Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Apple Crumb Squares

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This is one of those recipes that I don't remember where it came from, but it has been one of my favorites for years and years. I have a few of those types of recipes lying around. For most of them I try to scribble down what website or friend I got them from, but this one is a lost cause. But at least the recipe itself is not lost because this is one of my favorite desserts! 

These bars have a really nice crust, but a soft center from the applesauce. The walnuts on top give it a little crunch as well. All in all, the combination of crunchy and soft is fantastic and they taste amazing. Grab yourself a tall glass of milk and make yourself a batch of these as soon as possible! They won't disappoint!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups Quaker oats (quick or old fashioned)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup prepared applesauce
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except applesauce and walnuts. Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup oats mixture. Press remaining oats mixture onto bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake 13-15 minutes; cool.

Spread applesauce over partially baked crust; sprinkle with nuts. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup oats mixture over top.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan; cut into squares.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

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Still. Eating. Healthy. How long until bathing suit season is over again??

Sometimes it's hard for me to come up with super healthy recipes, just because I like flavor and I often find healthier foods to be bland and boring. Mexican food is something that I can never go wrong with, so incorporating that into a healthy dinner is something that is becoming common in my household. It still has tons of flavor, but it doesn't use all the butter and oil that other recipes call for.

I usually just put salsa as my dressing on any fajita or taco salads, but I wanted to switch it up for once. Since I had a few oranges on my kitchen table that were just going to go to waste, I decided I wanted to try a citrus-filled vinaigrette. It was very refreshing and went well with the lime-marinated chicken. This was a healthy dinner I could definitely eat over and over again! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Mexican blend cheese
  • Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Put chicken in a zip lock bag and toss with lime juice, minced garlic, cumin and oregano. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

After 30 minutes, remove chicken from the refrigerator. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly. Slice into strips. Put chicken on top of lettuce, and top with sour cream, cheese and cilantro-lime vinaigrette.


  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Source: Chicken adapted from All Recipes and Vinaigrette from Eating Well

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mongolian Beef

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One of the things I enjoy most about starting this blog (besides you guys and your awesome comments) is trying foods I otherwise wouldn't think of making. I come from a large Italian family, so before starting this blog I would typically stick to pasta dishes or meals I'm used to. I've seen Mongolian Beef on menus before, but always grazed right past it. Until now.

Luckily I found this recipe a while back and put it in my recipe binder. I usually have Chris flip through to pick out our meals for the week, and this is one was on his list to make ASAP. This is another one we both really enjoyed. The sauce was easy to prepare and very flavorful. I will be making this again soon!

  • 2 lbs. flank or skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 tsp. vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, green part only, sliced into small pieces

Trim all fat and silver skin from meat. Lay steaks out horizontally on the cutting board with the grain running vertically. Slice the slab into manageable sized pieces. Then cut the meat opposite the grain (horizontal) into bite-sized pieces.

Dust steak pieces lightly in cornstarch and set aside while preparing the sauce.

In a small sauce pan heat oil over medium high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Add soy sauce and water to the ginger and garlic before it browns. Add brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and reserve.

In a large skillet or wok heat 1/3 cup oil over medium high heat. Working in batches, add the steak a few at a time to the hot oil. Cook about 1 minute without touching the meat then flip each piece and cook 1 minute more. Remove meat while still rare inside, and continue with next batch. Once all meat is browned, pour off oil and wipe out skillet.

Heat skillet over high heat and add mushrooms. Cook a couple of minutes or until mushrooms are slightly softened and browned. Reserve in separate bowl.

Add steak to the hot pan and cook about 1 minute. Add sauce to the pan and simmer and toss meat and sauce about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and green onions. Toss with steak and sauce and heat 1 minute. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

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For Father's Day, I wanted to make my dad something I knew he would enjoy. In addition to the dip I posted on Monday, I also made this Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert. My dad isn't a huge dessert guy, but he loves his chocolate cream pie. And I don't blame him!

