Monday, June 30, 2008

Fantabulous Strawberry Pie

About 5 years ago I tasted an incredible strawberry pie made by this girl - and I loved it. Even after all these years I remember this pie. Yes, I love Tonya for more than her pie - but this pie is one of her specialties! Thankfully she shared the recipe with me, and now I, with you.

Strawberry Pie
1 frozen deep dish pie shell (cooked according to directions)
1 lb strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and sliced
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 T corn starch
1 regular pkg strawberry jello (NOT sugar free)
Cool whip
Bake shell according to directions. Let cool. Prepare strawberries. Mix water and cornstarch, and heat on low with sugar until heated, thickened, and transparant. Take off heat and add in jello. Let cool in fridge for 15 minutes. Add berries to pie shell. Once filling is cooled pour on top. Then let chill (I allowed overnight). Eat with your fave cool whip!
Amazing strawberry flavor! :) Thanks Tonya! Its amazing! I loved it!

Mexican in Louisville - El Tarasco

There are several reasons I love Mexican food. One is because I seldom cook it myself. 2 is because it is relatively cheap. 3 is because there is always cheese - and who doesn't like cheese? 4 is because usually the restaurants have a fun atmosphere.
Well, El Tarasco in the St. Matthews area across from Trinity High School was a great treat. I went with a couple of friends last night after church to chow down. First - they know all the wait staff in that place - and they order the same thing - do you think they go there often? But after eating there, I now know why.
They had fun live music which didn't drown out the place - so people could actually still talk. The hot salsa was good with chips that were warm. I got a chicken enchilada and a chicken soft taco. Both were great. The meat wasn't too tough in either of them and there was plenty of sauce and cheese.
And I love paying only 5$ for dinner! :)
So, this place will definitely have to go on a "regular" list of places I go here in the ville. And with gas prices so high - I could walk there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Asparagus and Prosciutto Fettuccini

Now, was this meal as good as the cost of all the ingredients - no. Was it good, yes. I love using fresh pasta (that was the first time not counting ravioli or tortellini): it cooks much faster and just has a richer taste than dried pasta - but also more expensive. So - take your pick!
I had a friend over, Ali, to help with the prep of this dish. She grated the cheese, prepared the prosciutto, and then chopped up our bacon for our salad. The plus is that this is actually pretty healthy for a pasta recipe! I might zest some lemon over the leftovers I have to give it some life after being in the microwave!

Asparagus, Prosciutto Fettuccine
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 9 oz package fresh fettuccine
olive oil (for pan)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pkg prosciutto (2.5 oz)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp crush red pepper (I used red pepper flakes)
1/4 cup parm cheese

Cook asparagus and noodles together, about 3 minutes. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of liquid. Saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes, add prosciutto for another 2, add in pasta. Meanwhile, mix together the vinegar and red pepper and reserved pasta water. Toss with the noodles. Add in parm cheese. Serve with salt and pepper and additional cheese.
The red pepper gave it a slight kick. The fresh grated parm cheese was perfect - not overwhelming the pasta. The fresh pasta was great in this.

Curry Chicken Salad

I have a lot of diced chicken to use up, so this is one of the recipes I printed out a long time ago and finally decided to use. It was real good. I like the golden raisins in rather than the regular raisins and the recipe calls for. Just for color purposes.

Curry Chicken Salad
(scant) 1/2 cup low fat mayo
2 tsp curry powder
4 tsp water
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 apple (I used a pink lady), diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup golden raisins

Mix mayo, curry and water - mix with the rest. I didn't put any salt in mine (as the recipe called for). My chicken had salt in it when cooked and I can always add it to the salad when I eat it. It will be served with either a whole wheat pita or on top of some mixed greens I have. The curry added just a bit of kick to the chicken salad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been making homemade chocolate chip cookies a long time - but these are amazing. Hand it to a Boston Chocolate maker who doesn't even have an oven this summer in her new shop to have such a great recipe. Its amazing - if you like chewy chocolate chip cookies (hint: its the extra egg yolk)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cup plus 2 T flour
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla
3/4 cup semi sweet choc chip
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Let melted butter cool - cream with all sugars. Add in vanilla and eggs. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet. Stir by hand the chips in. Will be really sticky. On 350 oven, put on lightly greased cookie sheets. Heaping cookies - about 11 minutes or until still doughy looking - take them out before they are too brown. This makes about 24 cookies - so they are perfect for smaller gatherings.
Brandi - if you are reading this - you are going to get some on Thursday morning so you have something to look forward to!
The only thing I changed from her recipe is when I added the vanilla and add both kinds of chocolate chips.

