Friday, January 28, 2011

Seafood Chowder

Man, Oh, Man!

If you like seafood, you'll love this chowder. It is simply delicious! I made this for the first time several years ago so I couldn't tell you where I got the recipe. Once you make the base for the chowder, you can make so many other foods!

Here's what you'll need:
Large pot
All-purpose flour
White onion
White pepper
Heavy Whipping Cream
Seafood (approx. 2lbs shrimp, 1lb crab)

In a large pot, melt 5-6tbsp butter. Once the butter is melted, add 1 small white onion, diced and let it sweat for a few minutes adding a pinch of salt. Once the onion starts to get soft, add 5-6tbsp flour and let it cook for about 1 minute. Don't let it brown. (By adding the flour to the onion/butter mixture, I don't get lumps!!!)

Now whisk in 1pint heavy whipping cream or heavy cream. I honestly don't know what the differences are and have used both. It comes out tasting the same. After that is warmed through, add about 6cups milk. I wouldn't use 0% here. I'd use at least a 2% milk to make sure it is nice and thick/creamy. If you like whole milk, it's just going to be that much richer! (which is good, by the way). Add about 2tsp salt and 2tsp white pepper. I promise, you'll probably add more of this at the end. Go ahead and 'flavor' your chowder now.

If you have potatoes that aren't cooked yet, cubed them into bite size pieces and add now. You can bring this to a simmer and then begin adding your seafood. I peeled and deveined my shrimp and then cut into bite-size pieces. Once you add those, it only takes about 5 minutes for those to cook through. If you want to add fish, I'd add a nice white, flakey fish. (I did not add fish). Then I added my lump crab meat, very careful so I didn't break it into tiny pieces. Bring that up to a boil and turn it off. I added about 1tsp paprika to the pot but you can add more or leave it out if you'd like.

If you find that your chowder is too runny, here's an easy way to thicken it (or thicken your other sauces!) Take about 3tbsp corn starch in a small bowl and add a little bit of water. Mix it until it's nice and smooth. If it's hard and lumpy, that'll be the way it sits in your pot so make sure it's smooth. I had to do this since I got a little pour-happy with my milk. Once I added it, it thickened right up!

This stuff is seriously good, and I must say, pretty healthy with the seafood. My husband loves when I make it and was very happy to see me cooking it this morning. I think he let out a few sighs since it was so good!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

BIG Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just love cookies. LOVE them so much! I think grabbing a cookie is the easiest dessert.. It makes my heart and tummy melt. I love snickerdoodles and I love chocolate chip ones. Tonight I made the chocolate chip ones and these are seriously the BEST cookies I've ever made or eaten. No lie!

I used to make chocolate chip cookies and they were horrible. Okay. Not horrible. They just weren't good.. They were 'okay' and most of them were thrown away.

I was on a quest last year to find the best chocolate chip recipe and I found one that was so good. You can find it by clicking here. These are a little 'cakey' to me, but I love cream cheese so these are definitely on my top cookie recipes to make.

The ones tonight, oh my heaven.. OUTRAGEOUSLY good! I promise if you make these, you will never buy another store-bought cookie mix. EVER!

Sorry, I got a little excited. You should see me when I eat something; I start dancing in my chair :)  ha ha

Okay, so here's what all the fuss is about...

What you'll need
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
add in 1 cup of walnuts if you like nuts in your cookies. (I don't)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mix in vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks and nuts.
3. Get a ice-cream scoop (or large spoon) and get a huge scoop of dough out and gently roll into a ball.
4. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 10-15 minutes depending on how you like your cookie, until very lightly browned, taking care not to over bake. I baked mine for 13 minutes.
5. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat in an airtight container.

I got this recipe and the directions, edited a little to what I did, from here. This lady has amazing dessert recipes!

These make me say NOM NOM NOM


P.S. Mine made 10 ice-cream-scoop sized cookies .. and then some! I put the rest of the dough in the freezer for next time. It made a lot, and with big cookies like these, I couldn't let them go to waste!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Sammich!

I am all about keeping my cooking-life simple. If baby-boy doesn't want to take a nap, I've got to think of something quick and easy for lunch. Today, I was watching tv and a type of banana/peanut butter pie was on so I thought I'd make something in a sandwich form.

I mashed a banana with peanut butter, slathered it onto a piece of wheat bread and added that to a hot, greased skillet. I cooked this like I do my grilled cheese sandwiches.. on medium-high heat flipping occasionally. Once both sides were browned, I added a cinnamon/sugar mixture and devoured it. It was so yummy with a glass of milk.

I am also working on my pictures.. what do you think? (I have no idea how to make the black part around the picture disappear!!) ha!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Orange/Rosemary Marinade

I never thought I would like anything marinated in orange juice. I've got to say, this meal really surprised me! The orange juice was like a moisture surge in this dish and I couldn't taste the orange at all. By far, the best dinner we've eaten in a long time!

What you need:
1/2cup orange juice
1/4cup veggie oil
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1tsp rosemary

Red potatoes
2tbsp veggie oil
1tsp rosemary
1/2tsp salt
pinch of pepper - season to taste

Marinate the chicken in the above ingredients for at least 1 hour in the fridge. You can refrigerate overnight if you wanted to as well. We grilled our chicken for about 20 minutes on medium-high on the top part of the grill, where you'd put your bread or rolls. This is the best way we grill our chicken!

In the meantime, boil some red potatoes that have been quartered. Boil for 8 minutes and strain. Then, use about 2tbsp veggie oil, 1tsp rosemary, 1/2tsp salt and a little pepper and coat the drained potatoes. Put the potatoes in a pre-heated oven set to 425degrees. I put these in the oven when the chicken was placed on the grill. They get nice and crispy on the outside yet still soft and yummy on the outside.

Again, I was thoroughly impressed with how wonderfully juicy the chicken was. Lots of flavor too! You've got to give this meal a try.


I got so excited to eat that I didn't get to plate this meal.. This was left over for Todd to take to lunch today. You get the point at least. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Outrageous Cookie Bars

My idea for Christmas goods this past year was to do something that could be consumed. Well, time got away from me but my sister-in-law must've read my mind. In fact, I was going to make this gift and give it to others. What can I say except great minds think alike!

1/2cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted
1.5cups graham cracker crumbs
1can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2cups (12oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1cup flaked coconut
1cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Melt butter and add to graham cracker crumbs and combine. Add crumb mixture to a 13x9 baking dish and press firmly to the bottom. Next, add all other ingredients to the top of that. On top of that layer, add the can of sweetened condensed milk. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars and serve.

Now, in my picture below, Tammy added butterscotch morsels but I'm not a fan of them so I left them out for another recipe.
My husband hates nuts in anything and he hates coconut so I made him a tiny spot with just the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and milk. I think he'll like it that way.

Let me know what you think!


This is a great gift-giving idea, no matter the occasion!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boiled Eggs

I know this may seem like a silly post, but 1) I'm working on bringing knowledge to you in case I know something you don't and 2) I'm working on my photography skills!

How to boil an egg without the yolk being runny or too crumbly.

I always start with cold eggs in a pot full of cold water. The water is just above the top of the egg and then I turn the heat on the stove to high. I let the eggs boil about 15 minutes and then turn the heat off and let them cool in the water for about 10 minutes.

Here's the trick to peeling your eggs without the mess and fuss. Dump out the water you boiled them in and put some cold water on them, in the same pot. Roll the egg around and crack it until the entire shell is soft. Then, with the egg in the water, peel the shell off.

If your egg is runny after this or the shell doesn't come off smoothly, well ... There's still hope for you pumpkin ;)

I already ate one of my eggs but here's some of my pretty little eggies to show you.

These are really good for you too!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

I recently had a baby named Owen. He is now a little over 6 months old and is such a joy! I have been on a personal journey to lose the baby weight in my belly, eat better, and serve better meals to my family.

I buy my meat on sale. Why? Why not! It's usually $4.00-$5.00 cheaper and my local store usually has tons of chicken on sale. I buy it up and save around $20.00 per bill doing it this way. I come home and clean it up and put it in freezer bags and when I need it, all I have to do is thaw it and cook. Saves me so much time!

Today, I marinated my chicken breast in caesar salad dressing and put it in the fridge for about an hour. Todd is the grill master so I let him grill the chicken. It took him a while before he grilled meats well but it was worth it! He does a great job now.

After he grilled it, he used more of the caesar dressing and cut the chicken up and placed it on top of our salads. Today was so easy and so good.

Unfortunately, the boys were in a bit of a rush to eat and get out the door that I wasn't able to take a picture so I found online to take it's place. You've got to try this!

Hey, who says grilling is just for summer meals? It's a year-round event in our family!

What you need:
Caesar Dressing

What to do:
Marinate chicken in the dressing for at least 1 hour
Grill the chicken until it's not longer pink
Cut and serve on top of your lettuce


Picture found here

Starbucks Cinnamon & Sugar Scones

I found a yummy recipe for Starbucks scones. I absolutely love Starbucks, especially since it's 45 minutes away from my house and I can't get it frequently. You know the saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder :)

I found the recipe for scones here at The Coupon Project. I am so excited to make more of these. You'll find the recipe and instructions there as well as some pictures. I included the recipe as well.. It's a little easier for me to read recipes/instructions if it's step by step without picture interruptions.

Ayden and Todd loved them. I love that it doesn't make a ton of food since we're all working on eating better. There's honey instead of sugar in the recipe (sugar on top) and I love that. I made mine with white flour but next time I will try it with wheat.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, separated
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup buttermilk (I used regular milk and it turns out just fine)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until it looks crumbling, similar to sand. You can use your hands like I did, or a fork or food processor.
In a separate dish, combine the egg yolk, honey and milk. Stir this into the dry mixture until just combined. Roll or smooth it out to an 8" disk, about 1/4" thick and cut into whatever shape you like. You can also use cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to make circular ones if you want.
Scramble the reserved egg white and brush on top of each scone. Add sugar/cinnamon mixture to the top.
Place on baking sheet and bake at 400degrees for approximately 10 minutes.
If you want to make the glaze, add powdered sugar and a little tiny bit of milk to a bowl and combine. Too loose? Add more sugar. Too thick? Add a tiny bit more milk. Glaze and eat!

Here are my pictures...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stuffed Shells

This was my first time making stuffed shells. It was really easy and pretty fun. Just a few ingredients too. I think the total I spent on our dinner was maybe $10.00 at the most. We had tons of food; Todd said it was like Olive Garden. But guess what, OG, I didn't pay you $50.00 for our meals! IN YOUR FACE! :)

Ricotta Cheese
Parmesan Cheese (not grated)
Spaghetti Sauce
Shredded Cheese

*Boil shells via directions on box - I did mine for 10 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400degrees.
*In a bowl, combine a large carton of ricotta cheese and 1/4cup Parmesan cheese. While the noodles are boiling, grab 1/3cup of the pasta water and add to your cheese mix.
*Add salt/pepper to taste
*Once the shells are finished to Al-Dente (a little bit of a bite to it .. they have to cook in the oven still), drain and let cool.
*Add a little bit of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish
*Fill the shells with the ricotta mixture and add to the baking dish
*Once all are finished, put as much spaghetti sauce on top of the shells as you want
*Add as much shredded cheese as you want
*Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cheese melts all the way and everything is hot
*Broil for a few minutes to get the top brown

We also had a salad and some crescent rolls.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Planning - Week 1

Menu Planning.

I'll admit I never thought this idea would be a good idea until I actually tried it. I did it while I was working and it helped a ton, and then I had the baby, went on trips to FL/MI and basically quit doing it.

I started off by making columns with these headings: Meat, Bread, Veggies, Pasta. I realized once I broke it down that way and wrote down what was in my fridge/freezer/pantry, I could make an easy menu.

Here's how our food week will go, in no certain order:

~Chicken with rice-a-roni + a salad
~Shimp stir-fry with fried rice
~Stuffed shells + salad + bread
~BBQ pork tenderloin sandwiches + corn + green beans
~Chuck roast + red potatoes + carrots
~Leg of lamb + butter/garlic noodles + asparagus

Out of all of these dinners, the only things I need to purchase is asparagus and ricotta cheese. Can't wait to share my meals with you!

I am going to try to make artisan bread and hope it's as good as this pictures looks.

Do you do any type of menu planning?

Quick, healthy salad

In my personal blog, I said I was going to eat more healthy and work out more now that the holidays are over. Today has been a success so far! Oatmeal for breakfast and a nice salad for lunch, pictured below. Here's what I put in my salad.. MMM!

Golden raisins
Small pieces of goat cheese
Sliced turkey meat
Ranch dressing

If I would've had sunflower seeds, they would've been incorporated, too. I like LOOOOVE sunflower seeds and raisins in salads.

Here's to a healthy 2011!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

Hey there! I am so excited that it's already 2011. I can remember what happened nearly 10 years ago.. It's amazing how time flies.
My life is pretty busy with a baby and a 7-year-old and I'm glad I am able to make quick and easy meals. Hopefully this website will bloom this year. I'd still love to hear your feedback so please post away!
Happy New Year!