Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nutter Butter Brownies

I love all things chocolate and peanut butter so when I came across this recipe I had to try it. I must say I am one of the few people that finds baking brownies difficult. I can rarely tell when they are cooked all the way through. I did my best with these and used the toothpick tester until it came out clean. They are chewy, chocolatey with some peanut butter crunch and delicious. They are very rich so I had to cut them into smaller pieces, which was difficult to take just one. for my bridal shower one of my friends gave me this beautiful glass cake/display set. Now I have something to put in it and makes my dessert look fancy and professional, almost like what you see in a bakery! Not only am I using the present, but it is being filled with something she would love too.

Nutter Butter Brownies
1 box Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1/4 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
9 Nutter Butter cookies

Preheat oven to 325.  Spray or lightly grease an 8 x 8 metal pan.

Follow the instructions on the box by mixing the brownie mix, water, oil and egg just until combined.

Spoon 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan.  Add 8 Nutter Butter cookies on top. Add the remaining batter on top and smooth with an offset spatula. 

Bake for 39-43 minutes.  The brownies may look under-baked, but will be fully cooked as they cool.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
Source: Bake at 350

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Fancy Fish Sticks

I haven’t posted anything in a while since I was back home for my bachelorette party and bridal shower. I was definitely spoiled while there with my father doing most of the cooking that would put me and my blog to shame. Needless to say, I had an amazing time and pigged out. Now that I am back home I guiltily went for a quick run tonight to get back into the routine and burn off some of what I indulged in over the weekend. And am also back into the grind to try out more recipes. Tonight’s is another from our Cooking Light magazine that was only slightly altered.

I think almost everyone as a kid had fish sticks. When we saw this recipe we were brought back to our childhood and wanted to try an adult version. Part of the fun is all of the dipping and getting your hands dirty. The bonus is that it only calls for a ½ cup of beer so there is some left over for you to drink. They turned out crispy on the outside with a moist and flaky inside.

With this recipe you definitely want to have everything out and prepared first. I had Jason cut up the fish since I bad at eyeballing the sizes. Then you season with the fish directly with a sprinkle of salt.

Next, I went through and made my 3 dishes with the various mixtures. First up is the flour mixture. Use one hand for the dry mixture and one for the wet to avoid a huge mess.

The 2nd dish has the egg, mustard, lime and beer to help bind everything. By adding the beer and whisky until foamy it will keep it fluffy instead of gummy.

The 3rd dish is the panko and spices to keep it hearty. I had whole wheat panko so mine look a bit darker brown.

Place the finished pieces on the warm, oiled baking sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes

Fancy Fish Sticks
Serves 4


Cooking spray
1 Tablespoon canola oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup lager-style beer
1 ½ Tablespoons creamy mustard blend
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) – I used whole wheat
1/3 cup unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1lb halibut or other lean white fish fillet (such as cod that I used), cut into 4 x 1-inch pieces (about 12 pieces)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 lime wedges


1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and spread evenly with oil; heat in oven 12 minutes.

3. Combine flour and black pepper in a shallow dish. Combine ½ cup beer, mustard blend, lime juice, egg whites, and egg in a shallow dish; stir with a whisk until foamy. Place panko, pumpkinseeds, cumin, and chipotle pepper in a food processor; pulse 20 times or until coarse crumbs form. Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.

4. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt. Working with one piece at a time, dredge fish in flour mixture. Dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture until completely covered.

5. Remove preheated baking sheet from oven; place fish on pan, and return to oven. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork, turning once. Serve immediately with sauce and lime wedges.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Pork Chops with Craisin Couscous

As is usually the case, our new issue of Cooking Light arrived and we both read through it and ripped out a pile of recipes that we want to try. That is where the inspiration for tonight’s dinner came from. I am a sucker for Whole Foods and of course headed there to buy the bone-in pork chops for tonight. It must have been my lucky day because they were actually on sale; that almost never happens when I go there to purchase a specific item. This turned out to be an inexpensive, quick and easy recipe with a lot of flavor. I would definitely make it again or even for company.

I like recipes that have a component on the grill because that way Jason can help out. I leave most of the grilling to him since I can never tell when they are done or get the nice grill marks like him. We prepped the pork chops and sent him outside after the rain let up to put them on the grill.

Meanwhile, I stayed inside to put together the couscous salad. One of the things I love about couscous is that it is ready in 5 minutes and is a fluffy and delicious side! The original recipe calls for cherries but I like craisins since they are a bit sweeter and it’s something I have in the house. I also decreased the amount of scallions for next time since the original recipe had a lot and it was an over powering flavor. I did like the chopped almonds for a bit of crunch.

Pork Chops with Craisin Couscous
4 servings
Total Time: 39 minutes

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
¾ cup uncooked couscous
1 cup boiling water
½ cup coarsely chopped craisins
3 sliced green onions
1/3 cup dry-roasted almonds, chopped
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat

2. Brush 1 Tablespoon olive oil evenly over both sides of pork, and sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place pork on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let pork stand for 5 minutes.

3. Place couscous in a large bowl. Add ¾ cup boiling water; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Stir in remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, craisins, and remaining ingredients. Serve with pork.

