February 28, 2011

Spring Chicken Rolls with Lemon Dijon Sauce

In an effort not to chicken you out, I've held off on publishing this post. I made this for our Valentine dinner at home! I've shared this recipe with you many moons ago when I first started this blog. I feel like I've come a long way since then and felt this needed to be reintroduced with an updated story and updated photographs.

If you're looking for something new to serve at a dinner party or even on a first date (great way to impress the ladies, gentlemen), this is a great option. I've served this when we've had friends over and they loved it, asking me how it was done and what was in the sauce. A fancy twist on chicken cordon bleu, this chicken is pounded thin and rolled with a few slices of ham, Swiss cheese, and blanched asparagus. To blanch the asparagus, put a small pot of water to boil and drop in asparagus for 2-3 minutes, just as it's green color starts to become vibrant. Immediately take it out of the boiling water and let it cool before you roll up the chicken bundles.

The sauce coating the bundles is heavenly- a combination of dijon mustard, lemon juice (duh), butter, and chicken stock. Sprinkle in some parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it all up and let it simmer to thicken up. It is delicious!

Don't worry over the sides too much, the chicken bundles are definitely the star of the show. I paired mine with brown rice and buttered dinner rolls.

Source: adapted from the Food Network

2 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied and pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices ham
12 thin spears asparagus, trimmed of tough stems and blanched in salted water 2 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons parsley

Halve the chicken breasts horizontally separating each into 2 cutlets. Place each halved cutlet in an individual freezer plastic storage bag (with slider tab). Add a tablespoon of water to each bag and pound into1/8-inch thick cutlets. Or, set on a cutting board and cover with parchment paper. Use a meat mallet to pound chicken thinly.

Arrange the 4 cutlets on work surface. Season both sides of cutlets with salt and pepper5. Cover each piece of chicken with 1 slice cheese and 1 slice ham. Starting on 1 side of the breast, place a small bundle of 3 asparagus spears. Wrap and roll the chicken around the asparagus. Secure with toothpicks and wash hands.

Heat about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, using tongs, add the chicken roll-ups to skillet with seam side down. Cover the pan loosely with tin foil and cook 5 to 7 minutes, turn roll-ups over and cook and other 5 to 7 minutes. Remove cooked roll ups to a serving plate. Meanwhile, as chicken is cooking, start on sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a saucepan and 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk to form a golden paste. Whisk in the chicken stock and Dijon mustard and simmer. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley and whisk again. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over chicken.  

What did you serve up for Valentine's Day this year? 

February 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Schools were closed for Mid-Winter break in my area last week. I planned for many endeavors in the kitchen and tried out some new recipes. That is, until Wednesday. On Wednesday a lovely sick bug decided to wiggle it's way into my body. Doesn't that always seem to happen when you're off from work? Wonderful. So I was not able to cook/bake as much as I wanted to.

I am feeling slightly better today and was able to crank out the menu plan from bed. Tonight we're definitely having chicken soup, because now the hubby is sick. :( It's never good when the both of us are out of commission.

Chicken Noddle Soup
Chicken with Cacciatore Sauce
Chicken Milanese
Pork Marsala with Spinach
Sage-Walnut Butter Tortellini
Hawaiian Pizza

Who else got more snow this weekend? Winter can't end soon enough! 

February 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies remind me of grandmas. Spending a weekend at grandma's house, baking and eating all day. Grandmas all across the country must be making these cookies. I have discovered their secret.

Not that either one of my grandmothers can make these cookies. They were not bestowed with the baking gene. Sorry Abuelas. I still love you both!

Soft, chewy, crispy on the outside, and gooey on the inside. They are the perfect oatmeal cookie and probably the best I've ever had. I ate one 30 seconds after it came out of the oven and proceeded to eat four more in a row. They are best warm so heat them up in the microwave if you have some left over later. I bet they'd go well with vanilla ice cream. Or with a tall glass of milk for breakfast.

Just eat them!

A few notes to share- My cookies were done after 14 minutes. I tried dropping the dough by a tablespoon and by a teaspoon- drop them by the teaspoon! I also did not pulse the old-fashioned oats in a food processor as indicated (because I don't have one!) and didn't notice any problems. So to pulse or to not? Up to you. Oh and, I accidentally cracked two whole eggs into the bowl.... instead of one egg and one yolk. Oops.

