Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grandma's Fudge

Who doesn't like fudge? I better not see anyone raising their hands, everybody loves fudge! Right? The hubs loves fudge. LOVES it. Plain, no nuts, chocolate fudge. Anyone want the recipe? Okay, here it is. I got this from a friend years ago (am I really old enough that I can say 'years ago' like that??) and it's been a favorite ever since. So thank you to "Grandma", whoever she might be!

Grandma's Fudge
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook and stir marshmallow cream, milk, butter, sugar and salt over medium heat until it comes to a full boil. Boil stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into greased 8 x 12 pan. (I like to line the pan with parchment so I can easily remove the fudge to a cutting board to cut into squares). Let cool; cut into squares. (helps to put in fridge to set up before cutting).

Friday, December 11, 2009

English Toffee

It's been a reeeeeaaaaaaallllly long time since I've added any recipes here - sorry! For me, Christmas time equates with baking time. I love to bake and I love to have the excuse to bake a ridiculous amount of cookies. :) This is actually not technically baking, but it's my absolute favorite to thing to make (and eat!) for Christmas. Honestly, I think it's better than Almond Roca. It's so addicting for me that I have to hide the tin from myself. Really! Don't be afraid of it because it's candy-making, it's really easy, you just need to be careful and pay close attention. And definitely use a candy thermometer, WAY easier. Just make sure to check your thermometer before you start - boil some water, put the thermometer in (don't let it touch the pan) and check the reading at the boiling stage and adjust accordingly. For example, mine reads 200 degrees at boiling stage, so instead of cooking this until 300 I pull it off at 288. Easy peasy. And SO worth the results!!! Mmm, look at that yummy, crunchy toffee peeking out under the chocolate and almonds....YUM!

1 cup almonds -- chopped
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips -- chopped (have this ready & waiting ahead of time!)

Sprinkle 1/2 the almonds in a buttered 9" x 13" pan. (I usually use a cookie sheet - line it with parchment paper & lightly butter it) In large saucepan, melt butter, add sugars and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook to 300 degrees or until a small amount dropped in cold water becomes brittle immediately. Remove from heat. Add baking soda, work fast. Pour over almonds in pan, sprinkle chocolate and remaining almonds on top. Pat down lightly and cool completely. Break into pieces. Breaks easier if you store covered in fridge for several hours.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tuscan Chicken

This was really yummy! I love anything with wine in the sauce, and this did not disappoint. I made some whole-wheat spaghetti and just put the spaghetti in a big bowl and poured the chicken & sauce over the top. Try this one, it's a keeper! Huge hit with kids and hubby! :)


2 lbs chicken breast tenderloins
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground thyme (I used basil and oregano as I didn't have any thyme)
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup beef broth

Salt and pepper all the chicken. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan. Brown the chicken (1/2 at a time), cook for 3 min. per side, drain on paper towels. Add vinegar to pan and cook for 30 secs. stirring up brown bits. Reduce heat to medium and add butter, garlic, onions and thyme and cook 4-5 min. Add flour and cook for 1 min. Whisk in wine and broth and reduce sauce for 5 min. Add chicken to warm through. YUM!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

These were so yummy! Found the recipe on another blog that I love. These are definitely American-ized but really yummy! We did find that the part of the tortillas that were on the bottom of the baking dish were kind of chewy and hard to cut through...however, when we had them for leftovers they had softened up and tasted even better. Next time I'll bake them one night and eat them the next.


One 10¾ oz. can Cream of Chicken soup
8 oz light sour cream
1 cup picante sauce (I used some leftover fresh salsa)
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used some cheddar and pepper jack)
Ten 6-inch flour tortillas
1 large tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, chopped (or guacamole)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Stir soup, sour cream, salsa and chili powder in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, stir 1 cup of the sauce mixture with the chicken & 1 cup of the cheese. Spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side-down in prepared dish. Scoop remaining sauce over the filled tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray. Place sprayed-side-down on enchiladas and cover tightly. Bake for 40 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top individual servings with tomato and onion. Add a dollop of guacamole, if desired. Servings: 6

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sopa Seca

Oh my goodness, this was a really yummy casserole! I found this online and it was so so good. And really, a pretty inexpensive dish to prepare, considering everyone typically has the spices already in their cupboard. I made a few changes to the recipe I found...can't wait for leftovers! The kids gobbled this one up. "You're the best mom in the whole world!" Gotta love that. I would think this would freeze really well for another day, or if you're making a meal for someone, just freeze before baking, then thaw and bake.

