Wednesday, September 15, 2010


In a few short hours I will be awake and on my way to Seattle! Be on the lookout for some delicious food updates from the Northwest!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Panko-Crusted Shrimp

Oh this shrimp was so so so so gooood! I really wish I had about 20 right here in front of me so I could pop them in my mouth one after the other enjoying their crispy spicy from-the-sea yumminess. I have had a bag of frozen shrimp sitting in my freezer begging to be thawed, prepared and eaten. Well, I pulled out my cookbooks that have been temporarily packed due to my impending move across town and found the perfect recipe. Thanks to Cook Yourself Thin, I enjoyed my shrimpies and I was left with a stomach that was extremely satisfied. So satisfied in fact, that I think I'm going to buy myself some more shrimp next week and maybe throw a little Sunday Night Football party featuring these little delights of the sea.

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
2 tablespoons creamy dill mustard (I used dijon mustard)
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped (I omitted due to an empty pantry)
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied

1. Combine mayo, mustard, and capers in a small bowl for dipping sauce.
2. Preheat oven to 475°. Whisk egg whites with 1/4 tsp salt until frothy. Toss together crumbs, cayenne and remaining salt in a shallow dish.
3. Dip each shrimp in egg whites, dredge in panko crumbs and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Bake until shrimp cooks through and crumbs are golden, about 12 minutes.

Serve hot with the dipping sauce.


Sauteed Bok Choy and Broccoli

I got this recipe out of one of my most favorite cookbooks, a gift from my dear friend Courtney. It is an Everyday Food cookbook from Martha Stewart. The best thing about these cookbooks (there are several of them, I recommend buying them all!) is that there is a picture for EVERY recipe! I know pictures shouldn't be the reason you try a new recipe, but honestly, they sure to make looking for something new to try a lot more fun.

This veggie combo makes a great side dish and goes with just about anything. Pair it with chicken or tofu for a delish oriental twist.

As adapted from "Everyday Food" pg. 249

1 head bok choy
1 bag frozen broccoli or 1 fresh head of broccoli
1 cup chopped mushrooms (I took liberty in adding this, but what the heck, I had some on hand)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (I didn't have any, so I didn't use any, but I'm sure it's great with it)
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Red Pepper Flakes (not in the original recipe, but I like a little spice)

1. Wash and pat dry bok choy, chop the greens
2. Heat oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and garlic on medium
3. Add bok choy and broccoli
4. Cover and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes
5. Press the ginger in a sieve over the skillet to release its juices. Stir and serve.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Even more NM...Chicken Salad with Mandarin Orange Souffle

This menu was an honest-to-goodness travesty when it came to deciding between delicious items to order. I mean really, how can you choose between two, three...make that four things that all sound like the best thing you could possibly ever taste? It was a good thing there were two of us so we could same the other one's choice de jour. 
Steph decided on this luscious chicken salad that was paired with NM's famous mandarin orange souffle. The chicken salad was topped with sliced almonds and man-oh-man, the ingredients were perfectly matched with the celery, chicken, light and flavorful mayo creating the base that was topped with the perfect crunch. The mandarin orange souffle was a Heavenly treat that was light and fluffy and full of rich flavor. You could tell the orange was definitely fresh and not some sort of "from concentrate" flavor. Sooo good.

NM continued...Three Cheese Quiche

Talk about a fluffy, buttery, light piece of Heaven in your mouth. Please take note: order the Three Cheese Quiche at Neiman. Ahmaazing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Neiman Marcus Delights

Uh muh gawd. To look at a picture of this Heavenly carb delight teases my tastebuds and make me yearn to once again be seated at the Neiman Marcus Fashion Cafe. Steph told me of this delicious, pop over and the impact it had on your life once the flaky and buttery bits hit your mouth, but let me tell you, I had no idea. Then, to add the strawberry butter to your palate, someone get me some water because I am starting to get all hot and bothered again just thinking about this. 

Seriously, if you get a chance to go to a Neiman Marcus cafe for brunch/lunch/dinner or really just a snack anytime during the day, be sure to ask for 2 of their speciality pop overs. You won't regret it. And please, send one to me ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

PB & Chocolate Pie

I really can't think of two ingredients that go better together. I absolutely love peanut butter and chocolate. Let's be honest, each is so delicious on their own, why wouldn't you want to combine them? I made this pie for my church at our annual soup supper and it was quite the hit. I even had women coming into the pie room reserving pieces of my pie!

If you are a pb and choc fanatic like I am, you will not regret making this pie. Did I mention it is pretty much the easiest thing EVER to make? Because it is.

