Monday, July 30, 2012


Sue, the special ed. teacher at my school, gave me this treasure of a recipe.  She makes it for the staff every year on her treat day.  You have to get down to the staff room early, otherwise it's gone, and then you feel very sad.

Stromboli is like a pizza roll and it is so, so yummy.  There are just a few simple ingredients. The trickiest part is remembering to thaw the dough.  The good news is if you forget, you can use a quick thaw method. 

Just do this:


Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn off. 

Boil water and pour it into a shallow pan placed low in the oven.

Place the frozen loaf of bread in a greased pan.

Close the oven quickly to trap the steam.  This keeps the dough moist and prevents it from getting crusty on the outside. 

Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until dough is pliable and can be rolled. 

  • one loaf Rhode's frozen bread dough
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced ham
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • oregano
  • 1 egg
  • parmesan cheese
  • poppy seeds

Defrost frozen dough overnight in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Roll dough out into a large rectangle.  I roll the dough out on my silpat and try and get it as thin as possible.  It may take a little elbow grease; stick with it, it will eventually do its thing and cooperate.  

NOTE:  Warm or room temperature dough is easier to roll out.

Layer the ham and salami to cover the dough.

Cover the meat with the shredded mozzarella. 

Sprinkle with oregano. 

Roll jelly roll style the long way.

Arrange so seam is down and ends are tucked under.

Whisk one egg and brush the dough generously.

Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan and poppy seeds.

NOTE:  I used to only use freshly grated parmesan, but then I noticed that Sue, master strombli maker, used the powdery can kind.  I now like to use both the canned kind (think green can from your childhood) and freshly grated.  Using both makes it extra cheesy and delicious.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until golden brown.

NOTE:  Be careful not to underbake the stromboli.  I find that it takes the whole time (at least in my oven) to get the insides cooked.  It's very sad when you cut into your stromboli only to find a doughy middle.  Don't let this happen to you.  If it's looking too brown on top, you can move it down in your oven or put foil over it and keep baking. 

Slice and serve. 

You can serve with marinara as a dipping sauce if you'd like.  I'm not into red sauce, so I don't, and it's still oh so good all on its own!

LAST NOTE:  This can be made ahead and put in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  I often make it the night before.  I even put the egg wash, poppy seeds, and parmesan on ahead of time.  Increase the baking time by a few minutes. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chicken Tostada Salad

My cousin Hannah has a cute blog here.  I love that she gives a verdict on every recipe she posts.  I've found some definite keepers, including this one, on her blog.  Thanks, Hannah!

This tostada salad is light and refreshing, yet substantial and filling; I love it in the summer!  I like that the ingredients are simple and fresh.  Also, sometimes I hate having to spend a lot of time on a salad dressing, this is SO easy, another reason I love this recipe. 

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • breast meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-size pieces
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 head lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced small
  • fresh cilantro, for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil and place on a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet.
Bake until golden and crisp, 10 minutes.
Divide cheese among the tortillas and return to oven. Bake until cheese is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet. Add half the red onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add chili powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add chicken and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper.
Cook stirring frequently, until chicken is warmed through and water is almost evaporated, 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 teaspoon lime juice and remove from heat.
In a large bowl combine lettuce and 1-2 tablespoons lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
Toss well to coat and divide among tortillas.

Top each tortilla with chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining onion and cilantro.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

S'more Brownie Bites

I experimented a bit the other night and came up with these. 

Believe me, these were DE-LISH! They have a graham cracker crust, brownie middle, and marshmallow topping. Not sure what's with my marshmallow obsession lately. Do you blame me?

I made these in mini muffin pans.  This recipe yields approximately 3 dozen mini brownie bites. Start by lining your pans with cupcake liners.

TIP: If you live in the Seattle area, buy these at Cash & Carry. They are super cheap and have a variety of sizes. 

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Combine graham crackers, sugar, and butter.

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cup and use a tart tamper to flatten it out.

Bake crusts in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Source:  Ina


Make brownie batter according to the directions on the box.  I like Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownies.

