February 27, 2011

The Wallflower Donut

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She's a plain Jane.  She's a donut with no fancy frills.  No glazing, no sugar coating,  she's a wallflower.  The one who feels left out of the crowd.  You know, the third wheel.  She's different.  Different because of what she is made of.  Others say she doesn't belong because its just not normal.

February 22, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese (crock pot recipe)

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Could you be a Saucy Mama lover?  Oh yeah, you bet....you could be!  he he.  This chicken sandwich is right up my alley.  Saucy and spicy and definitely a treat to eat!  I am a sucker for anything with a lot of heat and this sandwich is no exception.  I'd been cruising around allrecipes.com looking for something spicy in the slow cooker and made with chicken.  I saw a recipe for Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches....and while I couldn't make it the way their recipe stated (I didn't have the dry ranch dressing packet) I knew I could make it my own way.
I went digging through my cupboards and found the Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce and in the refrigerator I found some chunky blue cheese.  I pulled the chicken tenders from the refrigerator and grabbed my smaller crock pot.  I was bound and determined I was going to try this regardless of whether when I arrived home after work I could either eat a sandwich with the chicken or toss it in the trash.  Sometimes that is what experiments end up like in my home.  In the trash that is...however, that is not where this one ended up!

I found some Martin's Whole Wheat Potato Rolls (mini sized...not quite sure slider sized, but definitely smaller than a regular bun) that were 100% whole wheat,100 calories per roll and chock full of protein (7 grams) and fiber (5 grams).  Just what I look for when checking out the nutrition information - think WW Program! When I arrived home I put my clean dishes away from the dishwasher, cut the celery, washed some lettuce, sliced some tomato, and assembled my sandwich!  Total yumminess!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese

1.5 lb package chicken breast tenders
3/4 cup Saucy Mama Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 cup chunky blue cheese dressing
tomato slices
hamburger buns
slices Gorgonzola or blue cheese
Celery Sticks (as garnish but of course to help with the heat of the sauce some too!)

Place chicken tenders in crockpot.  Mix wing sauce and blue cheese dressing together.  Pour over chicken tenders and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.  At this point in time you could opt to shred the chicken in the saucy (I would drain some of the sauce if I did this though) or you could just take your pieces out that you want to assemble in your sandwich.  I opted to use whole pieces of chicken as much as I could....the chicken was real tender and tended to fall apart as removing it from the crockpot.

Assemble the sandwich as you wish.  I assembled mine as such:
Bun bottom, lettuce, tomato, sliced gorgonzola, chicken, a little drizzle of sauce on top, bun top.  Yummy yummy, yummy..  :) 

Grumpy has one question though.  He wants to know what it is with me and hot sauce?  Well, I can't really say, but I do know just the smell of it makes me want it!  He tried to convince me that hot sauce would make my boobs sag....I told him, what the heck?  They are going to sag anyway so I will continue to eat hot sauce any way.....thank you VERY much!  ;) 

Are YOU a Saucy Mama?  :o)

**I was not compensated in any way for talking about Saucy Mama Chicken Wing Sauce nor for Martin's Bread products.  I enjoy their products and will continue to use them and won't be afraid to let you know how much I enjoy them!**

February 21, 2011

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies with Grey Sea Salt Sprinkles

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I'm a copycat.  You know how it goes in the blog world....especially the food blog world.  You see what someone is making that is just awesome to you and you decide you have to make it too.  Heck, you might even have to post about it yourself.  You also can go in streaks where you cook from the same person's blog one thing after another....I've had it happen to me with several blogs out there.  Today I made something else Katrina of Bakng with Boys made.  Yeah, I changed it a little, but not much.  But my, oh my, are these cookies ever good!

