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!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Easy, Fancy Crepes

Let me just tell you what a cool friend I have. She called me and invited our family over on a Monday night for dinner--they were serving crepes. I'm not that into crepes, but when I got there, she handed me a printed menu! She and her husband had two fancy crepe pans out and told us to place our order! I had FOUR. I ate them all. So tonight I borrowed her pans and made crepes for my in-laws, my mom and my family. Now they want to buy crepe pans and make them too! These are a complete meal and relatively easy to make. I just placed all the ingredients in glass bowls in front of the crepe station and made them as demanded.

This is only enough for 2 people. I had to quadruple it for our family.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a mixer and mix until blended, scraping down sides. Let stand an hour before serving.

Swirl 1/2 cup batter on crepe pan. Smooth with wooden crepe spreader. After about 30 seconds, flip. Spread filling--don't overdue it! A little bit of filling goes a long way. Fold into thirds and serve.

Savory Fillings

Sweet Basil & Tomato:
Basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette

Three Amigos:
Taco meat, black beans, corn, cilantro, sour cream

Sweet Italian sausage, sharp cheddar, green onions

The Italian Job: (my personal favorite)
Genoa salami, Boursin cheese, arugula, tomatoes

Cheddar & mozzarella

Sweet Fillings
Just Peachy:
Peaches, cinnamon, lemon zest, whip cream and powdered sugar

Butter, syrup and powdered sugar

Triple Chocolate:
Nutella, choc chips, white choc chips, powdered sugar

Apple Pie:
Apple pie filling, cinnamon, whip cream

Make up your own! My friend had raspberry creme, pumpkin spice and many others.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Ever!

You want a fancy, easy to make cake? You have to try this one! I've had some from local bakeries (ie Kneaders, Flour Girls & Dough Boys) and this cake could rival or beat theirs any day! I got the recipe from epicurious.com here. It's best when first assembled.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut plus additional for garnish


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (measured, then sifted)

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and 3/4 cup coconut. Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over, rounded side up. Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops of cakes to level.

For frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread). Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, flat side down, on platter. Spread half of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting over top (not sides) of cake. Sprinkle additional coconut over. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

This is my first Rachel Ray recipe and I absolutely loved it! It was simple, yet had savory, fresh ingredients and took hardly any time to make! If you need a quick dinner, try out this one. Thanks to the food network, you can see their recipe here. I made a few changes to the original.


1 1/2 to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes, sliced very thin
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 Italian mild green pepper, cubanelle, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and pepper
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli -- make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice -- chiffonade


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil, and brush foil with olive oil. Place thinly sliced potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers and onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. You may need two cookie sheets. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 20 to 22 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers and onions are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!

While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, 1 turn of the pan. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.

While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.