Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vanilla Bean Shortbread (Light version)

I got this recipe out of the Cooking Light magazine. It was sooooo GOOD!!! I love shortbread but when I read that this was a healthier version, I just had to try it out. It has half the butter of normal shortbread so it makes it less fattening (I guess), and more heart healthy (I guess.. ha!). I had some vanilla beans left over from when I got them at a great price at Costco. I made up a batch of these and let me tell ya, they didn't last long in my house. I even sent some over to my mom and she LOVED them! They have an amazing taste and texture. They are so flaky and yummy. They are a perfect compliment with tea. They almost taste like a pecan sandie sans the pecans. But I did do a second batch and added toasted pecans...DELISH!!! These are so easy, you have to try them!


Cooking spray
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Line bottom and sides of a 13 x 9–inch baking pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray, and set aside.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
4. Place butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add oil; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds to butter mixture; discard bean. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Spoon dough into prepared pan. Place a sheet of heavy-duty plastic wrap over dough; press to an even thickness. Discard plastic wrap. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; cut into 32 pieces. Carefully lift foil from pan; cool squares completely on a wire rack.

My kiddos couldn't wait for them to cool. They were hovering over them. They were a HIT!

I added toasted pecans to the second batch. Just typing this post makes me want to go make another batch. They are dangerous though. I could eat the entire pan, they are just so good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Let's just say I completely rocked it in the kitchen!!! This was so easy to make and the taste was unbelievable. I have never tasted a fish taco anywhere that had this much flavor. The white sauce was so delicious.

I got this recipe from my friend Alexis. I believe she got it from You can use any type of white fish I'm sure but the tilapia was amazing. My hubby was very quiet and the whole time he was eating all I heard was "mmmmm...mmmmm" I know it had to be good. We served it with lime wedges and a simple pico de gallo which complimented the flavor even more. Please try this dish, it was super will not be disappointed.

1 quart oil for frying
1 lb Tilapia or any type of white fish, cut into small strips
1 package corn tortillas
cabbage, shredded


1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbl cornstarch
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup beer


1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1tsp minced capers
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

To make beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (may be a little lumpy)

To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayo. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Sean with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill and cayenne.

Heat oil in deep fryer or heavy deep skillet.

Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden bornw. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry tortillas, not too crisp. To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, and white sauce.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blueberries and a 4 year old's Dream

My kiddos LOVE fruit...especially blueberries. They could eat pounds and pounds of blueberries. The other day, my 4 year old, Luke, opened the fridge looking for the big white bowl of washed blueberries and to his dismay, they were GONE! He was so disappointed. He said to me "Mom, I want to grow a whole bunch of blueberries so I can have them forever and ever". What a GREAT idea!

The problem...I have no garden and I live in Arizona. I guess that's two problems. I have an area reserved to start a garden at the end of the summer. But I have to be honest, I have never heard of anyone in this horridly hot state ever growing blueberries. Does anyone out there know how you grow blueberries and where they actually grow the best? Luke would love you forever if you give me any tips. Thanks.

My very adventerous and future gardener, Luke.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bacardi Rum Cake

Many moons ago when I worked as a legal secretary, before I was a mom, there was this guy that came around to our office all the time selling books. I bought the coolest cookbook from him. I've seen similar cookbooks pop up all over the place but I don't think I've ever seen one quite like this one. It is LOADED with recipes. It's called the Best Recipes From The Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars. I bought one for me, one for my mom and one for my greasy granny. Actually I didn't buy one for my greasy granny...I just like to say Greasy Granny.

Anyhoo, this recipe was in the book. After each recipe in this book, there is a little blurp where the recipe came from or some significant fact about the recipe. The blurb underneath this particular recipe reads: "Here's the very first cake to incorporate a pudding mix. It's simply fabulous".

I made this cake and it was GREAT! I think I put too much bacardi in it though because I was totally drunk afterwards...AGAIN...fibbing...I wasn't drunk but there was WAY too much bacardi in the glaze the first time around so I had to half the amount the next time. I also used dark bacardi which could have made a big difference in the taste. Maybe next time I'll try the light bacardi.
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used pecans)
1 18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix
1 3 3/4 ounce Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1/2 cup Bacardi
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Bacardi

Preheat oven to 325 dgrees. Grease and flour Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of the pan.