It was a long weekend for me.  We went back north, visited family and friends, I bought some cherished Jernabi Coffee, had dinner with the family at Little Italy, and made it home before the snow started to fall.  I did laundry, caught up on some of my reading, watched some TV and of course, made these cookies.  When I was mixing the batter Grumpy came to the kitchen and informed me that I wasn't supposed to be baking because he needed to be on a diet.  Well duh, who said the cookies were for him?  ;o)  ha.  So, instead of throwing white chocolate in, I tossed in dark chocolate and then decided to top the cookies with some grey sea salt. Grumpy saw the dough in the fridge chilling and said "I thought you were making macadamia cookies?" Well, I said, I did make them.  I just threw in dark chocolate.  After a little grumbling I heard "well, just so you know, the dough is pretty good."  He also promptly wanted to know what it was with the sea salt and although he made a big show of being Grumpy about it all, he still ate two - with me the whole time hollering at him to get out of the kitchen and leave "my" cookies alone.  Hey, he said it....he was dieting!  :-p

BTW, if any photos of me in my nightgown yelling at Grumpy to get out of my kitchen and away from my cookies show up on the internet....I will deny them to the max.  They won't look like ME.  lol

To read Katrina's story about her cookie venture, make sure you read her blog post on White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies.  Below is the recipe, from Katrina's blog, which she got from Ashley's blog eat me, delicious who got the original recipe from Bon Appetit!  See how we roll around here?  ;o)

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies with Grey Sea Salt Sprinkles
I halved my recipe and have given you the measurements I used below.  This gave me about 2 dozen cookies.
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, this is correct, not a typo)
1 large egg
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, roasted
Grey sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In small mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate chips.  Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, with hand held mixer, blend butter and sugars together until creamy.  Add vanilla extract and egg.  Mix until blended.  Stir in flour mixture until no longer dry and crumbly.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Scoop, shape, sprinkle with sea salt and bake 5-7 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Note - My cookies baked longer than Katrina's but I believe mine are probably smaller than hers were. 

February 16, 2011

She's a Lady and he's a Tramp

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Those of you who "know" my Grumpy - well, you know very well that if I make that comment as I just did above, he will come back with "your the tramp."  ha!  However, in the Disney movie, Tramp was a male dog and I don't hesitate to let him know that.

Everytime I eat spaghetti I think of Lady & The Tramp - the romance story of a sheltered Cocker Spaniel and a streetwise downtown mutt....huh.  I guess you could compare Grumpy & I the same way....and believe me, I was sheltered.  I do like to think that I've taught Grumpy some finesse, while I am certain he has opened me up to the world of what's real out there too!

This spaghetti is a recipe I saw on my blogging buddy Katrina's blog, Baking with Boys.  I'm crazy about pasta dishes - and I admit I am much happier when the pasta is the fresh kind and not out of a box....but this time I did cook the pasta from the box.  I heard from Grumpy the exclaimation "you didn't use fresh?!" and knew then and there that he is totally spoiled.  ha!

I didn't have ground chicken or turkey, but I did have ground 90% lean beef so I went ahead and used that. Next time however I would go with the ground chicken or turkey for sure. I made a some changes in how it was assembled also - make sure you check out Katrina's blog for her version!

Uptown Spaghetti & Meatballs
adapted from Baking and Boys

Cooking Spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (firmly packed) arugula finely chopped (Katrina steamed hers, I didn't)
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (I suggest you go with the chicken as I will next time!)
½ cup seasoned italian bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
¼ cup white wine (you can use chicken stock)
3-14.5 ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with garlic, whizzed in a food processor
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix meatball ingredients all together and fry in a pan coated with cooking spray until browned on all sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Saute shallots in olive oil until softened.  Add white wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low about 20 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken some.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serve over your favorite pasta.  In the future I will use fresh spaghetti!  :)

Thanks Katrina!

February 13, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

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Life is never boring with Grumpy.  Aggravating as hell sometimes, but never boring.  If you are one of my facebook friends, you have seen me post the links for the Valentine's day posts over the last 3 years.  February 2007 I was heartbroken.  Grumpy forgot me on Valentine's day.  February 2008 Grumpy made up for it then in February 2009 he felt the pressure because I had blogged the year before and knew people would wonder what he did.  February 2010 I didn't want to make a deal of the day at all.  We had a rough year and we were broke and I reassured him all I wanted was for us to be happy and healthy. 

This year I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew he probably wouldn't forget it - since we could afford it....and forget he did not

Grumpy wasn't going to make it easy on me this year - while the gift was wrapped in regular paper, it was wrapped inside of that regular paper entirely in duct tape and electrical tape.  I knew when I saw how he had wrapped it he had the whole tihng planned and that was why he asked me on Friday if I wanted my gift...but  I told him I could wait!  Then on Saturday he brought the gift out to the living room and sat it on our dry bar.  Of course, he knew, putting temptation in front of me was going to work.  It always does!  SO, I decided to open it...and found out that opening it was going to take me some time!  ha!

