Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slow-Cookin' BBQ Chicken

I've been hearing about Lisa Lillien's Hungry Girl books for awhile now, and it was time I tried out one of her recipes. If all her recipes are as good (and kind to the waistline) as this one is, she will definitely be living up to the hype. I served the barbeque on honey wheat sandwich thins and bought the prepackaged cole slaw to top Wes's BBQ. I had my sandwich plain, and I couldn't stop myself from having seconds (and thirds!). Enjoy! -Allison Y.

Slow-Cookin' BBQ Chicken
Courtesy of Hungry Girl 1-2-3

1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar (not packed)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts (halved)
Optional: coleslaw and sandwich thins
Place all ingredients except chicken in the crock pot. Stir until mixed. Add chicken and coat well with the sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove all the chicken and place it in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks - one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot, and mix well with the sauce.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spicy Sausage Jambalaya

If you're looking for a quick but impressive meal, this recipe will certainly fit the bill. We love the andouille sausage at my house, so I always add a little more. I've actually used the entire 14 oz. package before, and it was delicious. Enjoy!
Allison Y.

Spicy Sausage Jambalaya
Adapated from Good Housekeeping

8 oz. turkey andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1 lb. chicken tenders, each cut in half
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small bunch green onions (sliced)

Heat 12-inch skillet on medium until hot. Add sausage and pepper, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, rice, chicken, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is just tender. Remove skillet fromt heat; stir in green onions.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Butter Rum Cake

This Rum Cake is simple because it has very few ingredients and it's made with box cake mix.  It's rich and the flavor gets better the longer it sits. 
Alison J.

Cake Ingredients
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix
1 1-3/4 oz. box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
4 eggs
1/2 c. milk or water
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 c. dark rum

Glaze Ingredients
1/2 c.butter
1/4 c.water
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark rum

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.  Combine all cake ingredients and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes.  Pour cake batter into greased bundt pan. Bake cake for 1 hour.  Let the cake cool in the pan, then invert it onto a serving platter.  With a fork, prick the entire top of the cake to create holes for the glaze.

To make the glaze, melt butter in small saucepan.  Add water and sugar and stir constantly for 5 minutes, until sugar dissolves.  Remove your pan from the heat and add the rum.  Stir until combined, and then begin spooning it on top of the cake.  It will likely puddle around the cake, but use a spoon to pick up the excess and spoon it back on top of the cake.  

Mom's Serving Suggestion:  Top rum cake with vanilla ice cream and fresh peach slices.  Unbelievably delicious!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pumpkin-Peanut Curry Noodles with Five-Spiced Seared Scallops and Shrimp

Since I got back from the beach I have been craving seafood. Don’t let the name of this recipe fool you because this recipe definitely falls into the 30 minute meal category, and many of the ingredients are staples in my kitchen.

Pumpkin-Peanut Curry Noodles
with Five-Spiced Seared Scallops and Shrimp
Courtesy of Food Network

1 pound spaghetti
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inches ginger root, minced or grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup tamari dark soy sauce, eyeball it
1 (15-ounce) can cooked pumpkin
2 rounded tablespoonfuls mild or hot curry paste (recommended: Patak's) found on international foods aisle
3 tablespoons five-spice powder
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 diver scallops, trimmed and patted dry
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then thinly sliced lengthwise into matchsticks

Heat a large pot of water for noodles. When water boils, salt it and add pasta to cook to al dente or with a bite to it.

While pasta cooks, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil. Add garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and pepper flakes to the pan and cook together a couple of minutes, then add peanut butter and melt it. Whisk soy into peanut butter, then stir in pumpkin and curry paste. The sauce will be very thick. Turn down the heat to low. Add a ladle or 2 of pasta cooking water to thin sauce a bit and simmer over low heat. Adjust salt, to taste.

Heat a small to medium skillet over high heat. Pour the five-spice powder onto a plate with some salt. Press both sides of the shrimp and scallops into the powder. Add 3 tablespoons of remaining oil to hot skillet. Place the shrimp in the pan and cook 1 minute, flip and sear the other side until just opaque. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat back up to smoking. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until opaque.

