Friday, October 30, 2009

Blame it on the rain!

New York was drenched with rain this week. It was annoying, cold and depressing. To brighten up my mood I channelled my inner summer self and decided to make the perfect summer-in-the-fall meal!

A Tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto sandwich on fresh Italian bread with summer chickpea salad to boot! As Rachel Ray would say, "Yummo!"

Summer Chickpea Salad Recipe:
1 1lb can of chickpeas
14 grape tomatoes (more/less depending on preference)
1.5 tbsp's of finely chopped red onions
6 leaves of cilantro
1/2 extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

Combine ingredients in a medium size bowl. Serve chilled.

Sandwich Recipe:
1 large loaf of fresh Italian bread
1 lb fresh mozzarella
1 large tomato
basil pesto sauce/spread

1) Slice loaf of bread longways in half and spread basil pesto on one side.
2) Cut mozzarella in about 2 centimeter slices and lay over pesto
3) Slice then lay tomato over mozzarella and lay arugula on top.

My boyfriend is a big meat-eater so I grilled up a thin piece of chicken cutlet and added that to his sandwich.

I hope this help you forget about fall as much as it did for me!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Un-Fried Chicken

Fried chicken; It's crunchy, juicy, and "finger lickin' good!" But let's not forget the main ingredient: GREASE! (YUCK!) Isn't it sad when something so good is so very bad for you? Well, I found just the thing to make it not so bad! My friend Schuyler Levin from Entertaining With Sky recently posted a recipe for Fried Baked Chicken. The healthy part: Corn Flakes instead of bread crumbs. Check out the recipe below but please note my blunders! (Don't make the same mistakes as me.) ;)


- Chicken cutlets
- 1 Egg whisked with a little bit of skim milk
- Kellogg's Corn Flakes
- Dash of paprika, salt and pepper

1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2) Crush corn flakes to the best of your ability. If you have a food processor, you may want to consider throwing them in to speed up the process. (I did not crush my bread crumbs enough, so when you see my picture below you'll notice full size flakes. For a better idea of how this should turn out, look at Schuyler's Pictures.)
3) Dip chicken in egg/milk mixture then dip them into the corn flakes (you could also try dipping them in flour before the corn flakes.)
4) Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

I'll admit that it does look a little silly (and a lot like cereal on a plate), but the corn flakes add a great crispy flavor to the chicken that you wouldn't usually get when making your own baked chicken. And, it tasted amazing with the baked asparagus!

Asparagus Recipe:
1) Rinse and pop off ends
2) Spray any baking dish with Pam Cooking Spray, lay the asparagus in pan then spray over them again with Pam
3) Sprinkle with Sea Salt and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. (I threw them in with the chicken.)

The asparagus complimented the chicken very well and was a perfect addition to this healthy meal.

Delicious and healthy: You can't go wrong! Enjoy!

Quote: KFC

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Double Trouble

While passing some time on one of the best websites ever, I stumbled upon another great recipe from Nosh and Tell.

Personally, I love ANYTHING with chocolate so when I saw this recipe I almost lost it. Chocolate chip cookies baked INTO chewy fudge brownies!? It's like having your cake and eating it too! Two of the best desserts crammed into one perfect little bar. What an amazing creation! SERIOUSLY!!!

1 box of Betty Crocker brownie mix (I went with 'Chewy Fudge' but Nosh and Tell suggests the kind that comes with the Hershey’s syrup packet)

1 roll of prepared chocolate chip cookie dough

Preheat oven to whatever the brownie mix calls for (usually 350 degrees) and prepare brownie mix as directed on box. Pour in 9×13 rectangular pan, set aside.

Take cookie dough roll and scoop rounded tablespoon size balls, place about a half inch apart in 9×13 pan.

Bake until cookie dough is browned and brownies look cooked, about how long it says to bake brownies on the box. Let cool completely.

WARNING: These are insanely addicting. I ate three in the first hour after baking. To save myself from going up a pant size, I brought them to work. They made many people very happy.

P.S. Sorry for the poor picture quality, I'm don't have great lighting in my '70's studio ;)

Chicken with a Twist

Last year I was given a cookbook for Christmas that I had yet to use until this week. I figured this would be the perfect time to crack it open and cook something up! Chicken is a staple in my freezer so I took a stab at Philippine Chicken Adobo. Not only is it delicious and very tender, but simple to make.