Thanks Ania for inquiring about oatmeal cookies. I've only made one prior to this with cranberries and white chocolate. These cookies are a sure winner!

Source: Recipe of the Week: Cookies by Sally Sampson

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, pulsed well in a food processor 
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place the butter and sugars in a bowl of a mixer fixed with a paddle attachment (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer). Mix until smooth and creamy. Scape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until everything is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the chocolate and mix again.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons (no larger, it won't work as well) about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cookies begin to brown at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

What goodies remind you of your grandmother? 

Link up at Sweets for a Saturday.

February 23, 2011

Lemon Alfredo

Put that store-bought jar of Alfredo sauce down! Back away.

You won't ever need it again.

Make this lemon sauce by the bucket full. And make more pasta than you usually would. You're going to want more after you're done. We were stark raving mad when we realized the pot was empty.

The hubbs gave it his official stamp of approval and said it had to be the best pasta sauce ever. I saved what was little left of the sauce because I just could not let it go down the drain. Don't tell me you don't do that too. I'll figure out some use for it later. Or just dunk bread into it.

It is restaurant quality- actually, no- better than any sauce you'd have at a restaurant. Unless you're in Italy.

It is pretty simple- lemon zest, heavy cream, a shallot, an egg yolk, pecorino cheese, and some S and P. In a rare occurrence, the hubby made this with me. I was very happy to have him in the kitchen! I assigned him the tasks I hate- zesting a lemon and grating cheese. Let me tell you, he is one fine zester and cheese grater. He went to town on that lemon. Got more zest out of it than I ever could. Don't worry about having the exact two tablespoons of zest this recipe calls for, zest that entire lemon! Even if you're not a huge lemon fan, you'll thank me later. And if you are, you're welcome.

I cubed up some cooked chicken to go with this for some protein, but it really doesn't need it. You can eat this as is. I bet bacon would go well with this. Maybe even some ham. Get creative. But stick with the sauce- unless you're thinking about adding more cheese, that's always a great idea!

Source: Food Network Magazine Mar. '11

12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
Some starchy cooking water

 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook as the label directs. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk the cream, egg yolk and lemon zest in a bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream mixture and cheese to the skillet. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the skillet and toss, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce. Divide among bowls and garnish with more pecorino. 

Make some garlic bread and go to town!

Link up at What's Cooking Wednesday!

February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

The menu plan this week is a bit scarce. I am home this week (mid-winter break, yay!) so I'm pretty sure writing out a full menu plan is not going to happen. There's no chance of me sticking to it! I'd like to try out lots of new things, including baking, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner will most likely be spur of the moment choices. But what you see below is what I do know I will be making, in some form...

Lemon Alfredo
Salmon with White Wine and Lemon Sauce
Creamy Taco Mac
Something with Skirt Steak
Something with Chicken
Lots of baking and breakfast experimenting

Guess there will be lots of surprises! I spent of all Sunday surrounded by all things food-literally. I had out all my food magazines, visited food blog after food blog, and flip flopped between the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. I've got lots of things bookmarked and DVR'd. There will be chaos in my kitchen this week!

What's on your menu plan this week?

Chicken, Bacon, Tomato Ranch Pizza

It happened folks. I made my first pizza dough from scratch and lived to tell you about it. Remember, I was nervous/worried/freaked out on Saturday about this dough. It didn't seem to be rising at all. I waited more than 3 hours to see what would happen. If I told you what I did to see if I could get it to rise, you'd probably never take me seriously again. Let's just say it all worked out somehow and I am so happy to be sharing this with you!

I followed the directions for this dough to a T (except for allowing the dough to "rise" for more than three hours). After punching it and waiting another 30 minutes I rolled it out on the counter. My jaw dropped when I discovered how easy it was to roll out. I thought it was going to be sticky and stick to the rolling pin or be super tough. Neither one happened. It rolled out smoothly, gliding across my counter effortlessly. I was in shock.

