Raspberry Gratin

As a dieter, I find little indulgences really special. Which brings me to pinterest. I saw this post from Lottie + Doof and knew I had to make it.

For a long time I was afraid of fats and sugars, it’s taken me a while to realize that they’re ok, and even neccessary. This comes in at just 4 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fat. I am sold. And it’s delicious.

Lottie + Doof just said, have at it, you know what to do. So I did. Here’s my version of the recipe, single serve style.

Raspberry Gratin (Russian Gratin with Raspberries)
10 raspberries
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 packed teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat broiler.

Place raspberries at the bottom of ramekin. Coat with sour cream. Top with an even layer of brown sugar.

Broil, ensuring the cream doesn’t burn, 5- 10 minutes.

Difficulty: 1 Easiest recipe yet and oh, so yummy!

Taste: 5 So yummy! I couldn’t slow myself down enough to savor every bite.

Clean-up: 1 This little ramekin is going straight into the dishwasher.

Overall: This is so satisfying. I even found myself gulping the last of the liquid from the dish. The boys didn’t get any. There is no way I am sharing.

What I’d do differently: For a real treat, I might use whole fat sour cream and a little bit more brown sugar. OOH! and more berries. Yes.

The reheat factor: That’s the beauty of single serving recipes, no leftovers.

Lottie + Doof got this from Smitten Kitchenwho got the recipe from the book New American Classics by Jeremiah Tower.

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Fajitas on Homemade Flour Tortillas with Zucchini Fritters

R and I went to a library surplus book sale yesterday and got 41 books for $21! It was so exciting. Of course, I got cookbooks. Seven of them to be exact.
R told me we won’t be buying books again for a LONG time, and I believe him. That makes me a little sad, but it will give me time to work through my massive, massive collection.

The fun thing about starting this blog is it has forced me to be creative with the meals I feed my family, more resourceful, and try new things.

One of those things is flour tortillas.

This tortilla was the best looking of the bunch, really.

As a side note: frying vegetables does not ensure that a 2-year-old will eat them.

The cookbooks I used were Heathy Kids, a library surplus sale find. Also, one of my favorites, The Great American Cookbook, I have cooked several recipes from it and most have turned out fantastic.

Today I made fajitas on homemade flour tortillas with zucchini fritters. I served them with a 1/1 ratio of lite sour cream and lite ranch with a pinch of cayenne, and Walmart’s fresh salsa and a little cilantro.

Fabulous Fajitas
from Healthy Kids
Serves 4
Calls for:
juice of 2 large limes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Spike (I had no idea what this was, so I used Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle)
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or soy chicken breasts
4 large whole wheat flour tortillas (this is where I deviated and made my own)

In a small mixing bowl combine juice, oil, and spices. Mix until blended. Put chicken in a large bowl, pour lime mixture over chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in fridge at least 1 hour.

Preheat broiler to high. Remove chicken from the bowl and broil until browned, 5-7 minutes. Turn and cook on other side 5-7 minutes.

Warm tortillas in a 400 degree oven. Cut chicken into strips. Serve chicken over tortillas and garnish with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Wrap and serve.

Difficulty: 2 Marinate chicken and broil. Easy. I did have to leave the chicken in the oven another 10 minutes, but the result was moist and perfect in the end.

Taste: 4 The chicken smelled good and tasted even better. I worried that a skinless chicken breast would get all rubbery, but the oil from the marinade protected it. R loved it, and J wouldn’t even try it.

Clean-up: 1 I lined a baking dish with foil and placed a rack covered in cooking spray inside it, so all I had to do was wash the rack.

Overall: It was good and something I would make again, this time using store-bought flour tortillas for the boys and gluten-free flour tortillas or white corn tortillas for myself. This time I used leaf lettuce to wrap it. Way messy.

What I’d do differently: I might ad a little garlic when cooking this dish next time, I missed that flavor a little.

The reheat factor: R took it to work and said it reheats well.

Mary Beth’s Zucchini Fritters
from Health Kids
Serves 4
Calls for:
2 medium zucchinis
1 medium onion
2 cage-free eggs
3/4-1 cup unflavored bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Grate Zucchinis and onion into large bowl (I used a food processor) stir in eggs and bread crumbs, add enough milk to make the batter the consistency of lumpy oatmeal. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet and drop zucchini mixture by the tablespoon into oil. Fry on each side until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Difficulty: 3 The directions were simple, but I definitely had to cook them longer than 1 minute per side. Medium high heat was much too hot and I ended up scorching the outside of some without fully cooking the inside.

