Sunday, February 28, 2010

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

This recipe can be found all over the internet, so I don't know who to give credit to. I had strawberry buttermilk muffins at Sweet Tomatoes earlier in the month and thought they were delicious. So Caralie and I made these today. They bake up nice and big - very pretty. There is an optional streusel topping as well if you want to make them really special.


2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen strawberries

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold berries into dry mixture. Now fold in wet ingredients, just until combined.

Fill each cup to the top. (Optional: in a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients. Sprinkle liberally over muffins.)

Bake 20 - 22 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spicy Honey Chicken

This recipe comes from Our Best Bites, one of the best food blogs in my opinion. (They also have a salad version that sounds rather delish.) It was quite popular last night; even my daughter liked it. A lot.

Some notes about the recipe:
  • If you don't have chipotle chili powder it's not the end of the world. Just leave it out.
  • After being nearly smoked out, I suggest that if you use a grill pan (indoors), that you avoid using the honey glaze until your chicken is plated. Otherwise the honey burns in the pan super fast and your hair will smell like smoke.
  • To spare yourself the mess of coating the chicken with your hands, put the chicken in a gallon-size Ziploc and add the oil. Seal and mush the chicken around to coat. Then open the bag and pour in the spice rub. Seal and mush again. It may take a lot of mushing but you will have less clean-up. Plus, you can do this ahead of time and let the chicken marinate in the fridge.
  • The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but I made it with breasts (flattening them with a mallet while they were in the Ziploc so they would cook evenly). Works either way.

2 tsp. vegetable oil

Spice rub:
2 tsp. granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

In a small bowl combine the spices for the rub and mix well. Trim any excess fat from chicken and pat dry. Lightly coat chicken with oil. Toss with spice rub and coat well.

Grill chicken a few minutes on each side until cooked through.

While chicken is cooking, warm honey in a small bowl in microwave to soften. Stir in vinegar. Reserve 2 Tbsp. glaze. Brush glaze on both sides of chicken during final moments of cooking (be prepared to smoke!).

Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. of glaze on chicken before serving.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Restaurant Style Salsa

I saw Pioneer Woman's recipe recently and decided to try it. I didn't have the exact same ingredients and changed it up as I made it (after multiple taste tests). I've changed it enough that I can probably call it my 'own.' So here it is:


2 (14.5 oz each) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency (I like it smooth). Refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors blend.

This makes about 5 cups of salsa, so buy lots of chips! I'd say this is in the range of mild to almost medium heat. It will also give you bad breath so this is not a recipe for date night.

It should be mentioned that my tomato-hating 6-year-old can't get enough of this stuff.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day (or any day) Hot Fudge Pudding

I am a cheater. This is not my photo (which should be obvious by the superb quality). I have not made this recently and had no photo, so I stole this one off the internet. I wanted you to see the deliciousness. Recipes are always better with a photo! To hopefully redeem myself a little bit, here is a link to where I found the photo.

I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping several years back. A teenage girl had submitted it and revealed that this recipe is what convinced her mother to marry her father. So, I like to think of it as a great Valentine's Day recipe. If you follow the instructions the batter will separate during baking, resulting in a layer of cake on the top and a layer of pudding on the bottom. Hubba-hubba!


1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided
1/2 cup whole milk (I've used 2% with no trouble)
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup cocoa. Whisk in milk, butter, and vanilla just until smooth. Spread in an 8x8 greased glass baking dish.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle evenly over batter. Carefully pour boiling water over mixture in baking dish; DO NOT STIR.

Bake 30 minutes (batter will separate). Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Strawberry Pretzel Jell-o Salad

Yes, this is a crappy photo. I forgot to take one until this was almost gone (it goes really fast). My mom-in-law got this recipe from a friend. It is Delicious. Some notes:

1. Use full-fat cream cheese. Fat-free does not set up and will ruin this lovely dish. We've been there, done that.

2. Crush your pretzels really well. No big pieces. I'd say "finely crushed," but in my mind that sounds like "powdered." No powdered pretzels - that's going too far. I usually stick the pretzels in a quart-size freezer-weight Ziploc bag and pound away with a meat mallet (on the smooth side). Or you can use a rolling pin or a food processor if you are a lucky duck and have one.

3. This is even better with raspberries (my mom-in-law's suggestion). I made the above salad with half frozen strawberries and half frozen raspberries. Don't be afraid if your frozen berries don't equal 20 oz. - mine were more like 24 oz. and it turned out fine. I also used a 3 oz. strawberry and a 3 oz. raspberry instead of one 6 0z. strawberry Jell-o.


2 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 (8 0z) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 0z.) carton Cool Whip, thawed
1 (6 oz) package strawberry Jell-o
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 oz each) packages frozen sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 Tbsp. sugar together. Press into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Blend in Cool Whip. Spread onto cooled crust.

In a large bowl, mix Jell-o with water until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add frozen berries and stir until berries soften and Jell-o starts to thicken. Gently pour over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

As usual, I've adapted this recipe from one I found on

The original called for bow-tie pasta. Um, yeah. Nothing says "Asian" like bow-ties. So instead I used Ramen noodles. I had some from an Asian market but you can use the packages you buy for super cheap at the grocery store or Wal-mart. Doesn't matter what flavor because you are only using the noodles.

Also, it calls for rice vinegar, but I didn't have any so I used red wine vinegar and it tasted just fine. So if you are like me and don't have rice vinegar, just substitute with what you do have. (Rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds should be found in the Asian section at your grocery store).

One more note: I think this dish could benefit from some sliced or slivered almonds. Just a thought.


1/4 cup sesame seeds
4 (3 oz.) packages Ramen noodles, any flavor
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup less-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 cups diced, cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped green onion
2 medium carrots, grated
*sliced or slivered almonds for garnish?

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add pasta (break each brick into at least 4 pieces so the noodles aren't too long) and cook 3-4 minutes or until slightly tender but not soft. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger and pepper. Shake well.

Pour dressing over pasta and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro, green onions, and carrot. *Sprinkle with almonds.