Remove scallops and add to the plate of shrimp.

Drain pasta and return pasta to the pot. Add the curry-pumpkin sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve noodles on 4 plated and top with scallions and seafood.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Green Bean Bundles

The guys in my family love this recipe. Try these bundles alongside meat and potatoes for an awesome Father's Day meal.

Here's to Dads!
Alison J.

5 cans of WHOLE green beans
1 lb of bacon (strips cut in half)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap about 10-12 beans, using a 1/2 strip of bacon and secure with a tooth pick. Place in a baking dish. Melt butter in a saucepan and add the brown sugar and soy sauce and mix well. Pour over the green bean bundles. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then, bake for 15 more minutes at 375 degrees (to make sure the bacon is fully cooked).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Do you like spicy foods? If so, this is a fiery version of your traditional mac and cheese recipes. Your hot sauce-loving friends will be begging you to make this one over and over again. My advice - get all your chopping/measuring done beforehand because a lot seems to be going on at once towards the end. Just make sure you have plenty of prep time. Enjoy! -Allison Y.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

1 pound macaroni

1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic (minced)
3/4 cup
Frank's Hot Sauce
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 pound sharp yellow cheese cut into
1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese (shredded)
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I decided to make a spin off on the traditional chicken salad and use some of my new kitchen gadgets from Pampered Chef. This recipe easily can be made into a figure friendly version by using low-fat mayo.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic
4 scallions
2 celery stalks
2 TBSP parsley
¼ c chopped yellow onion
½ tsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1 c mayo
½ feta cheese

Trim the skin and fat off of the rotisserie chicken. In a mixing bowl, toss together chicken, celery, scallions, garlic, parsley, yellow onion, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper. Add mayo, lemon juice, feta cheese and mix gently until combined.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese for the Soul

Here's one for every Southern gal who needs a tried and true macaroni and cheese recipe. This will put some "South in ya mouth!"

Alison J.

1 lb. macaroni noodles
1 stick butter
1 c. shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 c. milk
1 c. (8 oz.) Velveeta, cubed
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and be sure to heavily salt your water. Add macaroni noodles to boiling water. Cook, covered for 7 minutes. Stir a few times while it's boiling to keep the noodles from sticking. You can also add about a tablespoon of oil to the water to help prevent sticking. Drain noodles, and return to pot.

Melt butter in a microwaveable dish or in a saucepan, on low heat. Pour butter over the cooked noodles and combine. Add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese to the noodles - reserve 1/4 cup of cheddar, and 1/4 cup of Monterey Jack cheese to top the macaroni before putting it in the oven. Add 2 eggs, milk, seasoned salt and pepper to your noodles and mix well.

Pour macaroni into greased casserole dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly around the edges.

Broiled Lamb Loin Chop Balsamic Reduction

After attending the Greek Festival this weekend I had a craving for some more lamb.  I found this recipe from one of Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals and it honestly took me about 20 minutes to get dinner on the table.


Broiled Lamb Loin Chop Balsamic Reduction

2 Lamb Loin Chops
½ c balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 sprigs rosemary
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Preheat broiler

Arrange chops on the broiler pan. In a small pot, combine vinegar, sugar, rosemary, and garlic. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes to reduce heat and thicken. Remove garlic

Broil chops 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to warm serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic rosemary reduction.

Recipe compliments of Rachel Ray

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Red White and Blue Shortcake

This quick and easy recipe is perfect for 4th of July cookouts. Plus, the extra Cool Whip makes for a tasty snack!


