or even a tea party, baby shower or bridal shower. Everyone will rave over this pasta I promise you.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big “Dill” Chicken Breast

Talk about a flavorful and delicious weeknight chicken recipe. If you’re anything like me your always on the lookout for quick and simple chicken dishes. I had seen recipes featuring mayo as a topping lately and decided to jump on that band wagon too, after all it is Low Amylose safe. Wink.

All these years I have been getting baked whitefish at Luby’s Cafeteria and every time I eat it I think “golly, what is this amazing topping?” Well guess what you guys, this beats that amazing topping hands down. I will be using this topping on baked fish very soon.

I plan on making this again and again in different variations, maybe without dill, maybe with chives, minced garlic, perhaps some capers, etc. The options are endless.

Big “Dill” Chicken Breast

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried dill

Stir the cheese, mayo and seasonings together in a small bowl. Spread the mixture over the chicken breasts and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.

By the time I took this out of the oven my mouth was watering and my stomach was growling. I was so ready to try this and boy am I ever glad that I did. Amazing!

To serve along side it I made a weekly favorite in our house Oven Roasted Asparagus.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Low Country Cookie

Oh Paula Deen, Paula Deen, why do you showcase such wonderfully delicious recipes? I know Paula says that she only eats that way a few times out of the year. After all, she only films so many episodes a year but…

Alright, I went crazy over these little sweet morsels of cookie. I ate 8 of them in a day, now that might not sound too bad, what’s 8 cookies right? But these tiny babies pack a dizzying 182 calories each! Yes, each! You’ll understand the exclamation points a little more once you see the tiny size of the cookies.

I would still recommend them though. Everyone who tried one raved about them and had I known the caloric load I would not have eaten so many myself but, heck, one or just two would be just right for a dessert.

Low Country Cookie
recipe slightly adapted from PaulaDeen.com

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 cup sugar
12 tablespoon (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 16-ounce box graham crackers
1 cup or 3 (1/2-ounce) cans shredded coconut
1 splash vanilla extract


2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with whole graham crackers.

Melt butter in saucepan and add sugar. Beat egg and cream together; add to butter mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add nuts, coconut, 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, and vanilla; stir to combine. Pour over the bottom layer of crackers in the pan.

Cover with another layer of whole graham crackers. Prepare topping.


Beat all ingredients together and spread over top layer of crackers.

Chill until ready to serve and cut into as many servings as you would like. I did 48 servings.

Now I found that if you leave them on a counter in a warm kitchen they melt slightly which some people seemed to prefer.

I loved them. I’m not going to lie. Like I said above I ate 8 of them throughout the day. A staggering 1,456 calories is my total damage. I am not proud of myself. But even with that information I would make them again and make a point to not take any home or have more than two at whatever social gathering I take them to.

Each cookie (1/48) equals 182 calories.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baconed Brussels Sprouts

I came across this recipe while reading a book I just got in the mail, Reshaping it All by Candace Cameron Bure, and for anyone who struggles regarding weight loss or getting healthier I would highly recommend reading it. She did a wonderful job of giving strong inspirations throughout the entire book but mostly she quotes a lot of scripture that just hammers home what she is trying to teach. I love it, I’m still reading it but so far I really have been enjoying it. I’ve gone back and re-read some chapters and highlighted good sections. Anyhow, enough about that, this recipe is completely yum. We really liked it. I used this as the main dish and am completely satisfied by it. Even Baby Cakes loved it, and he’s not much for veggies, sure he eats them but he would always rather have something else.

I did remake this recipe per say. I shrunk it a bit, basically halved the recipe and then omitted some of the bacon as well.

Baconed Brussels Sprouts
recipe lightly adapted from Reshaping it All by Candace Cameron Bure, pg. 62

10 thick slices bacon, large diced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
seasoning blend, your choice, to taste

In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until browned, about 8 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pat off excess fat.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet; reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the softened vegetables from the pan and set aside.

Add the Brussels sprouts in batches and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown on the outside. Add the reserved bacon and vegetables to the Brussels sprouts in the pan along with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the skillet with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Now this skillet, as a main dish, made 4 servings at 336 calories each. At that amount you can still afford some side items as well.

