Friday, February 26, 2010

Ice Cream Pie

It's that time of year again, and of course I got roped into buying Girl Scout cookies like the rest of America. It's always hard to figure out what to do with them all, and an easy way to get rid of a whole box at once is to make a pie. I decided to try an ice cream pie with thin mints, Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream, and hot fudge topping. It was a little messy, but pretty tasty.


Recipe Notes
Make sure to freeze the ice cream thoroughly before adding the hot fudge topping layer. I didn't wait long enough and it got messy!

  • Your favorite Girl Scout cookies (1 box) - I used thin mints, and I would think that trefoils or the peanut butter sandwich cookies would also work well.
  • Melted butter (2-3 tbsp.)
  • Your favorite ice cream (I used Blue Bell mint chocolate chip)
  • Hot fudge topping (I used Smucker's)


1. Pulse cookies in a Cuisinart until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and pulse 3-4 times until well combined.

2. Spray a glass pie pan with cooking spray. Press crumb mixture into bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

4. Spoon softened ice cream into the crust and refreeze until firm.

5. Spread hot fudge topping or other chocolate topping on top of the ice cream layer and keep frozen until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dijon Mustard Chicken Fricassee

I am mad at myself for forgetting my camera the night I made this chicken recipe, because it's delicious over rice with a nice big green salad. If you'd like a picture, (here) is the link to the Cooking Light recipe.


Recipe Notes
Don't forget that the chicken needs to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. This is a dinner that takes a while to prepare, so allow yourself ample time. While the chicken cooks in the skillet, throw some basmati rice in your rice cooker with chicken broth, water, and will be ready by the time your chicken and your sauce are ready!

  • 1/4 c. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 3 lb. chicken pieces, skinned (I used only skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped onion (about one large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth


1. Combine mustard, 1 tbsp. parsley, 1-1/2 tsp. thyme, and chicken in a zip-top plastic bag. Toss well to coat and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.

3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and cook 5 minutes per side or until browned. Remove from pan.

4. Add chopped onion to pan and saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic to pan and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.

5. Add wine and chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1 tbsp. parsley and remaining 1-1/2 tbps. thyme.

6. Return chicken to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

7. Cook sauce, uncovered, over medium heat for at least four minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. parsley.

8. Serve over rice or another whole grain.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Meringue Cake

This recipe, which came from an old 2003 Martha Stewart Living issue, is a bit of a labor of love, but it is a nice dessert for a party. We had a small dinner party last night and I made this for dessert, and the crowd seemed to like it.


Recipe Notes
I only had enough bittersweet chocolate to cover the 12 oz. of melted chocolate required for the cake. Therefore, I improvised and added equal parts chopped bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate for the meringue, and that seemed to work out ok.

  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus additional for springform pan
  • 1 c. hazelnuts
  • 3/4 c. firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (approx. 60% cacao), melted and cooled
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. rum (optional - I didn't include this)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 c. superfine sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter a 9x3 inch round springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment (I cut out a 9-inch circle using kitchen shears). Butter parchment and springform pan and set aside.

3. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool and roughly chop. Set aside.

4. Make cake batter. In an electric mixer (using paddle attachment), cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth.

5. Add six egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy.

6. Add 12 oz. melted chocolate, vanilla, and rum (if desired). Beat until combined and set aside.

7. In a clean mixer bowl, combine six egg whites and salt. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form (I used my hand mixer for this job), about 2 minutes.

8. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites until just combined.

9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes.

10. While cake cooks, make meringue. Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch and set aside.

11. Add four remaining egg whites and cream of tartar to clean mixing bowl. Beat at a high speed until frothy, then slowly add sugar with mixer still running, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form (approximately 8 minutes). Fold in hazelnut mixture.

12. Remove cake from oven and spread meringue over the top with an offset spatula. Return to oven and bake until crisp, approximately 25-30 minutes.

13. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let stand 10 minutes.

14. Run knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and then release the sides of the springform pan. Let cool at least 30 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

Sadie was pretty bushed after our guests left. She wanted to show us some of her contortionist tactics to take up as much bed space as possible despite her scant 40 lbs. She did a pretty good job of taking up almost half the bed before we pushed her to her spot at the foot of the bed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italian-Seasoned Chicken Breasts with Hearty Tomato Blend

This meal came from Southern Living. Normally, I stay away from Southern Living, not because its recipes aren't delicious (they are) but because those recipes are typically highly fattening. This one seems relatively harmless, with just one tbsp. vegetable oil in the whole deal.


Recipe Notes
Recipe for Hearty Tomato Blend follows. In my skillet, the cooking time on the chicken was more like 5-7 minutes per side to get it cooked all the way through.

  • 1 c. uncooked extra long grain rice
  • 1/3 c. chopped celery
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breast cutlets (3/4-1 lb.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. Hearty Tomato Blend (below)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


1. Prepare rice according to package directions, adding celery with rice.

2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Combine breadcrumbs with 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

4. Cook chicken in hot oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet (medium-high heat) 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned and done. Remove from skillet and drain well on paper towels. Keep warm.

5. Heat 2 c. Hearty Tomato Blend in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

6. Toss hot cooked rice with parsley and place on a serving plate. Top with chicken. Spoon Hearty Tomato Blend over the chicken and rice. Garnish if desired.


Recipe Notes
Sorry about the ugly jar in the picture - I like to reuse old jelly jars when I can, and I haven't quite gotten the label off of this one yet. This recipe makes WAY too much for just Corey and me, so I personally halved the recipe. For the sweet onions, I used sweet yellow onions.

  • Three 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • Four 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 medium sweet onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper


1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mediterranean Chicken Packets

Yet another Mediterranean-type chicken dish. I served this last night with Orzo with Herbs, salad, and Texas toast. These packets take about 30 minutes start to finish and have less than 350 calories. It's also quite convenient because it generally incorporates canned or preprepared ingredients.

Recipe Notes
In order to avoid undercooking y0ur chicken, I would recommend the longer end of the cooking time (22 minutes) or perhaps even longer. Also, you can use either parchment or aluminum foil for this dish. This is an old Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe that we've had several times.

Nutritional Information (per packet - serves 4)
344 calories - 14.1 g. fat - 44.1 g. protein - 1.8 g. fiber

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 12 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 4 tsp. capers
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese (2 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place four, 12-inch squares of parchment paper or heavy-duty foil on a work surface. Place a chicken breast on one half of each square, leaving a 2 inch border. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Top with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, and feta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and olive oil. Fold parchment or foil over ingredients and crimp to seal.

4. Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until chicken is opaque throughout, 20-22 minutes (or maybe longer).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Easy Feta Chicken Bake

My mom got this recipe off the back of a feta cheese container many moons ago, and I make this a few times a year when I need an easy, colorful dinner. I serve this with roasted potatoes, a nice big green salad, and bread. There is no added oil, butter, or other fats in this recipe, so it is pretty healthy!


Recipe Notes
If you can't find the feta with basil & tomato, you can use regular feta no problem. I've also used light feta before and it worked out fine too. This recipe, which serves 6, is easily cut in half.

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 package crumbled feta with basil and tomato
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2. Drizzle chicken breasts with 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper. Top with feta cheese and then drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. lemon juice.

3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with red pepper and parsley.