Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red Skinned Potatoes

This is a really basic easy recipe, that will have people in awe thinking you worked so hard on it.
Red Skinned Potatoes
3 pounds red skinned potatoes, washed (you can use regular white potatoes in a pinch, but the red skinned potatoes really bring the recipe up a few notches)
1 onion, sliced
1 colored pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut the potatoes (skin on) into wedges, and rinse again. Toss with remaining ingredients and arrange in a 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another half hour.

Aren't these colors gorgeous together?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cinnamon Latte Whoopie something for the snow day....

I finally got my hands on this really cool book called "Whoopie Pies." It was so much fun flipping through the all different flavor combos and imagining baking them. But when it came down to actually baking whoopie pies, I was stumped. Which whoopie pie combo should I make? Being that I have a serious issue with making decisions (Dearest, what would you like for supper tonight?) I was just plain stuck. So I did what any sane and logical person would do- I made up a new one! Cinnamon Latte Whoopie Pies. I was really happy with how it came out, especially since they are inspired by my signature latte's. I am not even sure if  my signature lattes actually qualify as lattes. According to Wikipedia, it doesn't seem like they do, but honestly I really don't care. Since I made up the recipe, I get to call them whatever I want- right? Isn't that the coolest part about making up your own recipes? 

Cinnamon Latte Whoopie Pies
Cake Part
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk*
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or silicon baking mats. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk together. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together margarine, shortening and both sugars until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add the milk mixture to the batter along with the flour mixture and beat on low just until combined. Add the vanilla and beat on medium for 2 minutes until completely combined.

Using a spoon, or a small melon baller, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cakes begin to brown. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least five minutes before removing.

*To make a substitute for buttermilk, measure the milk or soy milk and remove 1 tablespoon of milk. Replace with vinegar and let sit for a few minutes to ferment. 

Latte Cream Filling
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 cups powder sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream or rich's whip
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

Beat together the butter/margarine and powder sugar until combined. In a small bowl, mix together whip cream and coffee. Add cream mixture and beat on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Transfer frosting to a Ziploc and cut off a corner. Squeeze a dollop of cream on the bottom of a cake/cookie, and top with another cake/cookie. For an extra touch, roll the sides of the whoopie pie in chocolate sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. 

And now for the snow day....

One of my best childhood memories is coming in after playing in the snow to a steaming cup of hot chocolate. I distinctly remember my mother standing near the stove with a small saucepan of hot chocolate simmering, patiently waiting for us. These lattes are for the kids at heart that had to shovel their cars out of mountains of snow....or anyone else who'd like to taste 'em...
Cinnamon Latte ( one serving)
1 cup milk, or enough to fill a normal size coffee mug
For the following, I don't use a measuring spoon, I use a regular kitchen teaspoon:
1 flat spoonful instant coffee
1 heaping spoonful sugar
1 regular spoonful chocolate milk powder
dash of vanilla- just a drip, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla sugar
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Microwave on high for 1 minute and 40 seconds. Stir briskly and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spaghetti and Sauce

One of the problems of posting dinner recipes is that obviously I would only post recipes that I think are blog worthy ( in other words: "My favorite dinners") The problem with that is after a while the posts start sounding redundant. I think the reason why I have so many favorite dinners is because each dinner is a different kind of favorite- my favorite pasta dinner, my favorite chicken dinner etc. Spoken like a true foodie. Anyways enough rambling, here is my one of my favorite pasta dinners, introduced to me by the one and only, Big D. Thanks hun!
Spaghetti and Sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of salt
garlic powder
onion powder
red pepper flakes

Saute onion and garlic in oil in a large frying pan or pot until it gets soft and translucent. Add pepper, celery and carrot, and saute for another 5-8 minutes, until the carrots start to get soft. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices to taste. Raise the flame to bring to a boil, and then lower the flame and let simmer on low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring every so often. Serve over pasta topped with shredded cheese. For those of you with a sweet tooth ( ie: me) you can add 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar to the sauce while it is cooking. If you have a sweet tooth but your husband does not ( ie: my husband) then you can add 1 tablespoon brown sugar to your plate on top of the sauce. Note: This sauce freezes excellently. It usually makes enough for six adults, so if you have extra you can always stick the sauce in the freezer for another night. 

Bet your frying pan isn't as dirty as mine! And I say that with pride.

