Monday, February 21, 2011

Lemon Loaf

My mom gave us a bundle of fresh, off the tree lemons a couple of weeks ago and we kept them in the fridge to keep them fresh. We've been looking for fun recipes to use our lemons and found this gem. When mom brings you lemons, make lemon bread.
1/3 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C milk
2 lemons
Preheat oven 350
In a large bowl cream shortening and sugar
 Add eggs one at a time. Add the flour, powder, and salt to a small bowl. Add to cream mixture alternating with milk.
 Grate both lemon peels into the mixture
Place in a bread pan and bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Use the toothpick method to make sure the bread is baked all the way through.
1/3 C lemon juice
2/3 C sugar

Mix lemon and sugar together. Once the loaf is out of the oven, immediately spoon the lemon/sugar mixture on the top of the bread while it's still in the pan.
Let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.
 I loved the sweet and zingy flavor of this bread. It is not overpowering but has a delicious lemon undertone. Enjoy it with a glass of milk.
** Original recipe found on

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

I love the smell of rosemary. It's absolutely lovely and it adds a beautiful taste to everything it's added to. After we made the soup (see post below) we had a little bit of rosemary left and I did not want it to go to waste. I search for rosemary recipes on and found this. It's a very simple marinade that you can whip up in seconds. Try it out and let us know how you like it.

Recipe: (makes 6)
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C ranch dressing
3 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbl white sugar
5 skinless boneless chicken- cut into 1 inch cubes

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Place chicken in to marinade for at least an hour to get all that juicy goodness and flavor.
 Place chicken on skewers. We use bamboo skewers but I'm sure metal ones work just fine. Throw out leftover marinade.
 Place chicken on grill and cook all the way through.
 These are great to eat right off the grill. Okay as you can tell we don't actually have a grill, we used our counter-top 4-in-one waffle maker:-) But however you cook them, you won't be disappointed by the taste. Plus, they're so fast to make and you can serve them with vegetables, mashed potatoes...etc.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan

I was flipping through our Williams-Sonoma Italian Favorites recipe book to find a great soup for a romantic Valentine's dinner and found this recipe. As soon as I put the ingredients in the pan our house filled with the most amazing aroma- onions, garlic, was incredible. The taste didn't disappoint either. It's a hearty soup that doesn't fill to heavy. I made a few changes to the recipe and was so happy with the way the soup turned out and hope you enjoy it too.
2 cans white kidney beans
2 TBL olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
7 cups chicken broth
salt & ground pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Open both cans of beans and rinse in a colander. Put aside.

 Chop onions, carrot, and celery as well as mince the garlic and rosemary.
(Side story- I really teared up this last time the onion was so strong!)
 On medium heat, heat up the olive oil in a large pot. Once the oil is hot add onions, carrot, and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally until they are soft (about 10 minutes).
 Once the vegetables are soft add the garlic and rosemary. This is where the aroma becomes mouthwatering. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.
 Add the beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. I recommend adding the ingredients in that order since I poured in the broth and then got it everywhere when I added the beans. :-)
 Once the soup comes to a boil turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take a third of the soup and put it in a blender and puree. Add back to the soup. This will help thicken the soup.
 Add grated Parmesan cheese to the top and you are done. I really enjoyed making this soup and eating this soup.

Cheese Manicotti

The countdown to Valentine's Day continues and we've whipped up a delicious entrée. I know, manicotti may seem like a difficult feat but it's actually quite easy and your loved one will be very impressed by your mad skills!
15 oz Ricotta cheese
16 oz fresh Mozarella, drained and shredded
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
Manicotti noodles, boiled per directions on box
Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella

Mix together the ricotta, fresh mozzarella, fresh Parmesan, eggs, and herbs in a large bowl and stir thoroughly.
Fill a pastry bag with the cheese and pipe them into the cooked Manicotti noodles
Place a 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan and place the filled manicotti in the pan.
Cover the manicotti with shredded mozzerella.
Bake for 20-30min until the cheese in melted and bubbly.
 Like we said before very easy to make and very delicious. You can also team this entree with a previously posted Parmesan chicken recipe.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

First recipe to the countdown to Valentine's Day- Red Velvet Cupcakes. What can be better than a red, chocolaty super amazing cupcake? I love this recipe and have made it twice in the past two days. It makes about 16 cupcakes, it's very moist and very delicious.

