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.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rolo Cookies

I was in Barnes & Noble right after Christmas and came across the most eye-catching chocolate cookbook ever. It was a deep, dark, rich chocolate brown, with a shiny gold cover, appropriately titled, "The Golden Book of Chocolate." A good 30 minutes were spent browsing through the book, with its shiny gold coated pages and intriguing photographs. About 3 days later, when I found myself still dreaming of the book, I ordered it through B&N.com, saved about $12, and anxiously awaited for it to arrive on my doorstep.
After flipping through 800 some pages of delectable desserts, I decided to try the Caramel Cookies, mainly because they called for Rolos, of which I have plenty. They are just dreamy. Sweet, fluffy, tender, crumbly, gooey, chocolatey, and warm! Simple to make with standard ingredients on hand (nothing's worse than a cookbook that constantly calls for specialty ingredients that you don't have in the pantry), and damn tasty.

The recipe does call for dried banana chips, which I omitted, because it didn't sound appetizing to me. Next time, I would probably add a bit more Rolos, but for now, these will have to do.

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp firmly backed dark brown sugar (I used light brown again, as I didn't have dark brown on hand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz caramel-filled chocolates, such as Rolos, chopped (I used 4 rolls of Rolos, but next time would use 5)
  • 3 oz dried banana chips, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat the butter and brown sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer, at high speed, until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just blended.
  3. With mixer on low, beat in mixed dry ingredients, chocolates, banana chips and milk.
  4. Divide the dough in 2 and form 2 8-inch logs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick spray. Slice the dough in 1/2 inch thick pieces and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the edges are firm and the centers are still slightly soft, 15-18 minutes. Cool on the sheets until the cookies are firm slightly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Asian Noodles in Satay Sauce

This is a Weight Watchers recipe, from Cook it Quick. The recipe is really versatile -- just use whatever veggies you have on hand, or grab a few bags of frozen veggies for a super quick meal. You could also add chicken or pork to it or change out the noodles. Very tasty, and super easy to make. I added freshly sliced onions also, and just steamed them with the broccoli until they were opaque and tender.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and sliced
  1. Bring 1/4 cup of the water to a boil in a skillet. Add the carrots, broccoli and mushrooms, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add snow peas, scallions, ginger and garlic. Cook, uncovered until the snow peas soften.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine accord to package directions, drain.
  3. Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, honey and remaining 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Stir into the vegetables. Add the bell pepper and the fettuccine, toss to coat, and serve.

This recipe has been submitted to Blogger Joelen's Chef Spotlight: Health Conscious Chefs, who's blog can be found here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Muffins

A while ago, I made some fantastic blueberry corn muffins. I remembered this recipe while brainstorming what I could do with a few bags of leftover cranberries. Cranberry walnut muffins, of course! Classic, simple, and great for breakfast. I decided to make mini bundt cakes instead of muffins though, just because I love the look of the mini bundts. You can substitute any fruit for the cranberries, or Splenda for the sugar. The recipe is really versatile.

The original Blueberry recipe is here, but I'll repost for convenience sake too.

  • 1.75 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 T Splenda for Baking (or 3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute (I whisked 2 eggs in a small bowl and measured out 1/3 cup. 2 eggs generally measures 1/2 cup, so there isn't much waste here)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk (we are lactose intolerant, so I made faux buttermilk by adding 1 tsp lemon juice to 1 cup Silk soy milk, and letting it curdle for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen -- no need to thaw if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Blend dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

3. Blend butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg slowly. Scrape sides and continue to mix until butter forms small lumps. Add vanilla and buttermilk. Mix well. Add dry ingredients in three batches. Mix well and scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition. DO NOT OVERMIX. When the dry ingredients are about 80% mixed into the butter/egg mixture, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. This will help prevent over mixing.

4. Scoop batter into muffin cups or mini bundt pans.
Makes 12 muffins or 6 mini bundts.

Guinness & Onion burgers

This recipe came from The Little Black Book of BBQ. Simple and delicious. We used Guinness, though I think any dark beer would work well. Served on a fresh ciabatta roll topped with onions and mustard, a side of sliced sweet potatoes that we grilled with some olive oil and salt, and some kettle chips, made for a perfect Sunday dinner.

  • 2 beef burgers
  • 3 ounces Guinness (or any dark beer)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • dash of salt
  1. Dice red onion and place in food processor with Guinness, olive oil and salt. Puree until smooth and liquidy.
  2. Liberally baste burgers on one side with marinade. I use a fork to poke holes in the burger so the beer mixture seeps in a bit more.
  3. Place burgers on grill, marinade side up. Grill 2-3 minutes, flip, and brush other side liberally with remaining marinade. Discard any leftover marinade. Continue cooking until burgers are done to your liking.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Country Supper Waffles

This recipe is from the fabulous book, Retro Breakfast. It's full of pancake, waffle, biscuit and egg recipes that remind me of the greasy spoon diners I love so much. The recipe makes enough waffles for 4 people, but we always make it for 2, and then freeze the rest -- they reheat well in the toaster.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup melted butter, margarine, or oil
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine egg yolks and milk until well blended.
  2. With electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Pour egg/milk mixture into flour and beat just enough to moisten.
  3. Stir in slightly cooled melted butter. Fold in egg whites, leaving little clumps of the white.
  4. Pour into waffle iron and bake to perfection!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rolo Pretzels

This is pretty much the easiest and fastest dessert recipe out there. It came about because every year for Christmas, I get a giant box of Rolos. That's 36 rolls of Rolos! So I figured it was time to get busy trying out some recipes involving the Rolos, so we don't just sit in front of the TV pigging out.

  • Small pretzels -- twists or circles work best
  • Rolos - you'll need 1 Rolo per pretzel (FYI - 8 Rolos come in each roll)
  • Toasted walnuts -- halves or chopped, or you can use pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. Spray with non-stick spray and wipe with a paper towel.
  2. Arrange pretzels in a single layer on sheet pan. Top each pretzel with a Rolo.
  3. Bake at 325 for 5 minutes, until Rolos are soft, but not melted.
  4. Remove pan from oven and using nuts, smoosh the Rolo and press the nuts into it. Let them cool completely on the parchment/tin foil, then store in an air tight container.