Sunday, August 23, 2009

Frittata Sunday

We did it! One week: 7 recipes. School starts in two days so I won't be able to update as often, but I'll definitely do my best. Since I loaded this blog up on all things sweet and carbalicious, I thought I would end the week with something savory and protein-filled. This recipe is from Martha Stewart, and it is delicious! Even my mom who hates eggs loved it.

Smoked Salmon Frittata

12 large eggs, beaten
1 c. heavy cream
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked salmon, chopped
3 slices of an onion, finely diced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tbsp. butter

1. Melt butter in a nonstick 10" skillet over medium heat. Sautée onions in butter until
translucent (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low.
2. Combine eggs, cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, dill, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
3. Poor egg mixture into skillet and combine with onions. Cook , pulling back edges with a rubber spatula until it begins to sit (about 15 minutes).
4. Put the skillet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes at 350° F.
5. Let cool 5 minutes then run a spatula around sides and underneath to ease out of the pan.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crumb Cake Saturday

I know I know, more baked goods! I promise tomorrow will be something savory. This is a recipe I just tried out tonight from my mama's Junior League cookbook.

Apricot Crumb Cake



1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon


1 stick butter
2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 (12 oz.) jar apricot preserves


1. Grease a 9 inch bundt pan and preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon for topping and then butter until mixture is crumbly, spread on bottom of pan.
3. Beat stick of butter with cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in vanilla and eggs.
5. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk and beat until smooth.
6. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Spread the apricot preserves on the batter and poor the other half of the butter in afterwards.
7. Bake for 50-60 minutes and cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lemon Cake Friday

Day 5 of the week-long extravaganza!! Here is a recipe from my great-GREAT Aunt Lizzie (let's just say this recipe is quite old, especially considering today was my grandma's 86th birthday!) I've always been a big fan of recipes that involve adding things to boxed cakes. It's such an easy way to get a cake that tastes like it's made from scratch and required lots more effort than it truly did. Enjoy and hope you all had a great Friday!

Aunt Lizzie's Lemon Cake

For cake:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package lemon jello (don't get the sugar-free or fat-free or any of that nonsense)
2/3 c. water
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
4 eggs

For glaze:
Juice of one lemon
2/3 cup sugar

1. Combine cake mix, box of jello, water, vegetable oil and lemon extract.
2. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each.
3. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan at 350° F for 40 minutes.
4. Stir together lemon juice and sugar and glaze cake when cool.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brownie Thursday

These are hands down the best brownies ever! This has been my mom's top secret recipe since 1995, and she's finally agreed to letting me release it :) We've tried on a few occasions to make brownies from scratch but they never ended up being as good as these. If you can get the best brownies in the world from a box, why wouldn't you?

1 box Betty Crocker Hershey's Dark Chocolate brownie mix
1 box Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix
3 eggs
5/6 (1/2 + 1/3) oil
7/12 (1/3 + 1/4) water
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Grease 15" x 10" pan and preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine mixes (and syrup packet from Betty Crocker mix), eggs, oil, water, and chocolate chips and stir until mixed.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake for 38 minutes.
4. Let cool in pan for several hours. Cut off 1/2 inch all around and save edges to eat with ice cream (they get a little tough). Cut into 2"x2" squares. Top with powdered sugar if desired.
Makes ~28 brownies.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cheesecake Wednesday

In the words of my good friend Emily, "cheesecake production is a long, sordid ordeal." And while many cheesecakes might be difficult, this one is extremely easy and almost foolproof. One time I was supposed to be watching the cheesecake while it was in the oven and I accidentally fell asleep on the couch. I didn't wake up until my mom came home freaking out because I hadn't taken the cheesecake out. Much to my mom's surprise (and my relief because she didn't slap me upside the head), the cheesecake was fine. 30 extra minutes didn't harm it at all! While I wouldn't recommend falling asleep while baking, it is comforting to know that a few extra minutes won't burn it.


For crust
1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs (just crush graham crackers with a rolling pin)
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. melted butter
For filling
3 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1. Line a 9" cake pan with aluminum foil.
2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in cake pan. Firmly and evenly pack sides and bottom of pan to form crust.

