About Me

My photo
I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Asian Barbeque Chicken Thighs

This recipe was my first introduction to chicken thighs.   It's a great change from chicken breast -chicken breast-chicken breast while not departing from the mostly healthy!  It's also another great one that can be marinated days in advance without issue.  The marinade is really tasty and although I often forget to save some of the marinade pre-adding chicken for sauce, when I remember it's a treat!

Asian BBQ Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Once upon a chef


¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
1½ tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
¾ teaspoon Garam Masala (make your own from here)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely finely diced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 scallions (light and dark green parts only), thinly sliced


 In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for chicken and scallions. Set ¼ cup of the marinade aside and cover, then place the rest in a zip-lock freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Be sure chicken is evenly coated, then place bag in refrigerator; let marinate for 3-4 hours; or several days if cooking in advance.

Preheat grill to high heat.

Place chicken on the grill; cover and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and done. Place chicken on serving platter, then top with reserved marinade and sliced scallions. Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Best Broccoli Ever

Another roasted vegetable recipe?  Yep.  I'm essentially a one trick pony when it comes to veggies.   This one is made bright by lemon zest and parmesan cheese.  It will make you abandon steaming broccoli for the rest of your life!!   

Adapted from Ina through the Amateur Gourmet

4-5 lbs broccoli
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 lemon
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425F.

Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add 4 garlic cloves.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Take it out of the oven--and zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil,  and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

This is a solid, weeknight chicken dish.  You can easily just combine the mustard sauce with the chicken in a zip top bag, then place it in the dish when you get home from work.  It's not too sweet, not spicy all all, and the chicken thighs are so much more flavorful than chicken breast!

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

4 large chicken thighs, skins removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine mustard, garlic, marjoram and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, covering as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange chicken in a dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Coconut Muffins

The breakfast recipes never end.  The lemon zest and extra coconut are my additions, and if I do say so myself, they definitely improve the recipe.  The lemon really brightens the flavor.  I have no idea how I grew up never eating coconut, and now loving it, but there you have it!!!  These come together ery quickly.   You can toast the coconut the night before (350 for 7-8 minutes), and stir into the dry ingredients in a covered bowl.  In the morning preheat the oven, add the wet ingredients, and make the coffee.

Lemon Blueberry Coconut Muffins
Adapted from Food52

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup coconut, toasted
1/2 cup coconut, untoasted
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.
Sift together the 2 cups flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in toasted coconut, plain coconut, and lemon zest.
Combine egg, melted butter and milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix lightly till combined.
Toss blueberries with 1 T flour. This prevents the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, and also helps the frozen blueberries from streaking. Fold into batter.
Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F for 17-20 minutes (about 20-22 minutes if using frozen blueberries) or till they test done.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Big, Soft Ginger Cookies

So maybe June is not the traditional time to break out the ginger cookies.  So be it.  The heat doesn't make them any less scrumptious.  Nor does it make your kitchen smell any less heavenly!  These cookies are soft, stay soft, but have a nice zing from the crystallized ginger.  It really makes the cookie.  I somewhat underbake these as always- it's the secret to an almost fudgy type texture.  Don't wait til December!!!

adapted from Allrecipes


2 1/4 cups (11.5 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (about 50 grinds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
4 oz finely chopped crystallized ginger


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the whisked ingredients into the molasses mixture. Add crystallized ginger.  Scoop up with a muffin scoop and place six per parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.
Bake for12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 11 big cookies.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soy Marinated Beef Sticks with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

I am an increasingly big fan of anything marinated.  I work part time, but the 3 days I do work, when I get home, I don't want to think about dinner.  Marinated beef, chicken, what have you- it make life easy. I look for marinades with minimal citrus (marinate chicken n lemon juice and you get rubber chicken).  Then I marinate on sunday and cook later in the week.  Easy, flavorful, more healthful than take out for sure.  I loved the cilantro lime source cream on these.  The beef itself also had a nice flavor.

Adapted from Foodie Bride


steak Skewers
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
1 lb flank steak cut into 1/2 inch strips

Cilantro lime sour cream
Small handful cilantro, chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup light sour cream
Juice of 1 lime(or about 2 tablespoons of this stuff)


Whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange juice & zest in a medium bowl.
Add steak, toss and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Heat grill to medium-high.
Grill 4-5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
Stir lime juice, sour cream, and half the cilantro together.
Serve skewers over steamed rice, garnished with remaining cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chicago Style Pizza

We make a lot of homemade pizza.  My brother in law is obsessed with a local Chicago style pizza joint in his home, and of course has taken us there, leaving us with a craving but no outlet.  The thing I love about this pizza is the crust.  The layering with butter gives it this nice flakiness reminiscent of a pie crust but in no way sweet.  You can "bottom" this anyway you want- we chose Pepperoni in honor of my brother in law.  It's a nice change, and best of all, you can make it in advance and pop it into the fridge, unbaked, and cook it the next night.  It also can be frozen, unbaked and assembled, for more long term meal planning.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
Adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted from Cook's Illustrated

