Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pork Chops Agrodolce

Pork Chops tend to be our go-to meal so we've had them lots of different ways. This, hands-down, is my all-time favorite pork chop recipe. It's been about 2 weeks and my husband still brings it up. This sauce was perfectly sweet yet so savory, the chops were so tender and the taste was incredible. I think the best part though was that they are easy, fast and really don't use anything weird so no need for a special plan ahead trip to the store, everything is usually in my pantry. 
This entry comes from The Cilantropist.
THANK YOU TO HER! loving her blog and recipes! This one has been my favorite!

4 bone in pork chops, each about 3/4 in thick (to use chops that are 1 in thick, refer to the original recipe) I used boneless and these were still delicious. Just watch as you cook them.
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 tbsp olive oil

For sauce:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1-2 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-2 tbsp unsalted butter

For serving: Chopped onions and peppers, sauteed in olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper 

To prepare pork chops, first season them with salt and pepper.  Then heat the olive oil in a large fry pan or skillet over medium high heat.  Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, for about 2 minutes per side, then transfer them to plate.

To make the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and minced thyme to the same pan used for browning the pork chops. Cook the liquid until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth, and then increase the heat slightly to bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Then, uncover, turn the pork chops, and cook for 4-5 minutes more, basting with the sauce once. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  

To finish the sauce, reduce the heat to high, and simmer for about 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thick and syrupy.  Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter until it is smooth.  Drizzle the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately with sauteed peppers and onions, or your favorite vegetables or salad and some Garlic Parmesan pull-apart bread

Friday, October 28, 2011

Garlic Parmesan Pull-apart bread

Any bread is my weakness but this stuff was amazing! The best part was how easy it was. Honestly besides rising it was maybe 10 minutes total. It stayed moist, tender, warm and it can be different every time which is soo much fun! I made my balls bigger than the recipe called for and they were great. (I did it because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to do loads of little balls, either way works). 
My one yr. old ate almost as many of these things as I did and they were just as tasty the next day with left-over soup!
I served this with Pork Chops Agrodolce and a Ceasar Salad and it was one of our favorite meals we have ever had! The pork chops are coming soon and are worth EVERY BITE!!!!!

I originally found this recipe on pinterest (my latest obsession) but through it was led to the cutest blog, The Pastry Affair. It is darling and the author has some GREAT ideas! Here is the link, thanks pastry affair!

Yields 1 loaf
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups barely warm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size. (I was in a bit of a hurry as I made this and didn't let it rise for as long as it should have and they turned out great. I would still recommend letting it double but it is not super finicky dough)
In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley flakes, and minced garlic. Set aside.
Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve hot with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.

You can do your balls any size, as you can see mine are on the big side, like golf balls, remember they rise a lot!
My bread fell apart as soon as I tipped it upside down out of the bundt cake pan, but I was totally fine with that because it made for a darling bread basket instead a cake platter.

Try these, love these and let me know your thoughts!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

So, i'm a little torn about posting this recipe. Was it really tasty, absolutely. Actually, in my opinion, it was better 2 days later as leftovers. The flavors had really combined and settled. HOWEVER, I think that I maybe burned my milk or the carrots had too much water in them or something because my texture was way grainy and I couldn't figure it out. The blogger i borrowed this recipe from used velveeta instead of Colby Jack but I don't actually count Velveeta as real food, therefore, I used Colby Jack. Could that have been the problem? Who knows. Like I said, the taste was amazing. The texture left something to be desired. What are your thoughts? 

Here is the original blog. She has some great ideas!

I borrowed her picture, isn't it pretty? I think I put in WAY too many carrots too because mine was almost orange, hers looks so yummy!

Good Luck, I definitely recommend it but hopefully your texture beats mine. I'll have to make this again and see if I can help it improve at all. 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces grated Colby jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot Sauce (optional)
Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat. Remove the onions or leave the onions in there if you prefer to skip a step, i don't think it makes a difference and add in the flour, stirring constantly. Add in the half and half, milk, and chicken stock. SLOWLY Bring to almost a boil.
Add the onions back in(if you took them out), along with the broccoli and carrots. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Season the soup with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom. Stir in the cheeses (and you can play around with the amounts; use however much or little you like) and let simmer for 10 minutes longer before serving.

Crockpot Teryaki Chicken

Mmm! this was so easy, so fast (besides cooking time but that hardly counts) and so yummy! This is definitely going on the repeat list!

From this blog originally:

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked long grain rice

Place chicken in a 4 qt. slow cooker.  In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper.  Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickened. (this step took several minutes longer than i was expecting, if yours takes a while, be patient)
Serve with chicken and rice.

