Friday, July 29, 2011

Berry Filled Crepe Cups


I made this dessert for a family dinner we had a few weeks ago. Berries were just coming into season and I found some beautiful strawberries, blueberries and black raspberries. I was tired of the same old angle food cake with berries and whipped cream and I still had a bunch of crepes left over, so this worked perfectly. It was pretty easy to do, and really does make a great quick dessert for when company show up.

What You Need:

mixed berries, fresh or even frozen that have been thawed
a bit of sugar
whipped cream

What To Do:

Place your berries in a bowl and toss them with a bit of sugar. Place them aside and let them side for a while so that some juice forms with the berries. Preheat your oven to 400 degree. Spray a jumbo sized muffin tin with just a touch of cooking spray. Fold 1 crepe in half and then bring the ends together to form a circle. Press it into the muffin tin so that forms a cup. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and slightly crispy. When they’re done, let them cool for awhile before removing them. Once they are completely cool and you are ready to serve them, fill them with berries and top with some whipped cream. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Crepes are something that a lot of people are scared to make but in reality they’re pretty easy. All you need is a good non stick skillet, a measuring cup and a little patience. It doesn’t take much skill to make crepes so please, don’t be scared to try them. They are wonderful either savory or sweet as they can be filled with anything. I’m sharing a basic crepe batter that I use for desserts and it has just a touch of vanilla in it. If you’re looking for a savory version, just omit the vanilla and add in your savory ingredients. Chopped fresh chives would give a slight onion flavor, or even some orange or lemon zest would be good too.

What You Need:

2 eggs
1 1/4 c milk
1 c flour
2 tbs melted butter (plus another few tbs for your pan)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

What To Do:

Crepe-1Place all your ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes or until the batter is nice and smooth. Place into the fridge to let rest for at least one hour, two is better, overnight is best. To cook your crepes, heat an 8 inch non stick skillet over medium low to medium heat. Once hot, brush a very thin coat of melted butter onto the sides of the pan. Take a 1/4 c measuring cup full of batter and slowly pour it into the your pan, making sure to swirl the pan as your adding in the batter. You want a very thin coating of batter that takes up the entire pan. If you find that 1/4 c is to much, use 1/8 cup. The point is to thinly coat the bottom of your pan.
Crepe-3After just a minute or two, carefully flip the crepe over. The edge will start to turn up, providing a lip for you to grab with your fingers, or a pair of tongs. Once they’re flipped over, cook for just another minute and voilĂ , you have crepes! Continue making them until all the batter is gone.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cake Batter Blondies

If you’ve on the wonderfully addicted site Pinterest lately, you’re sure to have see these delectable cake batter blondies. There have been a number of people making them lately and for good reason, they are heavenly! The night after I saw these golden beauties I needed to make them. I started raiding my pantry, hoping to still have a yellow cake mix in there. Thankfully, I was in luck. I had one box of yellow mix left. Then I came to a problem. I didn’t have any sprinkles! So mine aren’t as colorful as the ones you’ve seen around, but mine have coconut and delicious dark chocolate chips in them.  They are a quick treat and would be perfect to make for bake sales too.

What You Need:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 c veg oil
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c dark chocolate chips

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix, oil, egg and milk in a bowl, whisking until combined. Then stir in the coconut and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 11x7 baking dish and cook for about 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black and Blue Salad


Think of this simple salad as a more sexy, more sophisticated version of the classic wedge salad. It is a very quick and easy side dish for a tasty grilled steak or oven chicken breast. Romaine lettuce is split down the middle, quickly grilled and then served with a homemade creamy blue cheese dressing and of course crumbled bacon, you’ll be falling in love in no time.

What You Need:

2 head Romaine lettuce, split in half
6 slices bacon, diced
1/3 c plain greek yogurt
1/4 lb blue cheese, diced
2-3 tbs milk
dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Combine the yogurt, milk, blue cheese and Worcestershire sauce with a bit of salt and pepper together in a bowl until well combined and creamy. Chunks of blue cheese are perfectly fine but you want to make sure that the milk and yogurt have combined. Start with 2 tbs of milk, only adding the 3rd if you need it be more fluid.
Preheat your grill or grill pan on high heat. Cook your diced bacon until rendered and crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Brush each Romaine half with some of the left over bacon drippings and place cut side down on the grill.  Grill for just a minute or two. You want the lettuce to pick up some grill marks but you don’t want it to completely wilt down. Remove from the grill to a serving platter and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle some or all of you dressing on top of the halves and then the bacon. Devour and enjoy the sexiness! This makes 4 side salads and enough dressing that you’ll probably have a bit left over. Not included in the recipe is one small garlic clove which I added into my dressing using my microplane to finely grate it. I only recommend doing this if you enjoy garlic because it did give it a nice garlic kick.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Grilled Chicken