Recipe courtesy of Kraft foods Food & Family magazine

1 pkg. (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz) Jello-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, divided
1 Oreo Pie Crust (6 oz)
3 squares Baker's Semi Sweet Chocolate

1. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup peanut butter until well blended. Add milk and dry pudding mix; beat 2 min. Whisk 1 cup Cool Whip; spoon into crust. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, microwave remaining Cool Whip and chocolate in microwaveable bowl on high 1 1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each minute. Cool completely.
3. Spread chocolate mixture over pudding layer in crust. Microwave remaining peanut butter in small microwaveable measuring cup or bowl 30 sec.; stir. Drizzle over pie. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

Lick your lips and devour your yummy pie!

Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm back, I'm back! I have been in a baking rut this past month and the only thing I can equate it to is the oven-temperatures outside. Because every time I step out into the lovely summer Nebraska weather I feel like I'm sitting on the lower rack of my oven, I find it slightly difficult to get home to my AC'd house and turn on my delicious-treat-making oven!

Well, after my best friend Courtney of Ice Cream & Wine sent me an article of 10 delicious cupcake recipes from, I was inspired once again! As I played the slideshow of my luscious choices over and over one cake in particular stood out again and again. Although I plan on making every flavor, the winner for the weekend is Sweet Potato-Pecan with Cream Cheese Frosting. For any of you who know me or have read through my other sweet treat recipes, you are well-aware that I do not like frosting. Yes, many think I am slightly nutty but I just can't stand a sugary gritty sweet texture in my mouth. And that is not what she said...

These cupcakes are absolutely superb and I hope you enjoy them as much as my friends and family did! I also thought of a way to cut some calories but haven't experimented with it yet. Use 1/2 cup butter instead of a full cup, use 1 1/4 cup sugar instead of 2 cups, add an extra egg and add 1/3 cup applesauce. Just a thought, I'll let you know how that turns out when I whip it up!

Recipe courtesy of

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 large eggs
1 (16 oz) can mashed sweet potatos (I could only find cut canned sp's but with a little hand mixer action, mashed was no problemo!)
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting mixed with ground cinnamon for an extra kick!

1. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan
2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once after 4 minutes
3. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition
4. Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice and vanilla. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in toasted pecans. Place baking cups in muffin pans, spoon batter into cups, filling 2/3 (I did about 3/4 because I like big cupcakes!) full
5. Bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove immediately from pans, and cool 50 minutes to 1 hour or until completely cool. Decorate cupcakes with frosting and garnish if you so desire!

Oh, and be ready to see these more often when C and I open our cupcake shop. Girls can dream.

Mmmmm...the aftermath of my mom and I taste testing the finished product.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jalapeno Hummus

I have been making this delish dip for quite a while now and don't know why I haven't posted it. I just made a fresh batch today and wish my dad was here to try it. He was a hummus newbie until just last week and now he is practically an indulgent. I normally like to make my own hummus but the one he happened to first taste was a yummy hot and spicy red pepper flavor. He questioned it and inquired what to use it for. He was extremely interested to find out that you can use it for just about anything. I told him I put some in a pita with some fresh veggies for a light and tasty lunch. He wasn't too keen on that idea. I told him that I also dip my vegetables in it and that it's a good replacement for ranch dressing. Again, didn't trip his trigger. Then, I told him that he can dip chips and crackers in it. THAT got his attention. If he can dip chips and crackers in something...anything, he will.

This is a recipe all my own and you may notice that I do not use Tahini paste. It's not that I don't like it, it's really just that I don't have it on hand and every time I go to the grocery store I seem to forget to pick some up. I don't know how this would taste with that addition, but I sure like it without and it is even a favorite of my friend's boyfriend. He requests that I bring it whenever we have a get together. I guess I'm doing something right!

1 can of cooked chickpeas (reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid)
3 small jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I used garlic in the jar)
crushed red pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine the can of chickpeas (with liquid) and half of the garlic in a sauce pan and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes
2. Mix cooked chickpeas (drained), jalapeno, the rest of the garlic, crushed red pepper and EVOO in a food processor or blender
3. Blend until smooth and slowly add the reserved 1/3 cup of liquid to smooth the mixture out


Monday, July 5, 2010

Patriotic Parfaits

Happy Fourth of July! I have been so excited for the 4th this year so that I could try out all kinds of fun red, white and blue cakes, cupcakes, breakfast treats and such when my mom dropped the bomb. She is back on weight watchers and would refuse to eat any of my delicious concoctions. What! Seriously? Even for our amazing country's birthday? Shame shame. I love my mother dearly and therefore, I abided her wishes and held back from creating anything containing deliciousness such as butter, oil, sugar, love, bacon get the picture. After pondering what such delights I could whip up, I decided that fruit parfaits fit the bill and I could even add some love back into those.

