Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala Casserole

I subscribe to the Rachael Ray Magazine and I LOVE it! I gotta be honest, sometimes that woman gets on my nerves with all her little EVOO's and her funny little laughs but I have made several dishes from this magazine and we have loved every single one of them. This was not only extremely easy to make but it was delicious and everyone in my family loved it. She's growing on me I guess.

Chicken Mushroom Marsala Casserole
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
1 cup long-grain rice (I used brown long grain)
2 packed cups coarsely chopped rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until just melted. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute. Stir in the marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, the parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. In a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole, spread the rice in an even layer; top with the chicken. Pour the mushroom gravy on top. Cover snugly with foil and bake until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Discard the foil, sprinkle the parmesan on top and bake for 5 minutes more.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

So, fellow foodies, I'll be out of town for a few days, yipee! Never to worry, awesome, super sweet and my BBFF (blogging best friend forever), Jaime will be here posting her yummy recipes. My husband, son, daughter, mother-n-law and I are heading up to a beautiful, secluded cabin up in North Arizona. We booked this trip months ago and we're totally stoked that it's our turn to veg out in cooler weather, by the creek, in peace. I'll take pictures of this 2 story cabin we're staying in, it's SO neat, so relaxing and I can't wait to get away and rest (can you really rest with 2 kids, one being only 4 months old?) Here's the girl who keeps me up at night!
Anyway, to the real reason you stopped by, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. It first started with me making a peanut butter bar. When I was done cooking it, something was missing, ya know that special something? I finally added a peanut butter icing I made and then drizzled it with warm strawberry jelly and fresh strawberries, hence, PB & J bars. My husband and son LOVE IT!! They REALLY love it. (If you've read this blog before, I'm still dieting, so no PB & J bars for me). So, here ya go, Mr. PB and Mrs. J Bars.

What you need:
Bottom Layer
  1. 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  2. 3/4 cup peanut butter
  3. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1/2 granulated sugar
  5. 2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Icing

  1. 1 cup peanut butter
  2. 1.5 cup powdered sugar

Top Layer:

  1. Strawberry Jelly
  2. fresh strawberries (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil beyond the actual edges. Set aside.
In a big mixing bowl beat the butter and peanut butter for 45 seconds. Beat in white sugar and brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Now, add the eggs and vanilla, beat until combined. Slow add your flour, mix well and make sure everything is combined well.
Spread dough in your foil pan, right over the foil - trust me the foil helps after baking is over. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the center.
Once baked, cool on rack. Remove from pan by lifting foil and place on a large plate/dish.

Now that the base is cooked and cooled, it's time to add the peanut butter frosting. Add the powdered sugar and peanut butter and mix well. Taste, taste, taste! If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. Not enough peanut butter for your taste? Add more! To thick? Add some milk. Play with will get it perfectly, trust me.

Ice the bars now.

I warm the jelly in a coffee cup until liquidy. I then pour the warm jelly over a peice of the bar and then top it off with fresh strawberry.

You can use other flavored jelly as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Orange Butter Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

My last post here on Jaime & Jen Dish was for my Orange Chicken with Fried Crispy Basil - what I didn't mention in that post was that my family was also treated to another kind of orange that night as well, in a form of a cookie. Let me introduce you to Mr. Orange Butter Cookie with Mrs. Chocolate Drizzle.
Both my son, Triston and my husband treated themselves to the cookie dough before I even had a chance to pop them into the oven. If I didn't take away the spoons there would have been no finished baked cookie, apparently the dough is that good.
I did take one cookie, cut it in half and ate it. First half cookie in almost 1 1/2 months (stupid diet). It was SO GOOD. Who would have thought orange as the base to a cookie would end up so darn yummers.
If you love to bake as much as I do, next time your at the store, purchase orange extract! If you have orange extract, use it!

