3/29- Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes

No, I promise that's not what I served for dinner. I thought about it, but decided I couldn't live with giving an almost-3-year-old chocolate for dinner. Pregnant mommies, sure, but not toddlers.

I've had the recipe for these cupcakes for a while and just haven't had the chance to make them yet. Well, since I devoured every ounce of other chocolate in the house yesterday, desperate times call for desperate measures! As the name indicates, these are flourless cupcakes, and get topped with white chocolate peppermint whipped cream. Are you drooling yet? Here, look at them on this link and you definitely will be......

And if you should happen to actually make them..... well..... you'll either eat the entire batch at once, or spend hours staring at them in the container in the fridge. That's what I plan to do tonight. Or eat them all. The baby hasn't decided yet. ;)
For your amusement, here's the progression of a cupcake in the hands of a toddler......

3/28- Grilled Ham Steaks

I don't get to cook a big Easter dinner since our Church has a big potluck/egg hunt every year, so I decided to cook up some ham tonight. I have somehow managed to avoid cooking ham steaks until now, so this was a new one for me. I cooked 2 because my husband has been known to eat like a horse on occasion, and also because somehow I've been eating like a horse as well... despite the incredible lack of room in my abdomen at the moment. I bought the steaks without having a clue as to what I was going to do with them, but a quick search of allrecipes.com yielded great results! I just tossed them on the grill and basted them with the glaze I found on there.

The glaze sounds a bit weird, but it's really really good! Once I had it heating up on the stove, the cinnamon wafted up to my nose and I started to drool. At that point, I was a believer without even tasting it! Not being terribly fancy, I served it with rice and green beans. Hey, at least I got to cook some Easter ham!

3/25 Spicy Beef Salad

This is *gasp* not a Cooking Light recipe! I know, amazing! It's from Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics book. It's more substantial than your average salad because of the beef, but it's not too heavy because it's served with the meat chilled. I know it may sound weird, but don't knock it 'til you try it!

Here's a link to the recipe: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/spicy-beef-salad/4389d181-ed7b-4989-9fe5-1dc3ec72ba6d

(note: As I believe I've mentioned before, I HATE mushrooms, so I always leave those out. Why ruin a perfectly good salad by adding fungus?! Dried chives can be substituted for the green onions as well, although the onions do add more of a "zing." I also always use sirloin instead of the flank steak... it's cheaper and still tastes great!)

I usually serve it with cous cous, rice pilaf, or some sort of rolls. Of course it would go well with a fruit salad too.... you can never have too much fruit!

3/24- Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Thanks to my amazing husband, we are back in business with pictures! He got me a new Canon Powershot yesterday since our son dropped our old one, so now I have my own little camera again! I tried using his, but it just didn't like me. Anyway, on to the important stuff.... the food!

We dined on Pulled Chicken Sandwiches last night. I hadn't made them in a while, and I don't know why because I love them so much! They aren't a 15 minute meal, but they're not something out of Cordon Bleu either. You grill the chicken with a dry rub, then shred it and heat it up in the sauce. Serve it on burger buns, top it with pickles, and once again accompany it with whatever cookout type sides you want! It's seriously yummy, I'm getting hungry all over again just typing about it!

3/19- Pork Chops with Carolina Rub

Yet another Cooking Light one, kind of similar to the Honey Chicken one. It was gorgeous again yesterday, so I planned another grilling meal. You just take pork chops and rub this dry rub all over them, then grill and serve with BBQ sauce. We pretty much had the same sides as we did the night before too- potato salad, cole slaw, fruit salad, and some mixed veggies. It goes great with fresh corn, but there was none to be found yet.

