Posts Tagged ‘milk’

Lighter Chicken Bellagio

Oven-fried chicken with prosciutto, arugula and a guiltless pesto-asiago cream sauce aka a lighter version of the popular dish “Chicken Bellagio”.

Lighter Chicken Bellagio 2

Yesterday’s interview for an adjunct teaching position went very well. In fact they were quite impressed with me! The down-side is that they may only have one class for me to teach in the upcoming term (which translates to a small paycheck). But they might have more next term which starts in December, so getting my foot in the door now could pay off. I have lots to think about and if you know me at all you are aware of my very pensive mind. Which is a nice way of saying I think too darn much, especially when it involved life decisions.

Lighter Chicken Bellagio 1

In an effort to not over-think things let’s soothe the mind, body, and soul with some comfort food that’s been lightened up. I first had Chicken Bellagio at an Italian restaurant in Rochester, NY but apparently it is also a very popular dish at the Cheesecake Factory. Either way, after experiencing it I decided I needed to make a homemade version that is slightly healthier. The chicken is oven-fried and served over whole wheat pasta tossed in a light pesto-asiago cream sauce with prosciutto. Top it off with some fresh arugula and it’s a sight for sore eyes!

One year ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Three years ago: Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Basil Roasted Peaches
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Blueberry-Cherry Buckle

The end of summer brings blueberries and cherries, which pair together in this blueberry-cherry buckle with a crumble topping. Served with fresh whipped cream!

Blueberry-Cherry Buckle

When I was first trying to figure out how/where to store all my furniture and excess stuff upon leaving Memphis to live with my parents while continuing my job search I did not imagine I would need storage for more than 3 months, or at least I hoped I would not. Here I am 6 months later thinking that maybe I should have taken my uncle’s advice to sell most of my stuff. It would have put money in my pocket and saved money on storage, but over the years I have slowly accumulated big-person furniture and really didn’t want to sell furniture I really liked just to buy more again later. After 6 months of paying for storage however, it would have made more sense to do so. Especially since as summer creeps to and end I am remembering that most of my fall and all of my winter attire is in storage. But surely someone will realize how awesome I am and snatch me up before I need to worry about buying a new wardrobe.

In the meantime, let’s soak up the summer. The best thing about summer is all the fantastic fruits which are in season. It started out with the berries but later in the summer, such as now, we get things like cherries and peaches which are only good this time of year. You will find me in a corner making myself sick eating those fruits as fast as I can get my hands on them. After picking 9 pounds of blueberries my dad and  I were on a mission to find the best ways to use them (besides going straight into my gullet). After picking sweet cherries the deal was sealed as my dad pulled out this recipe for a blueberry-cherry buckle. Don’t forget the fresh whipped cream!

One year ago: Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars

Two years ago: Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Burgers

Three years ago: Dark Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
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Black Cherry-Peach Crisp Ice Cream

If you thought fruit crisp topped with ice cream was good, try mixing it all together. Sweet and crunchy black cherry-peach crisp layered throughout vanilla ice cream.

Black Cherry-Peach Crisp Ice Cream 3

The affliction of living with a food blogger is waiting to devour the food until all the photos have been taken at all possible angles. Waiting to be given the go-ahead to eat that gorgeous plate/bowl of food is just as torturous for you as it is for us, I promise. But how do you know for sure when the photo shoot has been completed, particularly for multi-step recipes such as ice cream? Without asking it’s a risky business.

Black Cherry-Peach Crisp Ice Cream 4

Yes, this ice cream was dug into before I was finished (photo evidence above). It’s my fault for not stressing this fact to my parents but I was still upset to find a large chunk already scooped out, especially when it was not even completely set yet. Normally I don’t bother with pictures of ice cream in the container but I purposely used a loaf pan this time to get all stupid-food blogger on you by putting ice cream in a baking pan and then taking aerial shots of it being scooped out. Like those first steps in pristine just-fallen white snow. I’ll just have to make more ice cream soon – darn.

Black Cherry-Peach Crisp Ice Cream 1

Thankfully the flavor of the ice cream did not suffer from it’s premature scooping. My parents’ inability to wait just shows how much they could not wait to try it. It starts out simple enough with a vanilla base which is then layered with bits of black-cherry peach crisp (notice those beautiful chunks of crisp topping in the post-churn/pre-freeze photo above). I baked a crisp just to turn it into ice cream. Which means this ice cream tastes just like a black cherry-peach crisp a la mode. Cannot really blame my parents, can I?

Black Cherry-Peach Crisp Ice Cream 2

One year ago: Greek Yogurt Everything Bagels

Three years ago: Cosmic Brownies
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Sour Patch Kids Cake

Get a serious sweet-and-sour fix with this Sour Patch Kids Cake. Lemon cake, lemon frosting and a ton of Sour Patch Kids!

