Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dr. Chung's Salty Sweets!

Search no further for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe! This is my new-found favorite thanks to one of the docs at work that spoils us with these sometimes. The neverending chocolate chip cookie quest has come to an end. I LOVE salty/sweet! The recipe calls for sea salt, I used fleur de sel which also worked great. Any coarse, flaky salt should do the trick!

Dr. Chung's Salty Sweets via Dr. Chung:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces chocolate (with a serrated knife, cut chocolate into rougly 1/2-inch chunks)
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Set rack in the middle of the oven. Cream the butter and the sugars on medium-high speed until light, 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the process. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda, and salt in another bowl. Mix with a whisk. With the machine on low, slowly add almost all the flour. Reserve just a bit of the mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the last but of the flour along with the chocolate. Stir with a spatula just until combined.

Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out mounds of dough making sure there is about 2 inches between each cookie. Do not crowd them. There is no need to press the dough down. Sprinkle each mound with a bit of sea salt.

Bake sheets, one at a time, until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges and a bit gooey in the center, about 12 minutes. Do not overbake! Remove sheet from oven and allow to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack, Repeat with remaining sheets.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies with Fleur de Sel

These are REALLY good! I've noticed a lot of people are not as keen on this whole sweet/salty concept as I seem to be... but I have to say, the salt makes ALL the difference! And yes, I did use fleur de sel. And yes, it did cost $10 for salt. And yes, I did go to three stores before I found it. (Thank you Whole Foods.) And YES, it makes ALL the difference. Don't skimp on the salt! These cookies are AMAZE!

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies with Fleur de Sel via Orangette:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

I really should call this my Pink Velvet Sheet Cake... because that is what happens when you are running low on food coloring. The taste was all the same, but I really do love that deep, red color that normally comes along with a decent red velvet. This was also the first time I have tried a red velvet sans cream cheese frosting. This one is a little less traditional in that it uses more of a classic buttercream. But that's what Ree told me to do, so I tried it out! It does work. I have yet to be disappointed by the Pioneer Woman! 

Red Velvet Sheet Cake via the Pioneer Woman:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I had a hankering to get busy in the kitchen this past weekend. It was the Jets first real season game against the Cowboys and a festive meal always gets me in the right mood! I decided on enchiladas, spanish rice, and red velvet cake... recipes to follow. :-) The enchiladas were tasty, creamy, and not too heavy.

Chicken Enchiladas via Epicurious:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Neely's Lime Bars

I'm such a sucker for lemon bars, so I had to try these out. Just a little twist on your classic lemon bar: lime curd swapped for lemon. They turned out heavenly. I think just a little less sweet than your normal lemon bar. I brought these to work for my last week at Summerlin Hospital and they were a hit! They're good for making ahead as well. Just refrigerate them and pull them out a little ahead of time to bring to room temperature before serving. Wait to dust with the powdered sugar just before serving.

Neely's Lime Bars via Food Network:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chocolate Sweetheart Pie

I made this for a work bbq at a friend's house... afterwards I was wishing I would have made two! It disappeared so quickly! It's rich, but just sweet enough. Who knew Eva Longoria could cook?!

Chocolate Sweetheart Pie via Eva's Kitchen:

6 servings
1 store-bought refrigerated, 9-inch pie crust
8 oz. 60% semisweet chocolate
2/3 cup corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 inch pie plate with the piecrust, gently pushing it into the edges of the pan. Place in refrigerator until needed.

2. In a heavy saucepan, heat 6 oz. of the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly, until just melted. Stir in the corn syrup and 1/2 cup of the cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and pour the chocolate mixture into the pie shell. Bake until a knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let stand on a wire rack until completely cool: the center of the pie will sink as it cools.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, place the remaining 1/2 cup of the cream, the sugar, and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream onto the center of the cooled pie. Top with strawberries.

5. Place the remaining 2 ounces of the chocolate in a small dish and microwave on high power just until melted, 30-60 seconds, stopping and stirring every 10-15 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and stir until completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

If you have any problems with self control, do not even bother making these cupcakes because you will be sorry. I ate three in one day! :-( I couldn't stop myself! The combination of recipes I used to make these little treasures is a bit on the Sandra Lee-esque vibe for me... but they ended up being way too delicious for me to leave out of my blog. The meshing of chocolate and coconut is a perfect match. The devil's food cake is a subtle chocolate flavor and the buttercream with the coconut is divine. I actually even now prefer this over the classic coconut cream cheese frostings. Watch out Sprinkles! Oven Philosophy is in the house!