Mix all ingredients together.

Pour the batter over the nuts. Bake for 1 hour
Cool. Invert on serving plate.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze:
Melt butter in saucepan.

Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the heat. Stir in the rum.

Poke holes in the top and the sides of the cake.

Pour the glaze all over the cake.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We're O.K.!

A message from Jenifer:

So, things here on DISH have been a  little slow lately. I've had major kitchen renovations going on, we pulled out all the 12x12 tile and replaced it with 20x20 (makes such a difference in a kitchen). My husband and I also put granite on our counters in the kitchen as well as a super cool granite country farm sink, new faucets, etc. It got crazy in our home, eating out for over a week!! - The kitchen was totally off limits and they completed the project this week. It's SO nice to be able to walk in the kitchen and cook a meal for my family. 

We also have been busy planning our 2 week R.V. trip around the Western part of the U.S.A. - I can't wait to get out of this heat.

My Blogging-BFF, Jaime, has been in California for the past few weeks as well and has been having a great time with her family. I love reading all of her updates on Facebook, the food she talks about makes my mouth water! I sure do miss her!

Summer is always busy for us moms, kids at home, traveling and the such. We haven't forgotten about our foodie friends and we can't wait for life to settle down so we can share more recipes from our kitchen.

Lots of love,


Sunday, June 14, 2009

PF Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

If you've ever dined at P.F. Changs, you most likely have tried this. I've always been a fan of this dish and decided to make it at home. It's simple, easy, low carb and a MUST TRY. It's delish. The sauce is out of this world and we loved eating it! 


2 T of sesame seed oil 
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped up well (I used my Cuisinart)
1 cup of water chestnuts
2/3 cup of mushrooms (use canned mushrooms)
3 T of chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Special Sauce:

1/4  cup of sugar (I used 6 packets of Splenda to cut down the calories)
1/2 cup of water
2 T soy sauce
2 T of rice wine vinegar
2 T ketchup
1 T lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil
1 T of hot mustard
2 teaspoons of water
1-2 T of garlic and red chili paste (use more if you like heat)

Stir Fry Sauce

2 T soy sauce
2 T light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
Make the special sauce and place in refrigerator until you are ready to use. Make stir fry sauce and set aside. Cook chicken and let cool. Once chicken is cool, dice it up finely (use the processor if you have one) Dice up the mushrooms and water chestnuts (I used the food processor, saves LOTS of time).  Once the mushrooms and water chestnuts are diced up, it's time to start cooking. In a large pan, place sesame seed oil until hot and then add chicken, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Add chopped onions and garlic. Add stir fry sauce to the mix and cook on medium low heat for about 8 minutes.  Once the mix is nice and hot it's time to assembly. Add mix to a lettuce cup and then add your special sauce, top with rice noodles or crispy Asian noodles if you want extra crunch. - Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oven Fried Parmesan Zucchini Spears

Growing up, we had a Fry Baby and then one year my mom upgraded to a Fry Daddy. Oh how I loved to fry all kinds of morsels in that thing. Nowadays they have all kinds of fry "contraptions". In fact Paula Deen has, not one, but TWO fry baskets built right into her counter. I would love to get myself a fryer but I risk gaining 30 lbs with that sucker so I opt not to fry anything in my house. I made Parmesan chicken fingers in the oven a while back so I figured doing that to any type of veggie would work just as good and it did. This zucchini was delicious. They were really crunchy and had about a million less calories than their fried counterpart. I didn't have any marinara sauce so I whipped me up some spicy creamy dip. It was okay but next time I will serve these with marinara for sure.

Oven Fried Parmesan Zucchini
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup Parmesan
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Pepper or to taste
1 or 2 Eggs

Cut your veggies up, into spears or circles, whatever you prefer.

Lightly beat an egg and put in a shallow bowl. Mix together your breadcrumbs, parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper and place in a shallow bowl.

