Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mom's Helper!!!

Bet you thought I meant my REAL helper, my little Gabriel, huh? Well he's awesome but I am talking about this super quick dinner that is a kid pleaser & mom pleaser (due to the ease) too! It's my take on Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper. Why buy that box mix when it's simple to make this yourself with fresh ingredients & less salt?!?

<3 Lishie

Mom's Helper
  • 2 TBSp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I used a tsp parsley)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
  • 4 TBSp butter
  • 1 TBSp flour
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large saute pan, with deep sides, heat the canola oil on medium. Saute the onion until translucent, add the garlic & dried herbs, stir to combine. Add the ground beef, browning it, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil the water for the macaroni. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain.

Drain the oil & liquids from the beef mixture. Combine the beef mixture & the macaroni back in the saute pan. Set aside.

Using a small sauce pan, melt the butter... Continuously whisking, add the flour. Still whisking, slowly add the milk... allow to thicken a little then the cheese until melted. You should have a creamy sauce.

Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger/macaroni-mix & incorporate until combined. Serve & enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chicken with Artichoke & Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Ha ha... has THIS ever happened to you? I had the chicken fresh, dinner ready in the fridge... easy raw tenders. Came home from work completely devoid of the idea of what to cook I had imagined on Sunday prep in the 1st place?!?  An empty brain!

So I ask my hubby, do you want breaded chicken?
Him: No.
Me: OK, what do you want?
Him: Don't know. Don't you have something you want to make?
Me: No, that is why I'm asking you!
Him: Well I don't know- you are not giving me any ideas!
Me: :::exasperated::: & just tired::: OK, I'll figure something out...

Twenty minutes later... Voilà!  I had "chicken with artichoke & mushrooms in a white wine sauce". Easy peasy but sure impressed the hubby. But he still said... Him: The colors are all the same. Urgh.

Chicken with Artichoke & Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

  • 1-2 TBSp Canola Oil
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup button mushrooms, sliced & chopped
  • 1 lb boneless chicken, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts in water
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
Heat the oil on medium in a saute pan, add onion... Stir. Add the butter... as the butter melts, add the mushrooms. Stir & cook for a minute. Add the chicken pieces. Allow chicken to brown lightly on all sides, stirring... Add the artichokes until warmed, about a minute... Add the wine... Allow the wine to cook out & the chicken to finish cooking, about 3-4 more minutes. Serve.

<3 Lishie

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini Vanilla Pudding Pies

Monday was National Pie Day & I made these cute mini pies or little "pielets"... They are so tasty & adorable!

Mini Vanilla Pudding Pies 
(with a chocolatey graham cracker crust)

  • 1/2 cup grushed graham crackers
  • 3 TBSp sugar
  • 3 TBSp butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup broken chocolate pieces 
  • small box of instant vanilla pudding
  • milk 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Prep 2 small muffin tins with liners or with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix graham crackers, sugar & butter until it is all incorporated- it will be lumpy. Using a TBSp, line each muffin tin bottom & sides with the graham cracker mixture. Drop a few pieces of chocolate onto each "crust" & push them into it. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chocolate is melted & the marshmallow is golden brown. Allow to cool...

Prepare instant pudding as per package directions... Using a small spoon, dollup pudding on each crust, refrigerate for an hour. 

Serve & enjoy!

<3 Lishie

Yummy bite:
The Crusts: 

Monday, January 23, 2012

S'Mores Bites

Had a hankering for some of my S'Mores Bars but didn't want to make so much... Soooo these came about instead. Enjoy!

<3 Lishie

S'Mores Bites

  • 1/2 cup grushed graham crackers
  • 3 TBSp sugar
  • 3 TBSp butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup small marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Prep 2 small muffin tins with liners or with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix graham crackers, sugar & butter until it is all incorporated- it will be lumpy. Using a TBSp, line each muffin tin bottom & sides with the graham cracker mixture. Drop a few marshmallows & pieces of chocolate onto each "crust". 

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chocolate is melted & the marshmallow is golden brown. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Caprese Bites

Looking for a yummy & easy appy or snack? You've found it! This is tasty & so simple.

Caprese Bites
  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
  • 1 small package of either regular mozzarella OR fresh mozzarella (for this, the mozzarella string cheese works WELL)
  • fresh basil

    Roll out the crescent dough, keeping it in one piece. Cut it into little rectangles. On one side of the rectangle place a piece of mozzarella, then a half of grape tomato & lastly, a piece a basil on top. Fold over the other half of the rectangle, secure & create a little bundle.
    Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until browned.

Try these other DeLish recipes using refrigerated crescent rolls!!!:

<3 Lishie

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recipe Swap! ~ a new take on Stuffed Peppers

Life has caught up to me this beginning of January, 2012. I go full speed ahead most of the time, but a few obstacles have been determined to sideline me. So that said, I apologize to Melissa at Delicious Meliscious. I am uncharacteristically late with this Recipe Swap entry & it has nothing to do with the challenge. Wow, what was the swap challenge you ask?! We were given one of our fellow cooking friend's Blogs & told to choose ANYTHING we wanted to make. Given Melissa's blog, this was difficult indeed. I really wanted to make her flourless chocolate cake (yummmm) & will but was delighted when simultaneously my hubby agreed to stuffed peppers & we found chorizo in a Manhattan market. Score! So I quickly placed Melissa's Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers on the menu. They were a welcome switch from our usual Italian stuffed peppers. They were also more work intensive & spicier so this won't be a regular for us but it was tasty! I skipped the rice part (due to a pantry mishap) & served bowtie pasta on the side. DeLish. Thank you, as always too to Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking for organizing the swap!

Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers
adapted from Delicious Meliscious
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded  
  • 1 pound chorizo sausage
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large skillet, cook chorizo until almost brown. Drain fat. Stir in celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, rice, and water. Cover, and simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, & mix in Mozzarella cheese.

Place peppers upright in a baking pan. Stuff each pepper with the chorizo mixture. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.

add the water to the bottom of the pan with extra chorizo stuffing.

Bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bread Crumb Pasta

Beware- carb overload! I make this sparingly because pasta in itself makes me happy not to mention bread. I saw Giada make this recipe a few years ago on her show & the first time I cooked it, used orecchiette too but since we tend to love bowtie pasta, use it instead & it tastes just as good! I lightly toast the breadcrumbs so they do not get too oily. I also recommend adding pancetta or something else too but sometimes, it is just the perfect side like this...

<3 Lishie

Pasta with Toasted Bread Crumbs
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • 3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 c Italian seasoned dried bread crumbs
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan
In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saute pan, heat the oil until warm. Since the bread crumbs will cook quickly, you don't want to add them into a hot pan, otherwise they can burn. Add the bread crumbs & stir constantly. Season lightly with salt & pepper since flavored bread crumbs may already have seasoning. Saute for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat & set aside.
Drain pasta in a colander. Working quickly, add pasta to the saute pan & stir to combine. Add Parmesan & pour into large serving bowl.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Egg Nog Cupcakes

These were decadent. Truly scrumptious albeit very sweet. I love egg nog & love to make things with the taste (see my egg nog custard pie). So with that idea in mind, I knew what I would be bringing to ring in the New Year with our good friends. Happy new year indeed.

<3 Lishie

Egg Nog Cupcakes
recipe from Southern Living
  • Eggnog Pound Cake batter (see below)
  • 1/2 c butter, softened 
  • 1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c eggnog
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
More cowbell!
Prepare Eggnog Pound Cake batter as directed. Place 24 paper baking cups in 2 (12-c) muffin pans; spoon batter into cups. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Beat butter & cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with eggnog, beginning & ending with sugar & beating at low speed. Add freshly grated nutmeg & vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. 

*Lishie tip- Sprinkle with Nutmeg.

Eggnog Pound Cake batter
  • 1 (16-oz.) package pound cake mix 
  • 1 1/4 c eggnog
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Everyone tends to make gingerbread men cookies & houses around the holidays but I find that people love to eat the old-fashioned quick bread, from which the cookie originated. It isn't too sweet & after a heavy meal is just the right thing! Don't squirrel this recipe away until next year- make it in a non-holiday shaped pan (or in a heart for Valentine's) & it is the perfect cold weather treat!

<3 Lishie


  • 2 & 1/3 c AP flour
  • 1/2 c shortening or canola oil
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 c molasses
  • 3/4 c hot water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Heat oven to 325ºF.  Spray with cooking spray, a pan, about 9"x9"x2". (I use shaped pans...)

Mix all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, until all are blended, about 1 minute. Then on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cinnamon Twists

My mom-in-law loves cooking as much as I do & one of my Christmas presents this year was a new cookbook that she liked for me. I went page-by-page through it & stopped short at these cookies. They had me at cinnamon... There really is nothing like the scent of cinnamon wafting through the house in the winter... Well, now, after making them, the scent of the cream cheese-butter dough is so good too! These take some time & are more intricate than your normal refrigerator cookie but they are worth it. Don't get too hung up on making the twists perfect; I didn't ;) And they tasted delish!

Happy new year all!
<3 Lishie

Cinnamon Twists
adapted from Good Housekeeping 
"A Very Merry Christmas" Cookbook
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c butter, room temperature
  • 2&1/2 c AP Flour
  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten
In a large bowl,  beat cream cheese & butter together at low speed until blended (scraping down the sides). Increase speed to high & beat about another 2 minutes, until light & creamy. With mixer at low, gradually add in the flour.

Place dough onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap, hand-shaped into a 9"x9" square. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

In a food processor, chop walnuts with 1/4 c of the sugar until finely ground. In a small bowl, combine the walnut mixture with the with the cinnamon & remaining 3/4 c sugar until all are well blended; set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured, cold, pastry board (or granite/quartz countertop), roll out the chilled dough using a rolling pin into a 11"x10&1/2" rectangle. With a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg over the top of the dough, then sprinkle half of the walnut/cinnamon mixture. Gently press walnut mixture into the dough. Flip over the dough, brush other side with egg & sprinkle, then press remaining walnut/cinnamon mixture into the dough. 

Cut dough length-wise into three, 3&1/2" wide bars, then cross-wise into 1/2" wide strips. to make Sixty-Six, 3&1/2"x1/2" strips. Twist each strip twice, then place, 1" apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. 

Bake twists 15-17 minutes until lightly browned. With a wide spatula, carefully loosen twists from the cookie sheet & then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with any remaining strips.