Recipe: From: Food Network Kitchens FAVORITE RECIPES cookbook

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (about 2.5 lbs)
1 tsp. salt, additional for seasoning
15 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
(You should be able to get 15 cloves out of 1 bulb. Not knowing this, I made the mistake of buying 15 BULBS! I guess I'll be set for a while.) ;)
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
Hot cooked rice, for serving (optional)

* Tip from the author: Rather than chopping, breeze through 15 cloves of garlic in no time by smashing them with the flat side of your knife.

1) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Pat chicken dry and season with some salt to taste. Add the chicken smooth side down and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Scatter the garlic and bay leaves around the chicken, then add the water, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and red pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil; adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, uncovered, turning the chicken occasionally, until tender, about 25 minutes.

2) Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Remove and discard bay leaves. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into sauce and simmer, whisking constantly, until it thickens a bit. Return the chicken and any juices to the sauce and simmer gently, turning the chicken occasionally, until it is very tender and glazed, about 10 minutes more. Serve over rice, if desired.


(p.s. Please excuse my 1970's faux marble counter top! You should see the rest of the woodgrain apartment)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Let's be honest, when you hear the word "meatloaf" most people think of a dried up brick of meat. Not appealing, bland and tough to swallow. Trust me, I feel the same way.

When I'm at the grocery store I check for sales on ground turkey (I try to avoid red meats.) Occasionally, I'll find a deal on the 3 lbs family pack. Since a girl can only eat tacos and turkey burgers so many times I decided it was time to make the dreaded meatloaf.

I was happily surprised with the end result and would advise that everyone try this recipe!


1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 egg, beaten
1 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingrediants together and place in a greased baking dish and bake for about 1 hour.

It's that easy and turns out juicy and delicious!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smores: No Bonfire Necessary

Who doesn't love roasting marshmallows around a bonfire then sandwiching them between chocolate and Graham crackers? (No really, please tell me: who doesn't!?) I came across the perfect treat, sans the bonfire. Anytime of year, rain or shine, you can bake these in your very own oven.
S’mores Bars
3/4 cup of butter (1 1/2 sticks) room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 giant sized milk chocolate bars (Hershey’s works well)
1 7.5 oz jar of marshmallow fluff (if you want a thicker layer of marshmallow, use more.

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan.
2) In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3) In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until combined (use low speed on electric mixer). Divide dough in half. Press half of the dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place the chocolate bars in a layer on top of the dough.
4) Spread marshmallow fluff over chocolate layer. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (This part is trickey. I took the hard route and laid the dough right in the middle and carefully spread the dough over the marshmallow. This could be done easier by flattening the dough with your hands into small square shingles and laying them together).
5) Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars. You'll probably want to cut these rather small. At first, I cut my batch of bars in about 2" x 2" squares and ended up cutting them in half again after learning how rich (and amazing) these bars were!

If you like making friends, bring these to work or a party. You'll be a hit!
Enjoy ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Salmon Patties!

After spending countless nights making meals of elbow noodles covered in butter and Parmesan cheese, while watching my boyfriend grill his own chicken dinner, I decided it was time to start cooking!

What better way to start, then with my roots. My mother used to make salmon patties for quick fix to a long day, and they were amazing!


Momma's Recipe:
1 can of Alaskan Pink Salmon
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

1) De bone salmon and place in a medium size bowl
2) Crack egg over salmon and mix together
3) Combine breadcrumbs in with salmon and egg and mix ingredients together by hand.
*You may need to add a little more breadcrumbs depending on how firm you prefer your patties.
4) Form patties to your liking. You should be able to create 4 to 5 average size patties with one can of salmon. Double recipe for larger families (or hungrier bellies.)
5) Fry in pan as you would a hamburger and enjoy!

**These taste great topped with a simple tartar sauce!


Creating the Dream

Stirring up a Dream came to be after a sad realization. Although I enjoy my corporate job, I felt like there was more that I could be doing with my time. I've always had a yearning for culinary school so I did some research. After quickly realizing NYC does not have any cheap courses to offer I came up with plan B: TEACH MYSELF! ;)

Even if I could afford to take classes, I can't quit work do to so, so I've come up with the next best thing: cook and learn. My goal is try new recipes two to three times a week and see what happens. Hopefully they'll be delicious, and I pray for as little disaster as possible, but only time will tell.

Enjoy the stories and share the recipes if you like them!