Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chili Rellenos with a Twist

Vegetarian. This is not a term used frequently in our household. Both Mark and I enjoy having meat in our meals and rarely are willing to give it up. That being said, one of Mark's favorite meals is actually vegetarian. This is a spin off of a Rachel Ray recipe for a healthy chili rellenos. My favorite part is all the cheese!!! I served it with Mexican Rice and Tortillas.

Healthy Chili Rellenos


4 large poblano peppers

6 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatos, drained well

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, eyeball it in your palm

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese


Preheat broiler to high.

Place poblanos under broiler or on hot grill and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.

While peppers are working, scrape the corn off the cobs or defrost frozen corn and dry by spreading out on clean kitchen towel. Heat 2 tablespoons light oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 then turn pan off.

Once the peppers have cooled a bit, chop them into inch size pieces and toss with the corn mixture and pour into a 9 by 13 baking dish. Cover with the Monterey Jack Cheese and broil until top is bubbly and cheese slightly browns.

Enjoy with Mexican Rice and warm tortillas :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poblano Chicken Corn Chowder

Mmmm, soup :-) That phrase makes me think of Joey of Friends when he is trying out with Ben, Ross's son, for a tomato soup ad. Oh how I miss the days of sitting around my college apartment, watching Friends with my wonderful roommates....

Anyways, back to cooking. This soup/chowder is perfect for a chilly day when all you want is some hearty soup. Or, a gross Houston day when you are trying your best to convince the weather that it is time to become cold. Oh Winter, where are you??

Poblano Chicken Corn Chowder


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 small poblano peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 5 cups diced (large pieces) grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream


Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, poblano peppers, salt, white pepper, cumin, and thyme. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the chicken bouillon. Add the chicken broth and cilantro, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the chicken and corn, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thick and the chicken is heated through. Shortly before the chowder is done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot liquid from the stockpot into the skillet, whisking constantly.

When the first cup of liquid is incorporated, add another 2 cups of liquid, 1 at a time. Pour the mixture in the skillet into the stockpot, whisking to blend. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the hot sauce, then the cream, and serve.

Picture to come at a later time :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pretzel Bites

Mark is obsessed with pretzels. Whether they are the really hard kind in a 1 lb bag from the grocery store or the soft, buttery awesomeness found only at Auntie Anne's, he loves them all. This being said, I tried to make some pretzel rolls about a year ago and they were ehh. Nothing that was so good that I have made the since then. This being said, we were invited to a small Halloween gathering and I thought it was a great opportunity to try making pretzels again. I thought it would be cute to make little bite size ones, so that is what I did.
They came out REALLY good. I bought some queso to dip them in and it was just ridiculously tasty. I currently can't find the recipe but I will update when I can!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce

It is amazing how easy it is to go to the grocery store and buy tomato sauce in a jar. There it is, all ready to come home with you and be poured on pasta. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I miss how simple that was. The problem...once you have had homemade sauce, the stuff in the jar will just not do. The absence of preservatives and unnecessary fat are just too good to not put the effort in. But, just because it is homemade doesn't mean it has to be difficult. And yes, there are still canned products involved but I think it is so much better than the Prego I was fed as a child. So here goes, my homemade tomato sauce recipe.

Tomato Sauce
1 28oz can Petite Diced Tomatos
3 6oz cans Tomato Paste
22oz water
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 package of sliced mushrooms
red pepper flakes

In a large pot saute the onion and garlic until extremely fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute for about 3 mintues. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Stir until a smooth consistency. Add all remaining spices. I forgot to measure so try your best! Let this simmer for about an hour. Enjoy!

