Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Carmel Butter Cream and Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Frosting

So this weekend I turned my kitchen into a bake shop. 
It was fun to make a few different types of cupcakes, cookies and fudge.

I made a Chocolate Cupcake with Caramel Buttercream
and a Gingerbread Cupcake with Orange Frosting and
Toasted Coconut Flakes on top.

                                   Both cupcakes turned out great and they looked pretty too!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fish with Spicy Orange and Black Cherry Sauce

This recipe from "Clean Eating" is a keeper.  It is so unique and delicious
that I will be making it again very soon!  I would have never thought to mix
carrots, oranges and black cherry jam together to make a sauce for fish but
it is amazing.

Fish with Spicy Orange and Balck Cherry Sauce


•10 oz couscous

•Olive oil cooking spray

•1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, divided

•4 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided

•2 large carrots, peeled and diced

•4 green onions, diced, divided

•1 tsp dried cilantro

•Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

•2 large navel oranges

•4 tbsp no-sugar-added all-fruit black cherry jam

•1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

•1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

•4 4-oz cod fillets or other whitefish of your choice (1 lb)

•1/2 tsp Spanish paprika


1.Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and set aside.

2.Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Mist with cooking spray, add half of yellow onion and 2 cloves garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add all but 2 tbsp green onions and sauté for another minute. Add couscous, sauté for 1 minute more, then remove from heat. Season with cilantro, salt and black pepper.

3.In a small bowl, zest 1 orange, then squeeze juice from orange over zest. Slice remaining orange in half, then cut orange slices in half, leaving the peel intact. Set orange slices aside.

4.Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Mist with cooking spray, add remaining onion and remaining 2 cloves garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add juice-zest mixture and jam, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in cinnamon and cayenne. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is thickened just enough so it will coat the back of a spoon.

5.Preheat broiler on high. Line a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan with aluminum foil and arrange fillets on top of foil. Sprinkle paprika over fillets, then top each with 1 orange piece. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes or until fillets are cooked through and flaky. **  I cooked my fish in a frying pan with a little oil about 3-4 minutes each side.  I always turn the heat up on the last minute of each side to get a crispy coating on the fish*

6.To serve, place 1 cup couscous-veggie mixture on a plate with 1 fillet, (I took off the orange piece when I plated the fish). Pour 2 tbsp sauce overtop of each fillet, followed by 2 tsp green onions and 2 to 3 additional orange pieces. (You will have 1 cup couscous and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup sauce left over.)

I am sorry that I don't have a great photo of this dish .  You will just have to trust me and make it because you are going to love  it!!

Unique Chicken Fingers with Honey-Mustard Dip

This past week I made several recipes from "Cooking For Isaiah". 
The author has put together  great recipes especially for people
who are intolerant to gluten and dairy.  After trying several of the recipes
and making them my own by adding or changing some of the ingredients
I can tell you that you will really enjoy her style of cooking and recipes.

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Dip
adapted from "Cooking for Isaiah"

Olive Oil
6 cups of corn chips, Fritos
 *(I only used 3 cups of Fritos  because I used Panko for the other 3 cups)
salt and pepper
3 large eggs
1 1/2 lbs of chicken tenders
*dash of cayenne pepper ( I added this to the batter).

Honey Mustard Dip
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. honey
1 tbs. lemon juice

This recipe directs you to turn on the oven to 425 and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil.  I cooked my chicken tenders in a frying pan with a little peanut oil.   I took the Fritos and Panko and put them in my nut grinder under they were finely crushed.  Pour this mix into a bowl and added the salt, pepper and cayenne.  Beat the eggs in a different bowl.  Take your chicken and dip the pieces in the corn chip mix, then in the eggs and then back in the corn chip mix one more time. You can bake them on the baking sheet for 20 minutes or unitl lightly browned or you can fry them in a frying pan with a little oil until lightly brown and crispy.

To make the dip mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt.
Serve the chicken fingers with this dip. 

                                     YUM! Kids and adults will love these chicken fingers! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shrimp and Risotto Cakes

I know you are probably thinking that this does not look like much but these Shrimp and Risotto Cakes were very good.   They do take a little extra time due to the risotto but it is worth it!