This pie was really rich and delicious. I could probably eat the filling by itself as a pudding, but I wouldn't dare (or would I?). Aside from a few lumps (I got distracted while heating the sugar and milk. Note: Don't get distracted while heating the sugar and milk or it will cause lumps), it was terrific. I always get nervous when making a new recipe for a special occasion, but this did not disappoint one bit. As always, hope you all enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Cool Whip
  • 1 (9-inch) Chocolate Cookie Crust

In a small saucepan combine sugar, heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and pinch of salt, and whisk until smooth. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking from time to time for the sugar and cornstarch to dissolve and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking at a low boil for an additional 5 minutes, whisking constantly.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Pour 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk over the heat until thoroughly combined and very thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until thoroughly combined (mixture will be very thick). Cover the mixture with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface and refrigerate until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Once cooled, fold the Cool Whip into the cool chocolate pudding mixture, then spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate until firm and cool, at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, top the pie with Whipped Cream and serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pizza Dip

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I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and that all the fathers had a very wonderful Father's Day!

Yesterday I spent the day with my amazing dad and all we did was sit around, talk, eat and play card games, but that's all we need. We all really have a lot of fun together and enjoy each other's company. We also watched the end of the U.S. Open and the guys cheered on McIlroy while the girls critiqued the outfits and commented on their putting skills (even though we've never golfed a day in our lives). Pretty standard.

For an appetizer, I decided to make this Pizza Dip since it seemed hearty and appropriate for Father's Day. We devoured it. In 17 seconds. We even had to wait a couple hours before we could throw the hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill since this was so filling, but we just couldn't stop. Hope you all enjoy it, too!

Printable Recipe

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced 
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Sliced Italian bread, for serving 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley and basil.

Spread cream cheese mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, and sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the pizza sauce over top. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the pizza sauce. Top with bell pepper, pepperoni and black olives. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and bubbly. 

Source:  Adapted from All Recipes

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shrimp Lo Mein

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I love when you guys e-mail me, and I love it even more when you e-mail me and ask me to make a dish you've been wanting to try. Especially something that brings back memories of years ago. Like this Lo Mein.

When I was in college and a year or two after, my friends would usually come back to my house to wind down after being out and about. We'd all always be starving and would eat leftovers or whatever snacks were in the pantry, like all college students.

One day everyone really wanted some pasta. I didn't have tomato sauce so, on a whim, I decided to make Lo Mein using whatever ingredients I had. From that day on, everyone would always ask me to make my Lo Mein when we were at my house. I always made sure I had the ingredients on hand just in case, but every weekend, without fail, I would use them all up.

We liked ours with a little extra heat, so I would always add more red pepper flakes. And always, always more soy sauce. Just adjust the recipe to your preferred taste. Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb. spaghetti, thin or regular
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, separated
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 (8 oz.) can mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Combine soy sauce and shrimp in a large zip lock bag. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soy sauce.

Cook pasta as directed on package. When done, toss with 1 tsp. oil. Reserve.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Add frozen broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding water chestnuts and mushrooms. Cook for an additional minute or until heated through. Remove vegetables from pan and keep warm.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in the same pan. Add shrimp and cook for one minute. Pour in the reserved soy sauce, broth, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil. Toss in the reserved vegetables and heat through. Add cooked pasta and combine. Taste and adjust soy sauce and red pepper flakes as desired.

Source: The Savvy Kitchen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Cuban Flank Steak

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I got a really nice slow cooker for Christmas a couple years ago. It has a bunch of different settings and it also locks so I can transport it from location to location, which turned out to be very handy when I go to potlucks. The only problem is...I hardly ever use it.

That's about to change.

It was so nice coming home last night to an amazing smelling house and a finished meal. I prepared all the ingredients the night before, so I only had to wake up 5 minutes earlier than usual to put it all in the crock pot before work. This was very convenient since I wake up at 6:15 am during the week (not fun). When Chris and I are both around for dinner, I always make sure there is dinner on the table. Even though I thoroughly enjoy cooking, it was very refreshing coming home to this after a long day at work. And it was delicious! Chris even had thirds! Hope you enjoy.