Sopa Seca
extra-virgin olive oil
2 7 oz bags fideo (Mexican vermicelli)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 an onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I might use a bit less of this if your kids don't like spicy food)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I cooked & shredded 2 chicken breasts)
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
Sour cream, optional (this helps cool down the spiciness)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fideo and cook, stiring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted noodles to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the onion to the skillet with an additional tablespoon of oil, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, coriander, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Add the cayenne pepper, increase the heat to high, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 cups broth, the toasted fideo, salt, and pepper, to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Continue to add chicken broth to thin the mixture if needed while the noodles cook. When the noodles are tender, stir in the chicken.
Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, and cover loosely with foil. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is hot through and through, about 20 minutes. If desired, serve with some sour cream drizzled over the top.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweet & Sour Grilled Chicken

Don't let the name fool you. It's not Chinese sweet & sour chicken at all, the marinade has lemon juice and brown sugar, hence the "sweet & sour". This is a fantastic marinade for grilled chicken. We love to have it with brown rice or rice pilaf and some roasted asparagus or fresh sauteed green beans. Yummy!

Sweet & Sour Grilled Chicken

2 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or an equal amount of chicken tenders for a quicker meal)

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, lime and lemon juices, brown sugar, mustard, honey, and salt & pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Reserve a small amount for dipping. Add chicken to remaining marinade, and refrigerate several hours. Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear. While chicken is cooking, bring remaining marinade (not the amount you put aside for dipping!) to a boil in a saucepan, then baste chicken with the sauce during the last minutes of cooking.

Italian White Bean Pancetta Soup

I have a new favorite soup. This was AMAZING!!! I found it on and tweaked it a little bit to fit my preferences. SO GOOD. A big hit all around - next time I make a full recipe (I halved it) because there wasn't enough leftovers!!! Fantastic with homemade bread (I made this Anadama Bread) Here's the recipe, with my changes in blue. TRY THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

Italian White Bean And Pancetta Soup

6 ounces pancetta bacon, finely diced (if you can't find pancetta, you can substitute regular bacon)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (I used fresh thyme and fresh basil instead)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
4 (19 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I used navy beans instead...and you might only need 3 cans of beans if you prefer it more broth-y)
2 cups seashell pasta (or any small pasta, I used whole wheat rotini)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese (gotta have this!! I think I used Asiago - it totally made the soup!)

1. In an 8 quart pot, saute pancetta in olive oil until soft. Add onion and celery; saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic. Stir in sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Add chicken stock, cover, and bring to a boil Add beans to soup, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt until al dente. Drain, and add to soup. (I put a scoop of pasta in each bowl then poured soup over the top so the soup wasn't thick and starchy and the pasta wasn't mushy)
3. Stir in minced parsley before serving, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Turkey Burger "Drumsticks"

This is a totally fun, easy and yummy recipe that I found in my Rachael Ray mag! It was a big hit with the whole time I'll have some dipping sauce for everyone, maybe BBQ sauce or Ranch or something like that. You could also play around with seasonings to change it up.

Turkey Burger "Drumsticks"

1 lb. ground turkey
1 5 oz can evaporated milk
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cups crushed cornflakes
2 ounces medium-hard cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

In a bowl, mix the turkey, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, the onion and 2/3 cup cornflakes. Season with salt & pepper. Divide into 12 portions. Cut the cheese into 12 small sticks and thread on each of 12 skewers. Wet your hands with evaporated milk then mold a portion of meat around each cheese piece, shaping it into 3-inch ovals. Pour remaining milk into a bowl. Add remaining cornflakes to a plate. Dip each "drumstick" into the milk, then coat with cornflakes. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry each drumstick until browned, about 12 minutes.
***You could also easily grill these on a BBQ or bake in the oven - just make sure to soak bamboo skewers in water beforehand.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Homemade Gyros

Who doesn't love Greek food? I mean, come on now, you have to love any food that comes from such a beautiful country. I am a sucker for gyros and soft pita bread and tangy tzatziki....YUM. We are trying to be easier on the budget and eat out less and this recipe I came across totally does it for me! Killer. You have to try it.

Yummy Gyros
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 pounds ground lamb (I used 1 lb ground lamb and 1/2 lb ground turkey - you can substitute however you choose, but the lamb gives the most authentic flavor)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pita bread, cut in half to form pockets (I used pocketless pita, it's way softer & chewier)
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Tzatziki (recipe below)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and let it cool. Add the lamb, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, cumin, salt, and pepper to the onion mixture and mix well. Form the meat into 8 thin patties, each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Heat the remaining oil in the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb patties and cook for about 5 minutes or until the juices run clear, flipping the patties halfway through. Place meat on warmed pita bread then top with lettuce, tomato, onion, and plenty of tzatziki. Makes 8 gyros.

Tzatziki Sauce
(I could eat an entire bowl of this with soft chewy pita bread - YUMMY!)

2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 large cucumber - peeled, seeded and shredded

Use a cheesecloth or coffee filter to strain the yogurt in metal sieve over a bowl for 3 to 4 hours, until most of the water has drained. Press excess liquid out of the shredded cucumber. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and strained yogurt. Mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and mint. Chill the mixture for 1 to 2 hours.

