Monday, August 8, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

Yes. I am alive. My air conditioner has been out for the 4 days and it has been absolutely aweful. Needless to say, I have not been cooking. Today I cranked that new air conditioner and pretended that it was fall and made one of my most favorite fall desserts ever. I like anything pumpkin, but I especially LOVE these pumpkin bars :D

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 can Pumpkin puree (15 oz)
3/4 cup Butter (melted)
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Cream Cheese (softened)
4 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Combine all ingredients for the pumpkin bars. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely. Spread with cream cheese frosting

Oh yes. Oh YUM YUM YUM!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I've made two batches of this in 2 days. FYI I gave most of the first batch away.....but still! Try it, you will be hooked.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pad Thai

I love me a good date night, and there's nowhere my husband and I love more than our favorite Thai restaurant. Well...lets just say that we don't get there very often anymore now that we have two kids and he's a busy medical student. Hence, on Friday nights, I bring date night to us by cooking one of our favorites - Pad Thai! I even went all out and made potstickers to go with!

Pad Thai

1 16oz package Rice Noodles
2 Chicken Breasts (cut into thin slices)
3 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 shallot (chopped)
4 Tablespoons Oil
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons White Vinegar
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
4-5 Green Onions
1 cup Bean Sprouts ( I like bean sprouts, so I add extra)
1/2 cup Peanuts (chopped)
1 package Pad Thai Sauce

Thinly slice chicken

Cook chicken in a skillet with garlic until done. Add bean sprouts and green onions and cook until bean sprouts are softened. Cook rice noodles according to directions on the package. Meanwhile, combine pad Thai sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar to make the sauce.
When noodles are done, drain and toss them in with the chicken and vegetables. Pour sauce over noodles and top with freshly chopped peanuts.

*NOTE: Here's a picture of the Pad Thai Sauce, and fish sauce if you are unfamiliar with the ingredients

Happy Date Night :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fresh Peach Cobbler

The other day when I went grocery shopping, I eyed these beauties and just had to load up on them.
Oh ya, and don't mind the mess on my counter. I do that so that you don't feel bad if your kitchen isn't clean! Haha!

Anyway, I LOVE LOVE LOVE peach cobbler! I love the way it smells while it is baking! To me, it just screams SUMMER! This recipe is from the Saltlick restaraunt in Austin TX. I haven't personally been there, but apparently its a pretty awesome steakhouse. This is the BEST cobbler recipe ever!

Disclaimer: Yes, this recipe does have more sugar than most peach cobblers. Sure you COULD use less. But you know, my Dad works with sugar beet farmers for a living, and it's always been our family motto "Support the Industry". I have ALWAYS been a very supportive daughter.

Fresh Peach Cobbler - Salt Lick Restaurant

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup room temperature milk
1 room temperature egg

5-6 fresh peacher or 1 (28 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Ok so first, peel your peaches and combine with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Like so

Set aside and melt your butter in a 9x13 pan while your oven heat up to 350 degrees

While your butter is melting, combine all ingredients for the batter and beat until smooth.

Pour batter evenly over melted butter.

Next, spoon your peaches on top of the batter. DO NOT STIR

Don't stir! Don't do it!!

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown

you see, I didn't even get a picture of it before people started digging in!

Serve warm with ice cream on top

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Focaccia Chicken Sandwiches with Lemon Scented Ricotta

Hello! Wow it has been quite a while! Have you heard about the heat wave in Texas? Its been over 100 degrees for 20 days strait, with no sign of letting up. So what happens around our house when its hot outside?

Something nasty like this!
A non-cooking disease has plagued my house, it hasn't been pretty. But I am on the mend. Today I made these yummy grilled chicken sandwiches.
I was a huge fan of the lemon scented ricotta.

Focaccia Chicken Sandwiches with Lemon Scented Ricotta
1 loaf focaccia bread
15 oz ricotta cheese (I used low-fat and it worked great)
2 zucchini's (grated)
2 teaspoons salt
1 large slicing tomatoe
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
salt and pepper to taste
3 chicken breasts (grilled)

First, grate your zucchinis and combine with 2 teaspoons salt. Let sit for several minutes.

Meanwhile, combine your ricotta cheese, lemon zest, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Drain your zucchinis. You don't want any extra water in them, so squeeze hard! Combine with ricotta mixture.

Next get your loaf of focaccia. If you aren't familiar with it, this is what it looks like

Cut your loaf in half horizontally, then cut into three slices so that you have six pieces. Drizzle them with olive oil, and put under the broiler until the brown up a little bit.

