Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli is probably the most common veggie served in our house. Nearly every time I have made this for company they have enjoyed it and asked how to do it. Roasting the broccoli really brings out a nutty flavor, and the bit of spice from the red pepper flakes give it a great kick. It is important to dry the broccoli thoroughly after washing it and not to use too much olive oil in order to achieve a crispy browned texture. Since discovering how delicious, simple, and healthy this side dish is, I have started roasting many other vegetables including asparagus, cubed squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts. Enjoy!


fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
olive oil
minced garlic
red pepper flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Place broccoli into a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add other ingredients to taste. Place on a cookie sheet and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until broccoli begins to brown, turning broccoli over (or shaking pan a bit) halfway through cooking. Optional additions after roasting include lemon juice or shredded parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

After many years and many tried recipes, the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe is over! Since first trying this recipe about a year ago, I have not bothered to make any other recipe for chocolate chip cookies; this one is deemed perfect! I cannot reference the source because I have no idea where the recipe originally came from, all I remember is that I found it online, gave it a try, and fell in love!

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
  • The mixture may look slightly curdled. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Use a tablespoon to drop heaping spoonfuls of dough (about 3 level tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart.
  • Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are golden, about 14 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes. The cookies will flatten slightly as they cool. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Butternut Squash Bisque

I love seeing all of the different types of squash and fall vegetables in the produce section this time of year. I picked up a butternut squash recently, and roasted half of it for a side dish for dinner. I wanted to do something different with the other half of the squash, so luckily I found a delicious looking recipe for butternut squash bisque on a food board that I frequent. Unfortunately I no longer remember whose blog this recipe was originally posted on, but I need to give them all the credit for this recipe! It was a delicious taste of fall.


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken broth)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
ground nutmeg to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream


1. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
2. Add the carrots and squash into the pot. Pour in vegetable stock and add all seasonings/spices. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

3. In a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through but do not boil. Serve warm with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Chili

We recently had a group of fellow Wisconsinites over to watch the Packers beat the Lions 26-0. It was a perfect fall day here in Southern Alabama, and we were all excited to welcome "sweatshirt" weather. I wanted to make something warm and comforting to eat while we watched the game, and this chicken chili turned out great. Everyone gobbled it right up, and a couple of people requested the recipe, so I figured it was definitely worthy of a blog post! This is a much healthier alternative to traditional chili, with just as much flavor and spice.

Ina Garten's (Food Network's Barefoot Contessa) chicken chili recipe is the base, but I followed many suggestions from the reviewers. I would consider the amount of spice in this recipe to be "moderate", so adjust spices according to your taste.


3 yellow onions chopped
1/8 cup olive oil, plus extra for chicken
about 4 cloves minced garlic
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes, undrained
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
3-4 chicken breasts (may use bone-in or boneless/skinless)
freshly ground black pepper
For serving:
chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking pan with cooking spray and place chicken in pan. Drizzle olive oil over chicken and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, chili powder, and a little cayenne pepper. Roast in oven for 35-40 mins, or until juices run clear, then let cool in pan.

2. Cook onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.

4. Crush the tomatoes by hand (wash your hands well and dig in!) and add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove skin and bones from chicken (if using bone-in chicken breasts). Cut cooked chicken breasts into 3/4 inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.

6. Serve with the toppings. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garlic Panko Chicken Strips

This recipe is likely going to make many re-appearances in our house! It uses ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, is pretty easy to put together, and we really enjoyed it. The chicken turned out very moist and the coating was crunchy and delicious. I felt like we were eating a grown up version of chicken nuggets- and it's healthier too! To make this, I loosely followed a recipe from Recipezaar, however I made many alterations which are in "my" recipe below. This recipe makes enough for two servings, but could easily be doubled.

Please be sure to use panko bread crumbs when making this recipe, in order to get the crunchy coating. Panko bread crumbs are usually in the "ethnic" section of the grocery store becuase they are from Japanese cuisine. Enjoy!


4 tablespoons butter
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/8 cup shredded parmesan (I used Kraft, but be sure it is shredded, not grated)
salt to taste (I only used a pinch)
freshly ground pepper to taste
McCormik's Montreal Chicken Seasoning to taste (or any other seasonings you prefer)
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast


1. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add garlic.
2. In a low/flat dish comine panko, parmesan, salt, pepper, and seasonings.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Cut chicken breasts crosswise into strips.
5. Roll chicken pieces in garlic butter, then completely dredge in panko mixture. Place on baking pan.
6. If there is any remaining panko mix, sprinkle it over the chicken and drizzle lightly with any left over butter.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

In my efforts to create healthier meals and snacks, I recently purchased my first bag of whole wheat flour. To be honest, I was hesitant about trying such a healthy looking recipe for fear they would be bland, but I gave it the old college try anyway... and I'm glad I did!

The muffins turned out to be delicious, and I received a few requests for the recipe from friends and co-workers. Then it dawned on me that this would be THE perfect recipe for my first blog post! The muffins have just enough sweetness to be satisfying, and are perfect for breakfast or a bedtime snack. I am going to consider this my new "base" muffin recipe, and try it again with different berries and mix-ins. The original recipe is from, however the recipe below includes my adjustments. Enjoy!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup oat bran (may grind oats in blender as a substitute)
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (I added another 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 banana, mashed
1 cup buttermilk (may sub 1 tablespoon white vinegar in 1 cup milk)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
  3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.