Friday, April 29, 2011

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas: 2 Ways!

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I love quesadillas. And I love options. I'll be the first to admit that I like to stick to a game plan, and when things stray from what I'm expecting I get a little flustered. Some may call it OCD, but I think there's nothing wrong with planning ahead. But just because I am organized and like things done a certain way, doesn't mean that I don't enjoy options. I love hearing other opinions or ideas and takes on things. It makes life more fun!

I think quesadillas are a perfect weeknight dinner since they're quick and easy and are very versatile. In addition to a regular quesadilla that includes two round tortillas stacked on top of each other with filling in between, I decided to step outside the box and try something different. This rolled-up quesadilla option, seen below, is perfect for kids and is a great appetizer for get-togethers. As with all quesadillas, the filling is pretty much up to you as long as you have cheese. You need cheese. I guess you don't really, but that gooey, hot mess is what makes it really stinkin' good.

Directions for both options are posted below. Enjoy!

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 8 flour tortillas
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and cook until no longer pink, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the saucepan and place on a cutting board. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes, whatever you prefer, and place in a large bowl. Add the bbq sauce and mix. You may need to add more, depending on how much sauce you want on your chicken.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Once heated, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add the corn and black beans and toss until combined. Finally, add the bbq chicken and cook just until the bbq sauce is heated through.

FIRST METHOD-Traditional Quesadilla

Using a pastry brush or paper towel (my preferred method) lightly brush one side of each tortilla with canola or vegetable oil.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add first tortilla, oil side down. Top with 1/4 cup of grated cheese (or more if you like it extra cheesy). Spoon a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture over top of the cheese. Add more cheese if desired. Cover with another tortilla, oil side up.

After the bottom turns lightly brown and the cheese starts to melt, use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over so you can brown the other side. Wait until the other side turns light brown and the cheese is completely melted and then remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut each into four equal triangles.

Note: If it is too hard for you to flip the quesadillas using this method, you can do one tortilla at a time. Instead of adding an additional tortilla on top of the filling, fold the tortilla in half in the skillet and continue cooking until cheese is melted, flipping halfway through.

SECOND METHOD-Quesadilla Roll-Up

Using a pastry brush or paper towel (my preferred method) lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with canola or vegetable oil.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add tortilla and cook until the first side is slightly brown.

Flip tortilla so that the second side is face down. Top the cooked side with 1/4 cup of grated cheese (or more if you like it extra cheesy). Spoon a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture over top of the cheese. Add more cheese if desired. Cook until the second side of the quesadilla is lightly brown and the cheese is completely melted.

Remove tortilla from the skillet and place on a plate. Immediately (or as soon as it's not too hot to touch) roll the tortilla up tightly. Allow to set for a few minutes. Cut the quesadilla roll-up into six equal pieces.

Tip: If your cheese is not melting, cover the skillet with a lid. The steam with help with this process.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sausage and Hash Brown Bake

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Back in 2009 my parents got remarried and we had a lot of family attending from New York. My brother and sister-in-law hosted brunch the following day at their house, and I volunteered to make a bunch of different dishes. I came across this recipe and decided to try it out. Man oh man, am I glad I did. It's a real crowd pleaser and super easy to make. 

You can fool any guest and have them think it took you hours to prepare, but in reality it takes a total of ten minutes! Half the recipe for a family or double it for a potluck, it's sure to put a smile on everyone's face. You can even make it the night before and just pop it in the oven the next morning. How perfect is that!?

It's really addictive, so even if you're just making it for your family making double won't hurt anyone. I made it again for a friend's birthday breakfast the other weekend and the six of us cleared the dish. I'm positive you will, too!

Makes 12 servings

  • 2 packages (12 oz. each) bulk sausage
  • 4 cups Simply Potatoes Southwestern Hash Browns OR
    • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
    • 3 cups hash brown potatoes
    • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 13x9 inch baking dish.

Cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat. If using onion and bell pepper separately, add this to the sausage mixture to cook. Cook until sausage is no longer pink; drain.

Stir together sausage, hash browns and 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar cheese. Pour into baking dish.

In a separate bowl, stir together Bisquick, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish over sausage mixture.

Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until cheese melts. Cool for 5 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes

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Hey everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic Easter with family and friends. I'm going to make today's post kind of short for two reasons. 1) It's Monday morning, and it feels like a Monday morning. 2) It's my birthday, and that's the perfect excuse to be a little lazy :) 

I made these carrot cupcakes yesterday for Easter dessert and wanted to share them as soon as possible. So today they're doubling as my birthday cupcakes! Carrot cake is one of my favorite types of cake, and this is the best recipe I've found so far. The applesauce makes the cake extra moist and delicious, which is the only way I like my carrot cake. And you can't have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting. They just go hand in hand. 