We loved it! The carmelized sprouts and crispy bacon. Seriously yummy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Greek Garbanzo Salad

If you’ve followed me for a length of time you will notice that I have spurts of healthy cooking, be it Weight Watchers, Cook This Not That, etc., but I always seem to go back to my norm of cookery, the unhealthy southern fare I grew up eating, heavy on the butter and cream. My only saving grace is I’ve only fried maybe 2 things in the last few years, eggs and salmon patties. What you can’t see are the meals my husband and I eat the rest of the time. He doesn’t need to watch his intake and count calories and I do, or did before now. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty but some factors in our private lives have made it imperative that I follow a certain diet plan, a Low Amylose Diet to be exact. So due to this for the time being the majority of post for the next say 6 months will be following this plan. Now that I’ve shared that let’s get started on the first recipe, shall we?

I needed a side dish that I could eat without guilt and that would fit the outdoor picnic occasion, so I made this salad based off of some ideas I had seen online of garbanzo bean salad, although I couldn’t tell you where or when.

This dish is the one to eat if you are seriously craving pasta. I loved it! So much so that I ate half of of dish, every single glorious flavorful bite.

Greek Garbanzo Salad


3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed oregano
1 teaspoon of salt
pinch of pepper

Put all ingredients into a mason jar, screw on the cap and shake until combined. Chill overnight or a minimum of 3 hours.


16 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ cucumber, peeled and small diced
roma tomatoes, small dice
10 kalamata olives, sliced
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons dressing, recipe above

Add all the salad ingredients except the feta cheese into a bowl and toss to combine. Chill for 2 plus hours. Just before serving stir in the feta cheese.

Makes 4 servings at 174 calories each or 6 servings at 116 calories each.

If you’re not following the Low Amylose Diet you could always add ½ a purple onion thinly sliced to the salad as well which will up the calorie count a bit.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pioneer Women’s Aunt Trish’s Salad

Who doesn’t know the Pioneer Women? She’s had a blog longer than I have and now she has a cooking show on Food Network. I love her style of cooking; she makes good old home cooked food and this simple tossed salad is no exception.

I first saw this recipe on Food Network a few weeks ago and then during my blogging break I made it and took it to Mother’s Day at my Momma and Daddies house, it got rave reviews from both sisters in law and one of my baby brothers, not to mention I loved it. Well, with reviews like that regarding salad it’s a keeping in my opinion. So I am making it again tonight to go with some steaks that Baby Cakes is grilling for supper.

Just a heads up, the dressing has to sit and marry over a 24 hour period at a minimum. I can’t stand it when I go to make something the day of and realize I didn’t read the entire directions and didn’t give myself enough time. Lesson learned? Always read cooking instructions in advance but, just in case you’re anything like I used to be there’s your heads up.

Pioneer Women’s Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing
recipe from Pioneer Women

¾ cups canola oil
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
dash salt, to taste
dash black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoons sugar
dash of paprika
garlic clove, minced

Place all ingredients into a jar. Shake it up and store in the fridge at least 24 hours before serving.

Serve on a green salad with halved cherry tomatoes and a thinly sliced red onion.

Also works well on pasta salad.

It’s summer time, time to start trying out some new salad recipes.

Now to get a calorie count I just divided the entire salad, with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, already tossed with the dressing into 8 servings making it 225 calories each serving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Smothered Cabbage with Sausage

First and foremost, I’m back y’all! I had a lovely break, although I continued cooking to restock my posts, but even still it was a lovely little break from blogging. Now I can’t promise I won’t be having a few more of these throughout the summer due to real vacations and some other personal things, in fact, I am 100% sure I will be taking a couple more blogger breaks before this summer is over, just so you know. Grin.

It’s no secret I love sausage, although I know it’s not something I should be eating regularly, and cabbage? Forgetaboutit! In the Baby Cakes household we eat cabbage regularly and proudly. So when I came across this recipe on my reader I was all for it and wouldn’t you know it, I had everything on hand to make this delicious meal.

Smothered Cabbage with Sausage
recipe slightly adapted from thesouthernladycooks.com

1/2 stick butter
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. pork link sausage, sliced into coins
1 teaspoon olive oil
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; brown the sausage coins. Transfer to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same skillet; add the onion and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until just softened. Stir in the cabbage and cook about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, including the browned sausage; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Golly Gee this was good! Like seriously gonna want thirds good. Then again, anything cooked in butter is. I would, and will, totally be making this again, and again, and again in the very near future. Baby Cakes raved throughout his entire two helpings about how great it was.

1 serving has 336 calories.

