Monday, August 30, 2010

Banana-Avocado Face Mask

1/2 banana

1/2 avocado

2 tablespoons full-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon olive oil

Here’s a recipe of a different kind - while probably not all that tasty, it leaves your skin soft and refreshed. I actually put in the effort to look nice the other day (this is like spotting a yeti…an extremely rare occurrence and not many people get to see it) but when I went to put on makeup, I realized I’ve been so busy that my skin was awful. I was dry and flaky on my forehead and my chin was like a slip and slide with all that oil – gross! This is a quick and tested way to energize your skin, moisturizing and clearing away that dead skin at the same time.

Puree all the ingredients together in a blender then apply to your freshly washed face and leave on for about 15 minutes (if you’re hot-blooded like me, after 10 minutes this thing is melting off your face) Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and go forth and glow.

PS – not all is lost if you’re hungry – get some girlfriends together, crack open a bottle of wine, do a mask and whip up some of Jenny's Easy Crab Dip or my Buffalo Chicken Dip... Girl's Night!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pumpkin Biscuits

Maybe I'm jumping the gun a bit on fall flavors, but I can't help myself.  For once, it wasn't a thousand degrees here and felt a breeze (that wasn't fraught with an overwhelming amount of humidity) hit my face.  I got excited for fall, it's true.  I also get excited about biscuits pretty frequently, so I figured that this would be one heck of a great post. 

1 and 1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)

1/2 stick softened butter

2 to 4 tablespoons milk (depending on consistency of the dough)

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix pumpkin and softened butter together.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin and butter.  Gradually add the milk to the dough - the dough should not be too dry or too wet.  Knead the dough lightly on a floured board.  Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick, and use a cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut circles in the dough.  Place the cut biscuits on a greased pan, and brush the tops with butter.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.  

These are great for desserts, or breakfast, or a side item with a delicious fall meal (try Restaurant Quality Chicken or Rose's Not Your Mom's Meatloaf).  Basically, these things are savory and sweet bites of pure pumpkin heaven! 

One more tip - if you want to add a bit more fall flavor, try adding some cinnamon or nutmeg into the dry mixture when you're making the biscuits.  Deeee-lish!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Restaurant Quality" Chicken

The name comes from my lovely roommate - I made this chicken one night with ingredients we had in the pantry and it was a flavorful and delicious hit.  There's definitely a "comfort food" quality about this dish.  Here's a little tip/confession - I'm not ashamed to say that I LOVE boxed rice pilaf (I'm a Rice-A-Roni girl).  And it's the perfect compliment to this dish.  You could definitely serve it with Rose's garlic mashed potatoes instead though - yum yum.  That would definitely kick it up a notch.  I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much garlic.  I think it's almost dinner time!

4 boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon garlic salt (sounds like a lot, but it's so worth it)

1 tablespoon italian seasoning OR oregano (remember, this is a "whatever you have on hand" thing)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Take a baking dish (I usually use a corningware dish - they are extremely easy to clean) and drizzle a good amount of olive oil on the bottom of the dish.  Place the chicken in the dish and drizzle the top with olive oil.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together and cover the top of the chicken with the mixture, making sure there is no chicken showing.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
15 red skin potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Coat in olive oil, cover, and bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook for 15-20 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place roasted garlic, milk, parmesan cheese, and butter into the bowl with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash until creamy and smooth.
Something tells me this would be the perfect side for Jenny’s Chicken Marsala.  Spoon all that extra delicious sauce over these bad boys and revel in the perfection you just created. Go ahead, revel.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Ooh, the decadence. Make these and you’ll be a baking rock star. Bring these with you and make friends wherever you go. They are a bit time consuming to make, but really easy. Start off by baking your favorite white cupcakes. I cheat and use a box mix. Really are they that different? No. Flour, sugar, the basics. Use the time when the cupcakes are baking to make the raspberry filling:

1 package (16 oz) frozen raspberries packed in sugar, thawed

1/3 cup sugar

3 T cornstarch

1 t lemon juice

Drain the berries, saving the liquid and adding enough water to the juice to have 1 ¼ cups. In a saucepan, combine that liquid with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely and stir in the berries.

When your cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to cut a cone shape where the raspberry sauce is going to make a happy home. Mmm, biting into a fluffy white cupcake and finding a luscious surprise in the middle. After you cut the cone shape, cut off the pointy end so there will be a hole in the middle of the cupcake, and reserve the top to fit back on once it’s filled. Use a pastry bag or a ziplock with a cut corner to fill the cupcakes with the raspberry sauce and then put the “hat” back on top. It should look like a normal, unadulterated cupcake. To top it off, use a star tip to frost them with my delicious ganache frosting recipe. You could use milk or dark, but I think it's best using white chocolate.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lime Jello with Pears

The sad part is, this dish is just as easy as it sounds.  What you see is what you get.  The flavor combination is OUT OF THIS WORLD though, and with it being summer, refreshing desserts are always a treat.  People actually ask my mom to bring this to family dinners.  Maybe it looks more fancy than it's a really pretty dessert that will definitely brighten up your table and wake up your tastebuds!

1 large package of lime jello

1 large can of pear halves

Prepare the jello according to to the directions on the package.  Pour the jello mixture into a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish.  Take the pear halves and place them face down, in rows, evenly throughout the pan.  Chill in the refrigerator according to the directions on the jello package.  Cut into squares and serve (I usually use glass dishes since you can see how pretty it is that way).  Enjoy!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baked Chicken Parm

I made this dish this past weekend and I was feeling totally inspired to share it with you.  If you love melty, cheesy, saucy deliciousness, then this is for you.  I kind of made this dish up on a whim - I was attempting to make all my favorites without actually pan frying anything.  This is a one-pot meal that will knock your socks off with its simplicity and overall tastiness.  Yes, I'm excited, okay?

1 package fresh chicken breasts (thin is preferred -about five to six pieces)

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon italian seasoning

olive oil

1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce (tomato basil is delicious, and if you can find it, Del Grosso)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded italian blend cheese (you can find this pre-bagged)

First, trim the chicken and prep it by seasoning it with salt and pepper, and then rubbing it with a little bit of the olive oil.  Next, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and italian seasoning.  Dredge breasts in this mixture.  Add some of the sauce to the bottom of a baking dish and then place the chicken in the dish - try to make sure they have enough room, but it's okay if they overlap a bit.  Cover the top of the chicken with sauce and make sure there are no areas that are exposed - you want to seal in the deliciousness and this helps the chicken to not dry out.  Next, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the sauce, cover with a lid or foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover the chicken, add the fresh shredded cheese all over the top, and continue to bake until golden and bubbly.