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, November 11, 2009

Sweet & Spicy Pork

This is probably one of the easiest marinades I've ever made, and it's full of flavor! We used it on pork loin, but I think it would be equally delicious on chicken, especially if it's grilled. The marinade only has 4 ingredients, but it's full of flavor -- sweet, spicy, smokey, and slightly salty.

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you can buy these in a can in the International aisle, and they last forever)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  1. Pour all ingredients into blender or small food processor. Process until smooth.
I used a pork loin, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, and marinated it in this for about 2 hours. Then I cut up an onion and stir fried everything together, serving over rice. Next time, I'm going to marinate chicken and grill them! Yum!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Operation Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those meals that must be planned. Shopped for. Prepped in advance. Spur of the moment dish, it is not. I've been craving some Lorna's Lasagna from San Diego for quite a while now, but who knows the next time I'll get out West to actually get some. So I decided to suck it up and make one myself. It's an easy dish to prepare, just time consuming. But the end result was gooey and cheesy and about the most perfect meal for 2 lactose intolerant people!

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 20 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • crushed red pepper/cayenne to taste
  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 lb sliced mozzarella (I doubled this!)
  1. Brown the beef and garlic in a saute pan until cooked. Add whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices to beef; simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions.
  3. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread 1 cup beef mixture along the bottom. Top with noodles, 1/2 the ricotta, 1/2 the parm, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat layers again. Top with remaining beef and mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Blog entry #200! Can't believe I have that many entries on this thing. Insane!

Tonight's dish, Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa, was courtesy of Cooking Light. It's got a 5 star rating there, and now I know why! Quick and easy to prepare, a multitude of flavors, and absolutely delicious. We paired it with some steamed corn. The leftover salsa is great when mixed in with the corn, so versatile! I made the recipe exactly as stated, except for the addition of some cilantro in the salsa. I wouldn't change a thing!


  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped (I only used 1/2 an avocado and it was plenty)
  1. To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  2. To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Add avocado; stir gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Clams and Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce

This recipe is compliments of Food Network Magazine, and I have to say, it's not only easy, but delicious too! We used fresh steamers and frozen mussels and served it over some Udon noodles. The broth is a bit spicy, but you can tone that down by using less hot pepper or hot sauce, to your liking. I made a few simple substitutions noted below, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. The recipe makes quite a bit of broth, which will be used for our lunch tomorrow with a package of Ramen noodles!

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (I used 1 tsp ginger paste instead)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I doubled this)
  • 1 to 2 Thai chile peppers or jalapenos, seeded and chopped (I used Sriracha hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I used green curry paste b/c it's all I had)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 3/4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I used frozen bell peppers)
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and ketchup and fry until slightly browned, 3 to 4 more minutes. Add the lime juice and 3 cups water, cover and bring to a boil.

  2. Add the clams; cover and steam until they open slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels; cover and steam until they open slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and half of the cilantro and basil. Cook, covered, until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

  3. Transfer the clams and mussels to serving bowls and ladle the broth on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and basil and garnish with lime. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.