Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

August 26, 2011

Cherry-Topped Baked Oatmeal (Gluten-free)

Good morning!  I made something for breakfast, and now it reeks of heaven in here!  This morning I was in a creative mood, and decided to whip up some baked oatmeal.  I'd read the recipe a hundred times over in The New Cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens (my cooking bible, if you will), and thought it was lacking something.  So I added some sweet, juicy, rich cherries on top.  That did it.  I make oatmeal at least once per week, adding weird things to it and cooking it at different lengths to see how it affects the texture.  Weird, I know.  But I love breakfast, and oats are such a big part of that first meal of the day!

Now nowhere in here am I going to say that this is a "healthy" breakfast.  It's better for you than cinnamon rolls or a Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage sandwich, but it still has plenty of sugar and butter to go around.  I suppose you could make it healthy by adding or subtracting a few ingredients, but this is how I like it, and this is how it's going to be presented to you.  My mother in-law doesn't typically like things that are too too sweet, so I think if you're with her on that then I'd stick to the basic recipe and not do the topping, or add dried fruits to the oatmeal instead.  On a side note, this is a gluten-free recipe for those of you who are in search of such recipes!

This will be something I will serve to my kids one day on a cold morning.  It's warm, comforting and sweet with just the right hint of oats and nuts.  Jhet also came in, tried it, and said it would make a great dessert if it was topped with ice cream!  Great gravy!  Either way, this stuff's good.  Patting myself on the back.

August 23, 2011

Sexy Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan

This is a meal I usually make when I feel the need to amp things up a bit.  Light some candles on the dinner table, bust out your favorite red, whip up a simple Caesar salad and enjoy this dish.  Seriously.  It might even enhance your love life; who knows.  I like to finish it all off with a lemon sorbet, a whipped chocolate mousse, or something light to contrast the heaviness of this course.
It takes a little bit of broiling, some layering and is a little higher budget than I normally go with meals.  Maybe that's what makes it special, that and its sumptuous presence on my plate and pallet.  Regardless, it is enjoyable. If you aren't convinced that this might rock your world by now, then shame on you!
Use fresh ingredients on this one.  Hand-grate the Parmesan cheese, use fresh basil, and organic (still canned) tomatoes.  It makes a difference!  If basil isn't in season, you can use a teaspoon of dried marjoram and add it with the salt.  Don't use dried basil though!  It just isn't the same. 

August 16, 2011

Salmon Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise

This may seem a little creepy and ironic to mention in this post, but I got a new betta fish!  My husband and I have four fish tanks combined.  I lost my last fish, Darth Betta, about a month ago and just got Dracula last week.  He's awesome.  Here's his photo.
These salmon burgers are a zesty, unique dish with Asian-inspired flavors like ginger and panko crumbs.  Panko are a type of breadcrumb used in Japanese dishes and don't contain nearly as many funky preservatives and additives as "American" processed breadcrumbs.  They are light, slightly crunchy and add good texture to the burgers.
The awesome thing about this meal is that you can make these burgers ahead of time and let them marinate in the fridge for up to eight hours.  Sweet!  Don't forget that you'll need 30 minutes of marinating time minimum in order to "set" the burgers properly.
If you're going to make this, I highly suggest using a food processor to grind the salmon.  I haven't tried using a blender but if you do, I would add the salmon in small portions to ensure even grinding.

The lime-mayo sauce is a perfect compliment to the burgers and I feel is completely necessary to really bring out the flavors of the salmon.  I'm sure you could use light mayo or yogurt if you're watching calories.  I used olive-oil mayo to make it and it was great.  I don't even like mayonnaise OR red onion, but it just works so perfectly with the burgers that I piled it on!

One thing to be careful with is the fish.  Like I've said before, I'm learning my way around the kitchen.  I bought the salmon and skinned it successfully, but didn't check it for bones.  I know, I know, gross.  So make sure you thoroughly check your fillet! I just realized you can even see them in the photo!  Agh.  Two of the burgers were fine, and the other two, well, they weren't so great.  Watch for bones!

August 9, 2011

Printable Versions Coming Soon!


I'm ecstatic to announce that all recipes will soon have a printable version available!  Just look for the "Printable Version" link under the recipe's title in the post, click, and print!  Yay!  Maybe I'm a little too excited about this, but all of this blogging business is new territory for me...
Thanks for following along!

Blueberry-Banana Breakfast Muffins

I know I've been posting quite a few blueberry recipes lately, but 'tis the season and baby, am I in love with summer fruits!  These muffins are subtly sweet, addicting, and easy to make.  I like to bake them Sunday night, cool them and store them for the following week.  They're a great source of vitamins and proteins and are perfect for grabbing on the way out the door.

The original recipe called for raisins, and it tastes good with dried cranberries as well if you don't have blueberries on hand.  I personally like it better with warm, slightly sweet berries in the middle!  These are, in my opinion, some of the best breakfast muffins out there.  They have a small amount of dark brown sugar that's loaded with iron-packed molasses, and use olive oil instead of butter (a monounsaturated fat source that, like avocados and salmon, are better "fats" for your body).  The addition of shredded carrots and a ripened banana sweetens the deal without adding too much sugar.