Don’t you just love cabbage? It is so low in calories and yet is so filling. You would never guess that the entire bowl full of goodness has so few calories.    

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Little Vacay...

Noticing my lack of posting I have decided to take a blogging break for a bit. Not too long. I will be back really soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crockpot Oriental Chicken Thighs

Whew has my world been crazy busy as of late. It has been madness. My schedule at work has been wonky, not to mention my baby brother’s wedding is almost upon us so both Baby Cakes and I have been partaking in those festivities. Because I have been so busy I haven’t been cooking, here’s a little secret, we tend to go through seasons at our house, seasons where I cook almost daily and then to the total opposite end of the spectrum where we’re frequenting restaurants and I never cook. Apparently this is a restaurant season because I have officially run out of back up posts. The plus side in that is I get to cook more?

Ah my crockpot. It has been awhile hasn’t it? The weather is turning warmer and with that our schedules are getting tighter, no better excuse to pull out that old comeback kid the crockpot. I’m not going to lie, I adore mine, we go way back. Baby Cakes gets to take the credit for this delicious meal, I prepped everything the evening before and when he woke up he put it all in the crockpot, turned it on and then had to sit and wait all the while smelling it’s wonderful enticing aroma. He’s a strong man! I have broken by enduring less.

The word I would use to describe this recipe would have to be, Amazing!, simply amazing.

Crockpot Oriental Chicken Thighs
slightly adapted from food.com

10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
5 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons dried green onion flakes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
hot cooked rice
sliced green onions

Stack the chicken thighs in crock pot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with a liner.

Combine olive oil, water, brown sugar, orange juice, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, red pepper, allspice, and green onions; pour that mixture over the chicken thighs. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.

Combine cornstarch and water; add the slurry into the crock pot and stir; Cook on high 30 minutes longer or until thickened.

Serve the chicken over rice with a colorful steamed vegetable.

I know that they don’t look that pretty but I cannot stress enough how delicious these chicken thighs were. The hardest part about this recipe was chopping the garlic and I can live with only having to chop garlic for sure. As long as I keep finding incredibly easy and incredibly flavorful recipes like this one I honestly have no excuse to not cook dinner almost every night. But hush; don’t tell Baby Cakes that I said that. Grin!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

There is a Mexican restaurant in the town over from ours that have the best roasted veggies; they use them in quesadillas, vegetable fajitas, and just as a side item when you order healthier fare. Well, I love them so much that I actually order them as my meal pretty often. Now before you think ‘Wow, she must eat pretty healthy’ I should probably point out that I get veggies because I am sooooo ordering dessert. Wink.

So, how to recreate these delicious caramelized veggies? Pretty easy really, the same way I make my roasted asparagus, in the oven, only on a higher heat. An easy side dish to serve along with fish sticks and mac and cheese, and yes Baby Cakes and I do get giddy over fish sticks and mac and cheese.

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

3 cups cauliflower and broccoli florets, cleaned and dried
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.

Spread out the vegetables on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables in the olive oil to coat them.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a fork pierces them easily.

As I said above this is another super easy recipe for a side dish and the flavor payout is magnificent. Even Baby Cakes, my 'I only want a little' when it comes to veggies man ate seconds and raved about them. I cannot wait to make this recipe again. Whoever said that frozen or canned vegetables were the most convenient where mistaken when they left out roasting them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti Pie, have you ever even heard of it before? I hadn’t until a blogger I follow recently made it. The idea peaked my interest only I wanted to make it a touch more adult, although I won’t lie, if I had leftover spaghetti and sauce I would making her version but seeing how I am making all the components just for this recipe I am stepping it up a few notches.

My Mother in Law makes really good lasagna; I had it for the first time a few months ago and really enjoyed it, so much so that I plan on making it and sharing it here sometime in the future but for the time being I am using her idea of using cream cheese in the place of ricotta and making my own version of spaghetti pie.

This “pie” has 4 delicious layers, the noodle crust, a cream cheese and spinach cheese layer, the meat sauce layer and then the bubbling gooey cheese topping. It is phenomenal, a truly delicious play on spaghetti and lasagna mixed together.

Spaghetti Pie

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Meat Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound hamburger meat, thawed
13 ounce can spaghetti sauce

10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
8 ounce cream cheese, room temp.
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
black pepper

½ cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10 inch pie plate with butter, set aside.

