Sunday, April 24

New Blog! More features, more recipes, more fun!

Hi friends,

Based on advice from my lovely sisters, I've moved this blog to a new virtual spot at  I'm going to leave this blog up for a while, but we won't be posting any new recipes here.  The new website is much better organized, and easier to find recipes on. 

So check it out, let me know what you think, and as always let me know if you'd like to post recipes! 

Amanda :)

Saturday, March 12

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

these are so good! very similar to the ones Peggy made when I was little.

Cream together:
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Beat in:
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Combine and add:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Stir in:
2 cups oatmeal
1 12 oz pkg chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

spread in a greased 9x13 pan and bake 30 minutes at 350

Saturday, February 19

Lemon Berry Muffins

In an attempt to eat breakfast more frequently, I've started making these muffins for Ryan and me on Sundays. They are quick to make, and surprisingly healthy (about 185 calories and 7 grams of fat per muffin) - to make them even healthier use whole wheat flour. You can experiment with whatever type of berries you like - raspberries make them very tart, blueberries are a nice compliment to the lemon also and tone down the tartness. I'm thinking the next time I make these I'm going to put a 1/2 tsp of lavender in the processor with the lemon and sugar to see how that changes the flavor.


Makes 12 muffins

1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 cups flour (wheat, white or half and half)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup frozen berries (any type or mixed - whatever you like)

Pre-heat oven to 400

Peel rind off lemon with a vegetable peeler, avoiding white pith.  Place rind and sugar into a small food processor and pulse until lemon is well chopped and blended with sugar.  Put lemon sugar into a medium bowl, and add buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla.  Stir with whisk to mix and set aside.

In a larger bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour through salt) and then add wet ingredients to dry and stir with spatula to mix.  Add frozen berries and gently fold into batter.

Spray a muffin pan with oil and using a large spoon (I like my soup spoons for this part) scoop a spoonful of batter and place into each muffin cup.  Bake for 25 minutes or until brown on top.

Remove from oven and eat one or two while they are hot just to make sure they turned out ok :)

Once cool, place them in a ziploc bag and store in the fridge - they'll last you all week!

Black Beans and Rice

This is a great meal because you can make a big pot on the weekend and then eat it for lunch throughout the week.  If you want to use this for a dinner party, pair it with the Chile Rubbed Shrimp.  Just make sure to soak the beans overnight and the rest is easy!  I like to soak my beans in the same pot I plan on cooking them in so that its less dishes to wash.  Also, keep in mind you need to cook the beans for about 2 hours so start them early to have them in time for dinner!

Makes 8 one-cup servings of beans and rice

1 1b dried black beans
2 cups dried rice (whatever type you'd like)
4 cups chicken broth (or veggie if you'd like this to be a vegetarian dish)
2 bouillon cubes
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 sweet onion
3 garlic cloves - skins removed and just slightly mashed with the side of a knife
1/2 celery stalk
3 cilantro sprigs
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of coriander
Canned diced green chiles
Chipotle Tabasco

Drain the beans and put them back in the pot.  Add the broth plus 2 cups of water.  Turn on the heat and while the pots starting to heat add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery and cilantro to the pot (none of these ingredients need to be chopped - they are just for flavor so leave them whole and keep it easy).  Once the pot starts boiling, turn it down to a simmer and cover for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes add cumin, coriander, and a few dashes of tabasco.  Stir, recover and leave on for another 45 minutes.

Now this time your timer goes off its time to taste the beans - this is the best way to tell if they are done.  The beans should be velvety in texture - not grainy or hard.  If there is any doubt, keep them simmering for another 1/2 hour and you should be good.

While you are waiting for your beans to finish, go ahead and cook your rice.  I like to flavor my rice with the bouillon cubes, but you can leave them out if you'd prefer.

When the beans are done, taste and season with additional tabasco if you'd like.  Stir in about 3/4 can of the diced chiles.  Stir in your rice - use about a 1/2 the cooked rice if you like your beans and rice a bit soupier - or use it all if you want to make it carborific.  Save any left over rice for another purpose (maybe the Cheddar and Poblano Stuffed Portobellos)

Serve hot with garnishes like diced tomatoes, avocado, fresh grated cheddar, cilantro, or sour cream.  This will last 3 days in the fridge so enjoy the leftovers!

Chile Rubbed Shrimp with Avocado Salsa

This is great served with the Black Beans and Rice.  I like cooking it under the broiler, the same way I did for the Shrimp Cocktail, but you can also grill these or saute them with some vegetables.

Serves 4


For shrimp:
1 lb large shrimp
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all ingredients except for shrimp in a large bowl.  Peel shrimp and add directly to marinade.  Toss to coat and put in the fridge while you make the salsa.