What you need:
  • 3/4 cup room temp butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1 1/2 cup of white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (drizzle)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange extract. Combine the flour (I always sift my dry ingredients together), baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Bake for 9 minutes-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. When cookie is completely cooled, take the chocolate chips and place into a coffee cup and melt in microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Place melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag, cut the tip off the corner (make it a VERY small hole) so that you can easily drizzle or decorate the cookie they way you choose to. Let chocolate harden before you serve.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Orange Chicken with Fried Crispy Basil

We love anything Asian around here, I'm half Filipina so I grew up with some pretty tasty meals at the dinner table (thanks mom). One dish we love to get whenever we order Chinese food to go (which is seldom - I'd rather make it at home) is Orange Chicken. Any dish with citrus in it is one of our favorites, that is how we roll in our home.

Crispy chicken, delicious sauce, steamed white rice and crispy basil topping? You can't go wrong. We love making this dish - hope you have a chance to try it.

Look at that fried basil! It's like eating potato chips, you can't have just one! (WARNING: If you have never fried basil, you MUST, I repeat you MUST have an oil splatter shield as it does make the oil pop. I use tongs to place basil in oil and then put a shield over the pan until basil is done cooking). Be forewarned, Jaime will tell you it hurts if you don't use basil protection!

What you need:
1 1/2 cups of water
2 T orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup of rice vinegar
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 T of orange zest
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 T chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 T of cornstarch
2 T of water
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 to 2 cups of flour
1 to 2 eggs
1 1/2 cup of oil
Pour 1 1/2 cups of water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium to high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes prior to pouring over cooked chicken. **BEFORE** you pour this sauce over your cooked chicken, in a small bowl add 3T of corn startch and 2T of water, mix well and pour into sauce and stir until sauce thickens.
Take your chicken cubes, add egg, stir until all pieces are coated well with egg. Place chicken in flour and coat well. Place in a hot fryer or pan with oil and cook until golden brown.
Once your chicken is done cooking, pour orange sauce over chicken and garnish with sliced green onions and crispy fried basil. Serve with white rice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caramel Chocolate Cookies

I love all things caramel so when I saw this cookie recipe on Rookie Cookie's blog, I had to try it. Holy Smokes!!! These were disgusting! Disgustingly good and addicting, that is. Yummy soft chocolate cookies with little chewy caramel bits. I couldn't stop eating them. I meant to send them to work with my hubby but he got sick and didn't go into work that day so here they were all bundled up nicely in our cookie jar...did I mention that our cookie jar is clear glass??? It was horrible. Everytime I walked by that cookie jar, one of those darn cookies was calling out to me. I gained like 5 lbs eating these and they were worth every bit of that weight. Those little caramel bits...I'm not kidding, you will literally be eating handfuls of those suckers right out of the bag, they are that good.

If you have not checked out Whitney's blog over at Rookie Cookie, you have to take a gander...I'm starting to dislike her very much, she's making me fat with all those great recipes!

Caramel Chocolate Cookies

2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caramel bits or chopped up caramel squares
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Set oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar. Add eggs and vanilla until fluffy.

Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.

Stir in caramel bits and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Smoked Salmon Spread

This time of year just makes me giddy. Okay, so does winter, summer and fall, but spring has sprung and that means showers...bridal showers, that is. And baby showers, and anniversary parties and...I could go and on and on. I'm a sucker for cute quaint parties. I love a party in any way, shape or form especially when there is food involved. I have my go to favorites but I have been trying some new ideas lately. When I need a quick, easy and tasty appetizer, I always turn to the internet and the first person I look to is the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten's style is exactly what I love. It's classy yet quick and easy. I saw this salmon spread and had to try it. Not only was this fabulous and will definitely be served at my next tea party or bridal shower, but this spread is so versatile, it can be served on bagels for a morning or afternoon snack for your entire family to enjoy. I used fresh lemon and I just don't think you can do any better than a fresh squeezed lemon, especially with any type of seafood. You have to whip up a batch of won't be disappointed!

