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Nutella Mug Cake

8 Apr

So it’s been a long day. The husband’s sick. The baby’s teething. And Adrienne is 3. What else can I say? I needed chocolate and I needed it quick. I found this recipe for a single serving Nutella Mug Cake via Pinterest. I thought, why not? It’s a single serving so it won’t be staring at me for a week and hey, I deserve this. Here’s the recipe:

4 tbsp self rising flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp Nutella (mmmm)
3 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
1 egg

Cast of Characters

I added all of my ingredients to my enormous Year of the Ox mug

Whisked everything up with a fork

And popped into the microwave for 1 minute…then 20 seconds…then 15…then 10. Do the intervals so that you don’t overcook.

End result

Verdict – this is pretty tasty. I think I cooked it a bit too long so maybe cut off that 10 second interval at the end. And I wish I’d had the forethought to have vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on hand to top with. Also, this is a bit more than a single serving…so don’t eat the whole thing.

One other note…I’ve decided that single serving microwaveable mug desserts are evil. Sure it sounds good on paper. Only one serving. And you can cook it in the microwave (speaking of which, I’m pretty sure I just read an article about how cooking things in microwave pretty much makes them not food anymore. Whatevs…I’m not dead yet.). However, you can whip one up in less than 5 minutes people!!! If you’re desperate (selfish?) enough to consider making a single serving dessert, you’re desperate enough to make one every night. That can’t be good.


Pork & Poblano Tamale Pie with Cornbread Topping

7 Mar

Every now and then, I get the urge to step up my game in the kitchen.  Don’t hate, I worked evenings for 5 years, so making dinner at lunch time wasn’t as easy as having time to thaw out something and make it in time for work.  Anyway, my sister got me a Bon Appetit subscription one year, so I pulled out one of those guys.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually made anything from them, simply because I find something that sounds amazing, and I fold the page and forget about it.   Also Bon Appetit recipes, at first glance,scared me a bit.  The majority of the recipe titles had words I had never heard of when it came to ingredients and cooking styles.  Radish raida?  Reminds me of Indiana Jones eating a radish.  Waterzooi?  Aquarium.  Fatayer?  Is what I am getting as I eat.  Is it just me?  Well years later of saving all my magazines, it paid off.  I am now dating a great catch, who also has a passion for food.  Anyway, he has introduced me to many things I probably never would have tried if I hadn’t met him.   Here we are indulging at The Publican in Chicago.The Publican

Here are a few of the things we had off the exquisite menu:


Blood Sausage

Heard of them on the Food Network, never actually considered trying.  The sweetbreads were to die for.

Back to Bon Appetit.  I dived in to a recipe with a title I could comprehend.

Pork & Poblano Tamale Pie

Digging in!


Pie Filling Ingredients

4 large poblano chiles

1 large green bell pepper

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 – 10 oz package frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 lbs boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes


2 cups chopped white onions

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tbsp minced seeded  jalapeño chiles

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 cup low-salt chicken broth

1 cup salsa verde  (tomatillo salsa)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Cornbread Topping:

Topping Ingredients

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal  (preferably whole-grain stone-ground)

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp chili powder

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

1 tbsp honey

1 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Sour  cream

Prepare Filling:

1. Char poblano chiles and bell pepper over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides.

Peppers Over Open FIre

Transfer chiles and bell pepper to large  bowl; cover and let steam 10 minutes.

Peppers Resting

Peel, seed, and coarsely chop chiles and  bell pepper.  (This, my friends, was a pain in the ass.  Having never worked with poblanos before, this method of mine actually worked.  I charred, not thinking I had to peel them after.  So, I didn’t char as much as I should have.  Hence, the peeling was a pain in the butt.  I also peeled with my hands.  Then I got frustrated, so I googled it.  So when you guys make this, char the hell out of it.  Blacken on all sides, and when you are ready to peel, take a knife, and use it like a peeler.  So much easier.  If only I had googled before doing my own retard method.  I literally was trying to do it for 20 minutes.  Stupid poblano.  But, it worked.  Moving on.)

