December 21, 2011

Yumyums, 3D.

Here's my 3rd Christmas treat installment! I'm making chocolate chip cookie truffles and chocolate truffles. These are nice, since I can make the truffle stuff before work, chill it and come home to roll them up, rechill them and dip them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie truffles

* 1/2 cups Butter
* 3/4 cups Brown Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 2 cups Flour
* 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
* 1 cup Chocolate Chips
* 1 pound Chocolate (for chocolate coating)

Combine butter and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix with electric hand mixer. Add vanilla. Add flour gradually. The mixture will be really dry, but fear not. Add the condensed milk. Use a spoon to stir in chocolate chips. Chill mixture for at least an hour, so it gets very firm. Use a melon baller or cookie scoop to make small portions, then roll between hands to form balls. Put them on a tray and pop them back in the refrigerator to firm them back up for at least 30 minutes. Melt your chocolate coating and dip the balls in to cover completely. Place coated balls on a lined tray to dry and set up. While they are still wet, you can decorate them with sprinkles or whatever you want. :) Makes about 36 truffles.

Chocolate truffles

# 8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Semisweet Chocolate
# 8 ounces, weight (up To 9 Oz.) Good Bittersweet Chocolate
# 1 can (14 Oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
# 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
# 8 ounces, weight Meltable Milk Chocolate

Heat dark chocolates and condensed milk in a double boiler over medium low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir—mixture will have a slight marshmallow texture. Stir in vanilla.

Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for two hours.

Once chilled, roll in balls, then roll in melted milk chocolate coating.

Even more Christmas yumyums.

Second on my baking extravaganza, we have cinnamon hard candy and cinnamon rolls. My house has rarely smelled better. LOL :)

The cinnamon candy was so easy, I swore it was cheating somehow. I felt like the coolest person EVER. I spied watermelon flavoring oil on the candy aisle when I was picking up the cinnamon oil, I'll need to try it.

Cinnamon hard candy

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon candy flavoring oil (or more as desired. this stuff is kind of potent though)
2-4 drops red food coloring (more if a deeper red color is desired)

Mix corn syrup, water and sugar together in a saucepan. Heat to "hard crack" stage, approximately 300 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to measure the progress of the sugar mixture. Once "hard crack" is achieved, remove pan from heat and mix in flavoring oil and food coloring. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and let harden. If you're a total boss, make it in candy molds instead.

Cinnamon rolls are illegally delicious, and The Pioneer Woman is a genius. I made these a couple Christmases ago, and they were a huge success. So, so tasty. Here's her recipe, it'll get you marriage proposals. :)


* 1 quart Whole Milk
* 1 cup Vegetable Oil
* 1 cup Sugar
* 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
* 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
* 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
* 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
* 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
* Plenty Of Melted Butter
* 2 cups Sugar
* Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
* _____
* 1 bag Powdered Sugar
* 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
* 1/2 cup Milk
* 1/4 cup Melted Butter
* 1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
* 1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time… not that they last for more than a few seconds.

December 12, 2011

A fairly frugal delicious holiday

I'm taking the opportunity to hone my crafting/baking skills this holiday season, in light of a budget thinner than rice paper. What a year! oof. Enough whining, here come some recipes!

First out of the chute this year, we have peppermint bark and Muddy Buddies (puppy chow, whatever you call it, it's good).

Peppermint Bark
inspired by Dessert for Two

10 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 lb white chocolate (I used white "make your own almond bark" candy)
6-8 crushed peppermint candy canes

Prepare a double boiler and melt your semisweet chocolate with half the oil. When it's smooth, pour it onto a cookie sheet with a rim on it , covered with wax paper. Spread the chocolate out and let it cool off a bit. Clean out the top pan on your double boiler and melt the white chocolate with the rest of the oil. Meanwhile, unwrap your candy canes and crush 'em up into small, manageable bits. Pour the white chocolate on the semisweet and spread it around. Don't get too stressed if it marbles with the semisweet, nobody's going to get upset about it (if they do, maybe you shouldn't share the candy with them anyway! :D). While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with your crushed candy canes. Put the tray in the fridge to set up. When everything's all firmed up, break the bark into pieces. I made 6 4-ish oz. bags with this recipe.

Muddy Buddies
courtesy Chex

9 cups Chex cereal of your choice
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

I'm also looking to make some spicy chocolate cookies, ginger cookies, peanut butter cookies, meringue cookies, truffles, popcorn balls and cinnamon candy. I'll keep you posted on those recipes! :)

November 30, 2011

homemade chicken and dumplings

I went ahead and planned ahead for the rest of the week's meals. Tonight, I'm making chicken and dumplings. :)

For the dumplings:
1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cold butter
slightly less than 1/2 cup milk

For the rest of the dish:
6 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, ripped into little pieces

Place dry dumpling ingredients into bowl of food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a fine meal. Stream in milk, continuing to process until dough forms a ball. Turn out onto very floured surface and roll into thin sheet, about 1/4" thick. Cut into 2x2" dumplings, or thereabouts.

Pour broth into pot, adding celery and carrots. Bring to a boil, then add dumplings one at a time until all are added. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add chicken and continue to heat until veggies are tender, dumplings don't taste doughy anymore and chicken's heated through. Add pepper to taste. :)

November 29, 2011

Cleaning day

I took everything out of my pantry cabinets today, wiped the shelves down and threw away a few things that had been stored improperly. Also got a chance to reorganize. Looks better now. :) Looking at everything all together got me thinking about what I'd like to make for this year's treats...
So far I'm thinking gingerbread loaves, chocolate truffles, puppy chow, tons of cookies, smore bars, cherry butter...

And then I was hungry! lol

I think I'll have a pantry supper tonight...

Southwest Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground turkey/beef/whatever ground meat you like
1 medium onion, diced
1 can Ro-tel, undrained
1/2 batch taco seasoning (recipe here)
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
buns/bread for 4

Brown meat with onions. Add Ro-tel and taco seasoning, simmer about 15 minutes(until it slightly thickens). Stir in corn, cook until heated through. Put a big spoonful on a bun and top it with some cheese!

Have a good day!


November 28, 2011

100th post!