So, Grumpy did it again.  He went above and beyond.  I  never expected the iPod Touch.  I know those of you who hang out with me on Facebook knew how jealous I was of his, but I had resigned myself to waiting until it was time to go with the new phone plan and I was just going to get myself an awesome phone and had let it go.  Grumpy didn't as you can well see.  ;o)

So today when I was making cupcakes for a Valentine Bakesale at work I made a few extras for Grumpy.   Grumpy insisted I didn't buy him anything because he has gotten quite a few things for himself lately as it was....but I can at least make sure he is well fed.  ;o)


Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

1 cups flour
1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 ounces Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tin with paper liners. 

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

With hand mixer, mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Blend in vanilla extract.  Mix 1/2 flour mixture with batter until just blended.  Mix in buttermilk then mix in remaining flour mixture until just blended.  Fold in melted dark chocolate.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of cake.  Cook and decorate with your favorite frosting!

February 09, 2011

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken with Cilantro Couscous

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My Aunt Ann was going to be coming over.  She wanted to drop off a card for Grumpy and see our home as she hadn't been here to see it yet.  I told her that if she was going to be coming over, that she should also eat dinner here.  Of course, since I was inviting her for that night and I had already left home I needed to figure out what I was going to feed her!  On the way home I started thinking and of course it lead to some sweet heat....So.....I stopped at the store and grabbed a package of chicken breasts and a couple of limes.

I arrived home and my Aunt was right behind me!  Hunger had me cooking something fast and was it ever yummy!  My aunt and I both enjoyed the meal....however Grumpy turned his nose up at what he called "puspus".  Yeah, he's not a couscous fan.  LOL.  He certainly gave my Aunt and I a good chuckle over it!  If your not a couscous fan, you can always serve this with rice which Grumpy promptly proclaimed I "should" have done.   Sigh.  No matter, the chicken is the star and the side is the co-star so if you decide to use rice instead because you don't like "puspus" then that is ok with me.  ;o)

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken with Cilantro Couscous

1 lb chicken breast, cubed
accent seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (depending on heat factor you like)
juice of 1 lime
zest of one lime
Cilantro couscous (recipe follows)

Cook chicken breast with accent seasoning and oil oil until no longer pink (this should not take too long as the chicken is cubed).  Remove from pan and set aside.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, chili pepper flakes, lime juice and zest.  Stirl until sugar is dissolved.  Pour into hot skillet and bring to a boil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until sauce begins to reduce some.  Stir in cooked chicken pieces and simmer for 2-3 minutes more, stirring often to glaze chicken.  Serve with couscous and extra lime wedges.  I used the lime wedges to squirt more juice on top of the dish once I had it assembled.  Grumpy?  He used the lime wedge for his Grey Goose & Cran.  ;o)

Cilantro Couscous

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Bring vegetable broth to a boil.  Stir in couscous and turn off heat.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  This will allow the couscous to absorb the broth.  Stir in chopped cilantro and serve with Chicken.

February 08, 2011

Curried Roasted Chickpeas

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These are the yummiest little things.  They are all over the internet now.  Several different versions are on allrecipes.com.  Last week when I had a snow day (makes me feel like I'm back in school!), I made these chickpeas to nibble on throughout the day - and nibble I did - all day long until they were all gone!  It's ok that I didn't save anything  for Grumpy - he doesn't like chickpeas at all!

Speaking of snow day....

This is what our driveway looked like after the plow people finally decided to stop by (even though I was outside shovelling away before when they drove right by and ignored the fact that Grumpy's truck was not in its parking place and that they could have plowed that then and there).  I actually went out three times that morning to work on the mess in our driveway.  The snowbanks are now so high that I don't think that I could toss the snow on top of them anymore myself.  I'm too short.  If you look at Grumpy's truck, you will see that I didn't get the snow off the very rooftop.  I'm just not big enough to reach that high.  So I figured, let the wind blow it off.  ha ha!
Back to the chickpeas....

I made these particular chickpeas with the Made with Love Curry Spice Blend.  I really, really love the Made with Love products.  My very favorites being the Red Pepper Spice Blend, the Jalapeno Spice Blend and the Garden Curry Spice Blend! 

These were very easy to do!  My method is below.  I hope you will try this with your favorite spice blend! 

