Fall In Love With More Free Templates! Click Here To Get Your Own Smitten Blog Design... »

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

super easy and extra delicious whoopie pies!!

I've seen pictures of them posted all over pintrest and anything else that talks about food.  I know you've seen them too.
Whoopie pies!!  Soft, yummy cookies with something creamy and delicious in the middle.
And now I've made them two ways!!
My first try (of course my picture got lost in the great picture crash of 2011) was devils food cookies with cream cheese frosting.
Heres the best part.  All it took was a box of devils food cake mix, one egg and 2 tablespoons of water.  No  joke.  Mix it all together, scoop out your cookies and bake them at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  The cookies will be soft and chewy.
After they cool, spread a little frosting of your choice and sandwich them together!!
For Thanksgiving, I tried a little variation and went with pumpkin whoopie pies!! (even easier!!)

For the pumpkin ones I used one box of spice cake mix, one 15oz can of pumpkin, mixed it together and baked them the same as before.

They were a huge hit at Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Birthday Pie

September is a huge month for birthdays in my family. And this year, my dad and step mom had a big joint party together.  I decided it would be fun to try my hand at a fruit pie.

I settled on a Dutch Apple Pie.  And it was delicious!!

But not before I made a test pie....

I didn't add enough flour to my crumb topping, so it all melted together and got a little too crunchy :(

The second pie was so pretty.  But I accidentally lost a big bunch of my cell phone pictures so I don't have proof.

I started by peeling and slicing five large-ish granny smith apples.  I sliced mine pretty thin because I wanted to make sure the apples would be tender inside.  I mixed the apples in a big bowl with a half cup of white sugar, a quarter cup of brown sugar about 3 tablespoons of flour, a half teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg and one tablespoon of lemon juice. 

For the best  part yummy topping, I mixed together three quarters cup flour, a quarter cup white sugar, a quarter cup brown sugar and one third cup room temperature butter.  I also added a bit of raw turbinado sugar for a little extra crunch. When you mix it together, make sure you don't mix too much!!!  I made that mistake the first time and the top became more like burnt sugar than crumbly topping.  It should still appear dry and crumbly, the sugar should not be dissolving in the butter!

We keep our fridge pretty cold, so I took out the dough right away and let it sit out while I mixed everything together.  

When I was ready, I unrolled the pie crust and placed it in a glass pie dish, trimmed the edges and pressed them down.  Then I loaded up the apples and pressed them down as much as I could to give me an nice even surface to cover with crumb topping.  

Then I baked the pie at 375 for about 50 minutes.

I got many many a compliment on this pie.  I so wish I had a picture! But it was so simple and I want to keep making pies!! So keep your eye out for more :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Second Bi-Annual Black Friday Friend Dinner