Taste: I did not eat this because I used Panko and I cannot eat gluten. I didn’t have time to crush up some cornflakes. R ate them, so that says something. J wouldn’t touch them.

Clean-up: 3 I used several dishes to make this dish, but fortunately all were dishwasher sage except my pan.

Overall: It isn’t a dish I would make again. I have to find another sneaky way to feed my men veggies.

What I’d do differently: I would definitely use less milk next time, my batter was soggy.

The reheat factor: R said it was just fine reheated.

Flour Tortillas
from the Great American Cookbook
makes 12 tortillas
Calls for:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 TBS shortening or white vegetable fat, diced
about 1/2 cup hot water

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Add shortening and rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured counter and kneed until smooth. Divide dough into 12 balls (I then placed them on a parchment covered baking sheet) and cover with a clean dish towel for 15 minutes. Roll out each ball into a 7-inch circle one at a time, keeping remaining dough balls covered. Stack rolled out dough between sheets of parchment. Heat a grill pan or a large heavy skillet (I used an electric griddle) over medium high heat, and cook each tortilla about 1-2 minutes, until it is browned and puffed up a little.

Difficulty: 3 It is so much easier to make flour tortillas than I had originally thought. The only difficulties I had were that the batter was too dry, I should have added more hot water. I also do not own a rolling pin, so the tortillas were a little uneven and some broke around the edges.

Taste: I did not partake of these tortillas, but R said they were really tasty. They were not soft tortillas like I thought they would be. They were crispy on the outsides. Not a bad quality, just different. These babies do not fold, nor do they wrap.

Clean-up: 2 Wiping an electric griddle is so easy it should be a crime, and the mixing bowl is happily sitting clean in the dishwasher right now.

Overall: I think if I were to take a little more time making the dough perfect and using a rolling pin these would be awesome. I would LOVE to try them again, but, I wonder if perhaps going to the grocery store and picking out some whole wheat tortillas would be easier. These are almost not worth the time.

What I’d do differently: If there is a next time, I will be sure to add enough water to the dough.

The reheat factor: R said he reheated them with the lid on the plastic ware so the condensation would soften them a bit. Appearently it worked!

Here I said I’d back off with all the recipes, and I’ve gone and done another three! Oh, well.

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Filed under Chicken, vegitables

Fabulous Sunday Dinner

As the first post I have made with a real in person cook book, I decided to use the one my mom taught me how to cook with. Her cooking philosophy was always “If you can read, you can cook.” I am so thankful she inspired the love of cooking in me and taught me how. My memories in the kitchen are some of the best memories I have with her.

The book is the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the one with the red checked cover. Mine is a newer version than hers and doesn’t have all the recipes I remembered (it also adds nutrition information which totally rocks), but it still brought back some happy memories! I made the coffee cake as a little girl.

First I made Chicken Keiv. It was relatively easy and smelled amazing.


See the melty herby insides?

I followed that with my favorite recipe for pilaf: Spinach and Carrot Rice Pilaf. I got this recipe from another source, the health department food calendar. It was awesome


I finished dinner with the very first thing I ever made by myself as an 8 year old. Buttermilk Coffee Cake.Something wasn’t right though, it didn’t turn out looking quite how I remembered.

Chicken Keiv
From Better Homes and Gardens
Serves 4
Calls for:
1 TBS chopped green onion
1 TBS snipped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 of a 1/4 pound stick of butter, chilled.
1 beaten egg
1 TBS water
1/4 cup all-purpose four
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko as none was specified)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 TBS butter
1 TBS cooking oil.

Here I’ll paraphrase the directions:
In a small bowl mix green onion, parsley and garlic; set aside. Cut butter in half lengthwise and in half again. Mix egg and water in a shallow bowl, in two other shallow bowls put breadcrumbs and flour, respectively.

Pound chicken with a mallet until flattened (1/8 inch thick). Salt and pepper chicken. Sprinkle with green onion mixture. Place butter in the center and press edges to seal (I used toothpicks). Place chicken into  2 quart rectangular baking dish, cover and set in fridge 1-24 hours (overnight).

In a large skillet melt butter; add oil, add chicken and brown. Return to baking dish and cook 15-18 minutes until no longer pink. Serve topped with drippings.