Note:  I halved the recipe and it still worked fine in my crock pot.  It definitely does not need the full 4 hours time but it was fall apart tender and moist so 4 hours was not a bad thing, just not necessary.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coffee Cake Muffins

Funny story with these ones. As a good housewife does, i refilled the sugar canister when it got low. And yes, I was quite pleased with myself. Let's just say, sometimes it takes a while to "get around" to that task.
Well, another proud moment of the morning. It was my husband's first day of his new job and I wanted to make sure he started well so that the day went fabulously. So, I made him his favorite muffins with boiled eggs. MMM! No better way to send him off to his first day of work :)
Well, the muffins were done just at the right time so he could leave early and not have to hurry.
We sit down, say our prayer, bite into the morsels of deliciousness and...
Ewwww! I ran to the sink and spit it out as fast as I could.
Apparently, when salt and sugar are in large Tupperware in the pantry they look just the same. Labeling those was on the to-do list yesterday. Hmmm, should'a done that.
To put it short: we had 1/2 C of salt in our muffins this morning.

So, on his first day of his new job I sent my husband off after a breakfast of Boiled Eggs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Perfect :)

Now, I recognize that these have already been posted but they are delicious enough to be repeated.

So instead of reposting the entire recipe i'll send you to the original link.

Go and enjoy! But remember...check your salt and sugar. Don't mix them up, it is definitely NOT delicious if you do. But, it does make a funny story :)

(These pictures were the next morning's redemption.)

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

4:00PM: I think to myself, "What should we have for dinner? {the husband} will be home in one hour...hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..." and yes, more often than not I stand in front of my menu thinking what else could I make.
BREAKFAST!!! mmmm! Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the answer to everything.
So, when i saw this recipe let me just say my arms tickled, my ears tingled and my feet twitched. (recognize the quote? any of you read Pinkalicious 800 times a day? I love that book and so does my little girl) 

 Well, here is your new favorite breakfast for dinner recipe. These were amazing and quick! 

There are a lot of lemons but trust me just like the girl who originally posted this, USE THEM ALL: they are so yummy and fresh! mmmm! I didn't have as many poppy seeds as I thought so I only used 1/2 the poppy seeds and it was still so delicious but next time i'll use the full amount. 

Mix the wet and dry, just until combined. Don't over-mix. It will be lumpy (even more lumpy than usual pancakes because of the lemon zest.)

Top with some delicious fruit and syrup. 

{This recipe was found here}

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup poppy seeds
zest of 4 lemons
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted

butter, to serve (and for pan)

To make the pancakes combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. In another bowl the buttermilk, eggs, butter, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Add the wet to the dry. Stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. Don't worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don't want to over mix.
Heat your skillet, pan, or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test for the right temperature. If a drop of water dropped onto the pan starts to dance, you are in the ballpark. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet. Wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter.  

Recipe for fruit compote:
Place about 1 C frozen or fresh berries in small saucepan along with about 1/3 C sugar and approximately 3Tbsp. lemon juice. heat until there is enough juice to pour over pancakes. 

Pour compote, fruit and syrup or any other toppings you choose. These are wonderful and worth it!

(Check out what else has. Great ideas!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

this week's menu

So, as I planned the next 2 weeks of dinner I got too excited to keep it to myself so I thought I would share my menu with you and maybe give some inspiration.

I promise to post as I go so that you can have the most delcious dinners too!
(*I'm only posting if they are fab! No drab on this blog!)

  • Broccoli cheddar Soup with garlic parmesan pull apart bread
  • Lemon Chicken 
  • Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with fruit
  • Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
  • Crock Pot Minestrone Soup
  • Mozzarella/Tomato Gnocchi Bake
  • Life-changing Mac and Cheese (i'll let you know if it lives up to the name)
  • Barbeque onion Burgers
  • Crock Pot Meatball Stew (with home-made meatballs)
  • Pork Chops Agrodolce
  • Smoked Chicken Pizza (We just bought a smoker!!!!!!!)
  • Smoked Sausages with flat bread (again, we just bought a smoker!!!!!)
  • Fish n' chips. I lived in Ireland for 18 months and fall always reminds me of it. This feels like the right time of year for fish n' chips. 
  • Black Bean Chili - I already know this is AMAZING! Jared made it up last winter and it has been a regular repeat at our house; Winter in bread bowls or just alone, summer on scones for Navajo Tacos. mmmm! Always delicious!
Hopefully you get some sort of inspiration. :)
I'll let you know how it goes. The pancakes are tonight. MMMM!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Homemade noodles

These are easy peasy! Just plan ahead.

Homemade Noodles:

  • 1 beaten Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Flour (approximately)

Combine egg, milk, and salt. Add enough Flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out very thin on a floured surface. Let stand 20 minutes.
Roll up loosely and slice ¼” wide. Unroll and spread out to dry for at least 2 hours.
Drop into boiling soup or boiling, salted water and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Notes: Makes about 3 cups cooked noodles. Can be stored in a container until needed. 
Delicious in chicken noodle soup!

