Creamy Chicken Risotto

Goodbye summer quarter, hello summer break! Today we finished taking our last final and boy did it feel good.  We only get  a few weeks off, but I’ll take what I can get!

I was feeling lazy and didn’t really feel like cooking anything special. So I made this easy creamy chicken risotto recipe that I have made in the past.  It’s a pretty simple recipe! I like it because you can add different vegetables that you have available in your fridge.  Today I added mushrooms and carrots, but I’ve also done broccoli and zucchini in it in the past.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 small chopped onion
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut up in cubes
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (I used water + chicken boulion cubes)
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup uncooked rice*
  • Black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Heat oil in pan.  Add garlic, onion, and chicken until browned.
  2. Add cream of mushroom, broth, carrots, mushrooms, and cheese.  Heat to boil.  Stir in rice. Add black pepper to taste.  Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Dig in and enjoy!
*Just a heads up.  When comparing white and brown rice, brown rice requires more water and longer cooking times because of their outer bran coating.  If you notice that your risotto is drying out, then add a little water to moisten.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday was a friend’s birthday (Happy birthday Jess!) and the day before she had hinted at wanting some red velvet cupcakes… ask and you shall receive!!

I love using recipes from the Cake Mix Doctor because they’re so quick, easy, and always delicious.  I typically like to make all my cakes from scratch, but every once in while when I’m in a hurry I’ll use one of her recipes.  She always starts by using pre-made cake mix (like the kind you buy in a box from the grocery store).  But instead of following the directions on the back of the box, you follow her directions.  I didn’t really make any changes to her red velvet cupcake recipe, but I did use a different cream cheese frosting recipe that I’ve used in the past.  I promise these are easy to make, even if you’re not a baker! It’s a pretty straight forward recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 –inch size)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 3 large eggs
Directions:
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer (or in kitchen aid mixer) on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined.
  3. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You should get between 22 and 24 cupcakes…I got 18) Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Take cupcakes out of pan and allow to completely cool before icing.  If you’re in a hurry you can always put them in the fridge to cool down quicker.
Now it’s time to make your frosting!
Ingredients:
  • 2 (8 ounces each) packages of reduced fat cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup of light margarine*
  • 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
* You can choose to use full-fat ingredients if you like! If you’re looking for a stiffer icing, I would use full-fat cream cheese and butter instead. You’re icing will be a little runnier if you stick to reduced fat ingredients…but you will be saving yourself many calories!!
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator to thicken, if too runny.
  2. Ice cupcakes.
  3. Dig in and enjoy!
This frosting doesn’t turn out overwhelmingly sweet. It’s basically in your control…just add more or less confectioner’s sugar depending on how you like your icing!
If you’re looking for an overall healthier red velvet cupcake recipe, then check out my friend Sarah’s recipe! She says they turned out amazing 🙂

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta

Yesterday as a side dish, I made these delicious stuffed tomatoes.  They turned out so so good! Mina wasn’t a huge fan…he said there was too much cheese.  All the more reason I loved it! I made them next to chicken breast stuffed with tomatoes, black olives, and feta cheese (I’ll have to post that recipe later!).  It was scrumptious 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fine breadcrumb (I used the Italian flavored breadcrumb that I already had)
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  • 1/8 tsp italian seasoning
Instructions:
  1. Cut large tomatoes in half and scoop out pulp so that all you’re left with is the shell.  Save pulp in bowl and coarsely chop it.

  2. In a medium bowl, still together pulp, feta cheese, breadcrumb, parsley, olive oil, pepper, and italian seasoning.
  3. Spoon mixture into tomato shells and place in baking dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  5. Dig in and enjoy!
(sorry this picture turned out a little blurry!)

Happy Birthday Diesel!!!

