Sunday, May 31, 2009

I WON! Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote by Built

I swear I do not enter every blog giveaway out there. But I was lucky again and won this Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote by Built. This was given away by Joelen at Joelen's Culinary Adventures. Check out her blog for some great recipes, ideas, party menus, giveaways and so much more! Thank you Joelen!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Creamy Spinach and Feta Rice with Chicken Sausage

Another rice concoction. Not pretty....but it was tasty and comforting.


1 cup rice, 2 cups water or broth
2 spinach and feta chicken sausage links, cut into pieces
3 cups fresh spinach, cut into pieces
5 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup white wine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
feta cheese
2 tablespoon EVOO


Using rice and water/broth, cook rice to your preferred method.

In a pan over medium heat combine spinach, cream cheese, white wine, EVOO, garlic powder and pepper. Cook until cream cheese melts and alcohol is cooked out of the white wine. Stir in your parmesan cheese and chicken sausage, let that cook until cheese is melted and sausage is warmed through. Add your freshly cooked rice, stir to incorporate. Serve topped with feta cheese.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I bought a bag of lemons and this was a great way to start using them. I had seen this recipe before and wanted to make it. But I had forgotten about it until I saw it on Branny Boils Over.

From Ina Garten


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Party Meatballs

Next time you are looking for a recipe for meatballs for a party try this instead of the grape jelly version. I cheated and used pre-made meatballs instead of making my own. They were still great.

Adapted from Kraft Foods


2 pounds of frozen meatballs
1 jar (10 oz.) apricot preserves
1/2 cup BBQ sauce


Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook to directions on meatball package.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

To be honest I do not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But I decided to make these for a baby shower. Of course I did try one....and they were SO good! I wonder if I should revisit the classic PB&J sandwich...nah!

From: Ina Garten


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam (I used Strawberry preserves)
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (omitted)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper (I used foil), then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

My tips: I heated my preserves in the microwave to make them easier to spread. I didn't spread my jam to the very edge to prevent burning in case the dough did not spread out. Also, try your best to evenly drop dough over the preserves because mine didn't not really spread that much (luckily I had dropped my dough pretty evenly and it worked out).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pepperoni and Parmesan Pasta Salad

I was looking for a simple, yet flavorful pasta salad recipe for a baby shower I was throwing. This one was perfect!


16 ounces of pasta, cooked to your preference
3/4 quarters of a bag of pepperoni, cut up
4 ounces shredded parmesan cheese


Combine drained pasta, 3/4 of the dressing, pepperoni and parmesan. Mix thoroughly.

Chill for 2 hours, or overnight.

Mix in the last of your dressing before serving.
Feel free to check out the original posters recipe for other variations.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spinach Dip

I made this for a baby shower and it was a HUGE hit.

Adapted from Knorr


1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 10 ounce package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 to 1 tablespoon dry ranch mix (depends on your taste)
crackers of your choice


Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your choice of crackers.

BLT Roll-ups

I saw these on Annie's blog and was waiting for an occasion to make them. Everyone thought they were great.

Adapted from Annie's Eats


6 9" garden spinach or tomato basil tortillas
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon Ranch dressing
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded lettuce
3 roma tomatoes, diced


Lay all tortillas out flat on a work surface. Combine the cream cheese and Ranch dressing in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Divide between the tortillas and spread in a thin, even layer over each. Sprinkle a sixth of the bacon, lettuce and tomato over each tortilla. Starting at one edge, roll each tortilla up tightly into a spiral shaped log. (If time allows wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours.) Slice each log into 1.5"-2" sections.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chessy Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Rice

I love making up dishes with rice...they are cheap and simple. Its a great way to use up leftovers you have hanging around.


1 cup rice, uncooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup white cheddar cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (if using jarred, thoroughly pat them dry)


Cook your rice in the chicken broth with the creole seasoning, cumin and red pepper flakes using your preferred method. I personally place the rice in a pot with some olive oil and toast it. Then I add in the broth and spices, bring it to a boil, cover it and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When your rice it cooked, stir in your tomato sauce, roasted red peppers and cheese. Cook until warmed through.