I am a newlywed on a budget, just trying to make healthy and inexpensive meals for my husband and I to enjoy. He eats a lot, so cost is a big factor. Though I work 3 jobs, I manage to find time 6 nights a week to cook a full dinner for us both. I am constantly looking for new recipes that are moderately healthy, taste great, and won't break the bank.

On the side, I also own a brownie business called Gersheybars. My passion and love for cooking started when I was just a small child, baking with my mom and grandmother. The brownie recipe has been passed down through 5 generations and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share them with everybody else. Friends and family have helped spread the word and made my business as successful as it is today.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oven Baked Fajitas

I never put fajitas or tacos on the dinner menu because they always take so much time and so many ingredients, that it's just not worth it for me.  When I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it.  Fajitas in the oven?  Genius!  They are awesome.  So easy to prepare, quick, and tasty!  We served them with some guac and sour cream and it was  totally effortless.  I used frozen peppers instead of fresh, to save time and money.

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use 1/3 of a bag of frozen pepper strips)
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – if desired


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
  3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

original recipe found here

Pakistani Kima - beef curry

The husband and I love ethnic foods.  Especially Indian.  I've never cooked Pakistani food before, so this was a first for me.  Boy was it delicious!  Full of flavor and very hearty for a cold evening, like we had here last week.  The only change I'd make is to double the curry powder.  But our curry is a bit old, so maybe it's lost flavor over the months?  Otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing!


  • 2 – 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder 
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups tomatoes (about 1 1/2 14 oz cans)
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups peas


1.  Melt oil or butter in a large pan.

2.  Add onion and garlic.

3.  Cook until onion softens and garlic begins to brown (watch it carefully – garlic burns easily!)

4.  Add meat and cook thoroughly.

5.  Add curry, salt and spices.  Stir well.

6.  Dice potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks.

7.  Add potatoes, tomatoes and peas to the pan.

8.  Bring to a simmering boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are done.

original recipe found here

Broiled tilapia w/Summer Grape Tomatoes

No pictures of my own this time - life with a toddler is fairly hectic, so stopping to snap a picture before putting dinner on the table, doesn't really happen these days.  But this recipe is too good not to share.  It's healthy, simple, quick, and delicious!  What more could you ask for?  This will be a great way to use tomatoes and basil from our garden this summer.  And the sauce would be great on pasta or chicken as well.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 lb grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • olive oil spray
  • 4 pieces (7 oz each) flounder (or tilapia or sole)


  1. In a large skillet heat oil on high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden. 
  2. Add tomatoes, salt and fresh pepper and reduce heat to low. 
  3. Simmer for about 15 minutes, add fresh basil and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, while sauce is simmering, season fish with salt and pepper and lightly spray with oil. Broil or grill fish on medium heat until cooked through (I broiled on low for about 6-7min). When fish is cooked top with tomato sauce.
original recipe found here

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Clinton Street Baking Company's Black & White Cake

Pumpkin?  In a chocolate cake?  Sounds weird.  omg.  It's totally delicious!  You don't taste the pumpkin at all, it's just used to keep the cake moist and dense.  And what a great job it does.  This cake is not your fluffy, spongy, i-can-crush-this-thing-into-a-ping-pong-ball-sized-piece-of-cake cake.  It's heavy.  Thick.  Dense.  Chocolatey.  and delicious.  It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but it was pretty straight forward and easy to make.  I only made one change, to the amount of milk in the frosting.  Mine didn't need more than 1/4 cup, even though the recipe calls for 1/2 a cup.  Add it slowly, in case you don't need all the milk.  You don't want runny frosting!

  • 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup buttermilk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk (I only used about 1/4 cup)
Chocolate Glaze
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks (52–62% cacao)
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and yolk and combine. Whisk the remaining dry ingredients together, in a separate bowl. Whisk the pumpkin puree together with the buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Alternate mixing dry ingredients with the pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture. Start with dry and end with wet. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool and unmold.
Make the Frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter together until soft. Add the confectioners' sugar, blending in 1 cup at a time. Add the milk slowly, as needed, and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
Make the Glaze
Heat the heavy cream, corn syrup, and butter in a saucepan until boiling. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate until it is completely melted, mixing gently with a rubber spatula until the glaze is smooth.
Assemble the Cake
Slice each cake in half with a long serrated knife to create 4 thin layers. Place 1 bottom layer on a cake plate. Ice the top with 3 to 4 tablespoons frosting and repeat with the remaining layers. You will have a 4-layer unfrosted cake. Then use a cake spatula to mask the top and sides until the cake is evenly frosted. Set it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the fridge and pour the chocolate glaze over the center of the cake until the top is covered and the glaze runs over the sides, still showing some frosting. Let the glaze set and serve.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gnocchi with Kale & Squash

This recipe comes straight out of FoodNetworkMagazine and it's delicious!  Just a few ingredients, minimal effort, and about 20 min of cooking time.  Perfect for a busy weeknight.  I added 1/2 an onion, diced, and left out the sage, as that's not one of our favorite spices.  Here is the original recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chinese Beef with Broccoli

This is better than takeout!  It's SO easy and tastes better than our local Chinese restaurant.  I used skirt steak instead of flank, because our store was out of flank steak.  It took about 30min to prepare and was plenty to feed 2 people with leftovers for lunch.  The original recipe is from FoodNetworkMagazine and I only made some slight changes - omitted the red peppers, used skirt steak instead of flank, and added a dash of cayenne at the end for some kick.

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 thin slices peeled ginger
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)

  1. Whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large bowl. Add the steak and toss to coat; refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch and soy sauce, the oyster sauce and chicken broth in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the ginger, broccoli and the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Heat 1 more tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, add the onion and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, turning gently, 2 minutes. Transfer the onion and tomatoes to the plate with the broccoli.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium high; add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and steak and stir-fry 1 minute. Whisk the sauce mixture, then add to the skillet and simmer 1 minute. Return the vegetables to the skillet; cook until the meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with rice, if desired.

Definitely not the best picture, but I forgot to snap one before putting the leftovers in a container!  Oh well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Panda Express Orange Chicken

This recipe looks daunting, and time consuming, but it's really fairly simple.  I've tried a few other "copycat" recipes for orange chicken and none seemed authentic, until this one.  I think it's a dead ringer for the real deal!  The only changes I made were to double the orange zest, and add some crushed red pepper to the sauce for some heat.  Otherwise, it was delicious, as is.  Oh, I also used thinly sliced onions instead of green onions, because I didn't have any green ones on hand.

  • 1 lb. chicken breast meat
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable oil to be used for frying
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Orange Sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (I doubled this)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallion (I used 1/4 thinly sliced onion instead)


  1. Cut chicken breast into 1/2-inch cubes, set aside.
  2. To make marinade – combine egg white, salt and sugar in a bowl and stir vigorously until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add chicken cubes to marinade and stir to coat well.
  3. To make orange sauce – combine water, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, 4 teaspoons cornstarch and sesame oil; stir and set aside. Place a pot over high heat. When pot is hot, add the 2tablespoons vegetable oil and heat. Add orange peel and scallion and stir for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn the orange peel.
  4. Pour combined sauce ingredients into the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened, about 12-15 minutes.
  5. Preheat 4 cups oil to 350-375°F. Meanwhile, put marinated chicken in the plastic baggie containing the cornstarch. Shake chicken well for about 20 seconds or until chicken is covered with cornstarch. Shake off all excess cornstarch and fry chicken in hot oil until golden brown, approximately 2 1/2 minutes. Remove chicken from oil with a slotted spoon, drain well and set aside. Add fried chicken to pot with heated orange sauce, stir for about 30 seconds, and then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.