Note: All tomato products used were Hunt's brand. Also, this freezes really well! Here are mine about to go into the freezer!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Attempt at a Healthy Week

Healthy...That word is so objective these days. To some it means low carb, or low fat, or no sugar or full of veggies. Well, for Mark and I it means not over loaded with cheese or bacon and usually includes one vegetable. You see, although I love cooking and I love food, both of those phrases have their limitations. I love cooking, but, only things that I love to eat. I love food, but only things that fit into a very limited number of categories. I am an extremely picky eater. So, since the holidays are not too far off, I figured it was time to try out some healthy recipes so that when December rolls around, bigger pants won't be on Santa's wish list. I tried this recipe, with some modifications, from Cooking Light, and I must say, it was actually pretty good. Looking at the picture it looks quite monochromatic but it was very appealing in person. I added the garlic bread because this whole healthy idea is a gradual need to cut out everything I love. Oh, and have I mentioned I love garlic? Like almost to an unhealthy degree? There have been mornings I wake up with garlic breath because I ate so much the night before, but that is another blog for another day. So, here it is, the Parmesan Chicken and Rice recipe that was my attempt at being healthy...

Parmesan Chicken and Rice
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1 t Minced Garlic
1/2 t Thyme
8 oz Sliced Mushrooms
2 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 C Dry White Wine
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
1 C uncooked Basmati Rice
1 3/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 C Grated Parmesan
1/4 C chopped fresh Parsley

Pour rice and chicken broth into a pot. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms; saute for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add chicken and saute until chicken is browned. Add wine, salt and pepper; cook until the liquid almost all evaporates. Stir in the cooked rice and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the rice has soaked up the rest of the liquid. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and parsley. ENJOY!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Trip to Denver...

So, for those of you who don't know, my husband is in Medical School at UT Houston. This is amazing; I am so happy that he is following his dream to become a doctor. The only draw back is that he is very busy, so busy that last year I found myself to be very lonely. I completely understand the commitment we have made to him going to school but as a very co-dependent person it has been a hard adjustment. Well, this year I decided I am tired of sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. I am perfectly capable of putting myself out there and meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. This is actually going fabulously!! I have made some amazing new friends and I have truly enjoyed reconnecting with old friends.
One of those friends is a sweet girl named Annika. Annika and I went to elementary, junior high and high school together. She was my doubles partner for four years in college and when you spend that much time with someone, you are destined to become friends. After high school we didn't chat as much but recently we have rekindled our friendship and as a way to continue putting myself out there and not being lonely, I took at trip to see her in Denver. I was a little nervous because I don't travel much without Mark but it turned out to be an awesome weekend!
My most favorite thing we did was Saturday morning we drove up to Boulder and went to a farmer's market. The weather was amazing and we got the yummiest food for lunch! I had Chicken and Basil Dumplings with a Spicy Peanut Sauce and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade. Oh dear they were good!!Yes, even when I travel my number one favorite thing to do is eat. I am pretty sure Mark and I plan our vacations based on where all we can eat! But ya, the weekend was amazing and I had so much fun with Annika; I just love friendships that can be picked up at any time! Also, this was good because Denver is one of the places I would consider moving for Mark's residency and after this trip, yes, I could move there :-)

English Muffins Breakfast Pizzas

Lately I have felt that Mark and I are eating the same things over and over again. Yes, they are yummy things, but I have been feeling we need to broaden our horizons when it comes to dinner. One of our favorite meals is breakfast for dinner, but sometimes I feel that there are only so many ways you can combine bacon and eggs. I mean, not that that is bad but I was pleasantly surprised to find the following recipe because it was scrumptious and incorporated a few veggies into our dinner which it is usually lacking. So, here they are, English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas :-)

English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas
6 English Muffins
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 t salt
10 dashes Cholula
10-12 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
3/4-1 C Shredded Mexican Cheese
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a pie plate, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and Cholula. Gently pull apart each English muffin and soak the inside side in the egg mixture--you want the egg mixture to soak into the bread, but you don't want the English muffin to be completely falling apart. Place the muffin, cut side up, on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on the top of the muffins. Add the green pepper and onions and then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and serve immediately.

Friday, August 27, 2010

May 17th's Meal Updated

So, after trying the Southwest Egg Rolls again in the oven I realized that they are just not anything like what I was hoping for. I am a true lover of Chili's Southwest Egg Rolls and that is what I wanted mine to be like. So, with a minor tweak in the recipe, we are much closer! Instead of baking them, I pan fried them instead. They came out crispy and flaky and wonderful. So, here is the updated recipe.