1. Dip your zucchini into the egg.

2. Roll your zucchini in the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Place onto a greased cooking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Haystack Cookies

This is my mom's recipe. She made these all the time when we were little. I hated them! That was until I got into my 20's and really started to appreciate coconut. As I child, I thought it was disgusting. Maybe it was because I had braces and coconut and braces do not mix, unless you want to look like a garbage pail kid, that is. Now I look at coconut as the food that keeps on giving because I can chew on a piece of coconut for hours...ewww, gross I know, but I love it! My sister Denise was the one that would eat them all up, she loved these and she still does. The best part about these cookies? There is only 5 ingredients so they are easy and delicious.
Val's Haystack Cookies
3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 can sweetened condesed milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler. (I don't own a double boiler so I put a glass bowl over a pan of shallow works like a charm.) Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the milk and cook until thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add coconut, nuts and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. (My stuck to the pan like crazy. Next time I'm using parchment paper or silpat mats). Bake at 275 for 15 minutes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crawfish Etouffee

My husband and I love Crawfish Etouffee. There is a restaurant called Baby Kay's in Phoenix and we love that place but hate the drive. I did go there about a week ago and brought some Crawfish Etoufee back for Bart and you could tell that he liked it but didn't love it. I knew I had to fix that so I made homemade Crawfish Etouffee and he LOVED it! In fact, he told me it was the best he has ever tasted. I have to agree with him, it's DEVINE!

What you need:

1 pound of fresh or frozen, peeled and cooked crawfish tails. (You can get them at Walmart)
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green sweet bell peppers
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of butter
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sliced green onions
1/4 cup of snipped fresh parsley
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
hot cooked rice

In a 3 quart saucepan stir together the flour and 1/4 cup of butter until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook and stir for another 5-8 minutes or until roux has turned a brownish red. Add onion, celery, sweet pepper and garlic to sauce pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
Now add 1 tablespoon of butter, stir until melted. Stir in water, green onions, parsley, salt, pepper and the ground red pepper (cayenne). Bring to a boil. Add crawfish. Return to boil, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for another 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish with parley if desired.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Brownies

My family went to Rocky Pointe about a month ago. My sister in law Jennifer told me that a friend of theirs that came with them made like 3 different kind of brownies and that she had been eating them all weekend. Of course I was dying to get the recipes. Next to cookies, brownies are my best friend (sorry BBFF (bloggin best friend forever), food will always win out over you) Did I just blog that out loud? So after much stalking, and text messages, I got my sister in law to tell me the recipe for the toffee brownies. You guys are going to be blown away at how easy these are...I know I was. And they were to die for.

I sent most of them to work with my hubby and he said that pretty much all the guys' reactions were "death by chocolate"...hhmmmmmm, is that good or bad? Well, whatever, I liked them and I'm the one that counts so here ya go. I would not recommend eating these if you plan on getting into a bathing suit anytime soon...since I don't plan on doing that in the near future, I ate like half a pan of these. (Well actually I leave for the beach in approximately 5 weeks...OMG...what was I thinking making these!!!?)

Chocolate Toffee Brownies

2 boxes of Brownie mix
(all the ingredients to make the brownies...oil, water, eggs, I'm sure you've all made a boxed brownie so you know the drill)

2 giant size Symphony bars (the ones with the little toffee bits in them) or 3 if you want eat one of them while your brownies bake...that's totally fine too

Mix your brownie mixes according to package direction (in seperate bowls)

Next line a pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray (this makes clean up a breeze and helps to get those gooey brownies out of the pan. Now, you want to pour your first brownie mix into the pan.

After you have scraped the bowl clean and pretty much licked it dry, layer the candy bars all together across the top. The best part about this...two of those little rows of chocolate didn't fit into my pan...oh bummer (munch munch munch)...okay, now where were we?

You know that second box of brownies you made? Well that batter wasn't for you to eat while this was if you ate it, go make another box. Pour that batter mixture over the top of the candy bars.

Okay, at this point I would tell you how long to bake this for and at what temperature but of course stupid me threw away the brownie box and have no clue what the starting point was baking these or what the temp was. I wanna say 325 for 28 minutes but honestly...I have no clue.

So here's the dealio...look on the box for the 13x9 glass pan baking time and temp and bake for that time but add 15 to 20 minutes. Take them out and let them cool for like a good hour before you cut them because they are gooier than all get out, but if they are still not done in the middle, just eat out of the pan with a spoon...they're still good and I'm pretty sure the eggs are almost salmonella you're good!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Steam Fresh Bag Recipes...GREAT IDEA!!!

