Friday, May 28, 2010

Whitney's Lemon Pasta

This was a hit with the husband! He said it got better with every bite, which is unusual for him to analyze his food like that. I know that it's called "lemon" pasta and that that sauce is made of lemon juice, but I underestimated the lemon-flavor until I tried it and it surprised me. I liked it, but I think I might try it a little more alfredo-like next time (just a personal preference I guess, since my husband said it was perfect as is). Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Sidenote - one unique thing about living in Arizona is that I have a lemon tree in my backyard, but they're out of season now and we used almost every lemon on the tree this year. But I'll pull this recipe out again this winter when we have a full tree of lemons!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Danielle's Stroganoff Sandwiches

I have to admit, I didn't think I would love this recipe. But I'm glad I made it. Max and I both really liked it.

Like Deanna, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. I'm not a big fan of ground beef, but I actually think ground turkey worked better in this recipe. I think ground beef would've been too heavy.

Other things I did differently were that I cooked the green pepper with the onion and turkey because I'm not a big fan of raw (or close to raw) green peppers, and I used fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Also, as you can tell from the picture, we had ours open-faced, more like stroganoff on toast rather than sandwiches. We just thought it would be a lot easier and less messy to eat that way.

This was a very easy, quick, delicious dinner.

Danielle's Monster Cookies

This recipe makes a TON! I baked about a dozen good-sized cookies, and I still have a large tupperware full of dough in the fridge. But it seems like the dough will keep well in the fridge/freezer so this batch will last us awhile.

These are very tasty cookies. I was a little skeptical when I read the recipe, but they came out really well. The texture of the cookie is just like I like it -- a little crispy on the outside (although they didn't really stay crispy) but chewy in the middle. And I love the oats, peanut butter, and chocolate together.

Max thinks these would be better with just M&Ms (replacing the chocolate chips with M&Ms), but I don't really care if it's chocolate chips or M&Ms as long as there's plenty of chocolate! I personally like chocolate chips because I can buy better quality chocolate, but one advantage of the M&Ms is that they don't melt and spread all over.

I baked a few cookies before I chilled the dough because I'm usually not patient enough to wait for dough to be chilled. The non-chilled cookies didn't have as uniform of a shape, but I didn't think there was any noticeable difference between the chilled and un-chilled dough. So if you can't wait, you can definitely get away with baking these before you chill the dough.

With the batches I made with chilled dough, I smashed the cookies down with a spatula about halfway through baking because the cookies were not spreading. I wanted bigger flatter cookies instead of big tall mounded cookies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Melanie W.'s Homemade Granola

I wasn't going to make this initially because I'm trying to clean out my cupboards and I didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff I won't use much of in the next few weeks, but when I looked at the recipe I realized I already had everything. Plus, it helped me clear out my cupboards!

The ease of this recipe makes this great- it uses ingredients most people already have on hand and can also be easily modified, it doesn't take a lot of time, and there's little mess involved. Perfect for me. I added almonds, raisins, craisins, dried apricot, and chocolate chips. I LOVED the smell it created when it was baking! I'm not a huge granola lover and therefore only eat it in small quantities so I don't see me making it very often, but it is a good recipe for when those granola cravings hit!

Melanie W.'s Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this a week or two ago and forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry.

We really liked this recipe at our house!! It was super easy and yummy. I try not to cook with condensed cream of ---- soups, but this is a good exception. :)  I don't like bell peppers so I substituted green chilies and it was perfect. I served it with blue corn chips which was nice for color. As we were eating it I realized that green chilies and blue corn chips are both considered typical foods of New Mexico, so I thought it was an appropriate meal since we're moving there in a few weeks!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monster Cookies

This week's Baked recipe will be "Monster Cookies", found on page 145.
I chose these because I loved M&M cookies when I was little and these look like M&M cookies on steroids.

Plus, I don't really know how to make cookies... gasp.... sigh..... oh that poor girl.....her mother never taught her to bake!

'Tis true.  Don't judge me, I can lasso a rattlesnake with a garden hose. Now I will be able to offer it a cookie too!

Good luck to all.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rotation Changes

Hey everyone. I’m thinking of changing things up a bit starting with our next rotation. I’d like to keep the group open, informal, and fun, but I’d like to come up with some ways to encourage more participation on the blog.

One of the purposes of the group is to get new recipe ideas, but the main benefit of having this group is to get feedback on how the recipes work out. We have a pretty good sized group now, but feedback is mostly coming from a very small handful of people. We’d really like to hear from the rest of you, at least occasionally.

Here is something I’d like to try with our next rotation, which starts July 3. Please let me know what you think, so I can figure out what will work best for everyone. You can either post a comment or email me.

I’d like to ask that you post on the blog at least once a month if you are going to participate in the recipe selection rotation. Our rotation is getting fairly long, and for most group members, this is the only time we ever hear from them. I’d like to reserve recipe picking for people who participate at least occasionally. If you don't post regularly, you won't be kicked out. You just won't get to pick a recipe in the next rotation. If you start to post more regularly after that, you'll be included in the recipe selection.

