Friday, August 31, 2012

Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers

These quinoa burgers are delicious. The flavor and texture are nice and they are not too dry. They are fantastic served the Greek-Style in a pita but would be just as good in an old fashioned hamburger bum. I served a tasty carrot salad along with it and you can find the recipe here if you are interested.


  • 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 pitas (each 6 inches)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally


  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick paties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tamari Walnut Salad

We are going to a birthday party for my uncle today and he has Celiac Disease so I wanted to make a gluten free salad to bring that he could enjoy. My friend passed along this recipe and it is delicious! I love the savory crunch of the tarmari glazed walnuts with the tartness of the rice vinegar. The pop of green from the edamame is beautiful and I added a bit of sweetness by tossing in some dried cranberries. If you are wanting to make this gluten free you must take care that you pick out a tamari or soy sauce that is gluten free.


1 cup dry brown rice
2 cups water
3 cups frozen shelled edamame
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup broken walnuts
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (I used gluten free tamari)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional, my addition)

For the Dressing-
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (more of less depending on taste, I used about 2-3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional, my addition)


Make the rice. Put rice and 2 cups water in a pot and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or so until tender. Uncover and let cool. Do not refrigerate.

Steam the edamame until bright green, 3-5 minutes.

Place 2 teaspoons of oil in a small skillet and heat over medium high. Add the walnuts, and toss to coat with oil. When the pan is hot, add the tamari or soy sauce and stir constantly until the walnuts are coated and the tamari has evaporated, about 30-60 seconds. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt and chili flakes until blended.

To assemble, place rice, edamame, green onion, and cranberries in a serving bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Add walnuts and toss again. Serve at room temperature. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Barbecued Chicken

Back in May we had a great stretch of nice weather and that always has us wanting barbecue to enjoy on our deck. I made Tyler Florence's Ultimate Barbecued Chicken and it was easy and delicious. The recipe is rated as having 5 "stars" and I agree. I cut up a whole chicken instead of using just thighs because that is what I had on hand. However, thighs are my favorite grill because they are really hard to dry out. I hope the weather in June turns around so we can enjoy more BBQ on the deck soon.

·         2 quarts water
·         2 tablespoons kosher salt
·         1/4 cup brown sugar
·         2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a large knife
·         4 sprigs fresh thyme
·         6 chicken legs and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each

The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce:
·         1 slice bacon
·         1 bunch fresh thyme
·         Extra-virgin olive oil
·         1/2 onion, chopped
·         2 garlic cloves, chopped
·         2 cups ketchup
·         1/4 cup brown sugar
·         1/4 cup molasses
·         2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
·         1 tablespoon dry mustard
·         1 teaspoon ground cumin
·         1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
·         Freshly ground black pepper

For the brine, in a mixing bowl combine the water, salt, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon sized re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, close the bag and refrigerate 2 hours (if you've only got 15 minutes, that's fine) to allow the salt and seasonings to penetrate the chicken.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving alongside the chicken at the table. The rest of the barbecue sauce will be used for basing the legs.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue to a medium heat. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface. Take the chicken out of the brine; pat it dry on paper towels. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and cook, turn once mid-way, and cook for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer the grill marked chicken to a cookie sheet and then place in the oven. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and then brush liberally, coating every inch of the legs with the barbecue sauce and then return to the oven for 25 to 30 more minutes, basting the chicken for a second time half way through remaining cooking time. Serve with extra sauce.
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes With Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I happened to come across this recipe for Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Pinterest from the blog "Tracey's Culinary Adventures". I had never made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream so I decided I wanted to give it a shot. It really was very simple and the end result is so light and creamy. I loved that the strawberry colors the frosting so there is no added food coloring. I decided to use the amazing buttercream on my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. I loved these cupcakes so much that I have made them again for my baby girl's 1st birthday party.  This buttercream recipe is a keeper and I will be trying out many more Swiss Meringues in the future. 


1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites1 1/4 cups sugar1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature


To make the frosting: Puree the strawberries in your food processor until completely smooth.  Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer (or any heatproof bowl)  and set it over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved - you can test with your fingertips, if the mixture feels grainy, it's not ready yet.
Attach the bowl to your stand mixer (or transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer if you used a separate bowl) fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes. (The bowl will be cool to the touch.) 
Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.  Let each addition incorporate before adding the next.  (The frosting may look soupy or curdled once you add the butter - just keep beating and it will come together.)  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the strawberry puree to the bowl.  Beat until combined - the mixture will probably look curdled again when you add the strawberries, keep beating!)

Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes (I used a large star tip), and garnish with extra strawberries, if desired.  

Recipe originally from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Birdie Birthday Cake- 2nd Cricut Cake

This was my second cake that I made with the help of my Cricut Cake. This cake was for a friend's little girl's first birthday and it was a total hit. All the decorations on this cake were cut out using the Cricut Cake. I learned that you have to be very patient when using the Cricut Cake and it is very time consuming but the end results are pretty amazing. There are so many shapes and designs included on each design cartridge that you can buy for the Cricut Cake that the design possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Krystal's Smokey Red Chili

I have made chili a lot and usually is always has a bunch of chili powder in it and always has ground beef. My church was having a chili cook-off so I decided to come up with something special. I found a few recipes that used rehydrated guajilo chiles instead of the typical chili powder. I knew I wanted to use chipotle chiles in adobo because I LOVE that stuff and I wanted big chunks of meat so I planed on cutting up one of my last chuck roasts. I combined those ideas with the typical chili I usually make and it was a hit. This recipe is a keeper. I love the rich and smokey sauce and the big chucks of tender beef. My pot was one of the first to empty.


1 1/2 ounces dried guajilo chiles
1 or 2 chipotle chiles is adobo sauce, plus a good spoonful of the sauce
3 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 15 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons cornmeal
4 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons white vinegar


Put the guajillos in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and weight with a small plate or bowl to keep submerged. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Drain guajillos; discard stems and seeds. In a blender, blend guajillos, chipotle chili and sauce, and liquid until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Set aside.

Cut the Chuck roast into 1-inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the browned meat to a medium bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cayenne, cumin, oregano and cornmeal and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add meat, broth, chili purée, beans, tomatoes and just enough water to cover meat, if necessary; bring to a boil over high. Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Uncover and cook until meat is tender and chili is slightly thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add vinegar to taste.

Recipe by me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

First Cricut Cake

I got a new toy to play with the other day. It is the Cricut Cake. Many people that are familiar with the world of scrap-booking (which I am not) probably know a lot about the various Cricut machines. They are used to cut all sorts of decorative things in paper and a few other materials. A few years ago the Cricut Cake came out which is food safe and designed to cut the same decorative designs in gumpaste, fondant and really any other thin, semi-firm food material. The machine was almost $400.00 when it came out but now you can find them at outrageous discounts. I got mine on one of those discount shopping sites for $75.00. That is a price that I was willing to pay. I really enjoy creating cakes and I know I will get my money's worth. It can also be used to decorate cookies, cupcakes and more. I have also learned that a few people have switched out the blade and cutting mat and are able to cut paper just as well at the Cricuts that are designed for it. This voids the warranty I hear but it is an option. Very excited to play around with this more!
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