This was an extremely easy dessert and we even got my if-it's-not-chocolate-for-dessert-I-don't-eat-it dad to try it! Berries are in season and are on sale, so stock up and impress your friends and family with this sweet treat!

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 instant sugar-free white chocolate pudding mixes
2 cups blue berries
2 cups blackberries
4 cups raspberries
whipped topping (I used the reduced or low fat so my mom felt better about it)
mint to garnish

1. Whip up the pudding according to the directions and let chill
2. Simply layer the pudding and berries in fun clear glasses to showcase the colors and layers
3. I put my whipped topping in a bag and cut a bottom corner to pipe it on top

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vanilla Mango Minicakes with Fresh Blackberries

Ok, so I catered my first event last week and was I ever excited. Pretty recently, a lot of my friends and coworkers have learned how much I enjoy cooking and baking and have been rather intrigued. My roommates tell me they just don't understand how I can be in the kitchen for 3 to 4 hours prepping, baking, plating and frosting. They told me to sit down, take a load off. Then, when I reply that unless they want me to leave some goodies at home I better not sit down...they scream in answer, "keep working, keep going, we want treats!" Ha! I am of course more than happy to make some extra for them and love their input on my new recipes.

For a friend's "golden birthday" she threw a bash downtown and asked me if I would be willing to make the food for her party! I was super excited and humbled that she wanted me to provide the goodies for her birthday and wanted to make sure I did a great job and made all of her favorite foods. She had known about my Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and really wanted to try those, so put it on the list! She also loves all kinds of dips so I wanted to prepare some delish things to use those great scooper chips. Guacamole and fresh salsa it is!

The last thing I came up with was another sweet treat. Since I was already making a rich chocolate cupcake, I wanted to switch up the flavors and make a lighter fruity cake. I recently bought a new baking pan and was dying to try it out. It is like a muffin pan but instead of each cake being round they are all mini squares. So cute! These vanilla mango mini cakes were light and fluffy and had just a perfect hint of sweet mango flavor. I am definitely going to be making these again!

1 French Vanilla cake mix
1 bag of frozen chopped mango
1 white chocolate sugar-free instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup water

Mango Lime Tilapia

Bananarama Nut Muffins

Hot and Heated Shrimp

Oooo, this was a good one! Something super easy and simple I seriously threw together one night when I was craving something a little heated. Here's the scoop; I had quinoa to use up, I had some frozen shrimpies that were on sale during a summer extravaganza, some broccoli florets and fresh farmer's market tomatoes. 

A lot of recipes, especially cooking and not baking,  you see on my blog come completely from my little creative brain. I don't follow recipes if I'm just looking to make something from what I have in my kitchen. This concoction is one of those such creations. 

Frozen devained shrimp (thawed)
Frozen broccoli florets
Tomatoes; cut into bite-size pieces
Quinoa (1/2 quinoa for 1 cup water)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Thai Chili Garlic Sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
LIme Juice

1. Prepare quinoa
2. Saute broccoli, tomato and shrimp in EVOO. Add Chili Garlic Sauce and red pepper. 
3. Let ingredients and flavors marinate until all are happily married :)
4. Scoop the goodies over the quinoa and top with a squirt of lime juice to tame the heat.


Summer Steak, Shrimp and Shandy

Coconut Lime Rice

I have to say, this rice was one of the most delicious side dishes I have made to-date! It had such wonderful flavor, it will definitely become a regular at my table. I was so enthused to make this dish and I am so glad that it turned out ever so yummy-in-my-tummy.  

I would suggest this rice with just about any main meal, but think it goes especially well with fish. It would also be great alongside some chicken lettuce wraps or tofu. I first discovered this recipe from a coworker who suggested one very similar. Then, I found a recipe on for coconut lime rice and made a few changes for substitutions that I had. I did not have basmati rice on hand, but my kasmati worked just as well. I also do not keep coconut oil in stock but canola did the trick! I also used low-fat coconut milk instead of full-fat and the flavor was superb.

If you are looking for an easy summer twist on rice I highly recommend this coconut lime rice!

