Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala

Now believe me when I say I was scared to try this recipe.  I think I can cook pretty well, but Indian food never turns out right.  With that being said, this recipe is awesome.  It actually worked and was delicious!  The key is that it uses heavy cream instead of yogurt as the base of the sauce; yogurt always curdles for me.  I was super pumped about this and plan on making it again very soon!

Chicken Tikka Masala 
Chicken Tikka Masala 


For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander

For the sauce:
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. garam masala
1 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
For serving: basmati rice, naan

Combine yogurt, lemon, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl.  Place chicken in a greased oven-ready baking dish.  Spoon yogurt marinade over chicken.  Mix, making sure that chicken is coated all over.  Place in refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 50 minutes. Set aside.
Warm a half-tablespoon of butter in a dutch oven. Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, paprika, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Pour the tomatoes and their juices and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Stir the cream and chopped chicken into the sauce, and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is just starting to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste. Stir in the cilantro just before removing the sauce from heat.
Serve immediately with rice. Top each serving with another sprinkle of cilantro.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Breakfast Enchiladas

Now, you guys definitely know how much I love enchiladas by now. (Need proof, check out some of my favorites: Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas, and Vegetarian Crockpot Enchiladas.  Now, I found a way to have enchiladas for breakfast too!  (Not that I didn't eat the aforementioned as leftovers for breakfast).  These are great because I can see myself putting whatever I want in them... I was thinking bacon and leeks next time!  They would also be SUPER easy to make vegetarian as well!
Note that these enchiladas soak in the egg mixture overnight, so if you want to eat enchiladas immediately, try a different recipe!

Breakfast Enchiladas
Breakfast Enchiladas

2 cups cubed and cooked ham
½ cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
8 flour tortillas (6-8 inches)
1¼ cup half-and-half
4 whole eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions for serving

In a medium bowl stir together ham, green onions and 1 1/2 cups of cheese (save the remaining ½ cup for later). Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place a good amount of ham mixture onto a tortilla, careful not to over fill them. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in the baking pan. Roll up all tortillas and place them into the baking dish with the sides touching.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, salt, and flour. Pour over tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350ยบ. Bake covered for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cheese over enchiladas. Bake for 10 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and the egg mixture is set.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions.

Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Love Cake

So, normally I don't make desserts.  I leave that up to my sister because mine always turn out not quite right.  This cake ended up being delicious, but I will say that the layers are supposed to flip flop during baking and mine half-heartedly flipped.  It was still delicious, but the layers didn't look as pretty as Paula Deen's did.  Oh well!
Love Cake

Love Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup cold milk
8 oz. Cool Whip

Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Set aside.
In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread to fill the pan evenly. Once the cake batter is in place, carefully pour the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Spread to cover the cake batter as best as you can.
Bake the cake at 350 for 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with a whisk until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined.
Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.

Recipe adapted from Chew Nibble Nosh

Friday, September 25, 2015


I realized recently that although I use my mom's recipe for meatballs and sauce all the time, I actually have never posted it before.  These meatballs are delicious.  I could eat them all the time.  Now, I actually forgot to take a picture of my sauce (whoops!), so I will post that whenever I make sauce again.  For now, meatballs alone will have to suffice.
For an alternative to pasta, you can make my zucchini rollups as a side for these meatballs!



1 lb. hamburger, or ground meat of choice
2 cloves chopped garlic
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
additional garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix ground meat, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, cheese, egg, and bread crumbes together in a large bowl.  If mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs, a little at a time. 
Roll into balls and place on sprayed cookie sheet. 
Spray the top with more pam & season with salt, pepper & garlic powder. 
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until brown.

Add to sauce the last hour.

Creamy Italian Dip

We had so much time off for the Pope being in Philly that we decided to have a party... obviously!  Matt and I hosted an Italian themed party... with lots of Italian foods because that's probably what they eat at the Vatican, right?  Anyway, for an appetizer I served this dip with crackers as well as some olives.  It was the perfect start to our meal!

