Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apple Cranberry Sauce

3 cups apples, peeled and chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange rind
2 cans whole berry cranberry sauce, 16 oz each

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer until apples are soft.  I never time it, so I'm guessing it'll take 15 - 20 minutes.  I usually just start the sauce while I'm cooking the rest of my meal and let it simmer until we're ready to eat.  The sauce is awesome for Thanksgiving and wonderful over pork chops.  Mmmm...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano

We just tried this recipe tonight and it was so yummy!  I'm always on the lookout for ways to make veggies more exciting - it's so easy to fall into a rut.  I found the recipe in a magazine that Wegmans (a local grocery store) sends out.  They always have fantastic recipes, and you can get them from their website as well.  I borrowed their picture - I was in a rush to get dinner on the table and didn't have time to pull out my camera :)


1 bunch (about 1 lb) asparagus, trimmed

2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, rolling to coat.  Roast about 10 minutes, until asparagus is tender.  Remove from oven.  Season generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Return to oven.  Roast about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to soften and brown.  

*I just had regular Parmesan on hand, but it was still great.  I also had some shredded Asiago cheese, so I sprinkled a little of that on just before serving.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hot Bean Dip

My mom has made this recipe during Christmas (and sometimes Thanksgiving) for as long as I can remember.  Every time I make it for my family, it brings back a flood of holiday memories.  Again, no picture - but I'll remedy that.  I've been so busy in the kitchen lately that I completely forget to grab my camera.


2 cans chili with beans

1 medium package (16 oz)  Velveeta cheese, cubed 
1 bunch green onions, chopped finely
1 can diced green chilies (you can use less - sometimes I only use half of a can)
1 bag Fritos


Put chili in a casserole dish.  Add cubed Velveeta and mix together.  Add onions and chilies, mix well.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve hot.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Margarita Chicken Pasta Salad

My friend Julie also introduced me to this yummy recipe - I love it when she invites me over for lunch!  I forgot to take a picture when I made it last week, but I'm sure I'll be making it again before too long.


10 oz. rainbow rotini
1 lb boneless skinless poached chicken breast, shredded
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed


1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. sour cream
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
4 tsp tequila (optional)
1 packet taco seasoning

Cook pasta, drain and rinse with cold water.  Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor; blend until smooth.  Combine cooked pasta, corn, beans and chicken in a large serving bowl, fold in dressing.  Serve cold.

*I like to poach and shred the chicken ahead of time so that it's really easy to throw together on a busy night.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dr. Pepper Steak

I don't have a picture for this recipe yet, but I can tell you it's delicious!  I know I've complained before about using too much garlic, but I think you'll want to use all 4 cloves in this marinade - it's not overly strong.  Fall is upon us, but I'm sure we'll still have some great grilling weather.  You'll want to try this recipe soon!


16 oz Dr. Pepper (you can use Coke if you prefer)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Tbsp grill blend (see recipe below)
flank steak, London broil, etc.

Grill Blend:
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp ground thyme
1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper

Grill blend: Combine all ingredients, blending well.  Store in an airtight container.  Stir before each use.

In a large bowl or ziploc bag, combine Dr. Pepper, cinnamon sticks and garlic.  Add steak; cover and marinate for 8-12 hours.  Remove and pat dry.  Season with grill blend and cook meat on grill.  Do not overcook or steak will be tough.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Glaze

This is another recipe that I received from my friend Julie, who is a fantastic cook (She also shared the Pesto Turkey Burger recipe with me).  My husband raves about it and you'll see why once you make it.  Delicious!


Cooking spray 
1/4 cup apricot preserves or fruit spread
2 Tbsp country-style Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, chopped (I like to use fresh)
2 pork tenderloins, 1 lb each


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray (I line the pan with foil first).  Combine preserves, mustard and rosemary in a small bowl.  Place tenderloins on a baking sheet (leave about 2 inches of space between them); brush each with the apricot mixture.  Roast for 30 minutes, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 150 degrees.  Remove tenderloins from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing diagonally.

I've found that the meat is even more flavorful if I marinate it.  Simply brush the tenderloins with the apricot mixture, wrap in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mint Brownies

There is nothing so delicious, so tempting and so addicting in the world as Mint Brownies.

I discovered the recipe in high school and played around with it until I thought it was perfect.  I also thought I was the only one who'd found the secret to making them as wonderful as they were. became my "Secret Recipe".  I was so proud of myself.

Fast forward a few years.  I was talking to a friend who mentioned that a neighbor had just made the most fantastic mint brownies she'd ever had.  Hah!  I thought.  She hasn't had my mint brownies.  Later on this friend made the brownies for me - I was shocked to find that they were just like my brownies.  I begged for the recipe - it matched my recipe exactly.  Apparently I wasn't the first to figure it out.  I'm now on the look out for a new "Secret Recipe".

*Sorry for the blurry photo - I pulled it from Taste of Home's website



if you have a favorite brownie recipe, insert it here.  Generally I use a boxed mix because it's just faster that way.  I'm sure brownies from scratch would be better, but I have two small children who tend to be impatient.  Suffice it to say, Pillsbury saves a bit of my sanity.


1 cube butter or margarine, softened

3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (this is the secret ingredient)
a little milk
green food coloring

Chocolate Topping:

6 squares semi-sweet chocolate or 1 cup chocolate chips

6 Tbsp butter or margarine


Bake brownies according to package directions for cake-like brownies.  Cool completely before frosting.

For filling, cream together butter and powdered sugar.  Add small amounts of milk until you reach a buttercream consistency.  Add food coloring and mint to desired taste.  You may only want to use 1 tsp of peppermint - the longer the brownies sit the stronger the mint will be.  Spread on top of brownies.

For topping, melt chocolate with the butter.  I usually do this in my microwave, adjusting the power level to half at about 45 second increments.  Don't stir in between - I just pull it out of the microwave and swirl it around to help melt the chocolate and keep the butter from exploding in the microwave.  Once the chocolate appears very soft, stir until smooth - this takes a minute or two.  Let it cool slightly, then pour over the frosting.  Spread it until the filling is covered.  Refrigerate until set.

There it is: the not-so secret recipe.  Oh, and I can promise that if you ever take this to a party - you'll be the coolest person there  ;)