1 cup basmati/kasmati rice
1 tablespoon coconut/canola oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup low-fat coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 lime, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse rice until the water runs clear; drain. 
2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir rice and coconut flakes for 3 to 4 minutes. I may have cooked my rice a little too long because it got a little browned, but in the end I think it just added more flavor!
3. Stir in the lime juice, then add the coconut milk, chicken broth, salt and lime zest. 
4. Bring to a low boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. 
5. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
6. Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and season with pepper.

Morning Glory Muffins

2 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1/4 coconut flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line muffin pan with liners or grease
3. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and add the carrot, zucchini, raisins, nuts, coconut and apple
4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla, then combine with the dry ingredients until just moistened
5. Fill muffin tin about 1/2 full
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Jelly Filled Crepes

Mmmmazing Morning Crepes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Your Average Tomato Soup

I never grew up eating tomato soup. I knew I didn't like tomato juice. Seriously, the smell of V8 or anything like that kind of made me a little nauseous. The weird twist is that I LOVE tomatoes, I could actually eat a tomato like an apple. Beware: if you eat too many this way, you will get sores in your mouth. So does not feel good. And pretty much prohibits you from enjoying the other scrumptious you choose to indulge in. After going to college and joining my sorority where we had a cook prepare our meals for us, I was introduced to the Friday weekly staple; Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I was cautious, wary, guarded. Should I try this combination that was always a faux pas in my childhood home? Was this going against the food regulations I was brought up with? Of course, I couldn't resist.

So I admit, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup made in bulk for 100 girls was no gourmet treat. But, it did challenge me to test my own culinary skills in search of a magnificent tomato soup that even my mother, who still to this day refuses to eat tomato soup, would eat. I think I might have found it. With a hint of sweetness from the red bell pepper and carrots combined with a bite from the garlic, the flavors mingle and in a delightful and haunting manner. the Please enjoy my homemade tomato soup and try it with my grilled cheese sandwich!

Serves 6
Total time (including prep): 2 hours

5 fresh large tomatoes; chopped
5 carrots; chopped
1 white onion; sliced and diced
1 red bell pepper; chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
14 oz box of Chicken Stock (I used reduced sodium)
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper


1. In a large soup pot combine chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, red bell pepper, garlic, white wine and EVOO on Medium heat. Cover with lid and stew for 20 minutes stirring occasionally, also adding cayenne pepper and salt and pepper halfway through.
2. Add chicken stock and continue to cook 20 minutes.
3. The final step is to blend the soup. For this you can use many different avenues. I used a blender, but you could also use a hand blender or a food mill.
4. Blend until slightly chunky then transfer back to soup pot.
5. Serve with cheese or even some fresh herbs. Enjoy!!

Edamame and Tomato Spring Pasta

Yum. This pasta is so yummy, light and flavorful it would be an absolute hit served hot or cold. After realizing my complete love for White Stilton cheese with lemon peel, I needed to find new and creative ways to utilize the gigantic block I purchased. tehehe :) Well, adding it to this light pasta was the perfect idea. I wanted a spring dish that would fill me up but also give me some kicks of flavor. I NEED to have flavor in my pasta otherwise it just tastes like chewy calories. Not so yummy.

I hope you can take a few ideas from this pasta and make it your own, or try mine exactly to recipe, I promise you won't regret it! Enjoy!


Spiral Pasta
Roma tomatoes; cubed
Dash of lemon juice
Basil pasta sprinkle mix
Salt and pepper
White Stilton with Lemon Peel
Swirl of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Bring water to a rolling boil and add pasta, cooking to al dente.
2. Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Add EVOO, edamame, tomatoes, lemon juice, basil sprinkle and salt and pepper. Mix and combine until flavors are all infused with lemon and EVOO.
3. Plate and grate White Stilton over the top.

Creamy Fiesta Quinoa

Ok, I am totally loving quinoa right now, thanks to my Bestie, Courtney of ICE CREAM & WINE. After experimenting with her Salsa Quinoa recipe, I decided to venture out on my own. As you know, my favorite thing to do in the kitchen is experiment with new things and make recipes more my style.  This dish is not overly spiced, but the combination of vegetables and addition of sour cream make it work. By using Rotel tomatoes that have green chiles included, a nice smooth heat is naturally added that permeates throughout the entire dish. This seed and vegetable party on a plate is extremely filling while also very healthy! 



1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can rotel tomatoes (drained)
1 can pinto beans
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Combine water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring to boil. Stir occasionally. Cover and cook until quinoa has soaked up the water.
2. In a separate pan, heat EVOO, pinto beans, tomatoes and corn until corn is completely thawed and mixture is heated through.
3. Pour quinoa in with the bean mixture and combine. Stir in the sour cream until creamy.
4. Serve with fresh parsley.