Yee haw!!! 100 blog posts! *happy dance*

Last night, we went to a birthday shindig for Zach's brother. It was out of this world! Entertainment by William Rader, The Memepunks and 7 Deadly Sins made for a one-of-a-kind awesome party, along with the potluck and costumes! Hotdish+cosplay=good time.

For my contribution, I made a batch of sangria. Really not traditional sangria, but crunk punch sounds tackier and less like something you'd want to put in your mouth. lol :)

1 BIG, clean container to dispense from (jar-type with spigot, punch bowl, pitcher, etc)
2-1.5 liter bottles of wine: red table wine and a nice white, like pinot grigio
1 750ml bottle of rum (use this to taste. you may not want the whole thing in there)
3-4 big navel oranges, washed and whole, sliced thinly
2-3 lemons, same way
2-3 limes, same way
2-3 ripe green apples (such as granny smith), washed, cored and sliced into bite sized chunks
2-3 ripe red apples, same way
1-2 cans pineapple-orange juice concentrate
1 jar of maraschino cherries (be sure the pits and stems are out before dumping it in)
1 big can of pineapple chunks/tidbits

Being sure your spigot is closed on the container, start putting your fruit in the container. It's a nice idea to roll the citrus around with a bit of pressure on your cutting board before slicing, so it'll release the juices better in the container. Once the fruit is all in (and the juices from canned/jarred products, too!), add your concentrate and your boozes. stir it all around and let it mingle for a while before serving. PRO TIP: This drink is mostly booze, so treat it as such! Either make a small glass straight up/on ice, or cut it with some 7up. Nobody wants to see your stomach contents after you've had 3 straight red cups of this! :D

Anyway, it was a phenomenal party! Keep it merry, y'all!


November 9, 2011

The further adventures of Dr. Crockpot

Tonight, I have a show committee meeting for my chorus, and Zach has physics class, so the crock pot is being called to duty again, this time to make a soup inspired by a recipe from 80/20.

Light French Onion Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large white onions, sliced thin (~ 5 cups)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups water
3 cups low sodium beef broth
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups crusty bread cubes
1 1/4 cups Parmesan, shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bread cubes onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown and crispy. Set aside.

Slice onions, and place in crock pot with oil and spices. Cook on high until onions are translucent.

Add broth, wine, water, and Worcestershire, and let cook for a few hours.

To serve: ladle soup into a bowl or crock, then immediately top with 1/2 cup bread cubes and 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

November 8, 2011

My life will never slow down. EVER.

It has been hellaciously busy around here. My gal pal Katy and her hubs were here last weekend for the OU vs Texas A&M game, which meant many hours of making the guest room and communal areas tidy and hospitable. Zach got sick, then I did too. My chorus has been planning our fall dinner theater (which is next weekend, BTW). So, there have been quick little throw-together meals, pizza, and my saints of parents offering leftovers tiding us over. The yuckiest part of the semester is just about through, then Zach gets his victory lap and graduates in May. *happy dance!* I wanted to get the happy started by sharing some of my holiday ideas with you all. This will be ongoing, so some recipes, gift ideas, and general funsense will keep the blog going.

This year, my focus will be more on quality and usefulness, with whimsy mixed in.

I usually try to make goody bags for people, containing a variety of edible treats.

This year, I really want to up the ante by making some cherry butter. TG Farms makes and sells some that is to die for. Sadly, they are usually too far for me to go and get any. I am overdue for some cherry butter, so I will attempt to make my own. Fear not, I'll document the process here. :) I'm thinking the recipe and directions found here will do nicely.

Zach and I decided to forgo any big presents for each other this year and will instead take a trip to the Dallas IKEA and get ourselves a new coffee table. Ours is so ugly and doesn't match a single thing in our living room. Plus, road trips with Zach are always fun. :)

That doesn't exclude our advent calendar, stockings, or small gifts, as far as I know...
So, I'm knitting a scarf for Zach, using Knit Picks Gloss heavy worsted yarn in Aegean. My pattern comes from Rachael at Yarn-a-go-go: There are a few yarnovers and places where I didn't count it right, but it's working out fine now. Plus, it's my first time to make something with a cable. :)

As far as the advent calendar goes, I've been having fun scoping out small things for it. We have a nice reusable one from Target (same style as this one). I'll keep you posted on places to find the littles, but for the pure fact that Zach reads this blog, I will not reveal exact items! LOL

Keep it merry!
<3 Jennifer

October 25, 2011

Leftover madness and other topics

I haven't made dinner in a while. I'm a lazy lump. My work had me going to Tulsa last week for a seminar, I've been petsitting, and poor Zach has been a ball of stress. So, we've been picking our way over the leftovers, eating with my folks, and eating pizza. Healthy, I know. I noticed we had rice left over from the burritos last week, so I'll be making a sweet casserole. Here's the recipe:

Tex-Mex chicken casserole

* 2 whole Cooked Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts, Shredded
* 1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies - Drained, 10 Ounce Can
* 1 can Cream Of Chicken Soup (10 Ounce Can)
* ½ cans Refried Beans, 15 Ounce Can
* 2 cups Cooked Rice (cooked According To Package Instructions)
* ½ cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (will be omitting this and substituting small can of mushrooms)
* ½ cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese


Mix together all of the ingredients except the cheddar cheese in a casserole dish then top it with the cheddar cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. You can finish off the last 3-4 minutes on broil if you like crispy cheese on top!

I have been itching for a pumpkin dessert lately, and about had a fit when I saw the recipe for these pumpkin blondies... They remind me of the Dorothy Lane inspired brownies PW influenced me to make this summer.


* ¾ cups Butter, Softened
* 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
* 2 whole Eggs
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
* 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
* 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
* ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
* 1-¾ cup All-purpose Flour
* 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
* ¼ teaspoons Salt
* ½ cups Chopped Walnuts
* ¼ cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
* 14 ounces, weight Caramels, Unwrapped (1 Bag)
* ¼ cups Heavy Cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until combined. Slowly incorporate the remaining ‘blondies’ ingredients into the batter. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly to ensure a smooth batter. Spread about 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

For the filling: Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over top of the batter.

Place caramels and cream into a heat-proof bowl. Microwave on high until caramel is smooth and completely melted, being sure to stir every 20 seconds. Stop as soon as it’s melted and smooth.

