Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vote for Simplicity!

Ok so this is not food related.... but I could really use your support!

Please vote for Jill and I at Channel 4's Vote for the Best contest!

It only takes a minute to hit the vote button then confirm your vote in your email. Simplicity DOC is a young company and we are working hard to get our name out. We are very close to finishing in the Top 5 which would be a huge honor for us. So if you have a minute, please vote!
Thank you soooo much.

I promise to return with more yummy recipes soon.

p.s. Become my Facebook fan! You can find me at Simplicity Day of Event Coordination and I also have a travel agent page called Shelly Andrus, Brookside Travel. On the travel one I am doing a giveaway! So check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oreo Cakes

Conceptually, the oreos had a lot more to do with this cake than they actually did. These still turned out delicious and everyone raved about them at the party I made them for. They were even good and moist for at least a week after. Basically, I wanted to use my mini bundt cake pan so I came up with this idea.

Oreo Cakes
Yield: about 24 cakes

*Cream Cheese Cake
3/4 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and cream cheese. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix until combined. Scoop into a large zipper bag and set aside.

*Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cups all-purpose flour
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in some flour/cocoa/powder/salt then some buttermilk, then flour, then buttermilk etc. Scoop into a large zipper bag and set aside.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray baking spray in a mini bundt pan (If you want to be boring, I guess a cupcake pan could work, but my way is so much prettier!).

2. With your mad Oreo seperating skills, seperate some oreos. Eat the cream and put the cookies in a baggie. You will need about 12 cookie halves at least. Crush the cookies. Sprinkle about a teaspoon and a half into the bottom of each bundt cup.

3. Snip a small hole in the corner of each cake bag. Pipe a ring of cream cheese cake over the oreos. Then pipe a ring of chocolate cake over the cream cheese cake. You want to fill the cups about 3/4 full.

4. Bake about 20 minutes** or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Once cool, put some powdered sugar in a bowl and mix in a little milk at a time just until drizzly. Drizzle icing over cakes as desired. YUM.

**Confession. I made these a couple weeks ago and totally forgot how long I baked them for. For some reason 18 minutes is sticking out in my head but I am not sure. So, use your baking judgement!

Awesome Jambalaya

Ok so this isn't a true jambalaya, but I don't have a better name. If you want to make yourself feel better, add some chicken, shrimp, okra whatever. It doesn't matter anyway because this turned out awesome. Now, I really hate it when bloggers say "you must try this" because I always get suckered into trying it and usually it doesn't live up the to the expectations the blogger has built up in me. BUT.... you should probably try this =)

Awesome Jambalaya
Serves: 3

1/2-3/4 rope of Italian Style Smoked Sausage sliced (I thought it really made the dish)
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup onion diced
1/2 cup green pepper diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on taste and freshness of flakes)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Franks hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cups instant white rice
1 can chicken broth

1. Heat a little oil in a large fry pan and saute the sausage, onion, and pepper until tender. Add the garlic for a couple mintes at the end.

2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, cajun seasoning, red pepper, black pepper, salt, Franks, Worcestershire sauce and broth. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and then bring to a boil.

3. Stir in the rice and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes until rice is done.

**Depending on how much the liquid reduces, the rice/liquid ratio may be off a little. I originally used 2 cups rice and thought it might be a little too much.

Cheesy Chicken Skillet

I found this on Loves to eat's blog. It was really easy, I had all the ingredients on hand (which is huge for me... I love recipes like that), and it was yummy. We will definitely eat this again on a night when I have no clue what to make because chances are I will have all the ingredients!

Cheesy Chicken Skillet
Serves: 3-4

2 cups of pasta (I used radiatore)
3/4 lbs chicken, cut into pieces (I used 2 breasts)
1 can Healthy Request cream of chicken soup (I used regular ol' Campbells)
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt's w/ Basil and Oregano and DRAINED them)
1 1/2 cup of milk (I used 1 cup)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions: Cook the pasta as directed. Heat 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken & cook thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium; stir in soup, tomatoes, milk and seasonings. Stir in cooked pasta. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until bubbly & heated through. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat, cover & let stand about 5 minutes.