Printable Recipe

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips 
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips 
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 3 pieces 
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder 
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice 
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice or Cilantro Lime Rice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed

Spray 1 1/2- to 2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, place onion and peppers. Top with beef. Sprinkle with chili powder, oregano, garlic and salt. Drizzle with lime juice. Add broth. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8-10 hours. 

About 20 minutes before serving, cook rice as directed on package. 

Remove beef from cooker; place on cutting board. Shred beef with 2 forks; return to cooker and mix well. Stir in black beans. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook about 5 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated. Serve beef and sauce over rice.

Source: Adapted from Pillsbury

Monday, June 13, 2011

Egg Salad Sandwich

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Be warned: Don't attempt to make this when you are expecting company. Boiling and peeling eggs kind of masks the house with a foul aroma for a couple hours. No one really appreciates that. And they might look at you funny. Just sayin'.

But if you aren't having company, you should go ahead and make this. I keep my egg salad pretty simple, but other options would be to add diced celery or green onions. I prefer to use light mayonnaise since I'm trying to eat healthy, but make sure you don't use Miracle Whip or one of those fat-free brands that tends to be a little sweeter. It completely changes the flavor. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 12 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 17 minutes. Remove from hot water. Run cold water over top of eggs to cool. Peel each egg and put on a cutting board to chop.

Place the chopped eggs in a bowl, and stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir and refrigerate. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve on a sandwich with lettuce.

Source: The Savvy Kitchen

Friday, June 10, 2011


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When we have family get-togethers, I'm usually in charge of making appetizers. This isn't a big deal to me, but my pants might tell you a different story. The rule of cooking is to taste everything along the way, right? And we have a LOT of family get-togethers.

I usually order the Spanakopita for an appetizer at the local Greek restaurant when Chris and I go, so I figured I'd try something new for one of our family gatherings. For those of you who don't know, Spanakopita is basically wilted spinach, feta and other seasonings wrapped and baked in phyllo dough. I find that the Spanakopita I get is usually very greasy, so I wanted to try to make them just as flavorful but without the extra oil. This recipe did exactly that! They were still very flaky on the outside, but weren't as heavy. I definitely recommend these if you are stuck in a rut and want to try out a new appetizer. Have a great weekend!

Printable Recipe


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound phyllo pastry sheets

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes.  Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid. Using cheesecloth really helps with this process.  Roughly chop the spinach. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil.  Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil.  Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. You can do this part ahead of time and keep refrigerated.

Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.  Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn't dry out. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 x 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of the phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with the remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until they are all ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot.

Note: These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bacon, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Green Pepper Pizza

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I absolutely love pizza. I love how it brings back memories of my childhood; when we would help my mom make English Muffin pizzas and use olives and peppers to make smiley faces. How it was always a staple at every birthday party I ever had or went to. How my dad and I would sneak down to the kitchen early in the morning to have a cold slice (or two) of leftover pizza for breakfast. I could honestly eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which I have done...don't judge) and be perfectly content.

Homemade pizza is so easy to make and is much cheaper than delivery since you can normally just use whatever you have on hand. Something I've learned is that when making homemade pizza dough, it's always a good idea to double the recipe and throw the second half in the freezer so you always have some on hand. You could substitute anything on this pizza for whatever you prefer, but these are pretty much all my favorites. Hope everyone has a pleasant "Hump Day!"

Printable Recipe


  • Quick and Easy Pizza Dough or store bought dough
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, finely minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (or as directed on package).

In a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. butter and oil. Add the sliced onion and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Slice bacon into small pieces and cook in a frying pan until crispy.  Move to a paper towel-lined plate to let the grease soak up.

Add a small amount of oil to a small pan. Add the mushrooms and red pepper flakes and let cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Spread the pizza dough over a pizza pan or stone. Spread the sauce evenly over top. Top with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Layer the mushrooms, green onions, caramelized onions and bacon on top.