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes via Cupcake Blog:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been meaning to make these for awhile now... like back when they were all the rage on the food blogs. But it took me this long to actually get around to it. In theory, it was a good concept. I did get a lot of good feedback. They seemed well received at work... they were just a little too much for me! First off they are huge! It literally takes 2 already massive heaps of dough to sandwich the oreo. They were pretty rich too. Even with my sweet tooth, I could only finish about 1/3 of one in a sitting. Still though... they're pretty to look at, and people seemed delighted with the little surprise inside. Gotta try everything once!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies via Very Culinary:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings

I got a craving that I probably shouldn't have acted on last week... and this was the result. This was the delicious, hearty, calorie-filled, amazing result! In hindsight, this probably would have been a more appropriate meal for winter time, but what can you do! A craving is a craving. Luckily I had a lot of help in the consumption process. Everyone was a fan, and once again the Pioneer Woman has yet to let me down. Now I hear about her new show that's coming out on Food Network and I can't hardly wait!

Chicken & Dumplings via The Pioneer Woman:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Momofuku's Crack Pie

This was made by special request for my Dad. I guess he read about it on the Good Food blog and was interested. To be honest, how could you not be with a name like this? I'm not sure if it quite lived up to the name, but it was good. Maybe I need to make a trip to New York so I can have a true comparison. Adding that to the list! Butter and brown sugar and cream, oh my.

Momofuku's Crack Pie via Good Food:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

7-Up Cupcakes

7-Up cake... a classic. You know I had to switch it up a little and make it into cupcakes. Never can just go by the right recipe! Plus you know my cupcake theory: helps with portion control! So I didn't change any of the ingredients, I just made the bundt cake into cupcake form. This recipe is actually pretty big. It made a dozen regular size cupcakes plus 6 more jumbo cupcakes for me, even a little extra to spare. I would up the ingredients in the glaze recipe, maybe even double it. It seemed kind of scarce. And please, please! DO NOT substitute some other lemon-lime soda for 7-Up. This is 7-Up cake folks! Cheers!

7-Up Cupcakes via

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chilaquiles & Mimosas!

This was a really impromptu post-work breakfast that was amazing as usual! After work mimosas are the best, and they really make for an excellent daytime sleep. This is a low-fat version of chilaquiles and therefore super diet-friendly! I'll include the brands of items I used, or you can substitute if you want a more fatty version. Delicioso and guilt-free!

Chilaquiles & Mimosas via The Flick of My Wrist:

For One (ME!)

Barefoot Brut Champage & OJ (The less OJ the better!)

1 egg + 1/4 cup egg whites, scrambled together (EggBeaters brand)
1/4 cup low-fat grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used the Lucerne brand from Safeway)
1/4 cup Jimmy Dean low fat turkey sausage crumbles
2 La Tortilla Factory Fiber & Flax Corn Tortillas, cut into strips
Salsa to top (I used La Victoria Cilantro Medium)

Fry tortilla strips in a frying pan with Pam until crispy. Add sausage crumbles until warmed through. Pour scrambled eggs over tortilla/sausage mix and let set omelet-style. Top with grated cheese once the omelet portion is no longer runny. Top with salsa after chilaquiles are plated.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies


Besides these being SO cute... these are delicious! I love a good, plain, chewy sugar cookie. These definitely fit the bill. I already have a great sugar cookie recipe on here, but I wanted to try a different recipe to test out the most amazing sugar ever that I got from the Peppermill in Vegas. Is this not the most beautiful rainbow turbinado sugar you have ever seen?! I immediately had to have it when I saw it sitting on the table. Luckily, the waitress let me purchase a 5 pound bag from their kitchen, score! This is simplicity at it's best, enjoy. :-)

Chewy Sugar Cookies via Food Network:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Golden Crunch Cupcakes

Let's just start off with with a note to myself that not ALL cake recipes should be turned into cupcakes. I thought I could pull this one off, but it turned into the mess of all messes under the broiler in my beautiful muffin pan. It is currently soaking, but may be permanently ruined. Do not make my same mistake! I'm sure this would have been devine as a cake. The topping probably would have been nice and thick too. Some day I will learn. Despite my pan disaster, the taste was all there. The cake portion of this recipe is also near perfect, delightfully light and fluffy. Let me know how it goes as a cake!