Hope you all enjoy! Happy Monday and thanks for stopping by!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 pound raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups), finely grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup safflower, vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.  Place fluted paper liners in 18 muffin cups.

Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

Peel and finely grate the carrots. Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract and applesauce. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the 18 muffin cups (fill each cup about 2/3 full) and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. With a knife or small metal spatula spread cream cheese frosting (recipe below) on top of each cupcake.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking

Friday, April 22, 2011

Panko-Crusted Salmon

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Usually when I prepare salmon, I use store-bought teriyaki marinade from the seafood counter and Chris throws it on the grill. Simple as that. But it turns out fantastic every time.

Since the weather over here in DC hasn't been cooperating lately, when I wanted salmon the other night I had to figure out a way to cook it in the oven. Surprisingly, I had never cooked it that way before. I usually just eat salmon when I go out to restaurants or when Chris grills it, so this was something new to me.

I'm about to make a bold statement, but it's very honest.

This is the best salmon I've ever had.

Seriously. I devoured it. The dijon mustard adds a little tang and the lemon zest in the panko is a perfect compliment. Drizzle some fresh lemon juice on top and we're in business. It's refreshing and light...a perfect weeknight meal.

In honor of Good Friday, I'm sharing with you the best salmon ever recipe. I hope you all have a fantastic, and hopefully sunny, weekend. And Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/3 cup panko, bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 (6 -8 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedge, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small bowl combine the panko, parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.

Place salmon, skin side down, on a board. Brush the tops of the fillets with a generous amount of mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press panko mixture thickly on each fillet. The mustard should help the panko adhere.

Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a 12 inch cast iron skillet, or a large ovenproof pan. When oil is very hot, add salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer pan to hot oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until salmon is almost cooked and panko is browned. Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

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When I order Chinese food, my order is pretty standard. Beef and broccoli, maybe some fried rice or lo mein and possibly an egg roll if I'm feeling rebellious. That being said, finding this recipe was a huge deal for me. Knowing I can now make my usual #7 from the comfort of my own home is so refreshing. I was a little hesitant at first since I know firsthand that eating bad Chinese food is a major letdown, so I didn't want to be disappointed. Surprisingly, this tastes amazingly similar to what I usually order and I'm positive it's a lot healthier, too. This is by far one of my favorite dishes. 

It's also a great low-carb meal for those of you who are trying to get ready for bathing suit season like I am. You can serve it on top of rice, but that's completely optional. However, the sauce is pretty delicious so you could probably try brown rice as a healthy alternative.

I know that the list of ingredients is intimidating, but don't let it scare you. Since they are separated into three sections, it's really easy to toss everything together and prepare ahead of time so when it's time to cook all you have to do is throw it in the wok/pan and let it rip. I also triple the sauce ingredients because I found that the original recipe didn't produce nearly enough. Hope you enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3/4 pound flank or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp. high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tbsp. water
For the beef marinade:
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
  • 6 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 3 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Marinate the beef: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for 10 minutes

Prepare the sauce: Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Blanch the broccoli: Cook the broccoli in a small pot of boiling, salted water until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the beef out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink. Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cheesy Garlic Bread

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I don't think there's anything more important than girl time. And family time. And alone time. And gossip magazines.

Every Thursday I have all my girl friends over for dinner, wine and Grey's Anatomy. Since we are all so busy with other things going on in our lives, having one designated day per week to make sure we get together and catch up is crucial. It's one thing I know I can look forward to each and every week.

Our usual line-up for dinner is pasta with meatballs, salad, bread and wine. Lots and lots of wine. Instead of the usual garlic bread last week, I decided to switch it up and make some cheesy bread this past week. It did not disappoint! The mayonnaise adds a little tang, and there was a perfect amount of cheese and garlic to make it a delicious, gooey mess. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped

Put broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

While the oven is heating, slice the bread in half. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 1 minute) and mix in the minced garlic. If you're using the jarred garlic, you can add in a little of the juice for some extra flavor. Spread the butter mixture over both slices of bread.

Place bread on the baking sheet and put under the broiler for 2 minutes or until light brown. Keep an eye on it because it will brown quickly.

