Monday, November 7, 2011

Its been a while....

Its been a while since I posted anything new.  We had a set back with things here at home with my mom and her health issues... she is recovering nicely so we can only hope for the best.
With that said.. back to cooking!  I have a few things stirring up in the kitchen for this month so stay tuned!
I wish you all a wonderful November!  Stay warm.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

-Before the oven-

For Thanksgiving I thought I would try a new mac and cheese dish and when I received my foodnetwork magazine in the mail,  I seen this recipe and although it was a spendy dish to make (I hear this all the time from my hubby when I even mention making mac and cheese now! *wink*) I had to do it and everyone loved it!

Below you will find the recipe (says it serves four but I served 8 with the extra cheese) and a photo of Bobby Flays dish.

4 servings


  • Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1-inch-thick slice pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk, or more if needed, hot
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated asiago cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Irish white cheddar cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated American cheddar cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated aged fontina cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish and set it aside.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the garlic to the fat in the pan and cook until lightly golden brown, 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 3 to about 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne and all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add additional warm milk, 1/4 cup at a time.
Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved pancetta, and the parsley, and stir until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Combine an additional 1/4 cup each asiago, cheddars, fontina and parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is a light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Oreo Cookies

Well, yesterday I tried these fantastic cookies that I found on PenandPaperFlowers blog (love her ideas!). Actually I belong to her group on facebook and she brought up a conversation on these cookies, so I thought I would try them out and I am glad I did, they are great!!!
A BIG hit here at home and I love the way they turned out. So small (bite size) and cute. Many possibilities with these cute little things for any event!
The first batch I did, I did with coloring the frosting a bit with red (which turned out pink but loved how the brown and pink came out which would be cute for a girls baby shower *wink*). Then rolled it in some chocolate sprinkles. Some I left plain for my picky eaters who don't like too much sweets.
Then I did a batch just the same but instead of using the vanilla extract as it called for I used peppermint extract and crushed up some peppermint candies and rolled them in that! Great for Christmas! *wink* So the possibilities are endless I am sure.
I did a few bigger than the others but I would say my favorite are the mini size (about an inch) which are great for snacks. I also am freezing these for special events that happen often here at my home unexpected. *wink*
Thank you for the great recipe PenandPaperFlowers blog! All credit goes to you!!!

What you'll need:

Cookie Ingredients
1 package of devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
1/2 cup butter (softened)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar (eye this as you will see the thickness you like)
1 tsp. vanilla

Alternative Vanilla Cream Filling Ingredients (I haven't tried this one yet but it was on the blog)
1/4 cup room-temp, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2-3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cookie Instructions
Heat oven to 350°.
Add oil and eggs to cake mix and blend together. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle)
Roll dough into 1/2" balls for mini oreos. (1" for oreo-sized cookies up to 2 1/2" for jumbo size). *Messy but worth it!*
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. (I didn't grease my sheets)
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 min.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling Instructions
Cream butter.
Add cream cheese and mix well.
Add vanilla, stirring until well blended.
Slowly add confectioner's sugar until desired consistency is reached. (I used 3 1/2 cups)

Alternative Vanilla Cream Filling Instructions
Cream butter and shortening together.
Add vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar slowly - until desired consistency is reached.

Assembling the cookies:
Fill pastry bag or gallon size ziploc bag with filling. (I used a butter knife to spread on)
Sandwich two cookies together by squeezing 1 tsp. (or so) of the filling onto the center of one cookie.
Add the 2nd cookie on top.
Lightly press the two cookies together to help the filling spread evenly to the sides of the cookie without spilling over the edges. (unless you prefer it). *I also did a twist when I was pressing them down to secure better*

You can either serve them as-is or freeze them for a frozen treat.
You can also make-ahead, freeze and bring to room temperature on the day of your event/party.

All this is posted on PenandPaperFlowers blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chili's Southwestern Eggrolls

I have never been to Chili's but someone told me about these and sounds delish and had to try them.  I love them and they were a hit!  A bit spicy but that is what we prefer.. you can adjust the spices so they aren't too spicy for you, add or omit a few ingredients is fine too.  
Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.. yum!  
Why would I need to go to Chili's now!  *wink*

It is also a good recipe for that left over chicken you don't know what to do with.  This recipe calls for flour tortillas but you can also use eggroll wraps for a much crunchier, thinner taste. 
Recipe below:


1 chicken breast fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
five 7-inch flour tortillas


Preheat barbecue grill to high heat.