Pour melted caramel over chocolate and nuts. Spread around evenly with a butter knife or spoon. Place dollops of the remaining batter over the top of the caramel layer. Spread those dollops out to try and get a smooth layer of batter over top. (It’s fine if some of the caramel layer is peeking through.)

Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (It might come out with a little caramel on it which is fine. You don’t want batter on the toothpick.)

Cool completely before serving. Or be prepared to get a whole lot of oozing caramel if you serve it warm.

All of this stuff is getting ready to go in the oven, so I can slip off around 6:45 for a young friend's high school choir performance. I'm excited! :)

October 15, 2011

Exciting fish dish!!!

I love love love fish, but sometimes it doesn't love you. You cook it up and it tastes like watery gravel. Ick! So, I try to find ways to make fish beautiful and tasty, as much of the fish I make is frozen (Curse Oklahoma's land locked position!).

One more from the vault at Tasty Kitchen, and this one's even Gluten-Free, thanks to Alyssa, aka Queen of Quinoa for posting it: Cinnamon & Paprika Pecan Crusted Salmon!


* ¼ cups Raw Pecans
* 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon Paprika
* 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
* ¾ pounds Atlantic Salmon


reheat the oven to 400ºF.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans until the they are finely chopped and crumbly. Pour them onto a plate and add the cinnamon and paprika. Mix the spices into the pecans with a fork.

In a cast iron pan, heat your oil on medium-high heat.

Spread the mustard evenly over the flesh of the salmon. This will give you a nice “sticky” layer to bind with the pecans. Coat the top of the salmon with the crust by placing the fillet skin side up in the pecan crumbs. Make sure to crust all sides of the fish (except the skin) to get the full flavor of the crust.

Place the crusted side down in the hot oil. Let it sizzle for 3 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. When there’s a nice brown coloring to the pecan mixture, flip it over (skin side down) and place the skillet in the oven. Bake it in the center of the warm oven for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet, until the fish flakes easily.

October 14, 2011

Vegetarian leanings

Zach and I aren't real card-carrying vegetarians, but if you look at our meat consumption habits, we're probably pretty close. We actually like tofu and other meat substitutes... lol :) Zach loves black bean burgers, so I've been looking for a nice-looking homemade burger. Here's the first attempt, from my BFF Tasty Kitchen, submitted by Boyfriend-approved Bites:


* ⅓ cups Jalapeno Slices
* 2 cloves Garlic
* 2 cans Black Beans (15 Ounce Cans), Drained Well
* 1-½ cup Bread Crumbs
* 3 Tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
* 2 Tablespoons Tomato Sauce
* ¾ cups Corn Kernels, Fresh Or Frozen
* 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
* 1-½ teaspoon Salt
* 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
* 2 Tablespoons Water
* 6 Hamburger Buns
* 6 slices Each Of Avocado And Tomato
* Optional Burger Garnishes: Mustard, Ketchup, Sriracha Chili Sauce, Etc


Mince the jalapeno and garlic and place them in a bowl. Add one can of beans. Make sure the beans are drained well. If not the burgers will be too watery. Add the mixture to your food processor and pulse until well combined and smooth.

Pour the bean mixture into a bowl and add the bread crumbs, sweet chili sauce, tomato sauce, and corn. Stir well. Add the other can of beans, the cumin and the salt and mix to combine.

Make into patties. Heat a skillet (medium heat) with a bit of olive oil and then add the patties. Cook for about four minutes on each side.

Place on warmed buns and garnish with avacado, tomato, ketchup, sriracha sauce if you’d like.

October 13, 2011

I Heart Crockpot, True Luv 4ever.

On the nights I'm at work until 9, my choices are dicey unless I've put together something for the crockpot. It keeps me from cooking so late, but it also makes the waitstaff at my favorite restaurants worry about me. LOL :)

Yet another Tasty Kitchen find, this one from the imagination of TK user Mama2Dutchies: Crockpot Baked Potato Soup!

* 8 cups Potatoes, Chunked
* 1 whole Small Onion, Diced
* 3 cans Chicken Stock (14-15 Ounce Size)
* 1 can Cream Of Chicken Soup (10 Ounce Can)
* 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Cubed
* Salt And Pepper, to taste
* ½ pounds Bacon, cooked and crumbled
* Optional Garnishes: Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Diced Chives


Combine potatoes, onion, broth (2 of the 3 cans), and cream of chicken soup in crockpot. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Then add cream cheese, salt and pepper and blend. (I used a hand/stick blender).

At this stage, if the soup is too thick, this is where the third can of stock comes in. Add it to the soup to get the consistency you prefer, and heat. Taste and season more if needed.

Top with bacon, cheese, chives and sour cream before serving.

October 12, 2011

Comfort food deluxe!

The school semester is in full-swing around here, and trying to make dinner nightly is not always a basket of kittens, lemme tell ya. lol :) I strive for a handful of objectives when making our dinners:

1. minimize dairy for me, so I can be a better roommate and co-worker :)
2. utilize on-hand ingredients where possible
3. fast/easy but still delicious
4. not spending a mint on ingredients

Keeping that in mind, I scour my favorite recipe sites looking for gems. Here's another one from Tasty Kitchen, submitted by Julie's Treats and Eats: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole!


* 6 ounce package Wild Rice
* savory spices as desired (I'm thinking bay leaf, oregano, thyme...)
* 2 Tablespoons Butter
* 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
* 1 pound Chicken Breasts, Cooked And Shredded
* ½ cups Sour Cream (I substitute Tofutti Better than Sour Cream)
* 10-¾ ounces Cream Of Chicken Soup


1. Cook wild rice according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add mushrooms and spices, saute until tender. Add chicken, sour cream and cream of chicken soup to mushroom mixture. Remove from heat.

2. Add cooked wild rice to mixture and combine. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.

October 11, 2011

Clinging to warm days...