Creamy Italian Dip

Creamy Italian Dip

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
2 small tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp. Italian Dressing
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. basil, chopped

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of pie plate.
Combine tomatoes and dressing; spoon over cream cheese.
Top with remaining ingredients.

Recipe adapted from Kraft

French Toast Casserole

The pope being in Philly means one thing... 5 day weekend!  To celebrate, I decided to make French toast... we had to have something with our mimosas!  I ended up going a little easier and translated French toast into a French toast casserole.  We topped ours with strawberries, which was a good thing because it was so sweet! (Syrup would definitely have sent us to the dentist).  Bacon on the side made this a wonderful brunch!

French Toast Casserole 

French Toast Casserole


French Toast:
1 loaf Crusty French Bread (I actually used regular wheat, but French bread would have been much better)
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, etc.)

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks and evenly distribute in the pan.
In a medium sized bowl mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 F. Remove casserole from the fridge and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with Fresh fruit.

Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Roasted Squash and Onions

This recipe could not be easier.  For real.  Got some squash? Got some onions? Great, that's all you need.  Also, it's delcious!  Matt was convinced that it was bad for him because it was so tasty.  "There's really no cheese?  No meat? No butter?"  It was really like that, and then he ate all of it.  This was a great side to my no carb meal with sausage!

Roasted Squash and Onions
Roasted Squash and Onions

2 medium yellow summer squash, cut in thick strips
1.5 small onions, sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.
Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Trim the ends of the squash, cut off the slender necks, and slice the necks in half, lengthwise. Then slice each squash into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Lay the slices on the cooking sheet in a single layer, or best you can, I had to overlap, but it was fine.
Layer in onions.
Sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until bottoms of squash begin to brown. Flip squash and onions and bake until bottoms of squash are browned, about 15 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Susan at Fat Free Vegan

Monday, September 21, 2015

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

I found this recipe and knew I had to try it!  I am a big lover of meatballs (hello, I'm Italian!) and the North African twist sounded like a winner to me!  Plus I've been trying to incorporate more veggies into my dinners, and this seemed like the perfect way to do so.  I served it over couscous for a complete meal!

Moroccan Meatball Tagine
Also, my meatballs kind of fell apart, but they were still very tasty, so I deemed they were fine.  I only may have worried if I was having a fancy party, but still, eh.

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

1 large onion, finely chopped, divided
2 Tbsp. raisins, coarsely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. tomato puree
3 tsp. curry powder
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
1 cup frozen peas

Mix together half the onions, the raisins, ground beef, tomato puree, and curry powder in a large bowl.  Using your hands, combine and form into meatballs.  (The recipe said you could make 24, I made about 15, it's fine).
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a dutch oven.  Add the meatballs and brown all over.  Pour out excess fat.  Add cinnamon, tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan.  Add celery and zucchini and cook until soft, but not mushy.  Add peas and cook for another 5 minutes.
Combine zucchini mixture into meatball mixture just before serving.
Serve over couscous for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from 1000 Recipe for Simple Family Food by Eleanor Maxfield

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is a dish that I often find myself ordering at restaurants because I don't make it at home.  Why?  Who knows.  Well, now I need to find something else to order at restaurants because this turned out great and I can't wait to make it again!

Chicken Piccata 
Chicken Piccata 

2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded thin, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 cup chicken broth
1.5 lemons
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
¼ cup capers
Chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2 pound spaghetti

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Season flour with salt and pepper, to taste and dredge chicken in flour.  Place the chicken in the skillet. Cook for about 6 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked throughout and no longer pink. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Turn the heat to medium low. Add broth, juice from lemons, heavy cream, and capers. Bring the sauce to a boil and return to medium low heat. Test the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed, (you probably won't need much salt because the capers are so salty!). Allow the sauce to cook and bubble for about 3 minutes.
Serve the chicken over cooked pasta and spoon the sauce over both. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

BLT Flatbread Pizza

I needed a quick, yummy dinner this week because I spent longer at school helping out with the play.  This recipe fit the bill!  Using pre-made crust, naan in this case, was a great time saver, and the only prep I had to do was to cook the bacon.  It took about 20 minutes in total and we were ready to eat in no time!
We ordered wings (because who has pizza without wings!?), though if I had more time, I could have made wings.  Alas, that will be a great weekend project.

