back to a basic

In a hungry post-work-mad-dash, I searched the wonderful world wide web for a classic chicken dish. I stumbled upon this little diddy and realized I have never had real chicken cordon bleu, much less cooked it. I admit that my favorite chicken recipes always include it being stuffed with something or wrapped inside something else, or both. Or covered. Or smothered. And the list goes on (literally, I have a list right here of all these chicken recipes I need to post). So as the first chicken post, I begin with a classic. The sauce is simple and creamy—and in this picture blends in with the potatoes au gratin to form a mirage of creamy, cheesy goodness.

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my my my, my key lime pie!

Just in time for summer, these cupcakes are simply amazing! Each one is like a delectable bite of key lime pie, a little piece of paradise. It’s the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, and the cream cheese frosting is a great compliment to the lime. These may well be my new favorite cupcake flavor, I found myself popping one after another throughout the work day (minis have a way of tricking your mind that way). I chose to make my (40!) minis straight in the pan–no sleeves–and they came out with this great golden edge that gave it a very key lime pie kind of look. Seriously, these things are addictive and even now I am staring across the room at the few that made it through the day and back home, I am wondering if I might make it into the double digits by night’s end. Just kidding. Sort of.

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Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about underwear. Though I will mention that after doing a trial run of these cookies to make sure the cut outs didn’t overpuff, I had an apartment full of bra and panty cookies I had no idea what to do with (these aren’t work appropriate??). After briefly imagining my almost all-male coworkers with handfuls of these pink unmentionables, I ate did something more responsible and healthy with them. These aren’t really sugar cookies by any means. They have a smooth vanilla bean flavor coupled with refreshing lemon. I have mentioned before that I don’t really eat a ton of what I make since I intake enough sugar in the process of licking my fingers and inhaling over-sweetened air in the process. But these I ate. When I made them for practice. And again at the lingerie shower. And the next morning after the shower (breakfast!). Don’t judge. They are great for cutouts of any kind–they puff up a little as they bake but settle back down when removed from the oven and cooled. A little piping work and you’ve got yourself a specialty cookie you’d have previously had to order until you uncovered your exceptionally mad cookie skills. Good luck!

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let’s make whoopie(s)

My best friend is getting hitched! As the date gets closer, the wedding showers and gatherings have begun–and so ran imagination with ideas for treats of all kinds. One of my favorite desserts in the whoopie pie—perfectly round little things with my kind of icing-to-cake ratio that are easy to grab and enjoy, none of that paper peeling nonsense. And how was I supposed to pass up the opportunity to make whoopie pies for my friend’s lingerie shower?? This was my first time facing the challenge of homemade red velvet. Whenever I have had it homemade it is typically a little off in color and flavor from the wonderful (and cheap) box option. I think I lucked out in my search because this was the best cake consistency I’d had the pleasure of enjoying in a long long time. And this icing was a dream in flavor and consistency. I’m sure I claim in every whoopie pie post that ‘this is my new favorite’, and I will say it again now. Whoopie pies whisk me back to ME, honeymooning with my wonderful husband, and I always enjoy sharing them with others because most people here in FL haven’t had the pleasure of a good old, saran wrapped whoopie.

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not so coffee cake

Coffee cake walks a fine line between breakfast and dessert. This is not your typical coffee cake, with fluffy vanilla-flecked cake, the topping crispy and sweet, and the center full of fresh, tart cranberry. I served this for breakfast, but would just as quickly scooped a bit of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoyed a late night movie. This recipe can be easily altered to include blueberry or cherry or a dash of cinnamon. Anyway you want it, enjoy it—morning, noon, or night.

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whoa, quinoa

I love quinoa. I love quinoa. I love quinoa. Oh, by the way…have I mentioned that I love quinoa?

