Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is one of my favorite things to make & devour when it starts to get cold outside. I love the intense chocolate flavor it has when you make it from scratch & can add whatever you want into it! 

When I was at home on one of those cold days I was daydreaming new inventions that would be fun to make & this was one of them. Yes, I know I'm weird to daydream about interesting food combinations, but I am what I am. And hey, you're benefiting right?! So after thinking it up, I've made it a couple of times & I think the below ratios are the perfect combination. I wouldn't be surprised if you started seeing this pop up as a new drink at's just that good! Hey Starbucks, want to use my recipe? You know you want to! Just try a cup & you'll see how irresistible it is!

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch instant coffee (you don't taste it but it intensifies the chocolate flavor)

1. Bring milk and half & half to almost a boil. 

2. Turn heat off and whisk in sugar, vanilla and instant coffee until blended/dissolved. 

3. Whisk in Nutella until melted and part of the liquid completely. 

4. Whisk in chocolate morsels until completely melted. 

5. Pour into a thermos or your favorite mug and serve. 

Bon Appetit! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spinach Tomato Cream Sauce w/Meatballs & Pasta

Not only is it hard to get veggies inside the stomachs of my husband and son, but to make matters worse, my husband is allergic to raw produce! Yes, that means he actually has a scientific reason for not being able to eat fresh vegetables and fruits! Being the veggie & fruit lover myself, this make cooking a little harder for me to please everyone involved. Therefore, I have to try and sneak in a variety of veggies whenever I can! The following is an example of an invention I came up with when I looked in my fridge and wanted to figure out a way to make them eat the yummy spinach they detest on any other occasion.

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 red onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (can substitute 1/2 & 1/2)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (divided)
  • 1 lb meat of your choice (optional)
    • I like meat balls, but you can use turkey, beef or sausage
  • 1 (12 oz) box of pasta (I used egg noodles but anything will work)


1. Heat pot to medium heat & saute EVOO w/the chopped onion, 1/4 tsp salt & a pinch of pepper.

2. When the onions are soft (after about 5 minutes), add chicken broth & garlic, 
& saute for about another 2 minutes.

3. Place spinach in a blender and add the onion, garlic, broth mixture.

4. Turn on the blender for about 20 seconds until pureed.

5. Pour sauce back into pot, add the cayenne pepper and the remainder of the 
salt & pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. In a bowl, whisk the milk & flour together until blended.

7. Add in the cheese and whipping cream and slowly whisk until blended.

8. Pour milk/cheese mixture into the spinach sauce and stir until blended.

9. Simmer on low for 3-5 more minutes until the desired consistancy.

10. Add tomatoes and let simmer for 2 more minutes.

11. Add the meat of your choice (if using) and toss until coated.

12. Add pasta and toss until coated.

Pour into bowls and top with some freshly grated parmesean cheese!
Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mexican Chicken

This is a simple and easy recipe for a busy family that wants good tasting, but quick meals! It is a base recipe and you can serve it all different ways depending on your family's love for food. Here are just a few examples of how you can twist this into a variety of meals:

1. Make the salsa and top with the chicken (optional, add cheese & sour cream)!

2. Place salsa and chicken in a flour tortilla and roll into a burrito!

3. Roll chicken & cheese in small tortillas, top with salsa & cheese, and bake (enchiladas viola!)

4. Cut up chicken & place in tortilla w/cheese for a quesadilla (optional, serve the salsa on side)!

5. Cut up chicken & place on top of tortilla chips w/cheese & bake for nachos!

6. Cut up chicken & use as fajita meat!

As you can see, this is very versatile and the combinations seem endless! 
For presentation purposes, I made option #1.

