Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins

Here's another great muffin recipe that I wanted to share with you.

These would be a great addition to a Cinco De Mayo celebration with the addition of the cinnamon, or they would great for a Mother's Day brunch!

I love chocolate and cinnamon, and the combination here is spectacular!  Hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

Leave me a message and tell me what is your favorite muffin?

Here's how to make these wonderful muffins.

You will need:  flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, eggs, milk, and oil.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  I used a special cinnamon that I got from a specialty spice shop called Savory Spice Shop.  Check them out, they have wonderful items.

Add sugar and chocolate chips.

Beat eggs in a small bowl. 

Beat in milk and oil. 

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir just until combined.

Spoon in to your muffin tins.

Bake for 20 min.  Don't over bake these or they will get tough quickly.

Yummy!  Chocolatey!  Cinnamony!

Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins

1 ½ c All Purpose Flour
½ c unsweetened cocoa
1 T baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. salt
½ c light brown sugar, packed
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 c milk
6 T. canola oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Add sugar and chocolate chips.

Beat eggs in a small bowl.  Beat in milk and oil.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir just until combined, don’t over mix.
Fill 12 greased or lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20 min.

Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Review: Market Classics Soup Mix - Cheese Tortellini

I've been working so hard...I mean soooo hard over the past few weeks, I think my job is trying to kill me!

Needless to say I haven't really been feelin' the cooking too much during the week.  I roll in the house around 7pm, and I'm pooped I tell you, pooped!

So it was a cold dreary day here last week ...(Hey, isn't this sunny LA?) so I needed some hearty sustenance...quick.

So a friend of mine had given me this soup to try.  On the label it says that it cooks in 30 min.
Good enough! Sold!  Dinner's on!!

Market Classics Soup Mix - in a Cheese Tortellini flavor.  Purchased at Cost Plus  You may know them as World Market, cause I've seen the store named differently in other states.  But here it's just plain ole Cost Plus.

This makes a lot of soup!  So I had enough leftovers for me and MGG to take to work...and then some! So be is really 8 servings!

This soup was actually good for a quick packaged soup.  The sodium content was low.  The flavor was like a minestrone soup, very tasty! 

So let's make soup. 

I added some shredded roasted chicken I had left over.  It gave it some more ummmph.
I would also suggest adding some vegetables.  Maybe some green beans, or corn, or even some beans.  I didn't but I wish I had to give it a little more substance.

So follow the directions to mix up the soup. Bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and add your tortellini and chicken (if you like!).

Simmer about 15 min.

I must say I looks really tasty!

I actually had two small bowls full myself!

At $3.99 a package this is definitely a good buy for a weeknight dinner you need to have ready in a pinch! 
Here's a link for you!  Market Classics Cheese Tortellini Soup Mix

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Bash!

Did everyone have a wonderful Easter?

This year, Easter fell on my Birthday!  What to do?  MGG didn't want me cooking all day on my special day..sooo we went out and celebrated instead!

To my surprise he took me to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.  The El Capitan is a "themed" theatre which debuted on May 3, 1926, as "Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama." It's an amazing old building filled with the ornate art deco styling in which Disney has restored it to it's former grandeur.

The next surprise was that we were going to see "African Cats".  Disney's new documentary about two sets of cat families and their trials through life in Africa.  A MUST SEE!

We even saw some live wild animals on stage.
How cute are they?

So for the encore we had a wonderful dinner at Trastevere across the street in the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Delish...that's all I have to say. 
See for yourself.

MGG got Linguine Pescatora and I got Bistecchina alla Fiamma.


Another great year...another wonderful birthday!

Who's this??

Next week we'll celebrate Easter!  I won't tell if you won't!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream - Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

In my house we can't have Easter without Homemade Ice Cream.  My mom has made Homemade Ice Cream since the beginning of time!

I have such fond memories of Easter...all the Easter Egg Hunts, the games, lots of friends, the Easter Egg Hunts...oops!

So every year my mom would have an Easter dinner, and homemade ice cream!  She usually made vanilla cause that is her favorite.  Remember those old time ice cream makers?  With the hand crank?  I used to have to sit on ours just to keep it down in the ice and salt...LOL!

I kinda like to mix things up now and then.  So I took a poll and my sister, Sue, suggested that I made Cookies & Cream.  One of my favorites!

This is a sugar-free ice cream.  Trying to cut the carbs you know.  But you can make the full sugar, full fat...whatever version your little heart desires.  Ice cream is to die for!  Especially has that, ne se qua.

