Monday, April 13, 2009

easter dinner

This is what we had for Easter dinner this year. It was divine. Derek and I loved every bit of it, and James mostly just liked the beans. :) He's crazy for beans, the little weirdo. When James was a baby, he loved yams. Apparently that phase is over, and he thinks they're icky. But Derek and I loved them. The whole meal was a hit!

RECIPE: Easter Dinner

spiral-sliced ham (with honey glaze packet)
Rhodes rolls (frozen)
green and yellow green beans (frozen, steam pack)
yams, 1 per person

Pretty easy, just cook everything according to package directions!

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and place one frozen roll in each slot. Spray again and cover with plastic wrap. Put ham in a cake/casserole pan with a little water and cover in foil. Let the rolls rise and bake the ham in a 250F oven-- both for 3 hours (while you're at church... it's Easter, hello).

Once you're home, prepare the honey glaze by boiling the seasoning mix with water. Pour over ham and bake again (cover it with foil again, or your ham will dry out) for 8 minutes or so. Remove ham from oven, keeping covered to keep warm.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls according to package directions (for about 13 minutes). Meanwhile, wash the yams and poke them with a fork multiple times. Microwave on high until tender... about 20 minutes for 3 yams. Then steam the green/yellow beans for 5 minutes or so, again in the microwave.

Everything should be warm and ready now. Put it all on the table, say your prayers and dig in! Mmm, mmm, Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009


I think Derek makes some pretty great {not to mention quick and easy} guacamole. He tried to dissuade me from posting about it, since he says he just throws stuff together and anyone could do it. But I don't know how to make a great guac... so if only for my reference, here it is.

Note: The measurements are approximate. Adjust each "to taste."

1 large avocado, cut into small chunks
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix all together in a cereal-sized bowl. Serve with tortilla chips {We strongly recommend Santitas White Corn Chips}. Devour.

bbq chicken pizza

We love to make our own pizza. It feels so festive and is somehow so fulfilling. Usually we go for the supreme variety, but this time we opted for something a little different. We had some bbq sauce in the pantry and some chicken and pizza dough in the freezer. It was meant to be. And it was yummy.

PS. We used way too much sauce the first time (ie. twice as much as needed). You can see the excess gushing out the sides. Anyway, the recommended amount is listed below, so try that. Change it however you'd like. It's your pizza, after all!

RECIPE: BBQ Chicken Pizza

pizza dough {We buy ours frozen at Macey's for 99c.}, thawed
corn meal (optional)
1 c. bbq sauce
1 lb. chicken, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Stretch, pull, flip, roll... whatever... to get your dough into the correct shape and size for your stone. Spread a thin layer of corn meal on the stone (optional) and place dough. Using a fork, poke holes all over the dough, leaving the outer crust-area alone (this will prevent it from ballooning up; it will keep it flat). Bake dough at 400F for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, combine bbq sauce and chicken in a pan. Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through.

Pull pizza dough out of the oven and dump sauce/chicken mixture on top, spreading it around evenly. Sprinkle the diced onion evenly, then top with mozzerella cheese. Make sure and leave a bit of a crust on the outside perimeter. Bake the whole thing again, still at 400F, until cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown. Remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve warm.

chocolate mug cake

This recipe came from Aubrey via our mommy blog, Young Wives' Tales. I have no idea if it is hers alone or if she got the idea elsewhere, but it's so. darned. good. Really. You nuke the stuff right in the mug... I know! It takes less than two minutes and comes out all sorts of chocolatey and gooey and devine. No more worrying about having tons of leftover cake to devour and/or waste... we're talkin' single portions, people! Try it. It really is that good.

RECIPE: Chocolate Mug Cake

5 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients together in your mug of choice. Then add the milk, oil and vanilla. Stir well, making sure to get all the flour mixed in from the bottom corners.

Set your microwave to 2 minutes. Microwave for about 1 minute, 45 seconds. Stop around 50 seconds to let deflate; then continue cooking. Check to make sure the cake is cooked through {by sticking a toothpick into the center; it won't be clean but should have some residual goo, like when checking brownies}.

Top with chocolate chips. Mix it all together if you want {this is best, imo}. Have milk on handy, as it's wonderfully rich. And mmm.... enjoy.