Jack Corn Casserole

There are so many corn casseroles, puddings, souffles, etc out there - that it is often hard to choose which one. I found one in the Anastasia Cookbook. I was going to make a sweeter one, but thought that a spicier one would go better with bbq chicken. And it did. It was so good. I teased the people eating with me that really it should be called a sour cream and cheese casserole, because there was probably more of that than the corn - but oh so yummy!

Jack Corn Casserole
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup light sour cream (no reason to use the full fat, so trim a little here)
2 c corn (I used frozen corn and thawed it under hot running water, drained it well)
8 oz block monterey jack cheese - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I had some leftover wheat bread and I just pulsed 1 piece in a food processor and that was 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar (I use 2% sharp cheddar by Kraft, always have that in my fridge!) to top

Mix eggs and sour cream together. Stir in corn. Add the rest. Put in greased 2 quart casserole and cover and bake for (oven on 350) 35 minutes or until not jiggly. Then top with shredded cheddar cheese - however much you like. Cook uncovered until cheese is melted. Let sit about 10 minutes before diving in.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mac and Cheese Chowder

I love mac and cheese - give it to me anyway - it is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. This is a new way to try it. I didn't like it at first when the cheese hadn't had time to really get good, but then after it had cooled off a bit - it was yummy. I would also stick with cubed chicken instead of the ham, but it was good nonetheless.

Mac and Cheese Chowder (300 calories)
1 box mac and cheese dinner ( I used Kraft shells three cheese)
1 can ls/ff chicken broth ( I used some that I had boiled a chicken in)
1 cup water - or just use more chicken broth if you want it more flavorful
1 can cream-style corn
1 cup chopped ham or chicken
1/2 cup milk (if you want, I didn't have any, so I didn't put any in)

Boil noodles in water and broth till al dente. Stir in everything else. Season with salt and pepper. Let cheese get good and gooey. Maybe a good idea would be to mix the cheese packet in with the milk - then pour it in (sorta like you do with cornstarch to thicken something).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Southwest Quinoa Salad

I had to think of a southwestern side dish to go with my turkey fajita rolls last night. So I searched for another healthy recipe - found this one on (a great www)!
Quinoa is a grain between brown rice and grits to me. It is little round shapes that cook up 3xs as fast as brown rice and has more fiber in a serving too. I don't like to eat it plain - but love it mixed with other stuff.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad (adapted from original recipe)
1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cup water
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can rotel (however hot you want it)
1/3 cup lime juice
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste
couple cilantro leaves, torn
butter lettuce

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. In meantime, prepare veggies. Mix lime, oil, cumin, s/p and cilantro - pour over veggies. Toss with cooked quinoa - serve on top of butter lettuce.
Yummy! Had more spice than I thought it would have. Today I'll have some as leftovers!

Turkey Fajita Rolls

I got this recipe from a Weight Watchers Take 5 cookbook. So, it is easy and healthy. You gotta love the mix of those two things. But, throw in great-tasting...its a winner! I kinda adapted the WW recipe and I really liked the outcome.

Turkey Fajita Rolls
4 turkey breast cutlets (about 1 lb total), pounded thin
1 red bell pepper
4 scallions (green part only)
1 cup Wishbone bountiful dressing (new, spicy southwest dressing) (that was on Mom recommendation)
olive oil

Marinate the turkey overnight in the wishbone salad dressing. Take out and pound thin.
Roast red peppers on a cooking sheet with pam on it for 8 minutes at 450.
Roll a scallion and red pepper strip in turkey - and secure with toothpicks.
Brown in a pan with olive oil on medium heat till all sides are browned. Transfer to oven to finish cooking - about 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of turkey.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chocolate Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

If you like not to sweet chocolate things - this bread is for you. I LOVE dark chocolate - so I used my favorite in this - Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate. Big ole chunks in this recipe I found on a blog. And I have tons of frozen bananas that I need to use.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks

Mix dry in a bowl, set aside. Beat butter for about a minute, add sugars, then egg, then bananas, then buttermilk (the mix might look a bit curdled at this point, but that is ok). Then fold in dry. Then for the most important ingredient - the dark chocolate chunks.
I baked mine in 4 greased mini loaf pans for about 35-40 minutes at 350. If you bake in a regular loaf pan - grease, then bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 45 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil so the top doesn't burn.
I ate a small slice warm out of the oven with the melted dark chocolate chunks inside - the bananas weren't overpowering. Good bread. Not too rich either - perfect if you like dark chocolate!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Brownie Pizza

Last night I had fun hanging out with one of my prof's kids. They are in gradeschool - and love to help bake. Well, they helped me dig out all the ingredients and utensils, took turns warming the egg (to get it to room temperature), and I gave them the task of breaking the bar of ghiradelli chocolate - they loved that. Of course they had to sample some. And, they got to ask Dad for the toppings: marshmallows, reese's pieces, mini m&ms - were what they chose. Although - the toppings for this simple and delicious chocolate lovers dessert are endless!