For the dough:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (8 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1 3/8 oz.) yellow cornmeal
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. (5 oz.) water, at room temperature
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. grated onion
Pinch of dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped (1/2 tsp dried in times of supermarket disappointment)
1½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper

For assembling and topping:
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
¼ oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tbsp.)
1 package turkey pepperoni

To make the dough, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on low speed.  Mix about 1 minute until blended.  Add the water and melted butter and continue mixing on low speed until fully combined, 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally.  Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth- and gluten developed-, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 4-5 minutes.

 Coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil- by hand is fine.  Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

While the dough is rising, make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, oregano, and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onion is golden brown, but not burnt, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook just until the fragrance fills the kitchen, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and increase the heat to medium-high.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until reduced to about 1¼ cups, about 25 minutes depending on your definition of medium high heat.  Off the heat, stir in the basil and oil.  Season with about 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon- 25 grinds- pepper to taste.

To laminate the dough, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 8- by 6-inch rectangle.  Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.  Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.  With the seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 9- by 2 inch rectangle with a rolling pin.  Fold into thirds like a business letter, pinch the seams to form a ball, and return to the oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until nearly doubled in size, 40-50 minutes.  Time crunched people cooking for tomorrow's dinner can just roll it into the pan at this point since it will rise somewhat when it sits until tomorrow night's dinner.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  To assemble, coat a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Transfer the dough ball to a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk about ¼-inch thick.  Transfer the dough to the pan.  Lightly press the dough into the pan, working into the corners and 1 inch up the sides.  If the dough resists stretching, let rest 5 minutes before trying again.

Sprinkle the pepperoni, then the shredded mozzarella over the surface of the dough.  Spread the tomato sauce over the cheese and top with Parmesan.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 1 9-inch deep-dish pizza

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Comme Ca Brioche Burger Buns

I need to get the New York Times cookbook.   There are a limitless number of recipes that are delicious in there, apparently, because every one I make is a keeper.  This recipe also freezes well, baked, so you can make it on the weekend and pull out for your pulled pork, your hamburgers, or what have you at any time.  They are buttery, ever so slightly sweet, and soft on the inside.  If I had a complaint- which I don't- it would be that the inside is a little soft and can smush down ever so slightly under the weight of a big burger.  However, the flavor is soooooo much better than storebought that it's hardly worth mentioning.

Brioche Burger Buns
adapted from Smitten Kitchen who Adapted from Comme Ca through NY Times


3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, DIVIDED.
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened.

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water (slightly warmer than usual as the milk will be cold), the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Knead by your preferred method until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

 Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

makes 8 buns.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Margarita from Scratch

I have been having a serious margarita craving this summer.  I broke our blender trying to make frozen ones early on, so I had to find a recipe that didn't use frozen limeade.   Besides the fact that I have always liked on the rocks margaritas better...

This recipe is perfect.  It's definitely citrus filled, and even though it has a lot of sugar, I feel like it's better for you than those bottled mixes.  I keep finding occasions to make it- my sister's visit, my brother in law's visit, Tuesday night....

Margaritas from Scratch
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride


1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (10-12 limes) or use bottled
1/2 cup silver tequila
1/2 cup orange liqueur/triple sec
lemon or lime wedges/slices for garnish (optional)


Heat water and sugar for 2 minutes in microwave and stir until completely dissolved and the water is clear. Let cool in fridge.
Pour into a pitcher with lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur.
Pour over ice and garnish .
To make frozen margaritas, freeze the limeade into cubes in advance. Blend with the other ingredients.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Southern-Style White Gravy

This is a staple in some parts of the country, but it was a mystery for me!!  When my husband first told me he loved biscuits and gravy, I pictured a chicken stock based gravy and was kind of repulsed.  I'm pretty sure this was one of the first meals my mother-in-law served me, and it's fantastic.  The gravy is peppery with just the right amount of salt.  Since it's only 4 tablespoons of butter, it doesn't really matter if you used salted or unsalted (salted adds about 1/8 teaspoon salt).  It took me a long time to figure out the proportions of the gravy, but I finally got it right.  You could also serve this with fried chicken or pan fried pork chops.

Southern-Style White Gravy
Adapted from my mother-in-law

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons)  butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (about 50 grinds)

Melt butter, and add flour to make a roux.  Cook about 1 minute, then whisk in milk.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook until thickened (about 7-10 minutes), whisking often, and the whisk makes ribbons in the gravy.  Serve hot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Easy Alfredo Sauce

I made this for the night before our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Why the night before?  Well, the night of was going to be filled with packing, rushing around, and no time for a great dinner...and we needed to have something special, sometime.  So I made homemade pasta, our favorite grilled chicken minus the lemon zest, and yum was born.  Homemade alfredo is ridiculously easy and every bit as delicious as restaurant versions.  The evaporated milk is a surprisingly good substitute (evaporated-- NOT condensed.  Yuck).