BLT Flatbread Pizza

BLT Flatbread Pizza

4 pieces garlic naan
1/2 cup tomato sauce
5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick circles
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup arugula
1/2 lemon
Pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
Lay naan on a pizza stone, pizza steel, or baking sheet. (I had to use a pizza stone and a baking sheet).
Spread about 1/8 cup of tomato sauce on each piece of naan.
Divide the bacon, tomato circles, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese evenly between the naan.
Place naan in the oven.  If using two pans, switch top and bottom pans after 4 minutes.
Continue baking until the cheese is melted and the naan bread is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Take pizza out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
While the pizza is resting, place the arugula in a small bowl and toss it with the lemon juice and ground pepper.
Top each pizza with a quarter of the arugula salad.
Slice the pizzas into halves.

Recipe adapted from The Cookin' Canuck

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Arugula Salad with Tomatoes

Are you ready for the easiest salad accompaniment ever?  Perfect.  I serve this salad all the time.  My Mom serves this salad all the time.  It goes great with any Italian meal or as a nice summer salad.  I served it tonight with eggplant parmigiana and some homemade bread... delicious!

Arugula Salad with Tomatoes

Arugula Salad with Tomatoes

6 oz. arugula (1 bag)
1 tomato, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 lemon
parmesan, to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil, more to taste
salt, to taste

Add lemon juice and olive oil in small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Place arugula in large bowl. Sprinkle parmesan on top of arugula, to taste.  Add salt, to taste. Mix well. Add tomatoes on top.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Balsamic Blueberry and Spinach Grilled Cheese

This grilled cheese was just happenstance; I was alone for dinner, was browsing Pinterest for menu ideas for next week and chanced upon this recipe.  I had every ingredient!  Hooray!
Let me tell you, this was goooood.  Before you say, "Wait! Blueberries and balsamic and spinach and cheese?  Together?!" stop, this was great.  The sweetness from the blueberries and sugar combined with the acidity of the vinegar and the creaminess of the cheese make for one dynamite dish.  It came together in about ten minutes and I didn't have to turn on my oven in the midst of this Philly heat wave.  Perfection!

Balsamic Blueberry and Spinach Grilled Cheese
Full disclaimer- I was going to say that I wanted you to be able to see the spinach and that's why I bit into my sandwich, but really I kind of burnt it and I bit off the blacker parts.  Whoops!

Balsamic Blueberry and Spinach Grilled Cheese

2 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
8 slices of cheese (I used an even amount of both sharp white cheddar and monterey jack)
1 cup Fresh spinach (it will seem like a lot when you put it on, but I promise it's not)
1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2- 1 tsp. butter

In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and vinegar over medium heat. Let the mixture come to a slow boil. Use a utensil to crush berries as you stir. After boiling for about 5 minutes, pour mixture into a mesh strainer and let the juice syrup separate from the solid berries.  (If you don't have a mesh strainer, I used a slotted spoon and that worked fine!)
Spread blueberries onto a piece of bread, top with half the cheese, then spinach, and then the rest of your cheese! Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Top with your other slice of bread.
Over low heat, melt 1/2 tsp. of butter.  Once melted, add your sandwich.  Once the bread is golden brown (unlike mine!), flip over and grill the other side until golden brown.  If you have no butter left in the pan when you flip you can melt your other 1/2 tsp. of butter before re-adding the sandwich.

Recipe adapted from Amanda K. by the Bay