Archive for February, 2012

Simply Parmesan Chicken


1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 egg, beaten
5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken breasts in egg, then in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place coated chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until juices run clear, turning over chicken 5 minutes before removing from oven.

Recipe found here: Simply Parmesan Chicken

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Tropical Fruit, Rice and Tuna Salad

1 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked instant brown rice
2/3 cup Yoplait® Fat Free plain yogurt or Yoplait® 99% Fat Free creamy vanilla yogurt (from 2-lb container)
1 can (8 oz) pineapple tidbits in juice, drained, 1 teaspoon juice reserved
2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced
1 medium mango, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (5 oz) white tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 tablespoon coconut, toasted*


In 1-quart saucepan, heat water to boiling. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover; cool 15 minutes. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until cold.

In medium bowl, mix rice, yogurt and reserved pineapple juice. Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors.

Cut kiwifruit slices into fourths. Gently stir kiwifruit, pineapple, mango and tuna into rice mixture. Sprinkle with coconut. Store covered in refrigerator.

Expert Tips
*To toast coconut, cook in ungreased heavy skillet over medium-low heat 6 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until golden brown.

You can sub 1 (6-oz) container of Yoplait® Original 99% Fat Free French vanilla yogurt for the yogurt in this recipe.

Mild-flavored albacore tuna is the only tuna that can be called “white” because it has the whitest flesh, its mark of distinction.

Recipe found here: Tropical Fruit, Rice and Tuna Salad

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PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 pkg (24 oz each) frozen large round cheese-filled ravioli
1/2 cup water
1 can (24 oz each) Hunt’s® Garlic & Herb Pasta Sauce
2 cups frozen loose cut leaf spinach
1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add ravioli and water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until pasta is thawed completely, stirring and separating ravioli 2 or 3 times.
Add pasta sauce and spinach; cook over medium heat until bubbly. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until pasta is tender. Top with cheese. Cover; remove from heat and let stand until melted.
Cook’s Tip

Use your favorite frozen ravioli for this recipe. Try sausage-filled or beef-filled for a change of pace.

Recipe found here: Cheesy Ravioli Skillet

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Novo’s Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai green curry paste:

2 Serrano chiles, seeded
1/2 onion
1/4 bunch cilantro
Rind of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 2 teaspoons ground coriander
Heaping 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Heaping 1 teaspoon Laos powder (aka ground galangal)
Heaping 1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup canola oil

Coarsely chop the chiles, onion, cilantro and lemon rind, and place
them in a blender. Add the black pepper, garlic, salt, coriander,
cumin, Laos powder and

With the blender running, slowly add the canola oil to make a
paste. This makes a generous cup of curry paste, more than is
needed for the remainder of the recipe. The paste can be frozen,
then thawed as needed to be used in recipes.

Thai green chicken curry:

2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
1/2 cup Thai green curry paste, more if desired
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into about 2-inch pieces and smashed
(with a mallet or the heel of a knife)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 pounds chicken thigh meat (from 4 to 5 pounds whole thighs)
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the coconut milk,
curry paste, lemon grass, fish sauce and salt. Add the chicken and
bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, gently simmering, until
the chicken is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.

Taste, adding additional curry paste if desired, and adjusting the
seasonings and flavorings if needed. Remove the lemon grass pieces
(or ask your guests to refrain from eating them). Stir in the
jalapeños and cilantro before serving. This makes about 8 cups of
curry. Ladle the curry into bowls.

Serves 6-8

Recipe found here: Novo’s Thai green chicken curry

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Crescent Sausage Casserole


2 (8-oz.) can(s) crescent rolls
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. pkg. bulk hot sausage
1 lb. pkg. bulk mild sausage
1 (8-oz.) bag shredded cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 9 X 12 baking dish with cooking spray.

Unroll one can of crescent rolls and spread out in bottom of baking dish.

Mix cooked sausage and cream cheese together.

Spread sausage mixture over top of crescent roll layer.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over sausage layer.

Unroll second can of crescent rolls and place on top.

Bake casserole until golden brown on top, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Recipe found here: Crescent Sausage Casserole

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Fruity Pebbles Marshamallow Treats

Fruity Pebbles Marshmallow Treats
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups Fruity Pebbles
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Measure out the mini marshmallows and Fruity Pebbles. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the mini marshmallows. Stir the marshmallows until they’re melted.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the Fruity Pebbles. Stir to completely coat the Fruity Pebbles with the marshmallow mixture.

Put the Fruity Pebbles mixture into a lighty greased 8 by 8 inch pan. Evenly spread it out and pat it down with a spatula.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Recipe found here: Fruity Pebbles Marshmallow Treats (more pictures and instructions there too)

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bean-potato chowder


1 20-oz. pkg. refrigerated diced potatoes with onions
1 14-oz. can vegetable broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4oz.)
3 cups milk
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 15-oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
Bottled roasted red sweet pepper (optional)
Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional)
8 slices toasted bread with cheese (optional)

1. In Dutch oven combine potatoes and broth. Cover; bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 4 minutes. In bowl toss together flour and cheese. Gradually stir in milk. Add milk mixture and Italian seasoning to potatoes. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in beans; cook and stir 1 minute more. Top with roasted pepper and parsley. Serve with toasted bread. Serves 4.

Recipe found here: bean-potato chowder

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Mardi Gras king cake with cream cheese and apple fillings

Servings: 12 to 16

Note: For better flavor, rehydrate the raisins in a small saucepan, covered with spiced rum, over low heat just until plump and tender.