Ever since I gleefully flipped through the pages of my February 2011 issue of Real Simple magazine, scrolling through their list of the 30 healthiest foods, I have tried to incorporate them into our meals at home. I didn’t know how to say quinoa  (I now believe it is ‘kin-know-uh’, but if you get laughed at when you say it then you didn’t hear it from me), much less if it was any good. It is. Oh please, try it. There are a million ways to make it and each is delicious. The texture is beyond amazingly light and fluffy, and I promise that you won’t be eating it because it’s good for you. You will eat it because its more tasty than rice, and the fact that it just so happens to be wonderfully nutritious is an added bonus. It is a plant based protein (so it has all 9 essential amino acids) that parallels meat in its protein profile and is gluten free,  as well as low in fat and cholesterol. It is high in folate, B6, thiamin, iron, potassium, riboflavin…the list goes on. All I know is I’m in love.

This recipe is one I like to pair with Chicken Saltimbocca, which I will post soon. I will also post a recipe for Mexican Quinoa which I pair with these amazing white enchiladas. Keep your eye out for these very soon!

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all hail kale

This post is for my sister. She has been telling me that this blog is killing her because it is full of tempting pictures of “things I can’t eat”. So I’m bringing out the big guns. This is a simple, nutritious snack that we love, though my coworkers have shot me a few odd looks while I’m munching on a handful of this green, crispy snack.

How good for you it it? Just go to your local grocery store and look on the back of the bag. Kale is high in vitamins A, B6, and C; fiber; manganese; calcium; copper; and potassium. It also is packed with important phytochemicals, beta-carotene, lutein, and carotenoids that may help fight certain cancers and protect vision. And antioxidants? Yes, it has those too.

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best lasagna

I stumbled upon this recipe in a rushed end of the work day ‘what are we going to eat for dinner tonight’ google search. I love mushrooms and the idea of lasagna reached out and hugged me. You know, the way warm carbs and cheese can do (don’t worry mom, there was a side of broccoli involved!). This is a true, made from scratch recipe that is surprisingly easy and impressive to boot. When we opened the oven the smell was ridiculous and even as I was eating it,  I  wanted to ask “who made this? it’s so good!” Its definitely not traditional lasagna, devoid of any ricotta cheese or marinara. But give it a chance, because I guarantee that this is the new lasagna for me and there’s no looking back.

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grapefruit, greatfruit?

We live in central Florida. You can’t travel anywhere without finding yourself on some long 2 lane (why only 2 lanes??) highway with nothing to look at but wide, flat fields of grazing cows and row upon row of perfectly placed trees or crops. And summertime–which starts in, oh, March and stretches until you find yourself sweating in shorts on Christmas Day–brings farmer’s markets, watermelon festivals , and the opportunity to rummage through some of those fruitful fields with a bucket and a dream. A dream of finding the most perfect blueberries, though those blueberries over there always look bluer. Right? Well, at church some friends brought in a bucketful of large, juicy grapefruit for everyone to pick up a few on the way out. And of course before I knew what was happening I was making promises of a sweet treat I’d make with grapefruit—grapefruit? Why did I say that? I don’t know that I’ve tasted a grapefruit more than twice and I didn’t remember liking it. Of course I found this cake recipe—through a website who I later found out got it from smittenkitchen (I should have known…I shouldn’t even bother searching for recipes anywhere else because inevitably all leads back to the mecca site). And when I praised the recipe to my sister I got a “grapefruit? do you like grapefruit?” But trust me, this is good stuff. A sweet citrus flavored summer treat.

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very cherry…

I got the idea for these cupcakes when perusing for hi-hat recipes. Someone had chosen to give them a Valentine’s Day makeover with a pink themed cherry vanilla twist. I paired the cupcake from that with a meringue icing recipe from the Food Network (throwing in a measure of cherry here too) to make this little pink treat. I wanted to sample a different style of icing than the traditional butter cream I love, and if you too are looking for something with a unique flavor and texture, meringue may be for you. It’s shiny, fluffy, and light as air. It lacks the sugar kick and serves as a more refreshing option which is great paired with a fruit flavor or garnish. The batter was a light shade of pink and in mini form they couldn’t get more adorable. You’ll soon notice that occasionally when I’m not content with the way the cupcakes look when they come out of the oven—either I don’t like the sleeves I used or they come out a little uneven—I will simply peel the paper off and flip them upside down. It gives them a fun, unique look and makes minis even harder to resist when there is one less step between you and them.

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