Southwest Egg Rolls

1 cup chopped grilled chicken (leftovers work great!)
2 cups canned corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 t ground cumin
½ t chili powder
1 t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 18 total needed)
Vegetable Oil

Directions:In a large bowl, combine everything except the egg roll wrappers. Mix well. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and wet the edges of the wrapper with a small amount of water. Place a heaping ¼ cup of the filling in the center. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Heat a large skillet on medium with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in it. Once the oil is hot, place the egg rolls seem side down in the skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove to a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the remainder of the egg rolls. ENJOY!

Note: I burnt mine. Yes, I tend to do that a lot lately. I did 1 minute and 10 seconds on each side and it was too long. Moral of the story, don't get distracted while making these!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"What Makes a Potato Gourmet?"

Cheese. Sour Cream. Onions.

So, I've got a little story for ya Ags. (Oh how I miss College Station today.) I met an amazing man back in the fourth grade. No, I didn't know that I would end up marrying him, but I did know that I had met someone special. Although he has tortured and teased me for years, I am so thankful that our wonderful God has graced me with such an amazing man. This amazing man has opened my eyes to so many new things. You see, there are very few people in the world that can get me to try new things. I am exactly like my mother in this regard. I like things the way they have always been and change brings about a great deal of stress. One of my worst areas of this is my taste palate. I hate trying new foods. I know what I like and I like what I know. Except....since dating Mark I have realized that there are foods out there that although seem scary, are actually wonderful.
The first thing I began to love after being introduced to it by Mark (well, actually his mother) was pork. I love pork tenderloin now. Who knew that I would love both white meats! Another is mushrooms...these days I will eat them in anything. Especially Mezzaluna from The Grotto (hint hint nudge nudge, Mark you should take me there). And last but not least is Sour Cream. My first reaction is still "GROSS" but I am getting better. Debbie (my mother in law) made these amazing potatoes one day and when I asked what was in them, she wouldn't tell me until I tried them. Well, after about 3 servings she finally told me....and heaven forbid there was Sour Cream in them! I was so mad that Mark hadn't told me but it worked out in the end. One of my new favorite meals is pork tenderloin with these Sour Cream potatoes. they are, my mother in law's Gourmet Potatoes.

Gourmet Potatoes

3 medium potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup sour cream
1/3 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes for 30 minutes (with the skin on). Let cool, preferably over night in the fridge. Peel the potatoes. Shred the potatoes using a food processor. (If you don't have a large enough food processor with the shredding blade, a large cheese grater will work too.) Mix together the potatoes, cheddar, sour cream and onions. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the mixture into a glass baking dish. I like to put half the mixture into a pie pan and the other half in a glass dish with a lid so I can freeze it and bake it later. If baking it all at once you should use something larger than a pie dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. If you like a crispy edge, like I do, broil them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. ENJOY!!!

Note: These are not very healthy but SO good. They go with just about any dinner and will leave your husband wanting more. You know, Mark and I are just never going to be that skinny couple. We love dishes like this too much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reconciling My Hatred of Meatballs

Meatballs. Gross. Or at least gross is what I used to think. I hate ground meat unless it is extremely well seasoned taco meat. But, I am also married to an Italian man who loves meatloaf and meatballs which means I needed to find a compromise. The meatloaf compromise is that whenever I will be out of town I buy the groceries for Mark to make his own meatloaf because NO ONE will ever get me to eat catchup-y ground beef....that for me is the epitome of disgusting. The meatball compromise is a new one though. I had never even thought of making meatballs because I don't like ground meet with my pasta. Really, I don't like any meat in my pasta. Pasta in my mind is to be enjoyed with cheese....lots and lots and lots of cheese. Parmesan, no Romano. So, I present to you my meatball compromise. The other night I made Chicken Meatball Subs. They were so delightful that we ate them two nights in a row, and probably could have eaten them a third night but we ran out of meatballs on night two. I merged a few recipes that I found through Google, which is what I always do, but these just came out amazing. This is rare for a first try of a recipe. Thank goodness it came out better than my first try at Chicken Divan (SO GROSS). So, here is the recipe for the meatballs and to make them into subs just add some garlic bread, mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce. SO GOOD, YOU MUST TRY THEM NOW!!!!!