Friday, January 30, 2009

French Dip Panini

I got this recipe from Rachael makes my mouth water everytime I see the recipe in my book. So simple yet SO GOOD. I could just drink the dipping sauce, it's so tasty! Very few, easily found ingredients and my kids AND husband devour them so it's a big hit all around.

French Dip Panini
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups beef broth
1 pound sliced roast beef (from the deli)
1 baguette, split lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 4 sections
4 ounces sliced cheese of your choice (cheddar, pepper jack, swiss, whatever you like)

In a deep skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in beef broth. Add the roast beef to the sauce and warm over low heat. Preheat a nonstick grill pan or griddle over medium heat. Spread the remaining 2 Tbsp butter on the split sides of the baguette sections. Using tongs, top half the sections with the warm roast beef, reserving the sauce. Top with the cheese (add other fillings if desired, see below) and remaining baguette sections. Place the panini on the hot pan. Weigh down with a heavy skillet or panini press and cook for 2 minutes, then flip the panini and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove the panini from the heat and divide the sauce (make sure it's still hot) among 4 small bowls for dipping.
**We also love to add thinly sliced red onion and sometimes a little bit of horseradish to the panini, just to give them a little kick.


I love salads. Love to make them, love to eat them, love 'em! Making a "fancy" green salad is really so easy if you follow a simple equation. Greens + fruit + nuts + cheese. And dressing. Easy! And when you choose really great ingredients, a simple flavorful dressing is the best. Here is my favorite dressing and then I'll give you some different variations of salad ingredients.

6 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste - I really like mine salty - I use kosher salt)
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot

Whisk all ingredients EXCEPT oil together. In a slow, steady stream, add oil, whisking until emulsified. Check your salt & pepper. You can also substitue any other kind of vinegar depending on your taste - strawberry champagne vinegar, grapefruit vinegar, balsamic vinegar, etc.

As for the greens + fruit + nuts + cheese, just have fun! For example:
spring greens + dried cranberries + toasted slivered almonds + crumbled bleu cheese
arugula + pomegranate seeds + sugared pecans + shaved romano
red leaf lettuce + tangerine segments + bbq pecans + bleu cheese
baby spinach & frisee + pepperoncinis + toasted pine nuts + feta
(okay, that doesn't have a "fruit" but it still adds that type of "wet" ingredient to complement the crunchy, salty, leafy stuff)
curly endive + red pears + BBQ pecans + crumbled Stilton (this is my favorite!)

But are you getting it? Try something new! And maybe I will post the BBQ pecan recipe - it's great as a snack or on salads.

Oh! One last note - sugared pecans or almonds or walnuts are fabulous on salad, especially if you have stronger flavors in the cheese and dressing and they are so so easy to make! A handful of nuts, sprinkle with a good amount of sugar in a skillet and heat until toasted and sugar melts, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn them, they can go from good to bad quickly. Pour out on a plate to cool. You can get creative and add some balsamic vinegar, or use brown sugar, whatever floats your boat.

Tuscan Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

While I'm on the pumpkin kick, I might as well add this easy, yummy and actually pretty healthy soup. LOVE this stuff!!!

Tuscan Pumpkin and White Bean Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup chopped celery (I usually omit this, or at least chop it VERY finely)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cans (14.5 oz ea) chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, draine & rinsed
1 package turkey kielbasa, sliced
grated parmesan cheese

Brown sliced kielbasa over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions, celery and garlic; cook and stir 8 minutes or until vegetable are crisp-tender. Stir in basil, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add broth, pumpkin, beans and turkey; mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes; stirring occasionally. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Pumpkin Pancakes

I know people typically make things like this in the fall but I needed a quick dinner last night and didn't really want regular pancakes. And my family loves these and they are really oh so easy. They are best served with real maple syrup, but that can be spendy and they are still really good with regular syrup. I think we had Log Cabin. And let me point out that my picky husband ate 6 of these yummies.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1 egg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vinegar (I usually use apple cider vinegar)

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt; stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled or buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Homemade Hummus....better than store-bought!

Wow, it's really been a long time since my last recipe post! I must apologize to my one or two faithful followers, ha ha ha. So I've pulled out my slapped-together favorite recipe book and I'm going to post several recipes. I hope.

This first one is eeeeeeasy. If you like hummus, you will LOVE this. Homemade hummus is SO easy! And probably way way cheaper than store-bought. Just go for it, it's good stuff.

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini ***
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pinch paprika
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley

Place the beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley. (Occasionally I just add the olive oil to the ingredients in the food processor, along with the paprika...and the parsley can be omitted)

**Tahini is sesame seed paste - it looks like a jar of peanut butter and you will typically find it in the health-food/organic section of the grocery store. DON'T taste it alone, it's not good but it adds fabulous flavor to the hummus! :)