This is a blog of my adventures in the kitchen. I always like to try new things, and I'm looking up different recipes constantly. Some recipes on here will be my own, some will be found recipes. Some will work, some won't. Trial and error, right? I'm no professional and I don't claim to be, I just enjoy cooking. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chicken and Tomato Fettuccine Alfredo

So, it's been a really busy summer.  I've been cooking quite a few quick dishes, this is one of them.   I was working late one night, my husband was out of town, and I just couldn't stand the thought of eating another canned soup.  I needed REAL food.  I dug around through my cupboards and fridge and found a few things I had lying around to make this dish.  I had bottled alfredo leftover from the cordon blue pizza I had made, so I decided on Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.  I didn't have any fettuccine, for some reason, so I just used spaghetti pasta.

As I was making it, and tasting, I felt like it needed something different.  I have one tomato plant outside, but it has grown SO MANY tomatoes, so I decided that a tomato was just what the dish needed. :)  So glad I made that decision.

What you'll need:

Fettuccine, or spaghetti in my case.
Alfredo sauce
Tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Start your water for you pasta.  When it's boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Cut your chicken up and cook in a little bit of olive oil, with some salt and pepper.  When that's cooked through, add your alfredo sauce and diced tomato and a bit of oregano (tsp or so).  Let that simmer on a low heat while the pasta cooks, to break down the tomato.  Taste and add salt and pepper if you feel it's needed.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce.  Mix it up and dish it out.

This is definitely a new favorite of mine. :)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

So, I was a little worried about this one.  I didn't know how much I'd like pizza without any kind of tomato at all on it.  Seriously, it was really good. :)

This is a bit of an adaptation of several recipes I've found around.  Idon't have measurments, but it's pretty simple. What's new, eh? :P  I used a pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust, because I was in a hurry, and I happened to have one on hand.

Things you'll need:

Pizza crust
Bottled alfredo sauce
Chicken breast
Cooked ham (I used hormel cubed ham)
mozzarella cheese, grated
swiss cheese, grated

First, you'll want to cook the chicken.  I cooked the chicken and the onion together, with salt and pepper.  When the chicken was cooked through, and the onions were soft, I added the ham to crisp it up a bit.

While that's cooking, roll out your pizza crust on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Press it out as thin as you like.  I went pretty thin, pressing it almost to the edge.  Bake around 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Pull the crust out and spread alfredo sauce on it.  Then add the cheeses and the meat/onion mix.

Put back in the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is gooey and the crust is browned. :)

Slice and serve!

Biscuits and Gravy Roll-ups

These are so simple.  Seriously...  And my husband loves them!   Growing up my mom used to make something similar to this for dinner.  Except, instead of sausage she would use ground beef and instead of gravy, she made cream and peas.  So delicious!  This is basically my breakfast version of that.

Okay, I'm not going to lie.  I used bisquick... Yep!  I cheated.  Don't want to use bisquick? By all means, go ahead and make your biscuit dough from scratch.  I'm sure it would be yummy!

Things you'll need:

Ground sausage
Salt and Pepper to taste

First thing you need to do is brown up your sausage.  While you're browning, make sure to break it apart so you don't have super huge chunks of meat in it.  You want them small so they'll roll up well. :)

While that's browning, make the dough.  Tough job, really...  :P  Throw some bisquick in a bowl and add water until you get a doughy consistency.  Yep! That's it.  I'm easy like that.

Roll that dough out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

When the sausage is done, sprinkle it on the dough, and roll it up.  Slice into 1 to 2 inch slices, or even 3 if ya wanna!  and place on a lightly greased sheet.  Bake at around 350 until the dough is cooked.

While you're baking those, make your gravy.  If your sausage didn't leave much grease behind, throw some butter in and melt it down.  Add some flour, I'd say 1/4 C or so, and stir it up.  Then, add your milk.  Don't add too much, though.  It's easier to add more if your gravy is too thick than to add more flour if you get it too thin.

Cook that until it's thick and bubbly, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pull the rolls out of the oven, place on plates and cover in gravy!  YUM! :D

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coconut Russian Tea Cakes

Whether you call them Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Bon Bons, or something else, the fact remains that these things are amazing -- IMHO...   Growing up I could count on my grandma always having these for me at Christmas time, eventually she gave me the recipe.  This is not her recipe.  Yes, even I keep SOME secrets.  ;)  The recipe given to me is for the original flavor ones, with nuts in them.  This a a recipe I found online.  Pretty similar, actually, but this one doesn't have nuts and it has coconut instead.

