Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy Taco Bake

After our adventures with Hurricane Irene we have yet to restock our fridge. The best meals sometimes come when you think you have nothing in the fridge or the pantry. Putting together a little bit of this and a little bit of that can turn into a household favorite.

Enjoy my version of a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Easy Taco Bake
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 lb of your meat of choice (ground sausage, ground turkey or ground beef…whatever your
1 can of refrigerated Thin Pizza Crust
1 7 oz can of diced tomatoes w/ jalapenos
1 c of crushed Tostitos
4 slices of American cheese
Packet of taco seasoning
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 c of cooked fresh corn

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease a cookie sheet.

In a medium skillet on medium-high heat, brown the meat until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, on a cookie sheet roll out the refrigerated thin pizza crust, sprinkle crushed Tostitos lengthwise down the dough, and lay cheese evenly over the Tostitos. Drain all the liquid from the diced tomatoes and evenly distribute on top of the cheese.

Drain the meat, spread evenly on top of the diced tomatoes. Sprinkle ½ the packet of taco seasoning over the mixture.

Carefully fold dough over filling; pinch edges or press with fork to seal securely.

Carefully fold dough over filling; pinch edges or press with fork to seal securely. Brush with egg. Sprinkle taco seasoning all over the dough. Bake about 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with black beans and fresh corn.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mama's Chocolate Chip Cake

I love going "home" to visit my mama, and I feel especially lucky when I get one of her home cooked meals. I don't know what it is about moms, but somehow they always cook it better than we do! Anyway, despite the both of us trying to eat healthier, she made this scrumptious chocolate dessert. We couldn't walk away from it and had to give the rest away to my in-laws just to stop ourselves!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did... and the bonus is that it's so super easy. I can't promise it'll be as good as my mama's, but I'm sure it'll come close ;)
-Allison Y.

Mama's Chocolate Chip Cake

1 package yellow cake mix with pudding
1/2 cup sugar
1 package instant chocolate pudding (3 oz.)

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 large eggs

1 carton sour cream (8 oz.)
1 cup chocolate chip morsels

vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix with wire whisk: cake mix, sugar, and instant chocolate pudding. Add water, oil, and eggs. Stir. Next, stir in sour cream and chocolate chip morsels. Pour into the bundt pan and bake for one hour or until a tooth pick come out clean. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Banana Muffins

I continually buy bananas and let them turn brown before I ever get a chance to eat them. Instead of throwing them away this morning, I used two medium-sized bananas to make these little muffins. Luckily, I had all the ingredients needed in my cupboard, which is a rarity! I can't wait to have one with my coffee tomorrow. Hey moms, this would be a good back to school breakfast treat next week! :)


Allison Y.

Banana Coconut Muffins

Adapted from
Gourmet Magazine

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about a cup)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

*This recipe calls for a muffin tin with 8 muffin cups. My tin holds 12 muffins, but I did not use them all. To prevent your muffin tin from warping, put a few tablespoons of water in each of the cups not in use.

Preheat oven to 375. Grease the bottom and sides of your muffin (or cupcake) tin, or line muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together bananas, butter, sugar, nutmeg, sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup coconut in a large bowl until combined well. Then, fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened.

Spoon batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining coconut. Bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are puffed and golden. Transfer muffins to a cooling rack until ready to serve.

*These are best served warm with a little with a smear of butter.

We Want Morzo Orzo!

This side-dish was recently served at a potluck cookout, and I didn't rest until I got the recipe (thanks Trish!). I ate more than my fair share and even took some home. The good news is that the orzo in this recipe goes a long way, so plenty was left for the other guests to enjoy!

We were hunkered down waiting for Hurricane Irene to storm through town.
I made this Friday night to last the whole weekend. Wes loved it, so it's husband approved... even without any meat!

Happy eating!
Allison Y.

Orzo, Pine Nut, and Feta Salad
Courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

1 pound orzo - I found this pasta at Walmart.
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted - The bag I bought was already toasted, but you can toast your own in the oven at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes.
1 1/2 cups feta, crumbled
1 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Cook orzo according to package directions in salted water. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Then add hot orzo and toss. Cool orzo completely. I put mine in the fridge to speed up the process. Finally, toss the orzo with pine nuts, feta, and scallion greens. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tips for finding, cutting, and pitting an avocado

When going to the Farmer's Market or the grocery store picking the perfect avocado can be a frustrating task. 

