Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Busy Busy

Things have been pretty busy around here lately! I have a big paper due in a few weeks, so I have not had time for any blog updates. I'm still cooking and baking, so stay tuned for new posts in a couple weeks:)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Laughing Cow Chicken

If you google "laughing cow chicken" I am sure that you will find a ton of variations of this recipe. There really is no real way you can mess up this dish, and the beauty of it is that you can take the concept and adapt it any way you want. I've seen versions using each cheese flavor (garlic and herb, french onion, swiss), breaded and non-breaded, flattened and rolled, etc.

In the past I would make this by pounding the chicken, spreading on a wedge of cheese, and then rolling it up and securing with toothpicks. However, I feel too much of the cheese oozes out while baking, so this is my new variation and I love it! Again, feel free to switch up the cheese and seasonings. When using garlic and herb cheese I like to use italian seasoning in the panko.

Laughing Cow Chicken
Source: Kitchen Escapes original


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 wedges laughing cow cheese, french onion
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg white
1/4 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbls. olive oil


Cut 2 inch horizontal slits in each chicken breast, making sure to not cut all the way through, just cut enough to make a nice pocket. Spread one cheese wedge in the pocket of each chicken breast and season each with salt and pepper.

Combine panko, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste in shallow bowl. Add egg white to second shallow bowl. Dip chicken breasts in egg and then dredge in breadcrumbs, coating well.

Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add chicken breasts to hot skillet, cook 4-6 minutes until browned. Flip chicken, cook another 4-6 minutes until brown and crispy. Transfer skillet to oven, bake 6-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Over the past few years I have made numerous recipes from Cooking Light, and I have come to find that some of the magazine's recipes are disappointingly bad. I had high hopes for a ricotta pasta awhile ago, that ended up a congealed mass of cheese and dried herbs....quite unedible.

These wraps.....are 100% edible and delicious, a definite Cooking Light success. The hubby was a bit skeptical as he claims to have never seen lettuce wraps before, but I'm pretty sure he is now a lettuce wrap convert. The meat mixture is pretty spicy, almost too much for me, so you can always cut back on the amount of chili paste.

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light


2 1/2 ounces rice noodles
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 lb. ground turkey
8-12 large Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves

Heat skillet over medium-high heat; brown turkey; drain off any excess grease/liquid.
Meanwhile, add rice noodles to boiling water; boil 6-7 minutes until al dente. Drain noodles and rinse under cold water. Chop noodles into bite size pieces.
Combine soy sauce, chile paste and sesame oil in large bowl. Add cooked noodles and turkey to soy sauce mixture, toss well to coat.
Spoon about 1/3 cup turkey mixture down center of each lettuce leaf; roll up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black Russian Cake

Is it strange that I'm always really disappointed in myself when I forget to take a picture of something? Maybe I should just be happy that usually when this happens, it's also a case of something being so good that there is no time to waste in taking pictures. Sometimes I just need to dig in. This cake was no exception.

I can't remember how I came across this recipe, but I'm so glad I did. This cake is super easy, incredibly moist and has great flavor from the coffee and Kahlua. I'm a huge fan of most things coffee flavored, and I kind of wished that flavor was more potent in this cake, but either way it was still delicious.

Black Russian Cake
Source: The New Intercourses: An aphrodisiac cookbook

For the cake:
butter for greasing
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup creme de cacao
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 package dark-chocolate cake mix
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding

For the topping:
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons strong coffee
3 tablespoons Kahlua
3 tablespoons creme de cacao

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease a 10-inch Bundt pan or a tin of miniature Bundts.

For the cake, combine the oil, eggs, coffee, creme de cacao, and Kahlua in a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the cake mix and pudding mix, and stir until just combined. Pour into the Bundt pan until three-fourths full.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Invert cake onto a serving plate and punch holes throughout the cake with a skewer or ice pick.

While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. Be sure to sift the confectioners sugar well, or the glaze will be lumpy. Combine the confectioners sugar, coffee, Kahlua, and creme de cacao until the sugar dissolves. Spoon over the warm cake, reserving several tablespoons to drizzle onto cut slices.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Marinara Sauce

Check out my new gorgeous new dutch oven! For quite some time now I have been pining over Le Creuset dutch ovens, but I could not stomach the price (close to $200!) and there was no way Andy would ever be okay with spending that much on a kitchen gadget. So I finally gave up that dream and found a Lodge dutch oven for $50, that is still pretty and will last forever without the hefty price.

Naturally, I couldn't wait to make something in my new toy, and the obvious choice at the moment was Giada's marinara sauce. I've been wanting to make this for a long time, but I was being picky and did not want to make it unless it was in a shiny new dutch oven:/

As it turns out, I should have made this a long time ago. I may never need to buy jarred tomato sauce again! This is really easy to make, and can be frozen for future use.

Marinara Sauce
Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 dried bay leave

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add wine, stir and let simmer until almost all has evaporated. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.

(The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spanish Rice

The last of my mexican side dishes, and again another meal I enjoy in restaurants but have never made at home. I really enjoyed this rice, and it paired great with leftover pork carnitas. I think this would be a great addition to any future taco night in our house.

I did have a slight issue while making this because I somehow did not pay attention to my grocery list and bought tomato paste instead of tomato sauce. I did not realize this until I had already started making the rice, so I had to improvise. I ended using about 4 oz tomato paste and adding a little extra liquid, and the end result still had great flavor, but had a bit too much liquid. Next time I'll pay better attention to my own grocery list.

Spanish Rice


3 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Mexican oregano (didn't have so used normal oregano)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
8 oz. can of tomato sauce


Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat and saute the rice until it is golden brown. Add the vegetables and seasonings, and continue to saute for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add the broth and the tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is almost completely absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat and let it stand 3 to 4 minutes, still covered. Fluff and serve.