Tag Archives: recipe

Super Nifty S’mores Brownies

I was looking around online today to see what I could do for dessert tonight and came across s’mores. I thought to myself that s’mores are something I haven’t had in ages and that their multiple layers of sweet goodness is something that might make for a good dessert for tonight. I then asked myself how I can make them with the things I have home already. I remembered I had box brownie mix, graham crackers, and butter at home already, so all I would need are marshmallows and I would be able to create a kind of brownie s’more. yum.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1- 1 box brownie mix

2- about 4 graham crackers smashed to crumbs and places in a bowl

3- about 6 tablespoons butter, melted

4- marshmellows


1- Melt the butter.

2- Add the melted butter to the smashed graham crackers and stir to coat. All the graham crackers should be evenly coated.

3- Press the graham cracker crust into small custard cups, ramekins, or a pie plate. I didn’t have enough custard cups, so I ended up using some custard cups and some individual tart pans, which worked out alright.

4- Pre-bake the crust(s) for about 8-10 minutes. While the crust bakes, make the brownie mix.

5- Take the crust(s) out of the oven and evenly divide the brownie mix among the custard cups or pour the mix into the pie plate.

6- Bake for about 30 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

7- Once done, take the marshmallows and place some on top of the fully baked brownie. Broil on high until the marshmallows are at your desired level of brownness.

Serve warm.



Fancy Schmancy Meatloaf

Meatloaf isn’t exactly fancy. Even the name isn’t fancy. And it always just looks like an unappetizing brown lump. But boy does meatloaf sure taste good…and depending on what you put in it and what you bake it in, it can become fancy-ish. I think the meatloaf we made tonight fell into the fancy-ish category. We put in lots of fresh veggies and herbs and then baked the meatloaf in individual size ramekins to give it a special feel.




Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

We used a little over 1lb of ground beef. To this we added these ingredients:

  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • thyme
  • onion, roughly chopped
  • carrot, grated
  • garlic, chopped
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • bread crumbs
For the glaze, mix together:
  • ketchup (this will form the base of the glaze)
  • worcestershire sauce (dash)
  • maple syrup (small pour)
1- Add enough of the above ingredients so that everything comes together nicely.
2- Place meatloaf in the ramekins and place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or place the mixture in a loaf pan and bake in the loaf pan.
3- Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and brush the glaze on top. Return to the oven and bake until the loaf reaches 155 degrees.
Serve directly in the ramekins, if using, or, if saving for later, let cool, turn out of the ramekins, and either refrigerate or freeze.


Layered Crespelle with Spinach, Prosciutto, and Parmesan Cheese


Probably one of the best dinners ever. It takes awhile to make, but is so well worth it, just look how pretty it is and oh, is it delicious! Crespelle are really just crepes. In Italy, just like in France, they are stuffed with different fillings. We followed a recipe from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking– my Italian cooking Bible.

I’ll give a crepe recipe below, but you can use any recipe you’d like. This recipe also calls for Bechamel Sauce (a white sauce). This takes a little while to make. You can make this and even the crepes one day in advance and refrigerate them. If making the crepes one day in advance, weave wax paper through the layers so they do not stick.

Crespelle Recipe:


1- 1 cup milk

2- 3/4 cups flour

3- 2 egss

4- pinch salt

5- non stick cooking spary

6- 8 ” nonstick skillet


1- Put the milk in the bowl and gradually add the flour while whisking to avoid lumps. Make sure the batter is blended.

2- Add the eggs, one at a time, until blended

3- Spray the skillet and heat over medium low

4- Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and swirl to distribute evenly. As soon as the batter firms, flip and cook the other side.

5- Layer them on a plate. Even though I wasn’t refrigerating them, I still layered wax paper between each one.

6- Set aside.

Bechemal Sauce:

The recipe can be found here: (https://dessertcomesfirst.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/lasagna/)

Scroll to the middle of the page.

Filling Recipe:


1- 1 lb fresh spinach

2- 1 tablespoons butter

3- non stick cooking spray

4- 1/2 cup chopped prosciutto

5- 1 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

6- 3 tablespoons onion, chopped very fine

7- salt


1- Clean the spinach and cook in salted water until tender. Drain it and squeeze as much water as you can. Chop it and set aside. Get the oven pre heated to 450 degrees.