3/4 cup milk, divided

1 package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast

2/3 cup sugar, divided

3 eggs, divided

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, divided

3½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

1/4 cup raisins, rehydrated

10 ounces (1¼ boxes) cream cheese, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla, divided

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Purple, green and yellow colored sugars for decorating

1. In a small pan, heat one-half cup plus 2 tablespoons milk over medium heat just until warmed. Remove from heat and pour the milk into a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, then set aside until the yeast is activated and the milk is foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Whisk two of the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in the yeast mixture and one-third cup sugar until fully incorporated.

3. If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer running, add 10 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and one-half teaspoon salt. With the mixer running, add the flour, one spoonful at a time, until fully incorporated.

5. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and elastic with a silky texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

6. While the dough is rising, make the fillings. To make the apple filling, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon and one-eighth teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, just until the apple starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes (the slices should still be crisp). Remove from heat and stir in the toasted pecans and raisins. Spread the apple mixture onto a baking sheet to stop the cooking process and allow the apples to cool quickly.

7. To make the cream cheese filling, whisk together 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese with three-fourths teaspoon vanilla, one-fourth teaspoon salt and the remaining sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg. Add half of the egg to the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine; reserve the remaining half for the egg wash.

8. When the dough is doubled, punch it down and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a 10-by-28 inch rectangle. Lightly score the dough lengthwise to divide the dough into 2 equal halves.

9. Make an egg wash: Combine the remaining beaten half egg with the remaining 2 tablespoons milk.

10. Spoon the apple filling down the length of one side, leaving a 1½-inch border on the top, bottom and sides. Repeat with the cream cheese filling down the other side of the dough, leaving a 1½-inch border on the top, bottom and each side. Lightly brush the edges and center of the dough (along the score) with the egg wash to moisten. Gently and carefully pull the dough over the cream cheese filling, sealing the edge of the dough along the score mark. Repeat with the apple filling. Press the sealed edges making sure they are secure (otherwise the fillings could spill out while the cake bakes).

11. Gently twist the length of the dough to form a braid. Wrap the dough so it forms an oval wreath and gently press the edges together. Carefully transfer the wreath to a parchment lined baking sheet.

12. Brush the top of the wreath lightly with egg wash and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled in volume, 45 minutes to an hour. Alternatively, loosely cover and refrigerate the dough overnight; remove from the refrigerator about 1hour before baking for the dough to come to room temperature.

13. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush the wreath with any remaining egg wash and place the sheet in the oven.

14. Bake the king cake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (the toothpick will remain moist if it hits the cream cheese filling), about 30 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking for even coloring.

15. While the king cake is baking, make the glaze. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer), whisk together the remaining 2 ounces cream cheese, the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the remaining one-fourth teaspoon vanilla and remaining one-eighth teaspoon salt. With the mixer running add the sifted powdered sugar, one spoonful at a time, until it is fully incorporated.

16. Allow the cake to cool slightly before it is frosted (if too hot, the glaze will run off the cake and not adhere). Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake, then lightly sprinkle over the colored sugars. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Recipe found here: Mardi Gras king cake with cream cheese and apple fillings

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Margarita Cupcakes

Serves: 24-36
Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min

1 bx white cake mix
3 lg eggs
1 lime, zested
1/2 c fresh squeezed lime juice, divided
1 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 Tbsp añejo tequila
2 tsp grand marnier
4 oz unsalted butter
1 lb powdered sugar


1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans with cupcake papers, enough for 24 to 36 cupcakes.

2 CAKE: To a mixing bowl, add cake mix, eggs, oil, 2 teaspsoons lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice and 1 cup of water. Mix according to package directions.

3 Portion a scant 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake liner. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until done and when cupcake is touched in center, bounces back and doesn’t leave an indentation. Remove to racks to cool.

4 While cupcakes bake, beat butter with paddle attachment of mixer until very smooth. Add powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of lime zest; beat on slow speed. While mixer is running, mix together in a liquid measuring cup, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 tablespoon tequila and 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier. Add 4 tablespoons of liquid mixture to the butter/powdered sugar mixture (1 Tablespoon at a time,) beating well between each addition. Once all 4 tablespoons are added, beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Then let your mixer run at low speed until you are ready to use the frosting. This keeps the frosting from getting crusty.

5 By this time, the cupcakes should have come out of the oven. While the cupcakes are cooling, to the remaining lime/tequila mixture that you used to make the frosting, add 1 more tablespoon of tequila and 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier. If you need or want to add a little more lime juice, feel free. Use a pure bristle pastry/paint brush and brush each cupcake with this juice mixture. Once you have brushed each cupcake, brush each one again. Then brush each cupcake one last time. (That is a total of three brushes for each cupcake.) The liquid should have time to soak in between brushings.

6 Now that the cupcakes are brushed and cooled, frost the cupcakes. Using a piping bag with a 1M star tip is quick and easy and makes them look like you got them from a bakery. Once frosted, sprinkle with fresh lime zest and serve.

DISCLAIMER: Hopefully this doesn’t need to be said, but… Don’t forget that these cupcakes have liquor in them, so they are not appropriate for children or anyone under the age of 21 years.

Recipe found here: Margarita Cupcakes

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“This a sweet bread that is made during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It has a cream cheese filling and a simple glaze. A tiny plastic baby baked into the bread and will bring good luck to whoever finds it.”


2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup butter, melted
5 egg yolks
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon multicolored candy sprinkles


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and white sugar in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir the egg yolks and melted butter into the milk mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Beat the flour mixture into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix well and set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 6×30 inch rectangle. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough. Bring the two long edges together and seal completely. Using your hands shape the dough into a long cylinder and place on a greased baking sheet, seam-side down. Shape the dough into a ring press the baby into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Place a well-greased 2 pound metal coffee can the center of the ring to maintain the shape during baking. Cover the ring with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the coffee can and allow the bread to cool. Drizzle cooled cake with lemon/sugar glaze and decorate with candy sprinkles.

Recipe found here: King Cake

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