Shrimp and Risotto Cakes

adapted from Silvana Nardone's "Cooking for Isaiah"

Makes 8 cakes

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup Arborio rice

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup water

8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 teaspoon hot sauce, (*I used red pepper flakes)

* 1 teaspoon basil, oregano, tomato seasoning
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Salt and ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Start to finish: 3 hours 45 minutes (45 minutes active)

Turn your oven on to 375.  In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over low heat. Add the scallions and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add in the vinegar and let cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

In In a medium size ovenproof pan heat  2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice is toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, water and seasoning.
Transfer the pot, uncovered, to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in the scallions, shrimp, hot sauce (red pepper flakes), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and lemon zest. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the eggs and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Shape the cooled rice mixture into 8 cakes, each about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
(I did not regrigerate the cakes this second time and they held true to form when I cooked them.  You just have to be gentle.  If you have the time - refrigerate them the second time).

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high. Add 4 rice cakes and cook without moving them for 4 minutes. Flip the cakes and cook for another 4 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and rice cakes. It is important not to move the cakes around too much or they will begin to fall apart.

*I enjoyed this recipe. The carmelized onion flavor adds a nice flavor to the risotto cakes.  I served the cakes over some lightly cooked arugula that had a little lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Blueberry French Toast

I love trying out new recipes.  I am not really sure why. I guess I don't want to miss out on anything that might be super yummy! 

This recipe is for a Blueberry French Toast Casserole.   The reason I like these types of breakfast recipes is because you can make them in advance, refrigerate and bake it when you are ready.

I found this particular recipe to be very easy to make and not full of sugar.  (  I added just a few ingredients for fun (toasted almonds and agave nectar).

Blueberry French Toast Casserole


6 cups cubed, whole grain bread
8 egg whites
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

*toasted almonds
* 2 tbsp. agave nectar

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites, almond milk, honey, agave nectar, extracts and cinnamon. Oil a baking dish (about 9 x 13), and fill it with the bread.
 Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, mixing once or twice to be sure all parts of the bread are moistened. Mix in the blueberries and toasted almonds.
I let the casserole sit overnight and then baked it the next day.
Bake the casserole at 350 F. for about 35 minutes covered.  Then uncover the casserole and turn the temperature up to 375 - 400 to brown the top of the bread about another 10-15 minutes. Cook until there is no longer any liquid between the bread.

You can serve this with a little powdered sugar dusted on the top or maple syrup.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hot Wings

Opps, I just found this post that never made it to the blog.

We invited the Hetzel family over to watch the Super Bowl
this year. I knew that my husband wanted to watch the game
and we enjoy our time with the Hetzel family so it was
a perfect combination.

For dinner I made hot wings with home-made
blue cheese dressing and a Greek salad.
I made salted, carmel brownies for dessert.

This is a great hot wing recipe because
the wings are cooked right in the oven ~
no fuss with a deep fryer. We took the
time to brine the wings before cooking
them so the chicken was crispy on
the outside and so tender on the inside
it was falling off the bones.

I think the hot wings were a hit because
there weren't any left over :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lentil Soup with Cauliflower

I usually use part of Sunday to get ahead with my cooking for the week.   It is a regular event for me to be cooking something like soup or a casserole that can be made ahead of time and served for dinner later in week. 

This weekend I took on a Moroccan recipe that I found in my Eating Well Magazine.
The recipe contains so many healthy ingredients and I really like the spice combination.
I made a few changes based on what I had in my pantry and refrigerator.

Moroccan Lentil Soup

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped carrots

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium)

1 3/4 cups lentils
( I used a mix of green and orange lentils)

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
   (I used kale instead of spinach, I find it freezes better).

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1.Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; add onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2.Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 45 to 55 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, 5 minutes.

**Set aside any of the soup you want to freeze now, before adding the last two ingredients to the soup you are going to eat or serve.

3.Just before serving,  add the cilantro and lemon juice.

This is an incrediblly" rich in flavor" soup.  So many great flavors coming together to make
a delicious meal.