Thursday, December 30, 2010

cherry cheesecake smoothie

If you like cherries and cheesecake you must try this. I am sure its healthier than a slice. you could even use fat free cottage cheese, milk, and lowfat ice cream or even substitute yogurt. I used what i have.


1 cup frozen sweet cherries
1 tbsp cherry preserves
2 tbsp cottage cheese
1/8 cup vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup milk 

 blend and drink. share. or don't share.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Banana Nog

by Andrea

Leftover eggnog from Christmas? Try this for breakfast, it is smooth and delicious:

Banana Nog

3 Ripe Bananas
1 Quart eggnog
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
4-6 ice cubes

Mix in blender until smooth, Serve.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

carrot cakies.

Carrot cake cookies. 4 food groups in one tricky device. Now, this is not to say that cookies are an acceptable substitute for food, but when your child wont eat his veggies, this is better than an oreo.

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1/2 cup room temperature butter
2 large carrots, shredded with the smallest grade of the grater.
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
mix ins of choice (raisins will do, i used mixed dried fruit bits)

cream butter, sugar, syrup, spices, and carrots. add two eggs and incorporate. add dry ingredients and dried fruit and nuts of choice. mix until smooth. bake for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. or until they feel firm and the edges just start to brown. cool and feed to your picky kid. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

These are an adaptation. not authentic.

Every time I do anything with corn meal, I can't resist the green chilies. It always ends up South American.

Prepare grits of choice as directed. mixture should not be pudding. But more like... malt o meal.

Add either half a can of green chilies or home roasted chilies (I always keep home roasted mixed green chilies in the freezer, and slice some off as I need them). Mix in about a cup of cheddar cheese, and a little salt and pepper.

set aside and prepare shrimps.

Rough chop one onion and saute in about 1/8 cup olive oil. add about 1 1/2 -2  lbs shrimp. work fast because overcooked shrimp is LAME. add one finely chopped tomato and the rest of the green chilies. Saute until shrimp is JUST cooked. perfectly cooked shrimp is key here. do not make rubbery squeaky toy shrimp. add a little salt and pepper if needed.

Spoon grits into a bowl and shrimp with sauce on top.

Kader gave it a 10 shrimp rating.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home made marachino cherries with a twist.

These are alcohol free, unlike most recipes I found on the net. It is important that they sit at least two weeks before you eat them. This is a good use if you buy out of season cherries that are too sour or too flavorless, as the sugar brings out the flavor. I used almond extract because I love amaretto and thought it would be similar.

This is in the ratio I used, as I came back from cherry picking only to discover this season gave me 10 pounds of too tart to eat out of hand cherries. 12 cups is enough for a box of pint canning jars. change ratios as needed.

This is too simple. So far i have used them for cookies and to make cherry coke. the syrup can be used for flavoring after the cherries are gone.

12 cups pitted sweet cherries
 1 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract

And that's it. mix, let sit a while so the sugar can draw out the liquid. Fill jars with cherries and liquid. make sure the cherries are fully covered with liquid, adding water if needed.

Place jars in hot water to seal and refrigerate 2 weeks or more. use as ice cream topping, cake filler, garnish for desserts, drinks, etc.

Chicken Artichoke with a toddler twist.

This recipe made me skeptical because I am not a fan of cooking mayonnaise but it turned out great. It's got a gourmet taste with minimal and economical ingredients. Prep time is short. Cooking time is short. Mess is nominal. I would make this on a weeknight when I need a quick meal.

The other big benefit is that it is easily adaptable to something my three year old will eat, and with veggies and protein. I just take the tenderloins from the chicken breasts and bake them along with the chicken. but remove them after five minutes when they ae cooked through but still soft. Then I chop them into almost invisible pieces, along with a couple of the artichoke hearts. and mix them in with the rice. TA DA! kid friendly adaptation. I add cheese cause Kader loves his cheesy rice.

Artichoke hearts can be spendy per ounce BUT i buy mine at Costco in a big jar, because there are so many uses. Plus Costco's  marinated hearts are super tasty compared to the ones more commonly found at grocery stores. At 10 dollars per giant jar its worth it. Other uses include artichoke dip, antipasto, pasta salad mix in, among others.

You may use boneless skinless breasts but I rarely do. They are too expensive, and usually have lots of additives and such. You can buy bone in breasts and easily remove the bones. do that by scoring the chicken along the breast bone and following the bone with your knife until you can grip the meat. then gently pull the meat away while making small cuts along the rib bone until it is removed. for this recipe, remove the tenderloin and use for the kiddos. I buy a whole chicken because they are the best bargain. I can use the breasts today, save the thighs for tomorrow or later in the week, and i throw the wings in a collective bad until I have enough for a BBQ. If I was as industrious as my sister I would also make stock from the bones but well.... I'm not. I will let her post that if she didn't already.

Here it is. dinner for 2 and a toddler.

2 Skin on chicken breasts. (boned)
1/2 cup Marinated Artichoke hearts, chopped small
1/8 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese.
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Bone the chicken breasts, leaving skin intact. Lay the chicken flat and carefully slice parallel to the cutting board, until you ALMOST reach the other end. unfold like a book and season both sides. You should have one larger, very thin slice of chicken. Repeat with the other piece. (this is a basic method for butterflying meats and fish)

Mix the artichoke, cheese, and mayonnaise and place about two table spoons in the center of each piece. fold the chicken over on the filling, skin side up. place on an oven safe grill pan* (suggested) or a small casserole. loosen the skin and stuff the rest of the filling underneath, pressing down to distribute evenly. season the skin and bake for about 15 minutes. at 15 minutes raise heat to 425 and bake another 5 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Serve over rice.

* The grill pan is ideal because the chicken releases fat which then evenly sears the bottom of the chicken while it bakes. a casserole may have a less crispy effect.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My New Favorite Fried Chicken Recipe

I discovered something I would never have imagined to be true. Breading on fried chicken is overkill. It adds cooking time, adds fat (through absorption of oil), is more complicated and messy than this recipe, and gets mooshy the next day.

It is important that the sauce is ready in the bowl before the chicken is done, because the hot chicken caramelizes the sauce. this particular recipe is a bbq flavored recipe, because its summer. For a less messy or less sweet version marinate in your favorite marinade BUT be sure to dry it with paper towels before frying or you will not get crispy and you may have explosions. avoid sticky marinades, in favor of say... lemon juice and pepper, or soy sauce with ginger and sesame oil. you can also flavor the finished fried chicken with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and chopped garlic (quickly cooked in a little olive oil). anyway the possibilities are endless.

Lastly it is best to use a small chicken and cut it up yourself. Most grocery stores have fryer packs but the pieces are giant and may not cook thoroughly. organic chickens tend to be small (no growth hormones or salt water injections?) and so are kosher and halal.

Ok here goes.

one chicken, 
cooking oil

1/2 bottle honey BBQ sauce
3 tbsp honey
pinch red pepper flakes (or to your liking)

prepare the chicken. leaving skin on, pat dry. if the breasts are exceptionally large (he he), cut in half. fry in about two inches of hot oil, until golden and very crisp, turn and fry the other side.

mix the sauce ingredients and add hot chicken directly to the bowl. toss to coat.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

fig filled cinnamon rolls

These are sticky and good. they are like traditional sticky buns, with a fruity twist. I am going to experiment with different types of dried fruit, like dates, apricot, and raspberry, as time allows

1 cup warm water
1 tsp dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
4 cups flour
tsp salt

12 oz dried figs
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

mix water, sugar, and yeast. let proof (stand) for 10 minutes or until bubbly. add flour and salt and mix, adding oil a little at a time until workable (may not need all). knead for about 10-15 minutes, or until smooth. if the dough is too stiff wet your hand with warm water and continue until it become soft and stretchy.