Rub chicken breast with some vegetable oil then grill it on barbecue for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done. Lightly salt and pepper each side of chicken while it cooks. Set chicken aside until it cools down enough to handle.
*I skipped this part and used leftover chicken we had and cut it up

Preheat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and onion to pan and sauté for a couple minutes until tender.

Dice cooked chicken into small cubes and add it to pan. Add corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to pan. Cook for another 4 minutes; stir well so that spinach separates and is incorporated into mixture. Remove pan from heat and add cheese; stir until cheese is melted.

Wrap tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high temperature for 1 1/2 minutes or until hot.

Spoon approximately one-fifth of mixture into center of a tortilla. Fold in ends and then roll tortilla over mixture. Roll tortilla very tight, then pierce with a toothpick to hold together. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have five eggrolls.

*Arrange eggrolls on a plate, cover plate with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. ( I just let them sit for about an hour in the fridge before deep frying in oil).

Preheat 4-6 cups of oil to 375 degrees.
Deep fry eggrolls in hot oil for 12-15 minutes and remove to paper towels or a rack to drain for about 2 minutes. Slice each eggroll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate.
Serves 3-4.

Chicken Carbonara

I watched a Giada show on food network and she made this wonderful, quick dish that I just had to try.  Everyone loved it!  
I bought a already cooked whole chicken from the deli and shredded it for a much easier and quicker meal.  One time I didn't nave Pancetta so I just used bacon and it turned out fine.
Recipe below:



  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 cups coarsely shredded chicken (from 1 roasted chicken)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel


Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine. Next, add the spaghetti and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly, about 4 minutes (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs). Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the pancetta will likely add all the salt you need). Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle the walnuts and lemon zest over, and serve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mini Caramel-Brownie bites

So.. this is what my final result was on the caramel sauce and the brownies I made last night... I didn't have any white chocolate as I think they would have popped out a bit more with it on top (may have to try that later tonight).  I placed it in a mini cupcake wrap.  Which by the way was a Christmas themed one but can you see that part? no worries... :)

This is what it looks open -->

Chocolate heaven! 

In the middle of the sandwiched brownie is more caramel.  After taking a bite out of one tho.. I'm thinking adding toffee bits would be even better! :)

I dipped it in some melted chocolate and topped it with Caramel (adding toffee bits up there would be great too!)  oh.. my head is spinning!!  lol

My kids are going to love this!  Hey, lets be honest... who cares if they do because if they don't... that means more for me! *WINK*

Monday, July 25, 2011


This is my home made caramel sauce that is waiting to be chilled for tomorrow dessert.  
I just pulled out my brownies from the oven and it also is cooling down for the dessert I will be making.  I can't wait!

To be continued...

Jumbo Maple-Pecan Scones

Now this is a Jumbo Scone!!!

This is another recipe from the FN magazine and it is one that was shown on the show "The Office" as one of the desserts offered. 
This to me was like a thick pancake with nuts, don't get me wrong it wasn't bad.. it was just very delicious but very addicting. ;)  
A great breakfast to go!

The recipe is below.



  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal.

Add the pecans and pulse once. Add the buttermilk mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times, or until the mixture is just moistened. (Do not overmix or the scones will be tough.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it just forms a ball. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and pat into an 8-inch round, about 3/4 inch thick. (To make individual scones, cut into 8 wedges and space apart on the baking sheet.) Brush with buttermilk and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Mix the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the scone. Cut into wedges.

Add some strawberries or some mixed fruit with this to balance the sweetness. 
You can also use the maple syrup mixture for dipping your favorite fruits... yum!


Monster Marshmallow Cookies

After tasting this, I will have to say it is my favorite cookie.  I don't know why they call it a monster cookie (maybe because of all the ingredients) but they came out normal size for me. ;)  I guess you could make them bigger and then they will be considered a MONSTER cookie.
Below you will find the recipe.  This recipe is from the Food Network Magazine (you will see a lot of my recipes coming from this magazine..).



For the Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons half-and-half
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans


Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and both sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time on medium speed, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined.

Stir the oats, cereal, chocolate chips, pecans and marshmallows into the dough with a wooden spoon. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies in batches until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

Make the topping: Combine the chocolate chips, marshmallows, half-and-half and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pecans. Drizzle the mixture over the cookies and let set, about 4 hours.

