Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Baking and What's Cooking Holiday Recipe Exchange

Well, life has been busy this holiday season and has kept me away from my new blogging habit I am trying to start up here. But what a better way to start back up than to share the holiday baking I have done as well as be a part of a blog event.

So let me start with the What's Cooking Holiday Recipe Exchange event. So here is the general idea of how it worked. We emailed a holiday dessert recipe to the exchange coordinator. She then took on the great feat of mixing all of the recipes up and redistribute to each participant a new recipe for them to try, take pictures of and post. (Thank you Katie for organizing this) This was my first ever blog event and it was a blast to do. Hopefully there will be more of these type of things in my future to challenge my kitchen skills.

The recipe I received from Katie ( was a gingerbread cookie. I had never really made a gingerbread cookie before so I was excited to give this one a shot. They turned out awsome, and the In Laws really liked them as well. They were very good with Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee (Spiked of course with our favorite-Vanilla Royalle

Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream icing

2/3 C Shortening
1 C Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 C Molasses
2 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Cloves
1 tsp Ginger

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (I like to make stars). Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

3 C Confectioners' Sugar
1/3 C Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Lemon Extract
1/4 tsp Butter Flavoring
3-4 tbsp Milk

Beat sugar, butter and flavorings in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in milk until smooth and thick. Frost cookies (I like to just pipe around the edges or frost 1/2 the cookie. These would also be great dipped in melted white chocolate).

So here is a general look at my Holiday baking this year, this is 4 of the 5 varieties I made this year. The gingerbread cookies above, Sugar cookies, Oreo Truffles, Bourbon Balls (Made with Drambuie instead of Bourbon), and Chai Shortbread.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Slow Cooker Chicken Italiano

In my never ending search for lower calorie dinner options I found this recipe on SparkPeople. Based on the recipe it appeared super easy and fairly cost efficient, and yup, it was. I think the next time I give this one a try I will add a bit more of my own spices to the mix. Overall a good, quick Italian Chicken recipe (with my super large side of Broccoli)

Slow Cooker Chicken Italiano

Boneless skinless Chicken Breast Tenderloins 6 to 8 tenders
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
32 oz jar Classico tomato and Basil Sauce

1. Place chicken on bottom of slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle seasonings over chicken.
3. Pour sauce over seasoned meat, stirring to be sure chicken is completely covered.
4.Cover. Cook on low 6 hours or on hight 3 1/2-4 hours.
5. Serve over pasta.
Works best in a 4 quart slow-cooker.

Number of Servings: 6

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beef Tamale Skillet

Here is another recipe I found from the Cookbook Junkie Blog. I was looking for a quick, easy Mexican type dish and thought this one fit the bill. It was super easy to make and from prep to done in 30 min was great for a quick dinner before evening events. I think the next time around I will play with the seasoning a bit more, and maybe try a specialty salsa.

Beef Tamale Skillet Meal
The Busy Mom’s Make It Quick Cookbook Copyright 2004

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
2 cups chunky-style salsa
1 11-oz. can Mexicorn, drained
6 white corn tortillas, cut into ½-inch strips
2 tbsp. water
1 ½ cups nonfat shredded cheddar cheese

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until beef is browned and crumbled. Add salsa, Mexicorn, tortilla strips, and water; toss to mix. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over top, cover, and cook on medium-low heat until cheese is melted.

Serves 4. We had more like 6 servings Per serving: 396 calories, 6.7g fat, 42g carbs, 39g protein, 61mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 1377 mg sodium

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bistro Chicken and Garlic

So, in cruising around in other blogs I found a recipe for Bistro Chicken and Garlic. I found it in Paula's Blog (a different one of course) Cookbook Junkie. The recipe comes from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook. I had never made a wine/garlic sauce before so I figured I would give it a go. It overall turned out pretty good. Here was my final product.

Bistro Chicken and Garlic
The Sonoma Diet Cookbook Copyright

1 bulb garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Separate cloves of garlic, discarding small papery cloves in center. Trim off stem end of each garlic clove, but do not peel. (This will facilitate squeezing garlic from peel after it is cooked.)

2. In a large ovenproof skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves and chicken. Cook about 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, turning chicken and stirring garlic cloves once. Sprinkle chicken with basil, thyme, rosemary, kosher salt, and pepper; transfer skillet the oven. Bake, covered, for 12 to 15 minute or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170°F) and garlic is tender.

3. Using a slotted spatula, transfer chicken to a serving platter, reserving juices in skillet; cover and keep warm. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; set aside for 1 to 2 minutes to cool slightly.

4. Add vermouth or white wine to skillet. Squeeze softened garlic from skins into skillet; discard skins. On rangetop, bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat . Boil gently, uncovered, about 6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Pour garlic sauce over chicken. If desired, garnish with herb sprigs.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 185 cal, 5g fat, 66mg chol, 197mg sodium, 3g carbs, 0g fiber, 27g protein

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

So Jason and I purchased a bread machine shortly after we were married 2 years ago and slowly I have been trying to use it more and more.

Today I decided I would tackle Cinnamon rolls. I mostly used the recipe in the manual but did a bit of modifications. I split the bread flour in half and used whole wheat flour for the second half (in doing this I added a little more water as it wasn't mixing very well). I also used some nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

They turned out pretty darn good, I would do a different icing/glaze next time though.

Cinnamon Roll Dough
1 Large Egg room temp plus enough water to equal 1C
3 TBSP C Olive Oil
1/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 3/4 C Bread Flour
1 3/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

1/3 C melted Butter
1/4 C Sugar
2 TBSP Cinnamon
2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 C Powdered Sugar
3 TBSP Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Mix on Dough Course in Breadmaker (takes about 1hr 30 min)
Place dough on lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12x6 inch rectangle and spread with butter. Combine and sprinkle remaining filling ingredients over dough. Roll up tightly, jelly roll style, starting ith the longest side and cut into 1 inch slices.

Place in greased 13x9 pan about 1/2 inch apart and let stand in a warm place for 30 min or until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until done.
Mix glaze ingredients until smooth and drizzle over the top of rolls.

First Post-New to the Blog world

Hello everyone. I am new to this blog thing (as you can probably tell by the way it looks, and the fact that I created this site many moons ago and am just getting started). So here it goes.

My husband and I are trying to be healthier in our lifestyle, and with that comes cooking at home and finding new recipes that are a bit better for you. (not to say I don't have some that are sinfully bad for you as well)

So this blog will hopefully be the place that I can take pride in some great cooking accomplishments and share great recipes that I find out there.