Toss hot cooked noodles in leftover butter. Mix the eggs and 1/3 cup shredded parmesan together in a small bowl. Toss with spaghetti. Add the spaghetti to prepared pie plate and shape into a crust shape gong up the sides of the plate.

Cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are just translucent. Add the hamburger meat to the skillet and cook until the meat is cooked through. Stir in the pasta sauce and heat through. You’re looking for a thick meat sauce, remember this is being used as a filling so it needs to be a firm layer when cut into.

Place the cream cheese in a bowl and combine with spinach by removing small amounts of spinach from the colander, squeezing vigorously to remove remaining moisture, and then adding to the cream cheese. Add the black pepper and the rest of the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

To assemble you put the cheese mixture into the middle of the “crust” and smooth out. Top with the meat sauce and bake, uncovered, 25 minutes.

Top with the mozzarella and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, let cool about 10 minutes, then slice and serve, like a pie.

The end result was an incredibly tasty “pie” that was about the same amount of work as making homemade lasagna.

Would I make this again? Absolutely, we loved it, I am already thinking of ways to adapt it in the future. I also see this as a perfect halloween recipe with a clever name. It will be showing up on our table again in the near future.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes

Have I ever shared Baby Cakes’ love for scalloped potatoes? He would request boxed scalloped potatoes every night of the week if he could. I’m not really one for boxed potato side dishes, snob I know, but the time they take to cook would be much better served cooking something fresh don’t you think?

Well, the other day while scoping out side dishes (for a few reasons, one being I love side dishes, hence why I order veggie plates a lot, and another reason being it’s almost summer here (feels like it already) so the hubby grills while I make the side items) I came across this recipe for scalloped potatoes. Now, I’m not going to lie, my Dad makes a mean scalloped potato dish, so good in fact that the caterer for our wedding actually used my Dad’s recipe (don’t worry I will one day share that recipe with the blogosphere). However, this recipe looked really good too so why not try it?

Right out of the gate this smells fantastic. The garlic and onion powder blooming in the butter really plays on your sense of smell. I couldn’t wait to try these. Yum-O (to quote Rachael Ray)! Baby Cakes ooh’d and ahh’d his way through more than half of the casserole dish, but then again so did I. Although, I must say, my Daddies recipe is much better! Grin.

Scalloped Potatoes
slightly adapted from Cooking Mimi

3 large baking potatoes, cleaned, and sliced thin
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the baking dish(es) and set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Mix together the flour, garlic powder, onion flakes, and ground mustard. Whisk the flour mixture into the melted butter and cook for about 3 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the milk and cream; whisk out any lumps. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Take off heat and stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper.

Add the potatoes to the prepared baking dish(es) and pour the sauce over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is bubbling. Let rest out of the oven for about 15 minutes before serving to thicken the sauce as it cools.

A sidenote regarding the picture: I cooked them for 60 minutes, hence why they are a bit dark in color. I did change the cooking time in my recipe to be 45 minutes so that that doesn't happen to yours. Alright, carry on.

Now, if you’re feeding a smaller crowd you can easily freeze some for later. To do that simply split everything evenly into two smaller baking dishes, cook them both only let one dish cool completely on the counter; once cooled wrap tightly with aluminum foil and stick in the freezer. When you want to reheat it just pull it from the freezer the night before, let it thaw on the counter and cook, covered, for about 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees or until warmed through.

1/8 of the recipe equals 195 calories.

Would I serve these again? I sure would!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cream Soda Glazed Carrots

I’m surprised that it’s taken me this long to share a carrot recipe with you all. First because this particular recipe is so good and secondly because I am a carrot junkie, we have carrots at least twice a week and I almost always order carrots as a side dish no matter what restaurant we go to. I love them and even if you don’t, or don’t know that you do, you will once you try them with this glaze.

Cream soda was on sale recently and because I love it I bought four 2 liters. As much as I would love to just drink a liter a day I am not really a soda drinker so I thought instead of just letting it sit there I should open one and cook with it. This is the first cream soda creation I came up with.

A side note: I remember the first time I ever had cream soda. When I was little, probably about 4 or 5, we lived in a home that my father built a living room addition onto. To get into the living room there were a few steps down from the old living room which they then used as a dining room. Well, my Mom would play games with us all the time. She would sit on the steps while my older brother, younger sister and I (the youngest three were not yet born) would play the games she created for us. For some reason I have never forgotten this particular day, we had just finished a guessing game in which my Mom put random little objects into a bag and had us feel the item without seeing it to guess what it was. There was always a treat once the game was over and when my Mom came back into the room with that days treat it was cream soda. I remember her bringing the bottle in and us just being so happy that we got to have soda. I loved it and have ever since. Strange what memories stick, isn’t it?