I just made up that name right now.  It's not really a tradition if we've only done it twice....over a year apart.  But it was a great time none the less!
Yesterday was Black Friday, a day known for shopping and trampling people and usually some turkey left overs.  A couple of years ago we had a get together on Black Friday with some of our friends. I made a big batch of spaghetti and we all hung out and had some drinks and great times.
I decided to do it again this year! Bryan has been saying for weeks that he was really in the mood for some enchiladas.  I thought a big dinner with all of our friends would be the perfect time to make them!
They were SO delicious and extraordinarily easy. I made two kinds.  One with green(ish) sauce and one with red.
When I first went to the store to make my purchases, I thought I was going to be able to fit enough enchiladas in one pan to feed everyone. And I was going to split the pan right down the middle, hot on one side, regular on the other.  As I started to prepare my pan, it quickly became clear that one pan just wasn't going to cut it. Which of course meant I did not have enough sauce for two pans of enchiladas.  I had to enlist the help of a friend who was coming for dinner so I didn't end up with the perfect sauce to supplement my mistake. But the result was still delicious.  Next time, I'll buy one big can of red and one big can of green.  For the makeshift sauce, I had one that was just hot sauce and one that was a jalapeno sauce.
I picked up some chicken breast filets from the store and rubbed them with a mixture of taco seasoning, fajita seasoning and just a pinch of cayenne pepper.  I grilled them in my trusty grill pan and then shredded them up.  After that I mixed them up with some cheese (okay, a lot of cheese) and about 2 spoonfuls of sour cream. I was going to use Mexican shredded cheese (Monterey Jack and Cheddar) but we had an abundance of mozzarella, due to a miscommunication on a pizza night, so I used that instead. I don't think anyone could tell the difference.
Then take your pans and pour just enough sauce to cover the bottom (one green, one red)
I heated up our corn tortillas in the microwave to save time.  I wrapped them in paper towels and flipped them every 15 seconds until they were hot (just about one minute)  Then I held the (HOT!) tortilla (be careful!!) in my hand and filled it with the chicken and cheese mixture then rolled it up and placed it seam side down in the pan.
After I filled both pans, I opened up my second cans and poured the hot sauce on the red pan and the jalapeno sauce on the green pan. (next time more red sauce in the red pan, and green sauce in the green pan) until they are pretty much covered in sauce.  Then, I topped them with cheese. I used more mozzarella for the red enchiladas and some pepper jack for the greenish, for an extra kick.
Then I heated them up in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
In the end they looked like this:

 Then I added a little sour cream and fresh tomato salsa to mine.  I cant handle the heat, so I needed something to tone them down a bit :)

It was a great night with great food!! I hope we really can make a tradition out of it!!

Time to get serious!!

I know I have been away for far too long. But, good news! I have tons of posts in store for you! I haven't been cooking a ton but in the last, ahem, 4 months...I've made some things I want to share!!

Things to look forward to...

  • Enchiladas!
  • Pies!
  • Whoopie pies!
  • Roasted chicken with pan fried potatoes
and... I guess thats it for now. But, I think its time I step up my blogging game.  So get ready!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

(mostly) homemade teriyaki chicken

Last night, I finally tried something new, for the first time in what feels like forever!!
Lately I've been really in the mood for teriyaki chicken and I finally decided I would just make it on my own.  And it was great!!  I kept it simple and stuck with just the chicken and the rice, but I made a teriyaki sauce to pour over everything at the end.  I meant to do some veggies, something quick, but I totally spaced it when I was at the store.  I am especially proud of this because I actually made rice.  I have the hardest time making rice.  Its always too hard or too mushy and I just couldn't seem to figure it out.  Everyone seems to have a different idea of how to make it but this time I just followed the bag and it came out fine.  It was a little stuck to the pan, but it wasn't terrible and the rest of the rice had great consistency.
I marinaded the chicken in a store bought teriyaki sauce that I had in the fridge already, then made the good sauce for pouring over it.  However, the sauce was so easy I think I'll make a double recipe and use part of it for a marinade. To cook the chicken I just grilled it on the grill pan.  I wanted to make sure to get a good brown on it for lots of flavor.
But now for the best part, the sauce! Like I mentioned before, I had a teriyaki sauce at home already but it had a very liquidy consistency and I was looking for something a little thicker. I had to substitute some ingredients because I didn't check a recipe before I went shopping, thus I didn't not have some of the things I needed.  Instead I used what was on hand and for the most part, I wouldn't change much from what I did.
In a small sauce pan I combined 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce I had in the fridge (the recipe calls for soy sauce and its what I will plan to use next time.) 1/4 water, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1/4 white sugar and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic.  I mixed it over medium heat until all of the sugar was dissolved.  After that I turned the heat down and added a mixture of 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water  and let it simmer until it thickened.
After the rice was finished, I chopped up the chicken piled it all together and topped it off with some sauce!

The consistency was great.  The flavor was too, if just a little sweet.  As I said, next time I would like to use soy sauce, and perhaps a little more garlic.  I can't wait to try this again, with some veggies.  Snap peas, maybe some broccoli.  I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Indoor Grilling!