Difficulty: 3 The directions were simple enough, but it was time consuming. I was about to put a 4 just because it seemed to take forever.

Taste: I did not eat this because I used Panko and I cannot eat gluten. I thought of using corn flakes but it didn’t sound too appealing. I had leftover chicken tacos instead. I asked R for his real opinion and he said “Eh, it was ok.”

Clean-up: 3 Come on, 3 shallow dishes, a skillet, and a casserole dish, the meat mallet, the cutting board and the kitchen shears. No likey. However, I have a good dishwasher handy.

Overall: It looked good, smelled good, but was perhaps to labor heavy with too little satisfaction to be made in this house again.

What I’d do differently: There was a variation on this dish that called for cheese in the chicken rather than butter, which I think would be amazing. I might add a vegetable or two, as well. Spinach or broccoli. I might try a mexican variation with pepper jack and cornflakes, that way I can eat it. then I’d top it with a fresh smooth-style salsa.

The reheat factor: R said that the flavors had a chance to combine, and the breadcrumbs soaked up all the liquids, so the chicken was moist and tender. “So much better the next day!” he said.

Spinach and Carrot Rice Pilaf
From a Utah Health Department cooking calendar
Easily serves four.
Calls for:
1 TBS butter
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb fresh spinach, chopped

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium high heat. Add carrot and onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until onion is golden. Stir in rice and cook another 3-4 minutes or until rice starts to brown. Stir in stock. Increase to high and boil. Immediately reduce to low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Stir in spinach and cook until heated through.

Difficulty: 2 Easy, easy, easy. I rated it a two because you have to really watch the pot while sauteing.

Taste: 4 R and I love it. Even my 2-year-old eats it. It was no different this time around.

Clean-up:2 Let the dish soak in water for a few minutes, then wash.

Overall: As a dish with such simple ingredients, you would think it would taste terrible, but it really brings out the best in the brown rice.

What I’d do differently: As you can see in the pictures, I did add parmesan cheese at the end. We regularly do that. Sometimes I’ll add a little splash of white wine. Other vegetables we have used include broccoli, zucchini and kale. Sometimes I substitute butter for olive oil. I also might try subbing in some coconut oil pineapple and other fun ingredients to this easily adaptable dish.

The reheat factor: This always reheats well. It is a little gooier, and if you add cheese, its a little meltier.

Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Better Homes and Gardens cookbook
Calls for:
Serves 18
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
2 tsp baking powder (Ah, I forgot to add this one! This is why it looked so flat!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
1 1/3 cup buttermilk, or sour milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used walnuts)

Grease 9x13x2 baking pan; set aside. in a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs ( I couldn’t achieve this step for some reason); set aside 1/2 cup. Stir baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into remaining crumb mixture.

In a bowl, combine the egg and milk. Add at once to crumb mixture. Spoon into baking dish. Combine reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle onto batter

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Difficulty: 2 This is a really easy cake. Apparently the problem I had was reading the recipe thouroghly. I had trouble getting course crumbs, too.

Taste: 4 I love this cake, although I couldn’t eat it this time around. R thought it was “okay….”

Clean-up: 1 I love a one dish clean up!

Overall: Since I made mistakes, I cannot fairly say it wasn’t good. It was edible, and my son loved it, too.

What I’d do differently: Read the directions, ha ha! Perhaps I’ll try the fruit coffee cake next time around, apples, or peaches would be amazing in this dish. I think I might try baking it with a gluten free all purpose flour. I really felt like I was missing out tonight.

The reheat factor: A whole week later and R is still eating it. Just the thought of cold coffee cake is yucky to me, especially since I left out an ingredient.

Next time I promise one recipe at a time.

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Filed under Chicken, dessert, rice, vegitables

On the road dinner.

Classy, real classy, Kaela. As you can see we ate dinner on the road, R switched to the day shift and J and I are taking advantage of his time. We went to see our possible reception area, the train museum in Ogden, a thrift store for some books and Pyrex, and Target for those hard to find gums and a $3 shirt.

Basically this is my excuse for not reviewing a recipe today like I had planned. We stopped by the grocery store, and I got leaf lettuce, some Tyson bagged ready to eat chicken, stone ground Dijon mustard, sun-dried tomatoes and a nectarine. Just wrap like a burrito and, to be honest, it was bliss.  I had about four of those babies.  Although I would have preferred my favorite Walla Walla Sweet Onion mustard, it was heavenly.