Golden Crunch Cupcakes via Not Without Salt:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter

Swordfish is my all time favorite fish, has been for as long as I can remember. I'm not a big fan of cooking fish myself, but when I saw the avocado tag-teamed with the swordfish in this recipe I just could not resist. This turned out great even on my indoor Cuisinart grill. This is a perfect summer dinner recipe. Avocado butter is to die for! You can make the butter ahead, it keeps in the fridge just fine... no gross browning like guacamole.

Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter via Nestle USA:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lemon Roasted Vegetables

I'm always looking for a way to gussy up some normally plain veggies and lemon zest has been on my mind as of late! Perfect pairing. The original recipe for this was just for lemon roasted potatoes, but I thought I would switch it up a bit and add some less starchy items to the mix. I did use some red potatoes, along with red and yellow bell peppers, and leeks. You can stick with just the potatoes like the recipe, or switch it up with your favorite veggies. This is a great pairing for a fish or chicken dish.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Apple & Cheddar Quiche

After realizing that I didn't bring my pie pans with me to San Jose, I tried to save the life of this quiche in a 9 inch round pan. Not a success in the vanity department. The flavor of the quiche was all there but the phyllo just did not hold up to the density of the quiche contents. Next time I would probably make this with a regular pie crust. I did use an applewood smoked bacon and an aged sharp cheddar. Those both worked nicely with the other flavors. Don't eat this hot right out of the oven. It's much better luke warm after it has been sitting for awhile.

Apple & Cheddar Quiche via Closet Cooking:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

WINNER, WINNER Cinnabon DINNER! These are AMAZING. I might actually not go back to Cinnabon again because I have literally conquered the cinnamon roll kingdom! These take some patience in the preparation process but they are so worth it. I made these for Mother's Day as a thank you for one of the girls at work coming in early to relieve me. They definitely went over well! You HAVE to try these! MOM: I finally out-did you! ...and thanks Liela, glad your sweet tooth is back in action! Tip on the prep process: let the dough rise once as the plain bread dough, and then let it rise again after they are rolled and cut in the pan. Full expansion possibilities. If your house is cool, let the dough rise in the closed oven.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls via

Friday, June 17, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

These are one of those simple delicacies that really make you appreciate the easy things in life! These are great in pasta, as a salad topper, or as a quick snack all by themselves. The recipe says you can use various types of tomatoes. I used grape because I find them a bit sweeter than cherry tomatoes. They worked nicely, but they did take the full three hours of slow roasting. I would venture to say that if you wanted to use Roma they would take far longer than even the stated three hours. These are a lot less oily than the packed sundried tomatoes that I am used to. I can appreciate them for that. For my seasonings I used sea salt, cracked pepper, and an italian seasoning mix.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes via Panini Happy:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got a baking itch while I was at my Dad's this past weekend, so this is what I came up with given what we had on hand. Not bad for an improvisation. Warm cookies, I have found, aren't ever greeted coldly. My Dad polished off most of these and I took the rest to Shannon... so I'm sure Matthew ate them. P.S. Congrats to the Shatthew engagement! These will be deemed engagement cookies!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies via Crisco:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream together brown sugar and Crisco until light & fluffy. Add peanut butter, milk, vanilla, egg, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add in flour in three additions. Mix in chocolate chips last just until combined. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet and bake forr 10 minutes at 350. Let cook for a minute on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilled Corn & Chipotle Pepper Salad

PICTURE APOLOGIES! I promise my camera will be back in action very soon. This is another addition to my veggie themed week. I so wish my Blackberry would take better pictures because this salad is so gorgeous. This has an amazing flavor without needing any additions to the original recipe. The only thing I added was some delicious red quinoa to beef up the color contrast and protein. I prepared one cup of uncooked quinoa and just mixed it in with the rest of the ingredients. It didn't even need anything extra. INSANE FLAVOR!

Grilled Corn & Chipotle Pepper Salad via Aaron McCargo Jr.:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These were a quick, impulse project just because I was in the mood to bake and had everything on hand. If I'm working the next day, it's always a good day to bake. That way I know everything will get eaten! Snickerdoodles are a classic flavor and these were no different. Just a different shape to play with the flavor. I think I still prefer the cookie shape, but either way these were tasty! 