I decided to go with one of my favorite pizza recipes for the topping. I topped it with chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and ranch dressing. Ranch, you say? Yeah, I thought it was weird too- but it's SO GOOD!

I was all giddy as it was baking up in the oven. I had to resist the urge to pull open the oven door 2324 times. The kitchen smelled amazing.

Sadly, I don't own a pizza stone (one of the many items I don't have in my kitchen!) so I set it on a cutting board to slice.

Oh sweet Jesus.

The hubbs and I settled on the couch with our slices to watch Megamind. Super cute, funny movie. Have you seen it?

For the dough
Source: How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add water, honey and oil, mixing with a spoon to form into a ball. Continue mixing with your hands and kneed for about 60 seconds. Lightly oil bowl and add dough back in. Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours.

After 2-3 hours, remove from bowl and punch down. Roll back into ball and let sit for 30 minutes.
Lay on lightly floured surface and roll very thin. Top with toppings and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

For the Toppings
Source: adapted from Buon Appetito

1/2 ranch dressing, or enough to cover the dough
1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
6 cherry tomatoes (1/2 can of diced tomatoes works too)
1/4 cup chopped onion (I omitted it this time, but have topped it with onions in the past)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread ranch dressing over dough. Top with cheeses, chicken, bacon, and tomatoes. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

February 19, 2011

Ever Have One of Those Days...

...Where things just aren't going right? This morning, I decided to make my infamous banana bread. The one I've made 15+ times, for the hubbs, for family staying overnight, for my co-workers. When I tilted the loaf pan over to slide the banana bread out, the entire top half crumbled into a gooey mess. I was left with a gaping hole in the middle of the bread. I.was.not.happy. Does this kind of stuff ever happen to you...

It still tasted good, and that's what matters, right?

According to the hubbs, yes, that's all the matters. He could care less about presentation.

Then I went out to buy this week's groceries. I was busy searching for coupons and looking for the perfect homemade pizza dough that I left all in a hurry. At the store, I realized I didn't finish planning out this week's menu.

Gripe. Sigh. Refrain from impulse buys. I stared down the crescent roll aisle and shook my head at the amount of sodium and trans fat listed on each.and.every.label. I decided to buy fresh ones from the bakery instead and ran home because I was starving!

And then my day got better (sorry for the complaints, I figured you guys would understand!). I made these cute little sandwiches when I got home and assembled the pizza dough.

After lunch I went to Target and I bought this lovely guy.

Our old toaster oven went kaput a week ago and we've been surviving off of cereal in the morning. Never knew how much I loved having a toaster oven until it was dead!

Then I went for my second round of grocery shopping to buy fruit, milk, pasta, and ranch dressing. Headed back home and checked on the dough.

Hmmm... is it supposed to look like this? I have no idea- this is my first time making pizza dough and I'm trying not to panic! Hopefully I will be able to share this experience with you in a positive light and not have some sort of freak attack episode like my banana bread this morning. Wish me luck!

What kitchen disasters have you experienced lately?

February 16, 2011

I Love Surprises

Earlier this week I came home to find my kitchen a mess. An opened cardboard box with a gigantic strawberry on it sat on top of the counter. Styrofoam blocks, packing tape, and a colorful flyer sat beside it. A flyer for chocolate covered strawberries.

Immediately open fridge.

Hello. We were waiting for you. And there was another box.

Cheesecake!! Which to be more excited about...!

I love my in-laws. They sure know the way to this girl's heart. Food. Food covered in chocolate. Something in the form of cheese. Something sweet! Thanks guys. You're the best. I'll leave one for your son. ;)

In case you were wondering what the hubbs got me for Valentine's Day...

He made it himself. Aren't I a lucky girl?

February 15, 2011

Creamy, Lemony Risotto

I am a risotto newbie. This is the first risotto I have ever tried to make. Like many other risotto noobs, I was intimidated by the cooking process. I didn't think I'd be able to get the consistency right, I was worried about burning the rice, and I thought it would take forever. But then I saw this risotto in Rachael's cookbook. It called to me. Proclaimed it would be life changing...

...I've made it seven times since. Remember, I got this book for Christmas. Can we say obsessed?