Chicken is a staple in my house. We eat it quite often. Since it summer time, I fire up my grill, more then I fire up my oven. This means I can make a simple but flavorful grilled chicken for supper. Just two ingredients (minus the salt and pepper), and you’ve got an easy protien for your meal, any night of the week. The chicken is marinated to infuse it with great flavor and it’s so easy that you can get in the marinade in less then 5 minutes and be out the door for work/school/play date in no time.

What You Need:

boneless skinless chicken breast
zesty Italian salad dressing
salt and pepper

What To Do:

chickSeason the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a shallow dish or zip top bag. Cover with the dressing and let sit all day. Preheat your grill and once it’s hot, cook your chicken over high heat for about 5 minutes on the first side. The high heat will sear the outside of your chicken, locking in the juices and flavor. Flip the chicken, turn your heat down to low and continue cooking until done. A meat thermometer should reach 160-165 degrees in the thickest part.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Clams with White Wine


I grew up eating clams. My parents would have summer family get togethers and there were always clams around. Dipped in melted butter or cocktail sauce, they were simple and delicious. As a grown up now, I still enjoy clams, and just because they hold such fond memories from my youth. Clams have a flavor you can’t get any where else. They taste well, clamy! I really can’t describe it any better. It’s a wonderful taste and texture and when pair with certain ingredients, clams really shine. This is a more grown up version of my childhood favorite, cooked in a broth with bacon, tons of garlic and white wine. When selecting clams, always ask to see the harvest tag. I know in New York and Pennsylvania, a harvest tag MUST accompany any bag of clams. There are some stores that won’t do this because they are trying to get rid of the old ones. Do not let them try and tell you when they received them in the store. You want to know the day they came out of the water. Do not let them show you just any old tag. You want to see it on the bag and you want the clams from that bag.  Any harvest date that is more than 7-10 days old, should not be purchased. Your clams should also be tightly closed. If they’re not, this means they’re dead and NOT good to eat.

What You Need:

4-5 slices of thick cut bacon, diced
8-10 cloves garlic, diced
1 c white wine
about 50 little neck clams (or your favorite type)
crusty bread for dipping into the juices

\What To Do:

Carefully dump the clams into a very large bowl that has been filled with cool water and a bit of flour.clams2 The flour will make the clams give up any sand they may have held onto. In a very large skillet, (needs to be big enough to hold all the clams with a tightly fitting lid) over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until rendered and crisp. Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Carefully add in the white wine. Remove the clams from their soak water by lifting them out. Any sand will have settled to the bottom and if you just dump the water out, you’re putting the sand back onto the clams. Add them to the broth you’ve created and put the lid on your skillet, making sure it’s closed. Steam the clams for roughly 10-15 minutes or until it looks like most of them have opened. If you have a clear glass lid, watch your clams pop open. It’s pretty neat! Once your clams are opened, transfer them to a large serving bowl and pour the broth containing the yummy garlic and bacon on top. As your eating this deliciousness, make sure to toss any clams that didn’t open. Do not try to cook them again or pry them open. Dip crusty bread into the broth for a great treat too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Deep Dish Blueberry Pie


I LOVE berry season. You can find sweet, juicy berries for a fraction of the cost any other time of year. I bought 4 pounds of blueberry for $4 on my last grocery trip. Yes I said 4 pounds for $4. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Any other time of the year you’re paying at least $4 for one of those 1/2 pint clam shells. Since I received such a great deal on these berries, I made a pie for hubby. I normally don’t do berry pies. I like making scones or adding them into pancakes, but my dear husband has been putting long hours at work. I’m talking 80 hour work weeks right now. He even worked over the July 4th holiday when the rest of his work had off for 5 days. I figured a pie made from his favorite fruit/flavor would be a nice thing to do. Oh and here’s a secret tip. Most of the time you’ll see blueberry pie with a lattice top or a top crust with slits in them. To me this boring! So I took a small cookie cutter, a heart to be precise, and cut a bunch of them out of my top crust. I then laid them over the blueberries and when it comes out of the oven, you have this beautiful pie with lots of hearts of top. Now that my friends, is true love!

