Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zucchini Bread

As I'm beginning to type this post, I wonder if I've ever put a recipe for zucchini (my husband likes to annoy me and pronounce it "zoo-chin-eye" or "zuck-chinny", depending on his mood) bread.

Ah, well. If so, sorry--here it is again!

I made this bread out of necessity. I found a zucchini in my garden that was bigger than a large eggplant. This guy was a total behemoth, and I knew that the only way I'd be able to successfully use it was in a bread or muffin.

Turns out, this bad mamajamma made 6 cups of grated zucchini--or enough for 4 loaves of bread when following the recipe below.

I decided to use half and freeze half, as I'm sure I'll want some zucchini bread again during the winter.

The recipe I used was from one of my absolute favorite blogs/recipe collections: Simply Recipes, by Elise.

I didn't change a thing, but I'll copy the recipe below for your viewing pleasure. I love Elise's cooking--she's methodical and analytical. Basically, she's the blog version of Cook's Illustrated.

Simply Recipes' Zucchini Bread

Makes 2, 9x5" loaves


2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups grated, fresh zucchini--I pressed a little (but not all) of the water out
2/3 c melted, unsalted butter*
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt*
3 cups flour (I used bread flour, because it's all that I had)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon

*I only had salted butter, so I omitted the pinch of salt---everything came out just fine.


1. Preheat oven to 350F, butter/grease 2, 9x5" loaf pans
2. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla until combined.
3. Mix in the grated zucchini and butter.
4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter, then combine.
5. Add 1 cup of flour at a time, and completely mix in before adding the next cup. The batter will be considerably thicker now.
6. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg.
7. Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Set the pans on a cookie sheet (this makes getting them in and out of the oven easier, and if you have any spills, they won't burn in your oven).
8. Bake 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick in the center to make sure the bread is cooked all the way through. If it's still gooey, put back in the over for another 5 minutes.
9. Cool in pan for 20 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Oh, lawsie. It's been a while (again). You see, I had to do this thing called graduate. 

And once I defended, a fog lifted. I started enjoying my life again, which is a weird feeling, y'all. I haven't enjoyed cooking (and most other normal things) for probably over 2 years. Graduate school will do that to the best of us: suck out the fun in life and replace it with misery and fear.

But, y'all aren't here to hear me whine or rejoice---you're here to get your grub on. Boy, do I have a treat for you!

I love eggplant parmesan, but it is a real pain in the rear to cook (the eggplant sweating, frying, blah blah).  The taste, however, is to die for. The hubcap and I are trying to incorporate more healthy protein into our diet, and when I found the recipe for Skinnytaste's Baked Chicken Parmesan, I knew I had to give the recipe a shot.

This baked chicken parmesan is simple, fast and satisfying--what more could you ask for? I like to serve it with either a fresh garden salad or steamed broccoli--yum!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Serves 2


2 large chicken breast filets, halved to make 4, thinner filets
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/4-1/3 c breadcrumbs or panko (I tried it both ways--I actually prefer the extra crunch of the panko!)
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2-2/3 c pasta sauce (use as much as you like, really)
1/3 box of Barilla angel hair pasta


1. Preheat oven to 450F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Brush both sides of each breast filet with butter, then dip in the mixture of breadcrumbs and about 2-3 Tbs of parmesan cheese.

3. After assembling all of the chicken breasts onto the baking sheet, spray the top again lightly with cooking oil.

4. Bake for 450F for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up the pasta sauce in a saucepan and cook the angel hair pasta per the package instructions (it cooks quicker than normal pasta--about 5 minutes in boiling water should do it!)

5. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken breasts over and add 1 spoonful of sauce and a dash of parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 450F for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and gooey.

6. Serve over a bed of angel hair pasta layered with a bit more sauce--and perhaps a bit more parmesan cheese on top if you're like me and adore parmesan (or, let's be honest, really any cheese that crosses your path).

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Very Epic Picaken

Do y'all know what a picaken is?

Well, don't fret. I didn't know what a picaken was either until a close friend of mine requested one for her graduation party back in May. She earned a doctorate, and thus deserved an epic dessert. My friend first heard of the picaken through this blog, but it seems picakens (or piecakens) are all over the internet.

First off, I apologize for the quality of the photos--all except the final photo were taken with my phone, and are, therefore, a bit blurry/crappy.

Okay, so here's what you do if you're super stressed and don't have time to make anything from scratch (my scenario for making this picaken):

1 frozen pie, cooked and cooled to room temp, or 1 store bought already baked pie (I chose apple)
1 box cake mix (I chose spice cake)
1 tub frosting (I chose cream cheese flavored)


1. Preheat your oven to whatever temperature your cake mix tells you to preheat to (I think mine was either 350F or 375F).

2. Mix up your cake batter as directed. Grease a large (9", in my case) springform pan, taking time to carefully lock the outer rim so you don't have any leaks. I recommend also placing a baking sheet below the pan in the oven to catch any potential drips.

3. Place about 3/4 cup cake batter in the bottom of the pan, coating the whole bottom.

4. Take your baked, room temp pie and flip it over onto a cooling rack or large plate (the bottom of the pie will be face up). Then flip it over again into the springform pan.

5. Hysterically weep.

6. Pour the remaining cake batter over the pie, being careful not to cry too much into the bowl so as to not change the salt content and/or water down your cake.

7. Pop the cake into the oven for the recommended time on the cake box, then start swearing after that time has passed, because your cake is NOT going to be done yet, friends. It can take upwards of 20 extra minutes to have the interior portion of the cake bake properly--just be sure to check it with a toothpick (the toothpick should come out clean). Nothing should be jiggling. That will happen after you eat the picaken.

8. Cool that sucker. It will take a long, long, LONG time to cool. Like, overnight, folks. Just plan accordingly, because you need to ice this guy to cover up any pie crust poking out.

9. Ice it. It may come out crumbly (like mine), but that's okay. It will taste WONDERFUL, and you won't care as much about the crumbles.

10. Enjoy with lots of friends! This picaken can serve about 10-15 people--maybe more!

My sweet friend made me a picaken in return--same combination (apple pie/spice cake/cream cheese frosting), but she made her cake and frosting from scratch! Delicious!

What combinations of flavors would you try?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Rollo® Cups

Whew. Another six months, and no recipes. Well, at least I know for sure you don't expect much out of me. Now that we're clear on that, how about some cookies?!?

I can't take credit for the inventiveness of this recipe, as I followed this recipe exactly.

I will say that they are best served warm (that way the Rollo inside is gooey), and they're fun to take to parties to watch unsuspecting friends chomp into them only to be pulling a giant string of caramel away from their face :). Ah, social awkwardness, we know each other too well.

I've copied the recipe below for your convenience, but like I said kudos to the real author, found here.

Peanut Butter Rollo Cups

Makes About 3 dozen cups

1/2 cup margarine 
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated white sugar, packed
1/2 light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
About 36 Rollo® candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Optional Glaze:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
2. Cream together margarine, peanut butter, egg, white sugar, and brown sugar. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
4. Add the flour mixture, half at a time, to margarine mixture, beating well to combine. 
5. Place a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into the palm of your hand. Press one candy into the center and press dough around it to form a ball. Roll in confectioners' sugar and place in un-greased mini-muffin tin. 
6. Bake 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Let cool in the baking tins at least 15 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. 

7. (OPTIONAL) Heat chocolate chips in microwave until melted. Take a fork and drizzle chocolate over the tops of the cooled cups.

These would be a perfect treat to bring to a New Year's celebration!


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