Monday, April 30, 2012

Chicken Parm

This is my classic, easy, go to dish.

People who have eaten this chicken parmesan have gone on to lead happy and blissful lives.
Could it be the chicken?
Yes. Yes, it is.

This dish came about during the college years when I was trying to convince my parents I was a "grown up." I'm not sure they were convinced that I was a grown up BUT they definitely were convinced I could cook!

So my Chicken Parm is delicious, low in fat, low in carbs (leave out/sub the pasta and it's gluten free!)  and I think you should make it!

Chicken Parmesan
(serves 2-- easily multiplied)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast (defrosted and rinsed off- pat dry)
juice from 1/2 a lemon (or about 4 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce (I usually use Whole Food's Classic)
1/4 tsp each:
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, basil
2 slices of Italian White Cheese (mozzarella or provolone)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray an oven safe baking dish with nonstick spray.
Set chicken in pan and sprinkle, evenly, with lemon juice, garlic. Spread 1/4 c sauce on each chicken breast before sprinkling with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and basil.
Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes

Check chicken for done-ness (165* F- internal temp/juices run clear) and top each breast with a slice of cheese. Return to oven for 5minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool for 2 minutes and serve

Bon Appetit!

(I served mine with linguini but you could serve with any pasta, rice, bread or even on salad... yummy!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cups

Phew!  That's a mouthful!

One of the coolest kids in the world turned 10 earlier this week!

I've been babysitting for Sally since she was an infant and I consider myself lucky, not only because I see her almost every day but, BECAUSE I've been able to watch this kid grow into a beautiful, sweet, smart, talented and amazing person!

A very special BIRTHDAY TREAT was definitely in order.

Sally LOVES chocolate.
Sally LOVES peanut butter.
(I may have pushed her over the edge from really liking to loving... I'll take responsibility!)
Sally LOVES chocolate and peanut butter
(See, I told you, she's smart!)

When I came across this recipe I immediately shared it with Sally who proclaimed it would be her birthday treat.

This recipe, while time consuming, was ridiculously easy and I used the hands off time for cleaning and prepping. 
(Sally used the hands off time for playing and homework)

Chocolate Chip PeanutButter Cookie Dough Cups

(makes 12 "queen sized" cups)

3 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Whisk in brown sugar until dissolved, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter. The mixture will be liquidly. Whisk in vanilla. Let sit and cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Line a  muffin with with liners. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips (double boiler or microwave melt). Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of chocolate into each liner, then use a pastry brush to brush chocolate up the sides of the liner. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. By this point the butter + sugar mix should be cool. Whisk in powdered sugar, salt and flour, until combine and few lumps remain. Fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips. The dough will be wet, but pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.

Remove muffin tin and cookie dough, then drop 1 teaspoon of cookie dough into the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, then cover each cookie dough top with chocolate, smoothing with a spoon. Freeze again for 15-20 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 2 minutes.  We stored them in the freezer.

Happy Birthday, Sil Sal
I love you!

(Our aprons are from Flirty Aprons--- they are currently running a promo for Mother's Day:
40% with code: MOTHER40)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quinoa Mac and Cheese

I love Pinterest!

A few weeks ago, I was craving Mac and Cheese and was just about to start a pot of water when I stopped(/got distracted and decided) to check out Pinterest. 

There it WAS...

(for those of you not familiar with quinoa it's a super food that has been classified as a grain but is really high in protein and cooks like rice)

I, of course, took some liberties with this recipe 

First- while I do love quinoa it  can be bland, so I always cook it in chicken stock (prepare like the package says but sub the water for stock)

Quinoa Mac and Cheese (slightly modified)
(serves 8)

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
(prepared in 3 cups of chicken stock)
pinch of salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper 
2 large eggs

1 cup non-fat milk (or any milk of your choosing) 
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
Panko Bread crumbs for topping (you could leave this out for a gluten free recipe)

(Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked. (About 15 minutes))

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt.  Transfer to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and and bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned. 


Recipe Notes:
You could always add sautéed vegetables, especially for the kids to "sneak" in a few veggies. 
In most mac and cheese recipes, 2% or whole milk is called for- I use skim as it's what I have on hand but used full fat cheese.  In my mac and cheese experience, I've found you can get away with ONE lower fat dairy and still achieve the perfect melty/ gooey balance.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chocolate Peanutbutter Adventure Cookies

Last summer my sister, Julie, came up from Florida to visit/attend our brother's wedding.

 (Julie and I)

I don't remember the whole story but somehow we ended up creating an adventure. We built up this adventure for a good month (probably longer) and because I was so excited to start this adventure I agreed to meet her at Chicago Midway Airport in order to not miss a moment of this adventure.

Our adventure wasn't to find a tourist in Chicago (ha!) or even the best Chicago style hot-dog or pizza!

It was to try, PeanutButter and Co : Dark Chocolate Dreams.