Serves roughly 4-6 people

For the Chicken:
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (fresh is best)
  • the zest of 1 lime (optional)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Mexican Taco seasoning
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 1 pound chicken tenders
For the Salsa:
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained (or roughly 2 cups frozen)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Salt & Pepper for taste

1. Mix all ingredients in a large zip-lock baggy.

2. Add chicken, coat, and refrigerate for 30 minutes (no more than 2 hours.)

3. You can cook the chicken in the oven or on the stove:

Stove (medium heat):
Tenders: 3-5 minutes per side
Breasts: 5-7 minutes per side

Oven (425 degrees):
Tenders: 15 minutes
Breasts: 20 minutes

4. Combine Salsa, Beans & Corn in a pot and simmer on low for 5 minutes until corn is tender.

Serve using the method of your choice listed above, or an entirely new invention of your own!
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dashboard Cookies!

Yes, that's right, I'm cooking my cookies on the dashboard of my car! This is a great way for college students that live in the dorm, or kids that want to have fun cooking to make homemade cookies on a HOT summer day without using an oven! 

This post will not include a recipe, but will teach a new and fun technique. Since temperatures have been hitting 110-115 lately in Texas, a friend sent me an article and asked me to try it. I love challenges, so I decided to try it this Saturday morning (when I had the time to sit at home and not have to use my car for a few hours.) The result...well, you'll have to see for yourself! Happy car baking!

  • 1 batch of cookie dough (bought or made are both okay)
  • 1 vehicle, parked in the sun
  • Temperatures getting to 100 degrees or higher


1. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet & lightly grease with cooking spray.

2. Slice or form 1/4" thick cookies & place on parchment paper.

3. Place baking sheet on top of an elevated surface on the dashboard of your car.
TIP: You want to elevate the cookie sheet for two reasons:
A. So your dashboard does not get messed up by the hot metal, and
B. So the bottom of the cookies will slightly crisp and the cookies will cook evenly.

4. Close the doors to your car and do not open for 2-1/2 hours!

After 1 hour they should look like this:

After 2 hours they should look like this:

When they are ready (it was 2.5 hours for me), they should look like this:

5. Check the edges of the cookies briefly to see if they are done. 
If not, close the door and let the cookies bake longer, checking every 30 minutes.

6. Remove baking sheet and let cool inside of your house for a few minutes before eating.
TIP: Crack the windows of your car after removing the cookies
so it doesn't smell like cookies for an eternity!

The result...delicious, almost perfect cookies! The only thing that is not quite perfect are the bottoms.
They are a little softer than an oven would allow, but I prefer softer cookies any day of the week!
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Banana Pudding Surprise!

At my house growing up, banana pudding was not an everyday thing. It was more of a special occasion or church pot luck dessert. It was the perfect sweet dish on a hot summer day. So since we're averaging high temperatures this summer in the 110 range, I knew this would hit the spot! Normally, I would prefer making homemade pudding & whipped cream, but I wanted to try a quicker, and therefore easier version. Oh, & the surprise is a coconut cream layer & the gingersnaps! I hope it's thick & luxurious bites are pleasing to your mouth on these HOT summer days!

This fills a trifle bowl, but would probably fill a 13 x 9 casserole dish as well.
  • 1 (5 oz) package instant banana pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut extract
  • 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed & divided
  • 1 package vanilla wafers (you will probably have a few left over)
  • 1/2 a bag of gingersnap cookies, crushed
  • 6-7 bananas, sliced

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pudding mix & milk  for 2 minutes until thick.


2. Gently pour in the condensed milk and blend until smooth. 

3. Stir in vanilla and fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping, then set aside. 


4. Pour the coconut extract in the remainder whipped topping and stir until blended, then set aside.

5. In the trifle bowl, begin laying in this order:
Wafers, 1/2 of the ginger snack crumbs, pudding mixture, bananas & coconut whipped cream, 
then repeat a second time.






6. Repeat a second layer.

7. On the top of the second layer of coconut whipped cream, add another layer of wafers and pudding.
8. On top of the pudding, add a mixture of bananas and wafers in a pretty pattern.

8. Chill for 4-16 hours & serve. 
 Bon Appetit!