It's definitely feeling more like Fall now. The sun sets so early! :/ I wanted a sweet, crunchy, summerlike dish... Zach made a mango chutney thing in the crockpot a while back and I was not a fan, sadly. We still have a jar of mango chutney kicking around, so I hunted for something on Tasty Kitchen that would use this in a different way. I came up with Thai Chicken Salad! Here's the recipe from TK user Ashley Elizabeth of Sweetpea Lifestyle:


* 6 Tablespoons Mango Chutney
* 6 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
* 3 teaspoons Fish Sauce
* 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
* 3 Tablespoons Sugar
* 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
* ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1 pound Chicken Breasts
* 1 head Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
* 1 cup Shredded Carrots
* 1 bag Broccoli Slaw, 12 Ounce Bag
* 1 cup Diced Cucumber
* 1 cup Red Bell Pepper, Diced
* 1 can Mandarin Oranges, 15 Ounces
* 1 cup Craisins
* 1 can Crunchy Chinese Noodles, 3 Ounces


Mix the first six ingredients (don’t add in the oil – you’ll add it later) in a bowl, reserving half to use as dressing. Marinate chicken in the bowl with the remaining marinade mixture, at least 4 hours.

When ready to make salad, throw the chicken on the grill and grill till perfectly done (over medium heat, typically this will take 5 minutes per side, but it depends on the size of your chicken breasts). Then remove chicken from the grill and let it rest a few minutes before slicing!

Into your reserved marinade, add half cup of extra virgin olive oil and mix. (I like to use a small mason jar, pour liquids in, screw on the top, and shake it up, baby.)

Now, you are ready to create your salad. Mix your chopped greens, carrots, slaw, cucumbers, peppers, oranges and Craisins in a BIG bowl. Add your dressing and toss well. Place into bowls/plates/whatever kind of individual serving dishes your heart desires, and top with sliced chicken and crunchy noodles!

October 10, 2011

Fast (dinner) times in Norman...

I wanted a hot meal in less than an hour tonight, so I turned to her royal tastiness, The Pioneer Woman for inspiration. She made 16 minute beef and bean burritos last July, and I have been craving tex-mex like it's going out of style. So, gathering inspiration and making ingredient substitutions, I marched bravely forward.

It took me more than 16 minutes, but I don't do my prep beforehand, my rice wasn't already cooked, and my meat was frozen. I know, I've gotta quit whining and man up. At least now you're warned.

Burritos of the gods

-1 pound ground turkey
-1/2 diced yellow onion
-2-3 cloves crushed garlic
-salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder to taste
-7oz can mexican-style tomato sauce (I used El Pato brand from the "international" aisle at the store)
-14 oz refried beans
-grated sharp cheddar, to your liking
-1 small can diced green chiles
Optional but so tasty fillings:
fresh salsa/pico de gallo
spanish rice

Cook turkey, diced onions and garlic over medium heat in a skillet, add a little water so it doesn't burn and adhere to the pan. :D If you get a low-fat variety, you likely won't have any fat to drain. Add your spices, half the green chiles and half the tomato sauce, simmer until it's all bubbly and nice. Heat your beans up and add cheese and the other half of the green chiles in a saucepan. Heat up some tortillas and get to work filling them up with your meat and beans plus whatever else you want to pop in there. Once you get them assembled and folded, top with remaining tomato sauce and grate some cheese on them. Let it melt and get all nice (you might need a 375 degree oven to help you here), then serve it to your hungry compadres. They will love you.

Verdict? OM NOM NOM :D

October 6, 2011

A lasagna without cheese? I may faint from happiness!

Another secret to my kitchen happiness and success?
1. Zach does the dishes (It's true!).
2. I'm an avid user of Tasty Kitchen. They have everything under the big blue sky in their treasure trove, all user-submitted. I have found so many wonderful recipes there, and have loved them all. I saw this one a few weeks back and have been salivating like mad waiting for a proper fall day to make this gem. The cute BethanyRae is behind posting the gorgeousness that is this Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna (originally found in the book Frame by Frame Italian)... Without further ado!


* 3-½ ounces, Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Soaked
* 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* 1 whole Onion, finely chopped
* 1 pound Ground Chicken
* 3-½ ounces, weight Smoked Pancetta, Chopped
* 3-½ cups Cremini Mushrooms, Chopped
* ⅔ cups Dry White Wine
* 14 ounces, weight Canned Chopped Tomatoes
* 3 Tablespoons Basil Leaves, Chopped
* 9 whole Lasagna Sheets (I Use Barilla No Boil, They Work Great!)
* 3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, Finely Grated
* Salt And Pepper, to taste
* 2-½ cups Milk (any Percent Works)
* 4 Tablespoons Butter
* ½ cups All-Purpose Flour (scant 1/2 Cup)
* 1 whole Bay Leaf
* Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

(Make the white sauce first and set aside, covered, while you make the rest of the lasagna.)

For the white sauce, start by heating the milk, butter, flour and bay leaf in a pan over medium heat. While it is heating, make sure to whisk the mixture constantly, until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Boil about three cups (or as directed on package of mushrooms) of water in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add the water to a heatproof medium bowl and add the dried Porcini mushrooms to the boiling water. Let sit for about 20 minutes until moistened, drain, and set aside.

Now begin to prepare the lasagna: Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add the chicken and pancetta and cook for 6-8 minutes.

Stir in both types of mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Then pour in the tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Then stir in the basil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Arrange 3 of the lasagna sheets in a rectangular ovenproof dish.
(I use Barilla No Boil lasagna noodles. They cook in the sauce and you don’t have to boil them before baking the dish. If you use noodles that require boiling, make sure to boil those – according to package instructions – while you are assembling the chicken and mushroom sauce.)

Then spoon a third of the meat sauce over the noodles.

Remove the bay leaf from the white sauce and throw it away, you don’t need it. Spread a third of the white sauce over the meat.

Repeat the layers two more times (noodles, meat sauce, white sauce), finishing with a layer of the white sauce.

Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve and enjoy!!!!

October 5, 2011

Crockpot fun, again!

Stephanie O'Dea to the rescue again, with her crockpot wizardry! I'm making her Brown Sugar Chicken, which her kids redubbed "Candy Chicken." LOL :)


--12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or 6 boneless, skinless breast halves
--1 cup brown sugar (it's okay. you can brush your teeth after.)
--1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (stay with me...)
--2/3 cup vinegar (I used white wine, but think regular white would be fine)
--3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
--2 T soy sauce (La Choy and Tamari wheat free are GF)
--1 tsp ground black pepper

The Directions:

Use a 4 quart crockpot for this recipe.