You can use ginger ale, sprite or the cream soda. I prefer the cream soda because it’s vanilla and I do love vanilla.

Cream Soda Glazed Carrots

2 lbs. baby carrots
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups cream soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, reserved

In a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat, combine the carrots, butter, salt and cream soda. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cover again and cook for 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces a carrot.

Remove the lid, stir, and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream soda is reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes; stir in 2 more tablespoons butter until melted. Pour into a serving dish.

Serve immediately.

Everytime you lift the lid you get this whiff of fragrant vanilla, my mouth was watering the entire time I was cooking them!

As always it’s a wonderfully delicious recipe. I could have easily eaten the entire pan as my meal, and would have if not for my hungry hubby.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grandma Lolly’s Salmon Croquettes

I know I am a few days short with my posting, sorry about that, I didn’t have anything new to share. Apparently, I get into ruts every once in a while where ease trumps creativity. But, with the help of my Grandma I have a new (new to you anyway) recipe to share. These are just one of the things that Grandma always made. I have shared a salmon cake recipe before, I thought at the time that I might find my own recipe, you know start my own tradition, but truth is the tradition I had already was better than all the new recipes I tried.

Grandma had a few tips when I called her and asked for her exact recipe, you know for research purposes; don’t drain the canned salmon, that’s where the flavor is. You have to play the cracker crumbs by feel, start with a little and add until the “dough” sticks together in patties. Some people debone the salmon but the bones crumble so it doesn’t bother her. Also, cook them in hot oil; you want that crisp crust on them and if the oil isn’t hot enough they’ll drink it up. She once tried cooking them on a grill pan and they just weren’t the same.

If you don’t already know, my Grandma was/is my cooking teacher. My cooking style is mirrored after her and my Daddy, her son. I just love her!

Grandma Lolly’s Salmon Croquettes

2 cans salmon, not drained
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 small onion, diced fine
1 tablespoons seasoning blend, your choice
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
pinch salt
dash pepper
1 sleeve crackers, crushed to crumbs

Mix all the ingredients together until combined. You want to add ½ of the crackers and then slowly add more until you can form a ball that stays together. Form patties and set on cookie sheet to cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Heat about an inch of oil in a skillet until fry ready; gently place 4 of the patties into the oil and cook until golden brown on both sides; cooking in batches of 4 until all patties are cooked, makes 12 patties.

Let rest on a paper towel lined plate.

Serve warm either on buns with lettuce and cheese or with side dishes.

I can’t say enough about these delicious little salmon patties are. We had company for supper and even they gave a ton of kudos.

Also, as a little side note, these are one of Baby Cakes' favorite things to eat. The only thing he doesn't like are when I leave the little bones in. He and Grandma apparently differ in that one tiny area. I don't go crazy removing them all, as they don't bother me, but for him I do remove the majority of them. If you have picky children you might want to do the same. However, bones or no bones they are stellar!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boursin Mushroom Chicken

I’m sure you’ve seen this somewhere on the blogosphere as of late; I know I have, hence why I am sharing it with you today. I am honestly ashamed to admit I had never tried or really heard of Boursin cheese until I saw this recipe a few weeks ago, well, being a cheese lover I can admit that I was intrigued.

It was a really easy recipe to throw together, it created a flavorful sauce that Baby Cakes loved. For the sake of being honest I am going to keep it just that, honest. I wouldn't make it again unless Baby Cakes really wanted me to. It would make for a great companies coming for dinner dish but I wasn't personally crazy about it. Who knows though, it could have been because I'm sick. So, I might have to revisit it sometime in the future.

Boursin Mushroom Chicken
recipe from Stephanie Cooks

2 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup boursin garlic and herb cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Season your chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet heat your oil. Add the chicken and cook until cooked through, remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Melt the butter to the same pan and add the mushrooms, cook about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced onion and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan, cooking until most of the broth reduces. Add the cheese and parsley, stirring well.

Top the chicken with the sauce mix. Serve hot.

Just like the previous poster said it would be good served with mashed potatoes and extra sauce.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

I am all about these muffins! They were not overly sweet and still maintained a bit of zing from the strawberries. I will make a few tiny changes the next time I make these but other than that I could totally eat them every weekend.