Today is Diesel’s third birthday!! Happy birthday pumpkin!!! (My mom says I need to stop calling him that in public because all the neighbor dogs are making fun of him…. I think he likes it…)

Anyways, I love love love celebrating birthday’s.  Including his, why should he be left out??  Did you know that there are dog-friendly cake recipes?  Yes indeedy. Rachel Ray even has a page devoted to pet friendly recipes! I will proudly admit that I spoil him and bake him doggie cupcakes.

Because of final exams creeping up, I haven’t had the chance to make him his special birthday cupcakes.  But, here’s the recipe I used last year and will probably use again this year.  I think he really enjoyed himself at last years birthday party.

Let the tradition continue!

Banana Honey Dog Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 bannans
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbs baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  In mixing bowl combine water, bananas, vanilla, egg, honey.  Add whole wheat flour and baking powder.
  2. Spray or line muffin tray.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

So, he wasn't a big fan of the birthday hat. But I promise he was having a good time.

Ps – For those of you wondering, I tasted them! They weren’t bad, just super bland.

 

Fall Off the Bone Ribs

My husband Mina is a huge meat and potatoes kind of guy .  So I decided to try to impress him with some juicy ribs! I got a two thumbs up on this recipe and he told me it was blog-worthy, so I thought I’d share!

I love making meals in my crockpot.  There’s just something so great and so simple about getting home and already having a meal prepared. This recipe turned out so delicious, I hope it turns out as good for you as it did for me!

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of ribs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper (for spice, optional)
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
Instructions:
  1. Cut off excess fat from rack of ribs. Generously season both sides with salt, pepper, red pepper and garlic. Cut rack of ribs in to slices that would fit in to your crockpot.
  2. Layer ribs with generous amounts of barbecue sauce in between, in to crockpot.  Once all ribs are in,  pour remaining barbecue sauce in to pot.
  3. Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours (Try to avoid opening the lid, they say for every time you open the lid, you loose one hour of cook time!)
  4. Set oven to broil.  Take ribs out of crockpot and place on baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes.
  5. Dig in and enjoy!!

Pepper Steaks

This is a quick and easy steak recipe that I love! I’m always so busy and don’t always have the time to make elaborate meals, but this dish never fails to turn out delicious and satisfying.

Ingredients:

  • Small steaks (a little larger than the size of a deck of cards)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • Steak seasoning of your choice (I used Montreal Steak seasoning)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Line glass baking dish with foil.
  2. Marinate steaks well with seasoning of your choice and place in baking dish.

  3. Chop onions and green peppers in to large chunks, toss in salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Cover steaks with onion and green pepper mixture .
  4. Cover with foil and bake on 425 for 30 minutes, or until steaks are cooked to your liking.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Warning:  These are not so good for you, but they are so yummy.

Sometimes we just need to indulge a little (or sometimes a lot!) … If you love the peanut butter – chocolate combination, then these will hit the spot! The cupcakes turn out so so moist and surprisingly they’re not too overwhelmingly sweet.  There’s a nice balance between the chocolate and the peanut butter! This recipe is definitely on my top 10 favorite things to bake list!

Enjoy!

Ingredients for cupcakes:

– 1 package chocolate cake mix
– 1 1/4 cups water
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 1/2 cup peanut butter
– 3 eggs
– 24 miniature peanut butter cups

Ingredients for frosting:

– 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just chopped up chocolate chips)
– 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/3 cup peanut butter
– Additional miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil, and eggs, beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 min or until smooth.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/2 way.  Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake.  Cover each with 1 tablespoonful batter.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick is inserted near the center corners out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before remove from pan to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan ring cream just to a boil.  Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
** (My icing turned out a bit runny, so I had to stick in it in the fridge for about 15-20 min!)

5. Spread over cupcakes, immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups.  Let stand, until set!

** Best not to use reduced-fat or generic brands of peanut better

Local Farmers Market

How much fun are local farmers markets??  If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit your local market, then it’s a MUST DO as soon as you get the chance.

