Thursday, February 28, 2013

Food for Thought

I have to admit, beside watching Julie and Julia, I don't really know much about Julia Child. I don't think I've even cooked one of her recipes. It is on my bucket list though. But I love this quote. This is exactly how I learned to cook. Just keep trying new things and don't be afraid of serving cereal for dinner if things don't turn out as planned. And above all have fun!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

My two year old loves chicken nuggets, probably as much as any two year old. I haven't really found a kid that doesn't and I babysit lots of kids. I wanted to make a healthier chicken nugget than the Mickey Mouse shaped ones I buy from Costco but I wanted the flavors to appeal to an adult as well. These ones were just the ticket. Adding the Montreal Seasoning really makes these more grown up.

These nuggets would be great as an appetizer to any party, especially a kids birthday party. These would be a great, healthy addition to all the cake and ice cream! Serve with barbeque sauce, ketchup or ranch and it's good to go.

Baked Chicken Nuggets

3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Montreal chicken seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cooking spray (Pam)

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet. Put the chicken, salt, pepper,Montreal seasoning, and olive oil in a bowl and mix until all the chicken is evenly coated. Place the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in large bag. Put half of the chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture to coat, then on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top with olive oil spray then bake 8 - 10 minutes. Turn over then cook another 4 - 5 minutes or until cooked though.

Before baking.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Apple Bacon Meatloaf

I was in a hurry again to make dinner (nothing unusual) and I wanted to experiment with my regular, throw together meatloaf. I had ground turkey and decided to add apples and bacon which made for one DELICIOUS meatloaf.  The apple in it made it so moist. I can safely say, it's the best meatloaf I have ever eaten.

Forgive my meatloaf photography. Meatloaf isn't very photogenic, and I'm not a photographer. Thus, the pictures don't do it justice. Take my word for it, this is a recipe you will want to try.

Apple Bacon Meatloaf
20 oz Ground Turkey 85% lean or higher
1/2 cup Apple, chopped (I used golden delicious)
1/4 cup Bacon Pieces, about 3-4 strips of cooked bacon
1 Egg
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs, which is about 1 slice of bread crumbled up
1/2 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Cheese, shredded
11/2 Tbsp Worshishire Sauce
1 tsp. Tony's Seasoning
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 tsp. Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix everything together. I make sure my hands are nice and clean and knead everything together.

3. Shape and place in a loaf pan. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

4. After 30 minutes take out of the oven and sprinkle the top with a little cheese and a few extra bacon pieces.

5. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

6. Take out of the oven and drain the excess grease before serving.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pork Schnitzel

It seems like pork is always on sale at one of my local grocery stores. I always have it on hand in the freezer so this is a go-to meal for me. It requires only ingredients from my pantry and I love that because I very rarely plan a meal out more than a day in advance so I need to have everything already on hand.

I made some roasted red potatoes to go with my pork and it turned out perfectly. By the time my potatoes were done, I was done making the pork. This is definitely a dish you want to serve hot so either have your oven on warm and put the finished chops in there while you cook the rest or tent them with aluminum foil to keep the heat in but leave enough air flow that you don't get any moisture build up.

Pork Schnitzel

4 boneless pork loin chops (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1 1/2 cups flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Begin by placing each chop between 2 sheets of wax paper and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or rolling pin until they are an even 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and again season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the pork gently so they have a nice even coating.
Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the coating to dry out a little and adhere to the pork.
Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges if you have them. They still are great if not.
Slightly adapted from Food Network.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stuffed French Toast Crunch-A Valentine Breakfast #2

Last week was my husband's birthday. It's tradition to start the day off right with breakfast-in-bed. My husband's favorite breakfast food is French toast. I wanted to do something special and came up with a variation to normal French toast.  The crunchy frosted flake coating makes this delicious!

This would make a great Valentine's breakfast or check out Jen's Valentine Crepes for another fun idea.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


  • 2 cups frosted flakes, crushed fine or coarse whatever you prefer
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 4 pieces of bread


  • 2oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped strawberries
  • 6 strawberries to cut up and put in the middle

Makes 2 servings

1. Crush frosted flakes and put them into a pan big enough to dip the bread into. I used a cake pan. Add the cinnamon to the frosted flakes.

2. In another pan, mix your eggs milk and almond extract. Now you're dipping station is ready. Before you start to dip the bread, heat up your frying pan.

3. A good trick is to use one hand to do all the dipping so you have one clean hand. Take your bread and dip both sides into the egg mixture. Then dip both sides into the frosted flakes.

4. Place the coated piece of bread into the frying pan and cook on both sides until golden brown.

5. For the filling, blend together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and strawberry chunks.

6. Now to stuff. Spread the strawberry cream cheese filling in between two pieces of cooked French toast, just like you would a peanut butter sandwich. Before you close the sandwich don't forget to add slices of strawberry.

6. I fanned a strawberry on top and dusted it with powdered sugar for a little extra birthday touch.

7. Don't forget the maple syrup and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

La Jolla Grove

La Jolla Grove
4801 N. University Ave Suite 610
Provo, UT 84604

If you want a fun romantic restaurant or a great place to go with the girls, come to La Jolla Grove. When you are seated, you feel like you are dining in a grove of lemon trees. I have gone here several times, and am always pleased with my meal. They use fresh ingredients and the portion sizes are smaller than the average restaurant these days, but still filling.