Fill cups about 2/3 full with brownie batter.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk sugar, egg whites, 1/3 cup water, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar in large metal bowl to blend.
Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch simmering water).
Using handheld electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixture resembles soft marshmallow fluff, about 4 minutes.
Increase mixer speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick, about 3 minutes longer.
Remove bowl from over simmering water. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until marshmallow frosting is completely cool, about 5 minutes longer.
Use a pastry bag to pipe frosting on top of cooled brownies.
Finish by sprinkling graham cracker crumbs and/or mini chocolate chips on top of the frosting, just to be fancy.

Source:  Epicurious

Friday, July 20, 2012

Potato Leek Pizza

I LOVE this pizza.  I love the thinly sliced potatoes.  I love the bacon and the leeks cooked in the bacon grease.  Mmmmmm.  I love the goat cheese.  I love that there's not red sauce (not my fave), only a drizzle of olive oil.  I love the combination of all the flavors.  Mmmm, mmmm, MMMMMM.  I'd kill for a slice right now.

  • pizza crust (I buy the pizza dough from Trader Joe's.  I'm a little lazy on this step.)
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • thick cut bacon, 10 slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4-5 leeks, rinsed well, thinly sliced (see note below on leeks)
  • 3-4 small red or Yukon gold potatoes, sliced paper thin
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Roll out the dough on parchment paper.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Cook the bacon over medium heat.  Fry until cooked, but not crisp.  Remove the bacon from pan and set aside.

Pour off most of the grease.  Do not clean the pan.  Turn the heat to medium-low. 

Add the leeks to the pan and saute over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes very thin.  Don't do this ahead of time because the potatoes will brown quickly. 

Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges.  Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt. 

Lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer on top of the potatoes. 

Then add the following toppings is this order:  leeks, bacon, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper. 

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. 


  • If you're new to leeks, a few pointers might be helpful.  Cut off the green tops.  You should be using the bottom where it is mostly white.  I slice them the long ways in half and then thinly slice each side.  Put them in a collander and rinse thoroughly to get all the grit out. 
  • Rolling the dough on parchment makes it easier to put the pizza into the oven. 
  • I would recommend using the Trader Joe's dough to make two smaller pizzas.  When I've made one big pizza, it's been hard to transfer it from the pizza peel to the stone and back out when it's finished cooking.  I've lost toppings trying to do it. 
  • Don't get the mozzarella too close to the edge.  Gets a little messy. 

Source:  Pioneer Woman (modified slightly)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fluffy Cupcake Frosting

My mom is an amazing cook.  Growing up we mostly had homemade treats which meant that I loved store-bought goodies.  Weird, I know.  My sisters are the same way.  So, although I now really appreciate her fantastic cooking and baking, I still love a cupcake with sugary and fluffy frosting.  I also appreciate a smooth and silky buttercream as well (will blog that recipe at another time), but for this entry we're going with shortening and marshmallow cream.   

I originally found this recipe when I was looking for a cream filling for donuts.  Its works well as that, too, but I also love it on a cupcake.


  • 2 teaspoons very hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dissolve the salt in the hot water and allow to cool.

Whip the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it begins to get fluffy.

Add the water and whip well.

NOTE:  I just used this frosting today to make mini cupcakes for another baby shower.  I doubled the recipe and it frosted almost 4 dozen minis.   

I made these with this frosting for a little pirate-themed shower that we had for my sister several months ago after her cute Oliver was born.  She loved the frosting.  I knew she would. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

I'm not a big pasta fan, but my sister made this the other night and I've made it twice since!  This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and it is to die for, as long as you love a good strong lemon flavor.  I can't shovel it in fast enough.  I love you, Ina!

NOTE:  I add the meat of a rotisserie chicken to this so it's more main dish-ish.  This was Katie's idea, not mine. 

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I use at least 3 cloves.)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 lemons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I definitely use more than this.)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds.

Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot.

Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta.

Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes.

Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta.

Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Source:  Ina Garten

Fig Love

My sister-in-law Britney organizes cooking classes from time to time.  She asks a few of her friends who like to cook to teach some of their favorite recipes.  The best part is you get to sample each dish.  I've been to a couple of the classes and have gotten some keeper recipes.  This is one of them. 

