Tuesday, September 29, 2009

easy, breesy, cheesy...

I apologize for not having more posts lately. I thought I had escaped the yucky crud going around...luckily I did not get the flu, but having a cold is miserable too! To me there is nothing more comforting than a hearty, creamy, delicious soup when you feel bad. Enter: Cheesy Broccoli Soup. This soup is full of flavor and slides right down the throat to warm the belly :) Plus, it's not hard to make so you don't have to stand for hours over a hot stove...

Cheesy Broccoli Soup
adapted from Taste of Home, Heartwarming Soups

2 cups water
2 cubes chicken bullion
1 pkg. (16 oz) frozen broccoli [chopped in processor]
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
3 T. AP flour
1 cup milk
1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed

Step 1: In large saucepan, bring water and bullion to a boil. Add broccoli. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup liquid.
Step 2: In another large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Whisk in flour until blended. Add the milk and cheese. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened and cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli and reserved cooking liquid.
Makes about 4 servings.

how do you like them apples?

OH. MY. GOSH. Let me introduce you to my new best friend, Praline-Apple Bread. This is the most decadent, savory, moist, flavorful bread I have ever tried. You are going to go NUTS over this for more than one reason... you'll know what I mean once you make it. I chose this recipe because fall seems to bring out the best in apples and apples seem to bring out the best in fall :) Make it now, thank me later. The only problem with this bread: I can't stop eating it.

Praline-Apple Bread
Southern Living, Sept. 2009

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 lb.)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 4 minutes.
Step 2: Beat sour cream and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until blended.
Step 3: Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in apples and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9X5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chopped pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.
Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.

Step 5: Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a 1-qt. heavy sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, and spoon over top of bread; let cool completely (about 1 hour).
Note: To freeze, cool bread completely; wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw at room temp.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Several people have asked if the food pictures I post are my own or from a website. The answer is they are definitely MY pictures. I take pictures of all final products. Just wanted to clear that up. Hope you all [in south Texas] are enjoying the cool weather. :)

Oh! If any of you have a fabulous recipe that you want me to try please send it my way! I love recipes that are passed down because I know they are yummy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

quick & easy tuna melts

Here it is... my first "quick & easy" post. I had to serve something fast tonight because I found a puppy wandering around lost earlier that needed tending to :)
I was really surprised at how incredibly YUMMY this sandwich is. Hubby loved it too! The only thing is, I wouldn't recommend eating this one in the car or on-the-go because it might get a little messy since you have to balance it on half a baguette. But it's soooo totally worth it! Enjoy...

Country French Tuna Melts
My H-E-B Texas Life

1 pkg.(81/2 oz.) Frozen Demi Baguettes, rosemary or multigrain [I just bought plain frozen demi baguettes]
1 pkg.(6 oz.) pre-sliced mild cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 cup Central Market Organics Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise [very important ingredient]
8 thin slices red onion (optional)
2 cans (5 oz.) tuna, packed in water, drained and flaked [I would recommend using 3 or 4 cans]
Salt and cracked pepper
2 large ripe tomatoes thin sliced

Step 1: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare baguette according to pkg. directions and slice lengthwise into halves.
Step 2: Line baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside. Increase oven temp. to 425 degrees F.
Step 3: Cut each slice of cheese diagonally into triangles and set aside. Spread each baguette half with 1 tbs. [be generous for the best flavor] mayonnaise and layer with 2 triangles of cheese, 1 slice red onion (rings separated), and 1/4 of the tuna. Season tuna to taste with salt and cracked pepper [I also added sweet relish to the tuna]. Top each half with 2 tomato slices, remaining triangle of cheese and another layer of red onions [optional].
Step 4: Place sandwich halves on prepared baking sheet and bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and sandwich is thoroughly heated.

Monday, September 21, 2009

chinese anyone?