A blend of Dark Chocolate and Peanutbutter... COME ON FOLKS!  Only our mom and middle sister could refuse!  After a healthy spoonful and a lesson that PB and beer don't really mix (a lesson that I, unfortunately, learn frequently) we put the jar aside and went about business.The jar sat for a few days and I realized, I had to do it. I had to bake with it. Using a classic (gluten free!)  peanutbutter recipe I created my first cookie!

Chocolate PeanutButter Adventures (slightly adapted from Paula)

  • 1/2 cup Peanutbutter (I use creamy)
  • 1/2 cup PeanutButter and Co: Dark Chocolate Dreams
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Roll the dough into small balls  Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes (if they are not done- continue to check on the cookies in 30 second intervals), remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  


Monday, April 16, 2012

Shredded Carrots with Raisins

This recipe ties back to the carrot cake cookie recipe.  I mentioned in that post that baking is precise and that's one of the reasons I love it.  Now cooking, cooking is completely subjective and, really, anyone can do it! 

 I had leftover shredded carrots and raisins to use (leftovers from the cookies) and I had an idea.

Using shredded carrots, raisins, butter and brown sugar I created a simple side dish in under 15minutes.

2 Tablespoons butter
3 1/2 C shredded carrots (I just used what I had left)
1/4 C raisins
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

In a sautee pan, melt butter and add carrots.  Stir the carrots until they have softened.  Once the carrots are soft, add raisins and brown sugar and keep on heat (stil stirring!) for about 3 minutes. 

I served mine over rice and it was the perfect combination of mild sweetness to go with the spicy chicken breast my roommate made. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Carrot Cake Cookies!!

Was I the only one that noticed my first recipe on "That Girl Can Bake" was for CHICKEN?!?!

Time to remedy that...

You'll hear more about this story (I promise) but every month I bake and ship my dad homemade cookies and they usually have a theme/flavor (relating to the month) and a story.  This was his April cookie. 

 My dad loves carrot cake.  (My dad loves food: especially of the hot and massive variety!)  A few years ago, we (my mom, sisters and brother, and myself) ordered a carrot cake for his birthday and I snubbed it (I mean: carrots, yum. cake, yum. Carrots and cake? um, no) and I probably let everyone know I was snubbing it.  I can't remember how but somehow I ended up with a forkful and it was AMAZING.  So when I thought of an April idea I thought: hmmm, Easter. Bunny --> carrots... CARROT CAKE! 

My dad (more fondly called Papa Bear) ventured (along with my mom) to Chicago for Easter and I took the opportunity to NOT mail cookies but rather hand deliver.  He loved them. He (along with my roommates and brother) said they're the best cookie ever (this is big, my dad shared!)

For the love of carrots, make these  (and yes, Dad said, these do qualify as breakfast cookies: oats, raisins and cream cheese- that's breakfast!)

Cookies (slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated carrots
1 1/2 cups flour  (mixed with: 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Place oats in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Let soak until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Beat butter and sugars in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla, then carrots. Add flour and cinnamon until combined. Fold in oats.
Drop batter by tablespoon onto baking sheet. Baked for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Frosting (from Food Network)

4 ounces butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Let cool completely before frosting.

Enjoy :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shredded Chicken

For the past few years I've been on a low carb/high protein diet but the last few weeks I've been craving carbs (especially cereal and rice... it's bizarre!)  I've also been ridiculously stressed with school and haven't been cooking the way I like and have been snacking for dinner (cheese and chocolate chips anyone?!)

That changed last week!

In the crockpot (one of my favorite kitchen accessories!)

-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
-With a sprinkle of dried: garlic, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
-One box of chicken stock +1 C water

and set on low for 6-8 hours

After 6-8 hours use two forks to shred the chicken (if there is remaining liquid drain before you shred)

(after I shredded it, I added a Frontera flavor pouch...just to spice it up)

I used mine to make tacos but you could also use it for quesadillas or nachos.


First Blog Post

My philosophy in the kitchen is simple:  Food should taste good.  Food should be real.

I can't help but cringe every time I see a recipe calling for Splenda, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, or some other form of ingredient created in a chemistry lab.  I use butter and sugar.  I use oils and fats. I use real eggs. I am a perfectly healthy adult cooking for other perfectly healthy adults.  (I do believe in skim milk and reduced fat cheese and lean ground meat but that's a different story.) I am by no means a "Paula Dean" type of girl nor am I another "Hungry Girl"

I love baking and cooking (the two are different) but for different reasons.  I love baking (it's one of the things I do for stress relief!) because it's methodical and exact: there needs to be that perfect balance in order to have a tasty success.  I love cooking (it's also a form of stress relief!) because it's not exact.  I can take a pound of meat and come up with endless possibilities!  I probably identify myself as a baker but mostly because I find that a plate of cookies is a bigger crowd pleaser than a plate of chicken!

People always ask: how do you stay "so thin" and eat THAT?! It's simple: I share my cookies and desserts and, occasionally, I work out.

I've started this blog to better share the goodness that comes out of my kitchen (FaceBook wasn't a large enough media) both from my own ideas and other bloggers I follow. 

So welcome: this ride is just getting started.

(New posts are currently planned for Sundays and Thursdays but schoolwork comes first!)