Chicken Meatballs
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 c milk
3 oz sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 egg
1 lb ground chicken
3 T tomato paste
1 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about the time it takes to get everything else ready.
Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic with a little bit of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool while getting the rest of the ingredients together.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Make 14 meatballs and arrange them in two 9 by 13 pans.
Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs then bake until meatballs are just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Note: This was my first time using pancetta because I think it looks kinda yucky and smells even worse but it really helped with the moisture level in these. The chicken is so lean that you really need that extra fat content. If you can't find pancetta or it is too pricey, I am sure either canadian bacon or regular bacon could be substituted.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breakfast + Pizza = AWESOME

So it is a well known fact that breakfast for dinner is a great idea. Whoever said eggs were made only for the morning?? I tend to make brinner (breakfast at dinner) quite often but my go tos were getting a little old. I decided to try something new and boy, am I glad I did! I decided to make a breakfast pizza and it turned out really good. Mark enjoyed it as well which means it will be worked into our normal dinner rotation. The recipe is not complicated and sometimes those are the best kind.

Breakfast Pizza


½ recipe of Pizza Dough

1 T Melted Butter

1 t Parsley

1 t Oregano

1 T Garlic Salt

Shredded Mozzarella

Grated Parmesan

Bacon, baked and crumbled

2 eggs, 2 egg whites, scrambled dry


Stretch pizza dough out on a large cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle parsley, oregano and garlic salt evenly over the dough. Bake at 375 for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle a small amount of shredded mozzarella on the dough. Add the bacon and eggs and as much additional mozzarella as you like. Finish with some grated parmesan and return to oven for 5 minutes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Addiction to Mexican Food, Part 2

Taquitos. For me this brings up memories of my baby sitting years when I needed to feed young children something for dinner and all I could find in the freezer was taquitos. I now cringe at the fact that this is what I was feeding these growing bodies. Well, as it turns out the gross, fried, not even remotely healthy tequitos I remember can be changed into something that even Alton Brown would call "Good Eats". I stumbled upon a recipe and with a few changes made it into one of Mark's favorites meals that I cook. They are best served right out of the oven with a little avocado.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
2 T sliced green onions
2 c shredded cooked chicken
1 c grated mexican cheese
flour tortillas
garlic salt
melted butter

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle some garlic salt on top.Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Addiction to Mexican Food, Part 1

Mark and I both have an amazing love for Mexican food. Whether it is from a restaurant, a fast food place or a kitchen, there is a place in our hearts for all Mexican food. That being said, one of our goals is to eat at home more so that means we must get our Mexican food fix at home. I have done a pretty good job of recreating some of our favorite meals from restaurants and the following recipe is one of my greatest accomplishments in this area...Mexican Rice! I am very picky about what kind of rices I like but this one is just so darn good. Please try it, and then make some extra because it is really good as left overs too.

Mexican Rice
(sorry, no photo yet)

1 T Olive Oil
½ red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 cup rice
1 t chicken bouillon
2 cups water
½ cup corn

In a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add in spices and mix in rice.
Add in water and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and stir in corn.

Note: I highly suggest buying good quality spices. I like Penzy's spices but I realize that not everyone lives in Houston. They do have a website though and honestly...they are totally worth the extra price. Happy Eating!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My First Attempt at Re-finishing Furniture

I have a horrible habit of starting a hobby and then dropping it half way into it. I have scrapbook supplies, knitting yarn and needles, a sewing box, paint and canvasas and so many other items cluttering up my spare closet. It is rather sad to look at all of that supplies and think about how much money was spent on something I didn't truely love to do (with the exception of scrapbooking...that will resume when I have the space to do it). So, in order to prove to myself that I don't quit all things, I decided to pick a project and stick to it. Mark and I will hopefully be moving in the next couple of months to a bigger apartment and because of that, we need a few more pieces of furniture. I could have gone to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel (two of my current addictions) but instead of spending WAY too much money, I decided to peruse Craigslist and Kaanga for something used that I could refinish. I found lots of junk but finally stumbled upon a man that buys furniture at estate sales and garage sales and then sells them out of a storage facility near my parents' house. I bought this gem from him...

It started out in very good shape which was nice because there wasn't much repair needed. It only needed some sanding and a few coats of paint to make it look like something fun!