Smoked Salmon Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, diced

Cream the cheese until smooth (my cream cheese was really soft so I just gave it a really good stir). Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill for several hours...overnight is even better. Serve with cut veggies, bagel chips, crackers or crusty bread.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almond Bread Pudding

My husband was heading over to my parents home to pick up something from dad when I realized I needed a can of tomatoes from my moms pantry (I didn't feel like going to the store for one thing). I called her and asked if she had a can and she said, "I sure do". When my husband came home he didn't have the can in hand, he had a HUGE bag of food my mom gave us! Lots of boxes of Mac and Cheese for our son, mangos, the can of tomatoes I needed, 3 cans of soup and a big loaf of sliced bread, the good kind. We hardly eat bread in our home but I didn't want to waist this bad boy so I remembered how dad always use to talk about bread pudding, so I made one for him. He & my mom loved it.
Usually bread pudding calls for raisins but I didn't care to add raisins to it, so I left it out but I did include almond extract. Makes the world of a difference. So remember, if you ever have 5-6 slices of bread left, USE THEM UP! Make some bread pudding.
What you need:
6 slices of bread
2 T of butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground all-spice (optional)
1 teaspoon of nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract (optional)
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Break bread into small pieces and place into an 8 inch baking pan. Drizzle melted butter over the bread. If you choose to add raisins, sprinkle over bread and butter. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, spices and extracts and mix well.
Pour liquid mix over the bread and take a spoon and flatten the bread down to make sure it's fully coated.
Bake for 45 minutes. Allow 30 minutes to cool and let bread set.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Chicken On Pan Fried Egg Noodles

Yesterday, I was in the mood to make something really different, some yummy, something easy. I remember I had these amazing egg noodles that I purchased at an Asian market in Phoenix. I also had chicken breasts on hand and a brand new bottle of peanut butter, yes, PEANUT BUTTER! Hmmm, delish. Here is a simple yet flavorful dish you must try if you're craving something fun and refreshing. The beautiful egg rolls on the dish were made by hand by my beautiful mom who is from the Philippines.

What you need:

2 T of oil
1 pound of skinless, bonelss chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup of chicken stock/chicken broth
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, red pepper flakes and garlic and cook until the chicken starts to turn white. Add the onion, garlic and red bell pepper to the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Pour the tomatoes and chicken stock into the skillet and simmer for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in peanut butter and cook stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Serve over pan fried egg noodles or white rice.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Almond Balls

Since I still have my cold, I asked my darling husband to go to the store for me to get a few things for the family. A gallon on milk, salad, a rotisserie chicken, juice and roasted almonds. Almonds is one of my go-to snacks while on this diet of mine (for all the new readers, I had a baby just a few months ago). Anyway, he came home with the groceries and with a big bag of raw almonds. RAW ALMONDS. Who buys raw almonds? Well o.k., maybe a few of you out there but not me, never, no way, no how, H, E to the double LL no. The only problem is this, I opened the bag, took a nibble and then realized they were raw, sigh. It was too late, I couldn't return it opened like this so I closed it, put it in my little dark pantry and went to lay down on the couch, stupid raw almonds, stupid diet and stupid head-cold.

Well, while laying on the couch and resting, I remembered I had a jar of almond extract that I have never used and now that I was given these almonds, I had to figure out something, so I thought, hmmm, almond balls.

My husband and son LOVED these and boy, did they smell good. Bart (yes, my husbands name is Bart) said that these reminded him of childhood cookies....whenever a cookie or any food reminds you of your childhood, it must be good. These cookies are smooth and soft in the center and nutty crunchy on the outside.

I highly recommend almond extract, if you don't have it, next time your shopping, grab yourself a bottle. It's delish.

1 cup of salt, room temp
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 eggs, yokes in one bowl and egg whites in another bowl
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon of almond extract - drizzle a little more if your darling and love almonds
2 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of milk
1 cup of sliced almonds or crushed almonds


Pre-heat over at 350 degress.

