Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Onion Soup

This is a really easy soup with very few ingredients.  It makes a lot and leftovers are great.  Make sure you serve it with some crusty bread!  Here's how to make it:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mix & Match Herb and Cheese Biscuits

These biscuits are very light and fluffy.  They aren't dense with too much butter that'll leave you feeling stuffed and guilty.  My favorite combination for these is Parmesan and thyme but you can use any combination of herbs and cheese that you'd like.  Other combinations that would be good are cheddar and rosemary, Havarti and dill, chive and cheddar or cheddar and dill.  Mix it up and have fun with it!  Here's how to make them:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  We sure had a fun time this year.  In our two bedroom apartment there were 6 adults and 4 cats!  I was glad my family was able to come visit and that we could all be together.  Click the title for more pictures.

Amanda and me

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing and Colored Sugar

It took me several tries to get this recipe exactly how I wanted it but I finally got it!  These sugar cookies are slightly crisp, buttery and delicious.  They are good just by themselves or decorated with Royal Icing. Here's how to make them:

Royal Icing

4 egg whites
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring
Sugar Cookies

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until frothy.

Slowly add in the powdered sugar.  Beat until everything comes together and is smooth. If it seems really thick add some water.  A drop at a time.  You want it to be thick enough so you can pipe it or spoon it on the cookies but it won't run everywhere.

Divide the frosting into bowls and add your choice of food coloring.  Now you're ready to decorate cookies!

After all the cookies are decorated, let the icing dry for at least 8 hours.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of mushroom soup is an oldie but a goodie.  I made this at work for our soup of the day recently.  It's very rich and makes a big pot and is perfect for a cold day!  Leftovers are great too!  Here's how to make it:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peppermint Marshmallows

Yay, it's the holiday season!  I've been looking forward to this time of year so I can post a bunch of really fun holiday recipes.  Marshmallows are so fun to make, it really is like magic watching everything come together.  I decided to make peppermint marshmallows to go along with the holiday season.  This recipe may seem really complicated but as long as you have the right equipment it's so easy to make with very few ingredients. Here's how to make them:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Subs

Happy Birthday, Drew!  He loves Chicken Parmesan but I think it can get a little boring sometimes!  I wanted to make him his favorite food for his birthday but put my own twist on it.  We're both big fans of a good sub, so I decided on Chicken Parmesan Subs.  This recipe serves 2-4.  Here's how to make it:

Quick Tomato Sauce

This is a really easy and inexpensive tomato sauce recipe for when you don't feel like taking all the time to make a hearty marinara.  It's good on pasta and pizza but I used it for Chicken Parmesan Subs.  Here's how to make it:

What you'll need:

1 onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
Salt, as needed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

Coat the bottom of a pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and season generously with salt.  Cook until the onion is translucent and tender.

Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add the tomatoes, sugar and oregano.  Bring to a bubble then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  

Taste and season with more salt if needed then add the fresh basil leaves right before serving.  


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Here are all of the recipes from my Thanksgiving dinner!

Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Butter Crust

What you'll need:

6 lb turkey breast, skin on and bone-in
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
2 tsp salt
3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
Chicken stock, as needed

For the brine:
1 gallon of water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
Ice, as needed

In a large stock pot, combine water, salt and sugar.  Heat until the salt and sugar are melted then add enough ice to cool it down.  Add the turkey breast, cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day, take the turkey breast out of the brine and rinse with water.  Pat dry really well with paper towels.  Place in a roasting dish.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine butter, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic and salt.  Spread over the turkey breast making sure to get under the skin.

Pour some chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting dish, a cup or so.

Roast in the oven for about 2 hours or until a thermometer reads 155-160.

Take out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil.  Let it rest before carving.  While it's resting, it will continue to cook to 165 degrees.

Slice and serve!

Broccoli Casserole

This is another recipe that's been a part of my family's Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations for years.  There are a few versions of it but this one is my favorite!

What you'll need:

10 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli
1 onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, small dice
1 10.5 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup rice
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil with a sprinkle of salt.  Add the rice, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes.

Place the pack of broccoli on a plate and microwave for 3 1/2 minutes.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the onion and celery with a sprinkle of salt on medium heat until soft.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add the broccoli, stir and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayo, cooked rice, cheese and half the Ritz crackers.  Add in the broccoli mixture.

Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, sprinkle the rest of the crackers over the top and bake for 30 minutes.

Holiday Dressing

This dressing has been a staple for my family for years and years.  We make this every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It wouldn't be the same if we left it out!