I did get a couple of cookbooks, so I’ll be back on the wagon in no time!

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A Peanut Butter Pie, for Mikey.

I am a day late making this. I waited until my Ricky got home from a trip. He loved it.

Jennie, thank you for the reminder to show our loved ones we care. My prayers are with you. http://www.injennieskitchen.com/2011/08/for-mikey.html

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Four Step Chicken with Roasted Pearl Onions and Grapes on a Bed of Black Rice

Four Step Chicken with Pearl Onions and Grapes

This is my first post! How exciting! I have a huge list of recipes to try in my bookmarks, so many in fact that I embarked on mission I called recipe card project. While my hands were cramping up, I found Cookmarked and have been happily using that ever since.

One thing I had been DYING to try Melissa D’Arabian’s Four Step Chicken, ever since I sat in bed watching  The Next Food Network Star season 5 in bed after a wisdom tooth removal with a newborn. It looked so painlessly easy, but I never did, because she dredges her chicken in flour and I am gluten intolerant.

The other day I was in a local health food store and picked up a single serving packet of Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix, and I had an idea. I quickly looked up the recipe, and I knew I had to make it.

The accompaniment was a bit of a challenge. I had no idea what to put in the sauce and I came upon a beautiful recipe from Sunday Suppers and I just knew.

Four Step Chicken

Melissa D’Arabian

  • Salt and pepper some chicken. Toss in a bag with some flour until well coated. Add oil to a skillet, and cook chicken on both sides until done. Take chicken out of pan and set aside until ready to use again.
  • Add aromatics to the pan and saute.
  • Add liquids, deglaze the pan and reduce liquids by half.
  • Add a little butter to the sauce and whisk in. Return chicken to the pan and cook until warmed through, making sure to coat with sauce.

Roasted Pearl Onions and Grapes

20 oz red pearl onions
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes (about a 1/2 pound)

  • Preheat the over to 425 F with the rack in the middle.
  •  Blanch your onions (unpeeled) in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath, and then peel them + cut off root ends.
  • Bring onions, vinegar, + water to a simmer in an oven proof heavy skillet with butter, sugar, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of salt + 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Uncover skillet + transfer it to the oven. Roast onions, stirring once or twice until most liquid has evaporated (15-18 minutes). Stir in grapes and roast, stirring once or twice until liquid glazes onions + grapes (5-8 minutes). Discard bay leaf. Serve !

That’s it! Well, kinda. I had to make changes to make these recipes work together. After cooking 4 ounces of chicken dredged in two tablespoons of Pamela’s Mix and placing it in the microwave to keep it warm (no heat, this is a trick from my mother-in-law,) I added the half a cup of pearl onions, a little garlic and some rosemary. Once they had cooked a little I added a four ounces of chicken stock which turned out to be a bit much, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and an ounce of white wine. I placed them in the oven for the time listed on the Sunday Suppers recipe. I added the grapes cooked them for the time listed on the recipe, added a quarter tablespoon butter and then added the chicken back to the sauce. Cooked a little longer and layered it on my plate.  It just served me. Kiddo wanted Chicken Nuggets.

I tossed the two on top a half and half mix of brown and black rice, and it was love.

Subtle and sweet, the addition of rosemary really complemented the dish. Garlic was a good add in, too. Chicken tasted a bit like pancake before the sauce was added, then it tasted AMAZING.  The recipe for the onions and grapes was time consuming and it took a little more work than I would like to put in on a normal weeknight. For a weekend though, I think this could be a real crowd pleaser. Since I changed the recipe quite a bit I think the most fair thing to do in this situation is just say it was lick the plate good, and I will be making it again! I literally did lick the plate.

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Filed under Chicken, gluten free

Recipe Review blog

All over the internet you see dozens of copycat recipes, each claiming to be original. While I don’t really care about all that, I do want to offer my own spin. I want to cook all the recipes I find interesting, post my own pictures, and then give them a fair review. Mostly I’ll be using cookbooks, but sometimes I’ll use something cool on a blog I follow or a pin I couldn’t resist on Pinterest.

I am not a terrific housekeeper, I don’t take outstanding photos (I need a little practice with that,) I don’t really even know how to cook and writing definitely is not my forte. This is my journey to self improvement, and heck, you might learn something with me.

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