Snickerdoodle Blondies via Tracey's Culinary Adventures:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smoky Kale Chips

Again, picture apologies. Kale chips have been all the rage on the food blog pages as of late. I figured I should check them out. They were especially appropriate for my veggie themed week. I found this gorgeous purple and green flowering kale at Safeway and decided it was a sign I needed to make these chips. These turned out very crispy and with a prominent smoky flavor. Just a note: I would probably go with the lesser baking time stated in the recipe. These seem to crisp up fairly quickly. Make sure you do an even layer on the cookie sheet. I lined with parchment paper, which also seemed to be helpful in the nonstick process. 

 Smoky Kale Chips via Ellie Krieger:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Can I just start by saying, these are awesome! ...and so pretty too! These are actually a modification of a previous post that I did, that I really loved back then too! See previous: I ran into this recipe on Smells Like Home and realized it was a revamped edition of the peach shortbread that I had previously made from Smitten Kitchen. I am such a sucker for shortbread. These were well received from all my recipients. :) Love being the bearer of good gifts!

Strawberry Crumb Bars via Smells Like Home:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Snickers Brownies

These are the type of evil culminations I seem to come up with during all my free time now at work. Shameless, I know. I've pretty much come to terms with the lost cause of my vanity versus my necessity for baking. How could I not try though? So tempting! I have to admit I wasn't completely disappointed to discover that there were 6 extra fun size Snickers in the bag after the 12 necessary for this recipe. Damn.

Snickers Brownies via My Baking Addiction:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Black Bean-Pineapple Soup/Stew/Chili?

Let me start by apologizing for this horrible picture. My camera is on hiatus, but this turned out SO good, I absolutely had to include it on the blog. This combination of black beans and pineapple was an instant intrigue to me when I saw this recipe on foodgawker. Finally got around to trying it last night and I was so impressed! If other veggie/vegan dishes I had tried before tasted THIS good... I might actually consider passing on the meat. This is really simply, hearty, and super healthy. Enjoy.

Black Bean-Pineapple Soup/Stew/Chili via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Green Bloody Mary

Second guest blog spot awarded to, my personal favorite bartender ever, Ms. Sumi Royal at Aces & Ales in Vegas! This was a recipe I found in the Food Network magazine on the plane on my way to Vegas. She was nice enough to hook up the drink magic for me behind the bar. This was much lighter than a regular bloody mary, and quite refreshing. If you are a salsa verde fan, you will love this drink. Test her out!

Green Bloody Mary via Food Network Magazine:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Peanut Butter-Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm truly starting to believe I may be living a parallel life with Cathy from the Noble Pig. Our food tastes are way too similar for us not to be the same person! I still have yet to make anything that I didn't love from this blog. I saw this recipe while I was at work a couple nights ago and knew that the browning bananas on my counter would be a perfect match. I think these should be renamed Elvis muffins. They're great! I normally love muffins warm, but these were actually better room temperature. Be patient!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins via Noble Pig:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brown Butter Brownies

The process of browning butter is one that can seem daunting to some... but once you do it a couple times, you will have it down pat. Don't be intimidated! Once you try it, you will be so glad you did. Brown butter adds a depth to anything that you could never imagine afterwards without it. I actually have a confession in making this recipe, (something that I still have no explanation for)... I had no vanilla in my pantry! This NEVER happens to me. My only thought is that this whole move has just really put me out of my element. So I had to make a substitution... and an unconventional one at that: almond extract. But I have to say it worked out well. I'm used to a brownie/almond combination anyway... but the extract in the brownie itself was a stretch even for me. Live & learn. 

Brown Butter Brownies via The Parsley Thief:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whole Lemon Bars

So today is my big 26th! I guess this points me in the direction of that scary "3" number. Where does life go?! Unfortunately I have to work tonight, luckily I will get to celebrate at home this weekend in the company of some great friends. I knew I wanted a dessert for my birthday, (dessert is a birthday must), but I haven't been feeling very cakey as of late. I've been wanting to try this recipe since I first saw it, so here was our perfect chance. WHOLE lemon bars! I am such a sucker for a good lemon curd. These are INCREDIBLE, possibly a new favorite all together. Have a safe holiday weekend. Happy Easter & Happy Birthday to me!