What you'll need:

1 lb. sausage with sage
1 onion, small dice
2 stalks of celery, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stick of unsalted butter
8 oz. cornbread stuffing mix
8 oz. herb stuffing mix
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage.  Set aside in a large bowl.

In the same skillet, melt the butter and saute the onion and celery with a sprinkle of salt.  When soft, add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add to the bowl with the sausage.

To the sausage and veggies, add the stuffing mixes, chicken broth and a sprinkle of pepper.  Stir really well to combine.

Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

What you'll need:

3 large sweet potatoes, 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 onion, sliced very thin
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup grade A maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks.  Toss in olive oil and salt, spread out on a sheet tray and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until tender.

While the potatoes are roasting, cook the onion in a pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until it is caramelized.  When it's brown, add the syrup and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes more.

When the potatoes are ready and still hot, put in a large bowl with the onion, garlic and maple syrup.  Mash all together and add the butter and brown sugar.  You can puree everything in a food processor for a smoother consistency.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Scoop out into an 8x8 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

What you'll need:

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

**If you want a sweeter cranberry sauce use 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  I like mine more on the tart side so I only use 1 cup of sugar**

Rinse the cranberries well and drain.

In a medium pot combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and a splash of water.  Make sure you zest the orange before you juice it or it will be very hard to zest!  Turn the heat to medium.

When the sugar is dissolved and the cranberries start to pop (I love the sound of cranberries popping!), reduce the heat to low and add the orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. 

Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the cranberries have popped and it has thickened. 

Let cool completely then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chili Mac and Cheese

Can you tell it's comfort food season at my house?  Here's another mac and cheese recipe.  Chili Mac! I love using pasta shells for this recipe because they hold so much of the filling.  Here's how to make it:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mushroom Risotto

This is a very earthy and flavorful risotto, perfect for a cold night. Risotto is one of my favorite things to make because it is so versatile.  All you need is a basic risotto recipe, then you can add anything you want.  For this recipe, I went with mushrooms!  Risotto is actually a technique for cooking rice, that's where the dish gets its name.  The holidays are coming up and this would be a perfect dish to make!  Here's how to make it:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jerk Chicken Chili - 3rd Place!

After going out to eat the other night and having some really good jerk chicken nachos, I really wanted to make something with jerk spices.  My apartment complex was having a chili cook-off so I decided to make Jerk Chicken Chili.  I won third place and a set of ceramic mason jars!  How southern, right?  Even though it was a small competition, it was still a lot of fun.  My parents came up to participate and we had a great time.  Here's the recipe!:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Donating My Hair

I have always wanted to donate my hair.  From 9th grade on, I always had really short hair.  I would grow it out occasionally but it was never long enough to donate, and I would just end up cutting it again.  For the last few years I decided to just let it grow and try my best not to cut it.  When I found myself itching to cut my hair again, I had no idea it would be long enough to donate it.  I guess I had just gotten so used to it that I didn't even realize how long it had gotten.  I went to get it cut not even thinking about donating it until my hairstylist cut off my pony tail and it was 9 inches long!  I found a place that requires hair to be at least 8 inches long so I was in the clear.  I mailed it the next day and it feels so good!  I chose Children with Hair Loss.  It feels great knowing that a young child out there who has lost their hair will get to wear mine.  I've been out of work the past few weeks recovering from a fracture in my leg, and I have felt pretty useless.  Doing this really made me feel a little bit better about myself and I'm glad I could do something meaningful during this time off.

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

This is my recipe for potato pancakes using some leftover Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes.  They are great for breakfast or brunch the next day and require very little effort!  Here's how to make them:

Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes

Mmm, mashed potatoes!  Everyone has a recipe for them...or a few!  Garlic mashed potatoes are my favorite!  Here's how I make mine:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Low Country Soup

One of my favorite things ever is a Low Country Boil.  It brings back so many memories of the beach and being with family.  I find myself craving it from time to time but it's not something you would just whip up on any given day.  If you're not familiar with a Low Country Boil, it's just seafood, potatoes, sausage and corn boiled together in a big pot.  When it's done, you lay newspaper on a table and pour everything out.  Everyone stands around and eats.  No utensils required.  It's great!  This is something we would do a lot at our beach house, Windy Point.  It doesn't get much better than digging for your own clams.  We had a really unusually cold first day of November and I wanted to make a big pot of soup.  When I started thinking about what I wanted to make, all of the ingredients from a boil came to mind.  So I thought, why not make a soup with all the things I love about a low country boil?  What could be better! Here's what I came up with:

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Ipsy

Ipsy must have heard my cries of how bad my September bag was.  This bag makes up for it!  I loved it!  It was probably one of my favorite bags of the whole year.  I loved the bag itself.  The color is great and it has a really neat texture.  And I really enjoyed everything inside!  Here's what I received:

September Ipsy

Goodness, I am literally posting this almost 2 months late because this bag was so bad.  I haven't even used what's in it because I had no interest.  Even the bag was ugly!  It looks like a belt I would have worn in 8th grade during my rebellious days. Yikes.  Anyway, here's a list of what I received.