First, I sanded down all the varnished surfaces. This was actually very easy because my wonderful father let me borrow his electric sander.

I then applied a base layer of primer mixed with a little bit of lime green paint. Yes, you heard me correctly, lime green. You see, my goal is to have a black chest with a tiny bit of green showing through like it has been around for a while and had a long life.

I then did an all lime green layer. The piece looked SO ugly at this point. It is a good thing I was painting at my parents' house because Mark would have told me to give up at this point.

I then had to paint three layers of black paint. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but seeing that I was doing all my work at my parents house in very hot weather in a very humid Houston, it made it a month long process.

Finally, I sanded the black some so the green would show through. It looked so good at this point but I knew I needed a top coat. Here is where I made my biggest mistake. I went for the cheap, aerosol can of top coat. What I didn't know at the time of purchase was that spray paint and very hot weather do not mix well. The incredible heat causes the paint to dry before even making it to the furniture. This caused a gross white dust that had to be sanded off. After finally getting all of that off, without sanding through the black layers, I did a paint on top coat and it looked great. I added the awesome knobs I bought at Anthropologie and viola....awesome new chest!

Don't you love how Bacon wanted to be in the picture??? I love that little girl.

So, although it was a very exciting project that had a great end result, I do not think I will be doing much refinishing any time soon. I think I will wait until I have my own garage to work in and the weather isn't so misserable.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

So, sometimes when I try new things they are a bust, like my baked french toast this weekend. It was gross. I hate soggy food and it was soggy and groos. But then, sometimes, I try something new and it is awesome! Today was like the later scenerio. I made these bakes southwest egg rolls and they were so good! I highly suggest them to anyone!

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

1 cup chopped grilled chicken (leftovers work great!)
2 cups canned corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 t ground cumin
½ t chili powder
1 t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 18 total needed)

Directions:In a large bowl, combine everything except the egg roll wrappers. Mix well. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place a heaping ¼ cup of the filling in the center. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free. Dip a finger in water and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking. Serve with avocado!
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


After almost a year of wanting to purchase real vanilla beans I decided to take the plunge. I ordered 7 beans from Amazon and actually forgot about them. Mark and I make a daily trip to the mail box together and the day these arrived the whole mail area knew it! They smelled wonderful even in a plastic bag in an envelope in the mail box. The first thing I wanted to make was vanilla bean ice cream. Nothing says yummy like freshly churned, homemade vanilla ice cream. It was divine. I am posting the recipe but I warn you...if you eat half of this recipe in a week you will gain 4 pounds. I did and I am paying for it, big time. Extra elliptical time here I come!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 Vanilla Bean, Split And Scraped
3 cups 1/2 & 1/2
2 cups Sugar
8 Large Egg Yolks
3 cups Heavy Cream

Heat 1/2 & 1/2 and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over low heat, adding the vanilla bean insides to the mixture. Also, throw in the bean for extra flavor. (Remove before next step.) Turn off heat when mixture is totally heated.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until yolks are pale yellow and slightly thick. Temper the egg yolks into the pan containing the half-and-half mixture. Cook over low to medium-low heat until quite thick, stirring constantly. The mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer, then pour into a bowl with the heavy cream. Stir to combine.

Chill mixture completely, then freeze in an ice cream maker until desired consistency. Place container in freezer to harden for at least eight hours.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

Like a Big Pizza Pie....That's Amore!

I love pizza. Mark loves pizza. The problem? We like different toppings. Solution? Make both!
I found the crust recipe from another blog that I love, The Pioneer Woman. She really has it down for the perfect foundation for amazing toppings. This night Mark chose pepperoni and I chose artichoke and kalamata olives (Mark hates both of my choices). It ended up really good. Oh, and Mark had regular pizza sauce (homemade of course!) and I had pesto. Made for some of the best pizza I have ever had.



Here is the recipe for the pizza dough:
1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cup Warm Water
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Olive Oil
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it. The dough is really better if you let it sit in the fridge for a day or two.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Total Fail

I have completely failed at my blog lately. I have been slacking in the kitchen which means I am slacking on here! My goal for the next few weeks is try to perfect a few of the recipes that I have already tried and also try some new things that I have a bit leery of. Here is a list of the items I would like to either improve upon or try making for the first time...

