Tired of endlessly flipping through cookbooks and websites for recipes?

I'm here for you! I try out recipes and post the successes, so you don't have to waste time on failures. I only post the VERY BEST recipes I try out. You can be confident that if you plan to serve any of these, they will be a success! Don't substitute or you will not get the same result!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate Shortcake with Huckleberries

Every summer, my family and I go to Island Park Reservoir in Idaho. One of our favorite treats to get while we're there is anything with fresh huckleberries. I've not yet found a place you can buy huckleberries except in Idaho. Huckleberries are sweet and have no seeds, which makes them the ideal berry in my opinion. This recipe is a wonderful summer treat. See the original here.


  • 1.5 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained (or raspberries)
  • 1.5 pint huckleberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Powdered sugar


In a large bowl combine the fruit, sugar and gin. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter to the dry ingredients, and mix well with fingertips or a pastry blender to incorporate and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and milk, and mix just until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough. Cooks note: I do this entire step in a food processor.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the batter onto the sheet in 1/4-cup dollops, leaving 2 inches of space between each, and gently smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Keep cold until ready to use.

Transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool. Carefully split the shortcakes horizontally and place the bottom half on each of 6 dessert plates. Top with a heaping tablespoon of berries and cream, then top with the remaining shortcake halves. Top with the remaining berries and cream, and garnish by sifting powdered sugar over each serving. Serve immediately.

Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

The Neelys on the Food Network are one of my new favorite sources for recipes. This is my absolute favorite BBQ chicken recipe. Make a LOT and then use the leftover on salads! See the original recipe here.



  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 (4 pound chicken) cut into 10 pieces, patted dry with paper towels


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup Neely's BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice


Mix the orange juice, olive oil, hot sauce, mustard, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grill to medium direct heat. Let chicken come to room temperature before grilling.

Drain the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Grill on each side for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover the lid of the grill. Continue cooking the chicken until it's cooked through, about 25 minutes more.

While the chicken is grilling, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the grill. Whisk in the honey, orange juice, BBQ sauce, zest, mustard and allspice. Reserve some of the glaze in a small ramekin for serving.

Brush the chicken pieces with glaze, then flip the chicken, glaze side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Brush second side of the chicken with glaze and flip again. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Remove the chicken from grill to a platter and serve with reserved glaze.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Father's Day Recipe Ideas!

We had Father's Day a week early with, celebrating with a fabulous BBQ. Here are the recipes that were a huge hit:
Honey Glazed Grilled Pineapple (wow)
Grilled Chicken with a Balsamic BBQ Sauce (awesome standard for BBQs)
Fruit Dip (I've tried several recipes and this is by far the best)
Sage and Applesauce Pork (none left. a divine experience)

Honey Glazed Grilled Pineapple:


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice of 2 limes (depending on how juicy the limes are)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch thick rings, core removed


In a baking dish, mix together the honey, lime juice, and cinnamon. Place the pineapple slices in the glaze and let marinate 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place the pineapple slices on the preheated grill. Grill on both sides until the glaze caramelizes and grill marks form, about 2 minutes per side.

Chicken or Steak with a Balsamic BBQ Sauce:


For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken or steak:

  • 4 pieces chicken (any combination of breast or leg-and-thigh pieces) or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the BBQ sauce:


Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak:

Place a  grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.

Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees F for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees F for well done (about 9 minutes per side). Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Fruit Dip:


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Pineapple juice


Soften cream cheese and then whip with powdered sugar. Whip cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks. Combine beaten cream cheese, whipped cream, lemon juice and zest; continue to beat, adding just enough pineapple juice to achieve desired consistency. Serve with fresh fruit tray or fruit salad.

Applesauce and Sage Pork


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin, tied at 1/2-inch intervals
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced parsnips (I substituted carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced turnips
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger


Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the pork with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the Essence and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Sear the pork in the hot pan for 2 minutes on each of the four sides, and on the two ends as well. Place the pork in a slow cooker and add the chicken stock to the pot. Lay the parsnips and turnips around the pork, salt them with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and place the lid over the crock pot. Turn the heat up to high and cook the roast for 3 hours.
While the roast is cooking, combine the applesauce, sugar, vinegar, sage, rosemary and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir. Cook until the applesauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. After the roast has cooked for 3 hours, pour the glaze over the top and replace the lid. Continue to cook for 1 hour longer, until very tender. Serve with the pan juices.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roasting the Perfect Turkey

I'll just come out and say it: I've never cooked a turkey before. I'm a little embarrassed since I supposedly like to cook :). So I found this recipe on the Food Network with high ratings. I had to google "how to prepare a turkey" since I didn't have any clue.

So, for those of you who haven't cooked a turkey before, the only thing you have to do is remove the innards from the rear of the turkey (but they are packed in paper so they aren't too gross) AND remove the neck from the front of the turkey. The turkey also must be completely thawed.

The brine gave the turkey a wonderful flavor. Also, the cooking times listed below are right on, creating just the right amount of moisture in the meat (meaning, it's not too dry!). This recipe is completely delicious.


1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock (you can make this homemade or use vegetable broth if you don't have time)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (whole allspice)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage

Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. (OR just buy a fresh one!)

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

The day you'd like to eat the turkey:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. Cover breast of turkey with foil. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 3 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

This sauce MADE my first turkey dinner. It's like candy and blends perfectly with a traditional turkey dinner. Find the original recipe here--I made some alterations to thicken the sauce.


2 cups apple juice
1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 cup sugar
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 teaspoons corn starch


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the apple juice, cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove 8 ounces of the liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch-juice mixture (slurry) to the cranberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, about one hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Coconut Bundt Cake with Pineapple Glaze

I was thinking of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when I saw this recipe (you know when the guy's family brings the bundt cake and the Greek mom puts a plant in the middle since it has a hole in it?) So I thought I'd give it a whirl and wow! This cake is amazing. I had to make some alterations to the cooking time and to the glaze, but it turned out oh so delicious. My mother-in-law and my husband had two servings (that never happens). The original recipe is on the food network here.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Pineapple Glaze, recipe follows
1/2 cup flaked coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (or butter thoroughly) and dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Once incorporated, add the extracts. Stir in the coconut milk and beat until combined. Add 1/2 cup flaked coconut. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes-1 hour. Cool cake 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack. Let cool completely on the rack.

Once the cake has cooled, ladle the glaze over the cake, and top with flaked coconut. Let glaze set before serving.

Pineapple Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons pineapple juice

In a mixing bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and the pineapple juice together until smooth.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Five Layer Bars

This is a quick, easy recipe. It literally takes five minutes to throw together. For a fun comfort-food! I got it from the Food Network, with some alterations.

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional--I didn't use them, but I think nuts corrupt chocolate)
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ingredients of mix over crumb mixture. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the layers. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into bars.