What You Need:

6 cup blueberries (just over 2 lbs)
1 recipe perfect pie dough
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
2 tbs butter
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Egg Wash
1 egg
1tbs whole milk, cream or half and half

What To Do:

PieCut your rested and chilled pie dough in half, roll out and fit into a deep dish pie dish. Keep the other half in the fridge. Make sure to have about an inch of over hang so that you can create a fluted edge. It’s actually pretty simple. Fold the excess dough under the edge, then take the thumb of your left hand and place it on the outside of the dough. Take your thumb and index finger of your right hand and from the inside of the pie dough, press outward, sort of sandwiching your left thumb in-between the fingers on your right. Continue doing this all the way around the pie, creating a fluted crust.  In a large bowl, gently mix the berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest and nutmeg. Pour into the pie dish and dot with the butter. Place back into the fridge and grab the remain pie dough. Roll this half out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut several hearts, stars etc from it. Remove the pie from the fridge and arrange the cutouts on top, leaving holes here and there. Place the pie back into the fridge. Turn your oven onto 400 degree to preheat. Combine the egg together with the milk, whisking it well so that the egg is broken down into the milk. You’re pie should be fully chilled by the time your oven is preheated, so remove it from the fridge and use a pastry brush to pain the egg wash onto all areas of exposed pie dough. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and the juices appear thickened.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Summer time is my favorite time of year. Super fresh, ripe and yummy veggies fill the supermarket and farm stands. There is always an over abundance of tomatoes floating around and since I love a red juicy tomato, this salad is perfect for me. Very few ingredients, and very simple to make, make it a go to recipe when you need a quick dish to serve with your burgers or grilled chicken.

What You Need:

2 medium to large vine ripened tomatoes
1/2 English cucumber (the ones that come wrapped in plastic)
1 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
a few sprigs of fresh oregano (optional)

What To Do:

Place the onion slices in a bowl and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 1o minutes. This take the bite out of the onion and almost pickles it. Cut your cucumber in half long ways, then in half again long ways. Then cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks. Cut your tomatoes into quarters. Cut each quarter in half again to make 8ths and then cut in half the other way to make chunks. If using the oregano, remove the leaves from the stems. If they’re small, toss them in whole, if not tear them into smaller pieces. Toss everything together in a bowl and season with some salt and pepper. Let sit for roughly 10 minutes or so to let the flavors meld.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dark and Lovely Thighs

Like the name? I do. It sounds better then brown sugar and soy chicken thighs doesn’t it? No? Oh well! Sweet, salty and a bit of spicy, these marinated chicken thighs are absolutely scrumptious. It was very hard to eat just one that’s for sure. I took the marinated and boiled it down to make a glaze. Normally, you should get rid of a marinade for fear of yucky bacteria, but by boiling it for 10 minutes, you kill off anything that might be lurking in there. It becomes thick and almost syrupy, and when you coat the thighs with it, the heat from the grill caramelizes the sugars making these the best dark meat you’ll ever have.

What You Need:

1 1/2 to 2lbs bone less skin less chicken thighs (about 6-8 thighs)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c soy sauce (I like reduced sodium because then my glaze doesn’t become overly salty)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 piece of ginger, mined (or about 1 tsp of the powdered stuff)
1 tsp Sriracha

What To Do:

In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken thighs. Pour the marinade into a shallow dish or into a zip top bag. Add in the chicken thighs and make sure they are coated well with the marinade. Let it sit for at least 1 hour, but you can always do it before work and have it read for when you get home.
About 30 minutes before you want to eat, preheat your grill and remove the chicken thighs to a plate. Pour the marinade into a sauce pan and place it over high heat. Bring it to a rapid boil for at least 10 minutes. You want to to reduce down by about 1/2. Be careful and make sure you don’t take your eyes off the marinade. The sugar in it will cause the marinade to bubble over if your not careful.
Place the thighs on the grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes. You want them to have nice dark grill marks. Flip the thighs and coat liberally with the cooked marinade. Turn the heat the heat to low and finish cooking another 3-5 minutes or until done. Flip them once again and coat with the remaining cooked marinade. Turn the heat off and shut the grill. Let sit for about a minute so that the glaze has a chance to stick to the thighs. Remove the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes, covered in foil to keep warm. Then devour the deliciousness!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grilled Beets

In the very first basket I picked up from my CSA contained beets. I’ve never been a fan of beets. They always tasted like dirt to me. I’ve had a few people tell me I was nuts, that beets were sweet and I really needed to give them another chance. Turns out, they were right. I was nervous about trying beets again, but I know that as we age, our taste buds tend to change. Things we never liked before, we suddenly enjoy. I’ve had a few of those over the years. I used to never like mushrooms or blue cheese and now I love them. So I had to give beets another chance right? I peeled and sliced them, and onto the grill they went. I know I needed something to balance the sweetness of them and while I was thinking of giving them a drizzle of balsamic, hubby doesn’t care for it much so I used apple cider vinegar instead. I have to admit, they were amazing and I can’t wait to get more.