The little local farmers are so cute and friendly.  I hands down prefer getting my fruits and veggies from the farmers market, rather than the grocery store.   Not only are you supporting your neighbors (the farmers), but every thing is cheaper and yummier! Yesterday I got a batch of peaches that were picked off the tree’s that morning! Talk about fresh.

Here’s a list of local farmers markets around Columbus! I’ve gone to the Hilliard and Clintonville markets! Clintonville’s is a bit larger… not to mention the warm, homemade donuts they sell for a dollar.  Seriously, they melt in your mouth.  I promise.  It’s worth going to just for the donuts.

Here’s a quick recipe I just wanted to share:  Zucchini with Parmesan

I think I love zucchini.  I never used to buy it because I never knew what do with it, but this turned out delicious and it’s so simple.  Why didn’t I try this sooner?  This makes for a perfect vegetable side dish, or even as a snack! Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini (slice in to pieces 1/4 inch thick)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
Instructions:
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and most of the slices are golden brown.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, sprinkle with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Sprinkle with cheese, cover, and cook until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve warm.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

I made this for dinner last night and it turned out delicious!! So so yummy. At first when I was reading the ingredients, I thought that it would turn out to be a really heavy casserole, but it wasn’t! However, it’s probably  because I used reduced fat ingredients, (the initial instructions called for full fat soups, sour cream, and milk).

You know who even enjoyed it?? Diesel (meet diesel our lab mix!)!!  He jumped on the counter and put his nose in a corner of the casserole.  Bad, bad dog!! I had to throw out half of it because of him. No worries, he had his tail between his legs and ears tucked down once he saw that mama wasn’t happy.


Enjoy!! And let me know how it turns out 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 ounces cooked egg noodles
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed fat-free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed fat-free cream of chicken soup
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups crumbled buttery round crackers ( I used Ritz crackers)
  • 1.5 tablespoons margarine
  • Vegetables of your choice (I used what I had in my fridge – carrots and mushrooms!)
  1. Poach chicken in a large pot of simmering water. Cook until no longer pink in center, about 12 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. Bring chicken cooking water to a boil and cook pasta in it. Drain. Cut chicken into small pieces, and mix with cooked noodles.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together mushroom soup, chicken soup, sour cream, and milk. Add vegetables of your choice.  Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir together cream soup mixture with the chicken and pasta mixture. Place in a 2 quart baking dish.
  3. Melt margarin in a small saucepan, and remove from heat. Stir in crumbled crackers. Top casserole with the buttery crackers.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 30 -45 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.

Helloo world!

A few years ago I decided to start a blog, but then I lost touch with it and I wasn’t truly invested in it.  This time, it’s different! Not only have I made a commitment to a friend, Sarahlicious (check out her blog!), but I also have a focus.  What’s the focus, you ask?  Duh, cavities and cravings.

I am currently a second year dental student.  Dental school has pretty much taken over life.   While I know I’m in the right place, doing the right thing, it’s definitely not easy.  I am sure you’ll hear me whine a lot more about it.   Just tell me to suck it up and get over it.

Aside from teeth, I love love love baking.  It’s become a passion of  mine over the years.  I bake when I’m happy, sad, stressed, bored…. you get the point.  More recently, however, I have decided to branch out and make it my mission to find yummy, healthy recipes (sometimes they’re not completely healthy …but they’re always yummy!) I hope that I can share my new cooking experiences and recipes with you. I also hope that my hubby (Mina, checkout his website, he’s a tv junkie!), will enjoy being the guinea pig for these new recipes 🙂

The recipe I want to share today is Baked Lemon Chicken and it was a huge hit! I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, but I tweaked it a bit.  I hope it turns out as delicious for you as it did for me! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Instructions:
  1. In a shallow dish, combine the butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Place bread crumbs in another dish. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then coat with crumbs.
  2. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Drizzle with remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Put on broil for 5-8 minutes, just to let the top get a little brown and crunch