Monday, December 6, 2010

Jalepeño Popper Dip

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeños, and shredded cheeses.  Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9 x 9-inches).
In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined.   Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden.  Serve warm with baguette slices, vegetables, etc. as desired.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade Bagels

I had been wanting to try this recipe for homemade bagels for a while- So, I decided this cold morning was the perfect time to finally get to it!  I am a bagel lover and this recipe was easy, easy, easy and definitely hit the spot!! I think the yeast I used was a little dead, so my bagels weren't quite as big and puffy as most bagels- they were a bit denser and almost had the texture of a soft pretzel.  However, they were still delicious!  Next time I make them I'll make sure I use brand new instant yeast (my little yeast packet had been opened about a week ago and probably lost a lot of its spunk).  I decided to make 2 of my bagels with a cinnamon sugar topping, and left the other 6 plain.  I gotta say, they were both good but I LOVED the cinnamon sugar-- maybe I'm just in a sweet mood though :) You can top these with whatever you like- sesame seeds, onion, whatever!  Here's the recipe!

Homemade bagel recipe
Yields 8 bagels
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

Pre heat your oven to 425.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. Use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. You should end up with a circle of dough-- but don't worry if its not perfect- none of mine were and it wasn't a big deal!

Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
The bagels on the far left are cinnamon sugar- the others are plain.

Let them cool for a few minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and enjoy!
To add toppings to bagels, simply lay boiled bagels on a plate of desired toppings, then set on baking tray topping side up.

Source: HubPages

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is one of my favorites, I make quite a few every fall.  However, recently I had been wanting to make one with home cooked pumpkin instead of just using the usual canned pumpkin. I was a little concerned about how it would come out, seeing as I have been eating canned pumpkin pies my entire life and I think a lot of my love for pumpkin pie comes from the nostalgic effects it seems to have.  However, I loved how this came out!  The color was a little different (more of a light brown than a bright orange) but the taste and texture were amazing!  It tasted so much fresher and was silky and smooth.  I absolutely loved it!  I may never go back to baking with canned pumpkin!  

2 cups pureed home cooked pumpkin (usually about 1 sugar pumpkin's worth)
1 9 inch single pie crust (see recipe below)
2 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup evaporated milk 
1 cup heavy cream

To Prepare Single Pie Crust:
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cold milk
1/3 c. oil

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Pour milk and oil in same cup. Add all at once. Stir with spoon until all moist. Divide dough in half. Place half of dough on waxed paper. Dampen counter top with cloth. Place wax paper over damp spot. Place another sheet of wax paper over top and roll to thickness for 1 crust. Flip on pie plate; remove wax paper. Repeat for second crust.

In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, evaporated milk and cream. Stir well after each addition.
Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Home Cooked Pumpkin Puree

Home cooking your pumpkin at home can be a great alternative to buying canned pumpkin from the grocery store.  It can be substituted in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin, and gives recipes a fresher taste.  Its all a matter of opinion, but I think home cooked pumpkin makes everything taste better!  You can freeze the puree and store it for use later also, and its super easy.  


Sugar pumpkins (2 sugar pumpkins generally fit on a cookie sheet once cut in halves)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half, stem to base. Remove seeds and pulp. Place face down on a roasting pan.  Fill pan with a small layer of water.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven 1 hour, or until tender.
  4. Scrape pumpkin meat from shell halves and puree in a blender. Strain to remove any remaining stringy pieces. Store in the freezer in freezer safe bags if desired.

Grilled Blue Cheese Chicken Quesadillas

These quesadillas are my dad's recipe. I remember him making them often shortly after we moved to San Diego.  I'm sure he was looking for any reason possible to fire up the grill and enjoy the perfect weather our new home had to offer!  Not to mention, these are a QUICK, easy fabulous dinner!  If you don't have a grill (or don't feel like going to the trouble of turning it on) you can easily make these in a pan on the stove.  They are crunchy and melty and completely delicious!

Flour Tortillas
Olive Oil
Monterey Jack Cheese
Blue Cheese
Black Beans
Grilled Chicken (cut into small pieces)
Grilled Onions and Bell Peppers

For Garnish:

Sour Cream

Brush outside of tortillas with olive oil.  Lay ingredients inside tortillas and grill until each side is brown and crispy and cheese has melted.  Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and limes.

So easy-- right!?  Throw in as much as you want of each ingredient, grill, and there you have it! Dinner is served!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Easy Bread Pudding

This is a really easy recipe that I got from a family friend.  The orignial recipe is for a Blueberry Bread pudding, but since I didn't have any on hand, I made it without.  It is delicious both ways!  It is rich and hearty, without being too overly sweet. A yummy desert for a cold day :)

Blueberry Bread Pudding:
3 Tbsp. softened butter
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 ½ cups milk
8 cups bread cubes (sourdough or French.. I use half and half)
1 ¾ cups blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

For Golden Dessert Sauce:
3 Tbsp. Butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

To Prepare Sauce: Combine butter and sugar in saucepan- cook over low heat until butter melts.  Stir in heavy cream.  Bring to boil then reduce heat.  Simmer 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens.  Set aside.