Red, White, & Blue Shortcake

1 pint blue berries
1 1/2 quarts strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 - 2 tubs whipped topping, thawed
12 oz pound cake

Rinse strawberries and blueberries. Chop strawberries into slices. Toss strawberries in a bowl with sugar. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the pound cake into enough slices to cover the bottom of your serving dish. Cut the remainding pound cake into 1 inch cubes. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the whipped topping over the pound cake slices. Then, evenly spread 1/4 cup chopped strawberries and 1/4 cup blueberries on top. Add pound cake cubes and then repeat layers. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi Burgers

Wes brought home tuna last summer. We ate it every night for a week, and before long, I didn't want to even look at another piece of tuna. So far, we haven't gotten sick of mahi after three nights in a row. The trick is to find a variety of recipes. We loved these mahi burgers with a Hawaiian flare. Wes ate three in one sitting! Enjoy!
xoxo~ Allison Y.

Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi Burgers
Adapted from Recipezaar

1 pound mahi mahi fillet, cut into chunks
1/4 cup cilantro leaf
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove (minced)
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons sesame oil

King's Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple slices

1. Combine the fish, cilantro, hoisin, mayo, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Pat into 4 patties. Chill for 1 to 4 hours (or 20 minutes in the freezer).
2. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fish burgers and cook for 3 minutes per side or until just cooked through.
3. Serve on toasted buns with mayo and extra hoisin. Top with lettuce and pineapple slices.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Potato-Horseradish-Crusted Mahi-Mahi

My hubbie is my biggest cheerleader in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure he learned long ago that he gets extra brownie points when he makes a big deal over the meals I prepare. I can tell which recipes he's crazy over when he tells everyone who will listen about my supreme cooking skills with special emphasis on this meal or that. The Potato-Horseradish-Crusted Mahi-Mahi is one he hasn't stopped talking about. I hope you enjoy this one as much as he does!
Allison Y.

Potato-Horseradish-Crusted Mahi-Mahi
Recipe courtesy of

1 cup precooked shredded potatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds mahi-mahi, skin removed, cut into 4 portions
4 Tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 lemon, quartered

Combine potatoes, shallot, horseradish, mustard, garlic salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread each portion of fish with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, then top with one-fourth of the potato mixture, pressing the mixture onto the fish.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the fish in the pan potato-side down and cook until crispy and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn the fish over, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges.

For a healthy, tasty, and easy side try...

Roasted Asparagus
Adapted from

1 pound fresh asparagus spears (the thicker the better)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Rinse clean the asparagus. Chop off the tough ends and discard. Put the asparagus in a gallon sized zipper bag. Pour in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Zip the bag and shake until asparagus are lightly coated in olive oil. Lay the asparagus out in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Place pan in the oven and roast approximately 10 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.

Pecan & Parmesean Crusted Mahi Mahi

For those of you who don't already know, my husband is a fishing fanatic. He loves anything and everything having to do with off-shore fishing. Some women dutifully watch football, basketball, and baseball to keep their sweeties appeased. I, on the other hand, watch Saltwater Sunday on ESPN.

As you can imagine, it was only a short matter of time before he got me offshore. My favorite memory of fishing was spent onboard Winn's Cin down in Hatteras. My best fisherbuddies - Winn, Cindy, Carman (aka Baby C), and Wes - patiently taught me how to fish, and we spent hours bailing one dolphin after another (aka Mahi-Mahi). We came home with so much fish that we didn't know what to do with it all! It was time to start hunting for yummy recipes.

I have been so excited for the summer season to come! I have oodles of fish recipes coming your way now that I've got a bunch of fresh fish coming my way. We'll start with one of Baby C's recommendations - Pecan and Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi. Enjoy!
Allison Y.

Pecan and Parmesan Crusted Mahi-Mahi
Courtesy of Baby C's Kitchen

1 pound mahi-mahi
1 cup shelled pecans
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pulse pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly combine the pecans with the Parmesan cheese - set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and Worcestershire sauce. Cut the mahi into serving sized pieces (about 2 inches thick). Dip each piece of mahi into the egg/milk mixture before dropping it into the pecan/Parmesan mixture. Generously coat each piece of fish so that it has a crusty covering all around. Place the mahi into the greased casserole dish. Bake for about 20 minutes until the center of the fish is white and flaky. Baking time may be a little shorter/longer depending on the thickness of the fish.