The dough itself isn't super sweet, it's still delicious, just not super sweet.  What makes these little guys amazing is the yummy, sugary coating around them.  They completely melt in your mouth.  So *bleep*ing amazing.  Be careful, these are basically pure butter.  So yum, but so not good for you...  lol.

Okay, so the recipe I have I found on the Martha Stewart site.  Yep, good ol' Martha Stewart.  ;)  Love her or hate her, she does have some yummy recipes.  Bad ones, too, but this one is one of the good ones...

Coconut Russian Tea Cakes

What you'll need:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt (I would probably omit if you used salted butter instead)
2 C sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter with 1/4 C powdered sugar until fluffy.  Mix in flour and salt until just combined. Stir in coconut.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. (I measured them at 1 tablespoon each).  Place on baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15-20 minutes. (Don't over bake)

Roll in remaining powdered sugar, while still hot/warm.  (This is what gives them that yummy coating.  the sugar will melt a bit and stick to the cookies.  So yum!)

Let cool completely, unless you're like me and just have to eat one.  Just know they're messier eaten warm. :P

Sunday, July 8, 2012


These are delicious. I've made myself sick eating them. :)

These yummy little things were originally made in the 1700's in the Netherlands. They basically translate as "syrup waffles". They're a bread type waffle with a caramel like cinnamon filling inside. YUM! I was supposed to cut them into perfect circles, but I just couldn't bring myself to waste any of their yumminess. lol.   Traditionally, or so I've read, these are served over your morning cup of coffee or tea, to warm them up a bit.  Personally, I liked them better cold. :)

I first saw these in an Etsy shop, and just had to find out how to make them. Eventually, I bought a pizelle iron, since you have to have a way to make extremely thin waffles. I purchased the iron MONTHS ago, and have been extremely frightened of making these -- the reason being, I hate to admit, is that I seriously SUCK at candy making, and these have a candy filling that has to be made. I've been so worried that I'd go through all of the work of making the waffles just to ruin it with a bad filling. After worrying, I decided for my first time making them I would be safer to just buy caramels, so that's what I did. Yes! I admit it! I did not entirely make the filling!! *sigh* I did add a few ingredients while melting the caramels, though. They still turned out delicious, even if they weren't 100% authentic. Now that I kind of have a "feel" for the whole stroopwafel making process, I'll attempt the real filling next time. ;)

I actually found the recipe online. There are many recipes out there, but this one had good reviews so I went with it.


For the Waffles:

4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C sugar
1 C unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 package (or 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water

To make waffles:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Cut butter into the flour.  Add the sugar, cinnamon, eggs, and yeast mixture.  Mix well and set aside to rise for 30 to 60 minutes.  (Mine did NOT rise.)

For the filling:
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 C unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp dark corn syrup

To make filling (this is the sauce I did NOT want to make, so I didn't.  Recipe for what I made follows.)
In a saucepan, boil all of the ingredients until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240F), stirring constantly.

For the filling *I* made!:
1 package caramel cubes, unwrapped
1/4 C cream (total guess on measurement, I just poured some in)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Melt together in a saucepan. :)  Easy peasy!  

To assemble:
Preheat pizzelle iron.

Roll dough into 12 small balls. (They were too big for my pizzelle press, and just squeezed out the sides. I ended up making 24 instead.)

Squeeze each ball into the press and bake for about 30 seconds. (I went between 20 and 25.)

Slice the waffles into two thin waffles and spread with filling.  (HOT HOT HOT!!!  I used a paper towel to hold the waffles while I sliced them.)

Spread with filling to "glue" slices back together.

From start to finish, this took me nearly two hours.  Yeah, really...  This would be much easier with a partner.  One person to cook and slice the waffles, another to spread filling.

The recipe sounds much more difficult than it really is, especially if you cheat on the filling. haha.  Despite the screaming and swearing coming from the kitchen, I really did enjoy making them.

The next recipe I want to attempt with my pizzelle press would be...

*drum roll*

Cannoli!!!  YUM!!   It's no wonder I have such a "curvy" figure...  ;)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gyoza - Japanese Potstickers

Yes! I know I haven't posted in AGES!  My husband has been out of town for the past month, and I don't do much extravagant cooking when he's away.  Just basic stuff that I've made a million times, most of which I've already posted.

Please disregard my complete lack of talent in the "food photography" department.  

For some reason, one night last month, I had a craving for Gyoza!  I LOVE these, hubby doesn't.  I realize they're an appetizer, but I paired them with some rice and called it a meal.  Yep...  I totally did.  I get to break the rules when I'm home alone.