2- Put the butter and chopped onion into a pan and cook over medium heat until the onion is pale gold. Add the prosciutto and coat it, cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, stir, and cook about another 2 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and add about 1 cup of the Parmesan, a pinch of salt and about 2/3 cup of Bechemal Sauce, or enough to make the spinach mixture sticky. Make sure everything is well combined.

3- Get a baking dish and divide the crespelle into 2 even piles (about 8 per pile). Spray the baking sheet with non stick spray. Put one crespelle down on the baking sheet and thinly coat it with the spinach mixture (make sure to divide it so you have enough), cover with another crespelle, and again coat with the spinach mixture. Go through the rest of the first pile. Start again with the second pile. Cover both piles with the remaining Bechamel Sauce and top with the cheese.

4- Bake for about 5 minutes then broil for about a minute, or until there is a nice crust on top.

Savour all of you hard work with a great bottle of wine. We just received a delivery from Wine Woot…three bottles of Zinfandel (2005, 2006, and 2007). With this dish we had the ’05. It’s full and rich, with a nice berry aroma- perfect complement to such a savory dish!

Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Sauteed Vegetables

It rained the ENTIRE day yesterday without break. It was grey, it was humid, it was wet. We didn’t want to go out to the beach to surf, we didn’t want to walk outside, puppy Dexter didn’t want to walk outside, it was just icky, so we cooked. We cooked all afternoon. The first thing I made was this sauce to freeze for a later date. I love homemade sauce. It is definitely well worth the little bit of extra time to make sauce at home. You don’t get all the sodium and you know everything is fresh. When school starts next week, I plan to eat just as well as we’ve been eating. This probably means making up sauces in my free time and freezing them, just like we did yesterday. This sauce is perfect because it pairs well with any pasta shape, store bought or homemade. Actually it pairs particularly well with penne or rigatoni because it gets inside the nooks and crannies. Once the little bit of chopping is done, the sauce is a breeze because all’s you do is simmer it for 45 mins. Once done and cooled, divide it in half and pop it in to freezer bags. There will be enough for 4 portions. Don’t forget to mark the type of sauce and when you made it.


1- 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes (Rienzi), cut up with juices

2- 2/3 cup chopped carrots

3- 2/3 cup chopped onion

4- 2/3 cup chopped celery

5- 1/3 cup olive oil

6- salt


1- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until pale gold. Add the carrot and celery and cook at a higer heat for a minute. Stir just to coat all veggies.

2- Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes and a large pinch of salt. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 45 mins.

3- Turn heat off and either toss directly with pasta or let cool and divide into freezer bags.

Chicken and Pork Paella

The school year is starting soon, which means I will be back to work and won’t be able to make as many meals that don’t leave leftovers. For the next few weeks, I’ll be testing out some recipes that create leftovers. This is the first recipe in that series. This is an easy recipe that is also easy on the budget. We ate about half the first night and will finish it tonight.

This recipe is from a cookbook I got for next to nothing during my local Borders bookstore closing sale. It’s called Tastes of the Mediterranean and has lots of fun recipes. This is the first I’ve tried from that book.


1- 1/4 cup olive oil

2- 1 lb chicken thighs cut into cubes (I used two boneless chicken breasts)

3- 7 oz chorizo sausage cut into pieces (I used Nature’s Promise chicken and apple sausage)

4- 7 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

5- 3 garlic cloves, crushed

6- 1 lb tomatoes, chopped

7- 7 oz green beans, cut in half

8- 2 tbs parsley, chopped

9- 1/4 saffron threads dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

10- 2 cups short grain rice (My supermarket didn’t have short grain, so I subbed in medium grain)

11- 3 cups chicken broth (I used 2.5)

12- lemon wedges


1- Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan or paella pan over medium heat (all ingredients will eventually go in this pan, so use a big one or use an oval Dutch oven, as I did). Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 10 mins. Remove after cooked and set aside.

2- Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 10 mins. Add the sausage and cook for 5 mins or until golden on all sides.

3- Add the mushrooms and garlic and let cook over medium heat for 5 mins.

4- Stir in the tomato and pepper and cook another 5 mins, or until the tomato is soft.

