Thursday, April 26, 2007


This is one of the surprises for this week. I do not think that I will get to baking my other surprise, but I should get to it next week at some point. In any case, the two at the top ARE NOT what I baked. The tiny one in the front is though. I tried to replicate the taste of the blueberry cake located at the upper right, but didn't even come close. I have no idea how to do it. If you will recall, I am NOT a baker. I don't like baking, don't think I ever will. But in my meager attempt, I made the upside-down blueberry muffins. They are small (I like baked things small - well, simply because if I have a whole big cake sitting in front of me, I am likely to eat it ALL.....but not cake with frosting, because I don't like frosting very much). So, I have decided to make smaller versions of the BIG mama cakes sitting in the back. The pineapple upside-down cake is simple enough - but how do I make the blueberry ones? Look at the marbling of the blueberry upside-down cake - how does that happen in baking??? The best I could come up with last night was the little thing you see in front - it's not even close to tasting like the big ones in the back, but they did come out pretty darn good. So simple if you want the recipe:

1 box of cake mix - I used pound cake mix, but don't think I would use that again. (Maybe yellow next time).
Prepare cake as suggested.
In a saucepan, heat a no cholesterol butter substitute and some brown sugar.
In a muffin tin, place frozen blueberries at the bottom and about a tablespoon or so of the brown sugar mixture and then the cake mix on top of that. Fill about 2/3 of the way up. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. While still warm, flip the pan over to reveal your blueberry upside-down muffin. The taste really good, but are NO WHERE NEAR completed. I will be experimenting again tonight with a recipe like this. (This is why I HATE BAKING!!!!)

Jambalaya (Emeril's Kicked-Up Jambalaya to be exact)

(Once again not my pic, but I am finding pics on the internet that look just like my other words, I am taking the easy way about again).

To continue on with my restaurant quality cooking, I decided to make Jambalaya last night. As Rachel Ray would say, "Yum O". I can't believe how good this came out. Don't be discouraged by the amount of ingredients, it's not hard to make. Here's the recipe:

Creole seasoning (recipe below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 5 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a can of chopped tomatoes)
6 cups water
2 cups rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Creole seasoning:
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Season chicken pieces with Creole seasoning. Add some olive oil to pot and when hot, add chicken pieces and saute until browned, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne (if you want it MORE spicy than it already is. If not, leave out) and thyme and cook until vegetables are wilted, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and water and return chicken pieces to pot. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add rice to pot, stir well and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, green onions and parsley to Dutch oven, mixing carefully, and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving. (This is where I seasoned the shrimp and sauted it until done and then stirred it into the Jambalaya. I find that if you cook the shrimp ahead of time, the little suckers get tough and don't stay nice and soft like if you just cook them).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baking and more

This week I am going to bake something special. Actually, probably two something specials - but I am not going to ruin the surprise, so I will post a pick when I am done.

In addition to the baking, I am going to make a special dinner at some point this week - probably later on in the week at some point. But again, I will post pics as soon as I do it. :)

Too many surprises this week, I'm so excited!!! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

To balance things out

Since I posted a very yummy, but very caloric recipe yesterday I decided that I need to balance things out a bit (just so y'all know, I don't normally cook high fat foods - in fact, I try to cook low fat and healthy, on a normal basis - but you gotta live every once and a while right?). Here is a recipe from the McDougall cookbook. It is a Black Bean and Corn Salad that I make on a regular basis. In fact, when I go to potluck's and the like I take this dish. It's usually a BIG hit. And, even those that don't like 'healthy' foods love it.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
2 - 15oz cans of Black Beans rinsed and drained
2 - cups of frozen corn kernels thawed (sometimes I used cans of corn rinsed)
1 - red or green bell pepper chopped
1 - 4oz. can green chilies
1 - pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
3-4 scallions chopped
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro

Savory Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon - Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup - red wine vinegar
1/4 cup - H2O
1/4 cup - Soy Sauce (or soy amino alternative)
Several dashes of Tabasco sauce

Please take note though that this recipe yields a very large quantity. Of course it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, but I find it's way too much for one person. So, cut the recipe in half if you are unsure about it just to test it out.

(Again, these are not my pics - but the dish looks VERY close to these)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chicken Marsala

Since Shawn and I bought our townhouse a few years ago I have been meaning to make Chicken Marsala for dinner. I researched how to make it and bought Marsala Wine, but never really got around to making it. Well, last night I finally made it. Oh my gosh, it was one of the best things I have ever made. I found a recipe on the internet (I must give credit where credit is due) and tweaked it a bit and came up with my own creation. Here is the recipe:

This is not my photo - but it looks close to what I made last night.

  • 4 Chicken breasts (skinless - pounded flat)
  • 1- 20 oz. bottle of Marsala wine (I used dry - but sweet would be wonderful too)
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms (sliced - I used crimini's)
  • 1 cube of chicken bouilon

Wash chicken breasts and pat dry. Lightly pound into about 1/2 inch thickness.

Turn the burner on to medium temperature and put a pan on it. When the pan is starting to produce heat through, pour in the olive oil spreading it around until the pan is fully coated. Add some butter. (Keep the pan on medium or the butter will burn).

Make a powder mixture by combining the flour, salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken breasts with this flour mixture.

Pan the chicken breasts. Flip them onto the other side when one side is golden brown. When both sides are golden brown, take them out and put them on a plate.

Pour in 10 -15oz. of Marsala wine and add the chicken bouillon cube. Add the sliced mushrooms. Start cooking and continuously add butter until the sauce begins to thicken. (I added a wondra flour mixture to thicken the sauce). You may have to add more or less Marsala wine to get this to proper thickness. Play around with this part of it.

Cook until mushrooms are reduced down and sauce it thickened.

Serve hot, immediately after preparing.

I must say - I have never been so impressed with a recipe off of the internet. Like I said, I tweaked it a bit, so play around with it. I thought the sauce could have used a bit of herbs - not chunky herbs, but some herb flavor. So maybe next time I will infuse the sauce with herbs and then take them out before serving.

With this I served my famous garlicy-cheesy mashed potatoes (recipe on a previous post) and some steamed broccoli sauteed with a bit of butter, salt and then sprinkled with some fresh grated parmesean cheese.

I don't normally cook with soooo much fat - especially butter, but I really wanted to go all out for Shawn last night. This is a recipe I will definitely make again and again (but since it's got so much butter in it, I will probably only make it for special occasions).

My next conquest - - - lightly crispy chicken breasts with some kind of lemony sauce - - - and of course I have always wanted to make a really good chicken piccata recipe. :) Happy cooking!!!