3. Bake at 250° F for 10 minutes. Cool.
4. Mix cream cheese and sugar together in electric mixer.
5. Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla.
6. Pour filling into crust and bake at 425° F for 10 minutes then 250° F for 25-35 minutes until set in the middle.
7. Let sit overnight.
8. Optional: Decorate with fruit the next day (brush melted strawberry jelly on top of fruit to make it shiny).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chicken Piccata Tuesday

The back-to-school extravaganza continues! Today we have a recipe for Quick Chicken Piccata from the Best Recipes of the Southern Living magazine (check out this magazine if you can, it's awesome!) I took their recipe and changed things up a bit, and added artichoke hearts (this way you can get your vegetables in at the same time!) Disclaimer: this recipe is not for those who have an uncertain relationship with lemon. This is for those who are wholeheartedly sure of their love for lemon.

Quick Chicken Piccata

1 lb. chicken fillets, pounded thin

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. lemon juice
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
pasta of choice (I prefer angel hair)

1. Wash chicken fillets and put them in a ziploc bag. Use the flat side of a meat pounder (or your Organic Chemistry textbook) to pound them thin.
2. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper and dredge in breadcrumbs.
3. Cook chicken in 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat for 2-
3 minutes (depending on thickness of filet). Remove chicken and repeat with remaining in another 1 tbsp. oil.
4. Add chicken broth and lemon juice to skillet and stir to loosen particles. Cook until sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat and add butter and parsley. Stir until butter melts.
5. Serve chicken over warm pasta and pour sauce over chicken.

Sautéed Artichoke Hearts

2 cans of artichoke hearts
2 tsp. olive oil
1. Put artichoke hearts in a nonstick skillet with olive oil.
Sauté over medium heat, turning until brown.
3. Serve with chicken piccata.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meat and Potatoes Monday

Hello all! Sorry that summer school finals stole me away from the kitchen and here, but I'm back now! In honor of this week-long hiatus between summer school and Fall semester I am going to try to make and post something new each day! Today is a double-header with Grandma's Meatloaf and Red Potatoes with Dill.

Poor meatloaf has a reputation as a flavorless blob, but I think this recipe could change things up. It's like a giant delicious meatball with ketchup on top! It's also super easy to make and is even yummier the next day. What could be better?

Grandma's Meatloaf

2 1/2 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 c. ketchup
1 1/2 c. cracker crumbs (I like to crush saltines for this)

1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl with your hands.
2. Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place in a glass baking dish or casserole.
3. Pour 1/2 c. of water into the dish.
4. Spread 1/3 c. of ketchup on top of loaf.
5. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.

Serves 8.

Baby Red Potatoes with Dill

20 small red potatoes, washed and cut in half
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. dill (fresh or dried)
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Melt butter in microwave and spread on baking sheet.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle dill on baking sheet.
4. Place potatoes (cut side down) on baking sheet.
5. Salt and pepper backsides of potatoes.
6. Bake at 350° F for ~30 minutes.
Serves 6.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Super Scrumptious Salmon

How many things are delicious and heart-healthy AND brain-healthy? Not many. Which is why salmon is basically the best food ever. I like to make it the night before big tests because I'm a full-fledged believer in the power of omega-3 fatty acids. And this salmon is super quick and easy so you can get back to studying for that test ;)

Salmon with Orange-Soy Glaze

-1 lb. salmon
-1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
-3 tbsp. brown sugar
-juice from one orange (~3 tbsp.)
-sprinkle of cayenne pepper

1. Make sure that salmon is skinned and deboned. (A useful trick for deboning fish is to use tweezers [like the kind you pluck your eyebrows with, just make sure you wash them before and after!]). Cut into individual-sized portions.

2. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, and cayenne pepper and stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Dip salmon pieces into mixture (don't be afraid to slosh it around so it absorbs the marinade). You can also put salmon in a Ziplock bag with the marinade for 30 minutes beforehand if you have time.

4. Place salmon on a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle rest of marinade on top of salmon and bake for 16-20 minutes at 325 °F until salmon begins to flake. Serves 4.

Look out for Top Secret Brownies Recipe coming this weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Everyone loves banana bread...

...and if you don't, then you're not anyone! Just kidding. But this banana bread is seriously awesome. The cream cheese makes it moist and delicious.

As college students, we tend to be forgetful. This means food (including bananas) will occasionally go bad. However, overripe bananas are the best for banana bread because they have the most banana flavor! That's why I started making it this year, and it was instantly a hit with my roommates (and neighbors! Our 2 1/2 year old neighbor Elena proudly ate 3 muffins in about 5 minutes, impressive!)