So I didn't do a step by step for this, sorry.  But it's easy to put together.  You HAVE to try this..if you've never had homemade ice cream...this needs to be on your list of things to do before...Indulge, Indulge, Indulge!


Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

1 ½ c 2% milk
1 1/8 c splenda
3 c half & half
1 T pure vanilla
15 Sugar-free Oreos, crushed

Place milk and Splenda in a boil.  Using a hand mixer, mix until Splenda is dissolved, about 3 min.

Add the half & half, and vanilla.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine.  Follow the directions of your ice cream maker.  Add crushed Oreos during the last 5 minutes of the churning.

Remove to container and place in freezer to set up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chicken Guacamole Salad

Everyone ready to have a picnic to celebrate Earth Day?

I am...

And to celebrate I'm going to make my Chicken Guacamole Salad!  It's a different take on your regular everyday chicken has Latin influences!

Living in Los Angeles I've grown up with Mexican food.  I love it, my family loves much though that when they come to visit from Tennessee they always want to go eat Mexican food!  While this is not an authentic Mexican dish, you get the wonderful flavors regardless.

This dish is perfect for the spring weather and a picnic.  It packs well, can be made ahead, and tastes soooo good!

Hope you try this and let me know what you think.

You will need:  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chicken broth, water, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, sour cream, lime juice, and pita bread.

Bring your chicken broth and water to a boil in a good sized saucepan.  Big enough to hold your chicken breasts.

Add the chicken, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 min. until chicken is cooked.  This is a poaching technique!

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool about 10 min. 

Then cut your chicken in to bite sized cubes.

Meanwhile, cut your tomato and onion.  Chop your jalapeno, removing the ribs, and chop your cilantro.

When the chicken is cool, cut your avocado and dice them.  You don't want them to turn brown, so leave this for last.

Place all your ingredients in to a bowl, including the chicken. 
Add sour cream and lime juice.

Mix to incorporate all ingredients and to coat with the sour cream.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Now take your pita bread and toast it in a hot skillet.  About 30 seconds on each side should do it.

Top your pita with your chicken salad and your ready to eat! It's an open faced salad...but you can open the pita pockets and stuff the chicken salad inside if you wish.

Doesn't this look refreshing and like spring!  YUM!

Let me know what you are planning for Earth Day!

Chicken Guacamole Salad

Serves 4

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth
2 c water
2 medium avocados, cubed
½ small red onion, diced finely
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 T cilantro, chopped
4 T sour cream
2 T lime juice
salt & pepper
4 Pita bread


In a saucepan bring chicken broth and water to a boil.  Add chicken and simmer on low until cooked, about 20 minutes.  Remove chicken to cool.  Once cool, cut in to cubes.

Meanwhile, dice your onion, tomatoes, and jalapeno.  Chop your cilantro.  When chicken is cool, cube your avocado.  You don’t want this to brown.

Add chicken and all your chopped vegetables and herbs to a bowl.  Add sour cream and lime juice.  Stir to coat.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Toast your pita bread in a hot skillet about 30 sec on each side.  Divide the chicken guacamole salad between the 4 pita breads, placing it on top of the open faced pita.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

I love Italian food.  I warms my soul.  It yummy "saucyness", and spicy, hot, tomato-i-ness.  Love it!

Here's my take on Chicken Parmesan.

This is a little different version than your normal Chicken Parmesan in the fact that I use something special for the breading.  Ritz crackers!  Yes, that's right RITZ!

Soft buttery, nutty flavor!  This makes a great breading!  Try it out.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4” thickness. (You can do this between sheets of plastic wrap.)

Combine cracker crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a pie plate.

Beat an egg in another pie plate.  Dip the chicken in it.

Then dredge them in the crumb mixture until evenly coated.

Heat butter in a large skillet.  Add your chicken and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  You want this golden brown and make sure it's done.  

Pour marinara sauce over chicken.

Top with mozzarella cheese.

Cover and simmer about 3 min. 

Plate and be sure to spoon some sauce over the top!  I served ours with some spinach ravioli tossed in the same marinara sauce.

Wow...hungry??  MGG and I are about to eat this up!

Chicken Parmesan
10 Ritz crackers, crushed
3 T fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 egg, beaten
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 T. butter
1 ½ cup tomato basil marinara sauce
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4” thickness.

Combine cracker crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a pie plate. Lightly beat egg in a separate pie plate. Dip chicken in egg, then roll in crumb mixture until evenly coated.

Heat butter in a large skillet.  Add chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked all the way through.  About 3-4 minutes per side.

Pour marinara sauce over chicken and top with mozzarella cheese.  Cover and simmer until cheese melts and sauce is hot.  About 3 min.


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