Here's the rub:

1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, paprika, chili powder, freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

(can easily be doubled- I did for 8 chops last night and had a tad left over)

It's another awesome cookout recipe if you're ever looking for something different than burgers and brats/dogs! Sorry, no pictures again, but the backup camera has been found, so pictures from here on out........ as long as I remember to take them before I scarf it down! :)

3/18- Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken

Mmm hmmm... it's a good one! This one's from Cooking Light again, and it's one of the easiest ones ever! The recipe actually calls for chicken thighs, but I either use chicken breasts or tenderloins. It also wants you to broil them, but who wants to heat up their kitchen, especially on a gorgeous day like today?! The grill it is! Here be the recipe:

2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts or whatever)
6 T honey
2 T cider vinegar

Combine all the dry ingredients in a ziploc bag. Throw in the chicken and toss it around until it's all covered. Throw them on the grill. Mix the honey and vinegar, and baste the chicken while it cooks, but reserve some of the mixture to drizzle over it when you serve it.

It's THAT easy! It's a great spring/summer grilling out meal, and goes well with just about any sides you can think of. Tonight we were all starved from our outing to Target (where we bought a lot of stuff since I'm nesting and feeling unprepared for the baby), so we had tossed salad, fruit salad, potato salad, and cole slaw with the chicken. Soon to be followed by some type of chocolate I'm sure!

3/15- Chicken Pot Pie

This is definitely not my recipe, but it's sooooo gooooood. It's called "Kombat Kween's Chicken Pot Pie" and is from a member of an online message board that I frequent (Operation Homefront Online, formerly CinCHouse). It's not so much a "light" recipe, but if you really wanted it to be there are things you could switch out. For example, it calls for heavy cream, but it works just as well with any type of milk. It might turn out a tad runnier, but it still tastes just as good!

Anyway, to start off, cook about 6 chicken breasts, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Cube up 4-5 white potatoes, and cook them in boiling water. Then you heat 9 T each of butter and flour until it forms a thick paste; season with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and 1.5 cups of heavy cream (or milk, or a mixture of both). Cook on simmer until it thickens up. Add in the chicken, potatoes, and 3 cups of frozen mixed veggies (beans, corn, carrots, peas, etc). Let it simmer until it's all heated through.

These quantities will give you 2 full pies; I always make 2 and freeze one for later. Put a pie crust in the bottom of each pie pan, then fill with the filling. Top with another crust, crimp edges, and poke holes to vent. At this point, you can wrap one up in foil and toss it in the freezer for a night that you're feeling lazy. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and cooked through. Sooooo good!!

After I made these yesterday, I started on a double batch of banana bread. I had 6 bananas go bad, so what else was I supposed to do? :) Both loaves turned out great, and I'm fighting hard not to just sit down and devour them!

I don't have pictures because my darling son dropped my little point-and-shoot camera and broke it. I don't feel like hauling out the SLR just to take pictures of my food, so until my husband fixes that one or finds his little p-a-s, you'll just have to use your imagination to picture what my food looks like. Sorry!

3-7, Pork Chops and Apples

Tonight's dinner was another one of my own recipes. Well, maybe my mom's, but I adapted it a bit I think. It's another Crock Pot meal, and is super easy, and super delicious! It can be made with pork chops (bone-in or out), or a pork tenderloin. Tonight it was boneless pork chops. I was too lazy to take pictures, sorry!

Get out your Crock Pot and pour in enough apple juice so that there's 1-2 inches of it in the bottom. (That's how I measure, folks :) ) Put the pork in- it can be frozen or thawed just like the BBQ, but it cooks faster if it's thawed. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of brown sugar on top, and then follow it with a good helping of cinnamon. Set it to low and leave it alone for 6 hours or so.

About an hour and a half or so before you want to eat, slice up a couple of apples and toss them in. I've used just about every kind there is, but Granny Smiths and Fuji are my favorites. Sprinkle some more cinnamon on top and let them cook until you're ready to eat. The dish is best when the apples are warmed through and slightly tender, but not a mushy mess.

I've served this with a variety of side dishes, but my favorite is Parmesan Cous Cous. Tonight it was plain old white rice, which is my second favorite. I always try for something green as well, and anything from green beans to salad works well. It's a really easy, really tasty standby meal in our family. I hope you enjoy it if you try it!