If you like Chinese food, you are going to heart this recipe! Kung Pao chicken is my first attempt ever at an Asian dish and I have to say, it was delish. Oh, and who knew fried rice was that easy? Check this out:

Kung Pao Chicken

1 lb. boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1" pieces)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. green onions (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar [look in the Chinese cooking section at grocery store for this]
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Step 1: Combine the chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl
and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in a wok over medium heat, add chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from wok.
Step 2: Add green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and powdered ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.
Step 3: Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.
Step 4: Return chicken to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly. Top with additional green onions if desired.

Fried Rice


5 cups cooked leftover white rice (at least 1 day old) [I didn't have day-old rice so I just used 2 cups of Minute rice and prepared as directed on the box]
1 medium onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (minced) [I omitted]
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1/2 tbsp. turmeric [I omitted]
Soy sauce (to serve)
2 tbsp. oil (for frying) [I used sesame oil]

Step 1: Add a little bit of oil or cooking spray to heated fry pan. Add beaten eggs and scramble until fully cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 2: Heat wok and add oil. Add garlic, onion, and peas and carrots. Stir fry until vegetables have reached your desired tenderness. Add rice and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add turmeric and eggs. Mix well.
Step 3: Serve with soy sauce.

Friday, September 18, 2009

zucchini what!?

Anything sweet with zucchini in it just doesn't appeal to me. I guess I've never understood exactly what zucchini could possibly contribute to bread or cookies or cake...? Now all I can say is um YUM! Since I had an extra zucchini laying around, I went in search of a recipe to use it in and I found this one. I happened to have all the other ingredients to go with it so I thought I'd get out of my comfort zone a little and try it! If you love the lemon flavor and you like a cookie that is not too sweet but has a perfect blend of flavors this is your cookie! I LOVED them!

Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies
Martha Stuart's "Everyday Food"

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup confectioner's sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp. coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.
Step 2:
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Lett cool completely on wire racks. (Makes 25 cookies)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

testing 1, 2...

Welcome! I've designed this blog to simply be a cooking blog. Whether or not it turns into more, only time will tell. But before I start, you must know, I am not a chef or a French pastry artist. I am simply a new wife with one goal: learn to cook [better]. Since I seem to naturally have kind of a "knack" for it, I've decided that expanding my horizons would be an excellent way to fill in some of the down time during my post-college job hunt. Needless to say, my husband agrees! I will shamelessly admit that I don't try recipes that are not accompanied by a picture so I will always take pictures of my finished product to post with the recipes.

With all that said...whether you are a new wife, old wife, mom, college stu
dent, any, all, or none of these, whatev- and you share the same desire with me to cook [better ;)], you can use my experience as a handy resource knowing that the recipes have actually been tried AND taste yummy [because you know I wouldn't post them otherwise!]. Again, thanks for stopping by and hope you come back soon!

PS) I was going to wait until I found a cute blog design to publish the first recipe but I just can't wait any longer! Summer is almost up (everyone from Texas thinking praise the Lord!) and I have the most YUMMY summer recipe to share with you. I made these for my friend Meagan who came to visit for the day and I have to admit this is one of the BEST recipes I have ever tried. AND it's healthy!! Double points, right? Hubby went on and on about it when I heated up the leftovers for him. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! I found it at Sing For Your Supper and the original recipe is by Cooking Light. Here it is:

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas 

1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
12 ounces chicken breast
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup fresh corn kernels [I used frozen] 
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup salsa
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
cooking spray
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese [I used Monterrey Jack cheese]
[I also added 1/2 can black beans and diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce]

Step 1: Preheat broiler.
Step 2: Combine first 3 ingredients [in small bowl], stirring well.
Step 3: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; saute' for 3 minutes. Add onion, corn and zucchini [and beans, if using] to pan; saute for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and 2 tbsp. cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. 
Step 4: Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each serving with about 3/4 tsp. of remaining cilantro. Serve immediately. [You can top with lettuce & tomato after broiling OR place underneath chicken mixture before broiling]