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, June 22, 2010

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are on sale! That's great, but I hate deep frying them because it's just such a pain to clean the oil afterwards and whatnot. You'd never know these were baked, instead of fried, they taste just as good as the "real deal." This was super easy to make and delicious. My best advice is to dry the wings with paper towels before dredging them in the flour mixture. This will help them come out nice and crispy instead of soggy. We dipped them in blue cheese dressing and served with steamed veggies. I don't have a picture because we were starving and devoured these in just a few minutes, before I realized I forgot to take a snapshot! Oh well.

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's RedHot


  1. Line a baking sheet with foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne, garlic powder and salt into a resealable plastic bag, shaking to mix. Add chicken wings, seal and toss until well coated. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings in the butter mixture and place back on the baking sheet. Bake until chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Friday night = pizza night in the Bickford household. I don't cook on Fridays. Ever. But with baby on the way, and only 1 income now, eating out is becoming a luxury, and we're trying really hard not to spend too much. So since I have an insane amount of time on my hands lately, I've decided to find the perfect pizza dough recipe. And I think I found it. The first few recipes I tried were dry, crusty and flavorless. But this one from Annie's Eats, is delicious! It's crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the overall perfect consistency. We used to get 1 large takeout pizza on Fridays, and it would give us dinner and lunch on Saturday, for about $14 after taxes. The same size pizza, with the same toppings, now costs us about $4, and we still get a dinner and lunch from 1 pizza. It's super easy to make, and the recipe below makes enough dough for 2 pizzas. Just freeze 1/2 of the dough and wrap tightly in plastic wrap until you're ready to use it!

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting (I used about 4.5 cups, plus more to dust)
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings, cheese and sauce - We used regular Barilla pasta sauce, Sargento Italian 6 cheese blend (asiago, parmesan, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, romano), and topped with spinach, red onion and banana peppers from the garden

  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
  2. Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
  3. To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 450˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Banana Muffins

Yet another muffin recipe I made for the weekend! We had some bananas starting to go bad, so of course, when bananas go bad, you make banana bread! These are delicious. Super moist and just sweet enough, but not too much. I didn't change anything in this recipe except to melt the butter for the crumb topping.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Blueberry Muffins

Between being unemployed, crazy sales at the grocery store, and family coming into town, I figured now was a good time to make some muffins. I'm not usually a big muffin baker, but something struck my fancy and this recipe just looked too good not to try. Besides, blueberries were on sale, buy one get one free! So it was a good excuse to get 2 tubs of berries. They came out perfectly. Not too sweet, not too crumbly, just perfect. Don't use frozen berries. Use the fresh ones. You won't regret it!

The only change I made was to melt the butter for the topping, instead of cubing it. I always find crumble toppings work better with melted butter.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed (I melted the butter instead)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.