Once done, remove from the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Mix the cheeses, scallions and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread over top of the bread slices. When the oven is done preheating, place the bread back in for 7-10 minutes or until cheese mixture is bubbly and begins to brown.  Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes

Friday, April 15, 2011

Soft Pretzels

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Do any of you remember TGIF? The awesome TV show line-up that ABC used to host? When I watched it growing up, it included Step by Step, Family Matters, Full House (or as I used to call it, the Michelle show), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World....geez, was that good television. Every Friday evening my parents, younger brother and I would sit in front of the TV, laughing and munching on snacks together. We all looked forward to it since the shows were hilarious and entertaining. I'm sure my parents loved the quality family time, and although we enjoyed it too, being able to stay up a little past our bedtime due to watching TV was the highlight for my brother and me.

One of the snacks I remember my mom always making while watching TGIF was soft pretzels. We'd also have popcorn, chips and drinks, but the hot, fresh pretzels were always my favorite. We'd have them with spicy mustard, but lately I've been gravitating towards queso dip. Never had soft pretzels in queso dip? Give it a go. You'll be highly addicted.

I'll admit these pretzels took a little longer than I would have preferred, but they were worth the wait. Boiling them first makes them soft on the inside, and then baking them gives them a nice crust. If you want a little twist, you could top them with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt. I suggest making these on a cold, rainy day when you want a comforting snack and have some free time. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. pretzel salt

Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes.

Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.

Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.

Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Source: Epicurious

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pasta Carbonara

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I've heard through the grapevine that some people are not a big fan of Rachel Ray, but I absolutely love her recipes. They are very inventive and flavorful in my opinion. This one is no exception. She said this is the dish that won over her boyfriend (now husband) and I can see why. It's absolutely delicious. And still so easy!

I know I only post recipes that I truly enjoy and would want you all to try out for yourselves, but I'll have to say this is one of my favorite recipes that I've tried out recently. I had never tried carbonara before because the idea of egg in pasta weirded me out. However, I found out that all it did was make the sauce extra creamy and delicious. You can't even taste the egg. This will be a new go-to recipe in my book!

The little teaspoon of red pepper flakes gives it a lot of heat, though. I personally enjoy that, but for those of you who are more sensitive to it, I'd suggest only using 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon to start. You really can't go wrong with this, no matter what modification you make. Hope you enjoy!


  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or linguini
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped (about 5 slices)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you don't like a lot of heat)
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta or bacon. Brown pancetta for 2 minutes or bacon until crispy. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add chicken stock and stir up all the pan drippings.

In a separate bowl, beat yolks. Add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water and stir immediately. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta/bacon. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add cheese and lots of pepper. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.

Source: Adapted from Good Housekeeping

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

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I'm never buying store bought granola bars again!
You think I'm joking?
These were awesome. I loved how I was able to tailor what ingredients I put in them to fit what I prefer. I'm a big chocolate chip lover and am obsessed with coconut, so I threw those in. Next time I might add peanut butter chips. Then maybe the next time I'll do some dried cherries, sunflower seeds and chopped walnuts. The possibilities are endless!
They were so easy and made 18 bars. I had most of the ingredients on hand already (minus the wheat germ and oats...who has wheat germ readily available anyways?), so now the next time I want to make a batch I won't have to get anything at all. So essentially I'll be making them for free. Who doesn't love free things? Tell the grocery store to keep their silly granola bars!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well (it’s easiest to just use your hands). Pat the mixture out into the foil-lined pan.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes if you want chewy granola bars or for 20-25 minutes for crunchy granola bars. When the edges start to brown, remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Use a pizza roller to slice into bars. Finish cooling completely before removing from the pan or they will break apart.

Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Friday, April 8, 2011

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

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Sometimes I have cravings and I don't know why or where they come from. For example, the other day I really wanted gummy bears. I don't even really like gummy bears.

Another example is sun-dried tomatoes. I think I've maybe had sun-dried tomatoes once in my life. If that. I don't know what's so special about them or why I've been craving them, but lately whenever I go to the store I always seem to find the little jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil just staring at me. Begging me to buy it. I couldn't take the peer pressure, so I gave in and bought it. 

Then I had a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and no idea of what to do with it. 

My solution? Giada.

This recipe was super quick and easy, and it really showcased the flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes, which is exactly what I wanted. You can never go wrong with pasta, so this dish was perfect. You could also take the pesto and spread it on crackers as an appetizer or on a sandwich as a spread. I really enjoyed it cold the next day, too. Enjoy!

This is how it looks after a few pulses in the food processor.

Add a little pasta water to thin it out and make a sauce. Delish!

Printable Recipe

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (I used the 3/4 oz. package from the store)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.
Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. 

Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baked Potato Wedges

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Spring is here!

Which means summer is almost here!

And summer reminds me of BBQs.

And BBQs remind me of hamburgers.

And hamburgers remind me of ketchup.

And ketchup reminds me of fries.

Oh please, summer. Will you hurry up for me? Please? I have a cute new wardrobe that's waiting to be shown off. I'd really appreciate it.

In the meantime, I can pretend it's summer by sharing my version of baked french fries that would be perfect for a BBQ side dish. These are absolutely delicious and I could probably eat the whole plate of them by myself if I didn't have things like clothes that I have to fit into. So overrated.

Hope you all enjoy these!

Printable Recipe


  • 4 large Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. peppper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut potatoes into small wedges, leaving skin on. Place in large bowl.

In separate bowl, combine oil, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. 

Pour mixture over potatoes and stir using a spoon. Place potatoes in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Pour remaining juices over top of the potatoes.

Cook for 45 minutes, flipping ever 15 minutes so they do not stick and get brown on both sides.  Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baked Apple Donuts

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I was a swimmer growing up and did it year-round for a long time. I started when I was 9 at my neighborhood pool, and eventually started swimming more competitively throughout the winter for another swim league. When I got to high school, it was only logical that I join the swim team. We would have late practices and early meets. Running out to the car after practice in the dead of winter with dripping wet hair was one of the least fun things I've ever done.

One of the things that I do remember enjoying most about the swim team in high school was our away meets. When we went to a certain part of town, we always, always stopped by the Krispy Kreme shop on our way home from a meet to get fresh, hot donuts. There were so many flavors to chose from, but my favorites were always chocolate glaze or cinnamon and sugar. They actually have a cinnamon apple-filled donut, which is the one I wanted to replicate.

I've never made donuts before, so this was my first attempt. This is a recipe for not-really-donuts donuts. They taste just as delicious and light, but they aren't fried and they sure don't look like typical donuts. I'm not even really sure why these are considered donuts; they're more like muffins to me. I guess the batter might be the same as donut batter, but that's about it. Whatever they are, they're really, really good.

I know these aren't going to last long in my house. At all. They're light and flavorful, and the chunks of apple are a pleasant surprise. Plus you roll them around in cinnamon and sugar. Um helloooo. Yum!


Printable Recipe


Makes 12 muffins or 24-36 mini-muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup cored and finely diced apples

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the first 5 ingredients with a fork. Add the shortening and mix until the shortening is broken up. Set aside. In another bowl combine the eggs, milk and diced apples. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Spoon into a greased muffin pan, or use paper liners. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until muffins are light to medium brown (15-18 minutes for mini-muffins).

While donuts are baking, melt the butter and set aside. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a separate bowl. When the donuts are done and before they have had a chance to cool, dip the tops in butter and then roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fried Adobo Shrimp Tacos with Smoked BBQ Chipotle Coleslaw

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Oh my goodness. Please try these shrimp tacos tonight.

The cilantro lime rice gives it a little tang and zestiness.

The chipotle slaw gives it some kick and is a cool contrast to the hot shrimp and rice.

The fried shrimp are juicy and crisp with the perfect amount of seasoning.

The combination here is amazing. Way more than what I was expecting. I thought they'd be normal shrimp tacos, but I was wrong. The slaw is genius. The chipotle spice blend I used made it super spicy, but when paired with the rice and the shrimp, it makes a great combination.

You can also grill the shrimp if you decide to do that whole healthy thing. I, on the other hand, like to live dangerously. But I'm sure it's great either way. You really can't go wrong with this meal.

Oh, and like always, I used fat-free or reduced-fat ingredients wherever I could. Still turned out great!

Smoked BBQ Chipotle Coleslaw:

  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 limes, juiced or 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 (16-ounce) package coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chile seasoning (or BBQ chipotle seasoning)

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix well, then taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Adobo Shrimp:
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp. adobo seasoning
  • 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas

In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough canola oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 360 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal; set aside. Season the shrimp with the adobo. Dredge the seasoned shrimp in the cornmeal mixture, making sure to get rid of all the excess (using a strainer works best.) Add the shrimp to the hot oil 1 at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the oil and drain on paper towels. 

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla, and heat for about 30 seconds on each side (or heat in the microwave between two damp paper towels for 45 seconds). Spoon about 2 tablespoons of slaw in the center of the tortilla, then put 4 or 5 fried shrimp on top and fold like a taco. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

You can also serve it with Cilantro Lime Rice. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 Source: Adapted from Paula Deen