Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Drops

Hello.  My name is Eileen and I am a chocoholic. . .I once again hit the jackpot with these cookies.  Hazelnuts are my favorite nut and although I think almost anything is good drenched in dark chocolate – this combination is incredibly satisfying.  But that’s just my opinion.  Feel free to form your own once you’ve made these ;-)


1 c softened butter

scant 3/4 c superfine sugar

1 lightly beaten egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c flour

1/2 c unsweetened cocoa

1/2 c ground hazelnuts

1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips

4 tbsp chocolate and hazelnut spread


1. Preheat oven to 375 and line your cookie sheets with parchment.

2. Mix your butter and sugar with a wooden spoon and then beat in yolk, and extract.  Stir together flour, cocoa, and a pinch of salt, add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.

3. Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture and shape into balls.  Place on sheets and use the dampened end of a wooden spoon to make a hollow in the center of each cookie.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes and let cool on the sheets for 5-10.  Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely and fill the hollows with the spread.  Makes about 30.

let me count the ways. . .

Let me count the ways. . .

Incredibly decadent :9

Yeah, I wasn’t counting calories with these.


Chipotle Chili and Southwestern Drop Biscuits

After a pretty gluttonous weekend I have returned to doing my low-cal thing.  I’m not a die-hard fan of chili but I thought I’d give this recipe a try.  I’m glad I did because it definitely hit the spot for cold weather comfort food!  I wanted to pair it with something and biscuits sounded appealing.  The chili was great as it was hearty enough with the beans and other veggies in it without being “heavy”.

For the Chili:

8 0z extra lean ground beef or turkey (or even ground chicken)

1 c chopped onion

1.5 tsp ground cumin

2-14 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained, cut up

1-15 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed

1.5 c coarsely chopped red and or yellow sweet pepper

1/2 c water

2-3 tsp chopped canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce (I love spicy so I used 3)

1 tbsp snipped fresh oregano

1/4 c shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat over medium heat and cook your meat and onion.  Stir in cumin and cook for about a minute more.  Add tomatoes, red beans, pepper, water, and chile peppers.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5 mins and then stir in oregano.

2. Serve with cheese and a dollop of sour cream (this offsets the spiciness very well)!  Makes 4-1.5 c servings.

For biscuits:

1 c all purpose flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

2 tsps baking powder

1-2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1-8 0z carton light sour cream

1/3 c fat free milk

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet.  Stir together first 5 ingredients.

2. Whisk together sour cream and milk and then mix with flour mixture.  Drop 1/3 c sized dough mounds on sheet and bake for 14-16 mins.  Makes 8 servings.

The biscuits were okay.  They definitely needed to be buttered (of course I go low fat and use the zero calorie ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ spray).  I’m not sure what I would have done differently for these – maybe added some reduced fat cheese?  Alternately, you can serve the chili with lime wedges and baked tortilla chips which would work just as well. But the chili was very good!

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 398

Total Fat: 14 g

Cholesterol: 57 mg

Protein: 27 g

Carbohydrate: 40 g

Fiber: 10 g

Sodium: 1030 mg

For biscuits:

Calories: 138

Total Fat: 3  g

Cholesterol: 10 mg

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 23 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 191 mg

Bob's Crash Hot Potatoes

So after a bit of  a hiatus (s0rry about that), it is time to post again.  Hope you are all having a good week :)  I think I will start off with a side dish this time (but it doesn’t have to be by any means).  Here’s something simple for those of you in eskimo-esque climates.  Bob inspired me as I was wanting good ‘ole steak and potatoes – so you can thank him later.  However, this was simply wonderful! Our guests the past two weekends have been raving about this still!

You’ll need:

desired amount of red potatoes (apparently these taste best)

garlic (Bob used this for his blog pictures but I went with straight bacon-cheese potatoes)



shredded cheese (I used sharp)

sour cream

1.  Boil your potatoes until tender.

2. Wrap your baking pan with foil.  Place your potatoes and smash them until open.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with desired ingredients.  I knew bacon was going to be a big hit so I topped each potato with a pat of butter, uncured bacon and shredded cheese.

3. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes.  You can smell the magic by then.  Serve with a side of sour cream – absolutely fantastic.

oh yeah. . .

The first weekend I made these along with Van’s baked macaroni and cheese and steak.  That was a great night ;-)  Thank you both for your dinner ideas – they made me look good!

Sorry for the lack of posts

Hi All,

Sorry for the lack of posts, life has been very busy for the last two weeks.  I really miss getting into the kitchen and working some magic, however, I simply haven’t had the time or energy due to a wide range of issues. You know… work… school (I’m getting a masters)… life in general…

That said, I am making a public promise right now.  Moving forward, I will make it my duty to post twice a week. I deserve it, the site deserves it, and the constant experimenting will continue my growth in the kitchen.

I hope you have enjoyed everything thus far and, again, sorry for the lack of posts.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

My mother makes the type of Macaroni and Cheese that I love… It’s one of those childhood comfort foods (along with Meat Pie and Hashbrown Casserole) that cannot get enough of. With the fear of ruining a bunch of childhood memories in my head, I decided to venture out and try another recipe…

This one from Alton Brown with just slight changes.

All The Stuff

All The Stuff


1/2 pound elbow macaroni

6 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

3 cups milk

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 large egg

8 oz cheddar, shredded

8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

1 teaspoon sea salt

Fresh black pepper

For the Topping:

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup panko bread crumb

Steps to throwing together this masterpiece.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Mix in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes.

Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Mix in egg.

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

Breadcrumbs going on...

Breadcrumbs going on...

Throw on the Cheese!

Throw on the Cheese!

Remove from oven, let sit for ten minutes before serving.

Baked and Ready to go.

Baked and Ready to go.

A very enjoyable dish, one that is the perfect comfort food… but it does not replace the childhood memories.

The paprika add a subtle flavor and panko breadcrumbs create a texture that I never would have associated with Mac and Cheese but really enjoy.

One last item with this dish – the longer the dish sits, the better it tastes. After having the Mac and Cheese hibernate in the fridge overnight I found even more pleasure in eating the leftovers the next day. It looks as the flavors permeate the dish and grow in intensity with time.

Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache

So by a friend’s special request I decided to take this cake on.  From all the recipes I read I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge.  The ganache was my preference out of all the different ways you can present the cake – surprise, surprise.  So if you like angel food and would like to attempt it yourself, here you are :)

You will need:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Note: For those not use to making angel food cakes don’t get any yoke in the whites, if you do throw out and start over. You can always separate the egg in a glass first. Then if no yoke pour into measuring container.
  • Use a two piece angelfood cake pan.

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Sift the cake flour and 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar; set aside.
  3. Combine the extracts in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until it forms peaks.
  5. Add the other 3/4 cup of sugar slowly, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Beating on LOW, add flour mixture and extracts slowly. Make sure you fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl.  Spoon into an angel food cake pan.  Move a knife through batter to remove air pockets. Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.  Invert pan onto a tin funnel to cool completely.

    Some angel cake pans have tri-legs so you can invert it onto a countertop but another site said that the moisture from the cake’s heat against the countertop makes the cake shrink and ruins the top.  The space just isn’t far enough.  So per another suggestion I inverted mine on a colander.  This worked just fine!
  7. To remove the cake from your pan run a knife around the rim of the cake pan just to get the ‘crust’ away from the pan.  Then firmly spank the sides of your pan.
  8. While your cake is baking make your ganache – 1-package Ghirardelli semi-sweet/dark chips, 1 c heavy cream, and 1 tbsp butter.  Heat heavy cream on stove until almost boiling (but NOT!).  Quickly take it off heat and pour over chocolate in a glass bowl.  Allow to sit for one minute.  Stir together with butter. (The butter gives it that nice shine. Alternately, vanilla extract does the same thing.)

