Friday, February 21, 2014

Mint Oreo Pie

I have my annual family party tomorrow afternoon.  A recipe blogger cannot show up to a party empty-handed.  This is a bit of an issue, as my kitchen is currently under construction.  It's a bit hard to make anything beyond heating up leftovers in the microwave.  This means getting creative.  I went to Stop and Shop to browse the baking aisle.  I picked up an Oreo No-Bake Pie kit.  When I was stirring the pie filling, I added a mint chocolate flavored Duncan Hines frosting creation.  These are great.  You can find them in the baking aisle, right next to the frosting.  They work for so much more than just frosting.

I also bought an oreo pie crust.  I figured that would be easier and quicker than using the crust mix in the kit.  It would mean melting butter, and getting one more bowl dirty.  The fewer dishes I have to wash by hand in a basin, the better.   Oh, I can't wait until my kitchen is ready for everyday use again!

Here's the finished product!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Earl Grey Cookies

I love tea.  I spend way too much time and money buying tea.  (Especially at Teavana!)  If I can't get to Teavana, or just don't want to spend the money, I like to try to find other types of teas.  I especially like loose-leaf tea.  I found this one a while back.   It has lavender, orange, and bergamot in it.  It's a delicious and fragrant tea.


I also really love cookies.  I thought it might be interesting to combine the two.  It turns out that I wasn't the first person to think of this, as I found many, many Earl Grey Cookie recipes.   My favorites of the ones that I found were and

I combined the ideas from those two, and tweaked it a bit and came up with this:

1/4 Cup Butter (1/2 stick)
a little bit less than 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. orange extract (one recipe called for orange zest and one called for vanilla extract.  I used orange extract.  Next time I might try using Gran Marnier (orange liqueur) as I just found some in the cabinet.)
a dash of salt (or a few twists, if you're using a grinder)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp loose tea, ground with a mortar and pestle

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Using a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar
3. Add remaining ingredients (extract, tea, flour, baking soda)
4.  Mix to combine
5.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar to coat.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, approximately 1 inch apart
7.  Bake for 10 minutes

Makes 9 cookies.  I think I might double the recipe next time.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Salted Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love cookies.  I also like to experiment with flavors and ingredients to come up with new and interesting recipes.  I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies with something a little extra.  I had some extra baking supplies and decided to see what I could do with them.

I started with the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe found here.

Instead of using 2 cups of chocolate chips, I used 1 cup of chocolate chips, a 1/2 cup of chopped Rolo candy and a 1/2 cup of Salted Caramel baking chips.  (you heard me!)

Salted Caramel Baking Chips

I brought them to a potluck, and they went over very well.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

My loyal readers know that I am a Pinterest fiend.  A while back, I pinned a recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine. 

A Tagine is a type of cookwear, that shares the same name of the meal often cooked in it.  Read more here.

I pinned the recipe a while back.  Whenever I pin recipes on Pinterest, I go crazy and pin a bunch of things at once.  I often forget about things that I pinned, or get ahead of myself and make things that I pinned that night, instead of going back to old pins waiting to be utilized.  I was perusing my old pins tonight, and decided to give this one a whirl.   I don't have a tagine (yet!  hint hint) so I used a regular ol' roasting pan instead. 

I got this recipe from Pinterest, but it was originally posted at Ally's Kitchen

Her recipe calls for Harissa or Ras El Hanout.  I have both in my spice cabinet.  I often use them just to add some flavor to ordinary recipes, but this was my first time using them in a recipe that actually called for them.   I bought the Ras El Hanout a few months ago at the SoWa Market here in Boston.  It's an awesome summer tradition where artists and local purveyors gather every Sunday afternoon in the summer to sell their awesome stuff.  I got the Ras El Hanout at the Soluna Garden Farm table.  They're a great local farm and they sell great spices and teas.  I saw them again today at a Holiday Festival, and bought some spices as stocking stuffers.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spicy and Sweet Chicken and Couscous With Minty Cilantro Sauce