Note: Don't forget your tall glass of milk with this... Enjoy!


Above: I didn't know how to get these cones to set when I dipped them in chocolate.  I had just used the last egg in my carton and thought.. "hey, this could work!"  I turned it over and poked little holes with my finger and inserted the cones. Doesn't take much room and I can do a dozen at a time.  :)

The final result!
These were shown in the Food Network magazine but I did my filling different and added the dipped chocolate edges to the cones.  These were gone before I could get out the door.  They are topped with grated chocolate and chopped pistachios. YUM!  A favorite for sure.
Recipe below:

  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (about 2 ounces)
  • 6 sugar cones
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios


Put the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Refrigerate 30 minutes to drain.
Transfer the ricotta to a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and the orange zest and beat with a mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Fold in 3 tablespoons chopped chocolate. Cover and refrigerate until thick and cold, at least 1 hour.
Transfer the ricotta mixture to a resealable plastic bag. Snip off one corner and pipe the mixture into the cones. Gently press the remaining chocolate and the pistachios into the ricotta mixture. Dust the cones with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Breakfast Skillet

This is something I had when I went to the beach for the Holiday (July 4th) weekend camping trip.  We stopped by a restaurant one morning and I had a breakfast skillet and it was sooo good!  I knew when I got home I would have to try it. 
Turned out just like the one they had.

Kielbasa, eggs, hashbrowns, green peppers, onions and to top it off... country gravy!  YUMM!!!

Cooking Terms

Al dente
“To the tooth,” in Italian. The pasta is cooked just enough to maintain a firm, chewy texture.
To brush or spoon liquid fat or juices over meat during roasting to add flavor and to prevent it from drying out.
To slice a food crosswise at a 45-degree angle.
To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.
A popular Cajun-style cooking method in which seasoned foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated heavy skillet until charred.
To boil briefly to loosen the skin of a fruit or a vegetable. After 30 seconds in boiling water, the fruit or vegetable should be plunged into ice water to stop the cooking action, and then the skin easily slices off.
A cooking technique that requires browning meat in oil or other fat and then cooking slowly in liquid. The effect of braising is to tenderize the meat.
To cook food directly under the heat source.
To cut open a food such as pork chops down the center without cutting all the way through, and then spread apart.
Browning sugar over a flame, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º C to 182º C).
Remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming it.
To slowly cook pieces of meat in their own gently rendered fat.
To beat vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine, with or without sugar, until light and fluffy. This process traps in air bubbles, later used to create height in cookies and cakes.
To preserve or add flavor with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar.
Cut in
To work vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter into dry ingredients.
A measure approximately equal to 1/16 teaspoon.
To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been fried or roasted, in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan.
To cut into cubes.
Direct heat
A cooking method that allows heat to meet food directly, such as grilling, broiling, or toasting.
To sprinkle lightly and evenly with sugar or flour. A dredger has holes pierced on the lid to sprinkle evenly.
Egg wash
A mixture of beaten eggs (yolks, whites, or whole eggs) with either milk or water. Used to coat cookies and other baked goods to give them a shine when baked.
A mixture of liquids, one being a fat or oil and the other being water based so that tiny globules of one are suspended in the other. This may involve the use of stabilizers, such as egg or mustard. Emulsions may be temporary or permanent.
To remove the bones from meat or fish for cooking.
To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames.
To cut and mix lightly with a spoon to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
Usually a stew in which the meat is cut up, lightly cooked in butter, and then simmered in liquid until done.
A decorative piece of an edible ingredient such as parsley, lemon wedges, croutons, or chocolate curls placed as a finishing touch to dishes or drinks.
A liquid that gives an item a shiny surface. Examples are fruit jams that have been heated or chocolate thinned with melted vegetable shortening. Also, to cover a food with such a liquid.
To shred or cut down a food into fine pieces by rubbing it against a rough surface.
To coat a pan or skillet with a thin layer of oil.
To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; also, to spread frosting on a cake.
Extracting flavors by soaking them in liquid heated in a covered pan. The term also refers to the liquid resulting from this process.
Jell (also gel)
To cause a food to set or solidify, usually by adding gelatin. Also SET.
To cut into long, thin strips.
The natural juices released by roasting meats.
To work dough with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion until it becomes smooth and elastic.
An ingredient or process that produces air bubbles and causes the rising of baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
To combine food with aromatic ingredients to add flavor.
A paste (of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites) used to fill and decorate pastries.
To chop food into tiny, irregular pieces.
Adding enough liquid to dry ingredients to dampen but not soak them.
To slowly heat wine or cider with spices and sugar.
To cook a food in a skillet without added fat, removing any fat as it accumulates.
To cook in a hot pan with small amount of hot oil, butter, or other fat, turning the food over once or twice.
To partly cook in a boiling liquid.
A heavy, heat-resistant paper used in cooking.
The mounds made in a mixture. For example, egg white that has been whipped to stiffness. Peaks are “stiff” if they stay upright, or “soft” if they curl over.
Same as “dash.”
To force a semisoft food through a bag (either a pastry bag or a plastic bag with one corner cut off) to decorate food.
To simmer in liquid.
Pressure cooking
A cooking method that uses steam trapped under a locked lid to produce high temperatures and achieve fast cooking time.
To let yeast dough rise.
To mash or sieve food into a thick liquid.
To cook liquids down so that some of the water evaporates.
To pour cold water over freshly cooked vegetables to prevent further cooking and to retain color.
To melt down fat to make drippings.
To cook uncovered in the oven.
A cooked paste usually made from flour and butter used to thicken sauces.
To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat.
Cooking a liquid such as milk to just below the point of boiling; also to loosen the skin of fruits or vegetables by dipping them in boiling water.
To tenderize meat by making a number of shallow (often diagonal) cuts across its surface. This technique is also useful in marinating, as it allows for better absorption of the marinade.
Sealing in a meat’s juices by cooking it quickly under very high heat.
To remove large lumps from a dry ingredient such as flour or confectioners’ sugar by passing it through a fine mesh. This process also incorporates air into the ingredients, making them lighter.
Cooking food in a liquid at a low enough temperature that small bubble begin to break the surface.
To remove the top fat layer from stocks, soups, sauces, or other liquids such as cream from milk.
To cook over boiling water in a covered pan, this method keeps foods’ shape, texture, and nutritional value intact better than methods such as boiling.
To use string, skewers, or pins to hold together a food to maintain its shape while it cooks (usually applied to meat or poultry).
Baked goods that contain no agents to give them volume, such as baking powder, baking soda, or yeast.
To incorporate air into ingredients such as cream or egg whites by beating until light and fluffy; also refers to the utensil used for this action.
To mix or fluff by beating; also refers to the utensil used for this action.
The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. It contains volatile oils, used as a flavoring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update on my Catering...