Easy Sesame Noodles

These sesame noodles are soo easy and quick!  They are one of my favorite things to make because they are simple and satisfying.  They are even good leftover the next day, straight from the refrigerator.  Here's how to make them:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup with Orzo and Lemon

Cold and flu season is definitely here.  I've been battling a cold the past few days and couldn't think of anything I'd rather eat than chicken noodle soup.  I add a whole rotisserie chicken and lots of lemon juice to give it a nice tang.  It's easy and delicious.  Here's how to make it:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Cornbread is one of my favorites!  I love to add different flavors and turn boring, plain cornbread into something new.  I use Jiffy mix.  Yes, Jiffy...the boxed stuff.  I see no problem with using boxed mix because all it is is pre-measured ingredients.  It makes things easier.  Serve this cornbread as table bread or with your favorite chili.  I served mine with Black Bean Chili!  Here's how to make it:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi!  It's so good and a great change from regular old pasta.  Gnocchi are little dumplings that are made with potato.  I had some sweet potatoes laying around and thought it would be fun to make sweet potato gnocchi instead.  It's easy to make and is stored in the freezer which makes it great for a quick dinner.  Here's how to make it:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Banana Bread French Toast

After making a loaf of Gam's Banana Bread, I really wanted to use it to make some french toast.  This is a really easy recipe and great for brunch!  You may need a nap afterwards though.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Fall is here and that means comfort food. We had some friends over on Sunday to watch the Panthers game.  What better dish to make for a crowd than a big batch of mac and cheese?  Buffalo chicken mac and cheese sounded perfect for a football game.  I've been wanting to come up with a recipe like this for a while.  Blue cheese is one of those things some people just really hate, so I didn't want this dish to be overpowered with Blue cheese.  I used Gorgonzola cheese because it is a little milder than regular Blue cheese. Everyone agreed that it was subtle and really good!  Here's how to make it:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gam's Banana Bread

My grandmother, Gam, left me her recipe box and it is full of great recipes that I want to start recreating.  I want to start making some of her basic recipes, such as this banana bread recipe, and turn them into different things.  With this banana bread, I made Banana Bread French Toast! Gam's recipes are very simple, and here on my blog I like to be very detailed with instructions, so I will be writing a little more than she has written.  Here is her recipe:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pudding

Finally, a new post!  It's been a while since I've been able to get in the kitchen and make anything.  I've got a fracture in my knee, so I've really been trying to be on my feet as little as possible.  I think this might be my first dessert recipe I've posted.  This isn't "real" salted caramel pudding.  There's no caramel, but I've combined different flavors that make up that caramel flavor like brown sugar and butter.  I made this on a whim, just using what I had in the fridge and pantry one night when we really were craving something sweet.  Pudding is really easy to make.  A lot of recipes are very similar and you can change things around to get the flavor you're looking for.  Here's how I made it:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's Been Going On?

Sorry for the lack of posts!  There's been a lot going on around here.  I've been having some trouble with my knee and it's been hard to get in the kitchen and cook! :(  I miss cooking and am hoping to be back on my feet soon!  In the meantime though, here are some pictures from the past few weeks.

Drew cooked me a nice meal one night.  Bourbon salmon, roasted Brusses sprouts and baby potatoes.

Malon by my side as always to keep me company.

Waiting for me to wake up as usual!  

Such a hard life for Faron.

Basking in the sun together.


I hated missing my little cousin's Zelda themed birthday party.  Family events are so important to me, so it was really sad having to miss it.  What a great birthday invitation!

Finally decided after 5 days of being inside on the couch and suffering from cabin fever,  that I probably needed to at least stretch my knee some.  So we went out for Mexican and I got the world's largest margarita and drank the whole thing.  The whole thing.

No words.

Still no words.

This is how I felt all week! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Baked Jambalaya

Jambalaya is up there with my top 5 favorite foods.  I love one pot meals and meals that you can eat for a week.  When I was in culinary school, I would make a huge pot of jambalaya and eat on it for at least 5 days!  I was really in the mood for some kind of casserole, and then I thought about jambalaya.  So I thought, what if I made jambalaya but baked it like a casserole?  The result?  Super creamy and delicious jambalaya.  You can definitely still make this recipe on the stove top, but something about baking it really brings out the starches in the rice and makes it extra creamy.  Put on your fat pants for this one, because there is nothing low calorie about this recipe!  Maybe that's what makes it so good!

