Sunday, August 29, 2010

Root Beer-Can Chicken

I found this recipe in a magazine a couple months ago and I stumbled across it again. It was very intriguing and it turned out great. The chicken was very moist and did not have an overwhelming sweet taste from the root beer. It was perfect with some roasted red potatoes and veggies.

Servings: 4

1 ½ tsp Paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onions powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp chili powder
¾ tsp salt, divided
2 (12 ounce) cans root beer, divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 (3 ½ pound whole chicken) with cavity cleared of extras
1 disposable tin pan for basting chicken on grill (optional)

1.Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium.

2.Combine in a small bowl: paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and ½ tsp salt.

3.Open both root beer cans; pour 18 ounces into a small saucepan, set remaining root beer aside (in the can). Bring 18 ounces root beer to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. Add remaining ¼ tsp salt, butter, and vinegar, stirring until smooth.

4.Rub paprika mixture evenly over chicken. Holding upright with the cavity facing down, insert reserved opened root beer can into cavity. Place chicken on unheated side of grill. Spread legs out to form a tripod to support the chicken. Cover and grill for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in meaty part of the thigh registers 160 degrees, basting chicken every 20 minutes with sauce (be warned that basting the chicken on your grill will create a mess, if you would like keep your grill clean and sticky free, try placing chicken in a foil pan on the grill so as to keep sauce contained).

5.Once chicken is ready, lift chicken slightly using tongs; place spatula under can. Carefully remove from chicken and can from grill; place on a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes. Gently lift chicken using tongs or insulated rubber gloves; carefully twist can and remove from cavity. Discard can. Carve chicken. Serve with some roasted potatoes and veggies. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Triple Orange Cake Balls

It was my friend Sara’s birthday today and so I decided to make her a special dessert to bring to our church gathering tonight. The thing is she is not that big on typical desserts like cakes and brownies, she mainly prefers gourmet style desserts and so I was trying to think of a way to incorporate cake balls as a gourmet dessert. My initial thought was to make lemon cake balls but lemon doesn’t go too good with chocolate and then Nick suggested orange instead and the rest is history. Lo and behold I came up with this recipe and the cake balls turned out great! Seriously they were yummier than any of my past cake balls and the touch of orange with chocolate made them quite delectable.


1 box of white cake mix prepared using the measurements from the box as follows:
As many eggs as the box calls for (my box called for 2 eggs)
As much oil as the box calls for (my box called for 1/3 cup)
The water measurement should be split into half water, half orange juice. So in my case the measurement was 1 cup water, so I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of orange juice
Add 1 tbsp of orange zest and/or 1 tsp orange extract

2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp orange extract
1 drop of yellow food coloring
1 drop of red food coloring

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for metal or glass pans, 325 for dark or coated pans. Grease sides and bottom of a 9 by 13 pan with Pam or with shortening lightly floured.
2. Mix cake ingredients together; cake mix, water, orange juice, eggs, oil, orange zest and/or orange extract. Blend until moistened and until mixture is smooth.
3. Bake for 25 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes.
4. To prepare the frosting, mix all the frosting ingredients together until it forms a thick paste like substance.
5. When cake is done, crumble, while warm, into a large bowl and stir in the frosting mixture until well blended.
6. Use a melon baller or your hands to form compact balls of the cake mixture. Form balls until there is no cake mixture left. Place balls in a covered pan and refrigerate overnight or stick in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
7. Before removing the balls from the cold, melt chocolate chips with coconut oil in a glass bowl in the microwave, or in double boiler, stirring often until smooth. Stirring continually until chocolate looks and feels completely smooth.
8. Remove the balls from the cold and dip the balls in the melted chocolate using a toothpick to hold them. Place them on waxed paper and feel free to use the leftover melted chocolate to drizzle on top. Place them in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. Remove them from fridge to serve and enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick Enchilada Casserole

1tsp butter
1 small red onion, chopped
½ bunch of Cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 can of cooked chicken, drained
1 cup of Mexican cheese, Shredded jack and cheddar mix
1 cup of Jalapeno cheddar, shredded
6 corn tortillas, divided
1 12-ounce can of enchilada sauce, divided
1 romano tomato, chopped
1 8x8 baking dish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Sauté the onions, cilantro and chili powder together until onions are slightly translucent. Add chicken for the last minute so that it soaks in some of the flavor. Remove from heat.
3. Pour about a tbsp of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish so as to grease the pan. Then take 2 of the corn tortillas and rip them up by hand and place them as the bottom layer of the baking dish.
4. Take half of the chicken onion mixture and spread out evenly to make a layer on top of the tortillas, next take 1/3rd of the cheese and create a layer of cheese, then pour 1/3 rd of the enchilada sauce on top of the cheese. Repeat one more time with: 2 tortillas, the rest of the chicken mixture, 1/3rd of the cheese, and 1/3rd of the sauce.
5. Finish by placing the last two ripped tortillas on top, the remaining sauce and then the remaining cheese. Top with fresh tomato and stick in the oven.
6. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serve with Mexican rice and beans. Enjoy!