let rise for one hour. punch down and knead 5 minutes. roll out into a rectangle about 1 foot high and 2 feet wide, or about 1/4 inch thick. let stand.

meanwhile make filling. cut hard stems from figs and rough chop. melt butter and set aside. grind figs in food processor to make a paste, add butter and sugar. mix well and spread over about 2/3 or the dough (leaving a long end dry. from the filling end, roll as tightly as possible into a long log. slice into rolls about 1.5 inch thick. lay out in a 13x9 inch casserole like cinnamon rolls.

heat oven to 400 degrees. let rolls stand for 20 minutes or so and then cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until browned.

cool and serve.

Friday, July 2, 2010

yogurt and feta tarts

These are real easy if you use store bought pie crust. I think it also would be good in puff pastry cups. You can also use any savory pie crust. If you make homemade crust you could add fresh herbs like thyme, basil, whatever you have. This is an adaptation of a Greek recipe so keep that in mind. You may also add a little chopped olive or tepanade. This is the simple version to be used as a template. I used American yogurt, strained overnight. Greek yogurt was too expensive for a tiny cup of it, so i used my imagination.

2 pie crusts
4 eggs
1 cup greek yogurt or strained plain yogurt.
4 oz crumbled feta (flavored if you wish)
2 tbsp  herbs of your choosing
1/2 tps salt

cut out rounds of pie crust with a round object about twice the size of your cupcake tins or vessel. Press them into your cupcake tins like you are making a pie. mix all remaining ingredients together until creamy. fill crusts entirely. bake at 450 degrees until just golden brown and puffy. (they will fall as they cool). serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bacon is meat candy

I dont get to cook with bacon much because of living with a muslim, however i will often use halal beef bacon or make two versions of the same dish just because I know its not the same without it.

Here are two of my favorite bacon recipes.

The trick that i learned about potato salad is not my mom's. I discovered it on accident while trying to be prepared for a company pot luck. Boil the potatoes the night before. in their skins. dran them and leave them out all night. this makes the perfect flavor and texture and it is not as good when I make an impromptu version. also, the mayonnaise used is key, im also picky about the pickles. the only prepared mayo that  like is Best Foods. This is a really easy recipe.

Mom's potato salad

about 10 potatoes, boiled and cooled completely (russets are best for this recipe)
1 package bacon, chopped and cooked of course
1/2 chopped onion (optional)
2 large whole pickles ( I prefer Farman's home style kosher dills)
Enough Best Foods mayonaise to moisten all the potatoes (between 1/2-1 cup)

Peel potatoes and break into pieces. grate pickes directly into the bowl of taters. add just a splash of pickle juice. add onions, bacon and mayonnaise. season with pepper to taste. mix and refrigerate.

and that's Lori's potato salad. which everyone loves.

Second Bacon recipe is a Quiche Lorraine and a vegetarian version. I used to make this with frozen broccoli, which is also good, but last time I used fresh and its like, totally better. I forget about quiche all the time but its actually really good and easy. And its NOT just for girls. especially when full of bacon. I like the Marie Callender's pre-formed frozen pie shells, but feel free to make your own...

1 cup broccoli, steamed until just cooked (better undercooked than over cooked)
1/2 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or cheese blend. or whatever kid of cheese you like. gorgonzola might even be good. or gruyere.