Chicken Noodle Soup over Mashed Potatoes

Your life is about to change in ways you never could have imagined. 
You have been warned.

Imagine with me if you will. It is spring in Salt Lake City, Utah. The flowers are out, the sun isn't warm yet but it's warmish and things are starting to thaw out and live again. Now, enter me in my wedding dress. It was the perfect day, the man of my dreams was there (thank goodness because that could have been awkward and terrible), we both said yes, I looked awesome :), everything was just as it was supossed to be...enter the weather. IT WAS FREEZING!!!!!! annnnnnnnnnd, it was the windiest day i've ever seen! (Everyone's hair looks awesome in the pictures!)
Ok, so it was maybe not the windiest day ever, but exaggerate with me because every story is a little better if there is drama
So 3.5 years ago I married into the most amazing family and I have learned so much and tried so many new things since that freezing day in March. One of those new things is my mother-in-law's chicken noodle soup. 
Like I said at the beginning, this will change your life. period. 
We took this to my sister the night they brought their baby girl home from the hospital and they still talk about it, 3 yrs. later. Oh yeah, it's that good.

So, are you curious enough? ha ha i'll get on with it.

2 words of caution.
  1. Making your own noodles is EASY peasy if you plan ahead - don't be intimidated (i was my first time, i think I purposely didn't mention that I was going to make it to anyone the first time so that if it was a disaster, no one would ask how it went)
  2. Come HUNGRY because you won't want just a "taste."

 Now, The recipe. Drumroll please...........


  • 1 cooked Chicken
  • 1 ½ quarts Water & Broth in equal parts
  • 3 Chicken Bouillon cubes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 small Onions, chopped
  • 1 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 cup diced Celery
  • Celery Leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups Noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup

Put all ingredients except Cream of Chicken Soup and parsley in a pot and simmer until vegetables are done.Just before serving, add parsley and the can of soup. Stir until well mixed and serve.

You can use the salted water the chicken was cooked in as the broth.
This soup is delicious with homemade noodles and/or served over homemade mashed potatoes. (Do both. trust me.)

Variation:Add 1 cup diced potatoes to recipe if not serving over mashed potatoes.

Homemade Noodles:

  • 1 beaten Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Flour (approximately)

Combine egg, milk, and salt. Add enough Flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out very thin on a floured surface. Let stand 20 minutes.
Roll up loosely and slice ¼” wide. Unroll and spread out to dry for at least 2 hours.
Drop into boiling soup or boiling, salted water and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Notes: Makes about 3 cups cooked noodles. Can be stored in a container until needed. 
Delicious in chicken noodle soup!

Fettucini Alfredo {Light!}

Sometimes I just need that rich heavy sauce that Alfredo is. Sometimes I just want to go out to Italian food and not worry that there are more calories in the appetizer than I should eat in a week, right? Tell me i'm not alone on this. 
Well ladies and gentlemen. Your day is here (well, my day is here I guess. I might be alone on this endeavor) This recipe is from Cooking Light and is a healthier version. And, it is without question, one of our favorites!!! hope you enjoy!
Now, splurge when you need the Italian food and really go crazy and have a breadstick with it! Don't worry, I will never tell.
1 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 T all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c 1% milk

1 1/4 C (5 oz.) grated fresh Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

1 T 1/3 less-fat cream cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

4 C hot cooked fettuccini (8 oz. uncooked pasta)

2 tsp. chopped fresh leaf parsley

cracked black pepper


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, cook one minute stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup cheese, cream cheese and salt stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and chopped parsley. Garnish with black pepper. serve immediately. Serves 4.

We always add some type of meat. Chicken is delicious in it and 1 chicken breast is usually plenty!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

If you are intimidated by fish -- this is your recipe! EASIEST FISH RECIPE EVER!

This was discovered on and it is extremely delicious!


1/4 cups Parmesan cheese  
2 tablespoons butter softened 
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoons onion powder 
1/8 teaspoons celery salt
1 pounds tilapia fillets


Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the filllets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook the fish.

Baked Oatmeal

So for all those that have found and loved this recipe, you are holding out on the rest of us! My sister--in-law has been talking about baked oatmeal for awhile now and as it was raining this morning when we woke up I felt fall-ish and needed a breakfast to follow suit. What better, than the mysterious baked oatmeal i had heard so much about!

Did it live up to its expectations? You better beleive it! This stuff is YUMMY!
and super easy! It takes about 10 minutes to get everything together and into the baking dish (and that's at "i-just-woke-up" speed) and then it only cooks for 20 minutes. Perfect for a relaxed morning and today was the perfect day to try it; raining, a little darker than usual and fall. Ahh, welcome to this beautiful season where the leaves change colors and crunch under your feet, where pumpkins start emerging from the front of stores to peoples front porches (mine are coming out this weekend after our pumpkin painting extravaganza this weekend...stay posted i'll post some pictures) and where baked oatmeal and apples take over the menu.