Finding the perfect avocado:

Give the avocado a squeeze and if it does not yield at all then it is too firm and not ripe just yet.  If you are able to press the skin and it yields a little, but still returns to its original shape then it is ripe.  However, if you press the skin and it dents the avocado, then it is bruised and past it ripeness. 

I also like to check to see if this fruit is still good by pulling of the stem.  If it is still green you have the perfect avocado.  However, if it is brownish under there, it is bad and will be filled with brown spots.  I do not recommend buying an avocado that has brown under the stem.

Cutting and pitting an avocado:
1. Cut the ripened avocado right down the center. Rotate the fruit right around the knife. That allows it to open it easily.

2. Take your knife and very carefully aim and hack the pit and it will pull right out.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hanover Bloody Mary Mix

Tis’ the season for Hanover Tomatoes. Hanover Tomatoes are hands down one of my favorites and I enjoy trying various recipes that allow me to use them. Why not make your own bloody mary mix with these homegrown wonders?!?

Hanover Bloody Mary Mix
3 Gals and a Kitchen

2 Hanover tomatoes
1 avocado
¼ c lime juice
2 TBSP prepared horseradish
2 TBSP chili lime hot sauce
1 TBSP ground mustard
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
¼ c water

Using a blender puree the Hanover Tomatoes. Peel an avocado and add it to the blender, continue to puree until mixture is smooth. Add lime juice, horseradish, chili lime hot sauce, ground mustard, salt, pepper, and soy sauce and continue to mix. At this point, taste the mixture to determine how spicy you like your bloody mary. I prefer to have a kick so I added 1 TBSP of crushed red pepper flakes. Puree the entire mixture to ensure all of the ingredients have blended well. Add water to help thin the mixture.

In a glass, add ice, 1 jigger of premium vodka, and Hanover Bloody Mary Mix.

Garnish with a celery stalk, dill pickle, or olives.

Serves 4 - Feel free to freeze and save any extra bloody mary mix.

Still have leftover Hanover Tomatoes? Give our Tomato Pie recipe a try.

Tips when cutting and pitting an avocado:

1. Cut the ripened avocado right down the center. Rotate the fruit right around the knife. That allows it to open it easily.

2. Take your knife and very carefully aim and hack the pit and it will pull right out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Twist on the Turkey Burger

Growing up, a burger was a plain old burger at my house - usually topped with American cheese and a little mustard and ketchup. I don't recall my mom ever adding anything to the meat before grilling up the patties on the 4th of July. Boy were we missing out! Every time I turn around, I seem to find another great twist on the turkey burger. I served these with sweet potato fries, and the meal was a hit at my house.

I hope your summer is treating you well!
Allison Y.

Grilled Turkey Burgers
Adapted from

1 (1.25 oz.) package Jennie-O Ground Turkey
1/2 small onion, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon mayo - I used the light version.
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste

Don't forget to buy:
cheese slices

hamburger buns
tomato slices

Combine ground turkey with the onion, parsley, basil, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well but do not over mix or your patties will get messy.

Use the mixture to shape 4 patties that are about 1 inch thick. Grill over medium-high heat until they are cooked through, usually 6-7 minutes each side. Top with cheese slices to melt cheese before serving on burger buns.

I topped mine with sliced avocado and sliced Roma tomatoes - although I bet many of you are itching to use your Hanover tomatoes, which would also be terrific! I also like to mix together a little extra mayo and Dijon mustard to make a creamy topping to spread onto the buns.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oven Fried Zucchini

One of my favorite things about the summer is collecting fresh veggies from all my friends who enjoy gardening. I am not a savvy gardener, and even if I were, the deer out where Wes and I live eat everything we try to grow! Anyway, these zucchini bites are really yummy dipped in ranch dressing. The bonus is they're oven fried, so you can indulge without the guilt.

Happy gardening (or shopping farmers' markets)!
Allison Y.