To Prepare Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar on medium.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat 3 minutes.  Slowly stir in milk.  Place bread cubes in large bowl and pour milk mixture over bread.  Let stand 5 mins.  Stir in blueberries.  Place in un-greased 9x13 in. pan.  Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over.  Drizzle 1/3 cup of sauce over.  Bake 35 mins.  Serve warm with remaining sauce.

Rooney on Lopez Tonight!

Check out Rooney on Lopez Tonight HERE

Woo Hoo Go Brando!


Ahhh what an amazing weekend I had!! This post will have absolutely nothing to do with cooking, but I felt like sharing how great my weekend was.  First, I took a girls trip with my friend Noelle on Friday to Julian, the land of pretty trees and apple pie. Loveeee it! We saw horses and donkeys and wild turkeys and the camel farm on the way, browsed the cute little shops, enjoyed the scenery, and stuffed our faces with freshly baked Julian apple pie.  Yum!! Its so nice to have a little girls day every once in a while!  We found the cutest little used bookstore and were in awe of the beauty of Julian in the fall.  Of course, our trip ended with BLASTING Celine Dion on the car ride home-- ahh, a perfect day!

Then, Saturday morning Kev and I took off to LA for the day, where we met up with Brandon and Cayla and embarked on a crazy, psychotic, frightening, beautiful hike in Eaton Canyon in Pasadena.  This place was off the charts BEAUTIFUL!
 We hiked up the mountain until we reached a gorgeous 35 foot waterfall, a sort of "natural water slide" that we slid off of!! It was so fun, but a little terrifying.  The water was FREEZING, so right when you hit it you lost your breath completely.  I ended up thinking I was drowning because of how badly my lungs hurt and my inability to catch my breath while in the freezing cold water.  I thought I was swimming to shore, but my arms actually weren't moving! I just froze.  It was such a scary feeling! Kev ended up having to get back in the freezing water (he had already done the slide twice and was all dried off) and come save me.. yikes! It was a complete rush. Definitely something I didn't really believe I was going to do until I found myself sitting on the top of the waterfall and pushing myself off of it. Its a beautiful hike though, that I will definitely do again sometime! (Pictures and video of our trip to come)
After our hike, Kevin had a horrible headache (we are pretty sure he got a concussion from the waterslide) so we rested a while until he felt better, and then headed to Pasadena to get a bite to eat with Brandon and Cayla. We ended up eating at a cute little pizza place called Bella's gourmet pizza (I think?) and spending the rest of the evening browsing around cute little Pasadena.  Unfortunately, I let myself go into Pottery Barn-- Dang it, I want everything in there!!!! After dinner, we said our goodbyes to Brando and Cayla and went to meet one of my best friends in the world, Kate, at her hotel in Pasadena.  (She lives in Oregon and was in town for a football game)  It was so fun to see her and her sister in law Lydia.  I love them!  Kate is one of those friends who I can go months without seeing (and unfortunately often have to due to the long distance) but we always pick up right where we left off. She is such a great friend, I only wish I could have spent more time with her this time!  Hopefully Kev and I will make a trip up to Corvallis soon to visit :)  

Ahh, as if all of that wasn't enough, on Sunday the Schwartzel's came over to me and my mom's apartment for dinner.  We had yummy grilled quesadillas (with chicken, monterey jack cheese, blue cheese, cilantro, grilled onions, black beans.. yum!) as well as plenty of side dishes (jalepeno popper dip, corn souffle, spanish rice, etc.) and some bread pudding for dessert.  It was so fun to have them over.  What a great family they are, I am truly blessed to know them.  What fun I had!  It is so nice to spend time with Family and friends that feel like family.. I love you all!

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I made cheese!!!!!!!

I have always wanted to make cheese!! Alwayssss!  I love cheese. Sooo much.  I am still somewhat in a state of shock that I actually made cheese.  But guess what, it is SO easy.  Maybe I shouldn't be so proud of myself, it is honestly one of the easiest things to make ever. Maybe everyone makes cheese and I just don't know about it? Anyway, all you need out of the norm is a candy thermometer and some cheesecloth.  This recipe is for Chevre (goat cheese) served on warm mini toasts.  Yumminess!  Once the cheese is made you mix in salt, garlic, and herbs of your choice.  I didn't really have any herbs except parsely, so I added that and a little bit of finely chopped green onions.  Sorta random, but it turned out UH MAZING! Here's the recipe!


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 carton goat's milk
  • 1/2 clove freshly grated garlic
  • A few pinches coarse salt
  • Herbs (up to you) but recommended: Rosemary, chives, parsley, herbs de Provence, fennel fronds, dill, etc.

  • Fill a medium saucepan with goat's milk. Heat gradually until it reaches 180°F. Watch closely. You can run in and out of the kitchen, but don't get too distracted. It shouldn't take more than about 15 minutes.

Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth—really, several. Otherwise you'll lose precious goat cheese through the soggy cloth. Place over a large bowl to catch the whey drips.

Ladle milk into colander. Pull up and tie the four corners of the cheesecloth together and hang on the handle of a wooden spoon. Set over a very deep bowl.