Sour Patch Kids Cake 1

More new nephew (newphew?) news! His name is Griffin Watson, born at 10:46 pm on 7/1/14 (at least in California), and weighed in at 6lbs 11 oz, 20.5 inches. Here’s another cute picture my brother shared (CLICK HERE). I cannot wait to see a picture of Luke and Griffin together! To celebrate I am giving you cake. Sour Patch Kid covered cake to be exact. The cake itself is lemon flavored, as is the frosting, and is decorated with Sour Patch Kid gummies and covered in any remnant Sour Patch sweet-but-sour sugar that collected at the bottom of the bag. “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet” indeed. Hopefully Griffin will be mostly sweet rather than sour, just like his big brother :-).

Sour Patch Kids Cake 2

This cake was actually made for a friend’s birthday. As you can guess when he told me he loved citrus things and Sour Patch Kids I took him at his word and made a lemony-Sour Patch covered cake. And he loved it! The inside was actually rainbow colored just like the surprise-rainbow lemon cake I shared awhile back (the method for creating that design ends up making 2 full cakes) which made it even more fun. The recipe here however does not reflect that method as I have left that secret to be discovered in the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook. If you haven’t checked it out yet you must!

One year ago: Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

Two years ago: Shortbread Cookies
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Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream

Finish off strawberry season with this homemade strawberry ice cream. The strawberries and roasted with balsamic vinegar for an exceptional flavor!

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream 1

What a whirlwind of a week! I traveled all over the place and got to see a lot of friends, including a wedding, but I have to admit I am glad I am done driving long distances for awhile. It’d be wonderful if everyone lived in the same city or at least state but at the same time it’s awfully nice to have places to visit.

I made this ice cream before I left on my journey. The last batch of strawberries my dad and I picked were starting to look a little sad which meant they were the perfect candidates for some ice cream. I roasted them in the oven with some balsamic vinegar, pureed them and mixed into the ice cream base before churning. When it came to putting the ice cream in the freezer to harden further it took a lot of self control to not dig in right away – it was so good! Super creamy and a rich flavor thanks to the roasting and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream 2

One year ago: Simple Chicken & Sweet Pepper Stir Fry

Two years ago: Strawberries and Cream Pie

Three years ago: Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie
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Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip just got even better with the addition of goat cheese. This super creamy dip is perfect for any occasion.

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip 1

This mini road trip of mine has been a lot of fun and I am so glad I thought of doing this on my way to Rochester, NY for my friend’s wedding. The only problem is figuring out how best to divide my time. Before setting out I thought I had it all planned out but of course every stop I make there never seems to be enough time and wish had an entire month instead of just one week. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego now? Cleveland, OH! I hope to check out the location for their Tabletop board game cafe while I am there. But in the meantime, check out this dip.

Everyone loves a good spinach artichoke dip, especially the creamy sinful ones. I once made a healthier version using Greek yogurt but now it’s time to share it’s more devious counterpart – goat cheese spinach artichoke dip. Although it’s not too terribly unhealthy the cream cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, and milk were all essential to creating this incredibly creamy dip. I started out by adding only 4 ounces of goat cheese but ended up adding the entire 8 ounce log because I simply love goat cheese. Apparently many other people share this sentiment with me as it was quickly devoured.

P.S. Thank you to my lovely hand-model, Sherrill!

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip 2

One year ago: Healthier Elote

Two years ago: Banana Peanut Butter Bread Pudding
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Grown-Up Macaroni and Cheese

Boxed macaroni and cheese cannot compete with the three cheeses in this grown-up version. Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and blue cheese will rock your taste buds.

Secret Recipe Club

Happy Memorial Day! And also a happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day. This month I was assigned to Dena’s blog, Oh! You Cook! Not only is she a blogger, she is also a librarian by day and has a cookbook called The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook. Regardless of your dietary restrictions however she has scads of recipes everyone can enjoy such as Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole, Chubby-Hubby Truffles, and even Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Fried Oatmeal. Talk about incredible! But with the Memorial holiday I had my sights set on her macaroni and cheese.

This particular mac and cheese is a huge upgrade from the boxed stuff (not that I don’t enjoy that from time to time). It is made with three types of cheese, sharp chedder, Gruyere, and blue cheese. The combination of those three makes for one awesome mac and cheese sauce. Which speaking of I must warn you, while making the cheese sauce for this recipe I was worried that it should have cooked down further or used less milk as it seemed like far too much sauce for the amount of noodles. However once it baked in the oven it was perfect. Do not be concerned with the seemingly excessive amount of sauce pre-baked, it will turn out just right.