    It will look a bit “milky” at first.  The first time I made this I was a bit scared of how it would turn out because I didn’t want to lose the bitter flavor.  But rest assured, it was fine.  This will keep at room temperature for 2 days so this is something you can make in advance or if you have leftover and want to use the rest you can.  Just cover with plastic wrap.

    When you’re ready, slowly pour or spoon over cake (on parchment paper).  I decided to do only the top of the cake and let the sides drip down.  Since it is such a light cake I didn’t want to overwhelm it by covering the cake entirely.

    I served this last night with raspberries, strawberries and whip cream.  Fantastic!  I hope you enjoy as well.

    Happy Monday everyone and here’s to another week of cooking :)

Salmon Cakes with Lemon and Capers/Fettuccine in Tomato Broth

Implementing healthy, low-cal recipes has taken on much more significance for me recently so I am very happy to share those with you that actually taste good and are easy to put together.  These two were a suggested pair and so with the success of the tuna cakes I decided to try these yesterday afternoon.  Big smiles all around for these!

Salmon cakes:

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 tsp black or green peppercorns

1 med garlic cloe, coarsely chopped or 1/2 tsp bottled, chopped or minced

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

whites of 2 lg eggs

1/4 cup fat free, cholesterol-free or light, reduced-calorie mayonnaise dressing

1/4 cup cornmeal

12 oz salmon fillet, skin removed

1. With a mortar and pestle crush and grind together first 5 ingredients.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Add lemon juice and using your mortar make a paste.

2. Stir in egg whites, mayonnaise, and cornmeal.

3. Rinse your fish, pat dry and cut into 1/4 in thick pieces.  They don’t have to be uniform so  don’t feel you have to be really precise.  Stir this into your mixture.

4. Preheat large skillet over medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Form 4 patties about 3/4 in thick.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning only once.  Enjoy!

For Fettuccine:

14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 c fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

2 pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers), stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 med garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp bottled minced

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8-9 oz fresh fettuccine

6-8 oz sliced or coarsed chopped fresh mushrooms

2 large zucchini, grated

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried, crumbled

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp shredded/grated Parmesan or Romano

1. Heat large, deep skillet over high heat.  Put in first 7 ingredients and stir.  Bring to a simmer.  Gently stir in pasta, mushrooms and zucchini.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil.  When read to serve sprinkle with cheese if desired.

You may be wondering. . . zucchini?  I was very, very surprised at how creamy the fettuccine came out because of this vegetable.  No heavy creams, butter, or loads of cheese (which we all love) but this had an alfredo consistency with a different flavor.  It was excellent :)

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 160

Total Fat: 3 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 245 mg

Carbohydrate: 11 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 20 g


Calories: 217

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 1 mg

Sodium: 430 mg

Carbohydrate: 43 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 10 g

Egg Custard Pie

From what I hear you are either a custard fan or not.  I grew up with flan and desserts of the sort but for some reason didn’t care for custard until much later in life.  I used the following recipe to make this for a friend’s father whose favorite dessert is this.


  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Mix together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir well. Blend in the scalded milk. For more yellow color, add few drops yellow food coloring.
  3. Line pie pan with pastry, and brush inside bottom and sides of shell with egg white to help prevent a soggy crust. Pour custard mixture into piecrust. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on rack and give some time to set.

***This was the first time I made this and so being the type of person I am I made a second pie to taste test it myself before giving what I made to someone else.  However, I decided to put a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom so that others in my household would partake of it too.  I had to increase the baking time by about 5-7 minutes.  The custard filling came out exactly as I expected and the chocolate, although I even questioned throwing that in there, was really good.  Even my husband who doesn’t care for custard thought it was a nice touch.

This goes to show you: don't shift the pie while it is baking. The nutmeg will move over! Errr. . .

. . .with the chocolate layer . . .

From what the recipe stated each slice (8 per pie) has approximately 225 calories (without chocolate).