5- Add the beans, parsley, saffron mixture, and rice. Stir together, then add the stock. Do not stir anymore. Set the timer for 30 mins and leave the mixture be. You want a crust to form on the bottom of the paella. After 30 mins, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 mins. Serve with lemon wedges.


Tartar Sauce

The other night I made fish sandwiches and to go with the sandwiches, I obviously wanted Tartar sauce. Upon looking at the various Tartar sauces in the store and their ingredients, I was pretty much grossed out and just decided to make my own. How hard could it be? Not very, as it turns out. I looked up some recipes and chose the most popular ingredients and just started putting some things together. Here are the ingredients I used with some notes about quantities.

Mayo– This forms the base of the sauce, so use how ever much you think you’ll need for what ever dish you’re making. For two fish sandwiches, I used about a 1/2 cup of light mayo.

Dijon Mustard– A big squirt or two depending on quantity of mayo.

Kosher Pickles or gherkins– Chop some pickles up into small pieces and add them to the mixture. Don’t overwhelm the mixture with pickles, but you also want some in every bite. You can also substitute pickles for relish.

Lemon– A good squeeze to taste. Don’t make it too watery though!

Cayenne– To taste.

Some other things to add in are:

1- green onion

2- capers

3- parsley

This is all about taste- so keep tasting and adjust quantities as needed. You can always add!

Dexter the puppy is the inspiration behind this peanut butter Recipe

Yes, our puppy Dexter was my inspiration for making homemade peanut butter. He was antsy today, so Jim attached a piece of string to the top of the terrace and to the string he attached a plastic bottle and on the bottle he smeared some peanut butter. The whole point was for him to jump up and try to lick the peanut butter off. He jumped a few times, but mostly just sat and stared up at the bottle anxiously awaiting for us to take the  bottle down and put it within his reach. Before giving in to his cute little face though, we held the bottle still so he wouldn’t have to work that hard after jumping for his reward. This seemed to make him happy…for a few minutes.

Then decided it was way too much work and he definitely needed the bottle down at his level. We gave in….but not totally…We’re trying to teach him “stand”, so we made him stand next.

FINALLY after the poor guy jumped and stood on two paws, we let him lick the rest of the peanut butter off at his own level. He was happy.

After we came inside from this fun, I was bored (as usual- I always like to be busy with something). Anyway, as I was cleaning the rest of the peanut butter off the plastic bottle, I thought to myself how super fun it would be to make peanut butter. I’ve ground peanuts at Whole Foods before, but I’ve never had a food processor to make it myself at home, but now I do. It was such an easy process. Seriously. I’ve had my food processor for a few months now. Why haven’t I done this before? It’s very satisfying even if I won’t be saving money by doing it.


All’s you need are shelled peanuts (any type), vegetable or canola oil, salt (if desired), and a food processor.


1- Add peanuts to the food processor and process until the peanuts become coarse bits and start to stick together.

2- Add oil and salt to the peanut mixture. I’d add a little bit at a time until your desired taste and consistency is achieved. You can always add more.





3- Put PB into a Ball jar or other container and store in the refrigerator.




Only One Option for Using Leftover Mango Salsa

Can you guess what it is? It’s pretty obvious. Ok I’ll tell you: Fish Tacos, of course! Since I had leftover mango salsa, a majority of the prep work was already done! All’s I had to do was to cook up the fish. If you don’t have leftover mango salsa and/or don’t know the recipe, I linked to it below.


1- in order to make 2 bigger tacos per person, I bought 2 smallish tilapia fillets (.45 lbs).

2- salt and pepper

3- soft taco shells

4- mango salsa (https://dessertcomesfirst.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/turkey-burger-sliders-with-mango-salsa-and-sweet-potato-fries/)

5- avocado, if desired.


1- Lightly season the fillets with salt and pepper.







2- Spray a non stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium.

3- Add the fish and cook for about 6 minutes. The fish should flake when done.

4- Cut or flake the fish into pieces and put on the taco shells.









5- Add the mango salsa and avocado, if desired.

6- Enjoy with a small salad, if desired.









And to drink we had:

Magic Hat IPA. Quite good, for an IPA. Strong aroma and bitter on the palate.

Turkey Burger Sliders with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potato Fries

My current obsessions include:

being at the beach nearly every day,

Adele’s new music,

our puppy’s little butt wiggle when he’s excited. It’s like he can’t contain his tail,


Mango salsa. I love all of its flavor combinations and definitely the color. 

