Recipes Galore!

I'm way overdue for a recipe post, or any post for that matter! I've tried quite a few recipes in the past couple of months. I've been experimenting with baking a little even though it's not one of my strong points, however I don't wanna toot my own horn but I think my attempts have been pretty succesful. :)

Here are 3 of my fave recipes for you to take a stab at....

Braised Smoked Paprika Chicken
I came upon this first one looking for something new to make for my boyfriend. Not that he doesn't love all the Cuban food but I wanted to change it up a little. This is an old Hungarian recipe only I switched the sweet paprika for smoked and added the mushrooms to the mix. The paprika thing was actually by mistake (oopsy), but it turned out really well! ;)

  • 3 -3 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (you can use thighs and legs too)
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups onions, diced
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill or chives, for garnish
1. Pat the chicken dry and season with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large casserole pot or Dutch oven over Medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle them with sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and light brown.

3. Stir in bell peppers, mushrooms, tomato paste, paprika, and crushed red pepper. Add the chicken and stir everything well. Add the marjoram and chicken broth. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over medium-low heat for about 50 minutes.

4. While the chicken is cooking, whisk the sour cream, flour, and remaining 1/4 tsp of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. When the chicken is tender, remove it to a plate. Stir the sour cream mixture into the sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens a little. Reduce the heat to low and return the chicken to the sauce to reheat for about 1 minute. Sprinkle the garnish on top.

Goes great with white rice. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup
I've made plenty of butternut squash soup recipes in my cooking days, but this one is by far my favorite. It really celebrates the veggie's buttery sweetness and makes eating healthy a walk in the park.

  • 1 1/2 lbs or 1 medium butternut squash (I was very excited to use one from my very own garden)
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (Love Love LOVE cumin!!)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups of veggie broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Peel and cut the squash into medium-sized pieces. Drizzle 1 tsp of canola oil on a baking sheet and place the pieces on top. Put the squash in the oven for 45 min to 1 hour, until squash is tender.

3. Heat the other tsp of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, and carrots and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring frequently, until soft. Add in the squash, cumin, and ground cloves. Add the broth, stir, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender.

4. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a drizzle of yogurt.
A delicious and healthy low-calorie meal!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
I made this for my mom's birthday last month because I didn't just want to buy her a cake and I know how obsessed she is with pineapples. Needless to say, it was a big hit!! And soooo easy!

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple slices in juice, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 (6oz) jar of maraschino cherries, without stems, drained
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cup water/pineapple juice mixture
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1. Heat oven to 350° F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place the butter in the baking pan and put the pan in the oven until the butter melts. Take the pan out of the oven and pour the cup of brown sugar over it, spreading it evenly.

2. Place the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar in the pattern that you'd like. Then place the cherries where you'd like them. Use the reserved pineapple juice to make 1 1/4 cup of liquid (add water if there's not enough juice).

3. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, oil, 3 eggs and the pineapple juice mixture. Add the small can of crushed pineapple to the batter and stir in well.

4. Pour the batter into the pan over the pineapple slices and cherries. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 mins. It's done when you stick a toothpick or knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife along the edge of the pan to separate the cake. Place a large heatproof dish over the pan and quickly turn the pan upside down onto the dish and voila!
Serve it warm or cool or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Mmmm mmmm!

Hope you enjoy all these recipes. There'll be more to come soon but these'll keep you busy for now. ;)


Seize BP!

This oil spill has gone on long enough!!! We as a country cannot stand by and let some big oil corporation destroy that which is so important to us! We MUST make them accountable for the death of countless ocean life and destruction of thousands' livelihoods!

For more information on Seize BP and how to get involved in your community, go to www.SeizeBP.org


Amazing Curry Chicken Salad!

It took some mixing and matching but I think I've come really close!

Whether it's on a bagel, a whole wheat wrap, or by itself, I really think you, your family and friends are going to make this recipe one of your favorites!

Curry Chicken Salad

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, cooked
  • 1 cup of mayo* (Hellman's is pretty tasty)
  • 1 cup of non-fat plain yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay I had opened the day before)
  • 1/4 cup Major Grey's chutney (in the bbq sauce area of grocery store)
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 large celery stalks, medium-diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped, white and green parts
  • 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh dill, chopped (I love dill! I think I put close to 3 tbsp)
  • handful of grapes, green or red, cut in halves
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
*Although regular mayo is higher in fat, most of it is unsaturated fat and the ingredients are a lot more straight-foward and simple compared to low or fat free mayo which has things like cellulose gel and modified corn starch. Not my cup of tea.


1. Grab the chicken. Remove and discard the skin. Then remove the meat from the bones and cut into large bite-size pieces. Place the pieces in a large bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and fresh dill and give it a stir to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated. Set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, wine, chutney, curry powder, and about 1/2 tsp of salt. Blend well.

3. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Then add the celery, walnuts, grapes, and scallions and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!!! :)

It's a Jungle Out There!

It's been a month since my last post and you wouldn't believe the explosion of veggies and fruits in my garden since then!! Especially my butternut squash plant... It's TAKING OVER!

To illustrate just how far along my garden has come in a few months, check out these before and after pictures....

First I'm going to show you the one that takes the cake! It started with these little seedlings that I found growing in my compost container and I thought, "hmmm, maybe I'll plant these and see what I get." Well what I got was a whole lot of vine growing all over the lawn! If they weren't sprouting so much squash I would've aborted the mission a while ago. At least I can I say I've had the experience of growing butternut squash. :)

"I'm just an innocent little seedling"....
"Look how pretty my leaves are"....
"I'm only growing so much cause you're taking such good care of me"....
"So I'm spilling over into the grass, you've still got plenty of grassy area left"....
"Look flowers! And flowers mean squaaaash!"....
"It's official, I've taken over! But I've got plenty of squash to go around though"...

Now that you've seen the most dramatic development, here are the rest of my babies all grown up .....




Yaaaaay! It's so incredibly rewarding to see the fruits of my labor (literally) after devoting so much time to something I enjoy. :)

New recipe coming SOON!!!


Peppers! and more...

I decided today was harvesting day for my California sweet peppers. I've been eyeing them for a few weeks waiting to see how much bigger they'd grow and I think they're just about done growing. But just in case I'm wrong, I only cut two of the five off.

I'm also excited about the baby cucumbers sprouting all over my cucumber plant. They're so cute!

And last but certainly not least... the hope of yummy beefsteak tomatoes! I'm crossing my fingers!