What We Got...
Herb Chicken Pappaedelle $13.75
Any pasta dish served with fresh homemade noodles is that much more delicious. Jen got this dish and said it was amazing.

Shrimp Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach $14.95
The shrimp was served over angel hair pasta, my favorite, with a light citrus butter sauce. It had a wonderful blend of tomatoes and spinach. Another winner at La Jolla Gtove.

Butternut Squash Ravioli $14.25
I thought this was a nice change from regular cheese and meat ravioli.  The butternut flavor was great. On top was a thin slice of apple, for a touch of well thought detail. The dish was delicious, served with a savory pumpkin cream with carrots and potatoes.

The service was ok. A bit slow. When I mean slow, I refer to the waiter in being slow to get us rolls, fill drinks, and bring our check. We got our food in normal time, but we were at the restaurant for a while because of the other factors. It was fine because we weren't pushed for time, and it was fun to chat and catch up with friends both times.

Green light restaurant. I've gone back several times as each time I can't wait to come back and try something new. Also each time, my plate is scraped clean. Not a drop left.

Side note: They just opened a location in Salt Lake downtown at the gateway.

Scale Rating Descriptions
Green Light: I'll be coming through all the time, call me a regular, recommend to everyone and all, I'll crave this place when I'm pregnant, loved it!

Yellow Light: I'll be slow to go through,  I'd go back if someone suggested it,  nothing special, not something I'm going to crave, it was ok.

Red Light: STOP! Don't go, tried it once and that's enough, warn people not to go, thinking about it brings back bad memories, didn't like it.

  La Jolla Groves on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 4, 2013

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes

I have no idea why I crave "holiday" flavors a month or two AFTER the holidays. It happens every year. Everyone has already had their fill of peppermint, pumpkin, apple pie and so forth and I just can't get enough. My neighbor made some delicious gingerbread cookies for a cookies exchange in January and I've been craving them ever since. Unfortunately my New Year's resolution was the same as everyone else. (Seriously, I think January must be the healthiest month every year.) So I decided to combine my weekly pancakes with my craving for gingerbread cookies and make gingerbread pancakes! They turned out fantastic. And since they were going to end up brown in color anyway I decided to do whole wheat. It was a great idea. All my babysitting kids loved them! And so did I. I did tell them they were Gingerbread "Cookie" Pancakes. Haha. Since I was making them mainly for kids I toned down the spices but you could certainly amp them up if you felt so inclined. Also, this makes quite a bit so you can take the extra and put them in the freezer for another day.

Gingerbread Pancakes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Combine eggs and brown sugar with whisk until combined. Add in buttermilk, water and molasses. Combine the rest of the ingredients except butter into the batter. Stir until just combined and then add in the butter. Mix until all combined. At this point you can put the batter in the fridge and cook in the morning, or just go ahead and cook them up right away. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Pour batter onto griddle. When they start to bubble around the edges flip and cook until slightly browned and cooked through in the middle. I always just press down in the middle and if it springs right back up then it's done. Serve with apple pie filling or butter and pancake syrup. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brownie Cupcakes with Ganache filling and Marshmallow Frosting

I am always in the mood for brownies. Always. Although sometimes the occasion is more suited for cupcakes. I watch Cupcake Wars every week on Food Network and love it. My hubby is always asking me to make cupcakes since I watch the show so much but I'm more of a cake person. I'm not actually a huge fan of frosting and cupcakes always seem to have more frosting than cake.

When I found these cupcakes I knew I would love them. The frosting is so light and gooey, kind of like the middle of a roasted marshmallow. Brownies, marshmallows, portion controlled (as long as you eat only one, I dare you to try). What could be better? How about filling the little cavity that forms as they settle with ganache! Ah the simple brilliance of baking! These were SOOO good! I think I'll use a few more exclamations just so you'll get the point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Brownie Cupcakes with Ganache Filling and Marshmallow Frosting

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk

4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, light-brown sugar and cocoa powder. Pour in melted butter and use a wood spoon to stir until combine. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in milk. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combine (batter will be thick).

Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups filling each about 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup batter in each). Bake in preheated oven 16 - 20 minutes (lesser for gooier brownies). Allow to cool in muffin tin several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then fill the little cavity with Chocolate Ganache and pipe Marshmallow Frosting over cupcakes and toast edges of frosting with a kitchen torch if desired. 
For Chocolate Ganache: Heat chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly, heat until melted and combined. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

For Frosting: Add egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tarter to a heat proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water. Heat mixture, whisking constantly until egg whites are very warm to the touch, about 4 minutes (mixture so register 160 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and transfer bowl to electric stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment. Beat mixture beginning on low speed and gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff glossy peaks form, about 6 - 8 minutes. Add vanilla during the last 10 seconds of mixing. For best results serve immediately. 
Oh yeah! Look at that ganache swirling through the frosting! YUM-O!
 Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Classy.