Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Easy Peasy: Chicken Broth

Okay, I have a confession to make: I absolutely hate store-bought chicken broth in soups. Sure, it's okay when you're making recipes that the other ingredients can cover it up, but it's just... so bad. It dumbfounds me that people use store-bought broth in soups when it's so easy to just make your own. Plus, the stuff from the store comes loaded with sodium, impossible-to-read ingredients, preservatives and other yucky stuff, and when you make your own, you control everything that goes in it!

So here's my secret to a quick and super easy chicken broth!

First, I start off with roasting chicken. And here's my biggest secret: I buy the whole roasted chicken that you can find in your store's deli. They're perfect because you can use the meat for your soup and the rest for your broth!

Next come the veggies: carrots, celery and white onion. Corse chop them and throw them in a large pot with some extra virgin olive oil and let them sweat out. Add in some fresh thyme, a bay leaf and parsley flakes or whatever herbs you enjoy in your soup (best part about making your own broth!). DON'T add any salt or pepper. You never know what the recipe you're using your broth for might call for, and you don't want to over salt anything! When your veggies begin to soften (you'll know by the amazing smell permeating through your kitchen), add your chicken and fill the pot with water.

Here comes the easy part: bring your water to a boil. After it comes to a boil, let it simmer. I usually let mine simmer for at least 90 minutes. Yes, some of the liquid will boil off and yes you should add more water when this happens.

Finally, skim the fat off of the top. Pour your broth through a strainer to get out all of the veggies and chicken. And you've got your broth!

How easy is that? After realizing how completely quick and simple it is, I personally find it sinful to buy that overly processed broth from the store.

Cold Weather is for Chicken Noodle Soup

It's freezing out. I'm not talking 30 or 40 degrees, I'm talking about in the teens during the day, single-digit temperatures at night. For those of you who know me, you know that this is literally my hell. I hate winter more than anything, but this cold weather is good for one thing: making delicious soup! And I decided on chicken noodle after making Alex some when she was sick.First things first, start off with a homemade broth. Nothing ruins a good soup faster than a canned, overly salted, overly processed broth. I have a quick and easy way to make broth that you can find here.

Grab a big pot. Put in about a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. Chop up carrots, celery and white onion (you can really add whatever veggies you like here!). Let the veggies sweat out in the pot until they're soft. Season them with salt, pepper and whatever herbs you like to taste.

I have a favorite herb salt that I use that has rosemary, garlic, sage and pepper in it

You'll be able to tell that the veggies are ready by the amazing smell that will come from them. When they're soft and delicious, pour in your broth and chicken. Bring it to a boil. **Make sure you taste it to make sure that it's seasoned properly**

Add your favorite noodles (I love Amish noodles!).

Let the soup simmer while the noodles cook. Finally, pour yourself a bowl and enjoy :)!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Favorite: Chicken Dijon

I've been missing my family a little lately, so I decided to make a meal that we have a lot. It's an extremely simple recipe, which is perfect because if you're like me, you're limited on time. And it definitely serves as a great comfort food to me (it did the trick, too. I'm feeling a bit less homesick).
At home, we've always eaten chicken dijon over brown rice and with peas. I'm definitely not a huge fan of peas, but I put some of the sauce over them and mix everything together and it's delicious.

Chicken Dijon

White Meat Chicken Tenders
1 stick of butter
1 cup of chardonnay
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons dijon mustard

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan or electric skillet. Cook the chicken in the butter until it's just white.
2. Add the wine. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.
3. Remove the chicken and set aside. Stir in the heavy cream and dijon mustard. Add the chicken back in a stir.
4. Serve over rice.
5. Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

As usual, I've been craving something sweet. I've made pumpkin spice cake and pumpkin spice cookies about 5 times already this fall, so I decided to do something different: oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Simple cookie recipe; they're all pretty much the same right? So here's what I came up with for mine:

2 sticks of room temp butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips***

***I don't like a lot of chocolate chips, so if you do, of course feel free to add more!

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cream butter and sugars.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

4. Add eggs one at a time to butter/sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat.

5. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Beat until smooth.

6. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

7. Bake until golden brown.
8. Enjoy :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banana (Nannerrr) Bread

I'm pretty sure that I subconsciously buy bananas just to let them get really ripe so that I can make banana bread. Honestly, I never finish my entire bunch of bananas, so I'm constantly making banana bread. Not sure why I've never posted my recipe before now, but I've made some tweaks to my original recipe, and here it is!