Plop the chicken into your crockpot. Cover with the brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic, and soy sauce. Add the vinegar, and pour in the soda. It will bubble!

Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. The chicken is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be.

Serve over a bowl of white rice with a ladle full of the broth.

October 4, 2011

I love my crockpot!

To be successful at the "making dinner 3 times a week" goal, I have been leaning pretty heavily on my crock pot, what with my crazy schedules at work. I actually use a Hamilton Beach slow cooker with 3 interchangeable bowls. It's pretty sweet! The bitty 2 quart bowl is good for small dishes and dinner for 1. The 4 quart sees the most action around here, and is tall enough to accommodate stuffed peppers. The mighty 6 quart only comes out for the occasional vast amount of soup or roast, but I'm glad I have the choices.

Recently, I stumbled upon the delightful Stephanie O'Dea and her bevy of slow cooking delight. I'll be making one of hers tonight: Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms!

--4 large portabella mushrooms
--1 1/2 cups baby tomatoes
--1/4 cup olive oil
--1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
--1/2 t kosher salt
--1/2 t black pepper
--1 T dried basil
--1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
--1/4 cup bread crumbs

The Directions:

--with a paring knife, carefully cut off the stems of each mushroom. Chop the stems up, and put them in a mixing bowl.

--use a spoon to scoop out the brown hairy looking stuff from the mushrooms. Put that in your mixing bowl, too.

--chop up the tomatoes, and add them to the mix along with the bread crumbs, olive oil, vingegar, cheese, and spices.
--mix it up.

--smear a bit of olive oil on the bottom of your crockpot stoneware insert
--put the mushroom caps on top of the oil. I have a large 6qt, and my mushroom caps did not fit "nicely"---they were kind of on top of each other at the edges and were leaning a bit up the sides of the stoneware.
It's okay. They will still cook for you.

--spoon your filling mixture on top of the mushrooms. Remind yourself that you aren't making food to appear in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen---this is for your family. It needn't look "perfect!"

Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours. I left our mushrooms on for 6 hours and served them over rice.

October 1, 2011

What I've been up to...

The month of September was very productive, believe it or not! I resolved myself to be less of a bum at home(my housekeeping skills are somewhat lacking), and I seem to respond well to bribery(HA!), so I made a whole list of tasks that I wanted to complete on a dry erase board entitled "The House Cup," along with the desired reward written at the bottom.

The list included things like getting laundry caught up weekly, cooking 3 nights a week, cleaning the bathroom, clearing off the dining table, tidying up the living room, cleaning up my pit of despair guest room, cleaning the fridge, making a donation to the thrift store, taking the cardboard recycling to the recycling center... Stuff like that. Minutiae for some, like ripping fingernails off for a slug like me.

All in all, I'd say the first run was a success. Some unexpectedly good things occurred alongside:
-I've started planning my dinners. It forces me to stick to a plan, to actually buy ingredients for a purpose rather than just chucking random stuff in the cart that eventually spoils. Plus, there's less eating out this way. :)
-I have less laundry sitting around.
-I'm not spending all my pocket money on random thrift store/Target trips! I'm home, taking care of business so I can get my bribe prize at the end of the month! Not like I have pocket money lately, anyway.

My prize this month? A massage and a pedicure. :) I'm so looking forward to this.

Once I get another month under my belt, I can have unexpected company without worrying about being embarrassed by the state of my crazy house.

July 28, 2011

Super-helpful girl to the rescue!!!

Zach and I totally forgot about making a blueberry dessert topping last night for his ice cream social at work today, and fortunately, my work schedule for the day got flopped around, so I was able to make the topping today! Hooray!!!

Martha Stewart is one crafty gal, and she provided an easy, tasty recipe.

1 pint blueberries (about 2 1/2 cups. I used a bag of frozen berries, and it worked out great. )
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar

Heat your butter in a saucepan. Add berries and sugar, cook on med-low heat until berries start releasing juices, or about 2 minutes. (I went a little longer since mine were frozen) Serve warm over ice cream. :)

July 27, 2011

Sometimes, the reward is in doing.

Zach texted me yesterday to inform me that he was feeling melancholy. I replied that he could look forward to indian food, cupcakes, and a netflix laughfest. Then, I was stuck. I didn't have any of those things, but I needed to act fast to ensure some measure of happiness for my beloved. I decided to make a dish resembling chicken makhani and bought cupcakes at one of the local bakeries.

Very like chicken makhani!

1 package (I bought 1.25 pounds) boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into little chunks
1/4 cup lime juice
3-6 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried ground corriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (green or black, both are tasty)
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 inches ginger root, peeled and microplaned
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 handful chopped cilantro

Place diced chicken in a bowl. Add lime juice, garlic and spices, marinade up to overnight. I marinated mine for about an hour and it was still tasty, but the longer you can leave it the better it tastes. :)
Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, saute until onions are soft. Add chicken and turn up heat slightly. Cook for about 4 minutes or until chicken is uniformly white and meatlike all the way through- no pink! Add tomatoes and broth, turn it down to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add your yogurt and cilantro, continue to simmer and stir occasionally until mixture thickens. check spice levels and adjust accordingly. Serve with rice and nan. :)

This was good, and we ate it all- no leftovers! :)

July 20, 2011

Summertime is not my favorite.

Zach went out of town at the beginning of the month, and I didn't cook the whole time he was gone, and I'm certain we have either eaten at a restaurant or with my parents since he came home last Thursday. LOL :D

I did make brownies on Monday. Life altering, ambrosia-from-the-gods brownies. Not even joking.

The Pioneer Woman is going to make me bigger than a barn with all the things she makes, and then I feel compelled to make too.

The brownies:

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used duncan hines dark chocolate fudge and was not a bit sorry!)
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 stick melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 jar caramel dessert topping (or 60 unwrapped caramel candies, melted with 1/2 cup evaporated milk)
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Put cake mix in a mixing bowl. Add evaporated milk, pecans, and melted butter. Stir it up until it's all combined and resembling sticky cookie dough. Divide in half, and press half the dough into a greased 8" square baking dish. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Remove dish from oven, pour on the caramel, then sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Put the other half of the brownie dough on top (I had mine rolled pout into a rough square shape and carefully laid it over the caramel and chocolate.). Return this beast to the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely, then chill for several hours. Sift a generous amount of powdered sugar on top, cut into squares, and serve. :)

June 29, 2011

Zach's birthday cake!!!

