Monday, March 30, 2009

Pizza Soufflé

It's a good thing I typed out this recipe immediately after making it; that's when I noticed it calls for two types of cheese. I quickly pulled the soufflé out of the oven and added mozzarella. I hope the disruption doesn't affect how it rises. I had to type out the recipe right away because of all the foodstuff my daughter spilled onto the recipe while cooking. I've never made a soufflé before, so I'm not sure how it should turn out. For toppings, we added green onion and tomatoes. Surprisingly, this dish turned out a lot like pizza that you eat with a knife and fork. It has a crust and all the pizza taste. You could really make it something with the right toppings.


2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 can pizza sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pizza toppings of your choice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter casserole dish.
  2. In electric mixer, using whisk tool, whisk together flour, salt, milk.
  3. Whisk in eggs and melted butter.
  4. Pour batter into casserole dish.
  5. Spoon on pizza sauce to create a marbled look.
  6. Sprinkle with toppings.
  7. Top with cheese
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Inspiration: Cheese advertisement in parenting magazine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Taco Salad

My friend Megg served this to me at a play date. So yummy. I was hooked after I tried this salad. It is so good. It's hard to believe you can call it a salad. It's the dressing and chips that make it.


1 head iceberg lettuce
1 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 lbs ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
2 tomatoes, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions
1 bag plain Doritos or
1 (16 ounce) bottle Catalina dressing

  1. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning according to package directions.
  2. Drain and let cool.
  3. Chop lettuce, tomatoes, pepper, and onions.
  4. Put into a large bowl.
  5. Add cheese and crushed chips.
  6. Add cooled ground beef.
  7. Pour Catalina dressing over all of it 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Inspiration: Megg

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Old-fashioned Popped Popcorn

I am Done--with a capital D--with microwave popcorn. It's bad for you. It tastes gross. And it's so costly compared to how much popcorn you can make with one jar of kernels. Next to computer ink, microwave (and movie) popcorn is such a ripoff. Making your own popcorn is as fast, if not faster, than the microwave version too. The only downside is having a pot to wash. The dishwasher makes that no big deal.

popping kernels
canola oil
butter, melted

  1. Pour a puddle of oil in a pot with a lid, 1-2 tbsp, to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Sprinkle popping kernels in pot, enough to make one-layer of kernels on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Give the pot a shake to coat the kernels in oil.
  4. Heat on high, with the lid on, but slightly ajar, so steam can escape.
  5. Shake the pot occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. When popping begins to slow, remove from heat. Keep the pot lid on until all popping has stopped.
  7. Season with melted butter, salt, or other seasonings.

Inspiration: My childhood

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I'm on the lookout for an awesome, amazing over-the-top carrot cake recipe. I haven't found it yet, but I did find this recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes. I've made them twice now, and both times, the cupcakes didn't last. They were devoured before the sun set. I found the recipe online somewhere; I can't remember where, so I wrote this recipe from memory. I like that it doesn't have tons of sugar. It could easily be turned into sheet cake or layer cake too.

When I first made the recipe, I reduced the oil to 3/4 cup and didn't include walnuts. The cupcakes were nice and firm, with rounded tops ideal for icing. The second time I made the recipe, I added 1 cup oil, vanilla and a whole can of crushed pineapple instead of half a can. (I figure if I have to open a can of something, it's better to use it all.) With the extra oil and pineapple, the cupcakes turned out flat, super moist and soft, almost too soft for icing. They were sweet enough with icing.



1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup carrot, finely grated (not shredded)
1 cup golden raisins, soaked in water for 15 minutes if dry
1/2 cup pineapple, crushed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and beat for two minutes.
  4. Mix in carrot, raisins, and pineapple.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes and let cool completely before icing.
  6. In food processor, beat cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Add more icing sugar if necessary.

Inspiration: Some blog somewhere.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Herb Chicken in Puff Pastry

Simple and delicious. This was a great recipe to make with my toddler. She helped roll the dough and paint the egg wash.

1 package frozen puff pastry
1 egg
1 tbsp water
Black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
2 tbsp butter
1 container (4 ounces) garlic & herb cream cheese spread
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
  3. Season the chicken with the black pepper, if desired. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate. Cover the plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut the pastry sheet into 4 (7-inch) squares.
  5. Spread about 2 tablespoons cheese spread in the center of each pastry square. Top each with 1 tablespoon parsley and a chicken breast. Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg mixture. Fold the corners of the pastry squares to the center over the chicken and press the edges to seal. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastries are golden.

Inspiration: Pepperidge Farm web site

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chicken and Bean Casserole

Yum! This is the kind of dish that my husband and child love equally. I love it because it's easy to throw together. It's also the kind of dish that I'm reluctant to tell my husband how it's made for fear that he will turn his nose at it. Ketchup and mustard? Yes, those are the simple ingredients that really make this dish. The recipe suggests this is a great one for leftover chicken or turkey, but I rarely have that on hand. It didn't take long to saute some chicken for this recipe.


1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1 16 oz can red kidney beans, drained
1 can baked beans


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat; add onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until celery is tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and salt in small bowl.
  4. Add chicken and beans to skillet; stir well. Pour ketchup mixture over chicken and beans; stir to coat.
  5. Spoon mixture into a medium casserole dish. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 35 minutes.
Inspiration: Easy Everyday Cooking card

Leyla's Hot Cocoa

My daughter loves hot chocolate. I mix it with mostly milk so it turns out to be relatively harmless way to get her to drink milk. Recently, I ran out of the instant kind. When she requested hot chocolate again, I thought I'd try this recipe for hot cocoa. I like it because I know what's in it and it's less sweet, and very, very chocolately. In my opinion, this is great, low-fat way of fulfilling a chocolate craving. I used Ghirardelli Premium Baking Cocoa. I heated it with only 2/3 of the milk. I added the last 1/3 at the last minute to make it the right temperature for my toddler.


1 1/2 tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk


  1. Mix cocoa and sugar together.
  2. Pour milk into a small pan. Stir in cocoa mixture.
  3. Heat until steaming.

Inspiration: Ghirardelli Premium Baking Cocoa tin

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Vanilla Buttercream

This buttercream is a great alternative to the Wilton buttercream I learned to make for icing cakes. That recipe called for vegetable shortening and I'm trying to avoid ingesting shortening where possible. If I can't wash it away easily, I don't want to eat it, and shortening doesn't wash away easily. I halfed the recipe, because I only made 18 cupcakes. It was plenty. I also froze and refrigerated this recipe and it was great.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.
Makes enough for 30 cupcakes.

Inspiration: Martha Stewart web site.

Simple Citrus Fruit Salad

My daughter loves grapefruit so I thought this recipe I clipped fro the newspaper would be a hit. I had to use two grapefruits because she ate so much as I was preparing the salad. Plus, I've never made a fruit salad until now. This recipe makes a lot so it would be good to share with a larger group.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1 grapefruit, sectioned peeled, cut
2 oranges, sectioned, cut
1 small pineapple, cut into chunks
1 banana, slices
1 apple, cut into chunks
1 pear peeled, cut into chunks


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve brown sugar into grapefruit juice.
  2. Add all fruit and toss gently to combine thoroughly.
  3. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Inspiration: The Hamilton Spectator