Made with Love Country Curry Roasted Chickpeas

1-15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed, drained and pat dry with paper towel
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons Made with Love Country Curry Spice Blend

Mix together oil and spice blend.  Set aside and let marinate for about 30 minutes.  Place chickpeas in a mixing bowl and stir the spice blend mixture over top.  Stir to coat chickpeas with spice blend.  Place in 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring often..  Cool and enjoy!  It is easy to eat the whole recipe yourself so you may want to make more if you plan to share!

I was not compensated in any way for mentioning Made with Love products on this blog post.  This is my opinion of the product and because I enjoy the spice blends, I want to share them with you!

February 07, 2011

Happy Birthday Grumpy

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This is the magic year for Grumpy.  The year that you hit the age where you never get another year older.  ;o)  Do you know what age that is? I threw him his first ever surprise birthday party this year.  His dad and step-mom made it down which made it even more of a special surprise.   I say after the last two years and everything we have had to endure, it was about time to have a celebration!  I hope I helped make Grumpy's birthday a special one to remember and thanks to all our new friends who made it possible!

Happy Birthday Grumpy.  I do love ya you old fart.  :-p

February 03, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirl Brownies

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Peanut butter, caramel, chocolate with sea salt.  Pure fudgy goodness!  That is what these brownies are.  

This chocolate is some of the best I have ever had....the dark chocolate with the sea salt...broken up into pieces and stirred into the brownie batter.

The peanut butter caramel sauce, so good I could just eat it with a spoon.  It would be really yummy on ice cream too.  I'm definitely making the peanut butter caramel sauce again!

The brownies made it to work today.  None of them made it home at the end of the day. 

Go ahead.  I know you want to have one too.  They really aren't hard to make at all.  Don't let making the peanut butter caramel sauce scare you away!

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
Peanut Butter Caramel sauce - compliments of Bobby Flay
Brownie batter - adapted from Allrecipes.com

Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Pinch sea salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring the cream to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring until amber brown. Slowly whisk in the warm cream until smooth and let cook for 1 minute. When you stir the cream into the caramelized sugar, it will bubble furiously.  Don't let this scare you, just keep stirring.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until thickened at room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

Brownie Batter
1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3.5 oz Lindt Dark Chocolate Bar with Sea Salt, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare 9 X 13 pan by lining with tinfoil.  Spray tinfoil with cooking spray.  set aside.

In medium sized bowl, stir sugar into melted butter.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until well blended.  Add vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, and chocolate.  Fold into wet ingredients.  Pour into 9X13 pan.  Drop 8 tablespoons peanut butter caramel on top of brownie batter.  Drag knife through batter and caramel to swirl.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

February 02, 2011

Toasty Tuna Melts

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I'm not really the biggest tuna fan.  Which is why you have only seen one post on here involving tuna - and that one post was only because Grumpy wanted Tuna Noodle Casserole.  I'm not sure what it is about it that makes it not my favorite.  IF I eat a tuna sandwich, it is usually only half a sandwich and then I have to have potato chips sandwiched in between the bread and tuna.  Every once in a while I will feel like eating a tuna melt.  Today was one of those days.  Snowed in for day #2 from work, it took me three trips to finally have the driveway where it needed to be and finally, during my 3rd trip out there the guy with the snowblower showed up.  Nothing like feeling like your wasting your unexpected time off where you would like to accomplish something other than waiting for the snow removal people to show up....just so you can finish up and make it look even better after they leave.  I know my neighbor can feel my pain.  ;o)

So, while this tuna melt is nothing fancy, it was lunch and it was filling and it was good (gasp-did I just say that?!)  Do you have a food that you will feel like eating once in a while even though it is not your very favorite?

(In case your wondering - yes.  I did dirty two plates just to take photos of a tuna melt.  Grumpy tells me that I'm the only person he knows who is willing to dirty dishes that you aren't even going to eat from!  LOL)

Shelby's Easy English Muffin Tuna Melt
Serves 1

1 whole grain english muffin
1/2 cup tuna fish prepared with mayonnaise and finely chopped onion
2 slices provolone cheese
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Slighty toast english muffin in toaster to draw some of the moisture out.  Spread 1/4 cup of tuna on each side of english muffin, cover with slice of provolone cheese and bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble and brown.
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