Fajita Inspired Spaghetti Sauce

What do you do when you have leftover raw bell peppers and red onions from a Fajita meal you had last week? you make a Fajita inspired spaghetti sauce.

Serving Size: 6

1 tbsp jalapeno olive oil
1 bunch of basil leaves, chopped fine
1 red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried red peppers
1.5-2 lbs spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 24oz tomato basil sauce of your choice, I used a jar of Tomato & Basil Classico

1.Saute basil, onions, and garlic in the oil in a saucepan. Saute on Medium heat, stirring often; if browning occurs, lower heat. Cook until onions are slightly translucent.
2. Add bell peppers to onion mix and saute until onions are completely translucent.
3. Remove Spicy Italian meat from the casing and add it to the onion pepper mixture. While cooking meat make sure to break apart meat with spatula. Add Italian seasoning and red peppers to meat, stir and mix into onion pepper mixture. **to remove sausage meat from casing, slice sausage down the middle, lengthwise, and gently unwrap the sausage from the casing.
4. Once meat is cooked and no longer pink, add tomato basil sauce to the onion pepper sausage mixture. Combine well to make a nice chunky spicy sauce.
5. Top your favorite noodles with some sauce and serve with some freshly grated Parmesan or some grated Mexican Colby Jack cheese mix. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vanilla Mint Chip Oreo Ice Cream

I made this ice cream to top off Nick's special Birthday dinner and it turned out yummy and a lot lighter than other vanilla based ice cream recipes I've used before.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons peppermint extract
1 cup chocolate chips (or mini chips)
1 cup mint Oreos (crushed)

1. In a medium mixing bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla and peppermint extracts.
3. Turn your ice cream machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl. Process the mixture per your ice cream machine's directions.
4. During the last 5 minutes of processing your ice cream, add the chocolate chips and Mint Oreo pieces.
5. Once ice cream has finished processing, transfer ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for 1-2 hours so that the flavors blend. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes Au Gratin and Creamy Bacon and Onion Scallops

Nick’s Birthday is today and so…Happy Birthday Love!

I’m taking Nick out to dinner tonight and so last night I cooked him a special Birthday dinner. I was fairly impressed with last night’s meal, especially since our meal was composed of completely new recipes that I imagineered last night. They turned out great and Nick and I were both pleased.

Serving size: 2


4 potatoes

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 strips of bacon, uncooked and chopped

½ tsp garlic salt

½ tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup of milk

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic salt

pepper to taste

1 cup jack and cheddar cheese blend, grated

6 green onions, chopped

1 tsp butter

8 medium sized scallops

½ cup of heavy cream

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Clean and wash potatoes, stab them with a fork and place in microwave for about 4-5 minutes until they are more than halfway cooked (once the potatoes are done in the microwave, remove the potatoes and set them aside to cool).

3. While potatoes are microwaving, begin sautéing chopped onions and bacon together in a large pan. Onions will sauté in bacon grease. Make sure everything in the onion and bacon mixture is finely chopped (if bacon was too hard to cut raw then try to chop it after it has cooked awhile).

4. Add ½ tsp garlic salt, ½ tsp garlic powder, and salt and pepper to the onion and bacon mixture, mix well. Cook mixture until onions are transparent, then turn off heat.

5. In a medium sized bowl, mix milk and corn starch together with a whisk until smooth. Mix in 1 tsp onion powder, ½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic salt and pepper, until well blended.

5. Remove half of the onion and bacon mixture from the pan and add to the milk mixture, stir. Then add cheese mix and mix well to create a sauce, set aside.

6. Take potatoes and slice them into ¼ inch slices. Grease the inside of a loaf pan and then place sliced potatoes in layers in the pan. Pour Cheese mixture over the top of the potatoes and try and spread out sauce evenly in hopes of fully coating each potato. Top with cheese and green onions and stick in the oven for about 25 minutes. Once potatoes have been in the oven for about 20 minutes, begin next step.

8. Turn the pan with the remaining onion and bacon mixture back on, wait until pan is quite warm and add butter and after butter is melted, gently place all 8 scallops in the pan for about 30 seconds on each side. This is just to brown the scallops, not cook. After 1 minute, remove the scallops and set aside.

9. Mix in the heavy cream and the lemon juice to the remaining onion and bacon mixture and bring to a boil.

10. Once boiling, place scallops in the pan and stir in sauce and cook until scallops become opaque, about 2 minutes or less on each side, remove immediately from heat.

11. Take potatoes out of the oven and dish out one serving, about a scoop, onto a dinner plate. Place 4 scallops on the plate as well, making sure to scoop up some of the sauce from the pan to top off the scallops. Serve Immediately. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Guacamole a la Liz

One of my favorites, made just the way I like it.


