Sunday, July 24, 2011


1 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
about 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the warm water in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar to the water, and then sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and sugar. Mix lightly together and let sit for 10 minutes.
Add the flour and salt and mix well. Then, add yogurt and unsalted butter and mix until a dough forms. Knead this dough until it is smooth.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm place (I always prefer a spot in the sun) and let rise for about 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, place on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into about 6 balls before rolling into circles.
Lightly grease a small skillet with a little bit of the melted butter. Grease both sides of all of the rolled out balls with the butter before placing on the skillet. Let each side of the dough cook until it becomes a light brown color.
Source: adapted from Closet Cooking.  

Tastes great with Chicken Tikka Masala!

Chicken Tikka Masala

3-4 chicken breasts
ground coriander
ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
about a 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons Garam Masala (If you cannot find Garam Masala, take 3 tablespoons of a mixture of 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, and 1 tablespoon ground cardamom)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350˚F on the broil setting. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire cooling rack on top of the foil.
Season the chicken with salt, coriander, and cumin on both sides. Cover the seasoned chicken with the plain yogurt and place on the wire cooling rack. Place in the oven about 10 inches under the broiler, cooking the chicken about 5-7 minutes on each side.

Melt the butter on the stove over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned. Then, add the garlic, ginger, and salt and let cook. Add the Garam Masala (or the alternative mixture if you don't have/can't find it). Next, add the tomatoes and the sugar. Let simmer for about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook 2 cups basmati rice according to the directions on the packaging.
Add the heavy cream to the sauce and stir until well combined. Cut the cooked chicken into small pieces before adding. Finally, add the cilantro.
Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Tastes great with Naan

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fresh Cherry Pie

2 pie crusts
5 cups Bing cherries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Make 2 pie crusts, one for the bottom, and one for the lattice top. Place 1 crust firmly in a pie pan.

Combine the cherries, sugar, potato starch, water, lemon juice, and almond extract in a bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. Place this in the bottom of the prepared crust.

Place the butter over the cherry mixture.

Cover with a lattice top using the 2nd pie crust.

Place a pie crush shield over the edges of the pie and bake in the oven for about 55 minutes. Once done, let cool.
Source: The Joy of Cooking

Pie Crust

This makes 1 9-inch pie crust that is easy, quick, and works every time!

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3 tablespoons very cold water

Stir the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and coat with the flour mixture.
Mix on a medium-low speed with a flat beater until the texture of the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make sure the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.
Add the water and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together.
Roll into a ball on a floured surface.
Roll out flat.
Rub flour on both sides of the rolled out crust and place in a pie pan.
Source: Williams Sonoma

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
10 ounces spinach
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
4 large eggs 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven until 375˚F. Press 1 pie crust firmly in a pie pan.
Melt the butter with the onion and garlic on low heat until the garlic and onion are translucent. Stir in the spinach and cook for about 5 minutes.
Beat the evaporated milk, cottage cheese, eggs, pepper, and salt in a medium sized bowl. 
Place the Swiss cheese and the Parmesan cheese over the bottom of the pie crust. Place the spinach mixture over the cheese. Place the egg mixture over the spinach mixture.
Place in the oven for about 50 minutes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 package dry ranch
2 packages taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can diced green chiles
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 bean can full of water

Place the garlic, onion, and olive oil in a large pot and saute until tender. Add the turkey, ranch, and taco seasoning. Mix with the garlic, onion, and olive oil until the turkey is brown. Once the turkey is brown, add the tomatoes and green chiles. Drain the black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and corn and add to the pot. Fill 1 bean can with water and add to the pot. Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Caramel Cake with Caramel Icing and Vanilla Buttercream

Caramel Cake
1 package (18.25 ounces) white cake mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Place the cake mix, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on a low speed, gradually increasing to a medium speed, until well blended.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans and place in the oven for about 27 minutes.
Source: The Cake Mix Doctor

Caramel Icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the butter, light brown sugar, and dark brown sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, bring the mixture back to a boil, and remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Use immediately to frost the cake only in the middle and on the top. If the frosting hardens, place back over low heat and stir until soft.
Source: adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the butter in a mixing bowl. Beat on a medium speed until fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, milk, and vanilla extract and beat until well blended, starting on a low speed and gradually increasing to a high speed, scraping the sides of the bowl every so often. If the frosting is too stiff, add just a bit more milk.
Pipe only onto the sides of the cake.
Source: adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Cake
1 package (18.25 ounces) triple chocolate fudge cake mix 
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
4 large eggs 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Place the cake mix, cream cheese, water, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients on a medium speed until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly between 2 cake pans and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the frosting.
Source: adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Chocolate Frosting
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Place the chocolate chips, half and half, and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter and chocolate melt and the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk the confectioner's sugar into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Place this mixture in a large mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator until completely cooled. Once the mixture has cooled, beat on a high speed until smooth and easy to spread.
Frost the cake.
Source: adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Nut Bars

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces at room temperature
1 egg 
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk 
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9 inch pan. 
Sift the flour, sugar, and cocoa together into a large bowl. Add the butter to the mixture and stir until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Add the egg and mix well. Set 1 1/2 cups of the mixture aside and press the rest into the pan. Bake this in the oven for 10 minutes. 
Place the sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Stir this mixture before placing it in the microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour this evenly over the crust. Add the nuts and remaining chocolate chips to the set aside crumb mixture. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. 
Bake this in the oven for about 25 minutes. When done baking, allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. 
Source: adapted from Hershey's Recipe Collection 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oyster Crackers

3/4 cup canola oil
1 envelope (1 ounce) dry ranch dressing
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
14 ounces oyster crackers

Combine the canola oil, ranch dressing, dill, lemon pepper, and garlic powder in a jar. Shake these ingredients in the jar until they are well combined.
Place the oyster crackers in a large bowl. Pour the oil mixture over the crackers. Stir the crackers and the oil mixture together with a rubber spatula until all of the crackers are coated. Stir the crackers every 15 minutes for 2 hours.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chicken and Orzo

1 pound chicken
1 cup chopped tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb orzo
4 cups chicken broth or water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Wash, dry, and cut the chicken into about 6 pieces. Place the chicken in a 9x13 pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Then, place the tomatoes and garlic on top of the chicken. Pour the olive oil over the chicken. Place in the oven for 45 minutes.
Once the chicken has baked in the oven, pour either the chicken broth or water in the pan along with the orzo. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the mixture starts bubbling.
Source: adapted from Eleni Melirrytos

Friday, July 1, 2011


4 eggs
1 cup olive oil
24 ounces spinach
1 large leek
4 green onions
1/2 cup dill
5 garlic cloves
12 ounces feta cheese
1 package (1 lb) phyllo dough

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with salt, pepper, and the olive oil. Finely chop the spinach, leek, green onions, dill, and garlic. Place these ingredients in the bowl with the egg mixture. Add the feta cheese and mix all of the ingredients together.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush the sides and bottom of a large 9x13 pan with olive oil. Roll out half of the phyllo dough and place under a damp cloth. Place one sheet of phyllo in the pan, and brush with olive oil. Repeat this process with half of the phyllo dough. Then, spread the spinach mixture evenly in the pan and continue layering and brushing the rest of the phyllo dough with olive oil.
Once done, cut into triangle or rectangular pieces and place in the oven for about an hour, or until the dough is evenly browned.
Source: adapted from Eleni Melirrytos


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