Anyway!  Living in a small, SMALL town puts limits on what might be available at the local grocery store.  Needless to say, gyoza wrappers are one of those limitations.  The store usually has wonton wrappers, so I had planned to substitute them instead, but of course! The day I decide to make something fun, they are sold out.  I had to use egg roll wrappers instead.  I did cut them into circles, but they still made VERY LARGE gyoza.

This being my first time ever making these, I don't think I did too bad. :P Are they as cute as the ones you'd get at a Japanese restaurant?  Uhmmm... no... but, I was still pretty proud of myself.

I got this recipe online, the link will be included in the title, as usual. :)

Gyoza - Japanese Potstickers

1/2 pound ground pork (1 cup)
3/4 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 green onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
30 gyoza wrappers, or as needed

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the shredded cabbage until it is tender but still crisp. Plunge into ice cold water, remove, and drain thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork, cooked cabbage, green onion, minced ginger, egg, soy sauce, chili oil and sesame oil.

Lay a gyoza wrapper in front of you. Wet all the edges with water. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the sides up to form a semicircle, and then pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the rest of the gyoza wrappers until the filling is gone.

To cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 12 - 15 of the gyoza and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover the dumplings and cook until the water is absorbed (5 to 7 minutes). Repeat with the remainder of the gyoza dumplings.

So, that's that... I ate mine with teriyaki sauce, shhh... don't tell anyone, but gyoza sauce is quite simple to make! Just search gyoza sauce online and you'll find plenty to choose from! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mini Cupcakes

Okay, so this definitely doesn't fall into a "healthy" category, but everyone needs to splurge once in awhile, right?

A best friend of mine is having a grand opening for her clothing store this week and asked that I make mini cupcakes for it. Not wanting to make TOO many, I decided to make four flavors using only two batches of batter. You could actually get all four of these flavors with just one batch of vanilla batter, if you didn't want too many, by just adding cocoa to the batter for the chocolate ones. The two batches I made still baked around 200 cupcakes.

I figured I'd share how to make these, but it's pretty basic. It's just taking regular cake batter and regular buttercream and adding a few extra ingredients.

For all four of these recipes I used my basic buttercream recipe:

1 cup softened butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
and enough water or milk to give you the consistency you want

Beat the butter and vanilla together, then slowly add the powdered sugar. Then VERY SLOWLY add the liquid to desired thickness.

Now, let me tell you how to bake these little cuties, and then I'll get on with the ingredients. Since these are smaller than regular cupcakes there are a few adjustments you'll want to make. You're going to want to lower the oven temperature by about 20 - 30 degrees F. I baked mine at 320F. You'll also want to cut the baking time by about half. The chocolate and coconut cupcakes took about 8 minutes to bake and the lemon took around 10. Other than that it's just like baking any cupcakes.

First, Death by Chocolate.

This is a chocolate cupcake with a sinful chocolate buttercream. Just use your favorite chocolate cake recipe, or even box mix. Make your cupcakes as directed above and let them cool -- takes no time at all.

For the frosting make the buttercream above and to that add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup melted semi-sweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate chips. Mix it up and ice the cakes! :) Mmmm mmm!!!

Island Paradise

This is my absolute favorite flavor combination. It's a coconut cake with a pineapple frosting. Make your favorite white or vanilla cake batter. To that add a good heap of coconut and some coconut extract, tasting for desired "coconutiness" (technical term).

Bake and cool.

For the frosting you'll again use the basic buttercream, but add a couple spoonfuls of crushed pineapple. This will thin down the frosting quite a bit, so just add more powdered sugar to your desired consistency.

Cherry Lemonade

Again, start with vanilla or white batter.  Add an extra 1/4 cup flour and the zest AND juice of one lemon.

Bake and cool.

For the frosting, start with buttercream - of course.  Chop up a handful of maraschino cherries and add that plus some of the cherry juice to the frosting.  Mix up and add more juice or powdered sugar until desired consistency. (I'm sounding a bit redundant, eh)

Peanut Butter Cup

For this, I had wished I had some of those cute mini Reese's PB cups to put on top, but... I did not.

Start with chocolate batter and bake the cupcakes.  Easy, eh?

Now the frosting on this one is just a LITTLE different than the others.  Make the buttercream above, but cut the butter in half and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter.  Mix it up and DONE!  :)

As far as flavors go, the sky is the limit. Play around with it and come up with your favorite. :)

So, next time you're hosting a get together, think about these. They're pretty quick, fairly easy and quite cheap to make. :) And, c'mon, who DOESN'T love cupcakes?! :)