I hope Zach knows that I'm the luckiest girl in the world! He's the best and I love him so much. :) I asked him about his birthday cake a few weeks ago and he said raspberry and lemon. YUM CITY! I gladly took the challenge.

Raspberry cake!!!


* 1 cup butter
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 4 eggs
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups cake flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons raspberry gelatin powder
* 8 oz pureed raspberries (strain through mesh if you don't want seeds in the cake)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3-6 inch round pans. I'd also recommend lining the bottoms with parchment, to make the layering/assembly easier later. Sift together the flour, baking powder, gelatin and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and raspberry extracts. Stir in the pureed raspberries. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.

Lemon Buttercream!!!

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon lemon emulsion

Cream together butter and sugar. Add lemon juice, vanilla and lemon emulsion. Mix until creamy fluffiness is achieved. If this is going to be an "outside" cake, substitute 1/2 your butter for crisco. It'll stand up better to the heat.

This combination proved to be mighty tasty, indeed! :)

Happy birthday to my man! <3

June 9, 2011

It's June 9. How did this happen?

I am in awe of how quickly the year has passed! I'm thinking about making a weekend trip to somewhere nearby. Maybe Tulsa? Maybe Dallas? Hmm...

Tonight's dinner:

Balsamic grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and loaded mashed potatoes!

Balsamic grilled chicken (courtesy of thefarmerwife @ Tasty Kitchen

* ⅓ cups Balsamic Vinegar, Or More To Taste
* 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
* 1-½ Tablespoon Soy Sauce
* 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
* 2 Tablespoons Sugar
* 2 whole Cloves Of Garlic, Minced
* ⅓ cups Olive Oil
* 1 dash Fresh Ground Black Pepper
* 6 whole Chicken Breasts

Mix all ingredients but chicken in a bowl. Taste it, then make additions as you see fit. Then, put your chicken in a bag, pour the marinade in over it, and close the bag. Squish it all around, to make sure all the chicken is covered. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours. Then, grill it up! (we are short of barbecue grills here, so I'll be utilizing the George Foreman.)


-1/2 cup sugar
-3/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
-healthy dash each of seasoned salt, black pepper, cumin
-bay leaf, if you wanna
-spoonful of minced garlic (3-4 cloves worth)
-2 tbsp butter

Fill a good-sized pot with water. Add all ingredients, heat to a boil. Add corn, boil until tender (about 5 minutes). Eat it up. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

loaded mashed potatoes:

6 medium-sized red potatoes, washed and cubed (I imagine Yukon Gold would be good too)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1.5 cups plain yogurt, unsweetened
6 pieces of bacon, crunchy and crumbled
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, diced
heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard (Trust that it will work, sounds crazy, but it adds a tangy flavor)
heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain off the water, then mash potatoes using a hand mixer. Add yogurt and butter, mix until combined. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

June 8, 2011

It was much funnier before.

So, my dad always gags and will occasionally barf when he smells poo. My brother and I have always thought this was endlessly ridiculous and would give him a hard time. Well, my day has come. I'm petsitting for the next couple of weeks, and I went over this morning, only to find 2 mammoth piles of dog poop. I gagged. I barfed. I got myself together and cleaned it up. I was not happy. Poor Dad, now I get it. lol

Last night, Zach and I ate Salmon Fantasia and cucumber salad (reruns, I know, but easy to eat when it's hot outside). We drank screwdrivers, we watched a movie called The Band's Visit, and ate chocolate hazelnut ice cream(made from coconut milk, but didn't taste like it!). It was fairly glorious!

Screwdrivers are easy to make and even easier to jazz up.

Put 1 shot vodka of your choice (orange vodka, plain vodka, vanilla vodka.... whatever you want) in a glass. Fill it up with ice. Add orange juice (pineapple orange if you're feeling sassy) and stir it up. Good times.

Today, I'll be ultra-lazy and make veggie burgers for dinner. Tomorrow I'll be good and cook, since I'll be off all day. Quitting my teaching job has turned out to be an okay thing so far. I've been in calmer spirits and I see more of Zach. both are very good things. :D

This weekend is tentatively named "Barberpalooza." I have an 8 hour rehearsal to attend on Saturday with the lovely Sooner Sensations Chorus., then it's off to Del City to enjoy a show by the excellent Music Central, featuring special guest Zing! I will sleep when I am dead. lol

June 6, 2011

c'est bon

Oh Happy Day! Goes to Paris

Click the link to enter a sweepstakes for a trip to paris, from Oh Happy Day! :)

June 1, 2011

Zach is wunderbar.

Today is mine and Zach's 2-year anniversary! Woop Woop!!! He makes my life so rich and delicious, I can't imagine going without him. He makes the world go 'round.

He made us a delicious dinner tonight!

Poblano Rigatoni

4 servings rigatoni pasta
Salt for water
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
3 poblano chiles, or 2 large green peppers per recipe, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 small (about 6 ounces each) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with garlic press
teaspoon(s) dried oregano, crushed
1 pint(s) grape or cherry tomatoes
1 pint button mushrooms, sliced

Heat large, covered saucepot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook as label directs.
Meanwhile, in nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onion; cook until lightly charred and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms; cover and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes; cover and cook until slightly softened.
Drain pasta. In serving bowl, toss pasta with vegetables.

Seriously good stuff going on here!!! Thanks to Good Housekeeping for the recipe, which originally had cheese and no mushrooms. :) Zach keeps me honest on dairy. lol

Eat well!!!

May 27, 2011

cheerios, tornadoes,and other matters.

*sitting in cave, eating apple cinnamon cheerios and surfing the internet*

*emerges from hole, sees shadow*



Has it really been since February that I blogged?!? Oh dear.