Creole Seasoning

2 tbsp Paprika
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp Garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp Onion powder
1 tbsp Oregano 
1 1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Black pepper

Mix everything together and store in a container.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Taco Salad

Taco salads are one of my favorites!  It's not the healthiest salad for you, but it's really tasty and flavorful and really satisfies.  This recipe uses my Taco Seasoning and my All Purpose Taco Meat.  The rest is just adding some of your favorite toppings!  Add anything you'd like.  It will turn out great!

All Purpose Taco Meat

Taco meat is a great recipe to have under your belt.  It can be used for so many different things.  Tacos, obviously, but it can also be used for burritos, taco salads, casseroles, sloppy Joe's, tostadas, chili, you name it!  It's easy and versatile.  Here's how to make it:

Taco Seasoning

This is my recipe for a simple, all purpose taco seasoning blend.  It's great for ground beef for tacos, burritos, or even sloppy Joe's!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Potato and Herb Frittata

Another frittata!  This one is different from my breakfast frittata I posted a few weeks ago.  It is very similar but has completely different flavors.  I love frittatas because they are so versatile.  My parents were in town so of course I wanted to make them a nice breakfast before they left!  Here's how to make it:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki sauce is a Greek condiment traditionally served with meats but it is also served as a dip.  It is very light and refreshing.  It's made with Greek yogurt, which is very low in fat and calories, and lots of fresh cucumber.  It's a great dip to serve if you're looking for a healthy option for your guests.  It's pretty easy to make!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's Been Going On?

One thing I've really been into recently is running.  I used to exercise a lot when I was in high school, but then college came around and, well.. the rest is history.  It's time to get healthy again!  Our new apartment has a great gym, so I have really been taking advantage of it.  I've been doing the Couch to 5K program.  I definitely do not consider myself a couch potato, but having a physical job makes it harder to exercise when you've been on your feet running around all day.  The Couch to 5K program is great because it starts you at the bottom and helps you gradually run faster and longer each day.  It is a 3 day a week program but I've been doing it 5 times a week, repeating 2 of the sessions.  This week I'm beginning Week 4 of the program.  It's really exciting seeing results.  I haven't lost any weight or anything but I feel so much better and have way more energy.  To me, that is a result.  Results don't always have to be about appearance!

Brown Rice Casserole

 Brown rice has always been a staple at our family get-togethers.  Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without brown rice.  Not the real "brown rice".  I'm talking about good old white rice cooked in Campbell's soups!  Some of my friends and family have this idea that all I cook is "fancy stuff".  Not true!  I usually cook what is in my pantry or what I have on hand.  I wanted to try a different spin on brown rice this time around.  It usually has a can of French Onion soup in it, but all I had in my pantry was Golden Mushroom.  So I thought I'd give it a try and see how it turned out!  I love cooking with canned soups.  It just take me home.  I can close my eyes and feel like I'm sitting at my Gam's table.  Here's what I came up with:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Syrup and Bacon

This recipe was kind of an accident.  I had originally planned to just roast some brussel sprouts with bacon.  Half way through cooking, I started to smell maple syrup.  Huh?  I then realized that I had used the maple flavored bacon that Drew bought himself.  Oops!  They were already half way done so there was no going back, so I just decided to roll with it.  They turned out great.  Sweet and salty, which is one of my favorite combinations.   I had never thought that maple syrup and brussel sprouts could ever go well together.  You learn something new every day!  Brussel sprouts are so much more than that yucky vegetable your parents used to make you eat when you were younger.  They really can be delicious and I'm on a mission to prove it!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grilled Tuna Poke

Poke is a Hawaiian dish that means marinated raw fish.  Not poke like slow poke.  Poh-keh.   Like Pokemon!  I love it.  It's full of protein and is so flavorful.  There are so many different options but my go-to is always tuna.  I'm calling this "Grilled Tuna Poke" even though it isn't technically poke because it's not completely raw.  I couldn't think of anything else to call it!  But it's so similar I decided to call it poke anyway.  This can be served warm or chilled.  Whichever you prefer!  It would also be great served over sticky rice or even some mixed greens.  Here's how to make it:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta!  It might not sound like it, but it really does have a similar texture to spaghetti.  It doesn't have much flavor on its own, but if you mix it with your favorite pasta sauce it really mimics pasta.  It's simple to make, it's filling, and it goes great with any sauce.  It is also great to use in chilled pasta salads.  This time, I decided to mix mine with marinara sauce.  Here's how to make it: