Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Enchantment

While getting ready to ring in the New Year, Allison and I developed a twist on the traditional champagne toast. For those of our fans who enjoy a sweeter variety of drinks, this beverage will surely be well received. Here's to all our friends of old and new!

Happy New Year!
Esra and Allison

Cranberry Enchantment

1 cup chilled champagne
3 ounces ginger ale
1.5 ounces cranberry juice (1 shot)
1 tsp grenadine
splash of lime juice

In your favorite festive glass, add champagne, ginger ale, cranberry juice, grenadine, and lime juice. Stir and serve.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Asian Turkey Meatballs

After enjoying the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese recipe that Allison posted before, I noticed that I had some leftover panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs). I was not exactly sure what to cook for dinner tonight so I decided to get creative with the leftover bread crumbs. Here is a lean recipe that everyone is sure to love.


Asian Turkey Meatballs
3 Gals and a Kitchen

½ c panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)
¼ c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP crushed red pepper
1 TBSP oregano
1 TBSP sesame seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 lb lean ground turkey
2 TBSP soy sauce

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together bread crumbs, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, sesame seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the turkey and soy sauce and mix until combined. Roll the meat mixture into 1½-inch balls.

Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat
to medium-low; let cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Serve over thin pasta (i.e. Asian rice noodles). To complete your meal, add peanuts and chopped green onions on top.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

'Tis the season for cookie exchanges.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 c butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ c packed brown sugar
¾ c sugar
1 c peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until it appears whipped and creamy. Slowly add the eggs and continue to mix well until blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture above and mix for 2 minutes until no flour is visible.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (about 2 TB thick) onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them onto wire racks.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, spread jam onto one cookie and cover with another cookie.

**I recommend using a low sugar jam since the cookies are already sweet.**

Friday, December 24, 2010

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies

I am responsible for bringing dessert to Christmas dinner this year. My boyfriend’s family loves cheesecake and I love anything chocolate. I decided to try to combine both of our favorites to help make this holiday that much more joyous.

Happy Holidays!

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 package brownie mix
3 egg whites
1 c water
1 c applesauce
1 package cream cheese
½ c sugar
1 c flour
½ tsp vanilla extract

Graham Cracker Crust
2 c graham cracker crumbs
½ c melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the baking pan and add melted butter. Mix well and press over the entire bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix brownie mix, 2 egg whites, ½ c water, and applesauce until the mixture is smooth. Pour brownie mixture on top of the cooked graham cracker crust. Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, ½ c water, and vanilla extract until well blended. Spoon cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Cut through the batter with a knife several times for a marble effect.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Serve with cool whip and cherries.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Triple Threat Sugar Cookies

This is for all of our east coast fans who are about to endure quite a bit of snow. Let’s keep in the winter spirit by baking a batch of sugar cookies.


Triple Threat Sugar Cookies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

½ c butter (1 stick)
½ c white sugar
¾ confectioners sugar
¼ c light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degree.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and the sugars until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cream of tartar, cinnamon and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until just barely golden. Allow cookies to cool for a couple minutes before moving them to the wire racks to finish cooling.

After the cookies have cooled completely you may begin to ice and decorate the cookies as you wish.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lindsey's Poinsettia Mimosas

Lindsey served these Poinsettias with the Sundried Tomato and Pesto Pinwheels and our family loved them.   As Mom says, she "gets an A+ on taste AND presentation!"  xoxo, Alison J.
1 orange
1 jar Marachino cherries
3 cups cranberry juice, chilled
1/4 cup Triple Sec or Orange Juice (for non-alcoholic bev)
2 tablespoons Marachino cherry juice
1 bottle of champagne or sparkling cider (for non-alcoholic bev)

Use a veggie peeler to thinly peel orange.  This will give you a pretty orange peel twist.  We did not have peeler, so we had to improvise and cut the orange into segments.  Place the twist on the rim of your champagne flute and drop a cherry in the bottom.
In glass pitcher, stir together cranberry juice, Triple Sec and Marachino cherry juice.
Pour about 1/4 cup cranberry mixture into each glass and top off with 1/4 cup champagne, filling nearly to the top.
Yields: 12 to 14 (4 oz.) servings

A Christmas Appetizer!

If you're looking for a festive holiday appetizer, you have to try these sundried tomato and pesto pinwheels!  They're pretty perfect with a cocktail.  Lindsey's recipe to follow!
Alison J.

1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
1 jar of Classico pesto (with marinara sauces in grocery store)
1 8 oz. jar of sundried tomatoes - packed in oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350.  Set puff pastry out on your counter to thaw while you're working on the tomatoes.  Drain the oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes in a skillet over med-high heat.  Chop tomatoes and set aside.  Add garlic to hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Stir and add thyme and let crackle in the oil for about 10 seconds.  Add balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Pour oil over sundried tomatoes and stir to coat.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray, or use a Silpat - silicone baking sheet (my favorite thing in the kitchen).  By this time your pastry should be malleable.  Unfold into 3 sections and cut each sheet into 9 squares.  Using a small knife, make an inch cut from each corner towards the center, stopping 1-inch from the center.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of pesto in the center of the square.  
To make the pinwheel, lift one half of a corner and fold it in towards the pesto.  Do the same thing with every other point.  Finally, push your finger down on all four points into the center of the square so that they won't pop up while in the oven.

Spoon about a teaspoon of the tomato mixture in the middle of your cute little pinwheel.  I top off the pinwheels with a sprinkle of salt.

Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm!

Credit goes to Michael Chiarello!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Split Cake

Let’s get into the holiday spirit. Here are just a few of my favorite things…

Ho ho ho,

Peanut Butter Banana Split Cake
Adapted from Duncan Hines

1 pkg Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake Mix
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut
2 bananas
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped walnuts

2 to 3 bananas
Chocolate Syrup
1 (8 oz) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
colored sprinkles
Maraschino cherries with stems

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.

Combine cake mix, eggs, water, flour, oil, and peanut butter in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in bananas, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Pour into pan.

Bake at 350°F for 30 to 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot Chicken Salad

Buying a rotisserie chicken will save you a lot of time in the kitchen! I can normally find one for less money than it would cost to buy a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Just bring it home, pick the meat off the bone, use what you need, and save the rest for sandwiches or a little snack later.
Enjoy! ~Allison Y.

Hot Chicken Salad
Adapted from Paula's Home Cooking

2 - 3 cups shredded chicken (see note above)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t onion powder
1/8 t red pepper
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup crushed potato chips (I used Parmesan & Garlic Kettle Chips.)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients except potato chips (chicken, almonds, salt, pepper, onion powder, red pepper, lemon juice, mayo, and cheese). Place mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle potato chips over the top. Bake for 20 minutes.

I served this with white rice and green beans. It was a big hit with my hubby!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

This is the perfect side for Thanksgiving revisited. Thank you Kay S. for sending in the recipe you cooked up for Thanksgiving. I was able to whip this up in no time at all.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Recipe created by the fabulous Barbara R.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 3in piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 firm pear, diced
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 12 oz package cranberries
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

In heavy saucepan, mix together first three ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, boil for 5 minutes. Add pear and lemon rind. Return to boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until cranberry skins pop. Remove ginger. Chill (up to 2 days). Stir in lemon juice just before serving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yummy Pumpkin Gooey

This sinful dessert has turned into a Thanksgiving staple around my house. Wes and I pray for post-Thanksgiving leftovers because this gooey is delightful with coffee. I have to dedicate this recipe to my beautiful friend Meredith. It's her fave.

Gobble, gobble, and have a happy Thanksgiving friends! -Allison Y.

Pumpkin Gooey
Slightly adapted from Paula Deen

Bottom layer:
1 package yellow cake mix
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter (melted)
1 egg


1 package fat-free cream cheese (softened) - You might as well save some calories here - haha!
1 can pure pumpkin (15 oz.)
3 eggs
1 bag powdered sugar (16 oz.)
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter (melted)

whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 350. Using an electric mixer, thoroughly combine cake mix, egg, and butter. Pat the mixture into bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and butter. Next, add powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well using a spatula or large spoon. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 1 hour. Be sure not to overbake because the middle should be a bit gooey. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped topping.

Note: Cut the gooey into small squares and arrange them on a platter. Sift a little powdered sugar on top for an impressive plate.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!

How cute are these?!  This is a great bite-sized dessert to top off your Thanksgiving meal!

My friend Kelli from Clemson introduced me to Whoopie Pies, and although mine aren't quite as tasty as hers, I'm proud to say that they are pretty close!  Kelli makes many different variations of Whoopie Pies.  Every flavor is delish, but my fave was Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Try'll love 'em!  Happy Thanksgiving!
Alison J.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Libby's canned Pure Pumpkin Puree (NOT canned Pumpkin Pie Mix)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 block of cream cheese (4 oz.)
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray cookie sheet with Pam.
In large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Then whisk in eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour.

Using a tablespoon or small cookie dough scoop, drop mounds of batter onto cookie sheet.  Space evenly on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack.

Using mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add vanilla, pinch of salt and powdered sugar.  Mix on low speed until blended, and then on medium-high speed for a couple of minutes or until fluffy.

Spread frosting on the flat side of 1/2 the cookies.  Top all of them with the other 1/2 of the cookies.

Recipe from

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries

This LIBBY'S recipe is one of my absolute Fall favorites! It makes a great gift for friends and family around the holidays.  I wrap the loaves with clear paper and a festive dish towel and tie with pretty ribbon and gift tag!

This recipe will make 2-3 loaves or try muffin tins (regular or mini) to make individual servings.  The mini muffins are perfect for work functions or to serve at a brunch.

Alison J.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice or water
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour either (2) 9x5-inch loaf pans, (3) 8x4-inch loaf pans or muffin tins.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl.  Combine sugar, eggs, oil and orance juice in large mixer bowl.  Beat these ingredients just until blended.  Add pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.  Pour in cranberries and gently fold them into the batter.  Divide batter equally among loaf pans.

Bake for 60-65 minutes, but all ovens are different so make sure to test the loaves when you pull them out of the oven.  If a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaves, then cool them in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely.

LIBBY'S (R) Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Recipe

Monday, November 15, 2010

Salmon with Shrimp Stuffing

Let's continue with the Thanksgiving recipes. This one is the perfect main course for our fans who don't eat meat (turkey, chicken, or red meat) but still enjoy having fish. The stuffing could be served alone or with crackers as a dip.

Gobble, Gooble,

Salmon with Shrimp Stuffing
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 lb salmon
2 TBSP lemon juice
Dash of salt/pepper
1 TBSP dill

3 Gals and a Kitchen

½ lb peeled shrimp, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c mushrooms, finely chopped
¼ c onion, finely chopped
2 c cubed ciabatta bread
4 oz fat free cream cheese

Preheat the oven on the broil setting.

Place salmon on a nonstick baking sheet. Cut a horizontal slit into the thickest part of the salmon creating a pocket for the stuffing. Drizzle EVOO and lemon juice over the entire piece of salmon, and then sprinkle the salt, pepper, and dill.

In a medium nonstick skillet, add the finely chopped shrimp, garlic, mushrooms, and onions. Cook until the shrimp turns pink and the onions turn translucent. Add ciabatta bread and cream cheese and cook until the cheese has melted.

Add the shrimp stuffing into the pocket you cut into the salmon. Cover the entire salmon with foil and broil for 10-15 minutes until the salmon has cooked through.

Serve with spinach.

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Minute Beef Pho

I thought I would give the blog an international flare for one evening. 

30 Minute Beef Pho
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1.5 lbs thin cut beef (almost thin enough to see through), sliced into thin 1” strips (boneless steak)
1 package of Japanese Udon Noodles (International Aisle of any grocer)
8 c beef broth
1 c green onions, chopped
1 c button mushrooms, sliced
½ cinnamon stick
1 TBSP ground ginger
1 tsp fish sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt/Pepper to taste

In a medium pot, cook noodles according to the directions on the package (bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, add noodles, cook for 13-14 minutes, drain, rinse noodles with cold water, and let stand).

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, combine beef broth, green onions, button mushrooms, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, fish sauce, garlic clove, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, let simmer while the noodles finish cooking.

Add beef to the broth mixture and let cook for 2 minutes. Since the beef slices are so thin they will cook very quickly.

Serve noodles into an individual sized bowl, top with beef and broth mixture. Avoid adding noodles to the same pot as the broth mixture because it will over cook the noodles.

If you like a little bit of spice, add a small amount of Sriracha sauce to your bowl and mix.  For more of a veggie flare, add broccoli and bean sprouts.

**This recipe would be perfect for vegetarians if you omit the beef.**

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baked Cranberry Brie in Puff Pastry

Thanksgiving Food 911:

Since everyone starves themselves prior to coming over for the Thanksgiving Feast, save your sanity by having something ready and waiting for your guests upon arrival. An added bonus? It will help keep everyone out of the kitchen when you are trying to cook.

Gobble Gobble,

Baked Cranberry Brie in Puff Pastry
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 wheel of brie (8-10oz)
½ c pecans
½ c cranberries
4-5 pieces of prosciutto (optional)
2 T coarse ground Dijon Mustard
1 egg
1 T water
2 T pecans (garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a baking sheet.

Once puff pastry sheet has completely thawed, place on greased baking sheet. Roll puff pastry sheet out until it is a square shape. Place ¼ c of pecans and ¼ c of cranberries in the center of the puff pastry, place 3-4 pieces of prosciutto on top of the pecans and cranberries, and add brie to the center. Spread Dijon mustard to the top of the brie, tear the rest of the prosciutto into pieces and place on top of brie, and add the remaining ¼ c of cranberries and ¼ c of pecans. Begin to fold the puff pastry corner to corner over the cheese. Trim any excess pastry and reserve. Roll out the excess pastry, cut out 4-6 six leaves using a leaf print cookie cutter. Place the leaves around the top to help make the appetizer more festive. In a small bowl, beat egg and water until well blended. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the pastry. Smooth out any of the seams. Sprinkle remaining 2 TBSP of pecans over the top of the pastry.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Let stand for 30-45 minutes. Serve with crackers and fruit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baked Apple with Gorgonzola Filling

Thanksgiving is fast approaching!  Let’s start cooking up some recipes in preparation for Turkey Day!

Gobble Gobble,

Baked Apple with Gorgonzola Filling
3 Gals and a Kitchen

2 Granny Smith apples
4 TBSP dark brown sugar
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chili powder
2 TBSP Gorgonzola

Preheat oven to 350. Scoop out the core from the top of the apple. Create a hole in the center of the apple, but do not break through the wall. Stuff each apple with 2 TBSP dark brown sugar and 1 TBSP butter. Sprinkle cinnamon and chili powder on top of the apples before placing it in the oven. Place apples in a shallow nonstick baking dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the apples are tender. Remove from the oven and stuff 1 TBSP of gorgonzola into each apple. Spoon the excess butter from the pan onto the tops of the apples to add a shine. Serve warm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken with Jim Beam Marinade

After many laps around the grocery store I finally decided on cooking chicken for dinner tonight.  I was not in the mood the traditional chicken meals, fried chicken, teriyaki  chicken, or barbeque chicken.  I decided to open the pantry and start grabbing some of my favorite ingredients.  The Jim Beam was just an added kick to the recipe.


Chicken with Jim Beam Marinade
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 lb chicken breast, pounded
1 TBSP soy sauce
¼ c dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ c sweet onion
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 shot of Jim Beam

Heat EVOO in a medium nonstick skillet on medium high. Add soy sauce, dark brown sugar, garlic cloves, sweet onion, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and Jim Beam and heat until simmering. Proceed to add thin chicken breast and cook until the chicken has cooked all the way through.

Serve with broccoli and rice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beef Taco Bake

This is a weeknight dinner - most ingredients you'll have on hand, and it takes no time at all . I adapted the recipe from a Campbell's soup cookbook and inconveniently forgot to buy the soup. I had to improvise with tomato paste, but it ended up just perfect! Enjoy! ~Allison Y.

Beef Taco Bake
Adapted from Campbell's 1-2-3 Dinner

1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 cup thick and chunky salsa (medium)
1 (4 0z) can diced green chiles
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup milk (I used 1% to cut down calories)
6 large flour tortillas (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
sour cream (if desired)

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium skillet, brown beef over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Drain fat. Add red pepper, salsa, chiles, tomato paste, milk, tortillas, and 1/2 cup cheese. Gently stir until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese before serving.

I suggest serving this with a large dollop of sour cream and and some extra cheese (because you can never have enough cheese haha).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooky Guacamole and Bat Chips

A festive twist on traditional chips and guacamole!  I got this idea from Paula Deen's site and I'll admit, I cheated...this is a semi-homemade guacamole, but's delish and super fast!

The bat chips are made with cookie cutters and are so simple!  The same idea can be used for other holidays or even tailgates.  How cute would Clemson Tiger Paw tortilla chips be?!
Happy Halloween!!
Alison J.

Guacamole Ingredients
1 package guacamole mix (usually found in the produce section)
3 avocados (*Test for Ripeness: Press it gently with your thumb, if it feels hard it is not ripe enough.  If you can press it in a little bit, then it's perfectly ripe.  If it feels mushy - put it back because it's gone bad!)
1 tomato, chopped (optional)

Hold the avocado in one hand and gently cut around the seed and twist off the top half of the avocado.  Pull out the seed with your knife.  Scoop out the flesh of both sides and spoon into a mixing bowl.  Using a fork, mash up the avocado.  Toss in the tomatoes and combine. 

Bat Chips Ingredients
1 package soft tortillas (red, green, and orange tortillas would be neat for themed parties)
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
Bat Cookie Cutter
Garlic Pepper, Salt, Seasoning Salt, Chili Pepper, etc.  - use your favorite!  I used Garlic Pepper and Salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Using cookie cutter, cut out bats out of your tortillas.  Spread them out on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle seasonings onto chips and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.  Let them get golden brown and crunchy.

Serve with guacamole and don't forget a fake spidey for garnish!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Big Ole Burrito

For those of you who don't know, I'm back to teaching and working long hours.  I created this recipe after an especially long PTA night at our school.  Those are the nights that I fight the urge to call the closest takeout.  I enjoy playing sports, but going to the gym is the last thing on my to-do list, so my recipes need to be on the lighter side.

Here's to you my fellow working women!

Big Ole Burrito
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
½ c sweet onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) can of chili beans, drained
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 c mozzarella cheese
1 can of pizza crust dough (Pillsbury)
1 egg white
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet on medium high, add the ground turkey and brown for a few minutes; add the green pepper, red pepper, sweet onion, and continue to cook the mixture until the meat has cooked through. Add the chili beans, taco seasoning, and ½ c mozzarella cheese to the above mixture. Meanwhile, roll out the pizza dough on a nonstick baking sheet, and then pour the meat mixture onto the pizza dough. Grab opposite sides of the dough and bring to the center and twist. Do this until none of the meat mixture is showing and the burrito takes a round shape. Brush egg white on top of the burrito, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the crust browns.

Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooky Witch Hats

These baby witch hats are the perfect "something sweet" for your Halloween party!  The recipe only calls for 3 ingredients and with a steady hand, these only take moments to make.  They are great to serve as a last minute Halloween dessert!
Alison J.

1 package Fudge Striped Cookies
1 package Chocolate Kisses
1 container of Icing (I used Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing that comes in an aluminum can with 4 icing tips)

Flip over cookies and squeeze a dollop of icing into the center of the cookie (over the hole).  Unwrap a chocolate kiss and place in the center of the dollop of icing.  Using the tip that is meant for writing (description on side of icing container), slowly pipe icing into shape of a bow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Punkin Pasta

Before you try this pasta, please note that the pumpkin gives it a sweet flavor. This dish definitely has a unique taste, but Wes and I both loved it! It reminded me of macaroni and cheese with an autumn twist. I think our vegetarian followers will love this pumpkin pasta, and it's really filling as a main dish. Meat-lovers - try adding some sausage and let me know how it turns out. Happy Halloween! -Allison Y.

Punkin Pasta

Adapted from Rachel Ray's
Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta

1 pound ziti
2 tablespoons extra-virgini olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
3 to 4 cloves garlic (diced)
1 cup chicken stock
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup cream (I used half and half)
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
7 to 8 leaves fresh sage (thinly sliced)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta to al dente (see box for time). Saute chopped onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, pumpkin, and cream. Then, season with hot sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 6 minutes more to thicken sauce. Taste test and adjust seasoning as necessary. Stir in sage and toss with pasta. Top with lots of grated cheese (to taste).

Not Your Grannie's Pot Roast

Since I was awake by 7 this morning, I thought I would go ahead and toss a pot roast into the slow cooker. Autumn is my favorite time of year because I can make hearty recipes: pot roast, chili, meatloaf, and shrimp and creamy cheddar grits. Oh the possibilities are endless! XOXO, Esra

Not Your Grannie's
Pot Roast

3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 (3 LB) boneless bottom chuck roast

¼ c EVOO
1 sweet onion, diced
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped celery
4 new potatoes cubed
3 garlic cloves, diced
3 c beef broth
½ c dry white wine
1 c chopped button mushrooms
2 TBSP butter (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
2 TBSP flour
1 c skim milk

In a medium skillet, add EVOO and roast. Begin to sear the roast on all sides, go ahead and salt and pepper the roast. Meanwhile, chop the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic and set aside. Transfer the roast into the slow cooker, layer the vegetables on top of your roast, and add beef broth and white wine. Using the same medium skillet, begin to sauté chopped mushrooms in butter, stir in flour and gradually skim milk to ensure no clumps. Pour the cream of mushroom mixture on top of the roast.

Cover and cook on the low setting for 8-10 hours.

**I like using a homemade cream of mushroom mixture to help control the fat going into my recipe and using fresh ingredients adds to the flavor of the pot roast (hence why I called this recipe, "Not Your Grannie's Pot Roast").We all know our grannies like to toss in whole milk and heavy cream into their recipes.**

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skinny Jean Friendly Scrambled Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce

The weekends are for relaxing on the couch and cooking a tasty breakfast. Who says a home cooked breakfast needs to be loaded with fat?!? You don't need to compromise lower calories for taste. You can cook this without telling the kids or your significant other the healthy secrets.
They won’t even notice!


Skinny Jean Friendly Scrambled Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce

3 egg whites (save egg yolks in a separate bowl)
1 whole egg
2 TBSP skim milk
Salt/Pepper to taste
6 slices of turkey bacon
Hollandaise sauce (recipe below)

In a medium nonstick skillet, crack 3 eggs using only the egg whites (save the egg yolks in a separate bowl) and add the entire 4th egg. Add ¼ of milk (I used skim milk) and whisk vigorously until well blended. Gently and slowly stir the egg mixture as it begins to cook to ensure it will not stick to the pan. Cook until the eggs starts to scramble and have a thick appearance.

Meanwhile, cook up some turkey bacon until cooked through.

Hollandaise Sauce

3 egg yolks
½ stick of unsalted butter (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp cold water

Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside. Simmer water in a double boiler making sure the top of the boiler is over (not in) the simmering water.

In a stainless steel bowl, whisk the eggs yolks that you reserved from the scrambled egg recipe until it has doubled in size. Place the bowl on the top of the boiler, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to whisk as you add the melted butter. If the eggs appear to be cooking remove it from the heat and continue to whisk until it has a thick appearance. Once removed from the heat, add paprika, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Continue to whisk as you add in 1 tsp of cold water.

Serve the sauce warm on top of scrambled eggs, with turkey bacon, and some whole wheat toast.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paula's Shrimp and Creamy Cheddar Grits

This is an easy and amazing recipe. In the words of my guy, 'This is phenomenal' and I must agree with him. I love Paula Deen and she inspires many of the recipes that I make. I usually take her recipes and cut some of the fat out by using skim milk or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Enjoy this hearty meal!


Paula’s Shrimp and Creamy Cheddar Grits

6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped (I did not use bacon. I used EVOO when it called for bacon drippings)
½ c diced red bell pepper
½ c diced green bell pepper
½ c sweet onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP Creole seasoning
½ c dry white wine
1 lb large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP minced fresh chives
Creamy Cheddar Grits (recipe as follows)
Thinly sliced chives (optional)

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, removed bacon from pan, and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 TBSP bacon drippings in skillet (this is where I used EVOO instead since I did not use bacon in my recipe). Add peppers, garlic, and creole seasoning; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and minced chives.

Serve shrimp mixture over Creamy Cheddar grits. Sprinkle evenly with bacon, and sprinkle with
thinly sliced fresh chives. Serve immediately.

Creamy Cheddar Grits

1 (32 oz) carton reduced sodium chicken broth
1 c water
1 cup instant grits
1 c half-and-half (I used skim milk)
1 ½ c shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
3 TBSP butter
¼ tsp ground white pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth and 1 c water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add grits, stirring until combined. Return to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently, and slowly stir in half-and-half and continue to cook until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese, butter, and white pepper, stirring until cheese is melted.

Recipe courtesy of: Deen, Paula. "Paula's Shrimp and Creamy Cheddar Grits." Cooking with Paula Deen. Sept/Oct 2010 Issue: p. 69

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

After my adventure at the pumpkin patch I decided to bake a Homemade Pumpkin Pie. I have always loved Paula Deen’s good old southern cooking so I decided to try one of her Pumpkin Pie Recipes. This pie was a huge hit with my coworkers as well as my guy.
Pumpkin Pie

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed (I used a pumpkin, but in the future I will use the 100% natural canned pumpkin)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Recipe from Paula Deen (Food Network)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tailgating Fare - Clemson Style!

Now Y'all, it doesn't get much better than Clemson Tailgating!!  I must say, my first experience in Death Valley was truly awe-inspiring!  I hope you'll enjoy some of my favorite game-day recipes this season!

"Yes, there's something in these hills where the Blue Ridge yawns it's greatness."
xoxo, Alison J. 

Bacon, Onion & Cheese Hash Brown Casserole

6 slices of bacon
1 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
(1) 32 oz. package frozen, grated hash brown potatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Cheddar (or your favorite type of cheese)
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
(1) 10.75 oz. can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until golden brown and crispy.  Drain bacon strips on paper towels and crumble into pieces.  Wipe out your pan and add onions and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes; stir in potatoes.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove lid for occasional stirring.

Meanwhile, combine bacon, 1/4 cup of cheese, spring onions, sour cream, salt, pepper and soup in a large bowl.  Add potato mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 11x7 casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes on 350.  Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until bubbly and delicious-looking!

*Note: This is a great make-ahead recipe.  If refrigerated, remove and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before beginning the baking process.
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine 

Sausage and Cheese Mini Muffins are great to serve with Hash Brown Casserole!
Spinach Balls (Missy's Fave!)

(2) 10 oz. packages frozen, chopped spinach
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly minced onion

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.  Shape by rounded teaspoons into small balls.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until firm and slightly golden on top.  Makes 3-4 dozen bite-sized appetizer balls.

Quick-n-Tasty Meatball Sliders

1 package slider buns
Pre-cooked meatballs
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Pre-sliced Mozzarella Cheese

Combine meatballs in marinara sauce on the stove over medium heat until meatballs are hot throughout.  Slice cheese into squares that are approximately the size of the bun.  Slice open buns and pinch out some of the bread in the bottom half.  This creates a "bed" for the meatball!  Spoon meatballs into each roll and top with slice of cheese.  Place on either a microwaveable platter and nuke for about 15 seconds to melt the cheese.  Or if you have a large batch, place them on a baking sheet and pop in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until cheese has begun to melt.