Melt the remaining 1 tbsp. butter in the microwave with the garlic. Spread this over the crust.

Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes (or as directed on package), until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I'm obsessed with these lettuce wraps. I'm not even slightly kidding.

The weather in DC has been in the 90's the last few days, so Chris and I wanted to have something tasty and refreshing for dinner. Lettuce cups were an obvious first choice since we're trying to eat healthier, too. These were jam-packed with flavor and the extra sauce was a great combination. I always enjoy when you can cater something to what you prefer, like adding hot mustard or red chile paste to the "special sauce" to make it hotter or sweeter. 

These took a little longer to make than I was anticipating (I mean how long could it really take to cook up some chicken?), but it was well worth the wait. I know I've been cooking with chicken a lot lately, but as with most receipes you can substitute the chicken for pork or whatever meat you prefer. Hope you enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup water chestnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp. onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
Special Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sugar cup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. hot mustard plus 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1 -2 tsp. red chile paste
Stir Fry Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside until you're ready to serve.

Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Keep the chili paste as-is. Before serving, add your desired measurement of hot mustard and/or red chili paste to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done. Remove chicken from the pan and cool.

As chicken cools, mince water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms to about the size of small peas. When chicken is cool, mince it into the same size pieces.

With the same pan on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes until warmed through. Serve mixture in the lettuce "cups" and top with special sauce mixture.

Source: Adapted from

Friday, June 3, 2011

Parmesan and Herb Crackers

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Okay, I get that you probably have better things to do than sit around and bake crackers when you can buy them at the store, but hear me out. You know the satisfaction you get when you make something that's usually store bought and you feel so good about yourself? And then when you have other people try it and they agree that it's pretty awesome? Well that, my friends, is why you should make these crackers.

The thing I like about them is that they aren't as hard as store-bought crackers. They have a little bite to them, but they are also softer than you would expect. You can put whatever type of seasoning in them that your little heart desires. I made four different kinds since I like variety. Serve these with some cheese for a summer get-together and I promise you won't be disappointed. Happy Friday!

These are the spice combos I decided to use (minus the Thyme) from Dean and Jacob's. They're sold as bread dipping seasonings, but I thought they'd be a great addition in the crackers.

Printable Recipe

Makes about 75 crackers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoon salted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp. of each seasoning of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, Parmesan cheese and butter. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, add the buttermilk in a stream. Blend until the dough forms a ball within the mixing bowl.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few seconds. Cut the dough into four equal parts. Add 1/8-1/4 tsp. of the seasoning of your choice to one of the balls of dough. Do the same to the other balls of dough, switching spices if preferred. Lightly knead each ball until the herbs are incorporated. Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Unwrapping one ball at a time, roll the dough out to 1/16-inch thickness. Use a 1-3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out the crackers and place them on a baking sheet (if you're like me you can improvise and use a shot glass to cut each circle out!). Imprint each cracker with the tines of a fork. Repeat until all the crackers and cut out. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are golden and crisp. Keep a close eye on the crackers after 8 or 10 minutes. They brown quickly. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lighter Sesame Chicken

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So I guess it's safe to say that I had a pretty exciting and eventful weekend. Chris and I got engaged on Friday (yay!) and moved into our brand new home on Sunday (double yay!). We vowed that after the holiday weekend we'd strive to eat healthier to get ready for the summer and all the upcoming events we have to look forward to. So even if sometimes I cook unhealthily, we're going to have a side salad and use portion control to satisfy our cravings and still stick with our healthy eating regime.

Take this chicken for example. I served it with broccoli and brown rice. The chicken itself isn't too bad for you, but a small amount served with a larger side of broccoli and brown rice makes a perfect balance. Chris and I both really enjoyed this and since we're obviously going to be spending a lot more time with each other I think this one might even be added to the rotation. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced (I used frozen florets)

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli (only if using fresh broccoli). Cook rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.

Meanwhile, cook the broccoli. If using frozen florets, cook according to the package directions. If using fresh broccoli, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart