Friday, March 31, 2006

Beef Stroganoff

This is another classic recipe that has proved itself time and time again. A combination of beef chunks, mushrooms, onions and sour cream, Beef Stroganoff was the prize-winning recipe created at a cooking competition held in the 1890s in Russia.

Recipe from The Big Red Cookbook by Betty Crocker

1 1/2 pound beef tenderloin (I use the tips)
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups beef broth
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1 small clove garlic, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
Hot cooked egg noodles

Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Cook beef in butter, stirring occasionally, until brown.

Reserve 1/3 cup of the broth. Stri in remaining broth, ketchup, salt, and garlic into skillet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Stir in mushrooms and onion. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

Shake the reserved broth and the flour in tightly covered container; gradually stir into beef mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; reduce heat to low.

Stir in sour cream; heat until hot. Serve over noodles.

(I make the noodles while the beef is simmering the first 10 minutes).

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I Need Your Support!

I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure® on Saturday, April 15, 2006, in the fight against breast cancer. One in seven women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime and the more we raise, the more the Tarrant County Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation can give back to fund vital breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs in our own community and support the national search for a cure.

Please join me in the fight by pledging in support of my participation in the Race or contributing generously to Komen Tarrant County. Your tax-deductible contribution will fund innovative outreach and awareness programs for medically underserved communities in Fort Worth and national breast cancer research.

Whatever you can give will help!

I truly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you so much for your time and support in the fight against breast cancer! Every step counts!

Click here to visit my personal page.

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Click here to view the team page for DKC DFW Knotties for a Cure

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chicken Divan

This dish is a must have for any new bride. So simple, yet so divine!

It's a retro casserole dish that was popular in the 50's and originated in a high end New York restaurant. The mixture of curry, parmesan, and wine gives the recipe a flavor that implies continental elegance.

In my humble opinion, it's a great recipe for people who are tired of plain chicken dishes.

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, chopped
2 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or lime (I used lime)
2 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used the herbed bread crumbs)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the outer wrappers from the broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave for 4 minutes, until thawed. Put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lime juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.

Spray 11 by 9 inch casserole dish. Place the mixture into dish. Spread sauch a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Zucchini Spice Cake

If I had to choose one recipe that started my love for baking, this would be it.

My mother gave the this recipe a few years back. I had never made a cake from anything other than a box and I will admit that the zucchini intimidated me a little. To my surprise (as well as every other person who tastes it), the cake became a favorite.

3 c. grated zucchini squash
3 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 oz pkg softened cream cheese
1/4 c. soft butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together sugar, eggs, oil & squash. Combine remaining ingredients add to mixture. Grease & flour bundt pan. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Cool Completely before removing from pan.

For frosting, cream & whip all ingredients in a bowl for about 4 minutes.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rosemary Spiced Nuts

This is a simple and savory recipe to keep on hand for those last minute house guests. The rosemary aroma will fill your entire house and make people think you've been slaving away all day.

3 tbls butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2-3 tbls dried rosemary

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter with the spices. When melted, pour the sauce over 3 cups mixed nuts. Toss the nuts into the mixture. Coat evenly. Spread the nuts onto a jelly roll pan and toast the nuts in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely before serving. Store in an air tight jar. Will last a few weeks.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chicken with Grapes and Basil Orzo

This meal is particularly satisfying due to the contrast among the grapes, mustard, and cream, which bring light/sour, robust/strong, and creamy/heavy flavors all at once. You're never overwhelmed by any of the ingredients, but you reap the benefits of each one. The orzo provides an excellent bed for the chicken which harmonizes with the sauce. Garlic bread is a particularly good companion to the meal, which compliments the other flavors and allows you to soak up any remaining sauce on the plate (it's too good to leave any survivors).

Happy 2 Year Anniversary to Monika & Adam!

Chicken with Grapes:
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup white wine,
1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grainy, stone-ground mustard
1 1/2 cups, about 1/2 pound, seedless grapes, halved

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat; add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 and 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the tenders in flour and add it to the pan. Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes or until browned. Add wine and scrape up browned bits as wine cooks down and bubbles, 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Combine cream and mustard and add to stock. Add grapes to the pan and turn chicken and grapes to coat and combine with the sauce. Simmer 5 minutes over low heat.