For salsa:
2 ripe avocados, diced
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2 tbsp sliced scallions (dark green parts only)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime
kosher salt

Add avocado, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro to a medium bowl.  Squeeze lime over ingredients and season with a bit of salt.  Gently stir to combine and place in fridge while you finish the shrimp.

Place a broiler pan or baking sheet under the broiler and heat on high for 5 minutes.  Place shrimp on hot broiler pan (use should hear them sizzle) and broil for 3 minutes on high.  Flip and broil another 3 minutes on the other side.

Serve hot over rice and beans with avocado salsa as a garnish.

Saturday, January 29

Peggy's Chicken and Dumplings

My mom adapted this from our Grandmother Peggy's recipe.  This makes a lot of food - so be prepared to have left overs. 

For the chicken
6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
6 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 bouillon cubes
3 cups water

In a large 12 inch skillet,  brown the chicken breasts in the butter.  Add the vegetables, bouillon and water and bring water to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Once done simmering, remove chicken and veggies from broth - place in a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil.  Set aside and keep warm.  Pour broth in a container. 

For the gravy
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour

Melt butter in same skillet over low heat.  Add flour, stirring constantly, until thick.  Add broth in cups to skillet and bring to simmer.  Keep adding broth until it is all used and gravy is of desired consistency. 

Return chicken and veggies to the skillet and place in the gravy.  Keep covered over low heat while you make the dumplings. 

For the dumplings
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp oil

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl mix milk and oil together and then add to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. 

Turn the heat up a bit so the gravy starts to simmer.  Drop dumpling dough on top of chicken and veggies in heaping spoonfuls.  It may not look like enough to start - but trust me these dumplings get big!  Cover again and simmer over medium low heat for 15 - 20 minutes.  Serve when 

Bring gravy to slow simmer. Drop dumplings directly on top of chicken pieces by large heaping spoonfuls. Cover tightly. Simmer slowly for about 15-20 minutes and serve when dumplings are done- they will be the consistency of very soft biscuits or shortbread when you check inside. Not doughy or soggy.

Serve in deep bowls and enjoy!

Thursday, January 27

Cheddar and Poblano Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Such an easy recipe - a perfect weeknight meal for two.

2 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and gills scraped from cap - get the biggest ones you can find
2 poblano peppers
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup cooked rice (1/4 cup dry)
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Start rice cooking while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  Broil the poblano peppers on high about 3 inches away from the heat 5-8 minutes on each side - the skin will start to blacken and bubble which is good.  Once its charred on both sides, move to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to cool.

Once the poblano pepper is done under the broiler, move the mushroom caps to the broiler and broil cap side up towards the heat so liquids drain easily.  Broil about 5 - 10 minutes until soft.  Remove from broiler and set aside.

While mushrooms and poblano are broiling,  saute the onion in 1 tsp of oil until soft.  Add spinach to pan and stir till wilted.  Turn off heat.

By now the rice should be cooked - mix the rice, spinach and onion in a bowl together.  Take poblanos from bowl and peel skin away (it should pull away easily with your fingers), remove seeds and dice.  Add poblanos and cheddar cheese to rice mixture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 325.  Place mushrooms capside down in an oven safe pan and spoon rice mixture into mushroom cap - use the entire mixture even if it overflows into the pan (trust me - its so good you'll want to eat it all!).  Bake stuffed mushrooms for 20 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, January 26

Huevos Rancheros

A great way to use the left over ingredients from the Chipotle Mushroom Tacos.  Super easy dinner - takes all of 30 minutes to make.

15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cilantro
4 tortillas
4 eggs
sharp cheddar cheese
sour cream

The hardest thing about this recipe is making the black beans.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add garlic and chipotle and simmer until fragrant - about 1 minute.  Add black beans, salt, and 1/3 cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cilantro, turn heat down to low and cover for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Layer the tortillas on a plate, with a paper towel between each layer - heat for 1 minute in the microwave and set aside.

Heat salsa in a small bowl for about 30 seconds (that way it won't cool the eggs down) and set aside.

Beat the eggs with a splash of milk and scramble in a non-stick skillet.  While eggs are cooking, arrange two tortillas per plate, top with fresh shredded cheddar cheese, the black beans, then the eggs.  Then garnish with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. 


Monday, January 24

Chipotle Mushroom Tacos

This is a fun healthy take on tacos.  Inspired by a recipe in Martha Shulman's Recipes for Health - an excellent cookbook for anyone looking to cook healthier in the New Year.  We served this with a side of Spanish rice.

 Makes 4 - 6 tacos

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 lb mushrooms (any variety - I used cremini), sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
4-6 tortillas

Crumbled feta
Sour Cream

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add shallot cook until tender - about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until starting to brown - about 3 minutes.  Add salt, chipotle pepper, and garlic - stir well.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid in the skillet has evaporated for the most part - about 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and turn off heat.

Serve with heated tortillas and your choice of garnishes.

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