Also, please be on time when you post your recipes. If the normal timing doesn’t work well for you, you can either post your recipe early or you can have a draft post ready to go and I can post it for you. It’s disappointing, though, when we’re expecting a new recipe and one doesn’t show up. If you can’t post on your week, please let me know so I can make other arrangements.

For those of you who try out the recipes but don’t post about them on the blog -- are there specific reasons you don’t post about it? Do you not like spending the time to post it on the blog? Do you find it intimidating to put your thoughts about the recipe out there in front of everyone? Do you not post because you don’t have a picture? (If it’s because of the picture, a picture is by no means necessary for posting about a recipe!)

One last thing. What do you think about Baked: New Frontiers in Baking? Are you getting tired of it? Have all the good recipes been taken? Do you want to try something new? Do you have a recipe book in mind? We're looking for suggestions on what YOU want to do with the blog. What would make you want to be more active in delish?

I’d love to hear your ideas about all this. Please let me know your thoughts!

New Administrator

I am so excited to announce that Danielle has graciously agreed to be my partner as a delish administrator. She actually has been doing quite a bit behind the scenes and I am so happy that she is willing to help me out. She was the first one I talked to when I wanted to start this blog and I've been bouncing ideas off her ever since. Thanks Danielle!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich

Hello Baked Bakers!

I have officially disappeared off the face of the planet. Well, of the blog-o-sphere anyway. I haven't even updated my personal baking blog in well over a month. I've been so busy planning my wedding that my blogging has completely taken a back seat in my life.

Much thanks to Cami who emailed me yesterday to remind me that it was my week to post a recipe. Sorry about being a day late. I hope I haven't ruined anyone's grocery shopping schedules. For my recipe, I decided to ask Eric, my fiancé, what his favorite dish was that his mom would make growing up. He said "just ask her about the awesome sandwich that she used to bake like 10 years ago." Haha. Well, luckily my future mother-in-law knew exactly which sandwich he was talking about and sent me the following recipe:

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich

1.5 lbs. ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 loaf French bread (whole loaf, not sliced or baguette)
Butter or margarine, softened
1.5 C (12 oz) sour cream - may add more to preferred taste/ consistency
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 C. shredded (12 oz) cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Add salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Cut bread lengthwise in half; butter both halves and place on baking sheet(s). Remove meat mixture from the heat. Stir in sour cream. Spoon onto the bread. Sprinkle with tomatoes, green pepper and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted (bake longer for crispier bread).
Yield: 8 - 10 servings

I plan to cook this for dinner this evening so I will be able to post photos and thoughts later in the week.

I hope everyone is doing well and finding the time to cook and bake, as I am failing miserably and miss it so much!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cami's Homemade Granola

I've been wanting to try this for a long time but just never got around to it. I don't think I'll ever buy granola again! This is so delicious. I am moving soon and have been trying to get rid of the food in my pantry. I threw in some coconut and dark chocolate chunks. Yummy. It was a bit sweet for breakfast but I enjoyed having it as a snack. I can't wait to play around and make many different types. I think this tasted best with plain yogurt since it was so sweet.

This is definitely a top 5 recipe from Baked for me. I just love it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Danielle's Homemade Granola

I've been hoping someone would pick this recipe because I love it! I've made it a number of times, and lately I've been making it weekly in double batches. I love eating it for breakfast and Max likes to take it to work to snack on or eat for lunch.

This granola is so fast and easy to make, and you can totally customize it to your tastes. I've tried it with different kinds of dried fruit (craisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried mango), with whole and slivered almonds, and with chopped up chocolate chunks.

My favorite combination so far has been craisins, dried apricots, and slivered almonds. It's delicious with the chocolate chunks, but I've been leaving that out lately because I figure I just don't need that extra bit of fat and sugar in my daily breakfast.

Other than swapping out the fruit and nuts, I haven't made too many changes to the recipe. I've been adding more oats than it calls for because you can get away with less oil, sugar, and honey and it still tastes really good (although it's probably not as clumpy). I've also tried replacing half of the honey with pure maple syrup. I liked it that way, but again, it's less clumpy because the syrup isn't as sticky as honey. The maple flavor was not very noticeable, so I'm not sure if I'll make it that way again.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Easy Homemade Granola

Here is the recipe for the week (Page 47). I've made this granola once and it was yum even though I did not have all the ingredients. It calls for 1 tsp. of salt and even though I only put in about a 1/2 tsp., I thought it was too salty. This time I'm not going to add salt but I'm curious to know what you guys think.

I have been in a phase of eating spinach salads with a raspberry vinaigrette. I added some of this granola on top of my salad and it was so good. Just an idea!