When we first moved into our apartment, one of my aunts asked me if there was anything special we wanted or needed for our new place.  I thought about it for a while and decided I wanted a grill pan to use in the kitchen.  It's a little like a cast iron skillet, but with grooves. It looks like this:

I use it to cook EVERYTHING! I love the little lines it puts on everything.  It makes the best grilled cheeses, and your own gourmet panini like sandwiches.  Its my favorite tool in the kitchen. 
Last night I used it to cook some kebobs! I wanted some red meat, and needed some simple delicious veggies.  
I hit the store to get all the goodies: one ribeye (that I cut into cubes when I got home), yellow onion, red and yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes and button mushrooms.  I also picked up a simple garlic and herb marinade that I put the cut up steak cubes into right away.  I ended up marinading it for about 4 hours, but you can do it for as long as you want to.  Later on, I cut up the veggies and tossed them in some oil, garlic salt and pepper.  Then I skewered it all up.  We just used wooden skewers, but I would love to get my hands on some of the nice metal ones.  

Then I fired up the grill pan, and did it up! I grilled them long enough to get a good grill mark on as much of the skewer as possible.  
I wish I had turned down the heat a little, and cooked them a little longer though.  Some of the veggies were a little too crispy.  But, all in all, it was tasty. I would like to try some different versions though, teriyaki maybe? or one with all veggies. The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pizza pie? Dessert pie? Take your pick!

Hey guys!
Long time know blog, I know.  But, I haven't been the best at trying new things.  I do have a double dose for you today though!

Up first, extra, super delicious pudding pie!
A couple of weeks ago, I got a serious hankering for something sweet. With oreo crust.  This was just on the tails of fathers day, when Bryan brought me a slice of Kahlua Cheesecake (delicious, if you've never had it!) and I wanted more! So I went online in search of a tasty treat and came upon this super easy recipe (with lots of options to mix it up).
The first version I made was a cheesecake filling with chocolate topping. Later (for a  block party for 4th of July) I made one with chocolate filling and peanut butter topping.  The recipe and process stay the same, only the fillings change.  So there is real opportunity for changes and improvements!!
Start with 2 boxes of a pudding of your choice.  When you go to the store, often times there are two different box sizes, pick 2 smaller boxes.  Mix those two boxes with 1 1/2 cups milk until fully mixed.  Then add a container of cool whip (thawed) until smooth. Then add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.  The original recipe called for chopped chocolate, but I just used chocolate chips, it was easier that way.  After its all mixed together, pour the filling into an oreo pie crust (I just bought mine pre-formed at the store).  In a small microwavable bowl, put 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 whipping cream and 1 tbsp of light corn syrup and micorwave it for about 30 seconds.  Mix it together until its smooth.  (it looks weird at first, but just keep mixing!) and pour that on top of the filling.  I used a spoon to just smooth it around and even it out.  Then pop it in the fridge (or freezer for a frozen treat!) Let it set (about 4 hours) slice, and serve!!

For the chocolate peanut butter version I just substituted chocolate pudding for cheesecake pudding and peanutbutter chips for chocolate chips.  For some reason, it was a little harder mix but it still came out!

Batting second, homemade spinach artichoke pizza!!
It was pizza night last week and I wanted something a little different.
Instead of traditional pizza, I opted for something a little more fancy (and really good!!) I used premade spinach artichoke dip (from, none other than, Fresh & Easy) rather than regular pizza sauce.  I topped it with shredded mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and a little shredded parmesan cheese. I baked it for the same amount of time, at the same temperature as last time and it ROCKED!! I debated getting a jar of marinated artichoke hearts to put on top, and while my pizza was delicious, I should have gotten the artichokes.  It would have kicked it up just a notch.  So, I'll keep that in mind for next time!

Until next time, happy eating!