Well, let's catch you up, then. I competed with my chorus, the wonderful Sooner Sensations Chorus in March, where we earned top marks: 1st place midsize chorus and 3rd place overall. I'm pretty sure that's been our best showing ever. :) My lovely niece turned 2. Our state's lame ol' drought was quenched in a nice storm on Easter Sunday, and has been getting progressively more wild weatherwise since then. Tornadoes finally reared their ugly heads, with one passing 2.5 miles north of us and another 6 miles south this last Tuesday. I was told not to come to work that day by my boss, so I stayed happily home and made dinner. Just as the entree emerged from the oven, it was whisked into containers and away we flew to a basement at the university to hide from the storm. Here's what I made. :D

Cucumber Salad
(recipe thanks to Zach's momma)

2-3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
3-4 green onions, diced small
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
pepper, to taste
minced fresh dill, to taste

Place your cucumber slices in a colander in the sink. Coat them with a generous amount of salt. Let them sit for 30 minutes.

While the cucumbers are being transformed by the salt, go ahead and get the tomatoes and green onions ready to go in your salad container. Heck, go ahead and get the lemon juice and dill prepped too. You have time, if a tornado isn't looming too close by. lol :D

Once your 30 minutes is up, rinse your cucumbers off very thoroughly, for about 5 minutes. You don't want any salt left on the cucumbers themselves, they'll already taste like it.

Take your cold-rinsed cucumbers and add them to the tomatoes and onions. Add the lemon juice, dill, and pepper. Stir it up. You have 2 choices: Be bad and scarf it down now, or be good and let it chillax in the fridge for a while. It's tasty either way, but even more so when the flavors have had a chance to mingle.

In my house of 2, this amount will be gone in less than 2 days. If you have a lot of people to feed, you could double or even triple the ingredients (heck, make as much as you want!) pretty effectively.

The entree:

Tuna Patties!!!

(recipe originally posted here June 2009)

2 cans of tuna, drained
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 cup of shredded cheese
1/2 of a small onion, diced and sauteed
1/2 of a small bell pepper, diced and sauteed
a good dash of salt and pepper
a sprinkle of paprika and dill

combine all ingredients into a bowl, taking care to not cook the egg with the sauteed veggies. (room temp veggies help)
form into patties that are about 3/4-1 inch thick, place on a baking sheet, bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes, until everything's all hot and nice, with a crisp exterior.

This food was good, since the weather was so muggy and tense that day. The only thing is, I forgot forks when we went to the basement! So, we were in this basement area, eating tuna patties with our hands, and no salad (too wet to eat with your hands, at least with any dignity)! When it blew over, we went home and ate some dang salad, finally! lol

Be safe this weather season!

<3 Jen

February 9, 2011

They say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too, yeah! :D

I'm 26 today! Yee haw! :D I got a snow day, a car stereo, bath stuff, a bracelet, and a pimple zapper. Good haul. :D

Tonight's dinner is special, because I like it. :D

Salmon Fantasia is an old fave, it's so darn good. I got the recipe off the back of a bag of frozen salmon fillets. lol

1 pound Salmon Fillets
8 Tbsp. Honey
3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
8 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Mustard
3 Tbsp. Chopped Chives
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp. Butter

Mix first 5 ingredients (after the salmon) in a shallow bowl. Add salmon fillets and turn several times to coat well. Transfer salmon and marinade to a plastic zipper bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing. Marinate for 30 minutes (or longer). Remove from bag. Grill 3-4 minutes per side, or until the salmon is flaky.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over high heat. Add lemon juice and chives. Pour over the cooked salmon and serve.

I stumbled across this awesome salad dressing on Tasty Kitchen last week. Unusual, but wonderful. Thanks to TK user Sally Darling. :)

Lemon Maple Vinaigrette

* 2 cloves Garlic Chopped
* 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
* 1 whole Lemon, Juiced
* 4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
* 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
* 2 Tablespoons REAL Maple Syrup (Not The Pancake Syrup)

Combine all ingredients in a jar or a salad dressing bottle. Shake shake shake 'em up. Let them mingle and combine for a little while before you eat it. :)

Okay, now for the science and magic portion of the show:

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes for Two!!!

This gem came from an article on Paula Deen's website.

(Note: use silicone cupcake liners, since these are being "baked" in the microwave. The paper liners will fall down, and you don't wanna be there when you put a foil liner in the microwave. Just believe me. ALSO: I doubled the recipe so there'd be 4 cupcakes. Dividing an egg in half seemed silly, and who doesn't want another cupcake on their own birthday? :D)

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes For Two
Yield: 2 cupcakes

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 ½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ½ teaspoons milk
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ egg, lightly whipped (approximately 2 tablespoons whipped egg)
Prepared Whipped Cream

Whisk flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger in a small bowl.

Mix in milk, butter, and egg.
Divide evenly between two silicone cupcake liners.
Microwave on medium for one minute.

Microwave again on medium for thirty seconds. If the cupcakes do not bounce back when lightly touched, repeat this step.
Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, serve warm. :D

Don't freeze your little toes off this week!

Eat well!
New 26 year old Jen <3

February 5, 2011

Easy, kid-friendly desserts!

I've been bored out of my gourd just hanging around the house this week. Dang blizzard! lol So, I've been cleaning, cooking, and generally making myself useful. I've made 2 quick and easy sweets that kids and grownups alike will enjoy!

*Vanilla dipped oreos

-1 package white candy melt (mine came from baking aisle at big box store, labeled "Make your own almond bark")
-1 package sandwich cookies of choice (I got these awesome candy cane flavored oreo-like cookies at Aldi last month that were great)

Break off 6 squares of the candy melt into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 90 seconds, then stir to check progress. Microwave for additional 30 second intervals until all candy is melted and smooth, stirring in between intervals.
Remove candy from microwave. Drop in cookies, one at a time, and coat both sides of cookie. (I use a 2 fork method, where I flop the cookie around with my forks, heap a bunch of coating over the top of the cookie, then lift it out with one fork, tap it on the edge of the bowl to shake off any excessive coating, then scrape the bottom of the cookie fork with the free fork.) Place coated cookies on a piece of foil or wax paper to dry. While the cookie is still wet, you can put sprinkles on to make it purdy. :) 6 squares of candy coating yields about 24 cookies.

*S'mores Treats

-about 9 cups of graham cereal (like Golden Grahams)
-3 tablespoons of butter
-3/4 cup of light corn syrup
-12 oz bag of chocolate chips
-1 teaspoon of vanilla
-2 or 3 cups of mini marshmallows (go for 2 if you like marshmallows, 3 if you love 'em. Any more than that probably won't stick so well.)