2 1/2 C Flour
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C buttermilk (or you can use 1 TBL vinegar in a cup of milk)
2 eggs (room temp)
2 TBL  red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350
Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients.

 In another large bowl mix together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
 Using a sifter, sift the dry ingredients in with the wet and mix well.
 Mix until the the batter is smooth.
 Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes. Use the toothpick method to check if the cupcakes are done.
 Have the cupcakes cool on a rack while you start on the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

The frosting is super easy to make. Start by mixing together the cream cheese and softened butter until smooth and mixed. Add the vanilla. Finally add the powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
 When the cupcakes are completely cooled use a butter knife to frost.
I really enjoyed making these cupcakes. I used to be so intimidated by red velvet cupcakes but this recipe is very straightforward and easy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cheesy BBQ Casserole

This morning I woke up wanting to make something easy and something I've never made before. I looked through our Betty Crocker cookbook and found this yummy sounding recipe. We heart casseroles because you can make it and then store it in the fridge until your ready to eat. I made this casserole at about 11:00am this morning and we ate around 8:45pm. It was perfect to get home from running errands, throw it in the oven and wha-laa and delicious casserole ready to be eaten. I'm a big fan of BBQ sauce and really enjoyed eating this. Hope you enjoy it too!

3 Cups uncooked pasta (the recipe called for ziti but I used penne)
1 Tbl EVOO
1 lb lean ground beef (we actually used ground turkey and it tasted great)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Cup barbecue sauce
 1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Cup milk
1 1/2 C shredded Cheddar cheese

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees
Cook and drain pasta as directed
While the pasta is cooking, chop the onion and in a saucepan add the EVOO, ground meat and onion. Cook on medium-high heat until meat is brown. Drain.
Using a large bowl (or the pot you used to cook the pasta) mix the drained pasta, meat mixture, and remaining ingredients. Save a 1/2 cup of the cheedar cheese and put on the side.
(Not gonna lie, cooked ground turkey never photographs's just a weird brown gray color haha)
Place the mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted on top.
And there you have it, a delicious casserole that is easy to make and has big flavor! Enjoy-we sure did:-)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spinach Dip

Super Bowl Sunday is here and we have a great dip for you. Thank you to the Knorr's vegetable soup mix, we found this recipe and had to try it out. It's super easy to make and is perfect for watching those first downs, tackles and home runs. Ha! Just kidding, you know how much I (as in B) love football!! So whether you're a Steelers or Packers fan, make sure to have this dip at your party!

10 oz frozen chopped spinach (thawed & squeezed dry)
16 oz sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg Knorr vegetable recipe soup mix
3 green onions, chopped
8 oz water chestnuts, chopped (optional)
1 baguette

Pour the vegetable soup mix into a large bowl
 Add thawed spinach. We ran it under warm water to help it thaw and then using paper towels squeezed out the excess water. Add to bowl.
 Add chopped green onions to the bowl.
 Add the remaining ingredient and stir.
 That's it! All that is left is to grab the bread and cut it into small slices.
 There you have it, a super easy recipe that is so good.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Three Cheesy Pizza

Last week we spent time in San Clemente and were introduced to La Rocco's, this super awesome pizza place in San Clemente. There was one pizza in particular that caught our eye and taste buds, it was called "The Whitestone". After eating it K and I turned to each other and said, "We can totally make this!" So with a little creativity and a lot of cheese later we were able to create our own version of this pizza. We call is the Three Cheesy Pizza. It has olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan on a thin crust. No red sauce. No meat. Just the basics and it's very delish. Here's the recipe:

Pizza Crust (you can use any crust recipe just use half of the dough to make it a thin crust)
8oz Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tsp Olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and then place on a pizza stone or pan that has been lightly greased with olive oil.

Spread 2-3 tsp of olive oil on the dough, just enough to cover it and sprinkle the chopped garlic on top of the dough.

Drop spoonfuls of ricotta cheese onto the pizza, you can use as little or as much as you like.

Cover the pizza with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for 12-15 min until the cheese is browned and the crust is golden on the edges.

This pizza is so quick and simple but it is one of the best pizzas we have ever had. In fact we loved it so much we even made it for dinner twice this week!