Turkey and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

One of the simple pleasures in life; A grilled cheese sandwich. It sounds so simple in its namesake, but there are so many ingredients and flavors you can add to make it complex in its taste. I like to experiment with such additions and last night I really felt like putting together a dreamy grilled cheese. The farmer's market has begun and I went down early Saturday morning with my friend Heidi to sample the local fare. While there, I came upon the stand of one of my favorite bakeries, Great Harvest Bread Company. Oh how I love their baked goods. The best feature of Great Harvest is that they let you sample the breads of the day! After a long day of bike riding, my brother and I like to stop at a Great Harvest and get a giant slab of bread lathered in butter and honey to quiet our growling stomachs. 

I knew that I had to use my honey whole wheat Great Harvest bread for my perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes, I think I am a little lactose-intolerant (you may be wondering at this point why the heck I am making a grilled cheese, I know.) Well, since I am self-diagnosed (again, weird) I figure as long as I don't drink a lot of milk (I opt for chocolate soy) eat a ton of yogurt or overdo the cheese intake I should be good, right? Anyway, on this certain occasion I decided to try a new kind of cheese on my sandwich. 

"Have you laughed today?" You have probably heard that cute blonde woman on tv ask you this very question daily since the creation of the Laughing Cow cheese. I am here to tell you, I have laughed today and I enjoyed every giggle following. Using a slice of the Laughing Cow cheese spread on this sandwich along with some sliced deli turkey, red pepper flakes, sauteed mushrooms and a small fistful of shredded Colby Jack cheese made this ordinary weeknight grilled cheese sandwich extraordinary!



2 thin slices of bread (I used a thick honey whole wheat bakery bread)
2 oz sliced deli turkey meat
1 slice Laughing Cow cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Shredded Colby Jack cheese (to taste)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Butter for the bread (I actually used I can't Believe it's not Butter spray butter)


1. Saute your mushrooms in the EVOO in a medium sized saucepan. Remove from pan when finished.
2. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese on one slice of bread. Butter the other side. Lay the buttered side down in the pan you used for your mushrooms.
3. Place the mushrooms on top of the bread in the pan, then add the turkey, Colby Jack cheese and red pepper flakes.
4. After the first side is browned, flip the sandwich to get the other side.
5. Wait until cheese is gooey and bread is browned, then take a bite and be ready for an explosion of yummy delicious cheesy goodness!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rosemary and Thyme Potato Soup

My Aunt Mary makes the absolute best potato soup. I am not even kidding right now. I am a lover of all things soup. Any time of the year, any time of the day and pretty much any flavor. Once one becomes a soup connoisseur such as myself, you can be a little more picky and snobbish when it comes to what kinds of soup you choose to indulge in. Sorry, but a non-flavorful starchy bland potato soup just isn't going to cut it. Fortunately, this particular soup du jour is full of flavors that burst in your mouth, a fragrance that wafts around your head enticing you to take the plunge and dip that spoon right in the pot and eat, eat eat!

The two main things that really make this soup a party in your mouth where everyone is invited are rosemary and thyme. I mean, wow. These ingredients make this soup extra special and one that you can be sure will please anyone!

Feel free to try some add-ins such as corn, broccoli, cheese or even tomatoes. Enjoy!


6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 white onions, chopped
2 cups of frozen corn
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk


1. Place potatoes and water in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until tender
2. In another saucepan, saute onion butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. 
3. Slowly add the milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and corn with cooking liquid; heat through.
4. Use a potato smasher and smash half of the mixture so that there are still some chunks but it is a creamy soup.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cranberry Spring Salad

My beautiful and fantastic sister in law has a special word for your favorite treat to get before the meal. You know, the starter, the thing that satiates your appetite before the meal. The Appeteaser. You have to know my sister in law to fully appreciate how she goes about picking out her teasers. She drops coy and brilliantly placed hints so that you think you are the one who picked out the teaser. She is a genius. Well, this particular teaser that I created may not exactly fit her guidelines, it's more of a side, but it was just my style and simply delish.

I was able to use my indulgence, White Stilton with Lemon Peel, and make my own simple vinaigrette that brought out all of the fresh spring flavors. I suggest this salad as a teaser for any meal, especially because it combines healthy ingredients but tastes rich and sinful.

Spring Salad mix (I used spring romaine)
Dried cranberries
White Stilton with Lemon Peel; crumbled
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lime Juice

1. Mix salad, cranberries and crumbled cheese in a salad bowl
2. Combine EVOO and lime juice 2:1 and whisk together
3. Drizzle dressing over the salad and dig in!