Happy breakfasting!

Baked Oatmeal:


2 cups
uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup
packed brown sugar
1/3 cup
raisins (opt.)
1 tablespoon
chopped walnuts, plus more if you so desire -- i put in about 3 T and loved it.
1 teaspoon
baking powder
1 1/2 cups
fat-free milk
1/2 cup
applesauce (you can substitute cooking oil for this but i think it would be best with applesauce, sticking with the season and all)
2 tablespoons
butter, melted
large egg, beaten (or 2 medium eggs)
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg. Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pizza Factory Breadsticks

I logged on here today to grab this recipe for dinner tonight and was appalled to find that I had never posted it! This is one of my all time favorite recipes (I am a succor for any bread)! Jared and I were planning our dinner menu for the next couple of weeks last night and he kept suggesting things that went really well with breadsticks. He confessed later that he was trying to plan dinners around the breadsticks so I would make them again. These are very similar to Pizza Factory Breadsticks and are surprisingly easy but time consuming. Whatever event you make these for it will be a HUGE HIT! Trust me!

Thank you Jessi, found these treasures on her wonderful blog, nummies.

yields about 25 but the above picture is half the recipe and it made about 30. My balls of dough (see below) were smaller so that my breadsticks were a little more manageable. If your breadsticks are big this recipe makes 25. If you do smaller breadsticks you will get loads more than 25.


4.5 cups hot water
3 tablespoon sugar
1.5 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant yeast
10.5-12 cups flour

(i've used white flour, wheat flour and half white/half wheat -- they were all delicious)


1 1/2 cube butter, melted

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon dill weed

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Combine (in a Kitchen Aid, Bosch mixer or something like it -- i love my Bosch for this one) water, sugar, salt, yeast, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 3-4 minutes. On greased countertop, break off pieces of dough (a little bigger than a golf ball when rolled into a ball) and roll into thin ropes. If you're using skewers like at Pizza Factory, roll the ropes about 1 1/2 times the length of your skewers. Twist the rope around the skewer. I didn't use skewers. Instead I twisted two ropes together and pinched the ends so they stayed. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the breadsticks double in size. Repeat till all dough is used. (*note: If you use a dark coated cookie sheet the bottoms burn more easily so watch them closely)
While they are baking, combine
glaze ingredients so the flavors will blend. Bake twists at 375 for
about 12 minutes if you're using skewers, and 14 minutes if you are not,
and are using the twisting method. Remove from oven and brush with the
butter glaze. (Don't glaze before you bake, it's not as good.) I
sprinkled fresh parmesan cheese on top, too, and let that melt before I
served them. Or you can add add canned parmesan cheese to the glaze,
which adds even more flavor. Best if served immediately, but amazing at
any time!!!

*note: I have never actually followed the recipe for the glaze. I always make up my own and it has always turned out yummy. Experiment and see what you like.

Some ideas: butter; fresh garlic, minced; onion powder; basil; oregano; salt
*If you don't use salt in the glaze, the dough may need a bit more, according to your taste.
Serve this along side any pizza, pasta or other favorite meal!

Homemade Pizza Dough

So many pizza doughs get so dry and tough. This one stays light and delicious regardless of how thick or thinly it is rolled and is perfect for any pizza! Try pepperoni, margherita, hawaiian, a fruit or dessert name it -- here is your crust!
Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 Tb sugar
1 scant Tb yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb olive oil
4 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl (Kitchen Aid, Bosch, etc.) dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water - let sit for 10 minutes. Foam should form on top. Whisk in salt, olive oil and 1 cup flour. Whisk in 2nd cup of flour. At this point put on dough hook and turn mixer on low as you add the last 2 cups of flour. If your dough is too sticky, add flour a little bit at a time until dough forms a ball. Knead for 5 minutes. (Or 10 minutes by hand) Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an hour in a warm place until double in size. Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts.
Each half will make a 12 inch pizza. (If you only want to make one pizza now, then put other dough ball in an oiled freezer bag and pop in the freezer for another day!) Take the dough ball that you want to use immediately and allow it to rest for 15 minutes then roll out.
This part is totally your choice, you can roll it by hand by pushing and forming the dough ball into a circle or you can use a rolling pin. They both work great, I usually do it by hand but have done both. Also, pizza's don't always have to be round, just make sure you can fit it onto your pizza stone, cookie sheet, grill...whatever you are cooking it on.
Bake according to pizza directions however, 425 for 15-18 minutes is a safe standard.

*to freeze the pizza dough... at the point where you divide the dough into two parts, you can put one half in an oiled plastic bag and put directly in the freezer. When you want to use it, let it thaw in the frig or at room temperature. Once thawed, there is no need to allow it rest/rise again - just roll out and use immediately.