If you can boil water, you can make risotto. And you should make this one that I'm about to share with you. It's heavenly. So go grab an onion. Chop it up and throw it into a big pot with a swirl of olive oil heating up. Get another pot, a small saucepan, and heat up some water and chicken stock. Once the onions have become translucent, add the rice. Gradually add the liquids, adding more when you see that it has evaporated. Keep doing this until you have added all the liquids. You do have it watch it though. Don't go off and watch that Oprah episode you DVR'd. Or it will burn. We don't want that to happen.

The rest is a piece of cake.

Depending on how juicy of a lemon you use, this risotto can turn out to be quite lemony. If you're okay with that (cheers), squeeze that whole lemon (careful with the seeds) into the pot. Otherwise you might want to squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup first and decide how much you want to add. You can always add more after giving it a taste. As for the cheese, 1/2 cup is plenty, especially if you use Percorino, as called for in the recipe. Adding more can overpower the dish (trust me, I've tried). I personally like Parmigiano-Reggiano for this, but feel free to experiment!  

Source: Rachael Ray Look and Cook Book

1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 cup Arborio rice
1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, a couple of handfuls
2 tablespoons slivered mint leaves
A handful basil tops, shredded or torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small pot, heat the stock and 2 cups water over medium low heat.

In a risotto or large pot with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes Stir in the rice and add the zest of 1 lemon. Heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. Total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges. When rice is cooked to al dente, stir in the butter, juice of 1 lemon, the cheese and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

So, if you're a risotto newbie, this is the perfect one to start with. You'll be glad you did. 

Link up at Tuesday Night Supper, What's Cooking Wednesday, & Saturday Swap. 

February 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! It's our tenth Valentine's together- isn't that crazy? We're celebrating by going out for some sushi at our favorite place.

This week I'll be bringing back a few old favorites and trying out some new things, as always. The weather is starting to look up (it's above freezing, yay!) but I can't let my hopes get up too soon, we're only half way through February (but you know I've already thought about breaking out those flip flops. I'm officially crazy).

I was unimpressed with about half of last week's menu plan. By Wednesday I was ready to forgo the rest of the menu and make some meals that I knew would not disappoint, the Mushroom, Bacon Herb Mac and Cheese I shared with you earlier. Nothing dampers my spirits more than trying out something new and being let down. For instance, the Lemon Garlic Sirloin Tips. I should have done some research before hand as I read reviews after making it and nodded along with the complaints. Oh well. This is the purpose of the blog after all- trying out and finding recipes to share that I enjoyed and I know you will too.

I did like the Italian Beef Stew. It was good and served it's purpose for warming us up on a cold day.

We aren't big stew people, but if you are, I'm sure this will do the job. 

Now on to this week!

If you're celebrating V-Day, are you going out or staying in? Have a fabulous week!

February 13, 2011

A Dinner Party

This weekend we had some friends over for a dinner party. On the menu was Alaskan Baked Salmon, Roasted Asparagus, and Roasted Red Potatoes. I've made this salmon many times and was eager to share it with our dinner guests. The main course had to be something light. Dessert was going to be pretty heavy- strawberries, bananas, miniature marshmallows, and brownies bites to use for our chocolate fountain!

That's the real reason we invited them over. We can't eat all that chocolate ourselves.

I'd recommend everyone buy their own chocolate fountain. It brings people together. It fills your heart with joy. And fat, but that's okay, this isn't meant to be used everyday.

Just have a healthy dinner before hand...


All the more reason to eat more chocolate! And we did. Even when we were stuffed, we kept eating. And eating. Till we were falling asleep at the table. A lovely food coma induced.

And then our friend had the greatest idea ever. Coating what was left of the fruit and brownies with the last of the chocolate. You know, to snack on for later. Because we're bound to be hungry again. 

Great times.

What do you like to serve at your dinner parties?

February 10, 2011

Mushroom, Bacon and Herb Mac and Cheese

I just finished eating this. Literally. Now. Five minutes ago. It's swimming in my belly. You know it's good when I run to my laptop to type up what I just finished saying to the husband about it. Kitchen is a mess. Dishes are sitting in the sink. Four pots are layered in cheese and bacon grease.