Allow whey to drain until a soft, ricotta-like consistency is reached inside the cloth, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Transfer to a bowl and fold in salt, garlic, and flavors of your choice. Serve on toast or crackers if desired. 

Punkin' Cuppycakes

So these are the Pumpkin Cupcakes I was talking about earlier- they are my mom's recipe and have always been a welcome Fall treat every year.  They are technically cupcakes, but like I said, we eat them frosting-less and call them muffins-- they are just that good! This time though, I put a little bit of a cream cheese frosting on top for a little extra yumminess.  However, my frosting was a little runnier than it should have been (I tend to have this problem because I don't like my frosting super sweet, so I usually put less confectioner's sugar than the recipe calls for, leading to a slightly runny frosting) so they aren't the prettiest cupcakes I've ever made.  Ohhh well!  Still though, these "muffcakes" (uhhh?) are delicious with or without frosting! Enjoy!

Mom's Pumpkin "Muffins"

Yields 24 Muffins

4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. home cooked pumpkin
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.

Thoroughly stir together the remaining dry ingredients, then add to pumpkin mixture and mix completely.  Pour batter into greased muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Since I totally failed at the frosting I used, I suggest you just google a cream cheese buttercream if you want to top the "muffcakes" with it! Haha!

Lickin' the Bowl

Does anyone else's bowl look like this after making a batch of cupcakes?? Or, for that matter pretty much any type of delicious baked good involving a batter of some sort? A little gross, I know, but once the batter is successfully in the oven, I can't seem to help myself from turning into a 6 year old again and just goin' at it.  If you're a serial bowl licker like me, you may appreciate this tip.  I just made my mom's famous pumpkin muffins for the first time (its technically a cupcake recipe, but they are so delish we have always eaten them frosting-less and called them muffins.)  Anyway, today I plan to make them as cupcakes, just for the beauty factor (and to give it a try.. a little bit of frosting makes everything better!) and I discovered that this is hands down the yummiest batter I have ever come across!  I'll post the recipe for the finished product of these a little bit later!

In other news, this is a very exciting day of cooking for me! First of all, my sourdough starter is READY after only 2 days and one feeding!  What an advanced little baby he is! He is headed to the fridge where he'll wait for me to use him in sourdough bread!  

Secondly, I have all the ingredients I need to make Chevre (goat cheese) and will serve it on mini toasts tonight with dinner.  I've never made cheese before, so needless to say I am EXCITED! We went out to dinner last night for Sushi, which was delicious, but lately even one day away from the kitchen makes me miss it.  In fact, when we got home I made a simple desert- raspberries with fresh whipped cream.  Truly, I am starting to respect Kevin more, whose hobbies include playing golf, playing xbox and riding dirt bikes in the desert (well, the last one he usually only does once a year, but he did just get a dirt bike of his own! I hope he gets a chance to ride it more often. )  Poor guy doesn't get to do any of those things nearly as much as I get to indulge in my hobby!  In fact, I'm pretty sure not many people do.  So blessed I am! Thank you Lord for giving me the wonderful life I have!  Enough for now, my pumpkin cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven.. time to make some frosting! Have a Blessed day everyone! 


So recently I have been going through a SERIOUS apron obsession.  I mean, I've always loved aprons (one of my favorite gifts I've ever received was from my Meme a few Christmases ago-- 3 homemade aprons and a variety of kitchen goodies.) But lately, since I've been cooking so much everyday (thank you unemployment! ) I'm especially craving some new, cute aprons.  These are some of my favorites from Anthro, but since they run about 30 bucks a pop, I'm definitely considering getting some apron patters and cute fabric and busting out my sewing machine! Ahhhh I loveeee.

Soure: Anthropologie

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Louisiana Chicken Pasta

I had been wanting to make this pasta ever since I stumbled upon it on Annie's Eats. A couple years ago, Kevin fell in love with a spicy, creamy, delicious chicken pasta from Walt's Wharf in Seal Beach.  As delicious as it was, they discontinued it! When I found this recipe I thought it may be similar to the one he loved, so I was dying to give it a try.  I made this dish on Halloween night for dinner, so I replaced the red and green bell pepper with orange/ yellow just to be a little festive.  I have to admit, we were in such a rush to eat it once it was done that I forgot to take a picture!  By the time I remembered, Kevin was half done with his second serving-- I took a pic of what was left, but it didn't turn out very well.  So, I had no choice but to steal Annie's picture.  We thoroughly enjoyed this pasta, the fact that I forgot to even take a picture of it is truly a testament to how delicious it was!

Louisiana Chicken Pasta

For the chicken:
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning
For the pasta:
8 oz. bowtie pasta
Kosher salt 
For the sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
3 scallions, chopped 
To cook the chicken, heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.   Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.   Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and heat the butter and olive oil until the butter has melted.   Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan.  Mix in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the half-and-half and heavy cream to the pan and bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble.  Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan.  Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through.  Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your tastes.  Stir in the scallions.  Serve immediately and top with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired. 
Source: Annie's Eats