Monday, December 20, 2010

No Bake Granola Bars

It always cracks me up when I read the nutrition section of parenting magazines. Like if you shred carrots into pasta, your kids won't find them. Yeah right. Don't know about you people, but my son has an onion radar built into his system. No kidding. If there is an onion within a mile radius of his dish, he will not touch it. Don't ask me why, I couldn't even venture a guess. Anyways, one of the things that make me laugh in the nutrition column, is the way they try to make descriptions of healthy food sound much more exciting than they really are. Like "beans are packed with protein" Packed? Isn't that pushing it for a bean? Or more relevant to today's post- granola bars that give " a burst of energy." Aside from the fact that my kids do not need an ounce more energy than they already have (do we really need to peel them off the ceiling?), umm, burst of energy? I have this image of a lethargic child, with his head drooping, kind of like in an allergy commercial, take a bite of a granola bar, and all of the sudden turn into this Energizer bunny, and start running laps around the playground. Alright, enough of the imagery.Try making these granola bars. They are yummy, they taste like real granola bars, and they are an easy, relatively healthy snack to make. Ok? Oh, and also- they're not just for kids- at least I sure can use a burst of energy every now and then....

No Bake Granola Bars
4 tbs. butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 cups plain granola (recipe to follow)
1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
1/2 cup Chocolate Cheerios
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine honey and butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar after the butter starts to melt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to low, and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat. In a seperate bowl,combine the granola and cereal. Pour in sauce and stir gently until evenly coated. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread mixture in a 9x13 ungreased pan. Wet hands, and press down firmly. put the pan in the refrigerater until cooled and firm, about 15 minutes, then cut into bars.
Feel free to substitute the chocolate cereal and chocolate chips for whatever you like- raisins, M & M's, nuts, craisens, etc.
Adapted from Rachel Ray

Applesauce Granola
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon oil

Preheat oven to 300°.  Mix everything together very well. Spread mixture onto a 9x13 pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is a deep brown. 
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sesame Teriyaki Chicken

This chicken is super easy and can be in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The sauce is a little strong before you bake it, but after its baked, it mellows alot, and the chicken has just the right amount of flavor.

Sesame Teriyaki Chicken
1 chicken, cut up into quarters or eighths, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.Preheat oven to 400° F (220 degrees C).
Place chicken pieces in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush chicken with the sauce.  Bake in the preheated oven (uncovered) for 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Brush with sauce every 10-15 minutes during cooking. ( If you don't have a basting brush you can just spoon the sauce over it from the bottom of the pan.) Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Onion Croissants

I am always up for a challenge, and one of the challenging things that I like to bake is bakery style items. Its always exciting to try new types of rolls and cakes that you would normally find only in a bakery. Of course, the wow factor of "you made that?!" only makes it more fun! I realized how fun it was when I made those chocolate bear claws in the beginning of the summer. Another popular baked good at the bakery in Detroit is their onion rolls, or as we affectionately call them " New Yorkers"( To all my NY readers: I have no idea why they are called that, but we say it with love, ok?) Anyways, when I tasted these onion croissants, they just reminded me of those New Yorkers. They are really easy to make, but look pretty and professional.

Onion Croissants
2 oz fresh yeast, or 6 3/4 teaspoon dry instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine ( 1 stick)
2 eggs

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, in a mixer bowl. Add the flour, salt, margarine and eggs. Mix with the dough hook until a smooth dough forms. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling for the croissants.

Onion Filling
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tbs poppy seeds
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup oil
Mix the oninons with the salt, poppy seeds, breadcrumbs and oil. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400°. Divide the dough in half. Roll out the dough to form a large circle. spread the filling over the dough, concentrating more on the edges than the center. Slice the dough into triangles ( like a pizza) as large as you want the croissants to be. Roll up each triangle, starting at the wide end, towards the point. Lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet, with the point tucked under. Allow the croissants to rise for another 20 minuts. Brush the tops of the croissants with a beaten egg, and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Salads...

I bought this avocado last week thinking I would just throw this quick salad together. But when I sliced it open, I was taken aback at how perfect and beautiful it was. Being the blogger that I am, I was already picturing the post as I was slicing up the salad. So, for a change of pace, here are some salad recipes for you:

Chunky Avocado Salad
2-3 large avocados, just ripe
1 can hearts of palm
1 purple onion diced
1 plum tomato diced, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

 Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently. The bad news: Since avocados are notorious for turning brown when cut, its best to make this salad as close to serving as possible. The good news:since this salad takes about 6 minutes to make, that shouldn't be too much of a problem!