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste (optional)

frozen pie shell.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. prepare bacon and broccoli. chop broccoli in small pieces. layer the bacon and broccoli in the pie crust. bacon on the bottom, broccoli on top.

beat remaining ingredients, except cheese, until very smooth. stir in cheese and pour over broccoli and bacon. bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. halfway through cooking cover with aluminum foil, to avoid burning the top layer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Smoked paprika Shrimp with tomato and vegetables

1 pound decent sized shrimp
1/2 onion, cut into rings
1 bell pepper, yellow red or orange julienned
1 cup chickpeas canned or fresh (fresh is better, Costco has them now)
2 large tomatoes or 4 romas, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbsp butter
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

first, saute onions and peppers in a little oil until the start to soften. Add garlic and keep stirring until fragrant and just golden. Add chickpeas and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. cover with water and simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile mix thawed shrimp and paprika and let flavors meld. When all vegetables are soft add shrimp and butter and continue to cook until the shrimp is pink. don't overcook or you have rubber dog toy shrimps.

serve over rice.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coffee and Salted Caramel Brownies in an instant.

Well, i just finished a year of school and now can focus on slacking off again. After a year of sonic, taco bell, and pizza I am ready to make some yummy home-made fare again. I'm sure my family is equally ready as well, and I am happy that my freedom comes just in time for fresh fruits and vegetables. Cherry season is coming up, stay tuned for some pink stained recipes. For now I must share this half home-made half cheater from a box gooey sweet sticky salty rich and amazing pan of diet killing calories that i invented and cooked within 20 minutes! (while waiting for a date with a  group final project.)


1 box family sized brownie mix of choice
2-3Tbsp Turkish ground coffee (or instant coffee granuals)

Mix brownies accordint to package directions, along with the coffee. pour in your pan and set aside.


1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk (i used whole, i cant guarantee results with others, cream may be good too)

Bring butter and sugar to a boil on high heat. when well incorporated remove from heat and add milk. Return to heat and allow to boil until it coats a spoon somewhat thickly. You do not want it to hard set. Think a thin ice cream topping. drizzle some of the caramel on top of the uncooked brownies and bake according to directions. halfway through baking, or when the top is well set, pour remaining caramel over the top evenly and sprinkle with kosher salt. Return to the oven. Cook an additional 5 minutes longer than the package directions.

cool completely before eating.

Total prep time, 20 minutes.

Why packaged brownie mix Chadya? I thought you were all about cooking from scratch?

True, but, like talking to myself on my blog, some things just happen, regardless of their ability to be accepted by the status quo.

There are three reasons. 1. I had 30 minutes before i had to meet my study group for some online collaboration. 2. I am a horrible cake baker, as i tend to over mix, not measure, and ad lib. when it comes to cake its always boxed cake mix with a Chadya twist thrown in. 3. Brownie mix is one thing that I think is already perfect and does not need me to make complicated. why do it the hard way when the easy way is so yum?

And that my friends. Is my return to food bloggery.

maybe i will post pics later if i feel like torturing people.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hot Chocolate Mix

by Andrea

2 c Powdered Sugar
1 c CoaCoa Powder
2 1/2 c Powdered Milk
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cornstarch

Cayenne Pepper
Chili Powder

Sift ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in the pantry. If adding spices, start with a very small amount and add gradually to find the taste you like.

To use:

Fill a mug about 1/4 full of mix. Add hot water. Add milk for a richer creamier texture.

(adapted by a recipe from Alton Brown)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

By Andrea

2 1/2 c Sugar
1 c oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 1/2 c flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
grated nutmeg

2/3 c water
29 oz Can pumpkin

1 c Chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 Raisins or cranberries (optional)

Raw sugar (or other coarse-crystal sugar) for sprinkling on top.

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large mixing bowl, beat Sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Alternately add water and pumpkin to wet ingredients. Then beat in Pumpkin on low. If using, fold in nuts and/or dried fruit with spatula.

Grease muffin cups, fill 3/4 full, and sprinkle tops with raw sugar. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. You may have to do 2-3 batches depending on how many muffins your tins will cook. I got about 2 1/2 dozen.

Personal notes:

the original recipe only called for half as much pumpkin, but I had a larger can so I used that and the muffins turned out moist and delicious.

I can not tell at all that I used whole wheat flour, probably because of the sugar and how moist everything is.

I did my first dozen with no nuts and raisins for my son, and it was easy to just add them to the second batch.