Pasta Alfredo
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 pound Pasta
1 stick Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream (or evaporated milk, in a pinch)
1/2 tsp Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water once done.
In a saucepan, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the cheese.
Drain pasta and pour it into the bowl.
Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan.  Toss to combine, thinning with reserved pasta water if necessary.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spinach with Garlic Chips

So I was looking for a special spinach recipe to use up the spinach I forgot in a vegetarian enchilada recipe.  The obvious choice is creamed spinach, but it was way too indulgent for a weeknight.  I found this one when I was looking for a spinach version of kale chips (I've been anxious to try that one), and I've got a new veggie fave.  I made several other new recipes for dinner this night, including my first Ina Garten disappointment, but this was the one B wished we had seconds to demolish.  It's nice to have something other than roasted X to look forward to!

Spinach with Garlic Chips
adapted from Pioneer Woman

5 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Sliced Very Thin
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 packages (6 Oz Each Package) Baby Spinach
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preparation Instructions
Pour olive oil into a large skillet and add garlic slices. Turn on stove to medium -low heat and allow garlic and oil to heat together. Watch the garlic and stir to turn as it begins to bubble. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon as soon as it turns golden brown; do not allow to burn. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Pour off half the oil into a container and set aside. Add one bag of spinach to the skillet. Immediately begin turning gently with a spoon. Spinach will immediately begin wilting. Cook and stir only for one minute, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove spinach to a plate. Add remaining oil (the oil you poured from the pan) and add remaining spinach. Repeat cooking process.
Serve spinach immediately (it should still be slightly al dente/crisp) with the garlic chips sprinkled over the top. Divine!

Monday, June 6, 2011

No Knead Crusty White Bread

In the 9 months or so I was mixer less, this bread was my go to!   Now that I have a mixer, I still make this bread an awful lot.  I love the sprinkle of flour on the bread- it make the loaf look bakery professional.   Homemade bread is always a winner, but add one you can assemble on sunday and bake fresh off of all week???  Total winner.

No knead Crust White bread
Adapted from King arthur flour

24 ounces(3 cups) lukewarm water
2 pounds King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (or substitute 1 ounce vital wheat gluten for 1 ounce of flour for a chewier texture)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket.
Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, just stir with a big spoon or dough whisk till everything is combined.
Let the dough rise. If you've made the dough in a bowl that's not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it's going to rise a lot. I like to oil the bowl with olive oil for easy removal.
Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you're pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it'll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it'll rise, then fall, but don't fret.

When you're ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It'll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.

Place the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log.  Place the dough on a piece of parchment (if you're going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests.

Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes.

It will settle out rather than really rise.   Preheat your oven (and baking stone, if you're using one) to 450°F while the dough rests. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot/boiling water ready to go.

 When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2" deep.

Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. This will make steam.
Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Coconut Rice

Do not half this recipe!!!  I have always loved restaurant coconut rice, but never knew how to make it at home.  This is the first recipe that let me make rice with nice, separated grains, still firm, but adherent to each other.  No gloppy mess here.  I use high quality Basmati rice, which I also think helps.  I have also made this recipe with all water, no coconut milk, and it's excellent.  The coconut flavor is very mild, just a hint, really, so don't be shy.

Coconut Rice
minimally adapted from Epicurious

2 cups long-grain rice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse rice in a sieve under cold running water 2 to 3 minutes, then drain well (In fits of laziness, skip this step).
Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes opaque, about 3 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

French Toast

I love breakfast.  I thought I was done sharing all of our breakfast staples, what with the waffles, the pancakes, strawberry syrup, biscuits and chocolate gravy, and breakfast pancake..... can you tell we have no good breakfast joints nearby?

What makes this recipe special is the flour in the batter.  It gives this lovely crust on the french toast, made slightly sweet by the sugar- you can easily eat them without any syrup and feel indulged.   It's the perfect use for getting stale bread.  It's a cooks illustrated recipe, so you know it's going to be good!

French Toast
adapted from The Best Recipe

1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter with extra for frying
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-5 slices day old bread 3/4 inch thick, or 6-8 slices sandwich bread

Melt butter on 50% power in microwave.  Add remaining ingredients, starting with milk (NOT EGG).  Whisk until smooth.  Soak each slice of bread for 30-40 second before frying.  Spray skillet with butter spray prior to placing bread in and prior to flipping.  Fry until golden brown.  Top with fresh fruit, syrup, strawberry syrup, or powdered sugar.