The other night my roommate's mom called us freaking out because she had an epic banana bread failure. To quote her mom, "the batter is baking over the pan, everything tastes like sugar, and I added an extra egg because I like egg but I don't know if that was a good idea." No fear Heidi, I have a foolproof recipe for you!

Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Orange Glaze

3/4 c. butter (softened)

1 package (8 oz.) plain cream cheese

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (usually about 2 bananas)

1 c. chopped pecans (toasted)

Orange Glaze

3 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 c. powdered sugar

1. Spread chopped pecans on baking sheet and lightly toast them.

2. Cream together butter and cream cheese at a medium speed in an electric mixer.

3. Gradually add sugar to butter and cream cheese until mixture is fluffy.

4. Add eggs one at a time until just blended.

5. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and add to mixer.

6. Add mashed bananas, pecans, and vanilla.

7. Pour batter into two 8' x 4' loaf pans (greased and floured/breadcrumbed) or two muffins pans (greased or with liners).

8. Bake at 350° F for one hour (for loaves) or 20-25 minutes (for muffins) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Mix together orange juice and powdered sugar and pour over warm bread/muffins. Sprinkle a few more toasted pecans on top if desired.

Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins.

ps. shoutout to my sous-chef Karen and photographer Elisa and my #1 taste tester Danielle :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cookies...

...should really be called Mexican EVERYDAY cookies because that's how easy they are to make! You don't need any eggs (which means you can eat all the cookie dough you want without worrying about salmonella, yay!) Besides chopping the pecans, prep time is only 5-10 minutes. My mom always made these for my dad when he went on camping trips with his brothers because they're super-transportable. Some advice: make sure you make PLENTY of these (I usually make a double batch). One time one of my roommates was out of town when I made these and we only left her one and she was infuriated for days, no joke.

1 c. butter (use salted!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 - 1 c. chopped pecans

1. Mix the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer.

2. Add the vanilla.

3. Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the mixer.

4. Add the chopped pecans.

5. Mix together just until the dough forms (you don't want the dough to get too tough from over-mixing!)

6. Roll 1" balls out of the dough using your palms.

7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet @ 325° F for 18-20 minutes (don't over-bake them).

8. After they have cooled completely, put them in a ziploc bag with 1 c. of powdered sugar until they're completely covered. Makes ~40 cookies.

¡Buen provecho!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome/Let's make lasagna!

Hello everyone! So this past year of college I started learning how to cook. I realized it was about time, seeing as I must have inherited some sort of cooking ability (my mom is from of a long line of fantastic cooks from Indiana, plus my dad is amazing at cooking Lebanese and Arabic food. Heck my dad's mother even started the first Arabic bakery in San Diego!) So I decided to trust my DNA and dive into the world of cooking. Much to the pleasure of my four roommates, I turned out to be pretty good at it! Here I'll share some of my favorite recipes and culinary adventures with you. Like our favorite rodent Ratatouille's mentor Chef Gusteau said, "anyone can cook!"


-1 package of lasagna noodles (at least one dozen noo
-1/2 cup parmesan
-1 lb. grated mozzarella

(for meat sauce)
-2 lbs. ground sirloin
-1/4 (3 slices) finely chopped onion
-1 tsp. olive oil
-large can tomatoes (petite diced)
-15 oz. can tomato sauce
-2 tbsp. parsley
-3 tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. basil

(for cheese mixture)
-large carton (~32 oz.) cottage cheese
-1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
-1 tbsp. parsley
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. oregano

1. In a large pot, brown the sirloin then add the olive oil and chopped onion. When both onions and meat are lightly browned, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, sugar, salt, and basil. Cook on stove over medium heat (stirring occasionally) for at least an hour (until water disappears).

2. For the cheese mixture, combine cottage cheese, parmesan, oregano, and salt in a bowl.

3. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on package.

4. Alternate noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, and mozzarella in an 11"X14" glass baking dish like this: noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, and finally 1/2 c. grated parmesan on top.

5. Bake for 45 min. (until bubbling) at 350 ° F.

You can always add a little garlic in the meat sauce if you like, but I never put it in because my mom is allergic to it. This lasagna is seriously the best I've ever had and is a favorite with the roomies. It's also equally (or maybe even more) awesome the next day. You can also cut it into individual squares and freeze them for busy times like finals. Enjoy!