Chicken Tequitos
Mac and Cheese

New Recipes:
Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Spicey Shredded Pork
Scones (probably either chocolate chip or cherry vanilla)
Vanilla Ice Cream
Soft Pretzles

Hopefully some of these will turn out well!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Espresso Ice Cream

Mark and I are having some friends over this evening so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use my new ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid. I have only used it one other time so I was very excited to try out a few different recipes. Yesterday I made both rocky road ice cream and espresso ice cream. I will save the rocky road for another post but today you will get my espresso ice cream recipe. I am a little frustrated with my ice cream maker at the moment though because I cannot use it without making a royal mess. I don't know if it is a flaw in the design or if I am just going about it the wrong way, but as a result of this, I spent a long time yesterday cleaning my kitchen. But, like most good things in life, it was worth the work. Both ice creams came out very tasty! Here is the recipe for the Espresso Ice Cream...

Espresso Ice Cream
3 cups half and half
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 T ground espresso coffee beans
1 T Kahlua
1 t vanilla extract

Heat the half and half over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add the half and half to the egg mixture VERY slowly (so you don't make scrambled eggs). Wipe out the pan and pour the entire mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes, until it has thickened and the cream coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour the cream through a sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, Kahlua and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled. (Overnight works great.)
Pour the espresso cream into an ice cream maker and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. Return to a container and freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

Notes: The ground espresso beans can be replaced with just regular coffee from the can but I think the freshness from the espresso beans is worth the extra trouble. Also, the finer you ground the beans the better. The larger coffee grinds leave an odd texture and get stuck in your teeth easier, and that is just not attractive.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken Parm Sandwiches

First, I was told that my mom has started reading this, so, Hey mom! Welcome!

Ok, now onto the food. Lately Mark and I have been eating these sandwiches pretty often. They aren't exactly easy or quick but they are ridiculously tasty. I usually serve them with fruit or a Caesar salad.

Chicken Parm Sandwiches (makes two sandwiches)
1 chicken breast or 6 chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 Kaiser rolls
Garlic Salt

Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
Trim the fat and tendons from the chicken. If using the breasts, pound until very thin and cut in half, creating 4 pieces. If using the tenders this is not necessary.
In three separate bowls place the following: bowl one - flour and salt and pepper, bowl two - egg with a splash of water, bowl three - breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Heat a skillet over medium heat with enough olive oil to just barely cover the bottom of the pan.
Take the chicken pieces, one at a time, and cover them with flour, dip in the egg wash, and roll generously in the breadcrumb mixture. Place into the hot skillet and repeat with remaining chicken.
Flip chicken after about 3 minutes and cook until both sides a nice, goldeny brown.
Remove chicken from skillet and place on a roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, cut the kaiser rolls in half and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Remove chicken from oven and switch on the broiler. Toast the kaiser rolls to desire crispness.
To assemble the sandwiches take the bottom of a kaiser roll, spread on some tomato sauce, place as much chicken as desired, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on it and more tomato sauce and top with the remaining half of the kaiser roll.
Ta da! You are done. Now, this takes a while to prepare, anywhere from 30 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on how many times you have done it, and it will be gone in about 5 minutes. It is so worth it though! They are like a big Italian meal all squished between two awesome pieces of bread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Porcini Mushroom Tortellini

I would love to say that I spend hours making my own pasta and filling for these amazing tortellinis but I must not tell lies. They are ready made from the HEB frozen section. They are Central Market brand and they are divine!! Mark and I eat them at least once every two weeks and often once a week. I boil them as directed but then I saute them in olive oil and garlic to finish them. No other sauce is needed; actually, other sauces hid the awesome flavor which was a crime. I usually serve them with a ceaser salad, nothing fancy. This meal, start to finish, takes about 20 minutes and is my favorite go to meal! It feeds Mark and I and leaves left overs for my lunch at work which is great because I am SO tired of sandwiches and goldfish. So yes, today is quite a boring post, but it is one of my favorite dinners so go try it!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dried Cranberry and Almond Cookies

I made one of the variations of these at Christmas but I have since tried a few others. The original recipe was Dried Cherry and Almond cookies but I quickly learned that my grocery store only offers one kind of dried cherries, and they are $16.99 a pound!! That is a little expensive for our budget so this time I tried dried cranberries. They were just as good and actually much easier because there was no chopping necessary. Here is the recipe for what is currently my favorite cookie!

