Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blueberry Baby Muffins

I had a craving the other day for blueberry muffins but I didn't want big blueberry muffins because I like little muffins that are cute either that or big giant muffins but not those dinky middle-sized muffins that I used to think were normal so I made these little tiny blueberry muffins that tasted more like cake than anything and now I'm sharing the recipe with you because my brain is going to explode if I think about the bar exam for one more second.


Mix the wet ingredients

and the dry ones.

and mix them together with the blueberries.

Be careful not to break the blueberries or you'll end up with blue muffins instead of blueberry muffins.

Bake and eat with butter.

Does it get any better?

And by all means, don't leave the lemon zest out.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Promise.

Now eat them all while you totally stress over the bar exam and how all of law school comes down to ONE TEST.

Oh, sorry.  Projecting again.

Blueberry Baby Muffins
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries
1 T sugar

Whisk together the sugar, egg, oil, milk, vanilla and lemon zest.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together with the blueberries, stirring just until combined.  Spray a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and fill the mini-muffins about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the tops with the tablespoon of sugar.   Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

My cat recommends this recipe.


I have no idea what it was, but he would not leave me alone after I made it.

He's very sweet, but a bit on the strange side.

Speaking of my cats, have you met Jack Sprat?

According to my vet (who also happens to be my dad.  Ain't that neat?), one of my cats is "obese" and the other one is "perfect."  Bet you'd never guess which is which.

So this is a healthy recipe.  I would start a new category of "Healthy Recipes," but seeing as this would be the only one in said category, I think I'll refrain.

It uses quinoa, which I've been dying to try.  And I loved it just as much as I thought I would (maybe more).

I ate the whole bowl myself.

Don't judge me.  Just go make this.

So, like I said, I had never made quinoa before.  I didn't even know how to say the word until I Googled it.

Where would my life be without Google?

In case you don't know, it's pronounced keen-wah.

There we go.  Now cook the quinoa: it's the same ratio (2:1) as rice.  And salt it when you cook it so that it tastes good.
Aren't you glad I took a picture of a bubbling pot of quinoa?
Now, while the quinoa cooks, mix the other ingredients in a big salad bowl.

And go ahead and toast the pine nuts.

And chop the olives, because I like them better small.

Okay, people.  If you've never had quinoa before, you've got to make this.  Even if you already love it, try it like this.

Total awesomeness.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 2 lemons
2 T olive oil
2 T honey
Pint of grape tomatoes, sliced across into thirds
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced small
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup diced kalamata olives
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Bring the water to a boil and add the salt and quinoa.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa is done.  When the quinoa is done, add the lemon juice, garlic powder, olive oil and honey to the warm quinoa and stir well.  Set aside and allow it to come to room temperature.

In a large salad bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, feta and olives.  Toss in the quinoa and dressing and stir to combine.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Top with pine nuts before serving.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taco Soup

Hi there.

Are you there?

Sorry I've not been here.

Prepping for the bar exam is completely consuming my life.  Consuming.  My.  Life.

I'm real exciting these days.  My poor husband.

I keep telling him that his wife will be back on March 1.  And I want to see the movie about the couple who gets in a car wreck and the wife gets amnesia and then the husband has to win her all over again because she has no memory of him.  Please don't psychoanalyze why I would want to see such a movie after being in a bar exam abyss for 9 weeks.

I'm not even sure how I know about such a movie since I don't do anything but study for the bar.  And considering that we haven't been to see a movie in the theater in at least three years, I'm not sure why it's so important that we go in March.

So, anyhoo, I actually did cook the other day.

If you can call browning some meat and opening some cans cooking, then I did it.

My girls LOVED this soup.

I love my girls.

This is one of the easiest things in the world.  Brown some meat, drain it (by all means, drain it and save your family from the evils of animal fat)

throw in lots of canned beans and tomatoes

a little seasoning,

and call it a meal.

Just don't forget the cheese and sour cream.  It's essential.

And hurry, because spring is just around the corner, and then we have to stop making soup and start eating raw baby spinach and raw almonds and drinking raw milk.

I have no idea either.

See you on March 1.

Taco Soup

2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2.25 pounds ground beef
15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can Mexican-style tomatoes, not drained
15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, not drained
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, not drained
15 oz. can Mexi-corn, drained
2- 4 oz. cans chopped green chiles
1.25 oz package taco seasoning
1 oz. package ranch dressing mix

In a large pot, brown the beef together with the onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Stir to break up the meat while it browns.  When the meat is cooked through, drain the grease and return the pot, with the meat mixture in it, to the stove.  Add the cans of beans, tomatoes, corn, green chiles, and two seasoning packets.  Stir well and simmer for about an hour.  Serve with cheese and sour cream.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baked Mexican Dip

I made this for a party the week before Christmas.

It was a hit.  It's not hard to like a hot Mexican dip, right?

So you start with some cream cheese, sour cream and a can of bean dip.

Mix it up and then pour in the jalapenos and green chiles.

Believe it or not, it's not too spicy at all with the whole can of jalapenos.  Promise.  I had my husband taste it, and he agreed (and he's very sensitive to spicy).

Add the salsa, green onions and cumin.

And then dump in most of the cheese.

Save some cheese for the top of the dip, just before it's finished baking.

Forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  But it was hot, gooey, and cheesy.  You'll just have to make it to see what it looks like.