Whole Lemon Bars via David Lebovitz:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a fond memory of my childhood. We used to get giant scoops of it for dinner from the hot deli at Gerrard's Market in Redlands when my Dad would take us grocery shopping with him. It was always so simple, yet hearty and delicious. This time around I tried to convince myself it was healthy and packed full of lean meat and veggies. :-) I did use 96% lean ground beef instead of the lamb. I doubt that made any difference. The end product was a success. I've been eating it for the last 3 days. So satisfying! I also added 1/3 cup grated parmesan to the mashed potatoes & garnished the top of the pie with paprika. (That's how Gerrard's used to do it!) Do a taste test for spices before you assemble the pie. I ended up adding some salt and cayenne. I always add cayenne!

Shepherd's Pie via Epicurious:

Monday, April 11, 2011

German Chocolate Cake Cookies

I have to say I almost feel guilty including this entry... a bit too "Sandra Lee" for my style. These cookies really are good though so I didn't want to deprive you of the indulgence. These are probably the most simple cookies I've ever made, and still decadent and soft, just like I love them! Chocolate, coconut, and pecan are a sinful combination.

German Chocolate Cake Cookies via All Recipes:

Friday, April 8, 2011

MLT's Mac & Cheese

So we all know I'm a cheese-lover... I had the privilege of testing out someone else's mac & cheese recipe while in Arizona for Spring Training baseball in March. This dish was a true crowd pleaser (myself included). I'm giving up my first guest blog spot to a true winner & excellent hostess: Ms. Mary Louisa-Thompson! Remember: Cheese makes the heart grow fonder. Enjoy! 

MLT's Mac & Cheese via Mary-Louisa Thompson:

1 lb. box elbow macaroni
2 cans Campbell Cheese Soup
1 16 oz. Sour Cream
1 bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste
Sharp Cheddar & Parmesan to top dish

1. Put oven on 350.
2. Boil 1 box of elbow macaroni pasta, until soft.
3. Drain pasta.
4. Put pasta in a long, oblong, 13x9 glass casserole dish.
5. Mix in 2 cans of Campbell cheese soup, 1 16oz sour cream, 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, pepper, garlic powder (milk is optional).
6. Cover the top with shredded Sharp cheddar cheese and then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over that.
7. Cover with aluminum foil and put in oven for 20 minutes.
8. Take aluminum foil off and put on broil for 5 minutes and then remove from oven when the top is lightly brown.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Crock Pot Rotisserie White Chicken Chili

It was cold and raining here this morning in San Jose so I felt compelled to muster up something warm and comforting. I didn't have time to go home and search for recipes, so I created this little masterpiece just off the top of my head while I was at Safeway. This totally fulfilled my rainy day craving and turned out delicious. Chili keeps really well, usually tastes better the second day and even freezes great. This is a perfect make ahead dish.

Crock Pot Rotisserie White Chicken Chili via the Flick of my Wrist:
(Makes A TON!)

1 lb. dry great northern beans
48 oz. chicken broth
16 oz. hot water
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced whole jalapeno (seeds removed)
1 7 oz. can diced green chilies
1 14 oz. can sweet yellow corn, drained
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 whole store-bought rotisserie chicken, skinned & shredded
1/3 cup half & half
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot except the half & half. Cook on high heat for about 3-4 hours, or low heat for about 8 hours, stirring occasionally throughout. Do a taste test towards the end of the cooking time to ensure that the beans have cooked through and adjust any seasonings as necessary. Once the beans have cooked through and you are satisfied with the seasoning, finish the chili with the half & half, stir thoroughly to combine the creamy half & half into the mixture evenly. I topped this chili with a three cheese mix: fontina, parmesan & asiago. PERFECT!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had a hankering to do some baking today but I couldn't come up with an inspiration so I ended up just sticking with a classic. I'm not even really that much of a chocolate chip fan, but there really is something to be said about a warm cookie out of the oven on a cool, rainy day. These stayed perfectly soft and moist, and that is a necessity in my cookie rule book. No crunchy cookies allowed!