As soon as I popped it into the oven I was licking off the spoon. I was putting my finger into the pot. Creamy, delicious, white, cheesy sauce. I want to live in it. I want to make a house with doors made out of bacon and a mushroom ceiling (thank you husband for putting my feelings into words).  It smells good. It looks good. It tastes good

...you know what? I've made this before. Many times before. And every time I am drooling. I am a mac and cheese freak. I can't believe I haven't shared it till now (I know you're breathing a sigh of relief- it's not a chicken recipe). I can't take all the credit, I've adapted this from Annie's Eats Mushroom Herb Mac and Cheese. However, I change it up all the time. And I don't use fresh herbs. Sorry, dried is always on hand. I also use whatever cheese I have in the fridge. Tonight I had Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano. I also added bacon. This is by far the greatest combination ever. Must be why I'm over the moon about it tonight.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

1 lb. pasta shapes
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 lb. cremini (baby bella mushrooms), roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 strips of bacon, chopped
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. rosemary
2 tsp. thyme
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
½ cup Mozzarella Cheese
½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente.  Drain the pasta, return to the pot, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped mushrooms and shallots to the pan and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and almost all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, just until fragrant.  Remove the pan from the heat, season the mixture with salt and pepper. Set aside. Add chopped bacon to pan. 

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden.  Stir in the herbs and whisk in the milk and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the mixture simmers and begins to thicken.  Once the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat.  Whisk in the cheeses until completely melted and smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta.  Add the mushrooms and bacon mixture to the pot as well.  Toss well to thoroughly combine.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.  In a small bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, melted.  Toss with fork to coat the crumbs evenly.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the pasta in the baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

If you've already had dinner, make this. It can be your midnight snack.

Link up at I'm Lovin It and Saturday Swap.

February 9, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

"Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester, 
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white..."
-To the Thawing Wind
Robert Frost

Earlier in the week we read this poem in class. I thought it was fitting to open up this post with these lines. I've shared with you how ready I am for Spring to come. Like the poet, I want the flowers, the snow to melt, the rain to come...

When I saw a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Bread on The Comfort of Cooking, I knew I had to make it. It screams Spring- the colors, the lemon, the sweetness from the glaze. I made it this past weekend while I was cooped up in the house, amidst the gray and white. 

It is super sweet. Tart. Sugary. I ate it for breakfast. Had it as a snack after work. 

I love blueberries. I love lemon- a recent discovery of mine. I've never had an abundance of lemons in the house before. Now I squeeze them over everything- chicken, fish, into sauces, over desserts, even meat (not that I've tried to yet- that's tonight's experiment in the kitchen). 

If you don't like lemons, make this for someone who does. It's so pretty. It'll be sure to brighten up their day and remind them that Spring will be coming soon!

Oh, and, as you will see, the directions suggest to make this into three small loafs. I obviously didn't- I used a regular loaf pan, didn't change any of the ingredients, and stuck to the oven temperature and bake time.

1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar (or more, if needed, for thickening)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three mini-loaf pans with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan, then spray it with a little additional spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons juice and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Beat in lemon zest. Toss blueberries with just enough flour to coat. (This helps keep them evenly distributed throughout rather than sinking like a lump to the bottom.) Gently stir blueberries into batter, then pour batter into three prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. (You may want to check at 45 minutes.) Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle over warm loaves, using pastry brush to evening distribute. Finish cooling in pan on wire rack. (Note: If you want to take the loaves out of your pan, remove from pan after 10 minutes of cooling and before drizzling with glaze.)

What dishes/desserts remind you of Spring?

Link up at Sweets for a Saturday & Sweet Tooth Friday's.

February 8, 2011

It Came in the Mail. . .

My 1st issue of the Food Network Magazine!!
The subscription was a Christmas present from my aunt.

I also got my third issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. I LOVE this magazine (have I mentioned that before?).The hubbs thinks it's hilarious and hides it from me, proceeding in me running around the house frantic, while he laughs away.

And a Valentine's from my Grandma. She's so sweet. Who doesn't like being thought of?

I love getting the mail.

Later on I'll share with you the recipe for this breakfast bread.
It's like springtime. :P

How's your week going so far? What do you look forward to getting in the mail?

February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

When I woke up this morning I told the hubbs, "I've got the winter blues." It's been dreary and wet all weekend. It's gray. It's colorless. I am so ready for winter to be over!

Don't get me wrong- I love snow and I love wearing cute scarfs, boots, and comfy sweaters. But I think I've had just about enough. I am ready for the sun (and skirts, sandals, green grass...the list goes on and on).

It snowed all weekend. Started Friday night, continued throughout Saturday, and began to taper off on Sunday. It is a sea of white outside my window.

We were lazy and didn't move the car.

Needless to say, not much went on this weekend. I took a much needed cooking break and we ate spinach ravioli (huge bag from Costco!) with a Cesar salad on Saturday night. Sunday we ordered Chinese- something we never do! We've only ordered it a few times and always from the same place. They have the best fried rice ever.

This week's menu is a tad toned down from last week. The Spaghetti and Bocconcini Meatballs is back (I swapped it out for salmon one night). I'm trying two more recipes from Cooking Light and one from Rachael's book. The Teriyaki Chicken Legs I made a loooong time ago and loved- they remind me of summer! 

Do you have the winter blues? What are you looking forward to for Spring?

February 5, 2011

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

We've been having a lot of chicken lately. In case you've forgotten my recent chicken escapades, we've been had Sauteed Chicken with Browned Butter and Orange Marmalade Chicken. Every single one has been a winner, each with their own unique flavor. There are so many ways to make chicken that we never get tried of it.

Although I would like to have more steak. It's been awhile.

Anyhow, a few nights ago I got out my Cooking Light magazine and read through the other chicken recipe on this week's menu plan. It seemed pretty simple and perfect for our tastes. The title is kind of lame, I know (need a little creativity Cooking Light?), but don't let that fool you, it's so flavorful.

Source: Cooking Light

4 (6-ounce)skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon  minced fresh thyme

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.

Add shallots and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove pan from heat; add butter and thyme, stirring until butter melts. Serve with chicken.

I paired it with Fettucine Alfredo, the greatest decision I might have ever made. They were outstanding together. I always make my own sauce by whisking up two tablespoons of butter, a little bit of flour, and about 1/2 cup of milk (I like mine thick). Then I grated fresh Parmesan and Pecorino Romano into the sauce and let it melt. Add some salt and pepper and it's done. Glorious.

As for this weekend...I don't know how much cooking I'll be doing! I might need a break from this over-achieving week. Besides, I've got something new to look through...

I saw it at Barnes and Noble the other day. Couldn't resist. It was calling my name. And it was only $12. How can you not? ;)

What are you cooking/baking this weekend?

February 4, 2011

Disney World for Adults

Recently the hubbs and I went on our huge grocery shopping trip. We make this "trip" at least once every two months and stock up on meats, whole wheat pasta, cheeses, olive oil, baking supplies, and snacks. We look forward to this "trip" and make a big day out of it.

Where does this "trip" take place?


We LOVE Costco. It's like spending a day at Disney World.

There is a lot of cheese.

And a lot of chocolate.

What more could you possibly need?

Oh yes. Baking supplies.

This time around we went with a couple of friends who wanted to share in the glory of Costco land. Our cart was packed. I could barely move the thing by the end of the day.

The husband loves Costco for their free samples.

You could have a full lunch, with dessert, on a good day.

Doesn't take much to make him happy!

I love their muffins and breads. When those are out for sampling, that's where I'm at.

As much as I love Costco, we can't get everything from there. It is just the two of us. I still have to go to Meijer/Kroger and get milk, eggs, yogurt...all the things that would spoil before we have a chance to eat it. So now our fridge is stocked. As well as our freezer.

No, I didn't even bother to try. That's not my handiwork.

Mr. Freezer stared me down and gave me the cold shoulder. He wasn't about to let me mess with him. That's what the husband is for.

Sigh. Isn't it lovely?

I wish it could always look this way.

Don't look at the door though. That's as good as it's ever going to get!

Anyone else love grocery shopping as much as I do...  :)