Baked Mexican Dip
Adapted from The Bunny Cookbook

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
9 oz. can bean dip
4 oz. can diced jalapenos
4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1/4 cup salsa
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp cumin
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

With a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until creamy.  Add the bean dip and beat again until combined.  Stir in the jalapenos, green chilies, picante sauce, green onions, cumin, and 1 1/2 cups of each of the cheeses.

Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of each of the cheese on top and return to the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving with tortilla chips.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crispix Munch

I'm sure you've had this before.

Puppy Chow.  Moose Munch.  Muddy Buddies.

Whatever you call it, it's a classic.  I mean, yum.

So this isn't anything particularly new or inventive, but it's really good.  And really good is reason enough.

Melt some butter with chocolate chips and peanut butter.

It'll get all melty and smooth, and then you can add some vanilla.

Ready for the cereal!

Dump it in.

Okay, when the Crispix is all coated with the chocolate mixture, you can toss it with the powdered sugar.

There are many ways to add the powdered sugar.  Here's what I do: pour some powdered sugar in, stir it up.  Pour some more powdered sugar in, and stir it again.  Repeat until all the pieces are coated in powdered sugar.

Store in a tupperware or serve in a beautiful bowl!

Crispix Munch

1 stick butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. box Crispix cereal
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar

In a large pot, melt together the butter, peanut butter, chocolate chips.  Stir in the vanilla.  Add the cereal and stir to mix, being careful not to crush the cereal when you stir.  When the cereal is coated, start adding the powdered sugar in batches, stirring in between each addition.  When the cereal is coated in powdered sugar, store it in an airtight container.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Herbed Veggie Dip

I have very few photos for this recipe.  Please don't let my shortcomings keep you from making this dip.

I received this recipe as a wedding gift, along with a beautiful chip and dip serving dish, from a special family friend.  And I've been making it ever since, and it's eaten up everywhere I take it.

It's very delicious with fresh veggies and Bugles.

Bugles are random, I realize.  But somehow they just work with this dip.  Just so you know.

Here's what you need.  Some dried spices.

Dump the spices into a bowl with some mayo and sour cream.

How bad can that be?

Stir it up, let the flavors blend, and serve it with raw veggies on a UK platter.

Herbed Veggie Dip

2 T dried onion
1 T dried dill weed
1 T dried parsley
1 T dried chives
1 T Beau Monde Seasoning
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Stir ingredients together.  Chill for at least two hours to allow the flavors to blend, and serve with Bugle chips, sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, baby carrots and red bell pepper strips.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chai Tea

I've been obsessed with chai tea lately.  Positively obsessed.

But the boxes of chai tea that you heat with milk become a little expensive after, say, ten or twenty boxes.

Told you I was obsessed.

So My friend Bethany came to visit, and she loves chai tea just as much as I do.  So I had a great reason to make the real deal!  Like, homemade!

Sort of.

So Bethany and I drank chai tea and talked about life.

It was so much fun.

Did you know that chai tea has black pepper in it!?!  No wonder I love it so much.

And since I don't make New Year's resolutions, I'm free to continue drinking chai tea every night of my life.

Chai Tea
Adapted from Southern Living

1 T ground ginger
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups instant unsweetened tea
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup dry powdered milk
1 cup original-flavored nondairy creamer
1 cup nondairy French vanilla-flavored creamer

Add the spices and the instant tea to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process until finely ground, about 1 minute.  Pour the mixture into a separate large bowl.  Do not clean the bowl of the food processor and add the sugar and powdered milk to the bowl.  Process for a minute.  (This allows the sugar and milk to clean all spices out of the bowl.)  Add the sugar/milk to the spice/tea mixture.  Add the two creamers to the sugar and spice mixture.  Use a whisk to combine.  To make chai tea, heat 1 1/2 cups milk or water.  Stir in two heaping tablespoons of chai tea mix.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

I already warned you: I don't make New Year's resolutions.

Enter Chicken Parmesan.

Pasta, fried chicken, cheese.  Italian bread with butter on the side.

My treadmill is my best friend.

So this dish is amazingly easy to make.  And sort of fun, because it's fun to bread things until your fingers look like this:

Basically, you pound out some chicken until it's super thin

Sorry, you can't really tell how thin my chicken is.  But the point is that I put it in a Ziploc bag (to prevent chicken from flying around my kitchen) and beat it to death.

THEN, you need to set up your dredging station.  Like this

Flour, egg wash, and a breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese mixture.

Now start dipping!  Flour...

Egg wash...

Be sure to get both sides...

Now the reason for the name: Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.

One down!  Three to go.

And we're there.

Now, while your tomato sauce is simmering, heat some oil in a skillet.  And fry these babies.  The chicken is pounded thin which means that it's large and taking up a lot of surface area, so I always have to fry mine one at a time.

Three down, one to go.

Now spoon some sauce over each piece of chicken.

And then cover it with FRESH mozzarella cheese.  If you use the rubber squares of mozzarella, I will hunt you down.

Stick the chicken in a 400 degree oven long enough to melt the cheese and make sure the chicken is cooked through.

Toss some of the sauce with some angel hair pasta, and serve the chicken on top of the pasta.

You a rock staar!

Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded very thin
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 T milk
1 1/4 cup Italian-seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground Parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil, for frying
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1 recipe Marinara Sauce
1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.  In another shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  In a third shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet to 375 degrees.

Dredge the chicken first in the flour, coating the chicken and shaking off any excess.  Dredge in the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs.

Fry chicken, one or two pieces at a time, about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.

Lay chicken in a large baking dish, ladle some of the marinara sauce on top, then top with the mozzarella.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the chicken is done.  Serve with angel hair and marinara on the side.