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies via the Flick of my Wrist:
(About 32 four inch cookies)

2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add salt, vanilla, eggs, and baking soda. Mix well. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts until thoroughly mixed. Drop by heaping, rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased, parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Balsamic-Marinated Roasted Veggies

This is a quick, simple, healthy side that is really tasty. You can use any vegetables you like. I make this dish frequently, always changing up the veggies. This time I used zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, snap peas, red onion, and red bell peppers. It was crunchy and packed with flavor. Try it out with your favorite veggies.

Balsamic-Marinated Roasted Vegetables via the Flick of my Wrist:
(4 generous servings)

4 cups of washed, cut veggies of your choice
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag. Shake up the vegetables well to ensure they are all coated with the marinade. You can marinate these at room temperature or in the fridge as well. I let them marinate for about an hour. Pour veggies on to a greased roasting pan or a greased, foil-covered cookie sheet. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spaghetti with Lemon & Olive Oil

I was SO delighted upon my arrival to San Jose to find a Whole Foods right around the corner from my new house! WIN! I had spotted this recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago and then saw this fresh lemon pepper linguine at Whole Foods that I decided would be a perfect pasta for this dish. They also had these tequila-marinated shrimp on skewers that I grilled up quickly on the Cuisinart to top this luscious pasta with some protein. AMAZE. I did omit the heavy cream and arugula (didn't have any on hand), but this still turned out wonderful. I am LOVING lemon-carb-like sides lately... see this previous post for an irresistable lemon risotto:

Spaghetti with Lemon & Olive Oil via Smitten Kitchen:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

I'm super sad that I'm not home today. This is my first St. Patrick's day away from home. This is growing up I guess. We always do a big, traditional Irish dinner: corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, green beer, shamrock cookies. I wasn't tempted to do the whole feast for myself... but I knew I had to celebrate somehow. Enter cupcake! ...ok I MIGHT have had a shot of Jameson last night. Shame on me. These turned out delicious and I feel like they are the perfect Irish cupcake culmination, definitely celebratory. I'm working tonight, hence my early holiday celebration last night... but I'm taking them into work. Hopefully they will be well received. I miss you Dad! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream via the Culinary Chronicles:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Burrer's Peach Cobbler

This has been a family staple at the Underwood house for years. While this is usually a task we put my Dad up to, I just made it the first time myself this past week. The outside gets perfectly crisp and the inside is soft & gooey! AMAZING. It is best served warm... and a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream never hurt anyone!

Burrer's Peach Cobbler adapted modestly via the Smokestack Lightning Cookbook:
(Serves 8)

4-5 cups tree ripened peaches (May substitute drained, canned peaches if necessary)
1/4 lb. melted butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
cinnamon & nutmeg to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter & flour a 9x13 baking dish. Pour melted butter into dish. In a saucepan, slowly cook peaches with 1/2 cup of brown sugar until soft. Add cinnamon & nutmeg to taste. Combine flour with remaining brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in buttermilk and pour mixture into pan over butter. Gently pour cooked peaches evenly over batter. Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best Lasagna Ever + Oven-Roasted Asparagus

This was the last meal I cooked in my Redlands apartment before the big move to San Jose. It didn't disappoint! This is also one of those great meals that you can make ahead. The lasagna was equally as good the next day. This was paired with some Yellowtail Bubbles Champagne & Peach Cobbler, (recipe to follow.) Hopefully I can find a Norcal crew that will be equally as appreciative of my cooking. Parting is such sweet sorrow!

The Best Lasagna Ever via the Pioneer Woman:

Oven-Roasted Asparagus via the Pioneer Woman:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Caramel Nutella Crumb Bars

I'm always going to have a memory of these little treasures because I made these yesterday to take to work for my last day full time as a PICU RN at Loma Linda. I'm still a little unsure of where this path in life is leading me, but yesterday was a day flooded with emotions from beginning to end, and these did help ease those emotions just a little. I'm going to miss my coworkers, my hospital, my patients, and the families. I've learned so much here in these last few years, and I truly hope God's plan for my life somehow ends up bringing me back to this amazing place. I love you guys!

This is a news story that I really loved on one of my patients that I will never forget. Keep fighting Leilani.

Caramel Nutella Crumb Bars via Buns in my Oven:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Broccoli, Pancetta Omelet & Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

Simple & savory... and my most perfect omelet folding to date! Apparently the mistake I've been making with all my previous omelet-folding attempts was just a lack of patience! This is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your breakfast or brunch. Don't be stingy with the butter in your omelet pan, otherwise you're going to have problems with sticking once you're trying to fold.

