Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

I made this one tonight- VERY easy and VERY delicious.  Gary loved it!!  So did Everett.  Ella liked the rice and broccoli but declared that she no longer likes chicken because it's "gross".  Nice.

I slightly altered the recipe from this blog.

4 chicken breasts (I used only 3)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tsp. crushed garlic)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
Cooked brown rice
Sesame seeds
2 scallions, chopped

Place chicken in crock pot and lightly season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil and pepper flakes.  Pour over chicken.  Cook on low 3-4 hours or high for 2 hours.  Shred chicken in crock pot.  Serve over rice.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.

As you see, I served it with broccoli, which was delicious mixed in with the rice and chicken!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Light No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Photo & recipe from skinnytaste

I made this pie to take to dinner with friends, and everyone loved it!  You would never guess that it's light.  This is my new go-to dessert for sure.

5 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (or "Better n Peanut Butter" from TJ's to save even more calories)
8 oz. light Cool Whip
1 reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
Chocolate syrup or melted milk chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Beat in peanut butter on medium until smooth.  Beat in Cool Whip on low.  Pour into crust and refrigerate until firm 2-3 hours.  Drizzle with chocolate.


I made this tonight, and the kids loved it!  I adapted it slightly from Mario Batali's recipe.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celetry, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp. crushed garlic (or 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped)
1 lb. ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 (4.5 oz.) tube of tomato paste
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 cup parmesan
1 lb. brown rice pasta

Boil pasta to al dente while making the sauce.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and butter until melted.  Add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic, season with salt and cook until vegetables are translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the turkey, increase heat to high and brown meat, stirring frequently for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir.  Add the milk and cook until almost reduced.  Add the wine, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup pasta water to sauce.  Add parsley.  Season with salt.

Stir pasta into sauce and serve topped with parmesan.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach & Kale

Oh my gosh, this is the BEST soup EVER, and it's super healthy as well!  The original recipe calls for beef and escarole, but I used turkey and this power greens mix from TJ's...

1 lb. ground turkey
1/3 cup parmesan
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs)
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or 2 tsp. crushed garlic)
2 packages kale or power greens mix
3 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth (I used 3 Knorr cubes- 6 cups water):

Combine turkey, parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and eggs in a large bowl.  Form about 1" meatballs (I used a cookie scoop).  Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs and cook on each side until nicely browned and transfer to a plate.  (Or, you can bake them at 350 for about 30 minutes, which is what I might do next time).

Heat the remaining tbsp oil in the pot and add the onions, carrot and garlic.  Cook 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft (I never add the garlic until the last few minutes).  Stir in the greens, cook 3 minutes.

Add the meatballs and broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

Photo & Recipe from Papersseed

I wanted to repost this recipe because I made it this weekend for a Valentine's party, and it was a HUGE hit.  Huge.  People were saying it's heaven on a plate!  Now, I have to say, that I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan so I thought the cake part was very good, and the frosting was 'eh' because I don't really like ganache- it would have been better to me if it was milk chocolate.  But since literally every single person at the party loved it, I'm going to keep it on my blog for awhile...but maybe not forever since I probably won't make it again so print it out if you want to try it!

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1 1/3 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed, extra-strong hot coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Place flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low to combine. Keeping the mixer on low , add oil, buttermilk, then eggs one at a time. Add hot coffee in a thin stream, pouring down the side of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix until batter is smooth. Divide into pans and back until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least 20 minutes.
3. Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a boil. Place chocolate chips and cream in a stainless steel mixing bowl (I used glass) and set on top of simmering water, Allow mixture to melt–do not stir right away, When chocolate has melted, stir it with a whisk. Allow to cool at room temperature.
4. Remove cakes from pans. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Trim the top with a serrated knife to make it even (although I didn’t find this necessary). Place a scoop of ganache in the middle and smooth it out to the edges using a palette knife or spatula. Trim the top off the other layer and place the untrimmed side down on the top of the frosted layer, pressing gently. Spoon more ganache on the top and smooth it around the sides, adding more ganache as needed to cover. If you need to apply a second coat of ganache, put the cake in the refridgerator for no more than 15 minutes to set before adding a second coat (although I found myself with a surplus of frosting). Makes a single 9-inch layer cake.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lemon Crumb Bars

I brought these to girls' night in, and they were a HUGE hit!  The saltines give them the perfect bite of saltiness (kine of like salted caramel).  Be careful because it's really hard to stop at one!

1 box lemon cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
2 cups finely crushed saltine crackers (1/4 lb., which is 1 sleeve)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, beat cake mix, butter and 1 egg with mixer until crumbly.  Stir in saltine crumbs.  Reserving 2 cups crumb mixture, press remaining crumbs on bottom of greased 13x9 inch baking dish.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.  With mixer or wire whisk, beat 3 egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice.  Spread over prepared crust.  Top with reserved crumb mixture.  Bake 25 minutes or until set and top is golden.  Cool.  Refrigerate within 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Peanut Butter Frosting

This is the BEST peanut butter frosting!  Use it on anything...brownies, banana cake, peanut butter cupcakes...yum!

This is enough for a 2 layer cake.  Half the recipe if you are using on brownies.  Or even better, don't half it, grab a spoon and go to town on the extra!

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Try not to eat the entire bowl with a spoon. ;)
    From Bon Appetit

    Fried Chickpeas

    Photo from Bon Appetit

    My friend Kate made these for us when we over for dinner last weekend, and we couldn't get enough of them!  I loved them so much that I made them last night for dinner!  I changed the recipe just slightly, but if you want the original, it's in the BA link above.


    • 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
    • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used 4, but I think I would only use 3 next time)
    • 2- 15oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained, patted very dry
    • Kosher salt (I used sea salt) 


    Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chickpeas to skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, 15–20 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer chickpeas to paper towels to drain briefly.  Place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle paprika over; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt. EAT THEM!

    *Just a note, I prefer them warm.  Once they were cold, I didn't like them as much but still good.