Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chinese-Style Sponge Cake

Ideal for kids as it's not super sweet and it pairs wonderfully with fresh fruit. Use diced or sliced strawberries, peaches, and/or berries. Frost with barely-sweetened whipped cream.

This cake is great for making strawberry shortcake too.


3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you don't want to buy some, it's cool. You can always use regular sugar. If you have a small blender, you can turn regular sugar into superfine sugar by blending it for a minute)
6 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

diced or sliced fresh fruit

butter and cake flour for pans
parchment paper
cake pan(s)


1. Preheat your oven to 350˚ F. Butter the bottom and sides of your cake pan. Cut out a piece of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of your pan. Then butter the paper. Coat the bottom and sides with a thin layer of cake flour.

2. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the sugar with the egg yolks and beat until thick and pale yellow. Stir in the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are starting to form peaks. Then slowly add in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little bit at a time. Continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

4. Spoon half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and fold them together gently, to minimize volume loss. Fold in the flour in small increments. Fold in the milk and oil. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.

5. Pour the batter into your cake pan(s). Gently tap the sides to evenly distribute the batter and release any air bubbles.

6. Bake for 20ish minutes or until the top is just barely turning light brown. If you're using a dark or non-stick pan, then you may need to cook for a little longer. If you're using a glass or light aluminum pan, then cook for a little less time. I cooked my cake in a 12x12 shiny, aluminum pan and it was perfect in exactly 15 minutes. Watch the cake carefully.

7. As the cake cools, it will shrink a little bit. So when you pull it out of the oven, run a knife along the edges of your pan to make sure the cake will shrink evenly on all sides. Leave the cake in the pan to cool completely before removing it and peeling off the parchment paper.

8. This step is optional, but it will help if your cake ends up a little dry. Prepare some simple syrup by mixing 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and just barely bring it to a boil. Then let it cool. Once it's cool, brush the simple syrup over the cake.

9. The whipped cream frosting I made was super simple. Mix 1 pint of whipping cream with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the whipped cream is thick and spreadable.

10. Assemble your cake layers putting a layer of whipped cream and fruit in the middle. Then frost your whole cake with the rest of your whipped cream. Decorate with more fresh fruit.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella

I found this from LOVEEEEEEE

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 medium) zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Romano cheese (or parmesan)
  • 3 oz part skim shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • olive oil non-stick spray


Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightlyspray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add oil when hot then saute garlic a minute, or until golden. Add zucchini, 1/4 cup Romano cheese, salt and pepper and saute about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. When cool, addmozzarella cheese and mix to combine.

Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 3 tbsp of zucchini-cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

Combine breadcrumbs and grated cheese in one bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper in another bowl.

Dip chicken in lemon-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spraywith oil spray.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Serving size is listed as one, but if you are having this as a low carb meal with a salad, I suggest you have two.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

SO much better than any pita I've bought at the supermarket! For this recipe I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a pizza stone. But it can still easily be done if you don't have either. The mixing can be done by hand and you can cook the pitas on a grill pan or right on the oven racks.

2¼ tsp. instant yeast (1 packet)
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water. I found this easiest to combine if I stirred in the honey first, then added the yeast. Stir gently to blend. Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook. Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the ball of dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Place an oven rack in the middle position. Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface. (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks. I use a pizza stone, but either method is fine.) Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can be mixed by hand.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
approx 24 jumbo pasta shells
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus ½ teaspoon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus ¼ teaspoon
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped (canned artichokes work okay too, just make sure they are brined and not marinated)
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves (don't use dry basil, use fresh. It makes a difference)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Arrabbiata Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped (bacon works okay too)
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups jarred or fresh marinara sauce

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta. Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Arrabbiata Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the Pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. if you're using bacon, skip the olive oil and drain most of the fat first. Then add some olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grilled Scallops with Angel Hair Pasta

-1lb angel hair pasta
-1lb bay scallops (or 16 sea scallops)
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cp flat leaf parsley, chopped
-1/4 cp extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1/2 dry white wine
-zest & juice of 1 lemon
-5 tbsp cold unsealed butter
-salt & pepper to taste

-cook pasta according to box to al dente (when done, reserve a cup of starchy water before draining)
-in a bowl, combine the garlic, salt & pepper and olive oil
-in another bowl, toss scallops in half of the oil mixture (above), toss to coat then grill (in a pan) 2-3 minutes until firm and opaque
-in large skillet, cook other half of the oil mixture with the pepper flakes until the garlic browns.
-add wine, cook for 2 minutes
-add lemon zest & juice, cook 2 minutes
-add butter, cook until melted
-add scallops and drained pasta, combine together, add salt & pepper to taste (add starchy water if needed)
Serve Hot

This dish is quite popular in our house. We've used it for dinner guests as well and it always goes over well (except with very picky eaters). It is referred to simply as "the pasta" and that says a lot considering I make quite a few pasta dishes :)
Hope you try and hope you like.

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Crockpot) Creamy Ranch Chicken

In an effort to save $$$ this week, we did an entire menu with boneless, skinless chicken breast, which can get pretty boring pretty quickly so this was very easy and came out pretty tasty. DH actually said: "delicious"

3-4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dessing seasoning

Cook on high 5-6 hours (closer to 5)

I served with white rice and broccoli, but you can use any sides.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

(Crockpot) Chicken & Dumplings

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
adapted from Bubble Crumb

1lb of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (3-5)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 cans (10.5oz) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can (14oz) Chicken Broth
1 medium White Onion, diced
4 Large Flaky Refrigerator Biscuits

Place chicken in crock pot and top with butter. Add cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and diced onions. Cook on High for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken from crock pot and use a fork to shred. Return chicken to the crock pot. Cut each uncooked biscuit into 9 pieces and stir into the chicken mixture. Continue to cook on High for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

--I got this from (where else???) Pinterest. DH surprisingly liked it. He's no big on soup as a meal. He's more of a protein, vegetable, starch guy (sometimes just the protein and starch). I did like the way it came out, it was super easy, but a little too onion-y for me. So next time I'm either going to use less onion or only use onion powder. I also cooked it on low for 10 hours (from when I went to work to when DH got home).