And here's one more salad for you. I love this recipe because of all the colors that are in it;
 it's literally a rainbow!

Health Salad

4 medium cucumbers, sliced thin
4 carrots,sliced thin or shredded
1 purple onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil or less
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp salt

Mix vinegar, sugar, oil, water and salt; pour over vegetables and mix. Let  marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I have been waiting for this post since this blog was in the "maybe one day I'll start a blog" stages. Every year we have a tradition to get together with some of my nieces and we have a huge donut making fest. Its tons of fun and of course we have mounds and mounds of donuts to eat, glaze, dip, sprinkle and drizzle. This year, I decided to have an extra round of donut making, early, in order to be able to take pictures that were blog worthy. I literally felt like I was prepping models for the runway- thats how monumental this was for me! Ok, maybe it sounds a little weird, but any food blogger/photographer knows what sprinkles plus macro photography means! Anyways, 150  donuts later, here's what I have to show for it.....

Getting donut cutters in my house-just a glass and a bottle cap...

Heating up the oil...a thermometer is essential for perfect donuts.

Don't donuts frying look cozy?

Donut holes waiting for their "accessories" (they're models, remember?)

Black and white- the in colors this season....

A look behind the scenes..Hey, no one said donut making was clean business!



A little of everything...

Did I mention sprinkles+macro=addicting?

Ok, enough pictures, here's the recipe!


  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast (each packet is 2 1/4 tsp, so for this recipe you would need 4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water plus 1 tablespoon sugar, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough will still be slightly sticky. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. ( A quick rising trick is to preheat the oven to 300 and then turn it off about 10 minutes before you put the dough in. Then you put the bowl of dough in the warm oven, and voila- warm rising spot! ) Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth. 
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or an 8 quart pot to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. It's really best to use a candy thermometer for the temperature of the oil, but if you don't have one, here's a good trick. It should take about 2 minutes for each side of the donut to get a nice golden color. If it takes quicker than 2 minutes, your oil is too hot. If it takes longer than 2 minutes, the oil is not hot enough. 

Dip in basic chocolate glaze. For a plain white glaze, mix together 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and about 2-3 tablespoons hot water, or enough hot water to make the glaze the consistency of Elmer's glue. If it gets too thin, add more powder sugar, if it gets too thick as you dip, add more hot water. For a quick topping, toss hot donuts in plain powder sugar, or cinnamon and sugar.  For the daring amongst you, here is a great custard recipe. ( I replaced the whole milk with 1 1/2 cups soy milk+ 1/2 cup Rich's whip) For a more authentic custard taste, I would also add 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract next time. 

Enjoy! And as always, you can leave comments with any questions or comments and I will do my best to reply. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big D's Latkes!

Latkes is the kind of thing that either you have a great recipe or you don' this is for all those of you who don't have a great recipe, never tried making latkes before, or never heard of latkes before. Or all three!


10 medium potatoes, peeled
4 eggs
1 large onion
1/4 cup flour
1-2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Shred the potatoes and onions, if you have a food processor, now's the time to use it! Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix well. Heat about a half an inch of oil in a large skillet. I recently learned that the trick to amazing latkes is in the temperature of the oil. I tested it out last week, and wow, it really worked! The oil must be very hot in order for the latkes to be crispy on the outside,and tender on the inside. You can tell when the oil is ready when it appears to be shimmering or jiggling ( depends on your point of view on life  ) Spoon a heaping spoonful of batter into the pan and fry 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. If the latke doesn't sizzle right away, the oil is not hot enough. Drain on paper towels, and serve with sour cream or applesauce.

*Stay tuned for a delicious donut recipe coming your way....Happy Chanukah!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bean and Rice Enchiladas

I know lots of people have a relatively small comfort zone when  it comes to supper. Having said that, these are well worth stepping out of your comfort zone for....

Bean and Rice Enchiladas
4 tortillas *
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion,diced
1 red pepper diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup kidney beans
2 tablespoons chopped chili peppers ( I used these)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked rice
4 tablespoons cream cheese
1 cup salsa, spaghetti, pizza or marinara sauce
4 ounces cheddar cheese 

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion, pepper and tomato and saute until soft. Add in corn, beans, chili peppers, spices and cream cheese, and cook until completely combined. Stir in rice. 
Spoon bean mixture in the center of the tortilla. Roll up and lay in pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spoon sauce of your choice over the burritos, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375°, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

* If you don't have access to tortillas, you can either use wraps, or make them yourself. I found a great recipe here
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