Nanner Bread

4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of Egg Beaters*
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce**
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Use butter or cooking spray to grease a bread loaf pan.
2. In a small bowl, mash the bananas, milk and cinnamon (I leave big chunks of banana in mine, but you can mash them as much or as little as you please!). In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set both bowls aside.
3. Beat applesauce and sugar together. Add Egg Beaters and vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. Add banana mixture to sugar mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until the flour is combined. Don't over mix the dough!
5. Pour batter into pan and bake for an hour or so. Check if it's done by putting a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, it's done!
6. Let cool. Slice yourself a nice, thick piece and enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pan Fried Tomatoes

I've been craving fried tomatoes for the past few days. I'm guessing it's because I printed out a Fall Festival Munchie Map, and those were one of the things I decided I had to get (for those of you who don't know, the Fall Festival is a huge street festival in my hometown; there's over a hundred food booths that serve pretty much anything you can imagine: fried candy bars, brain sandwiches, lollipops with crickets in them, etc).

I had two heirloom tomatoes on hand, so I used those. But I'm sure this would work with any tomato you prefer. I sliced up those tomatoes, mixed up a simple batter and went to town.

Fried Red Tomatoes

2 heirloom tomatoes (sliced, patted dry)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
milk (I didn't really measure this)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parm cheese
salt & pepper
cooking oil of your choice (I used vegetable)

1. Slice up those tomatoes. Pat them dry (this will help the batter adhere to them better)

2. Wisk the flour, baking powder, milk and egg. You're going to want a thicker batter so that it doesn't slide off the tomatoes, so use your own judgement on how much milk to add. Remember: you can always add more but you can never take anyway (although I suppose you can just add some more flour).

3. Mix the bread crumbs, parm cheese and salt & pepper together in a separate bowl.
4. Dredge the tomato slices in the batter, then pat both sides with bread crumb mixture.
5. Add to hot oil (be careful not to splash any of the oil on you!) Cook until golden brown.

6. Remove from oil and place on a plate that is covered with paper towels. Let cool and enjoy :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Easy Dinner Idea: Stuffed Tomatoes

I don't know about you, but I love tomatoes. They're one of my favorite things about summer (along with fresh Indiana sweet corn, BBQ chicken and strawberries). This is a quick, easy idea for a really delicious side dish (or main entree if you're not looking for a huge meal). I've been craving a stuffed tomato for a while, so I decided to make something up. Here's what I came up with...

Stuffed Tomatoes

4 tomatoes
1 box of parmesan couscous
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 stick of melted butter
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper

1. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and remove the insides (seeds, guts, all of it but leave enough of the outside to stuff it without it breaking if that makes sense). Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the box. Set aside.
2. Add olive oil and garlic to a frying pan and infuse the oil with the garlic (be sure to not burn the garlic!). Add the spinach and cook it down. Remove from heat and toss the couscous in the mixture. Mix well to get that garlic taste all throughout the couscous.
3. Mix the bread crumbs, parm cheese and butter with a fork. Set aside.
4. Stuff couscous mixture into the tomatoes. Top with the bread crumb mixture (be generous!) and mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in a 450 degree oven until the mozzarella is melted and beginning to brown. The outsides of the tomatoes should be soft.
6. Let cool a bit and enjoy :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I've been trying to find a recipe for a cakey chocolate chip cookie... I have a favorite Amish restaurant that I get some from and they're so amazing... so if anyone knows a great, cake-like chocolate chip cookie recipe, please let me know!

While trying to come up with this recipe, I made a batch that I really loved. They're spongey, not quite the cake texture I was going for, but they are soft and delicious and I hope you enjoy them!

2 sticks of butter (preferably at room temp)
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs (at room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3/4 bag of mini chocolate chips

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate (large) bowl, cream the butter and sugars (beat until smooth). Add eggs one at a time, beat until smooth then add vanilla.
2. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture (I usually do about a half of a cup at a time). Beat until smooth.
3. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.
5. Enjoy :)

Sometime I'm going to post my Grandma's recipe for chocolate chip cookies... they're amazinggg! I just have to be sure that my family doesn't mind me giving away her little secret ;)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parm (here with Parmesan Couscous)
Simple and so delicious

Chicken cutlets
Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Bread crumbs
Vegetable Oil

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Mix the cheese, bread crumbs and flour on a large plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Crack the egg in a bowl and whisk it.
2. Dredge the chicken in the egg, then roll it in the flour mixture. Press the flour mixture into the chicken.
3. Place chicken into skillet and fry until golden brown.