*For a special addition that I will add next time, sprinkle some pecans or slivered almonds on top

Tofu with Veggies

I may be a born and bred Midwestern Nebraska girl, but I have a soft spot in my stomach for tofu. Always have, always will. I remember the first time I tried the soybean curd. I was with Grandma at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant and she ordered the tofu with vegetables. I was pretty skeptical (I was only a ripe age of 12 at the time) but I bravely placed a chunk of the white spongy meat substitute in my mouth. It had soaked up all of the hot and spicy flavor from the brown sauce and vegetables and was bursting with seasonings that delighted all of my taste buds and left me wanting more.

I have since tried many different ways of cooking my own tofu that have resulted in both success and defeat. This particular dish I consider a success and I suggest all of you checking out your local grocer or specialty grocery store for their variety of tofu. I happened to find this pre-seasoned Cajun tofu and knew it would be perfect paired with bean sprouts, broccoli and rice with some extra Cajun seasoning I always have on hand.

This may not be quite up to the standards of PF Changs or even Grandma's favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be making it again and maybe even trying it with some tomatoes and edamame!


Cajun tofu block, halved
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli
1 cup brown rice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cajun seasoning


1. Heat EVOO in a cast iron skillet on Medium and add the tofu after seasoning it with Cajun seasoning.
2. In another skillet, saute bean sprouts and broccoli with EVOO and seasoning. Push around skillet so that all is evenly browned and heated through.
3. Cook rice as directed (I use instant. I get too impatient to let it soak and cook for more than 10 minutes)
4. Flip the tofu after browned and cook until both sides are even.
5. Cut the tofu into strips and serve with rice and veggies

Grilled Steak

It is finally spring in Nebraska and the grill is out! One of the things I love most about the place I live and the "Good Life" as we call it, is that we have amazing steak. I'm talking about farm raised, corn fed beef. It was a typical Sunday afternoon for me, spent at the grocery store relaxing and picking out what I needed for the week. Shoot, that sounds pretty lame, huh? I swear I am super fun and that Saturday night before, I totally went out all night (yeah, right). But I really do love going to the grocery store and my friends have told me they do too! Maybe our love of the grocery store stems back to the years spent in the sorority when our food was prepared for us by a lovely little lady who just happened to cook for the army before us. Not quite the person you would expect to cook for 100+ girls, most of whom are waistline conscious. Needless to say, I love the fact that I now shop for my own food and cook my own meals just how I want to!

Well, as I made my way to the back of the grocery store, there was a teaser stand set up with a woman grilling some steaks that were on special that week. After tasting her delicious fare, I knew that I would be firing up the grill and seasoning some meat for myself.

I didn't want to go too overboard with my seasoning, so I just stuck with a simple seasoning salt on both sides and let the coals do the rest. I knew that with my Midwestern steak on the grill, there was nothing to be worried about. It was my first time using this grill and I wasn't sure exactly how hot it would be or where the best place on the set up would be to cook the sirloin so I kept a close eye on my dinner. I was hoping for a nice pink medium rare and although I ended up with a medium finish, it was still absolutely scrumptious and hit the spot on that cool spring evening!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

White Stilton with Lemon Peel

So my Golden Birthday (I turned 23 on the 23rd) was yesterday, yep, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! And I decided to treat myself to a trip to my favorite food paradise, Whole Foods. As I perused each and every aisle (sometimes twice) I relished all of the colors that saturated the shelves and had thoughts swirling around in my brain of delicious and tasty meals that could be constructed from all of these ingredients. Then, I came upon the cheese section. Oh, how I love cheese. Although I sometimes think I may be slightly lactose intolerant (since it's self-diagnosed, I feel a little silly but I do LOVE chocolate soy milk) I can't help but drooling over all of the fresh mozzarella, parmesan, gouda and brie. As I was deciding which luscious gourmet cheese to indulge in, I spotted it. White Stilton with Lemon Peel. Ohmigosh. It was Heavenly. It was lemony, it was crumbly and cheesy, it was so good. This English cheese has whet my palate and I am obsessed.