Apricot Mustard Salmon and Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette

A very busy week, a very stressful week, has kept me out of the kitchen… and I have missed it so.  As I was finishing up hour number 9 of one very tedious task at work I started thinking that I really needed to take care of my cooking fix today.  Really, what better way to start the weekend.  Well, I can think of a few others…. ;-)

I decided that I wanted a good fish dish.  Yes, the baked Mac n Cheese is still in my the back of my head (and I’ll get there at some point) but I wanted to do something creative and the Apricot Mustard Salmon was the answer.

Apricot Mustard Salmon Recipe

3 tbsp olive oil

2 salmon cuts

8 oz of apricot preserves (roughly 1 cup)

4 tbsp of coarse ground mustard

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 sliced peppers jalapeño

1/2 cup white wine

2 rosemary sprigs

Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Turn on the oven, set to 400 and let the oven pre-heat as you prep.

2) Heat olive oil over a medium-low flame in a medium sized pan, add the jalapeño peppers and sautee for roughly 3 minutes (until they begin to soften)

3) Add Garlic, heat for an additional minute

4) De-glaze with white wine

5) Add mustard, stir into the mixture

6) Add Apricot preserves and stir in so all ingredients have blended together.

7) Turn heat to low, simmer for roughly 15 minutes while constantly stirring to avoid burning.  The sauce will begin to thicken when ready.

8 ) Place your salmon on a foiled cookie sheet, salt and pepper to taste, add a sprig of rosemary and cover with the Apricot Mustard sauce.

9) Bake for 16 minutes

Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette Recipe

1 bag of mixed baby greens

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp honey

5 chopped green onions

10 fresh mint  leaves, chopped

A “Handful” of chopped walnuts

A “Handful” of Feta Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Yea, this one is quite simply… mix your red wine vinegar, oils, ginger, and honey. Pour over the baby greens, add walnuts and cheese, green onions and mint.  Toss vigorously and serve.

Apricot Mustard Salmon

Apricot Mustard Salmon

I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out… but hot damn I was happy.  The sauce is on the sweeter side of the spectrum but the peppers and mustard add a nice after bite that one wouldn’t expect.  In order to cut the sweetness simply add a bit more mustard.  As sad as this sounds, as the salmon was baking away I was eating the extra sauce straight from the pan.  Why let a good thing go to waste, I love it!

The salmon and sauce blended so well.  The sweetness of the sauce was countered by the natural flavors in the fish leading to a near perfect balance.

I like throwing together random vinaigrette dressings.  The thought of honey, nuts and feta cheese seemed to compliment the fish (well,  in my mind) and in reality it did.  The nuts really brought out the taste of the honey, and the honey added to the sauce that was over the fish.


Apple-Streusel Muffins

I don’t know why I’ve held off on this recipe.  I’ve had pretty good success with a few other muffins I’ve made for breakfast-on-the-go and one or two “fails”.  This is one of the ones I like the most!  And if you’re into supplementation and good-for-you ingredients the flaxseed will probably be appealing to you.  Moist, not overly sweet, and just the right size (don’t be fooled by mega muffins!) here you are. . .


1 c flour

1 c whole wheat flour

1/3 c packed brown sugar

2.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp apple pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 c buttermilk

2 tbsp canola oil

3/4 c shredded/peel apple (1 medium)

2 tbsp finely chopped pecans

1 tbsp flaxseed

1 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 and prep your muffin pan (12 ct).  In a large bowl, stir together flours, 1/3 c br sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt.  Set aside.

2. In medium bowl lightly beat eggs and stir in buttermilk and oil.  Add this mixture to flour mixture and stir until moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Fold in shredded apple and spoon all of this into muffin cups (fill about 3/4 full).

3. In a small bowl combine pecans, flaxseed and 1 tbsp br sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spoon this mixture over top of muffin batter.

4.  Bake for 18-20 min and cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Makes 12 servings. Enjoy!

You'd be proud of your muffins too :)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 163

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 39 mg

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 25 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sodium: 167 mg