Addition 10/28/2011: I made the most amazing pizza the other day (coming soon) but love this dough fresh so much that I just couldn't bring myself to freeze it so, i made breadsticks out of it! BRILLIANT! I was quite proud of myself. I know there are severeal of you out there saying, "duh!" but this was like an epiphany for me so let me have my moment! Thank you. :)
Well, they were delicious and easy. I rolled them out like the Pizza Factory Breadsticks and made a glaze out of parmesan cheese, butter, dill weed (which by the way is my favorite topping for breadsticks) and kosher salt. They were yummy and light and wonderful. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. These were really light and airy. My husband prefers the Pizza Factory Breadsticks because they are more dense but that is your choice! MMM! Bon Apetite!

Margherita Pizza and Pizza Dough

Back in the summer of 2007, 2 of my best girl friends and I spent a month in Europe and LOVED it! (that trip is HIGHLY recommended!) Almost every day in Italy we had Margherita Pizza -- partially because it is the absolute cheapest thing you can buy in Italy and partially because it was to die for delicious! We fell in love with this dish during that summer and it's always been a favorite since. So, when I saw this recipe on The Sisters Cafe I had to try it.

We had it with breadsticks and salad for my sister in law's birthday and it was a HUGE hit! In fact I think that this is one of my favorite pizzas I've ever had and definitely my favorite that i have ever made. Jared and I have such a hard time finding homemade dough that we like. This is a definite success!

Bon Apetite!

Margherita Pizza

3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (of course from your own garden is best!), chopped in large chunks

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tb olive oil

1/3 cup+ loosely packed fresh basil leaves, julienne cut

mozzarella cheese, shredded (fresh mozzarella is wonderful)

parmesan cheese, shredded


Combine all ingredients except cheese and toss lightly. Roll out pizza dough to 12 inch circle and place on hot pizza stone. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella on dough. Spoon on tomato mixture and spread evenly over cheese. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup parmesan on top. Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown and crust is a deep golden. Let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle additional 1-2 tablespoons of fresh basil over pizza before serving.

This recipe is also posted separately but, for the sake of it is again!

Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups very warm water

1 Tb sugar

1 scant Tb yeast

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tb olive oil

4 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water - let sit for 10 minutes. Foam should form on top. Whisk in salt, olive oil and 1 cup flour. Whisk in 2nd cup of flour. At this point put on dough hook and turn mixer in low as you add the last 2 cups of flour. If your dough is too sticky, add flour a little bit at a time until dough forms a ball. Knead for 5 minutes. (Or 10 minutes by hand) Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an hour in a warm place until double in size. Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts.
Each half will make a 12 inch pizza. (If you only want to make one pizza now, then put other dough ball in an oiled freezer bag and pop in the freezer for another day!) Take the dough ball that you want to use immediately and allow it to rest for 15 minutes then roll out.

*to freeze the pizza dough... at the point where you divide the dough into two parts, you can put one half in an oiled plastic bag and put directly in the freezer. When you want to use it, let it thaw in the frig or at room temperature. Once thawed, there is no need to allow it rest/rise again - just roll out and use immediately.

Serve with homemade Pizza Factory Breadsticks and a salad!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing

Anyone with me that Cafe Rio's house salad dressing makes the salad? MMM!!! it is so delicious and so good on other dishes as well! Smother it over enchiladas, in fish tacos or dip pita bread in it! YUM!


My favorite part of this recipe is how easy it is! Enjoy this, I know I do!


1 1/3 C Sour Cream

¾ C Mayonnaise

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

1 Pkg. Ranch dressing mix

4 Tbsp. Salsa Verde

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. Tobasco Sauce (opt.)

Juice of one lime

milk to thin it out

Combine everything in the blender and mix well

Thicken in the fridge.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cajun Corn on the Cob

We took this corn to a Barbecue with some friends last summer and it was a huge hit! These were inspired by somethings similar we saw in a cooking magazine a few years ago and they add such a fun flavor to any barbecue! Enjoy!


2 1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tbsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic

1/2 tsp. ground red pepper

Olive Oil spray

6-8 cobs of corn


Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl. Spray the corn lightly with olive oil and rub the spices over the corn. Wrap the corn in aluminum foil. Cook on a barbecue grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.


Orange Chicken

seriously July 15 was the last post!? I am so sorry!

Well, we are moved into our new house, the meals are back and better than ever (if I do say so myself and yes, I do. One that's on it's way, lemon chicken enchiladas. They were way better than I expected and yes, they are a new favorite.)

So, today...Orange Chicken.

Somehow in our move I lost this recipe. Did I give my copy to one of you? It's possible. Well, I went to make this last night and couldn't find it anywhere so I hopped on the trusted blog and was shocked and appalled to find that it had never been re-posted since the switch from the old website. So today is your lucky day ladies and gentlemen. Throw out the panda take-out menus and say hello to a great home-made recipe.

