Thursday, May 31, 2012

B(Bacon) L(Lettuce) A(Avocado) T(Tomato) Sandwich

I was raised on BLT’s. You laugh, but mac and cheese and BLT’s were weekly meals in my house! My mom was a fabulous cook, I learned everything that I know from her...but fabulous cooks have to have easy meals to go to on occasion, and these were hers! When I got married, I couldn’t really make BLT’s unless they only include the B(bacon) and the L(lettuce), who wants a bacon and lettuce sandwhich?! Anyone? Nope! About a year ago, I introduced my husband to the wonderful world of avocados, a world unknown to him before this point. He quickly got addicted and now orders guacamole every where we go! Now, a BLA sandwich is a ton more edible than a BL sandwich, so it was an instant success! I, of course, kept the tomato on mine, and my childhood favorite has been put back into session in my house...just in a different way! O yum, it is so crunchy, creamy, and delicious, and gives me a feeling of home. The best feeling, ever.

B(Bacon) L(Lettuce) A(Avocado) T(Tomato) Sandwich
Printable Version

8 slices bacon (we love applewood smoked)
8 slices bread (ciabiatta is amazing)
8 leaves romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 12 slices
salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare bacon as directed on package; drain thoroughly on paper towels. Toast bread under a broiler or in a toaster. Spread an equal amount of mayonnaise on 4 slices. Top each with equal amounts of bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover each with another slice of toast. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

I ate this yummy salad every day for about a week, or until the dressing ran out and I had to run to the store again:) The perfect crunch of the won tons with the tangy dressing just makes me a happy girl. We even ate this for dinner one night, and hubbs highly approved.

Asian Chicken Salad
Printable Version

1 chicken breast, sauteed in Olive oil and thinly sliced
6 cups lettuce or spinach
¼ bunch cilantro, stems removed
¼ cup  Asain sesame dressing
1-2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
15 Mandarin oranges
¼ cup fried won ton slices

Combine all ingredients into a bowl & toss to coat. Divide between two dishes and Serve

Serves 2.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blood Orange Toast

Want a simple, healthy, delicious snack? This is it! I was at the grocery store the other day and saw a blood orange for sale...sounds a little creepy, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. It was a little more tart than a regular orange, with beautiful red droplets running through every inch when sliced. When layered with cottage cheese and toast, it makes a perfect and scrumptious mid-afternoon snack.

Blood Orange Toast
Printable Version

1 blood orange
⅓ cup cottage cheese
1 slice whole wheat bread

Peel orange and cut into ¼” slices. Toast whole wheat bread and top with cottage cheese and 2-3 slices of blood orange.

Serves 1.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lemon Curd Cake

Want some zing?! This is the recipe for you. WE LOVE IT when something that claims to be “lemon” actually has enough flavor to prove worthy of the “lemon” title. We want it to BURN when it goes down our throats...and this one does! O man I just wanted to devour the entire cake, but that would have been a mistake for my waistline and my throat. It is quite a bit of work, but if you are out to impress, this is the cake to make!

Lemon Curd Cake
Printable Version

Cake and Syrup:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for pans, sifted
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp. lemon zest
4 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup lemon zest
1 tsp. kosher salt
10 egg yolks
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans, and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together milk and vanilla in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and zest on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth, about 5 seconds. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth top with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel any large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks, and let cool. Using a serrated knife, halve each cake horizontally to produce four layers; set aside. Bring remaining sugar and juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, and set syrup aside.

Make the frosting: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, zest, and salt in a 4-qt. saucepan. Add yolks, and whisk until smooth; stir in juice. Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and transfer to a bowl; chill the lemon curd. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and 1/4 of the curd on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add half the remaining curd, beating until smooth, and then add remaining curd and vanilla. Increase speed to high; beat frosting until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3/4 cup frosting; top with another cake, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Place another cake over the frosting, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3/4 cup frosting; top with remaining cake, and drizzle with remaining syrup. Cover top and sides with remaining frosting; chill cake to firm frosting. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe from Saveur Magazine
Serves 10-12

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dinner Pockets

When I was a kid, we would rarely eat frozen food. However, if we did, it would be those delicious dinner pockets that come in a variety of favors and are ready after about 3 minutes in the microwave. They were also packed with who-knows-what on the ingredient label! All I can tell you, is although these may take a little more time to prepare, they are much more delicious than store bought, and you know exactly what is in them! You could change out almost any of the ingredients in these to make them friendly to your picky family...I know I had to! No cooked broccoli in my hubby’s pocket, I think it reminds him of casseroles, which are a no-no in his house! The meat, the cheese, the veggies can all be subbed to your liking!

Dinner Pockets
Printable Version

1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (or your choice of cheeses, I did a cheddar and colby jack mixture)
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. paprika
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 egg white

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool; pat dry. Chop broccoli finely. Mix the broccoli, cheese, chicken, sour cream and seasonings  in a bowl until combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Split the dough into 2 equal halves. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until very thin, but with no holes remaining. Place the  filling down the center of  prepared dough. Fold in all four edges, pinching at the seams to prevent the ingredients from escaping during cooking time. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place the pockets seam-side down on a lined baking sheet. Beat the egg white in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes 2 pockets
Recipe highly adapted from Food Network Magazine

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hubby's Favorite Sugar Cookies

Melt in your mouth goodness...that is what these are. I saw this recipe posted on my friend, Mel’s blog, a long time ago. I have thought about making them a few times here and there, but it took my sister to make them and tell me how AWESOME they are to really convice me! I am now regretting that I didn’t make them sooner. Although I love, love, love, these White Velvet Sugar Cookies, the recipe below has a little something extra...lemon zest. You can barely taste the faint lemon flavor, and at the same time it gives it that extra *POP* to make it something special. These babies had me going back for more, and more, and more. O and I almost forgot the frosting! Brillance in cream cheese world...why didn’t I think of folding in fresh whipped cream?!? O man it is so light and fluffy, I want some, no, NEED some, right now!

Hubby’s Favorite Sugar Cookies
Printable Version

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened to cool room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.

The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be rolled out right away. Dust a counter with powdered sugar or flour and roll the dough to ¼” or desired thickness. Cut the dough into shapes. Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies won’t appear browned on top or on bottom when they are done baking so don’t let them overbake!

Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Great tips from Mel: The baked cookies (unfrosted) can be stored in a tupperware or ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month. I also often freeze 1/2 of the sugar cookie dough when I don’t have time or don’t want to roll it out and cut shapes. I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then stick it in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and freeze it for up to a month. I take it out the night before I want to roll it out and store it in the refrigerator to thaw (for about 12-15 hours). About 30 minutes before I want to use it, I let it sit on the counter to soften a bit and then I roll it out and cut out the cookies.

Makes 2-3 dozen sugar cookies (about 2-3 inch size)

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined and smooth.

Makes about 4 cups of frosting
Recipe from Mel at