Saturday, January 21, 2012

Super Bowl Preview

Yesterday was our cooking club to celebrate the upcoming Super Bowl! We made lots of treats, Linkbut the best thing, in my opinion, were the Southwestern egg rolls. They were spicy, but they were also full of spinach, black beans, corn and a little cheese. The kids loved them, and I could have made a meal out of them. I found the egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, and I got whole frozen spinach there. (I don't like when it's all chopped up.) I bought roasted corn at Trader Joe's to make them a little more Southwestern. They were amazing!

Source: Annie's Eats
To see the recipe for Southwestern Egg Rolls, click here.

We also made:

Cincinnati Chili
Cold Veggie Pizza
Texas Caviar
Ham and Cheese Sliders
Strawberry Pizza

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Strawberry Pizza

This coming Friday, the cooking club will be having an early Superbowl Party! We are going to make lots of delicious treats that the kids will be able to make at their own parties. I had all the recipes set, but I always like to let the kids make a fun type of dessert. I was looking through my Cuisine At Home magazine, and I found a recipe that is for Strawberry Pizza. While it is still a dessert, I like the fact that it has fresh fruit. I don't like to pump the kids full of sugar, and this is something that they can make totally from scratch and make it look pretty and taste good in a short amount of time.

I always like to try out recipes before I have the kids make them just so I will know what steps will be tricky and to make sure the recipe actually works. This one worked perfectly. The cookie is shortbread, so it's nice and crisp. It has a marscarpone topping and orange glazed strawberries. It looks and tastes quite impressive, but it's so easy that a child will be able to do it! I hope this encourages you to make it!

image source

Strawberry Pizza
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Issue No. 80 April 2010


For the Shortbread:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I made mine without because I wanted to see how it would taste...
A few kids have nut allergies.)
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together everything but the butter and brown sugar; set aside.
Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes.
Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture; beat on low until ingredients are combined. Add remaining flour, beating only until the flour is incorporated into the dough. Turn the dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Pat dough evenly into an 11-inch wide circle.
Bake until the edges are firm and beginning to brown, 20-25 minutes. While the cookie is baking, prepare the remaining toppings.
Cool on a rack five minutes, the chill in a freezer for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the glaze:
1/2 cup seedless, strawberry preserves
1/4 cup orange juice

Gently mix the preserves and juice together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for one minute and stir again. Place in the fridge to chill. WHEN it is CHILLED, pour on top of the sliced strawberries.


1 lb. Strawberries

Rinse strawberries; then thinly slice.

Ingredients for Icing:
8 oz. marscarpone cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients into a bowl. Mix the ingredients on medium speed for about a minute. DO NOT OVER-MIX - the frosting may separate. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

To Assemble the Pizza:
1. Take pizza out of the freezer.
2. Spread marscarpone evenly onto the shortbread with a spatula. (I had better luck with a dull butter knife.)
3. Arrange strawberries on top, completely covering the top.
4. Use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of chocolate on top.
5. Cut into even slices and enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vegan Orange Cake

Over the summer, my husband and I took a trip to New York City. One of my very favorite things of the whole trip was visiting a restaurant called Alice's Tea Cup. I've written about it before, so I won't go through all of the details again, but it truly was one of the most charming and quirky dining experiences that I've ever had.

I bought the cookbook, and I haven't had the chance to make as many recipes from it as I would have liked, but I finally had the opportunity. About a month ago, a family member invited us over for dinner and requested a non-dairy dessert. That got my mind turning because just about everything I make involves copious amounts of butter or heavy whipping cream. Then, I remembered my trusty cook book and that there were some vegan recipes inside. I found the Vegan Orange Cake, and I chose it because it didn't call for soy anything, and I had everything (except for the oranges) on hand.

This cake was so tasty; it was moist and crumbly. I don't know what vegan food is supposed to taste like, but if it all tasted this good, I think I could make the switch. Don't let the title fool you if you think you are a carnivore to the core... I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to eat at least one piece of this.

Image Source

I hope you enjoy; here's the recipe:

Vegan Orange CakeLinkFrom: Alice's Tea Cup


2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1 1/2 ts. baking soda
3/4 ts. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 Tb. freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 TB. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 ts. vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a deep 8-inch round, non-stick cake pan with cooking spray. (I used a spring form pan.) (If your pan is not non-stick, coat it with cooking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper. This batter is extremely sticky!)
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice and zest, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Use a mixer and add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until the batter is completely smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes (mine took almost 50 minutes...maybe a touch longer. After 25 minutes, I covered mine with aluminum foil so it would brown too much. I'm not sure why there was such a drastic time difference, but all turned out well. JUST BE SURE TO WATCH IT CAREFULLY!!!)
5. Transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a wire rack to cool. When it is cool, carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cake plate or stand.

