Saturday, July 26, 2014

Coffee Brownies

Usually I am not one for making desserts, hello, my sister is in pastry school!  However, I was cooking dinner for our friends, and decided to bake some brownies to complete the meal.  Now, normally I would make box brownies, (I know!) but I was feeling extra bakey, so I decided to whip up a batch of these babies.
I liked them, though the coffee I used wasn't ground as fine as it probably should have been, so they were a little grainy.  They were however, moist, chewy, and rich.  Plus, the extra kick from the coffee was a great surprise!

Coffee Brownies

Coffee Brownies


Nonstick Cooking Spray
2 cups sugar
15 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. finely ground coffee (I used Kona)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350.
Spray 13x9 pan with nonstick spray.  Combine sugar, butter, cocoa, coffee, and salt in a large metal bowl.  Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water- creating a double boiler- and whisk until blended (it will be grainy).
Remove bowl from heat.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla.  Fold in flour.
Spread batter in pan.
Bake 24-25 minutes, or until tester inserted into middle of brownies comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

Today I splurged and cooked salmon, it was very fancy... though when I told the kids at school, they told me in fact, that I was not fancy because they had salmon all the time; such is the problem with working at a private school.  Alas, my fancy meal was delicious!   I bought salmon filets without skin, which is probably the best way for this recipe.  If you do have skin-on filets, either take it off or you should quickly crisp up the skin in a frying pan before putting it in the oven.  (No one wants flabby skin.)
I took a few liberties with this recipe, as I don't have fresh herbs, but it turned out great!  The original recipe also called for thyme instead of rosemary, but I thought with the tomatoes, I would go a little more Italian than the recipe said, but I suppose that's why this is my recipe instead of the original!

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes 

Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes 


1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 (6 oz.) salmon filets, no skin


Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking dish with foil.
Toss tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. rosemary, olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper on baking pan.  Roast 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Push tomatoes to one side.  Add salmon.  Sprinkle with remaining salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Roast 10 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.
To serve, spoon tomatoes over salmon.

Recipe adapted from The Woman's Day Everyday Cookbook

Monday, February 17, 2014

Black Bean Lasagna

Whilst looking for my vegetarian recipe of the week, I found this recipe and it piqued my interest.  I usually try to find variations of classic dishes, though I tout myself as a lasagna purest.  Lasagna is my favorite food, and I try not to mess with it.  This recipe seemed interesting, and anything with Mexican flavors is an automatic sure thing for me.
Shut up.  This was delicious.  I had seconds (which is rare), Matt had thirds.  I would perhaps add more peppers and some corn if you wanted to bulk up the vegetables, but it was great, as is!

Black Bean Lasagna 
Black Bean Lasagna


12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta
1 (8 oz.)packed cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
Garnish: chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sour cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 350.
Mash one can of beans; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add mashed beans, unmashed beans, tomato sauce, cilantro, and cumin.  Heat through.
In a large bowl combine ricotta, cream cheese, and sour cream; set aside.  Spray a lasagna pan with cooking spray.  Arrange 4 noodles, slightly overlapping them, in the dish.  Top with one-third of the bean mixture, making sure to completely cover the noodles.  Spread half the cheese mixture on top of bean mixture.  Repeat layers two more times, ending with the bean mixture.
Bake, covered, for 40-45 minutes, or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes.  Garnish with tomatoes, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Recipe adapted from

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cilantro Jalapeno Spread

Tonight I decided to make some wonderful Mexican Burgers (though these I made with beef, not turkey) and found a great spread to go on top, which also helped to use the mass of cilantro I had in the fridge.  It turned out great, though very spicy.  (I thought bigger jalapenos were supposed to be milder!)    I ended up having to add extra yogurt to calm my taste buds.   
The spice has not been curbing my appetite however, I have been using the leftover spread on everything!  (Breakfast sandwiches, regular sandwiches, dip for chips...)

I realize that the side to my burger looks really gross, but it's refried black beans.  Apparently, those don't translate into pictures.  (They were good, I promise.)

Cilantro Jalapeno Spread

2-3 jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like it/how spicy the peppers are), deseeded
1 large handful of cilantro
2 Tbsp. ranch seasoning
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Puree the jalapenos and cilantro in a food processor until blended into a paste.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  If the spread is too spicy, add more yogurt.

Recipe adapted from I save A2Z

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

White Wine and Lemon Scallops

Scallops were on sale at the grocery store this week, so I picked some up (yay sales!) and decided to make them in a white wine lemon sauce.  I was going to make a specific recipe, but then decided to make up my own recipe instead... it turned out delicious!  

