Saturday, August 23, 2008

Baby Shower Cake

My sister is expecting twins (a girl and a boy) so I made this cake for her baby shower. The bottom cake is a 10" double layer chocolate cake covered with white fondant and light blue, medium blue, and dark blue various size dots. The top cake is a 6" double layer yellow cake covered with white fondant and light pink, medium pink, and dark pink dots with a pink fondant bow. I think this was a big hit at the shower. I don't think I will be making too many of these though. The decorating part took 5+ hours and the baking took another 3+ hours. I think it took so long because I had some trouble with the fondant. Climate definitely affected the consistency. I use a homemade fondant (you can find the recipe if you search my blog), but I am used to making it in hot, dry Phoenix, AZ. When I made it in humid Austin, TX it was very sticky and soft and hard to roll out. I added extra powdered sugar and that help a little. I think it turned out ok considering the trouble I had with it.

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

I made another Dorie recipe yesterday and I think they turned out pretty good. I wouldn't say they were fabulous, but I would consider making them again. I halved the recipe and made 30 cookies. They don't expand very much when you cook them so I recommend making them larger than the teaspoonful balls that the directions state. In order to make the recommended yield you need to make tablespoonful balls. They had a nice soft and chewy consistency. If I was more of an oatmeal cookie fan then I would probably like these cookies more but I'm more of a chocolate chip cookie kind of girl so I thought they were ok.

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (I used a combination of bittersweet chocolate, semi sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips)

Adjust the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, Silpat baking mats, or foil. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, spices, baking soda, and salt just to blend.

With an electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer fitted with a paddle), beat the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients slowly, beating only until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. (At this point, the dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

If the dough is at room temperature, drop rounded tablespoonsful two inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. If the dough has been refrigerated, scoop it out by rounded teaspoonfuls and roll the balls between your palms. Place them 2″ apart on the sheets. Press the balls gently with the heal of your hand until they are about 1/2″ thick. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are golden and just firm around the edges.

Lift the cookies onto wire racks with a wide metal spatula - they will firm as they cool. Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Makes about 60 cookies.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Since we just got back from vacation our pantry and refrigerator are pretty empty. I plan to go grocery shopping tomorrow but in the meantime I had to make do with what I had. I found some frozen chicken and hamburger buns and BBQ sauce so I wanted to attempt some Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. They were delicious! I would definitely make this again.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
by Me

Chicken breasts (one per sandwich or 1/2 per sandwich for smaller buns)
Hamburger buns (one per sandwich)
BBQ sauce (1/4 cup per sandwich)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in Crockpot and cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or until chicken shreds easily. Set Crockpot to warm and add BBQ sauce and pepper. Serve between hamburger buns.

Monday, August 4, 2008


We decided to reinstate our meatless Monday night tradition. We started this at the beginning of the year but it seemed to fade away when our schedules got busy. Then it turned into just eating whatever was in the fridge or pantry. For a while I was so busy with work that we had take out almost everyday of the week. Now things have calmed down a little and I've actually had time to grocery shop and cook homemade meals. Tonight I made Manicotti. This was the first time I've ever made Manicotti. I was planning to follow the recipe on the back of the package of noodles but the brand I bought didn't have a recipe so I made it up as I went along.

By Me

1 pkg Manicotti noodles
1 pint ricotta cheese
8 oz frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid removed
2 eggs
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cube chicken bullion (or 1/2 cup chicken broth and omit 1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Bring a large pot of water (seasoned with salt) to a boil. Add manicotti shells and boil for 10 minutes. Drain water and set shells aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and brown garlic in the butter. Remove pan from heat. Add milk, flour, and chicken bullion. Stir until dissolved. Place pan over low heat and stir until slightly thickened. Add spaghetti sauce and continue to simmer over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together spinach, eggs, ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper. In a baking dish (9x13 inch pan or casserole dish), cover the bottom with 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce mixture. Fill the cooked manicotti shells with the spinach/ricotta mixture. Place filled shells in the baking dish, in a single layer. Top shells with the remaining spaghetti sauce mixture. Top
the dish with 1/3 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve topped with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crash Hot Potatoes

This recipe seems to make an appearance almost daily on my Google Reader lately so I thought I should give it a try. It's ok but I don't think it is worthy of a fantastic or yum-o. I really don't understand the popularity of this recipe in the blogosphere. I prefer regular baked potatoes fully loaded. But if you want to try something a little different you can certainly give this a shot.

Crash Hot Potatoes

- red potatoes
- season salt
- pepper
- olive oil
- herbs and seasoning (garlic, rosemary)

1. Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make, and cook them until they’re fork-tender.
3. Next, generously drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan. This will mean the difference between the potatoes sticking and not sticking, so don’t be shy here.
4. When the potatoes are tender, place them on the cookie sheet. Giving them plenty of room to spread out.
5. Next, grab your potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes. Then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it.
6. Repeat until all are flattened.
7. Next, brush the tops rather generously with olive oil.
8. Next, sprinkle the salt, pepper, and herbs on top.
9. Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes. Or until they’re golden and crispy and sizzling.

Rum & Coke Chicken

I searched through several recipe books but I didn't quite find the combination I was looking for so I created my own recipe for lunch today. I haven't gone grocery shopping in two weeks so I was very limited with available ingredients. I was very impressed with how this turned out. I already have another recipe experiment in mind that I want to try later this week.

Rum & Coke Chicken
by Me

2 Chicken Breasts
4 oz Coke (1/3 can)
2 Tbsp Rum
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Trim chicken breasts of excess fat. Place in a rimmed dish with the remaining ingredients and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Preheat a George Foreman grill or other indoor or outdoor grill. Place chicken on the grill for about 7 minutes on each side. Baste with marinade every 2-3 minutes. Chicken is done when juices run clear.

Cajun Style Blackened Snapper

Chase went to Leelee's fish market in Tempe this week. He brought home the most delicious Red Snapper and Catfish. I've never cooked Red Snapper before so I looked up some recipes on the internet. I usually find the best recipes on and searching for the one with the highest ratings. It worked like a charm this time too. This fish was light and yummy with a thin crust of spices.

Cajun Style Blackened Snapper


  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 (6 ounce) fillets red snapper
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, melted


  1. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat for 10 minutes, or until extremely hot.
  3. Dip fish into melted butter, and sprinkle each fillet generously with the seasoning mixture. Place the fish fillets in the hot skillet. Pour 1 tablespoon of butter over each fillet. Cook until the coating on the underside of the fillet turns black, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the fish over. Pour another tablespoon of butter over the fish, and cook for 2 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.