Dried Cranberry and Almond Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
handful of dried cranberries (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

In a larger mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon and salt until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour gradually and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Stir in the almonds and cranberries.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a skinny, long log. About 12-14 inches long and about 1 to 1.5 inches diameter. Wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the log crosswise into 2 halves. Put one half back in the fridge so it doesn't get warm while you are making the first batch. Cut the remaining half into 1/2 inch slices. Transfer the dough slices to the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake about 14-17 minutes, until the edges are golden, almost brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and repeat with the other half of the dough.

The original recipe had an icing that I will post the recipe for but I found that I prefer them without the icing. They are plenty sweet without the icing and I think it over powers the flavor of the actual cookie. I do not recommend using it, but to each their own.

Put 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of water. Add more water as needed until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies and let them sit until the icing has hardened. Here is what the final product looks like with icing...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Immitation Ice Cream

Among my many food loves is ice cream. I like it from an ice cream parlor, the freezer section at the grocery store, homemade, a name it, I will eat it. The only problem with this love is that ice cream is not very healthy in massive quantities. I have tried to trim the calories, the fat, the sugar...just about everything that makes ice cream good. Nothing tastes like the real deal though and then I just feel bad for putting chemicals and artificial flavors in my body. There really is no substitute for ice cream but I have found something that is frozen and delicious and has the texture of ice cream that is....wait for it....healthy! Here is a recipe for One Ingredient Ice Cream...

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Bananas, ripe but not overly brown

Peel the bananas and break into 2 inch chunks.
Freeze chunks until frozen.
Place chunks in food processor and pulse until the substance looks like pie crust dough (kind of balled up).
Use a spatula to smooth out the puree.

It tastes very banana-y but it has a great texture and it a great dessert. I mixed in some Nutella and it made it divine!! Took away some of the healthy factor, but it was very good. I plan on trying to mix in some frozen strawberries next time to see how that tastes....I will let you know!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Queen Bed Frame for Sale

So I am taking a short break from food posts to try and sell our Queen bed frame. Mark and I are upgrading to a King size Tempur Pedic bed, yay!

The bed is from Star Furniture and is called the Artisan Leather Platform bed. It is dark cherry wood with a leather, padded headboard and wood railing all the way around. It is only 7 months old and looks brand new. Here is the link to the website...

Here are actual pictures...

We are asking for $450 (brand new from Star Furntiture is $599) but I am open to negotiations! If you are interested, leave a comment or email me at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Chicken

"I do not like them, Sam I am, I do not like Green Eggs and Ham."
Well, if Sam won't eat green food then he would have been quite unhappy in my household yesterday.

I am attempting to try out more recipes so that Mark and I can have more variety (aka nutrition) in our diets. This is very difficult because we both have many dishes that we love that we would be more than happy to eat all the time. But, as it turns out, pasta every night is not the healthiest way to live, so instead we are branching out. Last night I made a variation of a recipe that I found on a slow cooker blog. The original recipe was called Green Pepper Chicken but I decided to spice it up a bit by using Pablano Peppers. I also cooked it in the oven rather than a slow cooker. It came out very tasty and will be a versatile meal in the future. Here is the recipe!

Green Chicken

3 chicken breasts
2 pablano peppers, chopped with seeds removed
1 can diced green chilis
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 t basil
1 t garlic salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 325*.

Put the chicken in the bottom of an oven safe dish (that has a lid) and add pablano peppers, the whole can of chilis and diced onions. Add the basil, garlic salt and black pepper. Stir around so everything is equally coated with spices. Pour in the 1/4 cup of water. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 90 minutes (on in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours).

Remove the chicken from the dish and set aside. Use an immersion blender and blend the remaining ingredients in the dish. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup shredded cheese until fully combined. Slice the chicken and return to dish. Turn oven up to 360* and bake the dish for an additional 15 minutes.