When deciding what to make last night, I knew two things: I wanted sweet potato fries and I wanted mango salsa. I usually always do a mango salsa to go with fish tacos, but sweet potato fries don’t really go with fish tacos. I went into the store really with no idea of what I wanted to do besides those two things. I started to collect the ingredients for those when I came across King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread in the perfect slider size! What an idea- turkey burger sliders with mango salsa and sweet potato fries- and there, standing by the buns, a dinner idea was born.

Unless I have recipe, I nearly never use any measuring tools, and even with a recipe, I rarely measure, so it’s quite hard for me to say how much of each ingredient to use. I think how much of each ingredient really depends on people’s preferences, especially when it comes to spices. It also depends on how many you are cooking for. Last night I cooked for 2. We each had 4 mango salsa sliders with a side of fries. Here’s the recipe minus the ingredient quantities.

If you’re making the sweet potato fries, start them first because they take the longest.

Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees




Crushed Red Pepper



Vegetable Oil to coat

Gallon size ziploc bag


1- Cut the yam into fry shapes

2- Once cut, put them in the ziploc bag, add the spices, add the vegetable oil to coat and shake vigorously until well coated. Put them on a pan and pop in the oven. Don’t trip over puppy who always wants to hang out in the kitchen while you cook so he can clean up what falls down:)

3- Bake for about 40 mins, possibly longer depending on how dark you want them. Mix them about every 10 mins. If you see that they are drying out, add some more vegetable oil.

4- While the fries bake, start the mango salsa and the sliders.

Mango Salsa- The amount of salsa you make will depend on the number of sliders you are making. Estimate about 1 tsp of salsa per slider.




Red Pepper

Green Onion




1- Chop all ingredients and combine in a bowl. Sprinkle lime juice on top.

2- That’s all- you’re done. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Turkey Burger Sliders


1- Ground turkey

2- King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread


1- Form the ground turkey into slider size patties. Make sure they are small and flat, so they don’t turn into little meatballs instead.

2- Put about 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a non stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliders and let the first side brown, flip the slider, and let the other side brown. Reduce the heat and cook through.

3-  While sliders cook, cut the rolls in half and then cut some of the extra dough off the rolls to make them a little smaller.

4- Put mango salsa on the bottom of the bun and the slider on top so the mango salsa stays on.

5- Serve and enjoy

And to drink we had:

Magic Hat Wacko Ale. It’s a crisp beer that pairs perfectly with a summer time type dish. It’s not that hoppy, which is good for me. People think Coors is the summer beer, but I think Magic Hat Wacko is much better.

Tomato Sauce with Onion

I chose this sauce last night mainly because of how easy it is to prepare and quite frankly, I was feeling lazy. This sauce has an amazingly pure, sweet taste and it can’t get any easier to prepare, although the suggested simmering time is quite long. It’s a perfect sauce for potato gnocchi, but it is also superb on spaghetti or penne. I decided to be a bit contumacious and went against the suggestions of the queen of Italian cooking (in my mind), Marcella Hazan, and actually served this sauce with bowtie pasta because who can deny how fun bowtie pasta is?!  They’re in the shapes of little bowties!

There are a few basic ingredients:

1- one large can of Imported plum tomatoes with juices(spring and get the ones that are actually imported from Italy)

2- 2 tablespoons butter

3- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced (you can either dice or cut into strips)

4- salt


1- This is the messy part. You have to pluck the tomatoes from the can and cut them up into rough thirds. Make sure to save the juices!

2- Slice or dice the onion. Make the amount of onion you slice proportionate to the tomatoes.

3- Put the tomatoes, onion, and butter in a saucepan. Add some salt and remember, you can always add more later.

4- Allow to simmer over a low flame for about 45 minutes. Stir the sauce every so often. If you see large bits of tomato, mash it with a spoon.

5- Once done, toss with your pasta.

I served my pasta and sauce with garlic bread and salad.

And to drink we had:

Magic Hat Not Quite Pale Ale- No thoughts really on this beer. I like it and thought it went well enough with the dish. I’m not a huge fan of  Pale Ales because they’re pretty hoppy, but I like this one. Maybe because it’s not quite a pale ale….