Cream the butter then beat sugar in gradually. Add the egg yolks and extracts and beat until fluffy. Stir in about half the flour, add the milk and then beat well. Stir in the remaining flour and knead just until blended in.

Shape into small balls and roll in lightly beaten egg whitse and then into the almonds. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned on bottoms. Cool on rack.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rough Puff Tomato Basil Soup

I was in a funk yesterday, when I woke up, I just sat in my favorite chair, sippin' on tea and sighed. I didn't sigh ever so often, I sighed whenever I could. What was wrong with me? Why the funk? I know I just gave birth 3 1/2 months ago but should THIS much hormones still be in me? I didn't want to do anything, I wanted to sit, stare at the walls and sigh. I tried to Facebook it, all I could do was muster up this status, "I'm in a funk". I'm never like this, usually by noon, I've accomplished so much but no, not yesterday, I wasn't in the mood, I didn't have the energy.
Around 1 o'clock, I decided because I was in a funk it didn't mean I couldn't at least make dinner for my family. Because I wasn't myself, I thought I'd do something to get me in a better mood. I told my husband to watch the baby and I ran into the grocery store.
I go to my favorite store only to realize that my shirt has baby spit all over it, my skirt was not even close to being crisp and ironed, I had no make-up and I knew the Scuba-Pro baseball hat was not working well with what I had on. I didn't care. I, remember, was in a funk.
I got my ingredients, came home and started cooking. Once the meal was over, I looked at the soup, it smelled and tasted delicious but I didn't want to pour soup into a bowl and say, "here ya go, honey, enjoy". So, I decided to take it one more funky step and make a "rough puff". Let me tell ya, next time you make soup and you want to add that extra step that makes you look like you are one killer cook, add rough puff, it's easy and delish!
Oh, by the way, the reason why I was in a funk turned out a stupid cold was coming my way and now I sit here with a sore throat. Sigh. At least I have left over soup for lunch today!
2 28 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (this recipe makes a lot of soup)
1/2 stick of butter (I use Smart Balance - still dieting)
Parmesan cheese (I use a chunk and grate it myself, HUGE DIFFERENCE)
6 gloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of tomato sauce
2 teaspoons of bay leaf
2 teaspoons of thyme
fresh basil
half & half or heavy whipping cream (I used fat free and it was delicious)
Chop up your onion.
Melt you butter and add your onions in a big pot. Cook your onions in the butter at a medium low heat for 5 minutes to soften the onions, you do not want to add color to the onions so make sure you put a lid on it.

Look how the onions are soft and not browned. Add your garlic now. Let cook for another 5 minutes.

Now add your 2 cans of tomatoes, juice and all.

Add bay leaf and thyme, 2 teaspoons each. Of course, you can always add more, you decide. Let veggies cook for 45 minutes on low heat.

This is what the veggies look like after you let it cook .

Add your tomato paste and tomato sauce into the mix and stir well.
Add your fat free half & half or if you're not on a diet, use heavy cream of regular half & half. Stir.

Pour everything into your blender, blend it up really good. Add your fresh basil. I use lots in it, use it all if you want, it won't hurt. Once you blended it up good, add it back into your pot. I have an immersion blender but I wanted to rock it old school and do it this way!

Grate some cheese now.

Add a handful or two of cheese into the soup and stir well. Remove from heat, let it cook at room temp for 30 minutes and then place in refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours to let the flavor blend, trust me, let it rest and chill before you eat, the flavor are amazing when you do.
Rough Puff Dough:
1 cup of plain flour
1 pinch of salt
3 T of butter
3 T of lard/Crisco
cold water
Sift the flour into a large bowl
On another plate, take your butter and Crisco and chop them up into small pieces
Add fats to the flour
Add salt to the mix
Add a little cold water until it forms a dough ball.
Hand mix it until well blended. Do not use a rolling pin.
Place back in fridge for 45 minutes.