Well, I just wanted to announce that I decided to jump on in and do a part time catering business in my area.  I know when I say part time it will end up being full time in no time!  lol 

My orders will be upscale gourmet foods, locally grown veggies/fruits and choice of organic foods.  I will offer Sandwich trays/boxes, assorted signature wraps, salads, desserts, and more! 

I have been working on my menu for a week now and it sure is a lot more difficult than I had imagined but it will all be well worth it.  I will be posting my food art here and hoping to eventually post more on my catering adventures with of course my lil Chef Sami to pop in once in a while to help me out.

so... on to a great adventure I go!!!

Hope to see some feedback from you all...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mini cupcake/brownie burgers

Aren't these cute!?
  This one is my lettuce and ketchup attempt
The one below is my lettuce and cheese ... Love how these turned out!

For these all I did is used one box of yellow cake mix
and a box of brownie mix.
For the cake mix I followed the box directions and used my mini muffin pan.
For the brownie mix, I followed the box directions and used a longer pan so it wouldn't be so thick in a normal brownie pan.
Once all of the cakes are cooled... I cut the mini cakes in half and with the brownies I used a small circle cutter and cut them all out to make the shape of the patty.
Place the brownie on the bottom layer of the mini cake and spread your yellow frosting and green frosting on top then place the top layer of the mini cake on.  I wet a paper towel slightly and wiped the tops of the mini cakes and sprinkled the sesame seeds on top so they would stick.  Don't soak it!  *WINK*
These are cute to make for a childs birthday party or a bbq gathering for dessert.
Enjoy & have fun with these..