This is a simple and delicious appetizer.  I love the combination of all the textures.  The figs have a sort of snap to them. 

Fig Love
Recipe from Gourmet
  • 12 slices of baguette
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 dried figs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons pistachios, toasted and shelled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Robiola cheese (I use the spreadable goat cheese from Trader Joe's)

Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, water, and figs in a saucepan; bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and let sit until figs soften, about 30 minutes.

Halve figs lengthwise.

Finely crush pistachios and combine with olive oil.

Toast baguette slices. 

Smear goat cheese onto warm toasts.  Top with halved figs.  Drizzle with pistachio oil. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Every summer I go berry picking a time or two.  This last week we picked raspberries and they were beautiful and delicious!

Here is my adorable nephew (although it's hard to tell in this picture), Oliver, hanging out while we picked.

I had a crepe night with some friends so that we could eat up some of the yum-o raspberries.  My absolute favorite crepe combo is: nutella, bananas, raspberries, and whipped cream (with almond extract). YUM!!


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups flour

Combine eggs, milk, oil, and salt in blender.

With blender running, add flour a little at a time.

Heat good non-stick pan on medium heat.

When heated, use a silicone brush to coat with butter.  

Pour 1/4 cup batter in pan and twirl pan until batter is even.

Cook until light brown on the bottom and edges curl away from the pan.

NOTE:  Sometimes it can be tricky to get the temperature of the pan right.  I usually mess up the first couple of crepes that I make and fiddle with the heat until I get it right.  The crepes should cook quickly, but not so fast that they are crisp.  

Flip and cook other side.

Separate crepes using squares of wax paper.

NOTE:  I periodically wipe out the pan using a paper towel so that the crumbs get cleared out and the butter doesn't build up too much.  

Top with whatever your heart desires.  Some ideas are: lemon curd, powdered sugar, maple syrup, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, mousse filling, and cinnamon sugar.

Crepes can be served warm or room temperature.  They are good for several days if kept in the fridge.

Source: Your Homebased Mom

Sugar Cookies

I really love a good sugar cookie. But, they have to be soft, in a melt-in-your-mouth kind of way and they MUST have a good cookie-to-frosting ratio. I’m a frosting girl; and the ratio needs to be right, which usually means as close to 1:1 as possible.

My sister found this recipe (not even sure where) years ago when she was in college. I’ve been making it ever since. It’s quick and easy. No need to chill the dough, yet it’s still very roll-able.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Mix baking powder, salt and flour in a smaller bowl and add to butter mixture, a little at a time.

Don’t chill, just roll out and bake!

Bake @ 375 for 8-9 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla OR almond extract (I always use almond.)
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • milk as needed

Mix butter, salt, and vanilla.

Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, and milk as needed until all the powdered sugar is added.

  • The dough will be a bit dry. You will need to work the pieces all together. I pour the dough out on my Silpat sheet and sort of knead it all together and then roll it out. This dryness is the reason you don’t have to chill the dough.
  • Bake on a Silpat, if you have one. So much easier and less messy than using spray on your cookie sheets.
  • When making the frosting, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat well after each addition. This will help get rid of the lumps in the frosting. I also beat it until it is a little fluffy.
  • Use a piping bag to frost to get a good cookie-to-frosting ratio!  Using a pastry bag is faster and easier than spreading the frosting.  Plus, people will think you are professional.
  • You might want to consider doubling the frosting if you're going to be piping the frosting.  I find that I need more than one recipe's worth.  

The Start of a Blog

I love to cook and especially love a tried and true recipe. A really good recipe is a treasure. And, there’s nothing I hate more than to find a seemingly delicious recipe and to spend money on ingredients and time cooking, only to be disappointed. Blah!

So, after talking with a few friends, I’ve decided to start a little blog where I can keep all of my very favorite recipes. I’ve got too much going on keeping track of my faves via Pinterest, bookmarked favorites, and a OneNote notebook. It’s time to put everything in one spot and this will be the place! My plan is to post only recipes that I’ve made many-a-times and that, in my tastebud’s opinions, are keepers!