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooking oil
¾ cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin pans lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients except for the strawberries and mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gently stir in the berries.

Place the batter in ¼ cup measures into the prepared pans. Bake 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

I would recommend using fresh strawberries for this recipe, although thawed and drained frozen berries would work in a pinch.

These could easily be made for a halloween treat. Maybe shark bite muffins? I am under not illusion that they are pretty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baked Dilled Eggs with Cheddar and Bacon

Friday morning on my way out of the door to go to work I noticed water pooling on the floor in front of our refrigerator. We knew there were things starting to go bad with it, we had even already gone and looked at refrigerators to be ready for when it does bite the dust, but I just wasn’t expecting it so quickly. It was older; it came with the house when we bought it, the instillation man told us it was an early 90’s model, what a trooper right? About 20 years old. I was sad to see it go but at the same time glad to see it go because now we have a new refrigerator!

I shared this because staying home and cooking out of ice chests for a day, not to mention having a reason to keep Baby Cakes at home on a weekend morning, I finally got to make a breakfast recipe I’ve wanted to make.

This was so simple to pull together and uses things you have in the pantry and fridge anyway. We have a new quick egg recipe.

Baked Dilled Eggs with Cheddar and Bacon
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet cookbook, pg. 34

4 eggs
4 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons dill fronds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 bacon strips, cooked

Coat four 4-oz. ramekins with cooking spray; break an egg into each dish. Spoon 1 tablespoon milk, half a tablespoon cheese(s), half teaspoon dill and a sprinkle of salt and pepper over each egg and whisk to combine all ingredients. Sprinkle bacon crumbles over egg mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not firm; let cool for a few minutes before serving.

The next time I make this I’ll only make 2 of them, just divide all the ingredients between 2 ramekins to make it a bit heartier. As it was Baby Cakes ate three alone. Goodness are they yummy. I can already think of adaptations.

Made the way the recipe calls for each dish is 107 calories. Woot woot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crispy Oven Baked Bacon

I’m not sure that I have shared with you the way I cook bacon. I know this seems strange, I mean who doesn’t know how to cook bacon? But this isn’t just throwing some in a pan and letting it fry away until it reaches your desired crispness, no, this is much easier. I found this method because I can’t stand cooking bacon on the stove top, it’s messy and pain inducing when the grease pops on you, I disliked it so much that Baby Cakes and I never had bacon for breakfast, yet I always found myself ordering it in restaurants, and if I needed bacon for a recipe, well, hello hormel bacon pieces. No, I kid you not. I really disliked cooking bacon. Since finding this way of cooking it I now use real bacon in recipes and enjoy it for breakfast. Oh how I missed this loveable and delicious pork product.

I guarantee that this will become your way to cook bacon too.

Crispy Oven Baked Bacon
recipe from About.com

Up to 1 lb. of bacon

Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cookie cooling rack; arrange desired amount of bacon on the rack and place it in the center of a cold oven. Close the oven door and turn the heat on to 400 degrees. Let cook for 25-35 minutes or until it gets golden brown. It will crisp up as it cools. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain the grease.

You can save the bacon grease if you want to use for future cooking by straining it into a heat proof container. I remember being a kid and my Grandma Lolly always saved the bacon grease to use in cornbread or to fry up cabbage. I may just have to try that sometime.

Also, if you cook it this way you can freeze it for use later by laying the peices out flat on a baking sheet and freezing them. Once they are frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag. To cook just thaw out and microwave for about 3 minutes.

Like I said above, I use this everytime I need bacon be it a recipe or just for some crispy bacon to serve with breakfast.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cremoso Caldo de Camaron (Creamy Shrimp Soup)

You might remember when I made the Shrimp Soup, Caldo de Camaron, from a few weeks back. You also might remember how I told you it was so good but too spicy for me (I admit freely to being a wimp). Well, the idea, and the version I had at our favorite Mexican restaurant, was too good to let slip by without a second glance so I am going a second take on the soup from before.