Yesterday on Facebook one of my friends, Sheridan's status read "Just made 20 Steam Fresh Bags" of course, this peeked my curiosity so I commented "what in the world are those?". She wrote me back and said they are bags of uncooked food she makes ahead of time and then throws them in the freezer. She said it has been working out awesome because it's total portion control and her husband has lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks eating these. I told her I wanted to learn more and to send me info. She sent me recipes and pictures of the finished product right out of her freezer.

I'm going to post them here for you guys because I'm giddy excited about this. I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to the store today to buy one of the recipe ingredients and the Steam Fresh Bags. I will make it and do an update. But for now check out this idea...very cool for the moms that work, men that don't cook, or just the all around busy busy person.

Here's her recipes and all the info she sent me:

The intention is to fill the bags with more veggies than carbs. I always make a big salad before with whatever dressing, fat or no fat, and then one of the bags. Daniel is doing really well with these. I just take one hour and make a ton of them and freeze them. I mix up and add or take away so each bag is different. I add full sugar/fat sauces. But you can add spices so that there is barely any additional fat or sugar added. Get creative in the spice section, salt/pepper, curry, lemon/pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon, taco seasoning, you name it. Replace veggies with ones you like if you don't prefer the ones I put. Add nuts too! Each box of medium steam fresh bags have ten each in them (you can find them by the ziploc bags)

Sweet and Sour Chicken:

divide chicken and veggies into 4 portions and put into each bag seperately

1 pound skinless/boneless chicken strips diced
1 can pineapple1 red or green bell pepper diced
1 white onion diced
1 jar of sweet and sour sauce (just put 1 to 2 tablespoons in each bag)
1 bag of Uncles Bens 90 second rice

Teriyaki Chicken and Asparagus:

1 pound skinless/boneless chicken strips diced
1 stalk of asparagus
1 carton of mushrooms
1 onion diced
1 can water chestnuts
Garlic (1-2 cloves per bag)
1 jar of teriyaki sauce (1 to 2 tablespoons in each bag)
1 bag of Uncle Bens 90 second rice

Curry Lamb:

4 lamb steaks (cheap at Bashas,like $2 a piece)
1 small bushel fresh mint (put 3-4 leaves in each bag)
1 tablespoon curry spice
1 Garlic (1-2 cloves per bag)
1 carton of portobello mushrooms
1 zuchinni sliced
1 onion diced
1 bag of Uncle Bens Basmati 90 second rice

Steak and Asparagus:

4 medium sized steaks
1 Garlic (1-2 cloves per bag)
1 onion diced
1 carton mushrooms
1 stalk of asparagus
2 white potatoes diced
1 bag baby carrots
salt/pepper to taste

Buffalo Chicken:

1 pound diced chicken
1 bottle buffalo marinade (1 to 2 tablespoons per bag)
one onion diced
2 white potatoes cubed

Fajitas Fun:

1 pound stir fry beef
1 onion sliced in circles
1 red or green bell pepper
1 jalepeno (if your brave enough)
one pack taco seasonings
one 90 second bag of spanish rice
with or without a pack of tortillas you have fajitas

Honey Mustard Salmon:

1 large salmon sliced into fours
Honey Mustard (1-2 tablespoons to bag)
1 scallion diced
1 garlic (1-2 cloves per pack)
1 yellow squash sliced
1 carton white mushrooms
one pack gnochi

Beef and Broccoli:

1 pound stir-fry beef sliced
1 onion
1 garlic minced
1 stalk broccoli
1 can water chestnuts
1 bag baby carrots
teriyaki or soy sauce to taste
one bag 90 second brown rice

Chicken Tortellini:

1 pound chicken strips
1 onion
1 garlic
1 can spaghetti sauce (2-3 ts per bag)
1 carton portobello mushrooms
1 bag shredded cheese(put a small handful in the bag, or after you cook it)
1 zuchinni diced
1 medium bag frozen cheese tortellini or ravioli

Each Bag States on the front how long each piece takes. I do between 5-7 minutes for each one. You have to live and learn, depending on how your microwave is, your portions sizes ect. If it isnt cooked, put it back in for 2 minutes and you are golden.
Sheridan with her son Carter

Thanks Sheridan...great idea!!!