Charred Peppers

Peeled Peppers

Seeded Peppers

Diced Peppers

2. Coarsely puree thawed corn kernels in processor.  Cover and refrigerate corn puree until ready to use.

3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle pork with coarse salt and pepper.  Add pork to pot and sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to medium bowl.

Pork Cooking

4. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pot, add chopped onions and sauté until tender.  Add spices, garlic, jalapeño, and oregano.  Stir a minute and return pork and any accumulated juices to pot.  Add chicken broth, scraping up browned bits.  Add salsa verde and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Add chopped chiles, chopped bell pepper, and half of corn puree to pork mixture.  Cover partially and simmer until pork is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


6. Transfer pie filling to 10-inch-diameter 2 1/2-inch-deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron).  Stir in cilantro.

Prepare Cornbread Topping:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Whisk flour, yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and chili powder in large bowl to blend.  Whisk remaining corn  puree, whole milk, melted butter, egg, and honey in medium bowl to blend.

Dry & Wet Topping

 2. Add corn puree mixture to flour mixture and stir just until blended.  Stir in 1/2 cup  grated cheddar cheese.

Cornbread Topping

3. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup cheddar cheese over pie filling in skillet.


4. Drop cornbread batter by large spoonfuls on top of pie filling.  Spread cornbread batter evenly to cover pie filling completely.

Added Topping

Added Topping

Bake tamale pie until cornbread topping is deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 – 40 minutes.



Digging in!

Serve tamale pie with sour cream.


D-E-L-I-S-H!!!  Bon Appetit, I will be making more of you!  And maybe next time, if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll make your Snert, Etson Mess, or your Salzburger Nockerl.

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

10 Feb

Well it’s cold out down here, kind of.  And I don’t want to slave in the kitchen for a hearty meal.  Hello crockpot.

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Soup


5 pounds russet potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes, skin on

1 medium/large yellow onion, diced

10 cloves of garlic, minced

8 cups chicken stock

16 oz softened cream cheese

1 tbsp seasoned salt

Pepper to taste

Garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, green onions (optional, but go big or go home)

I halved this recipe since there is only 2 of us, and there were plenty left overs.

1. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, & chicken stock to crockpot.

Cooking potatoes

2. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

3. Add the softened cream cheese.

Cream Cheese

 4. Puree soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is mixed in and about half the soup is blended.

Immersion Blender

5. Stir well.

Taste test:

Initial Spoonful

Pretty tasty.  However…

Garnished Spoonful

Pepper, thick cut bacon, pepper, shredded cheddar, pepper, and green onions.  Much better.

Peppermint Truffles

16 Dec

Peppermint Truffles

So my mom and I were doing some holiday shopping and decided to stop at Starbucks for a refreshment.   Refreshments we got, as well as these guys:

Starbucks Pop

Taste test:

Starbucks Pop

Tasty.  And then I thought to myself, I just spent $3 on 2 of these guys.  That’s cray cray!  And I don’t get it, they are called Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops at Starbucks, but I looked it up, and it’s chocolate cake mix.  No brownie in it at all.  So it’s more of just a cake pop.  I know, I’m just hating.  Anyway, I went to the store and decided to try it my way.

You will need:

Favorite brownie mix (with all the ingredients to make them)

3/4 Package cream cheese


White chocolate


Brownie Mix & White Chocolate

Make the brownies according to the box and let cool completely.  Then use a food processor to grind it really fine.

Crushed Brownies

Throw in 3/4 of a package of cream cheese and turn on the food processor until mixed.  Start balling up your truffles whatever size tickles your fancy.  Once balled, chill in the freezer for 5 minutes or the fridge for at least 15.  If you stick a toothpick in without cooling, it will probably slide right off.  No fun when dipping time comes.

Balled Up

Grind up the peppermints and set aside.

Crushed Peppermint

Melt your chocolate.  I put about 8 blocks in a bowl and microwave in 30 second increments.  I’ve found that white chocolate is much easier to burn and ruin than milk chocolate.  So take it slow.  30 seconds, stir.  Repeat as needed.  To make it more candy coated-like, add some canola or veggie oil to thin it out.  Stir in a teaspoon and mix well.  Use your spoon and make sure the chocolate drizzles off fast.  No oil means too thick and can be a little too much bite.  Thin makes your chocolate go a lot further, and it has that quick “pop” when you bite into it, if that even makes sense.  Start dipping.  Toothpicks are my favorite tool.  Stab one, dip in, and use a spoon to cover.