Here’s what I knew to be the only problem, in my eyes anyway, it was too spicy. Flavor wise it is wonderful but heat wise it was a tad too spicy for me. I would like to point out though that Baby Cakes loves spicy food so he was in heaven, but I being the wimp that I am (again, not ashamed) it needs to be toned down a bit. How to tone it down was my next question. Simple, add starch and creamy elements. Easy enough to do, below is how I did it…

Cremoso Caldo de Camarón (Creamy Shrimp Soup)
slightly adapted from Caldo de Camaron

2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
28 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon paste
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
1 pound cleaned frozen shrimp
8 ounces sour cream

Add the chilies, onion, garlic, and canned tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill a large pot halfway full with water (approximately 6 cups) and add all the ingredients, including the chile mixture and cook over medium heat until the squash and potatoes are fork tender.

Add the shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes more or until pink.

Just before serving stir in the sour cream until thoroughly combined.

Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the creamy spicy soup.

Now this version I can totally jive with. I was able to eat an entire bowl full and would happily eat it again if Baby Cakes hadn’t of claimed it as his lunch tomorrow. The things we do for love. Grin.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie

Sunday was the perfect chili day her in my neck of the woods, may have just been the last cold rainy snap that we get if this year ends up being anything like last year was. I pray that it is not, we lost 2 oak trees in our front yard and really do not want to lose anymore due to a drought, or due to anything really. These last few weeks of rain are a God sent and they have been wonderful for our menu, lots of soups, stews and now chili, not just any chili but Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie.

The name made me laugh, as someone who used to watch King of the Hill regularly I knew Peggy Hill had a few dishes that she was very proud of on the cartoon, and this was one of them, frito pie. There was even mention of how she made it during one episode, when Hank let his love for Wolf Brand chili be known, so I imagine she didn’t make the chili from scratch. But either way, from scratch or not I second Peppy Hill in saying I also make the world’s best frito pie, now that I found this recipe that is.

Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie
recipe adapted from Adventures in Cooking

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 jalapeno, cored and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
29 ounce can tomato puree
5 cups water
can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons seasoning blend, your choice
1 bag fritos
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, if desired

Pour the olive oil into a preheated dutch oven; add the meat using a utensil to break it up into bite sized pieces. Season the meat with the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and seasoning blend of your choice. Cook over medium high heat until meat is cooked through.

Stir in the onions, carrot, garlic, diced jalapeno and the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften a bit. Then add the tomato puree and water and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to boil for 60-80 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving scoop out about 1/2 cup of the broth and place it in a small bowl. Using a whisk or a fork, add the flour and blend quickly until a smooth paste is formed. Add the paste back into the chili and stir until well blended. Allow the mixture to simmer for another 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

To assemble: Place about ½ cup fritos into the bottom of a deep bowl; add about a cup of chili and then top with shredded cheese and, if desired, sour cream.

We loved it. It was the perfect early Sunday supper. The both of us kept going back for a tiny bit more throughout the afternoon and evening. A very well spend cold and rainy Sunday evening at home.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup)

I don’t have to remind you that Baby Cakes loves Mexican food, or that I am a soup lover, or that we both love seafood. No, I think you might know if you’ve followed me very long. Heck, we live in Texas, southern Texas at that, seafood and Mexican food know no bounds here and we are both most assuredly fine with that.

I actually had never tried this soup until recently, we went out for supper and the weather was just right for soup, overcast, cold, and rainy, so in lieu of my go to chicken tortilla I ordered this. How had I never had it before? It was so good. This is the first restaurant soup recipe I have ever tried to recreate, that alone says something.

When I ate it at the restaurant I could pick up on the taste of crab boil. You know, that seasoning blend you use for shrimp, crab or crawfish boils? It didn’t overpower but it was certainly there. So I researched and came across so many recipes for this soup, none of which used boil seasoning. This is my adaptation; it was created by recalling the way I remember it tasting only adding some butternut squash instead of potatoes to save some calories.

Here is the only downfall I found about my recipe, it was way too spicy for a big baby like me. Next time I'll 86 the chipotles and only use the crab boil seasoning. However, Baby Cakes loves it! He even took it to lunch the next day.

Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup)

2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
28 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon paste
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
1 pound cleaned frozen shrimp

Add the chilies, onion, garlic, and canned tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill a large pot halfway full with water (approximately 6 cups) and add all the ingredients, including the chile mixture and cook over medium heat until the squash is fork tender.

Add the shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes more or until pink.

Serve in a big bowl with a side of brown rice or with some crusty french bread for dipping.

It really is an incredibly simple weeknight meal, especially a rainy weeknight like tonight. The french bread really did cut the spice.

1/4 of the pot worth of soup, about 2 cups, equals 265 calories. That's it! Amazing, I know. (That means I get some garlic bread too! Yipee!)