Next spread your ricotta mixture on your bread and put under the broiler for just a minute until the ricotta gets warm and bubbles a little. Add your piece of grilled chicken and top with sliced tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spaghetti Factory Mizithra Spaghetti with Browned Butter

So today was one of THOSE days. I had a hundred things to do, and still had 3 hungry boys to feed. Well, luckily for me, this is one of THOSE recipes. If you haven't ever been to The Old Spaghetti Factory, you are seriously missing out. I'm pretty sure my brother Dane asked to go there every year on his birthday. And I'm also pretty sure that my Dad always ordered the Mizithra Spaghetti. It wasn't until recently I realized, it was the simplest thing in the world to make. So today is your lucky day, because you are going to become a restaurant chef....and you will be out of the kitchen in 20 minutes!

Mizithra Spaghetti with Browned Butter
12 oz Thin Spaghetti
1 cup Butter
1 teaspoon Garlic (minced)
3 ounces Mizithra Cheese (finely grated)

Here are you ingredients

Mizithra is Greek deliciousness! P.S. I spelled it right and HEB is in need of some correction

Finely shred your Mizithra - like this

Next get your pasta cooking. Meanwhile, start melting your butter in a skillet.

Get it simmering like so, and add your garlic.

Keep is simmering for several minutes (4-5), stirring often. Remember we want BROWNED butter, not burned butter.

This is what it should look like. And this what about the time my husband called from the other room what I was making for dinner because it smelled SO GOOD!

Now mix your cooked pasta in with your browned butter, and top with all that yummy mizithra cheese.
Bravo! Bellissimo!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garlic Lime Chicken with Mango Salsa

Keeping my healthy streak alive and it feels great! You can adapt the marinade for how many pieced of chicken you want to grill (I make one breast per person). You could also just make the mango salsa to serve with chips. I'm all about versatile recipes!

Garlic Lime Chicken:

2 Chicken Breasts
2 limes
1 tablespoon Garlic

Seal in a ziploc bag and marinade for at least 6 hours

Mango Salsa:

2 large ripe Mangos
2-3 Roma Tomatoes
3 Green Onions
1 small Yellow Bell Pepper (or orange)
1/2 cup Cilantro (roughly chopped)
Juice of 1 Lime
sugar (optional. If your mangos aren't very sweet you will definately want to add a little sugar. Mine were super sweet so I didn't add any)
Jalepeno pepper (optional. Add as much as you like)

Peel and chop mangos. If you don't know how to do this, follow this link.
Chop tomatoes, green onions, pepper and cilantro. Combine with lime juice and sugar (if needed)

Serve over grilled chicken and tortilla chips or rice. Delish!
Can also be served over rice for a more filling meal.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I told you I was in need of something healthy after a 3 week vacation! I made these lettuce wraps for dinner last night and it was just the ticket. They are filling enough for a meal, but light enough that you don't feel like you need to go run a mile after. My husband (who doesn't ever constitute a salad as a meal) even requests this meal every once in a while. Its also another one of those meals that doesn't require an oven in this horrid Texas heat- so it's a winner in my book!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

4 chicken breasts (cut into very small pieces) or 2 lbs *ground chicken
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups cole slaw mix
1 cup cilantro, chopped
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
2-3 tablespoons ginger (minced - to your taste)
4-5 green onions (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

Dipping Sauce:
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons water
ginger to your taste

Cook chicken in a large skillet with garlic and ginger. Add all other ingredients and cook until vegetables have softened a bit - but don't let them get too soggy. Remove from heat and put filling in large sliced of lettuce. Dip in sauce, or drizzle it on top.

Tomorrow's healthy meal "Garlic Lime Chicken with Mango Salsa" YUM! See you tomorrow :)

*Ground chicken has the similar consistency to ground beef- which frankly I think tastes like rubber 90 percent of the time, so I chose to go with small diced chicken instead! Do whatever you like!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Wow, 2 dessert posts in a row! I think next week I will be in serious need of heathy recipes. BUT this recipe is SO good and well worth the calories! I made these for my husband's white coat ceremony party last summer and got lots of compliments on them.

There's something about a salty sweet combination that just hits the spot! I love these cupcakes because most cupcakes are so sickeningly sweet, and this one is not!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly packed DARK brown sugar ( the dark brown sugar is important for a caramely taste)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer beat together sugars and butter until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk. Beat on low until just combined.

Divide batter evenly in prepared cupcake pan. Fill each 2/3 of the way full (DO NOT OVER FILL - I learned this the hard way). It should fill about 18 cupcakes. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Cool completely.

Frosting (adapted from
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup DARK brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until it starts to thicken. It should be pudding-like, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it. Stir super hard to get rid of any lumps of flour. Cool completely in fridge

In an electric stand mixer, beat butter and sugar for a minute or so until it is fluffy. Add thickened milk mixture and flavoring. Beat for 7 minutes on the highest speed you can without spraying it all over the place. Stop mixer when frosting is light and fluffy- This may take up to 12 full minutes

Frost each cupcake, then top the cupcakes with a scant sprinkle of course sea salt.