Chicken Tenders

I needed to use up some buttermilk. Yup, that's how I decided to make this. What? Necessity is the mother of invention. And it tastes good too.

Chicken Tenders
Serves: 2-3

1 pound chicken tenderloins
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
spray butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. In a plastic resealable bag mix together the bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

3. Dip each chicken strips into buttermilk mixture, then into bread crumb mixture (about 4 strips at a time), and toss to coat well. Place strips in a single layer on a sheet pan. Throw them in the refrigerator and let them sit for awhile so the coating sticks.

4. Remove from fridge and spray on a little butter (don't drench it or the coating will come off). Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning once about halfway thru.

Snow Peas

I needed a new side. Something simple and yummy. I made these with the Chicken Finger recipe above. They weren't the most delicious veggie side I have ever had in my life, but they were very good. You should try this too if you are looking for something a little different than a can of green beans or something.

Snow Peas
Serves: 2

-2 servings of fresh snow peas (I don't know how much!), cleaned and tips snipped
-2 tablespoons butter
-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
-salt to taste

1. Boil a small pot of water. Throw in snow peas. Boil until desired tenderness (we like 5 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. In the same pot, melt the butter. Throw in the cayenne and the peas and mix to coat. Sprinkle in some salt. Serve. See? Easy.

Elephant Ears

These were really easy, really quick and pretty tasty. I didn't think they were terribly authentic (I did grow up in the town with the world's largest free fair!)... but I think these would make a great dessert component, like with some ice cream or some apple pie filling or drizzled with caramel/chocolate/icing. Imagine the possibilities! Thanks Molly.

Elephant Ears

* Refrigerator biscuits - 1 roll
* 1 cup cooking oil
* 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (I made a mix of 1/2 c sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon)
* Paper lunch bag

Directions: Place cinnamon sugar in paper lunch bag. Heat cooking oil in large (10"+) frying pan. Test for hot enough: Drop of water will sizzle. Separate dough into individual biscuits-"ear". Stretch each biscuit until they just about have holes in them. They do not have to be perfect. Gently drop each "ear" into the hot oil. As soon as one side becomes golden, flip them and let second side get golden. DO NOT WALK AWAY. They burn quickly. Place "ears" on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Shake "ears" in paper bag of cinnamon sugar. Serve warm with ice cream or just plain. Make lots, they will go quickly.

**I just used premade cinnamon sugar and sprinkled it on both sides because I didn't have a paper bag. These really only take like 2 minutes per side. I used regular buttermilk biscuits.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spicy Red Sauce Pasta

Make this. Just do it. Then invite me over so I can have some. It is delicious. I think Matt would eat this every night. Ok, maybe every other night.

Spicy Red Sauce Pasta
Serves: 2

2 cups penne pasta
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes (Del monte with green peppers and onions) UNdrained
1/4+ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more depending on how new and potent)
1/4+ teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup half and half
Parmesan or mozzarella cheese

1. Cook the pasta like the box tells you.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skilled combine olive oil, garlic, and onion. Saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the cooked bacon for a couple minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and red pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, squishing the tomatoes as you cook. Add the half and half and stir.

3. Plate the pasta and pour sauce over top. Sprinkle on parm or mozz as desired.

Shrimpalicious pasta

Sorry for the crappy picture. We couldn't wait to dig into this and we were not disappointed. This will definitely be a reoccuring meal. I hope I remember the recipe correctly, when I make stuff up I tend to forget what I did. =/

Shrimpalicious Pasta
Serves: 2

half bag shrimp, thawed and tails removed (the 30-40 count size)
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 box linguine pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup half and half
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water like you are supposed to.

2. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan. Add the clove of garlic and the shrimp. Cook shrimp until no longer pink. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, melt the rest of the butter and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft. Stir in half and half, pepper, and parsley. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Add the cooked shrimp.

