Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category


Whenever Jordan is out for the night I like to cook things that I know he would hate. For some reason he has this aversion to squash. So since he is at the Dynamo game tonight, I decided to make something that was all about me. Whats not to love about squash in a cheesy herb sauce? This tastes so rich for being relatively low calorie. I ate it on its own but it would also make a great side dish.

Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta and Herbs
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 TB fresh herbs (I used basil, chives and Italian parsley)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife. Turn squash over and cover with foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away from the peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.

Heat a skillet. Add the butter and saute garlic until soft. Add spaghetti squash, herbs, ricotta, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Top with parmesan. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.


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Pizza Margherita

I have a confession, dough scares the hell out of me. Something about the yeast and how finicky it can be and the fact that bread is a science and I am more of a reckless cook. I have been dying to try my hand at making fresh pizza dough for some time. After reading food blog after food blog showing off these gorgeous pizzas I decided to throw caution to the wind and just try it. Oh my gawd. Life changing. Why have I not done this before? It is embarrassingly easy.

Pizza Margherita
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman


  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined. Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

Pizza Topping

  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes (Use a good brand. I prefer Cento or Contadina. If using plain crushed tomato, you will want to spice it with Italian seasoning and garlic)
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano & Basil to taste.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet and use fingers to coat thoroughly. Remove HALF the pizza dough from the bowl (You can  save the other one to freeze or store it in the fridge for another day). Stretch pizza dough into a large rectangle, pressing with fingers to finish forming. Dough will be very thin. Lightly drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and use fingers to spread. Spread a thin layer of tomato on the crust. You want to cover the dough but not put a thick enough layer to make it soggy. Lay mozzarella slices over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and cracked pepper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Top with fresh parmesan and basil. Remove from pan and slice with a pizza cutter. Serve immediately!

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Sometimes, it is the simplest recipes that blow me away. A great loaf of homemade bread. A rich alfredo sauce. A tomato and mozzarella salad. Classics. This recipe, is one of those.

Butter-Pecan Shortbread
Source: Better Homes and Gardens,  New Cookbook: Bridal Edition

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 TB brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 TB finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl stir together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, pat or roll the dough into an 8-inch circle. Make a scalloped edge using your fingers to carefully crimp the edges of the dough. Cut dough into 16 wedges in the circle. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bottom just starts to turn brown and center is set. Cut circle into wedges again while warm. Cool on cookie sheet for five minutes. Transfer to write rack and let cool. Makes 16 cookies.

*To make shortbread strips, on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 6×4-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a utility knife, cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 16 pieces. Bake as directed.

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Our anniversary meal

For our anniversary, I wanted to go all out with our meal. I decided to combine some of our favorite things: pasta, seafood and booze. The shrimp were DIVINE and had so much flavor. I paired it with Pioneer Woman’s Homemade pasta for a decadent meal to celebrate a very special occasion.

Dirty Shrimp in Butter-Beer Sauce
Source: RecipeZaar

  • 2 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup beer

Lightly dust shrimp with flour. This will help to thicken the sauce later. Saute garlic and herbs in butter until garlic is slightly browned. Add shrimp, stirring constantly, until shrimp are pink and done. Pour in beer, simmer 1 minute more, and serve!

Homemade Pasta
Source: Pioneer Woman

Rule of thumb: Two eggs per one cup of flour for enough pasta for two people.

Make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead (roll, punch, push, etc.) by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Let the dough rest for a little while before rolling it out. When you’re ready, roll it out on a floured surface as thinly as it’ll go. The noodles will plump up quite a bit when they boil in the water, so the thinner you can roll it, the better. Cut the noodles really thin. You can use a sharp knife (if you can keep it in a straight line), a pizza wheel, or a long pizza/bread cutter.

To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water (very important!) for probably two minutes. They cook lightning fast, so don’t let ‘em go too long.

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Wedding Cake

For our anniversary, I decided to re-create our wedding cake. You see, I did not save the top layer like most people are supposed to do. To be honest, our wedding cake was FUG. It was NOTHING like I told her. I was in no way a Bridezilla by any means but seeing our cake when I walked it just horrified me. It was AWFUL. So needless to say I told my mom she could throw the top away or give it to the dogs for all I care and to keepthatuglypieceofcrapawayfrommebeforeIdrivetothebakeryandkillsomeone. Despite it’s ugly exterior, the flavor was DELISH. It was a white cake with pineapple and pecan filling with whipped frosting and topped with white chocolate shells.So, I decided to take the flavors and recreate it without the ugly exterior.

For starter’s, I used Recipe Girl’s recipe for White Wedding Cake. I also used her recipe for Wedding Cupcake Buttercream and doubled the recipe so I would have enough to frost my whole cake.

I set aside 1 cup of the frosting to make the filling with. To this, I added one small can of crushed pineapple (drained VERY well) and about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. I used this between the layers and frosted the cake as usual. I topped the cake off with a little shaved white chocolate.

When all was said and done, I had a incredibly delicious cake that tasted AND looked better than our wedding cake. 🙂

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To Arthur!

This week was the 250th birthday of Jordan’s favorite beer, Guinness. To celebrate this joyous occasion, I decided to bake Guinness Cupcakes. I had bookmarked Smitten Kitchen’s Irish Car Bomb cupcakes a few months ago and was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make them. I used her recipe for the cake part and I must say, it is oh so good. I could eat them without any frosting. The Guinness flavor is so subtle that I would consider making this my go to chocolate cake recipe. I finished them off with an adaptation of my favorite cream cheese frosting. I took a few cupcakes to our apartment office and one hour later the Leasing Manager called me on my cell phone raving about them and demanded the recipe. Happy Birthday Guinness!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, for 17-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Guinness Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 TB softened butter
  • 1/4 cup Guinness
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and softened butter with electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla and Guinness.  Slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until creamy. If your frosting gets too thick, you can thin it out with little milk. I wanted a smooth frosting to mimic the signature “head” on the top of a pint of Guinness.


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Crockpot Lasagna

Jordan loves lasagna. Actually, he loves anything with red sauce. But I think making lasagna is such a pain in the butt. I hate having to deal with boiling the noodles. I stumbled upon the concept of making it in the crockpot when my mom gave me a copy of “Fix It And Forget It Cookbook”. I took the idea and adapted it to what I was able to afford in college and it has been a hit ever since. I have a huge crockpot since I mainly use it for entertaining so this recipe made a lot for me. I used to freeze individual portions tightly wrapped in plastic wrap so I could take a piece out on a night when I didn’t feel like cooking.
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Reserve 1/2 cup for the top of the lasagna)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce, 28 oz.  (or substitute homemade)
  • 1/4 cup water (add this to the sauce)

Combine ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella in a bowl. Roughly chop spinach and cook in a skillet with one tablespoon of water  until wilted. Drain and squeeze out any water. Add to the cheese mixture along with the shredded carrots.  Spray crockpot with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking. Pour a little bit of sauce in the bottom of your crockpot make a layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Break noodles to fit. Put 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles and then add another layer of noodles. Add sauce and then top with more noodles. Repeat with cheese, noodles, sauce, noodles two more times. Top with sauce and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the noodles are tender (mine cooked perfectly in 4 so check it). Before serving, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and put the lid on for about five minutes or until cheese is melted.


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