3 ripened Hass avocados; peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only; finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp garlic salt, add more if needed
1 tsp chili powder, add more if needed
1 tsp onion powder, add more if needed
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Stick in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill and then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Helpful hints: I tend to keep at least one avocado pit in the guacamole to help it stay green. Also when I keep the guacamole in the fridge, I cover the bowl with plastic wrap and push the plastic down against the guacamole so that no air can touch the guacamole, hence keeping it greener for longer. You can do the same to keep it green overnight; I always keep one of the pits in my guacamole and to ensure freshness for the next day, use the same plastic wrap method but in a tupperware so that not only is the plastic wrap helping no air get to the guac but the lid to the tupperwareis blocking the air too. If you dont have plastic wrap, tin foil works just as well, sometimes better.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

We had some lemons given to us by a friend and I wanted to make some lemon cookies but I had no eggs at my disposal and so I made these.


1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 drops yellow food coloring
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
extra sugar for topping

  1. Cream together butter or margarine and sugar. Add salt, zest, juice, and food coloring. Mix until well blended.
  2. Add flour a half cup at a time, mixing well. Dough should ball up when finished. Chill for 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  4. Form dough into 24 cookies, make sure to flatten and form into cookie shape on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle some sugar on top of the cookies and lightly tap the top to make sure sugar sticks.
  5. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from

Lemon Shrimp Pasta Salad

I was inspired by a recipe I saw in a magazine and came up with this mix, it was quite yummy and quite healthy, one great combination.

8 cups of water
1 1/2 cup uncooked rotini
1 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
pepper to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup spinach
1/2 of a large avocado, chopped

1. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Add pasta to pan; cook 5 minutes or until almost tender. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain well.
2. Combine pasta and shrimp with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic salt, pepper. Mix well so that every noodle and shrimp is coated.
3. Add all other ingredients, mix and serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

So I love garlic, it is my most favorite ingredient to use and I am lucky because, while not everyone shares my passion for garlic, at least my husband does and so I can use as much as I’d like without any hesitation on his part. I saw this recipe and I knew instantly that I would have to try it out. Surprisingly enough I did not think it was too garlic-y, I did not have smelly fingers or any remnants or garlic coming through my pores the next day. Nick and I came to the conclusion that because the recipe calls for whole cloves of garlic and not minced or chopped garlic that the strength of the garlic is pretty tame for being 40 cloves. This recipe was good and I may have to give it another try again someday.


3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
5-6 lbs chicken leg quarters, separated & cut into legs & thighs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Bourbon (Maker's Mark), divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream


1. Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds.

2.Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside. (If you want more convenience, use the already peeled whole garlic found in your produce market)

3.Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate.

4. Add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned.

5. Add 2 tablespoons of the bourbon and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

6. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

7. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of bourbon and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

8. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cocolate Mint Oreo Ice Cream

My most favorite dessert is ice cream and since no other dessert is more fitting than ice cream in the summer, I decided to get out my Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment and give it a try once again. One of my most favorite ice cream flavors is cookies 'n' cream, which can be difficult since Nick does not like Oreos and because he prefers chocolate or mint chip ice cream. So when I found this recipe I thought it might work for both of us and it did... absolute perfection!


2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, or whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup Mint Oreos, roughly chopped


Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. (If the chocolate clumps or "seizes", don't worry - the milk will dissolve it). Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and heat until blended. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and vanilla, and whisk to blend.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 3 hours, or even overnight.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's directions. During the last 1-2 minutes of churning, add the chopped Oreos to mix into the ice cream. Remove from the ice cream maker and store in a freezer safe container. Freeze overnight to meld flavors and serve. Makes 1 quart. Enjoy!

Adapted from:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arroz Con Pollo

I have always loved Spanish rice and so when I saw this recipe on one of my favorite foodie blogs, I could not wait to give it a try. Nick loved it, which is good because we had enough leftovers for a week since I didn't think to cut the recipe in half.


6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Ground black pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green and/or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 bunch minced fresh cilantro leaves, divided
1 cup ketchup
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups long-grain rice
Some fresh chopped tomatoes and your choice of Mexican cheese, for topping (optional)
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begin to soften. Push the onions and peppers to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium). Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque. Add ketchup, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add rice, bell peppers, half of the chopped cilantro and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into large chunks. Using fingers or forks, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken back into the pot on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining chopped cilantro, folding in to combine. Top with fresh tomatoes and cheese and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Funfetti Cookies

I love funfetti cake and I recently found out you can turn cake mix into cookie mix and so I decided to make some funfetti cookies. They are quite delicious and the recipe is so simple and easy.

1 Box of Funfetti cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix all the ingredients together, blend well.
3. Grab a tablespoon worth of dough and place dough on cookie sheet. It does not matter if the dough is placed on the sheet in ball form, they will flatten as they bake.
4. Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes. Let cool for a good 10 minutes, cookies are very flimsy when warm. Enjoy!