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bacon Asparagus Wrap

I had some left over asparagus that I didn't know what to do with.  I was tired of the same asparagus recipe so I thought bacon makes everything taste so much better and what isn't made with bacon anymore anyway! *wink*  I had heard of these made with Pancetta, I didn't have any so I go to the next best thing.. BACON!

salt and pepper
olive oil

I drizzled the asparagus with a little olive oil and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  Wrapped the asparagus with 1/2 a strip of bacon and tucked the end.  Heat up your grill (I used my George Foreman grill) and place your bacon wrapped asparagus with the ends facing down.  Grill for 6-8 minutes.  
These are so tasty and very simple to make.
Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fried Chicken

I decided to try this fried chicken after seeing it on one of Bobby Flay's throwdown show this weekend.  This recipe comes from Gillian Clark that won the throwdown to Bobby Flay putting him still to beat someone with his fried chicken (his third attempt).
This turned out sooo good and it is now my fried chicken that I will be making from now on.

Hope you decide to try it. It is a very easy recipe and very satisfying!  :)  Thanks Gillian!


chicken (I used one pack of all legs because that is what the kids love!)

Marinate chicken in the following;
1 quart of buttermilk
1/2 cup of Franks red hot thick pepper sauce (I didn't measure and I know I added more than 1/2 cup as I love spicy food! *wink*)
6-8 cloves of garlic (pressed)
 Marinate the chicken 24 hours in refrigerator

For the flour mixutre all I did was all purpose flour, salt and pepper in a zip lock bag

Turn on oven to 350
drain chicken and let sit while you prep the flour mixture and warm up the corn oil in a skillet over med. heat. 
Once oil is hot add 1 stick of butter and let heat again,  then add your chicken one at a time in the flour mix. bag and shake off excess flour and add to your hot oil. don't over crowd your chicken or it will stick together.  Cook skin side down first for 10-12 minutes and turn once and cook another 10 minutes.  Add your cooked chicken to a wire rack on a cooking sheet to drip (I used my broiler pan). Once all the chicken is fried you will add the broiler pan to the oven and cook 10-15 minutes.

Thats it!  Very easy and simple.. it turns out crunchy and so moist!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pasta Fagioli

I thought I would try my husbands favorite childhood dish that his mother would make him.  I found this recipe on a group I am in and thought this would be perfect!

These are the ing. used.. Beef broth, pasta, marinera sauce, diced canned tomatoes, white beans, kidney beans, tabasco.

Brown the beef then add the chopped carrots, celery and onion and saute for about 8 minutes.

This is with everything added!  I also added some garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper.

Bon Appetite!  My pasta fagioli... yumm!!!

Recipe below:


makes 12 servings (cut recipe in half for smaller families)

3 tsp. veggie oil
2 lbs. ground beef
12 oz. onion; chopped
14 oz carrots; diced
14 oz. celery; diced
48 oz. tomatoes; canned & diced
2 cups cooked red kidney beans (I used canned beans and it worked just fine)
2 cups cooked white kidney beans (I used canned white beans and worked fine)
88 oz. beef stock
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp pepper and salt
1-2 tsp tabasco sauce
5 tsp chopped parsley
48 oz. marina sauce
8 oz. dry pasta shell macaroni or other pasta

Saute beef in oil in large 10 qts. pot until beef starts to brown.  Add onions, carrots, celery and onions and saute for 8 mins.  add tomatoes and simmer for about 10 mins. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot.  Also add beef stock, oregano, pepper, salt, tabasco, garlic powder, marina sauce, and noodles.  Add chopped parsley.
Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 mins.  Makes 9 qts. of soup!
Serve with toasted french bread.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Doughnut Cake

My third oldest child turns 18 and I wanted to do something other than a cake so I did this!  He is into lady gaga so I figured I could do something along that line but it was a lot tougher than I thought since her new CD wasn't out yet as I wanted to use that as the topper.
I thought a doughnut cake would be perfect as we are getting tired of cake.  This I found a cute espresso coffee chocolate mousee cup at the store and thought perfect!  I added some feathers on top, printed some lady gaga pictures and added some doughnut holes on skewers.  Turned out great and everyone loved it!
Happy Birthday Niko!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Cupcakes

Here is what you all have been waiting for... my April Fools Cupcakes!  Now you can fool your kids, friends or family with these great cupcakes!  I had so much fun doing these and it was a lot easier than I thought.. Hard part was finding which candies to use.  This is my mashed potato and gravy with butter cupcake.  The potato of course is just white frosting, the gravy is caramel sauce and the butter is a laffy taffy banana flavor cut in a small square.