There were so many things I could do with this cheese I couldn't stop thinking about the possibilities. I am looking forward to indulging in my White Stilton with Lemon Peel in any other way possible. Enjoy!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indian Chicken

I consider myself fairly competent when it comes to simple mixing of flavors and spices and am comfortable enough in the kitchen to experiment with them. Well, I am not (yet) accustomed to cooking Indian curry dishes. I have tried my hand at a the mixing of the curry, cumin, yogurt, pine nuts, raisins and on and on. It never turns out quite right and although I am hungry by the time I finally finish that dang dish and eat the whole thing I know I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. As usual, Whole Foods has come to my rescue. I have found these simmering sauces by "Seeds of Change" that taste delicious, are not crazy expensive and add just the right flavor I have been trying to create. Although I do not plan on giving up on my Indian experiments, I am grateful for the quick fix found in a jar that helps me whip up just what I am craving. Until I find the perfect combo (I welcome any and all advice here) I will continue to use and love my Madras simmer sauce!

Boneless Skinless chicken breasts
Frozen peas
White onions, sliced into rings and cut in fourths
Brown or white rice
Madras simmer sauce (I used about 6 oz from the 12oz jar)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Prepare rice whether it be instant or long cook
2. Sweat onions in EVOO in a pan on Medium High heat
3. Add the chicken to the onions and sautee until no longer pink (about 8 to 10 minutes). Cover with Madras simmer sauce.
4. Toss in the peas and cook together for another 7 to 10 minutes or until peas are fully cooked and sauce has mixed throughout all of the ingredients
5. Serve chicken with rice on the side or scoop it on top of the rice and eat it all together!

Enjoy this super easy and fast Indian meal!

Madras Pizza

So, on a trip to Whole Foods with only one goal in mind: GET WINE; my friend Quinn and I decided to wander a little bit to enjoy our beautiful produce surroundings and just happened upon some Indian Madras simmer sauce that would make my Indian cooking oh-so much more simple. The sauces were on special buy one get one half off, so she and I each snatched up two jars! This sauce is so versatile that I made a dish the other night (coming soon) where I just sauteed up some chicken added veggies poured some Madras sauce on top and had a delish meal in 15 minutes!

I was really craving pizza after a trip to my favorite local joint in Lincoln, Yia Yia's, but wanted to cook at home. I had grabbed a couple of pre-made whole grain pizza crusts from my local grocery store, and some fresh vegetables that I knew I could dice up and throw on top to make something scrumptious. Originally, I bought some regular tomato pizza sauce, then in a wink, a lightbulb clicked on in my foodie brain and I remembered my Indian simmer sauce!

I scurried home, put away the rest of my groceries and got to work on my Madras Masterpiece. I have discovered that when making a pizza you can pretty much practice the "chop suey" method where you throw on anything you have in your fridge, top it with some cheese and crushed red pepper stick it in the oven and BOOM you have a homemade pizza that is probably better than anything delivery or frozen you would spend money on.

Remember, when making a pizza, be creative, use what you have and always top it with crushed red pepper!!


Pizza crust (go ahead and buy a pre-made or if you're feeling sassy, go homemade!)
Indian Madras simmer sauce (I used about 6oz of the 12oz jar)
Shredded Cooked Chicken
Sliced mushrooms
Fresh spinach
Chopped white onion
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Crushed Red Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat your oven to 350°
2. Sautee chicken breast seasoned with a seasoning salt or Indian spices, shred when cooked
3. Brush your pizza crust with EVOO and spread with Madras simmer sauce
4. Top the pizza with all of your toppings (I spread them out evenly, because I can be kind of OCD like that, but you can just throw them on!)
5. Sprinkle cheese all over and if you want to sass it up, toss on some pepperjack or jalopeno cheese too!
7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes checking until the cheese is melted golden brown and the crust has a nice golden finish

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spinach and Tomato Anytime Strata

Waking up early on a Sunday morning and putting your strata that you made the night before in the oven is something I truly relish. How fun is it to get all of your prep work and clean up done the night before so that after you have indulged and enjoyed your fantastic breakfast the only thing you have to do is load your plates in the dishwasher? (whether that is your hubby/roommate/children/or appliance is up to you). A great aspect of this recipe is that if you are worried about added calories that you can usually count on with a delish breakfast is that it actually uses a lot of vegetables and keeps you full so you don't do a lot of snacking in between meals. My mom always likes to eat light and wasn't planning on having a normal sized portion of this, until she tasted it. Her immediate reaction was "Well, I might have to have a little more" :) This strata can be eaten at any time of the day and is sure to please the most experienced or inexperienced palate around.