*tip: be sure to read this entire recipe BEFORE you begin! Once you start the orange glaze it goes very quickly and you need to be ready with the next ingredients so as not to burn what you are working with. Trust me, READ THE ENTIRE THING FIRST!

Behold...Orange Chicken.


2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (thighs work as well)

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp. salt

White pepper

Frying oil

1/2 cup corn starch PLUS

1 tbsp. corn starch

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. minced garlic

A dash of crushed red peppers

1 tbsp white wine

1/4 cup water

1 tsp. olive oil

Orange Sauce *Tip make sauce while chicken is frying-it needs to be ready*

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp water

5 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp orange juice concentrate

5 tbsp white vinegar


Wash and dry chicken. Cut chicken into 2-inch squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, white pepper and 1 tbsp oil, mix well. In a separate bowl, stir cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Heat oil for frying in wok. Add chicken pieces a small batch at a time and cook until golden and crisp. Make sure the oil is hot before adding chicken to ensure the batter sticks and browns properly.

*to test if oil is hot place a small piece of the batter in the oil, if it sizzles and pops, the oil is ready.

Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels.

Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat.
Add 1 tbsp oil, ginger, and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant.
*Tip: the ginger and garlic will burn very easily. Be ready for the next several steps before you add them to stir-fry. If they burn, START OVER! (with the ginger and garlic not the entire recipe) If they burn they will effect the flavor drastically. As long as you stir as they stir-fry you should be fine.
Add and stir-fry crushed peppers. (about 10 seconds). Add white wine and stir three seconds. Add orange sauce and bring to a boil.
Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken, and heat until sauce thickens continuously stirring.

Serve hot with rice, water chestnuts and cashews.

This recipe is one of our favorites and everywhere I take it/make it, it's a hit! Just FYI -- Have fun, this one gets you going, it's not really a "multi-task while I make dinner" kindof recipe, but it's really fun to make.

*Next time I make it I swear i'll take pictures as I go so you can see the whole process.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Black Bean Chili

This chili is by far my favorite chili recipe. I know, I know, you are reading this thinking, really, it's July. Can we please save the chili for December? Right? WRONG!
Last night we altered this recipe a little (omitted the water to thicken it up a bit) and used it as the base for tacos. They were delicious and it was fun to try this a few different ways.

Onto the goods...

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 3 cups cooked black beans

  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

  • 1-15 ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon molasses(if you don't have molasses you can use DARK Karo syrup)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • Salt to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat brown the ground beef. Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are tender. Add beans, tomato, tomato sauce, and water. Stir together well. Bring to a low boil. Add molasses and chili powder. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring uncovered until chili is thick. Add salt to taste. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Serve hot. This is very good with warm flat bread.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheese-garlic Biscuits

Have you ever had the cheese biscuits at Red Lobster? They are amazing. (shocker that i love the bread at another restaurant!) After eating there one night Chef Jay took it upon himself to recreate these fantastic creations. They were not exactly red lobster but they were incredible in and of themselves! Try them. You won't be disappointed.


2 cups Bisquick

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  1. heat oven to 450. Stir Bisquick, milk and cheese until soft dough forms.

  2. Drop dough by 9 spoonfuls unto ungreased cookie sheet.

  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This is one of those recipes that never disappoints but is easy to switch up. Crepes depend so much on what you put in them. Some of my favorite are breakfast crepes full of fruit with syrup drizzled over the top or dessert crepes with whipped cream or fudge swirled in.


8 Tablespoons flour

1 Egg

1 T Oil

¼ C Sugar (or until sweet)

Milk (add enough to make it runny)

Heat a small crepe pan, or if you don't have a crepe pan, a small sauce pan over medium heat. Grease well. Hold pan at a 45 degree angle and pour about 1/3 C of batter into the pan, swirling the pan in a circle as you go, so as to evenly coat the bottom of the pan evenly with the batter before it cooks. Only cook one side. The batter should be thin enough that the crepe will be fully cooked without flipping it.

(pictures coming soon)

When it is done the sides will start to peel away from the pan and you will be able to easily slide the crepe onto a plate, about 5-7 minutes each.

Fill with your favorite toppings, sweet or savory, and enjoy.

Some Filling/Topping Ideas:

Banana, Honey, Peanut Butter -- sprinkled with powdered sugar and bananas

Strawberry Jam, topped with sliced strawberries, powdered sugar and depending on what time it is, a little chocolate sauce

Cream Cheese, turkey slices, cheese of your choice -- no topping

Scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, cheese -- topped with salsa and parsley

Yogurt -- topped with any fruit of your choice.

