Thursday, July 16, 2009

Balsamic vinegar is love.

This past weekend we had my hubby's sister and her husband over for dinner and some Trivial Pursuit on the Play Station.

While recipe planning a few weeks back I came across a recipe on a local recipe site for Balsamic Chicken with Angel Hair. I decided that that was a fine jumping off point but I knew I wanted to change the recipe up a bit and come up with my own concoction.

It turned out so well that my non-cook of a sister in law even asked for the recipe! Delicious!

Enjoy :)

Balsamic Chicken and Angel Hair with Zucchini



4 chicken breast, boneless skinless
1 pound angel hair pasta
4 medium, quartered and sliced zucchini
1/2 of a small red onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 - 8 leaves, fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese


1 - Begin cooking angel hair pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water; reserve ¼ cup of pasta water.

2 - Cube chicken breasts & season with salt & pepper. In a fry pan coated with olive oil, saute onions & garlic until soft; remove from heat.

3 - Add chicken to same pan & sauté, do not cook through yet. Add onions and garlic back in. Stir to combine then add sliced zuchinni. Cover and simmer on low heat.

4 - Toast pine nuts in a dry pan until lightly browned.

5 - Add pine nuts, balsamic, & reserved pasta water to chicken mixture. Continue to cook uncovered until chicken is cooked through; add basil chiffonade at last minute prior to removing from heat.

6 - To serve, spoon mixture over angel hair pasta & top with parmesan cheese.

Helloooo Secret Baker :)

On the fabulous message board that I frequent, we tried our first ever baking exchange. It's basically like Secret Santa (we used the website but with yummy baked goods!

When I picking something to bake, I had to think logistically, since the baked goods needed to be packable, mailable, and not very melty! I have a basic coffee cake recipe that I've used in the past for your standard cinnamon style but I decided to mix it up a bit and turn the typical coffee cake into an Almond Joy Loaf. I took all the elements of a great coffee cake (moist, rich cake) and added in all the fabulousness of an Almond Joy (almonds, chocolate, and coconut!).

Enjoy :)

PS: I received rave reviews from the loaf's recipient Jessi! Hope you enjoyed the loaf!!

Almond Joy Loaf



1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups divided sugar
2 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup slivered almonds


1 - Combine 1/2 cup sugar, coconut, chocolate chips, and almonds in a separate bowl. Set aside.

2 - Cream butter and 1 cup sugar together with a paddle attachment on your mixer. Add eggs. Beat in vanilla. Mix until smooth and well combined.

3 - Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.

4 - Spoon 1/2 the batter into a greased tube pan.

5 - Sprinkle 1/2 of the coconut mix over the batter. Add remaining batter and then top with rest of coconut mixture.

6 - Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Hi. I'm Tana, and I'm a coconut-aholic!

Any chance to infuse coconut into a recipe, I am so game for it. when I spotted a recipe in a Food Network magazine a few months back, I dog-eared it because I knew that coconut chicken fingers were in our future.

I served them with a store bought sweet & sour sauce that was a lovely compliment.


Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers

(adapted from Food Network)



1 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted


1 - Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 - Mix coconut, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in medium bowl. Dip chicken strips into egg, then coat with coconut mixture. Place in a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with melted butter.

3 - Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning once.

My husbands favorite burgers.

You could say that my husband is a burger aficionado and is a firm believer that burgers should be their own food group. So when I decided to mix up our typical burger with a stuffed burger, my husband was certainly skeptical in the begining but quickly proclaimed that I could make this stuffed burgers whenever I wanted to.

I chose to stuff my burgers with bacon and bleu cheese but you can certainly mix it up and stuff them with whatever makes you salivate :)


Bacon & Bleu Cheese Stuffed Burgers



1 pound of lean ground beef (I use 86%)

1/2 cup of bleu cheese crumbles

1/2 cup of crumbled bacon

4 kaiser rolls

extra virgin olive oil


1 - Section beef into 8 portioned balls and then flatten each slightly while forming a lip on the outside edge of each.

2 - Divide the bacon & bleu cheese between 4 of the 8 patties.

3 - Top each 'stuffed' patty with one of the flattened burger patty's. Seal the burger by working it in your hand and pinching down the edges.

4 - Grill burgers until cooked to your liking.

5 - Drizzle oil on both tops and bottoms of the kaiser rolls and grill for 3-5 minutes or until crunchy and brown.

Beer & Pork...

Root beer and pulled pork that is!

I came across the simplest recipe for the most incredibly moist and tasty pulled pork. Best part? All the work is done by a slow cooker!

I served the pork alongside some super easy oven fries!

Enjoy :)

Root Beer Pulled Pork and Oven Fries


Ingredients for the Pulled Pork

2 pound pork loin

16 ounces of root beer

1 bottle of barbecue sauce of your choice (we like honey flavored)


1 - Place pork tenderloin into slow cooker and pour root beer over the top.

2 - Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until pork shreds easily.

3 - Remove pork from slow cooker, shred & remove any fat, return to slow cooker and pour in the bottle of barbecue sauce. Stir to combine and serve on your favorite roll (we like Kaiser rolls)

Ingredients for the Oven Fries

2 pounds of yukon gold potatoes, sliced into 8ths

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp kosher salt


1 - Place oil & all spices into a resealable storage bag.

2 - Add potatoes and shake to coat all potatoes with the mix.

3 - Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray & dump coated potatoes out onto sheet.

4 - Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

My husband turned 30 on June 17
and this past weekend we had our entire family & group of friends over our house for cake, presents, and rice krispie treats. Yes, I said rice krispie treats! Nothing brings me back to my childhood like RK treats and I knew I wante dto make some for the party but I knew I had to dress them up. I decided to go with my hbs favorite flavors of peanut butter and choclate and dip the RK treats!

As far as directions are concerned, I followed the directions right on the box to make the treats, let them cool in a pan, then used a greased circle cookie cutter to cut out the circle shapes. I then dipped one end into a bowl of melted peanut butter discs and then right into a bowl of cookie crumbs.

Simple, fun, tasty, and impressive!