What You Need:

1 lb fresh beets, peeled and sliced no more then 1/4 inch thick
olive oil
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Preheat your gill on high. In a bowl, drizzle the sliced beets with a bit of oil, the vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Place on the grill and grill for roughly three minutes on both sides or until they are marked and softened. Place the cooked beets back into the bowl with the oil and vinegar and give them a toss. Serve and enjoy the wonderfulness!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tilapia with Lemon and White Wine


Growing up I was never much of a fish person. While my dad loved to fish, and still does, the fish we ate was never appetizing. I remember these horrible salmon cakes my parents used to make. I also remember being forced to eat them and hating every second of it. Of course now, several years later, my mom will agree how horrible they were. As an adult I left the fish counter alone unless it was for shrimp. I know they say that fish is good for you, but I just could never get past the “fishy” taste. Finally I decided that I just needed to grin and bare it. It wasn’t going to kill me to eat fish every once in a while right? Each week when I did my grocery shopping, I tried a different fish. I finally decided that fresh tilapia was my favorite. It is a very mild white fish and takes on the flavors of what it’s cooked with. I’ve tried it a few ways now and keep coming back to this recipe. It’s a very quick and delicious was to enjoy fish.

What You Need:

1lb of tilapia filets
1 tbs veg oil
1 tsp butter
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 c flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c white wine
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Heat a large, flat bottom skillet (I like to use my cast iron one) over medium high heat. Meanwhile, season both sides of the filets with salt, pepper and the garlic powder. Dredge in the flour and set aside until your pan is hot. Add the oil to the pan and then your fish filets. Cook for about 3 minutes or so, or until it’s lightly browned on the bottom. Flip the the fillets over and add in the white wine. Cook for about a minute or two or until the white wine has reduced down by 2/3rd. Depending on the thickness of your fillets, they should be cooked through by now, so remove them from the pan to a serving platter. Add the lemon juice and butter to the pan and whisk it together with the reduced white wine. Pour it over the fish and serve.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grilled Steak Gyros


My take on a greek diner classic. Gyros are usually slow roasted pieces of meat stuffed into a pita with lots of yummy goodness. My version takes marinated skirt steak and grills it to make it flavorful and tender. I then stuffed it into a lightly grilled pita with a tangy and creamy yogurt sauce and lots of crisp fresh veggies. Skirt steak is inexpensive and has a TON of flavor but can be a little tough. By using an acid in the marinade, the skirt steak starts to break down a bit. The next key is to cook it quickly over very high heat. You’ll sear in all the juices and the flavor.  The flavors that burst in your mouth after one bite will not disappoint. I think this just may become a new favorite in my house!

What You Need:

juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced (can use a micro-plane too)
2 tbs minced fresh oregano (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
1/3 c olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 c greek yogurt
1 large onion
1 lb skirt steak
4 pita breads
Tomato and cucumber, sliced

What To Do:

In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, garlic, oregano, oil and some salt and pepper until well combined. Remove half of the marinade and set it aside for later. Pour the other half into a zip top bag with your meat. Make sure you coat the meat with the marinade. Seal the bag and let it do it’s job in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
Preheat your grill on high and remove the meat from the fridge, take it out of the marinade and toss whatever is left over in the bag. Combine two tbs of the marinade that you set aside earlier, with the 1/2 c greek yogurt. Peel and slice your onion into 4 thick but equal rounds. Take the remaining marinade and brush it onto your onions.
Place the onions on the grill along with your steak cooking both for a few minutes on each side. You want the onions to become soft and sweet and you want your steak to be cooked to your desired doneness. I suggest cooking no more then medium. Cooking it well done will only make it tough and chewy. Once it’s cooked remove it and your onions from the grill. Cover your steak with a piece of foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. While it’s resting, warm the pitas on the grill for about a minute per side. To serve, layer come lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, 1/4 of the grilled onions and some of the grilled steak onto 1 side of the pita. Top with a bit of the yogurt sauce, fold up your pita and devour!

Note: I’ve made this with a venison loin too and it’s just as good if not better then skirt steak!
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