Grown-Up Macaroni and Cheese

One year ago: Spaghetti Avocado

Three years ago: Baked Zucchini Fries with Balsamic Aioli
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Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole

Creamy wild rice and fresh asparagus come together in this baked side dish. Serve it alongside your favorite cut of meat – it’ll go with just about anything.

Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole 1

Let’s talk plastic bags. I try to use reusable shopping bags wherever I go and have already told my story about them confusing retail but not grocery cashiers, yet sometimes they like to wait in the car instead of coming into the store with me. Such occasions result in a double dose of annoyance because not only do I have to get plastic bags but the cashiers have a habit of using excessive amounts of them. Yesterday I had one bag with a single can of black beans and another with just a block of cheese and container of sour cream. Apparently those three items would not get along if placed in the same plastic bag. I understand they don’t want the bags to break but that’s just silly. My milk was also bagged, which is not a light item and conveniently already possesses a handle. This is why I prefer self-checkout. Alas, I will just bring them back for recycling.

In other news (I need a new transition phrase because that one gets used a lot), I made a side dish! They appear so infrequently on this blog that I get excited when there’s one to share. Especially when it is something that pairs so well with a variety of things. Grilled steak? Definitely. BBQ chicken? You bet. I served it with apple jelly-glazed pork chops and it was wonderful. Wild rice and fresh asparagus are mixed together in a creamy sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, and baked until bubbly.

Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole 2

One year ago: Baked Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Three years ago: White Bean Chicken Chili
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Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

This hearty breakfast casserole is easy to prepare and will completely satisfy with sausage, eggs, cheese, bell peppers, and a crouton base.

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole 2

My laptop computer has been on the fritz lately. More than half of the time it freezes up doing even the simplest tasks such as opening Word. (Imagine my annoyance trying to work on this post.) I’ve scanned, rescanned, and cleaned out some files but nothing has helped. Granted it is pushing 7 years old but it spent 2 of those years not connected to the internet. That had to save it a little bit right? Either way, I have a bad feeling it is on its last leg and have begun baking up all the important files. I don’t think I could handle a scare like that after my USB incident.

Anyway, I am sure what you are really interested in is this breakfast casserole. It has the works for making up my favorite kind of breakfast casserole: sausage, egg, cheese, and bell peppers. Be aware the you must prepare it the night before and takes about an hour to cook, which is unsuitable for most weekday breakfasts, but perfect for weekends, brunch or even breakfast for dinner!

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole 1

Three years ago: Funfetti Cheesecake Pudding Dump Cake
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Rainbow-Surprise Lemon Cake & Surprise-Inside Cakes Cookbook Giveaway

Traditionally frosting is the star of cake decorating, but what about the inside? Amanda Rettke proves that it’s the inside that counts with her cookbook, “Surprise-Inside Cakes”.

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When it comes to decorating cakes I am not an expert. Upon receiving the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook by Amanda Rettke (I Am Baker) I was a bit intimidated to go beyond the recipes for different layers of color and/or frosting without any cutting and cake-puzzle-assembling. It is truly impressive how many different interiors she was able to design and execute. But after reading through a few of the more complicated recipes I realized that with the right tools and some patience, paired with her excellent step-by-step photos and directions, I might be able to pull it off.

I really loved the smiley face cake and argyle cake but decided to start out small with one of the easier recipes – the rainbow cake. First I had to decide on a cake flavor. Amanda provides recipes for perfectly level cakes and frostings which can be used to create any of the surprise-inside cakes. However, you could also use your own recipe or even a boxed mix, I won’t tell. If using other recipes you may end up with a domed top which will need to be leveled off, unless of course you know that particular recipe does come out flat. Either way, a cake with these interior designs will look made from scratch no matter what recipe you choose.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 1

To see if a boxed mix would work, I decided to doctor up a white cake mix to create a lemon cake. (Did you know that rainbows taste like lemons? Well, at least this one does.) The cakes did dome but that was easily solved by slicing off the tops with a long serrated knife. After that I followed Amanda’s detailed instructions for assembling and frosting the cakes. I don’t think I’ve ever frosted such a smooth cake before.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 2

Upon that beautiful white scene I created my own balloon decorations using the cake-top scraps and leftover frosting. It looks like fondant doesn’t it!? Nope it’s something even better, something I have decided to call cake-ball-fondant! Yup, I am a genius. Instead of forming balls to be dipped in chocolate, roll flat with a rolling pin and cut out shapes with cookies cutters. Consider your mind blown.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 3

In order to find out exactly how I colored and assembled this cake you’ll have to read about it in the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook! To assist in keeping a copy into your hands asap I am giving away a copy of this awesome cookbook to one lucky reader. After checking out the recipe use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post to enter.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 4

One year ago: Baked Eggs with Crispy Hash Brown Crust

Two years ago: Cheesy Cat Treats

Three years ago: Funfetti Cake Batter Smoothie
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