Adapted from: Cooking Light

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Garden Lasagna

I really like lasagna and have been looking for a good vegetable one with a non-red sauce for a while. I saw this one and thought it looked delicious. I know that they take a while to bake so I bought all the ingredients during the week with the intention to make it over the weekend. We have a small basil plant in our garden that has grown rather large so the sauce in this recipe was a great way to use some of it. Little did I know how long it would take to prepare! It was definitely delicious, Jason even went back for seconds, but had a ton of steps and pots and pans. I am not sure that I would make this again, or if I did would use frozen spinach only to cut out at least a few steps. Also, I  used skim milk in the sauce to be healthier but would use 2% next time since it was a little bit runny.

Garden Lasagna  
Serves 8 to 10


  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw baby spinach leaves    
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Omitted due to picky eater)
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 lb. baby spinach, blanched and squeezed dry
  • 9 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles, torn into rough 2-inch pieces
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil 


In a blender, combine the basil leaves, raw spinach, 1/2 tsp. of the garlic and the 1/2 cup olive oil and process until a thick sauce forms. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tsp. garlic and the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes. Stir the basil puree into the sauce.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the excess moisture has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the bell peppers, blanched spinach, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 3 1/2-quart shallow Dutch oven.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pot and arrange a single layer of torn noodles on the sauce. Top with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup of the vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Layer the noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce and mozzarella 2 more times, then add a layer of noodles, ricotta, vegetables and noodles. Spread the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella.

Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake until the noodles are nearly tender and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue baking until the top is browned, about 15 minutes more. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sliced basil, cut into slices and serve immediately.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The "Ultimate" Grilled Honey-Teriyaki Chicken

With the regular season of tv shows coming to an end and the summer line-up not starting yet I had a lull on our dvr. This just  meant I had to fill up the space with some cooking shows (are you seeing a theme here?!). I had recorded the show Tyler’s Ultimate, where he gives you the best/ultimate recipe for a specific type of food. Last week’s episode was Ultimate Teryaki Chicken, which who doesn’t love. This was the first night this week that both Jason and I were home for dinner and actually had time to shop and prep this meal.

It has been hot and humid here and today was the first day we went to the pool in our development. But before we could go I put together the brine for the chicken. The recipe calls for a whole chicken cut up, but I used boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs to be a little bit healthier. Our herb garden has grown so much and I was able to use the fresh thyme from there!

The brine was super simple since everything just went into a big plastic bag and shook it up. Then I added the chicken and put it in a Tupperware container or any other bowl just in case there are any leaks so you don’t have chicken and juice all over your fridge. Let it sit for 1-2 hours but not too long or it will get sour. This left enough time for us to head to the pool

When we came back I took the chicken out and started to make the glaze on the stove. Jason wanted to help so he patted the chicken dry with paper towels and then drizzled with some sesame oil. Since we used boneless and skinless chicken we brushed the glaze on both sides and put it on the grill.

 Once it was done it was ready to take off the grill and serve! It turned out great with the chicken nice and moist from cooking on lower heat on the grill and the glaze was sweet and tangy from the ginger. It definitely made it into our recipe book to make again.

Grilled Honey-Teriyaki Chicken
4 servings

1 whole organic chicken, cut into 10 pieces (I used boneless skinless breasts and thighs)
2 cups water
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 head garlic, unpeeled
4 slices fresh ginger root, gently bashed to open up
2 tablespoons kosher salt
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 large (1-inch) piece fresh ginger root, sliced and bashed to open up
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, plus 1/2 cup
Freshly ground black pepper
Scallion threads, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

  1. Begin by making the brine. Combine the water, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, salt and thyme in a large resealable bag and swirl to dissolve the sugar. Add chicken pieces and allow to brine for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat grill to low-medium heat.
  3. Make teriyaki glaze: In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine teriyaki sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and simmer until rich and slightly reduced.
  4. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Discard the brine. Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat and cook on a low-medium grill for 17 to 20 minutes per side until cooked through. Baste with teriyaki glaze for the last 5 to 7 minutes of cooking. Serve garnish with scallion threads (finely sliced scallions cut on the bias soaked in ice cold water), and toasted sesame seeds.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Southern cooking- Dry rub Ribs and corn souffle

With it officially being summer and all the delicious BBQ foods are shown I have had a craving for ribs. Unlike most people I am not a fan of the wet BBQ sauce and much prefer dry rubs. Since I was feeling like ribs were southern, what better side dish to make than a corn soufflĂ©. My Aunt in Atlanta had made this for us when we were visiting in April and it was so good I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Finally a chance to try it out.

The ribs cooked perfectly and were falling off the bone. After they were in the oven the whole house started to smell like the spices in the rub. What I like most about this recipe is that they come out tender but doesn’t require 6 hours in the hot oven.

Dry Rub Ribs – Memphis

2 pounds baby back ribs
For the Rub:
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
25 grinds fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
I added a few sprinkles of garlic powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Mix the rub ingredients together well in a small bowl.
Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs, then rub the vegetable oil onto the ribs. 

Pour the rub over the ribs and work the rub fully and evenly into the ribs. Spread the ribs out evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake until tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

As for the corn soufflĂ©, it was so simple to make. Literally everything gets thrown in a bowl, mixed up and poured into the dish to bake. Since I have 1 oven I cooked it at a lower temperature so they could go in with the ribs and it took a bit longer than the recipe, but still came out golden brown. I wasn’t sure if my picky eater would like them, but Jason and his Dad both went back for seconds which in my book means a job well done!

Corn Casserole

Serves 6-8

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream (I used a light version)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Source: Paula Deen

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