Oven Fried Zucchini
Slightly Adapted from Weight Watchers Weekly

cooking spray
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 1/2 flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried Italian style bread crumbs
3 large egg whites
2 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons Ranch dressing (I use the light version.)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Cut 2 medium zucchini in half crosswise. Then cut each half into 8 pieces lengthwise. I used larger zucchini, so I cut mine one extra time to make smaller slices.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix Italian seasoning, flour, and salt. Place dried bread crumbs on a large plate. In a separate bowl (use one large enough to fit your zucchini slices), whisk egg whites until they appear frothy.

One at a time, dredge each zucchini piece in the flour mixture. Then dip zucchini into egg whites. Finally, dredge it in bread crumbs. When finished preparing all of your "fries," place zucchini on the baking sheet. Use the cooking spray to coat the zucs with cooking spray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn once halfway through. Allow a few minutes to cool. Serve with Ranch dressing.

Note: You may need to shorten your roasting time to get your desired crispness.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BBQ Chicken Rollup

This recipe was a huge success with the boyfriend and I didn’t even feel guilty licking my plate clean. Enjoy sinning without the fear of busting out of your yellow polka dot bikini.


BBQ Chicken Rollup
3 Gals and a Kitchen

11/2 lbs chicken breast
1 TBSP garlic salt
1 TBSP seasoned salt
½ tsp cayenne
2 TBSP paprika
1 tsp chili powder
¼ c crumbled blue cheese (low-fat)
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Flatten chicken to ¼ inch thickness. Mix together the spices to create a barbecue rub. Coat both sides of the chicken with the rub. Evenly sprinkle blue cheese over the chicken breast. Slice red and orange peppers and place a few strips on top of the blue cheese. Roll up the chicken from the short side and tuck the ends in; secure with a toothpick.

Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through. About 20-25 minutes.

Serve with veggies, avocado, or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beef and Vegetable Medley

The summer is upon us and that means one thing….trips to the farmers market for fresh vegetables.


Beef and Vegetable Medley
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 lb beef tips
1 green pepper
1 medium eggplant
1 medium onion
1 c mushrooms
1 c yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper (optional)
Preheat a medium non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Chop green peppers, eggplant, onion, and mushrooms and add to skillet. Cook until the onions are translucent.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, cook beef tips on medium-high heat. Once the meat is almost done cooking add the cooked vegetables and let cook for a 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve the meat & vegetable mixture over rice and spoon yogurt on top. I like my food with a little kick so I added crushed red pepper on top of the yogurt.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finger Lickin' Drumsticks

I am back! Yes, I took a couple months off to experiment with some new recipes and try creating some things that are healthy yet tasty. Here is a recipe that will meet your sweet and spicy taste buds in one meal.


Finger Lickin’ Drumsticks

6 medium chicken drumsticks, without skin for a low- cal recipe
1 c chicken broth
¼ c low sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP Sriracha hot sauce
¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves
2 packets of Splenda
1 tsp crushed red peppers
2 TBSP cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tsp ginger
1 small onion, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
½ c button mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350.

Place all of the ingredients into a large gallon sized Ziploc bag and allow it to marinade for 30 minutes. Evenly place all of the ingredients and marinade onto a nonstick baking sheet. Allow the chicken to cook for 20 minutes, and then roll each of the pieces over and cook for another 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mouth Watering White Sauce

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to get creative with vegetables. This recipe incorporates a number of vegetables and even the pickiest of eaters will love this. In the words of my guy, ‘This is the best sauce you’ve made yet.’


Mouth Watering White Sauce

½ c mushrooms, chopped
½ c onion, chopped
1 c light cream
¼ c butter (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
1 clove garlic
4 oz gorgonzola cheese
4 oz cream cheese
¼ c red pepper, chopped
¼ c parsley
3 c fresh spinach
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb of scallops or the meat of your choice (I used scallops since that is what I had in my fridge)

In a large non-stick skillet, start to sauté the mushrooms and onions. After the mushrooms and onions start to soften, add the cream and butter. Let cream and butter simmer for 5 minutes. Add garlic, gorgonzola, cream cheese, red pepper, parsley, spinach (this would be the time to add the scallops or the pre-cooked meat). Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes until all the cheese has melted.

Serve the sauce over pasta or you can add this sauce on top of a steak. If you like the taste of onions sprinkle green onions on top of your dish before serving.