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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken with Chipotle

A few weeks ago I got a great deal on chicken leg quarters, so I vowed to try 4 new recipes with my bargain chicken! This is the last of the 4 new ones. I found it on AllRecipes and didn't make any substitutions to the original recipe. The only thing I would change next time, is when the recipe says to put the chicken in the pan and simmer it in the sauce for 10min. I found that the oil from the chicken actually broke my sauce, leaving it looking not so appetizing. The chicken was definitely done after being in the oven, and I think it would be better to just spoon the sauce over it, instead of simmering both together.

Anyway, the dish is very simple to make, and the sauce would be great on just about any type of meat. I served it with some quesadillas, but you could also add refried beans or rice as a side dish.

  • 2 chicken leg quarters
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 3/4 teaspoon margarine
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Roast the chicken legs in the preheated oven until the skin is crispy, and the meat is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is roasting, puree the milk, sour cream, chipotle peppers, and chicken bouillon granules in a blender until smooth. Melt the margarine in a large pan over medium heat. Pour in the chipotle puree, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and season with salt to taste. Add the cooked chicken legs, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until chicken has taken on the flavor of the sauce (next time, I will skip this step and just pour the thickened sauce over the chicken).
I didn't feel comfortable using my own photo for this dish, because the sauce broke after adding the chicken to it, and left it looking pretty unappetizing (though it still tasted good!). So this is the picture from the original recipe on AllRecipes, because had my sauce not broken, my dish would have looked very similar.

Monkey Bread Cupcakes

As I've mentioned before, I subscribe to a wonderful blog called Cupcake Project, and Stef can literally make anything into a cupcake. She's awesome. This week, she made Monkey Bread cupcakes. And as I thought about it some more, I realized that not only have I never made Monkey Bread, but I really didn't even know what it was. People think that's crazy, but it's the truth! I had no clue. The recipe itself sounded delicious, somewhat time consuming, but fairly simple. A perfect project for my day off to keep me busy in between doing loads of laundry and cleaning the house. I started just before noon, and now it's 2:30pm and my cupcakes have about another 10 min to bake. So definitely make sure you have about 3 hours set aside to get these done.

  • 1/2 C lukewarm water
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T instant yeast or rapid rise yeast
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, cut into small slices
  • chocolate chips or baking chunks to taste (about 2 oz)
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  1. Place water, vegetable oil, egg, salt, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl and mix well.
  2. Add 1 cup of the flour, stirring to blend.
  3. Add the second cup of flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough.
  4. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes; this gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead.
  5. Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until it's soft and smooth.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and let the dough rise for 30 to 60 minutes or until it's doubled in size.
  7. Gently deflate the dough.
  8. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
  9. Place cupcake liners into a cupcake tin and lightly grease them with butter or cooking spray.
  10. Pull off a small piece of dough. How small? You should get 24 pieces out of the batter so that you can have two pieces in each cupcake. However, unless you are having a dinner party for exactly 12 people, it doesn't really matter and you can make the pieces whatever size you would like.
  11. Stretch the piece out, put a banana slice and several chocolate chips or baking chunks inside, and then roll it into a ball.
  12. Dip the ball in the melted butter.
  13. Dip the ball in the cinnamon and sugar.
  14. Put the ball into the cupcake liner. You should be able to fit two balls into each cupcake liner. Be sure to press the 2 balls together firmly, so they bake as 1 unit.
  15. Cover the cupcake tin and let the bread rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until it's visibly puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  16. Uncover the cupcake tin and bake the monkey bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's golden brown and feels set.
  17. While the monkey bread is baking, prepare the glaze.
Cinnamon Glaze
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T milk
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  2. Drizzle over the hot cupcakes.
  3. The cupcakes are best served warm. If you can't eat them immediately, reheat them in microwave for about 15 seconds before serving.
Dough in cupcake pan, not yet risen.

After dough had sat for about 35 minutes, and risen quite a lot!

Finished product is a gooey, sweet, slightly crispy monkey bread cupcake. Delicious!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Happy Anniversary to us! To celebrate our 3rd anniversary, we bought ourselves an electric griddle (in addition to a new kitchen sink and faucet, but those aren't as fun as the griddle!). So tonight we finally got a chance to try it out, and figured pancakes were the way to go. We made a pretty basic sour cream pancake batter and cooked them up for dinner. So easy and so tasty. The recipe came from The Big Book of Breakfast, by Maryana Vollstedt.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 T sour cream
  • 1 T melted butter
  • Syrup of your choice
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, brown sugar and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk and sour cream. Whisk in dry ingredients. Add melted butter and whisk until just blended.
  2. Preheat a nonstick griddle to medium high heat (we used a temp in between 2 and 3 on our griddle, with 3 being the hottest setting). Lightly spray or brush with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is golden, about 1 minute longer.
Makes 10 - 12 pancakes, or 3 servings

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

English Farmhouse Salad

This is another recipe from the Simply Salad book by Jennifer Chandler. I added some grilled chicken to it and it made for a nice, light, Summery dish. Normally I am not a fan of blue cheese, but I decided to go for it anyway. Glad I did! The bite of the cheese is really mellowed out by the grilled apples and balsamic dressing.

  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 bag Spring Mix lettuce
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (I used black currant balsamic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat a clean grill or grill pan to medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and grill until no longer pink inside. Allow to cool, then slice into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with oil until well coated. Place apples on grill pan and grill until just softened, about 2 min per side. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss the Spring Mix, walnuts, and blue cheese.
  4. For vinaigrette, mix olive oil, balsamic salt and pepper until well blended. To keep the dressing from separating, add just a dash of garlic powder and mix gently. Add vinaigrette to taste and gently toss. Top with grilled apples.

Mocha Chicken

I have to admit. When I first saw the title of this recipe, I was a bit turned off, but knew I had to try it anyway. Especially because I gave up my coffee addiction almost 3 months ago, so now I had a valid excuse to break out the coffee machine and brew up a cup! A small one, but a cup nonetheless. The chicken was marinated overnight in a soy/coffee combination that smells great, even though it sounds a bit off. I used chicken leg quarters and my Le Creuset dutch oven, because honestly, I just love using the damn thing! It's awesome.

The original recipe came from Dave, on
Allrecipes. I didn't make any changes to the recipe, except that I used low sodium soy sauce, and it took me about an hour to get the chicken to cook (instead of 30min). I ended up covering it, and turning up the heat, and it finally cooked!

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 chicken legs
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a medium, nonreactive container, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, coffee, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place chicken legs in the mixture. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the marinade mixture, and set aside. Transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with pepper, and brown on all sides in the skillet. Pour the hot marinade mixture into the skillet. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool slightly before serving.