French Bread

Sometimes when I eat this I feel like I died and went to carb. heaven. (Carbs are included in heaven for those that doubt. I'm almost positive!)
I got this recipe from a friend at work who got it from her friend, Diane, who she used to work with. (I think that was the connection)
Regardless though...IT. IS. AMAZING!

This bread is super easy for those that get intimidated by yeast and homemade bread. The hardest part is shaping it and really, it can be any shape you want! The more creative you get, the harder it is to mess up :)
*One note, unless you have the baguette pans, which I don't, this will not look like a baguette of french bread. It will be more of a round artisan bread shape.


3 C very warm water

2 pkgs yeast

¼ C Sugar

1 Tbl. Salt

2 Tbl. Shortening

7-8 C Flour

Mix all ingredients and 4 cups of the flour. Add remaining flour ½ C at a time. Let raise 1 hour punching down every 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 2 or 3 loaves (depending on how big you want them--if you do 2 loaves one loaf will be plenty for a dinner for 5).

Let raise another hour. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

**To get the slits as shown in the bread above, before letting the bread rise the final time (after you shape it) cut slits, in whatever shape you want, about 1/2 inch deep into the dough and let rise. The slits will become bigger as the bread rises and bakes.

Some popular designs to cut are, the checkerboard as shown above or 3 small lines in the top of the bread.

Home-made Ranch Dressing

Ranch is like the staple to the American salad, ever noticed? Well, I married into a family of the most domestic women I have ever met and they have truly inspired me! This recipe is so yummy and so easy!


This is from my sister-in-law, Julene. Thanks Lady!

There are a few different versions to this ranch, choose yours and make it your own!

Ranch #1


1 cup Mayonaise (not Miracle Whip)
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Ranch #2
1 cup Mayonaise
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tbls (rounded) Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp Onion Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Celery Salt

Note from Julene:

Whisk everything together, if you put it in the blender, it'll be way too runny!

When I have made it I used the first recipe
(because I just barely got #2), but I put in a
bit more parsley, garlic powder, and salt. You can
use fresh garlic, garlic puree or whatever. It's
better after it has sat for a while so the parsley
isn't crunchy anymore and the spices kind of seep in.
Have fun ranchin'!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Award-winning Meatloaf

I'll be the first to admit that when I hear (well, heard) the word meatloaf, my nose would crinkle up and I was suddenly not hungry at all...until I had this one! My dear friend, J'Deene Parkhurst, made me try it even though I through a little fit like a 3-yr-old and then smiled a little satisfied grin when I asked if I could have a copy of the recipe. I don't know what is different or why it's so much better than all other meatloafs, I wish I knew. But I do know that it was yummy and unexpected.


1 ½ lb lean Ground Beef

1 C Tomato Juice or Sauce

¾ C Quaker Oats

1 Egg, lightly beaten

¼ C chopped Onion

¼ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix everything together with your hands (I have no idea why but it tastes better this way) and press into a loaf pan. Bake 1 hour until the center is no longer pink and no juices show.

Orange-Cheese Jello

Everyone says that Utahn's are known for eating 2 things, Ice-cream and Jello. Can't be a Mormon party or a family party without at least one of these (and preferably both!) This one is for my Dad! It's his favorite and is a definite must-have for his birthday and Father's Day! Trust me, it's worth trying!!!


1 3 oz. Orange Jello

1 c cold water

sm can of crushed pineapple, drained

½ pint whipping cream

2/3 c cheddar cheese

½ c sugar


Dissolve jello in 1 cup water

heat pineapple and sugar in pan until dissolved.


Add jello to pan, return to boil.

Put it in the fridge to thicken, stirring occasionally.

When thickened add cheese and whipped cream.

Stir together, put back in fridge. Let solidify.

That Salad

This salad is one from my Sister-in-law, Lenae. From what my husband says, people request it like crazy and everyone refers to it as "That Salad" so it has been named, "That Salad." It's "That" good!


Spinach and Spring Mix or Romaine

Slivered almonds (roasted under broiler for 10 minutes stirring every few minutes)


Chopped up Red Delicious Apples

Real bacon bits

Grated real parmesan cheese


1 C Olive Oil

½ C Red Raspberry Vinegar

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Poppy seeds

¾ C sugar

Stir until sugar dissolves

Blogger is having problems uploading pictures so pictures will be coming soon for the posts without pictures! Thanks for being patient!

White Chili

Have you ever seen Ratatouille? Remember when "Little Chef" makes Ratatouille at the end for the mean critic and his first bite takes him back to when he was a little boy? At that point in the movie do you think of your meal that takes you back?
Well, meet my Ratatouille.
White Chili was a staple growing up. It was the go-to meal when all 5 of us kids had a game or a recital or a practice all at 6:00. It's one of those meals that when i take a bite I'm taken back to my own childhood and it tastes so much better because of it. I can see my mom's kitchen 15 yrs. ago, picture us sitting on the bar stools in various uniforms, ready for carpools and friends. I can hear us laughing or arguing or both. I can hear my sweet Dad, asking us to take 10 minutes and pick up our stuff before we all leave in different directions, and finally I can see us all stop, for just a minute, and enjoy our white chili.
I hope you enjoy it too!