Here's another Rachael Ray recipe.  This one is from her Express Lane Meals cookbook.
additional instructions, photos, etc found here:

2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup mango chutney
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced (I use two, one red and one green)
3 garlic cloves, minced (you could also take a shortcut and use the already minced garlic in a jar - 1 tsp equals one clove)
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used a few shakes of grated ginger)
zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups plain couscous

For the sauce; 
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt)
10 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro 
3 scallions, trimmmed, coarsely chopped
juice of one lime

1. In small pot over med heat, combine 2 c of chicken stock and chutney, salt and pepper, bring to a bubble and keep simmering over low heat.

2. Heat a skillet (I used a wok) and add the olive oil.  Next add the spices and heat.  Chop up the chicken and add it to the pan, coating with the spice mixture.   Add the peppers and onions, season with salt and pepper and add the ginger

3. Create a well in the center of the pan.  Add the chutney mixture, couscous and lemon zest & juice.   You may need to spread everything in the pan to cover the couscous with the liquid. Once the couscous is cooked, remove from heat and cover to set.

4.  While the couscous is cooking, make the sauce.  (The cookbook and both say to use a blender, but I used a wooden spoon and it worked fine. )  Mix the yogurt, greens and lime juice and stir.

5.  Serve with sauce drizzled over each serving

Spring/Summer Ziti

A few years ago, when I was living in Brookline, I picked up a copy of Rachael Ray's Big Orange Cook Book, because it had a section on cooking for one.  I ended up finding more stuff to make outside of that section, such as this recipe.

In the intro section of this recipe, Rachael talks about loving baked ziti, but thinking that it was too heavy to eat all year round.  She invented this recipe to eat outside of the winter months.

I made it a few weeks ago, and was very happy with the results.


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 stems fresh tarragon, leaves removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (10 leaves) fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound ziti with lines
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces on an angle
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced


Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
While the water is boiling, place a medium-size, high-sided skillet (I always use a wok) on the stove with 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat. Saute the shallots and garlic  for 3-4 minutes then stir in tomatoes and crush them with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Season the sauce with salt and pepper  and cook five minutes more then stir in tarragon and basil, and turn off heat.
While sauce is simmering, add salt to boiling water and cook the pasta to just under al dente – it should have a nice bite left to it. After the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes, add in the asparagus and frozen peas a minute or two before draining. Drain pasta and veggies.  (Full disclosure.  I left out the peas.  I've tried to like peas, but it just doesn't happen for me)
Add  thericotta, half the Parmigiano cheese to the hot pasta pot. Add the hot pasta back to the pot and stir to coat.
Pour half the sauce into a large baking dish. Add all of the ziti to the dish and top with remaining sauce. Dot the top of the ziti with mozzarella and remaining Parmigiano. Place in oven until top is brown and bubbly, about 12 minutes.

I didn't take a picture, but trust me, it was delicious!  This website has detailed instructions and photos if you're interested in taking a look: 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It's been a long time since my last update.  I was feeling motivated tonight and put together a dinner that I was pretty proud of and I figured that I'd write about it.  One of my goals this year was to write more, so I think that getting back into blogging might fulfill that!

I've been such a Pinterest fiend lately.  I pinned this recipe a while back and finally got around to making it tonight.

After you make the chicken and brown sugar mixture, pour it over the chicken.  I used a baster to paint it on:

Once the chicken is in the oven, begin your prep for the brussels sprouts.  I used the same pan that I used for the brown sugar garlic mixture.  Chop 2 shallots and toss them in the pan to saute.

Add a dash of Champagne vinegar and a dash of lemon juice.  When the shallots are browned, mix them with the chopped brussels sprouts and put in a baking dish.  I also added some more olive oil and spices.  Put in a preheated oven (I had the chicken on 450, so I did the same for the Brussels Sprouts and let everything cook at the same time.  I left both pans in the oven for about 40 minutes.