Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cheesy Potato and Corn Chowder

This takes comfort food to a whole new level.  That's what I love about chowder recipes...they're easy, yet incredibly rich and literally the definition of true soul-food.  This is rich, creamy (yet chunky!), cheesy, and full of fabulous flavor.  It's also incredibly perfect for those cold, winter nights.  I wouldn't change anything about this's just too perfect.  The only thing I may experiment with is trying it with different meats, like chicken, ham, or - I think this would taste best - sausage. My family and I gobbled it up and we all agreed that this is one of my best chowder recipes of all time.  I served it with crusty french bread for dipping, and it was a wonderful, southern, comforting meal.

Yield: about 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion 
2 14.5 ounce cans chicken broth
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn
1 15-ounce can creamed corn
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
1 2.5 ounce package country style gravy mix
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup shredded, Mexican-style blend cheese
Garnish: crumbled bacon, sliced green onions, and/or extra cheese (optional)


  1. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in both corn cans and chiles; return to boiling. Combine milk and heavy cream, and dissolve gravy mix in the milk/cream mixture; stir into boiling mixture.  Let simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add cheese; cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted.  Garnish (if desired) and serve hot.
***If you love spicy, feel free to add some hot sauce to your bowl(:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tilapia Parmesan

  • Mmmm..cheesy...buttery fish.  So yummy.  This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious.  Many people find tilapia recipes bland and boring...well, not this one.  I absolutely love it served over rice because of the amazing sauce...the rice soaks it up and tastes sooo yummy.  This is super easy and better than anything you'd order in a restaurant.  Everyone in my family had seconds, and we didn't end up with any leftovers!  The texture is perfect, and the zing of the Parmesan and spices were also perfect.  The blend of flavors is truly incredible. This recipe is sure to impress!

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  1. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, paprika, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin pie fork

Woah now.  Sweet potato cake?  There's sweet potato pie...and pumpkin cake...and potato bread...and sweet potato casserole...but sweet potato cake?  Yeah okay so it sounds a little strange at first, but it's really not all that weird when you think about it.  Sweet potatoes are super similar to pumpkin, and there's pumpkin cake, so why not have a sweet potato cake?  At least this is what I was thinking before I made this magnificently scrumptious masterpiece.  I brought this to school for a party, and all my friends - and the teachers - raved about it. It is SO amazing.  The secret ingredient in this recipe is the beer.  I don't know the scientific reason for it, but beer makes baked goods so incredibly moist and have the softest texture.  Oh and I haven't even started on this cream cheese frosting.  It's like heaven in your mouth.  Beating it for 3 minutes makes it fluffy and it melts in your mouth.  And the cinnamon flavor mixed with the sweet potato flavor makes the whole dish just scream fall.  And with fall comes Thanksgiving(:  This cake may just be on our Thanksgiving table this year...

Yield: 1 9x13 inch pan

1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking dish.
2.Stir together the sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and sweet potatoes. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a separate bowl; stir into the batter 1 cup at a time, alternating with the beer just until everything comes together. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
3.Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting (optional) or serving.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cream Cheese Frosting: 
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1 With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2 Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet-and-Salty Tomato Chicken

  • This is the best chicken recipe I've ever made!  What I love the most about it is it's so unique; I've never tasted anything like it before.  It tastes like something prepared at a five-star restaurant.  The tomato sauce has the perfect amount of sweet and salty, and the red wine makes it oh-so savory.  It's light, but tastes rich and comforting all at the same time.  And the result is so incredibly tender.  It broke apart very easily; I didn't even need a knife!  Oh -- and the sauce is the best part.  The sauce is awesome dipped with bread, or poured over rice. yummy!  Add the amount of cayenne and red pepper flakes based on how spicy you like it.  I served this with a side of green beans and some crusty, french bread, and it was a phenomenal meal.
  • Yield: about 4 servings
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 14.5 oz can plain, diced canned tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T white vineger
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • cayenne pepper to taste

  1. In a shallow dish or bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Coat chicken breasts with flour mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown chicken on all sides. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels.
  2. In the same skillet, combine the tomatoes, wine, chicken broth, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, chili powder, mustard, celery seed, garlic and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and return chicken to skillet. Cover, and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear.

5 Minute Coffee Cake In a Mug

Ohmygoodness.  This is pure GENIUS.  Who wants to go through the trouble of baking a huge pan of coffee cake one morning that would take over an hour to prepare when you're super hungry?? Not me, that's for sure..  I prefer eating not long after waking up.  This recipe is absolutely amazing.  It's SO delicious!  It's perfectly sweet, moist, buttery, and pairs perfectly with --- shocker --- coffee! I can honestly say it's one of the best coffee cakes I've ever had.  It's definitely THE BEST classic coffee cake I've ever had (yup, even yummier than Starbucks).  And it's ready in minutes.

You can find this incredible recipe here.  BUT make the alterations below!

The alterations I highly suggest are:
~Do not let the butter get melty. It should be softened; just soft enough to cream the sugar in.  You will get a much moister cake when the butter is soft like this.
~Cook it based on your microwave.  All microwaves are different levels of power. Check it after 45 seconds.  My microwave is pretty powerful, so my cake was perfectly cooked in only 45 seconds.  The very tippy-top was still slightly gooey (in a good way!), but the inside was definitely cooked.  To check, try sticking a knife into the center of yours to see if it comes out clean.
~Use 1 tablespoon of flour in the topping. The topping was way too floury with 2 tablespoons.  You may have to crumble it a little with your hands cause it was kind of wet, but super yummy.
~Mix half of the topping into the batter. This assures a delicious, buttery, brown sugary, cinnamon-y delight in every bite(: Instead of a heaping sugar-butter blob on top.