3. Plate the pasta, top with the sauce, sprinkle liberally with parmesan. Eat with garlic bread. Go into a pasta coma.

Apple Pancakes

Ummmmmm.... yum. That is pretty much all I need to say. Oh, and I am really irritated that blogspot randomly rotates my pictures and I can't get them back right.

Apple Pancakes
Serves: 1-2

1. Heat up your griddle to 4 out of 10 if you have an electric stove like me. You know when it is ready when a drop of water dances on the pan.

2. Take a medium/large apple and peel, core, and slice it. I used Pacific Rose because that's what I had on hand. Any apple suitable for cooking will work. You will need 4 slices, but don't make them mega thick.

3. Mix the following: 1 cup pancake mix (I like Krusteaz), 3/4 water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon white sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. If it is too thin, add more pancake mix a tablespoon at a time until you like the thickness.

4. Place 2 slices of apple on the pan for about 15 seconds and flip over. Pour 1/4 of the pancake mix over each slice. You know it is time to flip the pancakes when there are tons of popping bubbles and the edges start to dry out. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Repeat with 2 more slices.

5. Serve with syrup or whatever else you like. Makes 4 large pancakes.


According to Wikipedia: "Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is one of the most popular varieties of South Asian breads and is particularly popular in northern India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan." According to me: "Naan is super soft garlic bread.... don't get the curry flavor, it is nasty."

We had a bunch of garlic naan bread from Trader Joe's and we needed to use it up. This was pretty damn good.

Serves: 1

1. Slice one piece of naan in half the short way. Butter one side of each half like you are making a grilled cheese. If you don' t know how to make grilled cheese, maybe you should take a cooking class instead of reading blogs.

2. Make it exactly like a grilled cheese sandwich. Ta-da. Pictured is ham, provolone, and roasted red peppers. We also tried turkey, bacon, and provolone.

Creamy Pasta - Hold the Cream

I found this recipe on Molly's 'things I want to try list'. She found the recipe here. To be honest, I thought this was pretty boring. We don't like feta, so I changed it out for mozzarella. I would definitely cut back on the amount of pasta... there isn't enough "sauce" and it makes way more than two of us could eat.

Creamy Pasta - Hold the Cream
Serves: 3-4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
One 16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
One box whole wheat penne
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer the red pepper mixture to a food processor, add the broth and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta (I added all my feta). Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding the pasta water by the tablespoon if needed. The sauce should cling nicely to the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among serving bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and reserved feta (or parm!) and serve.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough

One time I asked a carnie at a fair who was selling deep fried oreos what the batter was. She said its basically funnel cake batter, you can deep fry anything as long as you coat it in funnel cake batter. So I decided to see if that is in fact true. I would only advise eating this if you are really into the raw cookie dough flavor. I am not so much so I only ate like one or two of these. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition or whatever, you shouldn't eat these because there is potentially raw egg in them... I don't know how well they get cooked thru to make them super safe.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough
Yield: 12-15 balls of gooey-ness

1. Make a standard chocolate cookie dough recipe. Get out your cookie scoop and form about a dozen or so cookie balls and place them on a small tray or baking sheet, don't let them touch. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze solid, at least 2 hours. I am sure you could use the refrigerated cookie dough as well.

2. Make the batter by whisking together the following:
1 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The result should resemble pancake batter. Adjust the flour as necessary.

3. Heat up your deep fryer. Coat each cookie ball in the batter. If you do not cover it completely the dough will leak out... not good. So coat it well. Drop a couple at a time into the fryer and fry for about 2 minutes until golden. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Everbody in the Pool Chicken

One skillet? Perfect. This is great when you don't want to dirty a bunch of pots and pans.

Everybody in the Pool Chicken
Serves: 2-3

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can mushrooms, drained
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 medium redskin potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1 can cut green beans, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf

1. Heat the oil in a skillet and place the chicken breasts in and cook about 7 minutes and turn over and cook another 7 minutes (or until cooked thru). Add the onions and butter when you flip them. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Leave it all in the pan and add everything else. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid will be absorbed. It is done when the potatoes are cooked thru. Remove the bay leaf and serve.