Grease a big cookie sheet.
Pour the cereal into a big mixing bowl.
Combine butter, corn syrup and chocolate chips in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until everything has melted and combined thoroughly.
Remove from heat, add vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl, stirring quickly to ensure the cereal is thoroughly coated. Add marshmallows and stir more. Turn out onto cookie sheet. Press it into the pan with damp fingers, let it cool, and eat it! nom nom nom

Please share these, so you don't turn into a jigglesaurus. They'll make you really popular! :D

Eat well!
<3 Jen

February 4, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

♪♪♪I'm dreaming of a whiiiiite... February....♪♪♪

Okay, I'll stop. LOL It's been nasty cold here in Okieland for the last week, meanwhile, last weekend it was in the 70's and sunny. Bipolar weather for ya.

It's been good weather for making hot suppers! Today, I'm making spaghetti sauce in the crock pot.

1 pound ground meat of choice (I'm using turkey, but whatever makes you happy)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, juice and all
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (the plain kind without any spices or anything)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I had only ground red pepper, so I used a bit less than 1/2 tsp)
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves minced garlic (more if you're feelin' it)
handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Optional exciting ingredients: 1 de-seeded and diced bell pepper, handful of minced parsley, tiny can of tomato juice, a good "glug" of red wine

Brown your meat until it's not pink anymore. Drain off excess fat and add to crockpot. Add all other ingredients, stir it up, and let it cook on low in the crockpot for about 6 hours.

Man, it's gonna start smelling really good in here in about an hour. Let's hope I can hold on that long!!! :)

**UPDATE** I felt this lacked a necessary robustness. I'll tweak it next time I make it and let you know. :)

Eat well!
<3 Jen

January 27, 2011

Super simple beef bourguignonne stew

It's been another wild week in this neck of the woods! The crock pot continues to help us out, it's been a busy bee this month!

Tonight's selection: Beef Bourguignonne stew!

You'll need:
2 lbs beef stew chunks (they're in the meat case, all cut and packed up)
a tablespoon or two of cooking oil
1 10 oz can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry red wine (like Burgundy)
several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 smallish carrots, chopped
4-6 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup cold water and 1/4 cup corn starch, if you think it needs it.

Here's how:

Brown the meat in the oil, then put it in the crockpot. Combine the soup, Worcestershire sauce, wine, spices, garlic, and veggies in a bowl, then pour over meat in crockpot. Cover it up, then cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5.

*If it looks too thin for your liking, add the cornstarch to the cold water, mix it up, then add to the crockpot about 15 minutes before go-time. Stir until it's thick and bubbly.

Serve this goodness over some noodles! If you got the good wine, it'd be a good time to have some. :) lol

Enjoy, and stay warm!

Eat well!
<3 Jen

January 21, 2011


My dad has always made the moistest, most delicious cakelike cornbread. I finally found a recipe that makes a similar product. Squee!

Buttery Cornbread

1 stick of butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Cream together butter and sugar for a ridiculously long time, until it's so light and fluffy you could nap on it.

Combine the eggs and milk in a smallish bowl, and the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in another. Add a small amount of the egg mixture and a small amount of the flour mixture at a time, mixing well after each addition until it's all in the bowl and mixed well. Pour into a greased 9x9 baking dish, pop into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.


Eat well!
<3 Jen

January 19, 2011


Zumba went very, very well this morning. I about fell over, but I persevered and lived to tell the tale. Goal pants, here I come! Goodbye to my dear Muffin Top. ;)

A Nerd Named Jen proudly presents:
Recipe with photos!!!!

Manhattan Clam Chowder!

Here's our lovely cast (ignore the delicious, sinful Cherries & Cream Stewart's sodas behind them)

5 strips bacon
3 celery stalks
2 yellow onions
2 cups water
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 carrots
4 small red potatoes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 cans clams, drained and rinsed

Cook the bacon until it's crisp. You can use a skillet and country girl it up, or you can be a lazy wuss cautious like me and microwave it. I did mine for 3 minutes on high. When it's done, put it in the bowl of your crock pot.

Dice your celery and onions!

Saute them until they're soft!

Then, throw 'em in the pot with the bacon.

Add water, tomatoes, diced carrots and potatoes, spices and hot sauce to the pot.

Set the crock pot on LOW, let 'er go for 6-8 hours. Add the garlic and clams the last hour of cooking.

Drain the clams in a colander...

...then throw 'em in the pot for the last hour, along with zee garlic. (Thanks Zach! xo)

Verdict? Delicious and savory! I put a few crackers in the bowl and gobbled it up. I forgot to take a photo of the finished product for you! I have some left over, perhaps I'll get a pic of that. :D

Make your dreams come true this wondrous new year!
Eat well!
<3 Jen

January 18, 2011

Okay, I'm not dead...

...just stupid busy.

I'm working at a vocational college in the city teaching skincare every weeknight. It rocks. I'm still cutting hair 2 days a week. That's exhausting, but it keeps my hands in the hair , plus paying things off a little more quickly.

As a result, the crockpot's been seeing a lot of playtime. Here's what's coming up tonight....

Veggie stuffed peppers

4 whole bell peppers
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup shredded cheese (I had sharp cheddar, but pepper jack would be tasty)
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion, diced
big handful minced parsley
chili powder, cumin and salt to taste

Cut a thin slice off the top of each pepper. Carefully take out seeds and membranes, leaving pepper intact.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture into each pepper. Stuff 'em good. Any excess filling can be poured on top.
Arrange peppers in crockpot (4 quart is perfect). Cook on LOW setting 4-6 hours. Serve with lime and sour cream.

If you're having folks over for dinner, it'd be a pretty presentation if you used several colors of peppers. Sigh. :D

Anyway, to catch you up some more: I'm pretty sure I'm lactose intolerant(yuck), so I'm using less dairy nowadays. Zach got me 2 nice cookbooks with healthy, veggieful recipes and *gasp* a 7-cup Cuisinart food processor. *commence happy ugly cry*
I opened my big mouth before the holiday break and challenged my students to some self-improvement. So, I've been calorie counting and I'm going to start a Zumba class tomorrow morning. To celebrate, I went to TJ Maxx and got a new pair of workout shoes, breathable socks and some comfy pants. Yee haw!