Serves 6


1. 6 eggs
2. 4 cups Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
3. 1 package (16 oz) frozen spinach
4. 1 can Rotel or similar tomatoes
5. 1 cup onion, finely chopped
6. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
7. 1/3 cup Colby Jack cheese
8. 4 slices Pepperjack (gourmet,, whatever)
9. 1 1/2 cups milk
10. 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened butter
11. 1 tsp salt (divided)
12. 1 tsp pepper (divided)
13. Dash nutmeg


1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue to cook another minute. Stir in the spinach and remove from heat.
2. Butter the inside of a 2 qt. baking dish and layer the bottom with half of the bread cubes. Top with half of the spinach mixture, half of the tomatoes, half of the Parm and CJ cheese and the 4 slices of PJ cheese.
3. Repeat these layers once more (remember, no more PJ cheese-those are a yummy melty surprise in the middle)
4. Combine eggs, milk and remaining salt and pepper. Whisk until blended and pour evenly over the layers in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
5. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350° F and bake uncovered for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until puffed, golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Serve with salad, fruit, a latte  and enjoy your meal!

Irish Car Bomb Surprise Cupcakes

Ok, I'm just going to say it. Two of my absolute most favorite things to indulge in, daily, if necessary are: chocolate and alcohol. Yep, there it is. I'm just throwing it out there, judge me. But you may think twice after you take a bite of these Heavenly delights. As I was thinking about a special dessert I could make for a coworker's birthday I was thinking about some delectable combinations that would mix and marry with outrageously wicked results. I was still in a bit 'o an Irish mood, let's be honest, when am I not in an Irish mood, and saw a recipe that I could really work with. If you haven't looked at Annie's Eats Blog, you MUST! She makes absolutely fabulous food and has great pictures and inventive recipes. I altered her recipe for Guiness and Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes and made mine the "semi homemade way".

Decorating and plating these cupcakes in my own special way was the most fun part of this process and the result was ah-ma-zing. As those who know me can attest, I am NOT a frosting person. I will scrape frosting off, I will give it away and I will eat around it. I always want a center piece of a cake so that I don't have to deal with all of that sweet cream. Well, let me tell you, do not be surprised if someone finds me at midnight sneaking around piping this frosting into my mouth! I love love love this frosting and insist that it be used. I frosted them before I went to work to ensure freshness and visual appeal. My coworkers went "ga ga" to say the least. They were extremely impressed and gave me extremely generous compliments for the fun and easy task I performed. I was even told that I should now extend my specialities to not only event planning for weddings, but also offering the service of providing (at an extra cost, of course) the groom's cake!

I wanted to make sure I had enough for everyone who had found out that I made these delights and it really was worth it to see the look of pleasure and soon-to-come chocolate coma flash across their faces. Because of the popularity of these cupcakes, I will be making them the next 2 weekends, one for my Grandpa's 87th birthday and then next when one of my best friends, Courtney, (and fellow food blogger @ Ice Cream & Wine ) comes to town for a visit!

I hope you enjoy my combination of my sweet indulgences and decide it's about time to combine the things that you love!


1. Devil's food cake mix
2. 1 cup Guinness
3. 6 tbsp unsalted butter
4. 2 large eggs
5. 2/3 cup sour cream

1. 6 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped (reserve 1/2 ounce for chocolate shavings)
2. 2/3 cup heavy cream
3. 2 tbsp unsweetened butter
3. 1 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream

1. 1 tub cream cheese frosting (any brand will do)
2. 6 tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream
Yep, that's it.


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line your cupcake pan with liners.
2. Simmer Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When combo begins to simmer, add 1/2 of the cake mix and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs and sour cream and whisk until smooth.
4. Combine the remaining dry ingredients, Guinness batter and sour cream and eggs and mix until all are incorporated.
5. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full.
6. Bake for about 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely.

1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Pour over the chocolate in a small glass or stainless bowl. Let sit for about a minute and then whisk until smooth.
2. Be sure the chocolate is completely melted and then add the butter and Bailey's and stir until combined. Cool mixture, in refrigerator if necessary, until thickened. (If you place it in the fridge, be sure to mix every 10 minutes or so to ensure smooth consistency)

1. Mix frosting and Bailey's until smooth! (Sounds way too easy doesn't it?)

Please frost and decorate the cupcakes any way you choose and let me in on your creative secrets! But, to frost them as I have listen up: This is extremely easy and looks uber professional. Simply use a paring knife to cut a hole in the center of the cupcake. Pipe the ganache in the hole. (An easy method I use for piping is to simply place your ganache and frosting, respectively, in a Zip Loc bag, remove the air and snip a corner at the bottom.) Then, pipe the frosting around the ganache hole or all over, if you want a lot of delicious frosting, place the cut out on top of the frosting and sprinkle on the chocolate shavings. Super easy and extremely attractive!