Orange Glaze


1 Tb. freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar


1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until the consistency is thick and smooth. Cover until ready to use.
2. Slowly pour the glaze onto the center of the cake so that it spreads evenly across the top and down the sides, covering the cake. Let the cake stand for at least 30 minutes to give the glaze a chance to set.

You can decorate the top with some fresh orange slices... perfection!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bake Sale Treats

During one of our latest cooking club events, the middle school chefs and I had a bake sale. We had such a fun time! I wanted to share some of the cute treats that we made. Each was super delicious! Some of my kids even made a chocolate ganache! I love the cooking club!!

Click on the title to see the recipe.

Kiss Pies

For more of my cooking club ideas, see my Pinterest for all of our recipes!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken Pie

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am cooking my way through "The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook." Up for tonight's menu was the Chicken Pie. The recipe says this makes one "pie" aka a huge chicken pot pie casserole. Realizing this before hand, I cut all of the ingredients in half because we just don't need that much! I will post the recipe as its original though, and you can choose how you would like to make it. Halving it worked just fine though.

While this recipe is quite tasty, I think I still prefer the one that I discovered a few years ago. It is so good, and I don't know if it can be beat. This Chicken Pie is more of a traditional, down-home pot pie, while my Martha Stewart Chicken Pot Pie is lighter and has an almost fresh because of the lemon zest and fresh thyme. I think that it's just more my style, but you be the judge. You can find that chicken pot pie recipe here.

On to this recipe:

Chicken Pie


There is a recipe in the book, and I'm sure it is lovely, but tonight, I opted for the Kroger pre-made kind.


1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced (didn't use)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
4 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh pepper
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the flour and thyme, and stir until all the flour is absorbed.
Stir in the the liquids. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until thickened.
Add the chicken, peas, parsley, salt and pepper.
Pour the filling into the prepared dish. Top with the pie crust. Cut small slits into the crust as a vent.
Mix egg with 1 T water, and brush on top of the crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet, and bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Celebrating the New Year

I've always heard that a traditional New Year's meal should consist of black eyed peas. I think they are supposed to bring luck, so this year I thought I'd give it a shot. I especially wanted to make this dish while black eyed peas are readily available because my wonderful mom in law gave me a most fabulous cookbook. It's called "The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook" by Maggie Green. It's perfect because it goes month by month and focuses on seasonal dishes that are traditional to the state of Kentucky. I've always wanted to cook through a cookbook, and I think this will be the one I do it with. So tonight was the first recipe, and being January 2nd, I thought it was a good time to start with this new year's tradition.

The recipe is a vegetarian dish, and it's main ingredients are black-eyed peas and kale. It was spicy and peppery-- an altogether wonderful dish for a really cold night. I made the salad on the following page to go with it as well. It had arugula and oranges... very tasty too. The arugula is quite peppery, but the citrus tames it. It also has a nice Dijon vinaigrette to go on top. I really enjoyed both dishes, and so did my husband, but we like the heartiness that these types of vegetables provide. I would highly recommend this dish especially because it tastes great, and you can easily make a few meals of it.

Spicy Stewed Black-Eyed Peas and Kale
12 servings

2 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery (didn't use - Scott doesn't like celery)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 ounces diced ham (didn't use -- wanted a true veggie meal)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf (I used 2 because mine were small)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 12 oz bags frozen black-eyed peas (I used two cans)
3 cups chopped fresh kale
6 cups chicken broth

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the ham (or not), garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and cayenne pepper.
Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add the peas, kale and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat the low, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans and kale are tender.

Winter Citrus Salad with Arugula
3 servings

3 cups arugula
2 oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 oz Parmesan shreds

2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh pepper
-1 added 1 Tb. sugar and 1 Tb. honey
(It was a little tart for my taste, but you may like it as it is.)

Arrange arugula onto 3 individual plates. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle a tbsp. of dressing onto each salad, lay the oranges, and drizzle another tbsp. Sprinkle a little Parmesan on each salad, and give one last drizzle.

Photo Source