Once dipped, sprinkle immediately with your crushed peppermint.  If you wait too long, the chocolate will harden and the peppermint won’t stick.  I dip 1 or 2 and sprinkle.

Peppermint Truffles

All done!  And more satisfying than Starbucks.  They’re coating was more sugar with a little peppermint.  But kudos for the idea!  Keep in the fridge until serving!  Perfect for the holidays!  Enjoy!

Peppermint Truffles

An Unexpected Addiction

15 Dec

It never occurred to me that the lowly saltine might be elevated to “Sweet Mother of Pearl, I must have another” stature, but it has some how come to pass. These little snacks appeared at work, and I was completely unable to keep my mitts out of the oily, herby bag they were housed in. So I Googled my best guess at these things (Spicy Saltines), and hit the mother lode. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s become hooked on these heart attack inducing squares of deliciousness.


Spicy Saltines

  • 1 box (4 sleeves) Saltines
  • 1 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1 (1 oz) package Ranch dip mix
  • 2T to 3T red pepper flakes, depending on your spice preference

Place saltines in a gallon zip top bag. Mix oil, ranch mix, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, then pour over saltines. Seal the bag and flip it several times to coat all crackers. Lay bag flat, and flip around every 30 minutes or so until most of the oil is absorbed (2 or so hours). I like to let these sit overnight for best flavor.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

8 Dec

This simple no-bake dessert is hands down one of my husband’s favorite treats. He literally has been known to dance a little jig and throw high fives once he figures out what I’m putting together in the kitchen. For those of you who know my husband, you know that I’m not exaggerating.


Reminiscent of Boston Cream Pie, tiramisu, and eclairs, I love it this creamy delight, as well.

While I certainly can’t take credit for inventing this dreamy sweet, I’m sharing with you my favorite personal rendition of it. Mix up the flavor of graham crackers and pudding for a tasty twist, or add a layer of luscious ripe raspberries.

A few words of advice… this is not a recipe to rush. It must sit in the fridge for several hours so the graham crackers soften. Be patient! It’s well worth the wait, I promise.

Chocolate Eclair Cake


  • Approximately 1 (14oz) box graham crackers (Honey used here, but any flavor will work)
  • 1 large box regular or sugar free vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 C milk
  • 8 oz low-fat Cool Whip
  • 15 oz low-fat ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/4 C milk
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 3 oz melted semi or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a 13 x 9-inch dish, arrange a layer of graham crackers.


In a large bowl, combine 3 C milk, vanilla pudding mix, ricotta, and vanilla. Whisk or beat on low with a mixer until thickened, approximately 1 minute. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the layer of graham crackers. Arrange another layer of graham crackers over the pudding mix, top with the remainder of the pudding mix. Add a final layer of graham crackers.


To make the topping, whisk together milk, butter, chocolate, honey, and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour over the final graham cracker layer, and smooth to cover.074

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Almond & Cherry Shortbread Cookies

30 Nov

Almond & Cherry Shortbread Cookies with Vanilla Drizzle
For the  cookies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp  fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped  dried cherries
1/2 cup slivered, toasted, and chopped almonds

For the  icing:

2 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp  water

With a mixer beat butter, sugar, both extracts, cinnamon, and salt until fluffy.  Beat in egg.  Add flour and beat until blended.  Stir in almonds and cherries.

Shape into a log and cover with plastic  wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

After refrigerating, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut 1/2 inch thick slices and bake about 15 minutes.  Allow to  cool completely.

Mix all icing ingredients. Using a fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing.  Allow to set 1 hour.
Shortbread Cookies
The  verdict:

I found this recipe on the Food Network site and decided to give it a whirl. Nothing in the recipe said anything about shortbread, but they certainly have that texture.  So, I call them shortbread cookies.  And they were a success!  I put dried cherries in half of the batter, and dried cranberries in  the other. The recipe is very versatile, so add your favorite goodies!  Makes  about 20-24 cookies. Enjoy!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

27 Nov
A few years ago, we Jue sisters started a little cookie blog. Sadly, we were not dedicated and allowed it to perish. The recipes, though, live on! Here’s one of my favorite old posts.

