I am a newlywed on a budget, just trying to make healthy and inexpensive meals for my husband and I to enjoy. He eats a lot, so cost is a big factor. Though I work 3 jobs, I manage to find time 6 nights a week to cook a full dinner for us both. I am constantly looking for new recipes that are moderately healthy, taste great, and won't break the bank.

On the side, I also own a brownie business called Gersheybars. My passion and love for cooking started when I was just a small child, baking with my mom and grandmother. The brownie recipe has been passed down through 5 generations and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share them with everybody else. Friends and family have helped spread the word and made my business as successful as it is today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Menu - 11/18 to 11/22

  • Roasted chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and cranberry walnut brownies
  • Dave's Mac n' Cheese
  • Turkey Tahous!
  • Pasta with Spinach and Feta

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thai Curry Chicken

I can't remember where we found this recipe, but it was floating around the Internet somewhere and I copied it to my files. It is Dee-Licious! We love Thai food and this is probably one of the best Thai-inspired dishes I've made in a long time. It's sweet, slightly spicy and all around really flavorful. It would be great with rice noodles but all I had was rice, so it's what I used.

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 green onions with tops, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Toss chicken first in 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, then in the flour, coating pieces evenly. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in the skillet, cook and stir chicken until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken.

2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in curry paste. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then stir in green onions, garlic, and ginger; cook an additional 2 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, stirring to coat with the curry mixture. Stir the coconut milk, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and sugar into the chicken-curry mixture. Allow to simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BBQ Beef Bowl

This came from the free Kraft magazine I get, which usually has great recipes. This was a good one, though not GREAT. It needs some jazzing up, so next time I'll probably experiment with some more veggies and seasonings. I can't find the recipe right now, so this is what I remember. I reheated the leftovers with some Frank's Red Hot sauce and it was much tastier, so I would probably add some to the beef while it's simmering next time.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • cooked white rice

1. Brown beef and yellow onion in skillet over medium high heat. Drain excess fat from pan and place back on heat.

2. Add corn, tomatoes and bbq sauce, mixing thoroughly. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 15 minutes until thick.

3. Serve beef over white rice and top with green onions.

Turkey Burgers & roasted potatoes

Tired of ground beef, I decided it was time for a change. I work with a girl who swears by ground turkey -- she uses it in EVERYTHING. So I figured we'd give it a shot. The turkey is much more moist than ground beef, but the burgers grilled up tender and juicy. Totally delicious!

  • 3/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • fresh garlic (I used 1 Tbsp of "cheater" garlic)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • dash of Teriyaki sauce

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Form into patties and grill to perfection. I did mine on a George Forman grill and they took 5 minutes to cook up.

Roasted Red Potatoes


  • 3 red potatoes
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Slice potatoes into thick wedges, evenly sized. Coat with olive oil. Mix spices together, pour over potato wedges and coat evenly.

2. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Once it's just barely smoking, add potatoes to pan and fry 2 min on each side until crispy. Reduce heat to medium low and partially cover. Cook an additional 10-15 min (depending on thickness), stirring frequently, until potatoes are soft and tender.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Menu - 11/11 to 11/15

I got a bit lazy with posting my menus and it caught up to me when I lost the handwritten sheet. So here I am again, back to posting menus so I don't lose them!

  • Fish cakes and Green Salad
  • BBQ Beef Bowl with rice
  • Turkey Burgers with red potato wedges
  • Thai Green Curry Chicken
  • Tandoori Chicken

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pan Seared Pork Loin & Couscous

I wasn't brought up eating any pork products for the most part, so cooking pork loin is a whole new thing for me. I seasoned this one with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Then pan seared it and finished in the oven. I have to say, it was pretty darn tasty! And easy to make too.

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub pork tenderloin on all sides with olive oil. Mix remaining spices together in small bowl, and gently massage into pork.

2. Heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Sear pork on each side for 1 minute, just until brown.

3. Move skillet from stovetop to oven and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. I cook pork to 150 degrees which leaves it slightly pink on the inside and very juicy.

I served it with a side of garlic couscous and a few pomegranate seeds for a slight tartness. The pomegranate actually complements the pork very nicely, even though it sounds a bit odd!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spinach Chicken with Balsamic Glaze

I borrowed this recipe from Gillian, who got the recipe from Cooking Pleasures Magazine. At first, I thought the Balsamic glaze would be WAY too overpowering, but it's actually quite light and really adds another dimension of flavor to the chicken. It was incredibly easy to make and really filling with all that spinach.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper (any color - I used red), cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (I used a Vidalia onion because that's all I had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. packed light brown sugar

1. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with 1/4 tsp. of the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken to the oil and cook 4-6 minutes, turning once. Cover and reduce the heat to medium; cook 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Place on a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the same skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes until the veggies just begin to soften. Add the spinach and sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining salt. Remove from the heat and toss until the spinach is barely wilted. Place on plates and top with the chicken.

3. Return the same skillet to high heat. Add the vinegar and brown sugar. Bring the vinegar mixture to a boil and boil for 30-60 seconds until slightly thickened. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over and around the chicken and vegetables.

Easy Cheesy Focaccia

Though I spent a few years baking bread commercially, I still prefer to make dough with the bread machine instead of by hand. I find it more consistent and the dough proofs more evenly when compared to proofing on the counter. If you don't have a bread machine, mix the dough in your stand mixer, or by hand, until it comes together (about 8 minutes). Proof until the dough is doubled in size, punch down, and proof again. Then move to your baking pan and continue to follow the recipe.

  • 1 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese mix (I use Asiago, Provolone and Parmesan)

1. Place water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, garlic, oregano, basil, garlic powder, bread flour and yeast in bread machine pan. Select Dough cycle.

2. Remove dough from bread machine and place into a greased 9x13 pan. Press dough into pan with fingertips. Drizzle with olive oil and top with cheese.

3. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic wrap when oven is preheated and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lime Cilantro Chicken Paillards

What happens when the grocery store has limes on sale, 10 for $1.00? You find a way to cook with limes! So last night, I decided to try a cilantro lime chicken and I must say, it far exceeded our expectations. This is an incredibly quick and easy dish to prepare, but it's packed with a lot of flavor and tastes like it took a lot longer to prepare!

We paired it with pasta tossed in olive oil, green onions and chopped fresh cilantro.

  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded flat to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1.5 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 3 tsp lime zest (about 5 limes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

1. Preheat broiler. Pound chicken breasts flat with a mallet or rolling pin. Mix olive oil and next 5 ingredients in small bowl. Evenly coat both sides of each chicken breast with mixture.

2. Place chicken on broiling pan coated with foil. Broil about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, if available.