Brownie Pizza (taken from Very Best Baking - www)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup assorted NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE morsels, chopped NESTLÉ Candies (NESTLÉ CRUNCH, BUTTERFINGER, BABY RUTH, GOOBERS, RAISINETS, BUNCHA CRUNCH) and/or mini marshmallows

Mix dry, then wet, then combine - put in greased and floured round cake pan (8 or 9), level out, bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Let cool, flip out onto plate. Drizzle the 3/4 cup of chocolate pieces on top, let melt, smooth out for icing. Then top with you favorite toppings!
Yummy and chocolaty!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Baking in America - Patent

Yesterday - I got a new cookbook. One of my friends who is a great cook gave it to me. I am excited about it - if I ever have anywhere to take this desserts.
Baking in America is sort of a history book and baking book all in one. It gives the history behind many recipes (Boston Cream Pie, chocolate uses in cakes, Crullers, Lady Baltimore Cake, etc).
I have already starred many ones that look great, but there are less places here to bake. Up here (in the north) there aren't as many potlucks, seminary people are very busy so they don't have people over as often, so many people are health conscience (as they should be).
So, I'll have to bake sometime - find different people to give it to - and enjoy the hospitality of it all.
Thanks for the book Lindsay!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Taste of Louisville: The Grape Leaf

I love meditteranean cuisine - Greek food - middle eastern (except the olives).
Yesterday I went out to lunch with a couple ladies and I wanted to try this restaurant down on Frankfort. I had heard it was great - but hadn't been there - so on we went!
First - any good Greek restaurant must have good hummus. This one did. I only got a small taste of it - but it was yummy - like George's Garage in Durham.
I got the beef and lamb gyro. It came a salad - I got the house - had tons of stuff in it.
The beef and lamb had a great tsaziki sauce on top and the pita was amazing - the beef and lamb were great as well - with diced up cuks and toms on top. It had some cauliflower (just yellow) rice with some raisins and almonds in it. Today I get leftovers of their brown rice and lentils. It was tons of food - all for 10$. Which really isn't bad.
The service was great and a nice atmosphere with street parking.
Yummy! I will definitely have to go back!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Florida Food

My family and I just went on a Suwannee Houseboat Excursion and then ate at two restaurants, so I wanted to do some highlighting.
One the way to the Suwannee - we met up in Wildwood, FL at a truckstop - diner food, but nothing to write home about.
First meal on the boat was chicken salad that I made. Alan asked if it was "good for you chicken salad?" I love my chicken salad. Chopped up lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken from Publix, mayo (to liking), regular and stone ground mustard, celery, green onions, grapes (both purple and green), and pecans. It was yummy!
Mom had made rubs for the chicken quarters Alan grilled: American BBQ and Southwestern. I liked the American BBQ better. It had some brown sugar in it that made the skin really fantastic and slightly crunchy off the grill. We also had grilled corn on the cob - one of my favorite things!
Breakfast was anything - fruit, granola, yogurt, cheese, apples, etc.
Lunch was leftovers - I actually had a pb/apple sandwich right after I got done swimming in Manatee Springs.
Dinner - Dad and Alan split a cow from Arcadia and we had some of the T-bone steaks off of it. Alan marinated it in W-shire, garlic, and probably something else too - but it was really good. We also had some grilled squash/onions, and potatoes/onions, and some more corn on the cob. Yumm-o as RR would say. Then we cut up two fresh pineapples for dessert.
On the way home from the Suwannee - we ate at Frogs. Frogs is a little hole in the wall in Williston, FL. Years ago it was much better, but it has had a couple of fires. They have frogs from different places sitting on the order counter - just about 5 tables in the place and some outside. Best thing: medium (heat) bbq pulled pork sandwich. Dripping in a red specialty sauce, rapped in white parchment paper, fries dumped on top, in a brown lunch sack - and a canned soda - all for 6 bucks. Yummy. Papa and I would stop there so much. I had a couple bites, Mom had the rest. Dad took us to the Collannade on Bayshore Blvd in Tampa for an early dinner. I had the grilled shrimp and salmon. Salmon was really good. Shrimp were definitely over cooked. Creamed spinach was good too - but I only had a couple of bites. Salad was a normal salad - nothing fancy. They are known for their bread: a variety of mini-muffins: corn, blueberry, cranberry - I had one of each. Very moist, perfectly cooked. Mom and I split the strawberry shortcake - that wasn't much to write home about either. So, if you go - just get the salmon and the bread - you'll be set!