The meat can be served in many ways: in a tortilla, over rice, as fajita meat....basically anything! Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nutella is my Vice

Some people are day time television junkies, some people can't resist smoking, some people turn to booze, but me, I have a weakness for tasty sweets. One of my most sinful indulgences is Nutella. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a chocolate hazlenut spread that can be found in the peanut butter isle. I first had it on a crepe with bananas at Sweet Eugene's in College Station with my good friend Sarah Pat. Ever since then I have been addicted. I have tried it on just about anything from tortillas to fruit to pretzles to toast, but now, I have made...Nutella Ice Cream!!!!

My brother and sister in law got me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer and this was my first test to see if I could make edible ice cream. Not only is it edible, it is probably one of my favorite desserts now! It is so creamy and delicious, everyone should try it!

The recipe is easy, the hard part is all the waiting time involved...

Nutella Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
In a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until the eggs become thick and pale yellow. This should take about 4 minutes.
Pour a small amount of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This should take 8-10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium sized bowl and pour the warm mixture through the strainer to prevent and lumps in the ice cream. Stir in the vanilla and Nutella until it dissolves. It will still have small flecks of Nutella in it. Chill the mixture for at least 8 hours but no more 16 hours. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow directions to freeze. When ice cream has formed, transfer to a sealable container and freeze for up to a week.

I hope everyone enjoys this as much as Mark and me!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Soup and Cornbread

It has been unusually cold here in Houston over the past few days and nothing tastes better in cold weather than a warm bowl of soup. My mom is out of town for a few days so we invited my dad over last night for some Chicken Enchilada Soup and homemade Cornbread. They were both AMAZING!!! I have never made cornbread before but it went over very well. It is actually a little bit funny because all my life I have loved my mom's cornbread. For those of you who know my mom, she does not cook much, so for me to covet one of her recipes is a rare thing. I decided to call her up and find out this awesome recipe of hers...only to find out that it is the recipe on the back of the Aunt Jamima corn meal box! Guess it wasn't a family recipes after all. It turned out very good though, I made both mini muffins and normal muffins and they were both really good. Between the three of us (Mark, my dad and me) we ate all of the mini ones! Here is one of the normal muffin ones...

The Chicken Enchilada came out amazing! I forgot to take a picture of it in the pot so instead you get to just imagine how good it was. This is one of my favorite recipes that I have tried since Mark and I got married because we both love it and it is rather healthy. The only draw back is that it takes a while but this can be avoided if you get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead of boiling your own chicken. Other than is so easy! Here is the recipe:


3 cooked shredded chicken breasts (or a mix of white and dark meat of your choice)

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup premade queso (we used HEB brand)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

1 tablespoon powdered enchilada sauce mix

1-4 teaspoons minced jalepeno (depends on how spicy you like things)


~Saute the onions in a soup pot until soft, add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes

~Add broth, queso, tomatoe sauce and enchilada sauce mix to pot and stir until combined

~Add jalepeno and simmer for 10 minutes

Store overnight and reheat the next day for the best flavor

I hardly ever eat soup the day I make it...same goes for my tomatoe sauce. If you let things sit overnight you will find a much deeper, richer flavor. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Cookies Part 2 of 2

Although Christmas is over, I never actually finished
talking about my Christmas cookies. The picture
shows all of the goodies (except my puppy chow) that I brought for my family to indulge on. My favorite cookies are the ones on the left that for some reason are all blue (I did blue, green and red ones). They are an old sugar cookie recipe from one of my Dad's co-workers' wife. They are the most amazing cookies in the world. My first batch came out awful so I decided to head to the Elkin household to see what I was doing wrong. My dad spent an afternoon teaching me how to make the best, most fluffy cookies. They were quite the success. I know that I will be making these every year for as long as people will eat them. The only draw back was that Mark saw how much margerine is in he won't eat them!
On another note, I got a lot of kitchen related gifts for Christmas this year and I am looking forward to blogging my new experiments. Specifically, I got a Crock-Pot. I am really looking forward to trying it out and seeing what all kinds of yummy creations it can produce. Wish me luck!