White Wine and Lemon Scallops

White Wine and Lemon Scallops

2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. bay scallops
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 lemon, squeezed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. pasta (I used angel hair, but use what you like)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook pasta to package directions.  Set aside.
Add butter to pan over medium high heat.
When melted, add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add wine, lemon, and parsley.
Add scallops and sprinkle with salt. Cook until scallops are slightly firm to touch, but still have give.  (They will cook fast!  They're little!)
Remove scallops and add bring wine to a boil.
Cook until reduced by about a half cup.
Add scallops to warm.
Serve over pasta.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coconut Curry Halibut

Today I decided to make fish because Alyssa wasn't going to be home until after dinner.  I was looking through an issue of Cooking Light and landed on Coconut Curry Halibut.  It sounded good, and I had all the ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.  
It ended up being awesome!  Matt loved it, and had thirds!  He also told me that the sauce was so good that I should make it without the fish as a dipping sauce for everything.  Success!

Coconut Curry Halibut
Coconut Curry Halibut

1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 /2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 halibut filets
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking until smooth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 25 minutes).  Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and cilantro; let stand 5 minutes.  Strain to remove solids. 
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat the pan. 
Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and pepper. 
Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes  on each side, or until done.  
Serve fish with sauce.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

This dinner totally came about because I had dibs and dabs of vegetables left and I had to use them up before they went bad. After looking online to get basic cook times of a chicken casserole, I came up with this variation, and I must say that it was pretty delicious!  This recipe can also be a jumping off point based on what veggies you have to use up in your house.

Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

1 tsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Add chicken when hot.  Season with salt and pepper.
Cook until not pink anymore.  (Don't worry if it's not completely done, you're going to cook it longer.)
Combine chicken, celery, carrots, garlic, cream of chicken soup, Greek yogurt, cheese, and parsley in a greased casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter.  Spread over the top of the casserole.
Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Cream

Alyssa wasn't home tonight, so I decided to make salmon for Matt and I.  My favorite part of this recipe (besides the fact that it was delicious!) was that it was the perfect weeknight recipe.  It took about 20 minutes in total, which was perfect!  It actually would have been faster, but my salmon was still a bit frozen, so I obviously had to cook it longer.

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Cream
I served mine with green beans, which I steamed and combined with the other half of the shallot, minced, garlic, and butter.  Super yummy!

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Cream

1/4 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche if you're really fancy!)
2 Tbsp. finely minced shallots (about half a shallot)
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. dried chives
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 (4 oz.) salmon filets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450.
Combine sour cream, shallots, milk, dill, lemon juice, chives, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.  Whisk until combined.
Place fish, skin-side down on a greased, lined, baking sheet.  Rub fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 12 minutes. If not done, cook in 2 minute increments until done.
Serve with cream spooned on top.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

This week, I was really feeling the need for some avocado in my life, so I decided my excuse would be these peppers!  (Really, I should just buy an extra avocado and eat it.  Yum!)  I also feel like red, yellow, or orange peppers would be better than green in this recipe, but green were on sale, so alas, I used green.
These also could be easily vegetarian, use soy crumbles instead of ground beef.  If you don't want to use ground beef, add rice or just more veggies!
The amount of filling is enough for probably 8 peppers, but it's good left over as is.

Southwest Stuffed Pepper
Yum!  Look at the avocado!

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
4 red bell peppers
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (10 oz.) can tomatoes and green chiles (drained)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the tops off the peppers, remove the seeds and ribs.  Place in a lightly greased baking dish.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, saute to the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.
Add ground beef, cook until no longer pink.  Stir in taco seasoning.
Add tomatoes, corn, and beans.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
Fill peppers with mixture, top with cheese, and the top of the pepper.
Bake 40 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
Top with sliced avocado and additional cilantro (if desired).

Recipe adapted from Let's Dish Recipes

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin Curry Soup

It has gotten quite cold here in Philly and I had a can of pumpkin just waiting to be made into soup.  Then came the decision of what kind.  Plain pumpkin soup?  Though yummy, a little boring... so I decided to spice things up with some curry.  Delicious!

Pumpkin Curry Soup
Pumpkin Curry Soup

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
*2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
2 Tbsp. curry
1 Tbsp. butter
2 limes
Topping: Cilantro, plain yogurt

Simmer pumpkin, broth, and cream, whisking.
Meanwhile, toast curry powder in a small pan in butter.  Add to the soup with the juice from the limes.
Simmer about 5 minutes.
Top with fresh cilantro and plain yogurt, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

*If you would like to make this vegetarian, just sub in vegetable broth!