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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Broiled Feta Chicken Parmesan

Yum yum yum! I love feta. On just about anything. And lately I've been buying it in a block and slicing/chopping whatever I need for various recipes. It's got much more flavor than the crumbled feta and I'd definitely recommend using the block instead of crumbled. This was our little twist on chicken parmesan. Breaded chicken is pan-fried, then topped with fresh tomato slices, fresh basil and sliced feta and broiled until bubbly.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • oil for pan frying
  • 1/2 medium tomato, sliced
  • fresh basil
  • 1/2 block of feta, sliced
  1. Coat chicken breasts in breadcrumbs. Discard remaining breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken, frying about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Chicken should be about 75% cooked, or about 130 degrees.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and drain quickly on paper towel. Top with fresh basil leaves, sliced tomato and sliced feta. Broil about 3-4 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown and chicken registers 160 on a meat thermometer.

Spinach and Feta Pasta

On a hot Summer night, I love making pasta with mozzarella, basil and fresh tomato. But we'd had that a few times already, and needed to spice it up a bit. So I decided to use Feta instead and add some spinach and garlic too. The end result was delicious, easy, and cheap. I like to use Rigatoni, but any shaped pasta will work just fine with this recipe.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package Rigatoni (or any shape) pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, packed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces feta cheese (I buy the block of feta and cut it into small pieces, since the crumbled feta just sort of disintegrates)
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking until onion is tender and garlic is browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and add tomatoes, stirring until just heated through and barely cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  3. Return pasta to pot, and add spinach mixture. Toss to combine. Add feta, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot and allow to steam (don't bother turning on the burner, the pasta will retain enough heat to melt the cheese) until cheese is melty.

Scallop Scampi

This is a super easy way to cook bay scallops that's absolutely delicious! I made a few changes to the original recipe, which can be found on AllRecipes. We purchased a 4-pack of small bottles of wine, so you don't end up with a full bottle open in the fridge. I'd definitely recommend that option if you aren't a big white wine drinker and don't normally have a bottle laying around. The sauce was a little watery, so we removed the scallops and then boiled it down for about 5 minutes. That seemed to work perfectly.

  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium heat and saute garlic and onion until translucent. Add wine, salt, ground black pepper and 1/4 cup cheese.
  2. Add chicken broth and boil on medium-high for 5 minutes until reduced. Add scallops, cooking 2-3 minutes until tender. If sauce is still watery, remove scallops and boil broth an additional 5 minutes until reduced more.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  4. Reduce heat for scallop mixture and add parsley; place sauce on top of linguine. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; serve.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Korean BBQ Chicken

I had this marinade recipe kicking around from an old Cooking Light issue. It didn't seem to be anything fantastic, but it did look simple and quick, so I gave it a shot last night. I mixed up the marinade, coated some chopped chicken in it, and stir fried it with some white and green onions.

The overall dish was a bit sweet for me, and lacked some spice. I ended up adding crushed red pepper and Sriracha for some heat, which improved the dish. It was good, but not great. And I honestly don't know what makes it Korean at all...?
Next time I think I'll cut down the sugar, add some ginger, and some heat.

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  1. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  2. Cut 2 chicken breasts into bite sized chunks and coat with marinade. Stir-fry chicken with 1 white onion, thinly sliced, until onions are tender and chicken is fully cooked. Remove from heat, stir in chopped green onions and serve over rice.

Thai Chicken Salad

Chicken Ceaser Salad is a staple for us, at least once a week. Buy a bag of salad, grill some chicken, toss in some veggies, coat with Ceaser dressing. Simple! But this week, I decided to switch it up a bit. The local farm up the road had peas, fresh for picking. So we went over the weekend and picked a bucket full and they are delicious! I was inspired to make a Thai style chicken salad, using the peas, and some other fresh veggies, and some homemade ginger dressing. The dressing makes a fairly large batch, so make sure you have a big enough container nearby to store it.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (we used sesame oil instead)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. In a 1 pint glass jar or larger, combine the garlic, ginger, olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and water. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake well. Remove lid, and heat jar in the microwave for 1 minute just to dissolve the honey. Let cool, and shake well before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 3 Tbsp chopped peanuts
  • Lettuce
  1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with garlic powder. Add chicken and white onions, cooking until almost done, approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add broccoli, peas and sliced carrots to pan, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour soy sauce over everything and toss to combine.
  3. Remove from heat when veggies are tender and chicken is cooked. Stir in chopped green onions. Allow mixture to cool about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Combine lettuce and chicken mixture in a large bowl and pour dressing over top, tossing to coat evenly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa

This recipe is originally from Allrecipes. It took about 10 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to cook, so it's perfect for a weeknight when you don't have a lot of time. The pork is tender and juicy and just a tad bit sweet, while the salsa is sweet and spicy. I used hot sauce instead of jalapeno peppers, because I didn't have any peppers, and it turned out perfectly. We had a side of couscous with it and the salsa complimented the couscous as well.

  • 2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I used Sriracha hot sauce instead)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (I tripled this as we are big cilantro fans)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Place pork on a greased rack in a foil-lined shallow roasting pan. Combine the brown sugar, mustard and ginger; spread over pork. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  2. In a bowl, combine the salsa ingredients. Serve with pork.