Add this soup recipe to your rotation or just try it for pete's sake. It is delicioso!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon

Who knew that a grilled cheese sandwich could be blog worthy? I have made grilled cheese before sure, I do as my mother did and serve a grilled cheese made with slices of american cheese aside a bowl of canned tomato soup, easy and quick. I’ve had many happy thoughts of someday serving this to our future children on a rainy day for lunch. Just like my mom did for us. Only after eating one of these babies the sandwich in this daydream has changed a bit. I never really put much thought behind a grilled cheese’s health factor until I recently began caring about what I was putting in my body but now I have seen firsthand that with a smaller amount of higher quality ingredients you can make a far superior sandwich, not only in taste but also in nutrition.

When I told Baby Cakes what I was making for dinner he was so excited and after eating it, well, let’s just say it will be made again and again.

Now I did deviate from the original recipe a bit, although I have no doubts that it would have worked just fine made the Cook This Not That way, I just wanted it to be heartier since I wasn’t serving it with anything else and I only needed 2 sandwiches, one for him and one for myself, so I changed the amount of ingredients per sandwich. Overall still a healthy dinner.

Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon
adapted from Cook This Not That, pg. 130

1 tablespoon butter
4 slices rye bread
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
6 strips cooked bacon

Heat the butter in a large skillet or nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Slather 2 slices of bread with the mustard, and then divide the cheese, apples, and bacon among them. Top with the other bread slices and add to the hot pan. The key to a great grilled cheese (i.e., crispy crust, fully melted cheese) is patience, so cook these sandwiches slowly until each side is deep brown and crunchy, about 10 to 12 minutes total.

This really makes an amazingly delicious sandwich and it tops out at 440 calories. I’ll take it and even savor a few pretzel thins along with it.

Now to find the perfect tomato soup recipe to serve on that rainy day in the future.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sausage and Cabbage Skillet

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything featuring sausage. Strange because boar sausage and venison are always in abundant supply at our house; it’s time to use some up.

There isn't anything like a skillet meal. While going through recipes I am always pulled towards one pot, crock pot, and casseroles recipes. Perhaps it's the ease of cooking or maybe the ease of cleaning but I am always up for trying a skillet recipe.

This one just seemed like something I would make, don't you agree? It even has brown sugar. Cabbage, sausage and brown sugar. Yum!

Sausage and Cabbage Skillet
recipe adapted from Taste of Home, October/November 2005, p. 39

1 pound link sausage, cut into 1/2-inch coins
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
24 ounces canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
20 ounce bag frozen county style hash browns, thawed and drained

In a Dutch oven, brown the sausage in the butter; remove and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the cabbage and onions in the remaining butter and drippings until the onions are tender.

In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, sugar and paprika; pour over the cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and the reserved sausage. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

It was so good! In fact, it's so good that from now on I am abandoning the old way I made stuffed cabbage casserole and using this sauce recipe. Oh, and I already have plans to try this recipe again only with hamburger meat in lieu of sausage. The sausage was good but I have bigger things for this recipe to evolve into.

Both Baby Cakes and I score this baby at a 10. You read that right a 10 across the board.

Now this recipes could have been made healthier, less brown sugar comes to mind, but even with all that brown sugar it equals a hearty helping with a fair amount of caloric heft. An 1/8 of the skillet equals 372 calories. Not exactly 'diet' friendly this is one of those times where flavor and health collide.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sugared Pomegranate Cocktail

I was first introduced to this adult beverage at my bachelorette party, that was over 3 years ago and I haven’t had it since. I am normally a wine drinker and have no shame in admitting that I imbibe in a glass or two every once in a while for no special reason other than I want to, so ha! Well, with the Academy Awards Sunday night, (I watched only because I am a major Melissa McCarthy fan and just had to see what she was wearing!) I made these for myself. I went all upscale and had champagne. No she didn’t, oh yes I did. Wink.

It is as good as I remembered it being.

I apologize for not having exact amounts, it’s more of an eyeball it out type of recipe.

Sugared Pomegranate Cocktail
recipe from memory

bottle Brut Extra Dry champagne
pomegranate juice*
sugar cubes

Place one sugar cube into the bottom of a champagne flute.

Top with a splash of pomegranate juice.

Then slowly pour the champagne over the juice.

*I used blueberry pomegrante juice but the original is just as good.

Simple as that and it makes one amazing drink.

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