3/4- Bread, Stew, and Chocolate

Since I felt better today, I succumbed to the urge to cook and bake up a storm! I started the morning off with Honey Wheat bread in the breadmaker. I used 3 cups of wheat flour and 1 of bread flour this time, so I'm interested to see how it turned out. We had a showing for our house this morning, so since I needed to make bread anyway I figured I'd make the house smell nice. Wonder if we'll get an offer out of it? :)

After naptime, I got started on the Beef Stew. It's another Cooking Light recipe, and I followed the recipe a bit more closely this time than I did the first time I made it. Last time all I had was Marsala wine, but this time I actually bought the Cabernet Sauvignon that it called for. I even threw in mushrooms this time (I HATE mushrooms, but wanted to see if they changed the flavor). The actual recipe is "mediterranean" because it has you throw olives in at the end, but I can't stretch that far. I caved on the mushrooms, that's all they get out of me!
As if I hadn't cooked enough, or made enough dishes already, I decided to seriously cave in to Rebecca's demands and make an awesome-looking chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe I found. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Magic-Peanut-Butter-Middles/Detail.aspx They took longer than I expected, but I had fun making them with Scott. He's actually quite good at smooshing the chocolate dough around the peanut butter balls, and then squashing them with a sugar-coated glass. Who knew they were the perfect project for a 2.5 year old?

3/3/10- Manicotti

Tonight's menu consisted of Manicotti and Green Beans. I'd intended to make a salad and garlic bread, but then remembered that I need to go to the grocery store. Oh well, I'll do it right next time. I got the recipe from allrecipes.com again, but changed it a tiny bit. I added dried basil and oregano instead of just parsley, and added more cheese again. How can you go wrong with cheese-stuffed pasta if you add extra cheese? Next time I'll use my own spaghetti sauce too, but this was sort of a trial run so I just used a jar. Anyway, I thought it was really good, and my husband is chowing down on it as I type. :) Enjoy!

Spinach Pie, 3/2/10

Well, even though I'm sick, I can't in good conscience let my men eat what they ate last night- anything that was in the fridge that was still edible. So tonight it's Spinach Pie! I adapted the recipe from this: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spinach-Pie-V/Detail.aspx. I opted for making an actual pie instead of rolling it in phyllo like the recipe calls for. I also added more cheese since I had it. Can't go wrong with extra cheese, right?
It turned out really well, and was a big hit! Even Scott ate a whole (small) slice! I'll definitely be making this again!

Baked Potato Soup, etc

A few days ago, I tried my hand at Baked Potato Soup again. The first time I tried it, I made it in one of my old pots that was infamous for burning any and all cream sauces. I say "was" because I got so mad at it for burning this soup that I dumped the burnt soup down the drain, and promptly threw the (still warm) pot in the trash bin outside. Take that, stupid pot! Since then, I've gotten a new set of pots- Calphalon
Contemporary Nonstick. Can I just tell you how much they rock?? SO easy to clean and take care of, and they cook so evenly and well. Definitely worth the money. Anyway, I digress..... back to the soup. It's yet another Cooking Light recipe, although I probably ruin any "lightness" by adding extra cheese. I can't help it, I married a guy who likes cheese. Basically you just heat milk and flour until it's thick, mix in some slightly mashed baked potatoes, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions. Top it with more cheddar, crumbled bacon, and green onions. Serious comfort food.
The next thing I made was Sweet Salmon with a Kick. It's another one that I've made before, but I think it turned out better this time. You rub kosher salt and Chinese 5-spice on the salmon, broil it, and baste it with a soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey mixture. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli, and more of the basting sauce. Even my 2 year old liked it!
Saturday, we had our monthly Church dinner. Since Rebecca's constantly craving baked goods and desserts, I decided to oblige her with Apple Turnovers. I had some old puff pastry in the freezer and figured it was as good a time as any to use it. Just peel and slice 4 apples (I used Macintosh), sautee with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, mix in some cream of tartar to thicken it, and spoon it onto squares of puff pastry. Pinch them closed, then bake until they're brown, puffy, and generally just delicious-looking. I found the recipe on allrecipes.com, and it was clearly a hit since there weren't any left by the time the dinner was over! I'll definitely be making these again someday!