Serve with spaghetti (or some other pasta) with red sauce or parm couscous like I did (I just prepared a box of parm flavored couscous)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Warm Weather = Caprese Salad

One of my favorite things from when I was in Italy was caprese salad. Simple, but delicious.

All you need are tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and if you like balsamic vinegar like me, go for it. Perfect for this hot weather.

I also made an iced coffee drink. Just some espresso blend coffee, skim milk, sugar-free chocolate sauce and Truvia. Mmmmmm!

ALSO --I'm looking for a good bruschetta recipe, so if anyone has one PLEASE send it my way :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stir Fry! Yum!

I love me some stir fry! So I made some the other night, sans any meat. I used red peppers, white onions, broccoli, snap peas, garlic powder, soy sauce and brown rice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

OMG YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Today's Delish)

Talk about the most neglected blog of all time. What can I say? I've been way too busy to actually cook... which is really unfortunately :(

HOWEVER, today I was at Sahara Mart getting my dad his gluten-free waffles (he has celiacs) and I found this chocolate that I had when I was in Italy that I was obsessed with. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't been able to find it anywhere!!!!!!! It's milk chocolate with white chocolate in the center. So delicious (yes, it's no Newman's, but it's still European which makes it 3298423984723974 times better than Hershey or Dove)....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

So this cold weather has totally made me crave chili for the past week. But canned chili, not so good. I decided I'd just kind of get a bunch of stuff and make it up as I go. Here's what I came up with...

Veg Chili

2 white onions
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 large stalks of celery
1 can of stewed tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 12-oz package of ground beef substitute
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 carton vegetable stock
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon flour

1. Clean and chop all the fresh veggies. Saute them until they're translucent, not brown. Sprinkle flour over them (thickening agent).
2. Add a cup of the vegetable stock, a can of the tomato sauce, the chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and let mixture come to boil.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer however long you'd like.
4. Enjoyyyy!!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Make from scratch pancakes

Well, I literally haven't had time for anything, much less homemade goodness. Sorry, blog, for neglecting you :/


There's nothing worse than waking up on a Sunday at 1 pm, with a small bit of hangover left, craving pancakes only to walk into the kitchen and realize you have no pancake mix. Have no fear! I have a recipe for insanely good homemade pancakes! The best part: it's soo easy.


1 1/4 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (hint: for fluffier pancakes, sift the dry ingredients. I don't own a sifter so I don't do it and they still turn out great).
2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the milk, egg and butter into well.
3. Mix until mixture is smooth.
4. Heat large frying pan (or griddle if you're lucky enough to have one!). Pour batter into pan (make'em as big as ya want, obviously! But be careful because the batter will spread).
5. Flip when all of the bubbles in the batter have popped. The other side will take about as long as the first side.
6. Enjoy :) !!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pita Pizzas

So let's be honest, pizza is my weakness. I honestly crave it more than any other food. I think it has something to do with being in college. But I've found a healthier (and cheaper) alternative to ordering pizza multiple times a day....

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Pizza

4 whole wheat pitas
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained
1 tomato (whichever kind is your fave)
1 cup feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place whole wheat pitas on baking sheet.
3. Combine ricotta, garlic, oregano, basil. Spread onto pitas.
4. Cut tomato into 1/2 in thick slices. Place as many slices as you'd like on pitas. Put spinach on top. Sprinkle with the feta cheese.
5. Bake for 10-12 min or until edges of pita are light brown (I also like my feta to have a little bit of brown as well).
6. ENOY :)!!!!

Margherita Pita Pizza

4 whole wheat pitas
Leftover spaghetti sauce
Garlic powder (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place pitas on baking sheet.
3. Spread very thin layer of sauce over pitas, sprinkle with garlic powder.
4. Cut tomato into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices on pitas.
5. Sprinkle with feta cheese and black pepper.
6. Bake for 10-12 min or until edges are light brown.
7. ENJOY :)!!!