2 ½ C Water

1 tsp. Lemon pepper

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

4 Chicken Breasts

1 tsp. Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 C chopped Onion

2, 9 oz. Frozen Shoe-peg White Corn

2, 4 oz. Cans of Diced Green Chilis

1 tsp. Ground Cumin

3 Tbsp. Lime Juice

2, 15 oz. Cans of Great Northern Beans

Monterrey Jack Cheese

Tortilla Chips


Sour cream



Combine water, lemon pepper and cumin seeds in large pot. Saute garlic and onion in skillet and add to pot. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Line soup bowls with shredded monterey Jack Cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Garnish with sour cream , salsa and avocado.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Black Bean, Rice and Sweet Corn Salad

I should work for Cooking Light. I just love their recipes. They are so healthy, creative, usually pretty simple and delicious! Jared and I preferred this one with tortilla chips but it was good as a salad too. I personally want to try it in fajitas, tacos etc. to add a little something extra. Get creative and let me know how you use it!


Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1/3 cup)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Combine 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Add rice to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, juice, oil, pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Add rice and beans; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes or until completely cool. Stir in corn and cilantro.

***I have since added this to tacos and fajitas more than once and IT. WAS. DELICIOUS!!!!! I think my favorite was in fish tacos. Go figure!

Oreo Truffles

I was telling my sister and brother-in-law about these last night and decided that the world (or anyone who ever reads this blog) needs this recipe because some desserts are just worth the calories! My sweet friend and old co-worker, Krista, introduced myself and my fellow co-workers and friends to these amazing little treats at a fund raiser our company was hosting. From that day on, these have been requested at every opportunity any of us could come up with. I no longer work at that job but I imagine they are still the go-to treat for every occasion!

Thanks Krista!


1 package Oreo cookies
1, 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
23 oz. milk chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips, if you choose)
4 Tablespoons vegetable shorting
lollipop sticks (found at a craft store)

Optional topping ideas

crushed peppermint
shredded coconut
candy bar crumbs

In a food processor, blender or by hand, crush the Oreo cookies until all big chunks are gone. (If crushing by hand the bottom of a drinking glass or a pan work well to evenly crush the cookies) Pour cookie crumbs into a large mixing bowl and stir in softened cream cheese until mixed well. Form the dough into little balls (about golf ball sized, or smaller) and place on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Cover with tin foil and place cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour.

Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips and veggie shortening in a large sauce pan and melt together, taking care to not burn the chocolate. Once the oreo balls are frozen enough to allow for easy handling, stab the lollipop sticks in and dip each ball in the chocolate, (dip in other toppings at this point, if desired) returning them to the wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Freeze for another hour. Serve chilled, and keep the leftovers refrigerated.

Enjoy in several bites rather than one big bite, I have no idea why but they taste so much better this way :-)

*Other ideas

Try mint or peppermint filled Oreos

For a fancier look drizzle chocolate balls with the opposite color of
chocolate ie: dark chocolate truffles with white chocolate drizzle.

Get creative and make them cute for various holidays

Dip half of the truffles in white chocolate and dye remaining chocolate red. Fill a bowl with white and red truffles to use as a delicious centerpiece for Christmas or a U of U game.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

This one is new tonight, no transfers from the old blog.
I've been craving baked pasta all day today, but didn't want the calories of the cream and butter. I searched the internet and all the healthier versions of pasta called for weird things that I didn't have in my kitchen. Just as I was about to call it quits and begin experimenting...I found, this! It still ahs cheese so I don't think I can go super healthy but it's WAY better than most.

Dinner was inspired by a recipe I found on Food Network tonight. It has been heavily modified but I'll still give them the credit for the idea :)

  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into large strips

  • 1/2 C Broccoli Florets, broken into bite sized pieces

  • 1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 C Pearl Onions

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil(or enough to coat vegetables)

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence(I didn't have these specific spices so I mixed basil, cilantro, garlic powder and seasoning salt together and made my own "herbs de Provence")

  • 1/2 pound penne pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)

  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (smoked mozzarella would be great)

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the vegetables with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 20 minutes.

*my amounts are guesstimated as close as I could. My favorite part about this recipe is how easy it is to modify to your situation. Substitute whatever veggies you want/have; squash, zucchini, yellow onions, mushrooms, etc. and add fancy cheeses if you want. The amount of spices needs to coordinate with the amount of veggies, sauce and pasta but everything can be changed to your liking very easily.

This was delicious and very easy. It's definitely a repeat menu item, and that's saying something!!!