Serves: 1*
Calories: 444

*(unless you share, and you may want to)

cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado salsa

This recipe is from the lovely Mindy Anderson {author of The Orange Apron}, who got it from an issue of Everyday Food magazine. Phew! :) Anyway, we altered it a bit. Instead of red onions, we used white onions. Don't. It was a bad idea... way too powerful of a punch. Also, we doubled up on the avocado {this was a great idea... mmm, avocado}, halved the amount of onion and added a Roma tomato, since we had a bunch on hand. We also grilled the chicken instead of pan-frying it. All in all, I loved the meal. We ate outside {hence the strange coloring in the pic... natural sunlight- pssh! Weird!}, and it felt like a wonderful summertime meal. Note: If you don't like avocados and will not therefore eat the salsa with the chicken {ahem, James}, the chicken might be pretty spicy. As a combo, though, the flavors and spicy/creamy factors harmonize well and result in a super delicious meal!

RECIPE: Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

coarse salt
ground pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 large avocados, pitted and cut into chunks
1 Roma tomato, diced

Fire up the grill. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne. Baste chicken with olive oil and rub with seasoning mix. Grill chicken on medium heat until cooked throughout (until opaque and the juices run clear, or until it is at least 165F). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks and diced tomato into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

If your kid doesn't like it, throw a tortilla his way. ;)

Monday, April 6, 2009

balsamic sourdough with mozza and roma

Derek and I were craving bruschetta when we first came up with this idea. It didn't really end up resembling that... it took more of a "marv n joe" turn before we were finished. But regardless of its resemblance, the end result was open faced godliness! Really. Humbly speaking, these little devils were amazing! I cannot wait to make these again!

RECIPE: Balsamic Sourdough with Mozza and Roma
{What the crap, right? Yeah... titling was hard.}

1 loaf artisan sourdough bread, sliced (abt. 12, 1/2"slices)
{Sam's Club has these babies in packs of two, and they're fantastic!}
5 Tbsp. olive oil {EVOO}
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried basil
Roma tomatoes (abt. 3, sliced the long way)
salt/pepper (freshly ground, of course, and to taste)
fresh mozzarella cheese (abt. 3/4 lb, sliced)

Place the bread slices on a baking stone {Pampered Chef is superior by far.}. Combine EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and basil in a small bowl. Mix well. Spoon and spread mixture onto bread slices. Layer Roma tomato slices next. Then salt and pepper your tomatoes to taste. Top with mozzarella cheese. Broil in the oven until cheese is melty, bubbled and browned. Serve warm.

steak and cheese quesadillas

This recipe is based on one from For the Love of Cooking- a foodie blog I occasionally "stalk." The author does a fantastic job and posts lots of recipes that an average cook might actually cook for dinner that night {unlike many too-fancy-though-fun blogs}. I mostly followed her recipe but changed a few things to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand, as well as the let's-eat-now time frame we had that night. It's pretty tasty. The meat would be awesome in a carne asada burrito... but we were fresh out of avocados atm.

RECIPE: Steak and Cheese Quesadillas

1 lb. steak, thinly sliced {about 1/4"}
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder {or a few onion rings if you're out}
1 1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs. lime juice {or lemon, if it's what's on hand}
6 cloves garlic minced

1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
cheddar cheese {We love sharp.}, shredded
flour tortillas

Put all above ingredients (the FIRST grouping) in a pan and simmer/boil until meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove meat. {Note: The original recipe uses these ingredients in a marinade... which is a fabulous idea, but we were in a hurry. This worked pretty well, though.}

Caramelize onions in a pan with the olive oil... probably over medium heat. {Be careful not to burn the onions, as they smell like hell and taste icky, too.} Remove from heat.

Butter one side of each flour tortilla. On one {out of the two necessary for a quesadilla} non-buttered side of the tortilla, layer shredded cheese, steak slices and caramelized onion. Add another small layer of cheese, to insure sticking. Top with another tortilla (buttered side out).

In a skillet over medium/medium-low heat, grill the quesadilla until browned -- flip and do the same to the other side. Cut into triangles and serve warm! {Sour cream, salsa and guacamole are all great toppers... so is Cholula hot sauce... yum!}