Check out my veggie cupcake! *wink*  Now I can get my kids to eat their veggies for the first time with no complaining.. lol!  This is my pea and carrot cupcake... green frosting topped with green hard candies and orange starbusts cut in fours.  Too cute!

Just a sample plate.. I will have to try a protein like a chicken leg to make this a complete meal. *wink*

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toffee-Coffee Tarts

These are my mini Toffee-Coffee Tarts I made to add to my menu of desserts I will offer for my catering parties.  I got this recipe from the food network magazine in April issue.  Everyone who tried them loved them!  They were easy to make and don't have a sweet, sweet taste.. it is more of a mild coffee/caramel taste and you can surely eat more than one! *wink*

My lil Chef Sami

This is my lil Chef Sami that always remembers to wash his hands before we start any cooking.
He is my inspiration on doing this page and all this is decicated to him and his brothers. 

My Puff Pastries!

This is my Caramel Ice Cream pastry (yumm)

This is my chocolate-strawberry ice cream pastry (ooh...yea!)

This is my strawberry whipped pastry with a strawberry sauce. (ooo la la..)

This is my sample plate which by the way didn't last a whole 5 minutes here.. *wink*
These are a few of things I offer for my catering parties and  you will see more yummy treats soon!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tuxedo Strawberries

Here are the tuxedo strawberries I did for Valentines day.  Sorry it so long for me to post these but I have had a really busy month.  This was my first attempt on these and they were a lot easier than I thought they would be.

You will need:
Fresh washed (make sure they are completely dried) strawberries
White chocolate
chocolate chips or the best chocolate bark you can find if you prefer

First dip the strawberries in melted white chocolate to the neck of the strawberry and let them dry in the fridge. Once dried dip the strawberry in melted chocolate one side slanted then the other to make a "V" shape in front.  With a toothpick dip the tip of the toothpick in the chocolate and make 2 triangles to make the bow and dots to make the buttons.
Let dry in fridge and that is it!  You will have so much fun with these!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rosemary/Strawberry Scones!

I seen these one weekend on the "Giada" show and boy did this look good!  I thought to myself since baking is a problem for me (I never paid attention to my mothers secrets! Don't tell my mother, SHAME ON ME!!!) that this would be a start to do something besides what comes from a box. *wink*
I have been doing pretty good on the baking but still need a lot of practice.  The one thing I do know NOW is that it is very important to measure and use the right tools. Don't guess or estimate the measuring because something is bound to happen!!
I did these scones for valentines day along with brownies (out of the box!!) and boy did they make my house smell sooooo good! BTW, everything I made that day from scratch turned out great but the brownies, so I am thinking that is my clue to avoid the box from now on! lol
Hope you decide to try these.  When I make them again, which I WILL, I will add the step by step pictures.


2 cups flour (more flour if needed at the end)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbl. fresh rosemary (about 1 1/2 sprigs)
6 tbl. cold unsalted butter (cut to about 1 inch cubes)
1 cup heavy cream
Strawberry Jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Step One- in a food processor (now that I did these I told hubby I need a new food processor, will it work!?) process the first 5 ingr. until the rosemary is mixed in well with the flour mixture.

Step Two- cut up your 6 tbl. of COLD butter and add to the flour mixture in the processor.  Pulse a few times to mix the butter with the flour mixture.

Step Three- Add your mixture to a big bowl and add your heavy cream slowly while you stir it in with a wooden spoon. 

Step Four- take your dough (it will be in bits for now) and dump it on a lightly floured board. As you knead the dough with your hand you will notice when you will need to add more flour to the board.  You don't want it to stick to the board.  Once you have your dough ball, flour your board one more time and pat the dough to flatten.  Use your rolling pin (you will need to flour this too!) and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Using your cookie cutter (I used a heart shape for valentines) cut them out.  For the excess make more or you can just create a unique shape for that special person.

Step Five- once you have added these to your greased cookie sheet using your thumb indent a small crater in the middle of the scone. You don't want to go thru the scone, just a light press is nice. *wink*
Add 1/2 tsp strawberry jam to the little crater in all your scones.

BAKE for 15-20 minutes or till a light brown
Cool and enjoy!