Cami's Lettuce Wraps

(This is not my picture. I'm only using this one to show what Boston lettuce looks like)

These are so ridiculously good. I loved these. I also chose ground turkey because I couldn't find chicken. Next time I'd like to try it with tofu. It sounds great. I added some ginger because I love ginger and it just makes sense in a recipe like this. I didn't get the chance to take a picture because it was kind of hectic. All well. You can all just pretend mine looked as good as Whitney's or Danielle's.

I have made a similar recipe a few times in the past. That recipe said to use Bibb or Boston lettuce and that is what I used for these. Boston lettuce is basically smaller than a regular head of lettuce which seems to make them more manageable and hold up better.

I will most certainly making these again. Thanks Whitney!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Danielle's Lettuce Wraps

I made so many changes to this recipe that I'm not sure my post will be that helpful to anyone else. Sorry! I just can't help myself. But I will say they were delicious.

I also love PF Chang's lettuce wraps, although for some reason Max and I both like the vegetarian ones better. I'm not sure why they taste so different to me, but I think the sauces are different and I prefer the taste of the tofu ones.

Anyway, like Whitney said, these didn't really taste like PF Chang's lettuce wraps, but they were still good. In fact I've tried two lettuce wrap recipes now, and neither of them tasted like PF Chang's, though they were both good.

So here are the changes I made:
  • I used ground turkey because I had some already thawed in the fridge and needed to use it up.
  • I added ginger because I just think that a recipe like this needs fresh ginger.
  • I cut back on the sugar in the stir fry sauce. Glad I did because they were still bordering on too sweet for me.
  • I left out the mushrooms because I didn't have any and I don't like them.
  • I added grated carrots because I try to add extra veggies any chance I get.
  • I substituted tofu for some of the ground meat because, as I mentioned above, I like the tofu lettuce wraps at PF Changs and because I actually had some in the fridge that I needed to use up.
  • I stirred in some chopped cilantro just before serving.
  • I used lime juice instead of lemon juice in the special sauce and added some lime juice to the stir fry sauce.

I know, that pretty much makes it a totally different recipe. But whatever. It tasted good!

And oh yeah, I have no idea how PF Chang's always has such perfect lettuce shells. The good crisp lettuce is towards the inside of the head of lettuce, but it's impossible for me to get those inner leaves off in whole pieces, let alone pieces that aren't all torn up by the time I get them off. So I have no helpful advice on that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup & Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I'm about to break a delish rule ... and I'm posting two recipes. My reasoning is that depending on the week, sometimes I feel like I just want a go-to recipe that's easy and that I can make with stuff already in my pantry. Other weeks, I'm feeling more adventurous and want to expand my ingredient list and try something new (and am willing to spend a little more moo-la). So, you can try whatever you're in the mood for!

Quick & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
1/2 onion
1 green or red pepper (I prefer green)
- chop, then saute with a little butter - careful not to overcook
Add the following and simmer for 20 min.:
4 cup chicken broth (canned or bullion based)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1/2 cup salsa (my fave for this recipe is Pace Picante Medium)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder

Serves 5-6; optional garnish could include tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, etc.

Yum! This soup is one of our favorites at our house and I got the recipe from a college roommate. I love how easy it is, but the flavor is awesome - it's got a kick to it, when you use a spicy salsa, so it might just be for the adults. Also, I actually don't feel the need to add sour cream / cheese since the flavor is good by itself, but love it with tortilla chips.

OR if you're feeling more adventurous, then try the PF Chang's copy-cat:

(picture- courtesy of PF Chang's)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 T oil (optional)
1 lb. ground chicken breast (sold in meat section, sometimes hard to find) or you can try grinding a couple chicken breasts yourself, but I don't think they'd hold their shape as well
Cook chicken in large skillet, then add the following ingredients (chop all very finely):
1 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
2/3 cup canned mushrooms (I'm not a big fan of mushrooms, but you can't even tell they're in it), finely chopped
3 T chopped onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
Cook together with chicken and stir fry sauce.
Stir Fry Sauce: 2 T soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, 1/2 tsp rice vinegar (I usually double this)

Special Sauce to put on top:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (stir with sugar and let dissolve)
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T ketchup
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
Mix together and refrigerate (this sauce can usually last us through 2 batches of lettuce wraps)

When ready to serve, add to special sauce:
1 T hot mustard
2 tsp water (optional, can use to combine with mustard)
1-2 tsp garlic & red chili paste
*Really, just add however much you want - it's all about how spicy you want it. Look for these ingredients in the Asian Foods section in the grocery store (again, sometimes harder to find).

Serve with crisp iceburg lettuce and wrap chicken inside topped with your special sauce & white chinese noodles for the extra crisp. (Also just noticed from the picture, that they garnished it with some green onions, which would probably be good too.)

If you've never had these at PF Chang's, then you are missing out! They are my all-time favorite, so it's fun to make them at home. I will admit that the restaurant's are better, but these are delicious (recipe found on!! They are also messy to eat, so you may not want to have it with first-time guests. We eat them as a meal, served with french bread or rolls. The trick for me has been to find good iceburg lettuce that doesn't fall apart. Anyone else have this problem?

Happy cooking!!