Basil Orzo:
1 package Orzo
3/4 tsp basil paste
1 tbls olive oil

Cook orzo according to package. Stir in olive oil & basil paste.

Garlic Bread:
1 small baboli pizza crust
2 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 cup fresh parmesan
1 tbls butter

Spread butter & garlic on pizza crust. Top with cheese. Bake at 400 for approximately 10 minutes.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Chocolate Guinness Cake

When Irish, Mexican, American, Texan, and all other places in between eyes are smiling it is because they’ve just had this cake! Believe me when I say that this cake will certainly steal your heart & your stomach away.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup Guinness draught stout
2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven. Grease and lightly flour 2 9-inch cake pan.
In a small saucepan, combine cocoa powder and stout and heat over low-moderate heat until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.In a large bowl with an electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until pale yellow in color. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

Stir buttermilk into cooled cocoa and stout mixture.

With the mixer on low, slowly add one-third of buttermilk mixture into creamed butter until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the remaining two parts of the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Batter will look grainy or appear to be breaking up.

Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove to wire rack with parchment or waxed paper beneath it. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then slide knife around the edge of pan and invert to release cake, bottom side up, onto wire rack. When cool, use a fork to poke holes generously into bottom side of cake.

Makes two 9-inch cake.

Chocolate Guinness Sauce
1/2 cup Guinness draught stout
8 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients in small saucepan and heat over low heat until smooth. Allow to cool. Spoon the sauce over bottom of the cake, allowing sauce to seep into cake. Leave about ½ cup to pour over the top. Invert cake right side up onto serving platter. Poke holes in top of cake and spoon remainder of sauce on top of cake.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze
10 ounces (11/4 cups) heavy whipping cream
10 ounces semisweet dark chocolate, chips or bar broken into small pieces

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepot. Turn off heat and stir in chocolate pieces until sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour onto finished cake, smoothing ganache atop and along sides of cake. Ganache will pool at bottom of cake and can be removed with a knife.

If desired, spoon extra ganache into ziplock bag, snip corner and squeeze atop cake in zigzag lines or decorative pattern. If ganache is too runny allow to thicken in bag until stiff. Or, reserve extra ganache in refrigerator to spoon over ice cream or form into truffles.

Recipe from sous chef Carol Light, Kells Restaurant and Pub, Portland, Ore.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Special Carrot Cake

Delicious homemade carrot cupcakes are a great pick me up for any day of the week. My co-workers ate these up in no time.


2 cups white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one cupcake pan.

Combine the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, soda, oil. With an electric mixer beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the carrots and the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 24-30 minutes. Note: this cake can be made in two 9 inch layer cake pans just change the baking time to 40 minutes.

To Make Frosting: With an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and cream. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Frosting can be spread and a still warm cake. I also topped my cupcake with a sliver of a mini-carrot!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Dallas Cookie

Rich, elegant, and yet, surprisingly down to earth. These couture cookies were extremely “high maintenance” compared to your standard fare chocolate chip cookie, but they are well worth the work.

I used nothing but the best ingredients, including high quality chocolate, butter, & vanilla. Because when you name a cookie after the glitz and glamour of Dallas, Texas, nothing but the best will do.


3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups semisweet high quality chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 1 ½ tsp espresso powder*
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup chocolate chips, and butter, stirring until smooth, and remove top of bowl from heat. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground espresso on high speed until very thick and pale, about 3 minutes.

Beat in chocolate mixture. Into mixture sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips** and nuts.

Drop heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets and bake in batched in middle of oven 9 to 11 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top.

*If you don’t have espresso powder you can use 2 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans, like Italian-roast.

**After my test cookie, Adam told me that it wasn't sweet enough. So, I ended up adding an extra cup of these chocolate chips filled with caramel. I think they'd taste fine without them so I didn't include the extra cup of chocolate chips in the recipe above.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake

This dish was so easy to make I had time to make some homemade spaghetti sauce while it cooked! If you are interested in that recipe send me an email.

1 - 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 package Athenos crumbled Blue Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in small baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of lime juice. Season with salt & pepper. Top with blue cheese and drizzle with remaining lime juice.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

This works well with feta cheese too!

We served this dish atop of pasta & my homemade spaghettie sauce.