*Note: the frosting recipe WILL frost the 18 cupcakes- but if you are piping the frosting like I did in the pictures, you will want to make a double recipes! Shoot you might want to make a double recipe and eat it strait out of the bowl :)

Happy Baking
xoxo Cait

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cake Pops

So last night my adorable cousins brought over these equally adorable treats

Are these not the cutest things you've ever seen?
I LOVE them! I immediately started thinking how perfect they'd be for special occasions- baby shower, wedding shower, child's birthday party, girls night out etc.

They made them with this machine which is SO on my list of kitchen things I want!

You don't need a machine to make cake pops. You can use a method like this, which results in an awesome truffle-like cake pop! You can use any flavor of cake mix, with any flavor of frosting.

I have a feeling these girls have created a monster! A cake-pop-eating-monster!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grilled Butter, Lime and Jalapeno Shrimp

This week Jared and I have been feasting like kings! My mom made some awesome shrimp the other night that I just had to share. Now I am not even much of a seafood person, but these are AMAZING! We had them in addition to the Drunken Master Noodles I posted a few weeks ago, but they would also be great as a fun appetizer.

Grilled Butter, Lime and Jalapeno Shrimp (adapted from "Small Bites" cookbook)

1 lb Large Shrimp (we left their shells on, but also thought they would be better peeled)
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Chipotle Chili Pepper in Adobo, deseeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 Jalapeno or other green chili pepper, deseeded and minced
Juice of 1 large Lime
Zest of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 limes, halved, to serve

Peel shrimp. Using a very sharp knife, cut each shrimp through the shell on the back (outside curve). Don't cut all the way through, but just enough to split the shrimp open. Heat the broiler to medium. Place the shrimp in a shallow baking dish and pour on the butter and oil. Sprinkle with the garlic, chipotle, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Cook under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp just turn pink. Sprinkle with the lime juice, zest, and fresh cilantro and serve immediately with the lime halves.

Warning: these are extremely addictive! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Outdoor Eating

Forgive my little blogging absence! I have been visiting my family in Idaho. We may live in Texas, but Idaho is home to Jared and I. What an awesome place! It has been such lovely weather here and tonight we ate at one of my favorite places in Idaho
Isn't my parent's backyard gorgeous? I love the vines, I love that it's quiet and cool, and I love that when you eat outside no one is in a big hurry. Perfecto!

On tonight's menu was bacon wrapped beef tenderloin, mandarin orange salad, and caprese salad with balsamic vinegar.

Yummy! I love eating outdoors. Tell me, what's your favorite thing to cook and eat outside?

Friday, June 17, 2011

My very favorite cookie - ever!

When Jared and I got married nearly 5 years ago we ate terribly! Every night we would decide which flavor of boxed Pastaroni or Chicken Helper we wanted. It was aweful! It didn't take me long to figure out that I needed some serious help in the kitchen. I started with desserts (obviously- the most important part of the meal)and worked my way up.

My Mom and Aunts are amazing cooks and they shared their recipes on (now I signed up and this was the first one of my Aunt Keolani's recipes I found. They are my favorite cookies ever! They're crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, slightly salty - totally delicious!

Oatmeal Chip Cookies (from Keolani Wisdom)

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups Oatmeal
2 cups Chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter - whatever strikes your fancy)

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Combine with creamed mixture. Add oats and chocolate chips. Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tortellini with tomato cream sauce

Cooking is not something that has taken place this week! We've been too busy enjoying the summer. I finally made dinner last night for a family that goes to our church. Hope none of them were on a diet!
3 cheese tortellini with homemade tomato cream sauce and fresh basil, and garlic cheese bread.

Tortellini with tomato cream sauce:
12 oz tortellini
1 large can tomatoes (diced or whole cut into pieces. I prefer whole tomatoes cut into chunks, but apparently I grabbed the diced this time)
3 cloves garlic, minced. (About 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh basil
Italian seasoning
fresh parmesan

Cook onion and garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes, until the onion is soft. Drain tomatoes and dump tomatoes into your pan with the onions and garlic. Add cream, salt and basil. Simmer while you cook your tortellini according to directions on package. Drain and toss together with tomato cream sauce. Add lots of parmesan cheese!!

I served it with garlic cheese bread. I love the sourdough bread at Costco and just spread each piece with garlic butter and parmesan. Then I put the whole loaf back together, wrapped it in aluminum foil and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad

So I had a bunch of ingredients left over from the gyros I made last week, and decided to put them to use in a pasta salad! It turned out really yummy,came together in about 20 minutes, and used up all my leftovers!

Greek Pasta Salad:
1 lb Tri colored or Garden Rotini
1 0.7 oz packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (you'll find dry salad mixes on the salad dressing aisle)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup Feta Cheese
sliced red onions
sliced cherry tomatoes
sliced grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken

Prepare dressing by combining dry salad mix, water, oil and vinegar. Whisk together well.

Cook pasta according to directions. Rinse under cool water until pasta is completely cool.

Combine cooled pasta and dressing, then add all other ingredients.
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