I’m a great lover of gingerbread and gingersnaps… soft and chewy, snippety-snappity, sweet and spicy with a bit of bite. I love both equally. So when I saw this recipe for Big Soft Ginger Cookies, I thought “Yeah, baby!”. Best of both worlds, right? I figured I’d give them a try… boy was it worth it.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies


3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

Beat in egg and molasses.
Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. If you’re me, double to triple the spices ’cause you know you want these zesty.
Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


These babies baked up absolutely beautifully, with perfect lightly puffed domes and pretty crackles along the tops. Delicate, sugary outside with a nice chewy center, they’re keepers for sure based on texture alone. My only complaint is that these cookies are on the mellow side spice-wise. Even with my heavy-handed spicing, they’re lacking that bite that I so love in a gingersnap. Next time I’ll be tweaking the spices to get a more robust flavor.

These were a hit at work, and are great the next day unlike some cookies that are only good right out of the oven. The spices develop a bit more… mmm. Wonderful with a cup of joe any time of day.

Chile Lime Garlic Chicken Fettuccine Goodness

24 Nov

I don’t know how I became one of these people, but I’m kind of a one pot wonder girl.  Instead of making a bunch of different sides to go along with a main dish, I do the all-in-one thing.  Carb + protein + veggie.  Done.  So pasta is always a favorite of mine.  And this is one of my absolute favorite recipes!

You will need:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces or strips

1 packet of McCormick Buffalo Wing Seasoning Mix

2 tbsp olive oil (pictured is butter, but I used olive oil)

2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (I like spice, so use as much as your taste buds want)

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

2 tsp lime juice

1 box fettuccine noodles

1 jar favorite fettuccine alfredo sauce


Portabello mushrooms


Roasted red peppers (I used the jarred ones)

2 package crescent rolls

3 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp parsley

3 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 tbsp garlic powder


1. Add cut up chicken to gallon sized plastic bag and coat with seasoning mix.  Set aside.  Boil your water and make your noodles.

2. Heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in skillet.  Add chicken and cook thoroughly.

3. This step is optional, but if you want to add some more goodies, do it now that the chicken is cooked.  I added portabello mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red peppers. Mix in and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro.  Mmmm…

Mix the yumminess with your noodles.  So that’s the pasta, but with pasta in my house comes bread.  So, I decided to do the braided stuffed thing again (See February post).  Here is the basic run down:

This is my go-to topping for bread.  Canola, parsley, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.


PS ~ This recipe is also delicious with shrimp instead of chicken.  If using shrimp, use the butter instead of olive oil when cooking.

Trendy Pumpkin Refrigerator Oats

17 Nov

You’d think I was a big oatmeal fan considering this is my second oat related post, but that’s really not the case. A fluffy biscuit dripping with real butter and stuffed with bacon beats out oh so wholesome oats just about any day. Alas, fluffy biscuits make for fluffy waistlines (or in my  case, an even fluffier waistline… thanks, kids-o-my-loins), so sometimes I have to employ a measure of willpower and eat the darn oats.

A trend I’ve noticed on blogs and Pinterest lately is overnight refrigerator oatmeal, where time rather than cooking softens up the grains, and they’re eaten cold rather than hot. Sounded like a nice change-up from the typical, so I gave this recipe from eMeals blog a try. To my surprise, in addition to being super healthy, it’s really, really delightful. Once I tried a bite, I couldn’t keep my spoon out of the double batch sitting in my fridge. Between me and my toddler, it was gone in no time. Try this for a simple breakfast or as a snack… it’s quite delish!

Here’s my version of the eMeals recipe:

Pumpkin Refrigerator Oats

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats*
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree

Place all ingredients in a half pint jar or small plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Put on the lid and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

*This yields a pudding-like consistency. Add an additional 1/8 cup of oats for a more chewy / textured oatmeal.

Chocolate Covered Katie

The Healthy Dessert Blog

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time