Broccoli, Pancetta Omelet via The flick of my wrist:
(Serves 2)

1 1/2 cups of roasted broccoli
2 tbsp. butter
6 slices of diced pancetta
4 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup grated cheese

Saute pancetta in medium frying pan until crispy. Add butter and broccoli and saute until desired consistency. (I like crunchy.) Make sure your pan is still plenty greased before pouring scrambled eggs over broccoli and pancetta. Pour eggs over broccoli and pancetta and let them cook ALL the way through! Do NOT mess with them with your spatula! (This was always my mistake before.) They will cook all the way through, you just have to be patient! When the eggs are almost cooked through, add the grated cheese to melt on top of the eggs. Carefully fold the omelet in half from one edge to the other. Cut half circle omelet in half & serve!

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits via Smitten Kitchen:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Molten Chocolate-Nutella Pudding Cakes

This is decadent and definitely celebration-worthy. It was completely delicious without being too rich. This was the dessert follow-up for my "most perfect meal ever!" ...and what a perfect accompaniment it was. The taste is great the next day, but as a word of caution: the center will collapse it you let it sit. (I.E.: molten) This is best served hot out of the oven. Bon appetit!

Molten Chocolate-Nutella Pudding Cakes via Noble Pig:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

World Peace Cookies

I've been hearing about these cookies for a minute. They have a reputation. The story goes: if everyone was to eat one of these cookies each day, we would achieve world peace. I'm all for supporting world peace through baking. Whatever works! Maybe if everyone in the world was a chocolate lover, this theory might suffice... nice try though. I've been trying to bake something to take to work each weekend I work. This was last weekends entry. They seem to appreciate it. Nothing like a little sugar to propel your adrenaline through twelve and half hours. Maybe I can just bring peace to the halls of the pediatric intensive care unit... is that even possible?!

World Peace Cookies via Smitten Kitchen:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bacon Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't judge! Open your food mind! Another effort into my quest for the perfect salty-sweet! I made these for Superbowl and they were quite the hit. The bag of cookies got passed all around the bar. I think I've decided I'm going to attach a business card of this blog to treat bags with my baked goods. *Shameless self-promotion.* These were equally as good as the Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies I had previously made... but these had an added texture and heartiness due to the addition of the oatmeal. Take your pick. Salty/Sweet for the win!

Bacon Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies via Jules Food:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

I don't think I've ever really mentioned on here about my undying love for the perfect vegetable ever... the POTATO. I might be fibbing if I told you that I did not have a childhood nickname of the Potato Princess. But really... I've never had a bad potato. It's just not possible. A potato can do no wrong. Ranch Mashed Potatoes are no exception. And thank you again to the always trustworthy Noble Pig for aiding in my quest to make a perfect roast chicken dinner. Ranch mashed potatoes were an ideal accompaniment. If you're finding yourself in a mashed potato rut, test these puppies out. The flavor is off the charts. I love you, Potato!  

Ranch Mashed Potatoes via Noble Pig:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Most Perfect Meal EVER

This is the ULTIMATE surf & turf. If you are planning on any kind of celebration feast, this is your meal! Pick your favorite dessert & wine and you are set for the ultimate feast. The flavors in this combination are undeniable. Each component is completely unique, but at the same time pairs together elegantly. Try this out for your next celebration and let me know about your response. Mine was a true crowd pleaser! Happy Valentines Day!

Lemon Risotto via Smitten Kitchen:

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic & Red Pepper via Epicurious:

Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp via Food Network:

Porcini Crusted Filet Mignon with Fresh Herb Butter via Epicurious (& my previous blog entry)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Perfect Roast Chicken

The cutest little naked chicken! Everybody always has their different ideas about the perfect roast chicken. This recipe came as a recommendation from two separate sources so I thought I should try it out. Roast chicken is really versatile. There are so many different ways you can dress it up. You can usually find it at the grocery story for fairly cheap, so it can be very budget-friendly as well. This was about a 6 lb. young chicken, for like $3.50. That sounds like a bargain to me. This was really easy, pretty quick, and stayed succulently moist. I do think I might have accidentally used anise instead of fennel... Stater Brothers tricked me! It was great either way. Stay tuned for the perfect side dish: Ranch Mashed Potatoes!

Perfect Roast Chicken via Ina Garten: