Monday, June 21, 2010

I've moved...

After six years on blogger I have made the big move to WordPress. I've moved the last few posts to my new blog, but otherwise it will be all new stuff...

Check me out here:
All dressed in black

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

I've made this several times and will continue to make it. Next time I would like to switch the orzo with quinoa and add a little more nutritional value. Or try cilantro in the place of parsley. It's fast, easy and delicious.

Picture and Recipe taken from Cooking Light(March 2009):

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup orzo mixture and about 7 shrimp)

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

As suggested, I usually make asparagus as a side to go with this dish. I have also done zucchini and summer squash. All were delicious.

**When being lazy I use precooked shrimp and throw them in during the last minute or two to heat them through.

Peanut Butter Oreo Cake

Brian requested a Peanut Butter Oreo cake for his birthday in April. I didn't want it to be sweetness overkill(how could it not be?) so I searched long and hard for a recipe. I ended up combining multiple recipes to make this cake come to life.

I adapted the cake recipe from Dozen Flours:

Oreo Cake
adapted from Cake Mix Doctor

18 full-sized Oreos or one 8oz package of mini Oreos or 2 1/4 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs
1 package (18oz) of white cake mix WITH pudding in the mix
1 cup water (room temperature)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two 9" cake pans with Pam for baking or grease with shortening and dust evenly with flour, tapping out the excess. Set the pans aside.

Grind the cookies in a food processor and process them until you have a fine crumb. If you don't
have a food processor, you can put the cookies in a zip-lock style bag, squeeze all the air out, and crush them using the bottom of pot or a rolling pin. You'll need 2 1/4 cups of crumbs total. If you have more than this, set them aside to use to decorate the cake (if desired). Set aside.

Place the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large mixing bowl and mix on low speed for 1 minute and scrape the bowl and blade. Increase the speed to medium and mix for another 2 minutes and scrape the bowl and blade. The batter should look evenly colored. Add the cookie crumbs and mix on low for 15 seconds or so until all the crumbs look evenly distributed.

Pour the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops. Bake both pans in the oven, side by side, and bake about 25-30 minutes until a cake tester in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and invert onto the rack. Then invert each cake again so they continue to cool right-side-up. Allow to cook completely 30 minutes more.

Peanut butter frosting(for between the layers) taken from RecipeZaar:

1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter and peanut butter together. Then, add half the powdered sugar and blend.
Blend in milk and vanilla. Add remaining powdered sugar. Stir until smooth and well blended.**

Slice each cake horizontally (if desired) so you have 4 layers of cake. Place a little bit of frosting on the bottom of your cake plate (this will act like glue and hold the cake in place). Place one of the cake slices cut side up on the plate. Top with peanut butter frosting and smooth to about 1/2 from the edge. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 layers. Then I used whipped milk chocolate frosting(store bought, gasp!) to frost the top and side of the cake. I cut several Oreos in half and decorated the top with them...and several candles(31 to be exact)!

**I doubled this recipe for the filling...WAYYYYYYY to much frosting. I wouldn't have used all the frosting had I just done a single batch. My roommates dogs were very happy to eat it up, though.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Yellowfin Tuna Steaks

Tuna steaks have always been a little intimidating to me. Well, most seafood is. I feel like chicken is so much more versatile and much less easy to mess up. Being a recovering vegetarian and having not cooked any meat in a few years the task at hand was a little more daunting.

Resolving to eat more healthy and dating a guy from Florida meant incorporating more seafood into my diet(not at the most opportune time considering the Gulf oil spill). So, I was at the grocery store and saw some yellow fin tuna steaks. Remembering how much I enjoyed eating tuna steaks while in Hawaii made me buy them. I headed home to search for an easy recipe to hopefully not screw up.

Recipe adapted from


2-8 oz yellow fin tuna steaks


1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 clove crushed garlic (per steak)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
small amount of sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a shallow 9 X 13 inch glass dish, prepare all of the marinade ingredients. Remember, if you have more than 2 8 oz tuna steaks, you might need to adjust the ingredients to marinate. Marinate both sides (dredge steaks and get marinade on both sides). Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes before grilling. *Soy sauce will overpower tuna if you marinate for too long!
Light the grill while tuna is marinating. Once coals are white (30 minutes) spread them and clean the grill, then wipe with oil so steaks don't stick.(See note below as I used the stove top).

Grill for 4 minutes or less per side for 1 inch steaks, depending on how you like them. Steaks should be firm with pink in the middle. If you prefer steaks to be more rare, grilling time should be 2 1/2 minutes on each side.

**Well, I didn't have access to a grill so I just heated up a skillet nice and hot and cooked them for the same amount of time. I turned the burner on high and left the skillet to heat up for about 10 minutes. Use a little of a high heat tolerant oil to grease the pan so they don't stick right before they go in and cook according to grill times.

They didn't look beautiful when they were done and I was quite skeptical about eating it, but it tasted amazing!

For a side, I reserved about 1/4 cup of the marinade to the side before putting the tuna in to marinate. I diagonally sliced 2 zucchini and 2 yellow summer squash in 1/8-1/4in slices and placed in a single layer on a non-stick aluminum foil covered baking pan. I brushed them with the marinade and baked them at 425F for 12 minutes or until starting to lightly brown on the edges. I've never enjoyed zucchini and summer squash so much. I have made them a few times again just by making a much smaller batch of the marinade and using it just for the vegetables.

Also, I believe "ahi" technically refers to blue fin tuna, not yellow fin, but I'm not one to argue with the person that submitted the recipe that brought such nice flavors to my mouth.

Easiest pizza dough EVER

This is seriously the easiest pizza dough. Just when I am wanting homemade pizza but don't want to take the time to let the dough rise and put off dinner for an extra hour, I remember this pizza and "presto!" pizza!

Adapted from:

Get ready for easy:

1 packet of yeast
1 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour
1 t honey
1 t salt
2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, add in the yeast and warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour, salt, honey, and olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon vigorously until combined. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle cornmeal onto a walled baking sheet and press dough into it until thin(I usually use a baking stone, but pans and grills work well, too). Add toppings as desired and bake 20-25 minutes until crust is light brown and cheese is bubbly.

I usually use half whole wheat and half regular flour. I've also made several other variations when making this crust. At times I've added extra honey for a sweeter crust...delicious. Another time we threw oregano into the mix for a more flavorful crust. It's an easily adaptable and nearly impossible recipe to mess up. We have even used it on the grill at my parents house and it cooked as well as other recipes that take much longer to make.

Just make sure that you roll/press it out about 30% thinner than you actually want it to end up because it has a tendency to rise a bit while cooking.


Tilapia and asparagus packets

I had seen this recipe a month or two ago and finally got around to making them. Super simple, healthy and delicious. It would be perfect for entertaining because they are quick to make and minimal clean up...more time with your guests.

Adapted from Woman's Day magazine:

4 cups baby spinach**
4 tilapia fillets (6 to 7 oz each)
8 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths about 2 in. long
4 tsp each capers and minced shallots**
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 to 12 thin slices lemon

**I didn't have any spinach or shallots so I just left them out and they still turned out fabulous.

Heat oven to 425ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking pan and 4 pieces of parchment paper or nonstick foil. I used foil because I couldn't find my parchment paper...until the day after I made them.

To make each packet: Place 1 cup spinach in center of parchment(again, I didn't do this). Top with a tilapia fillet. Brush fish with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Scatter 1/2 cup of the asparagus on and around fish. Scatter 1 tsp each of the shallots and capers, and 1/2 tsp of the thyme over top. Drizzle with another tsp of the oil; sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp of the salt and 1/8 tsp of the pepper. Top fish with 2 or 3 slices of the lemon.(I also didn't' brush the top of the tilapia with olive oil, I just drizzled it over the top and they were plenty moist and delicious.)

Bring long ends of paper/foil together and fold down 3 times to make a seam. Place on baking pan and tuck ends underneath. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 packets.

Bake 15 minutes until packets are puffed. Open 1 packet to test doneness. If fish isn’t opaque at center, reseal packet and return to oven. Check again after 5 minutes.


As I updated my facebook status to say that I really, really, really wanted an iPhone 4, I got a comment that made me think.

It's true. I would give up my cell phone if no one ever died of thirst again.

Thought provoking article:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Party in my mouth

If forced to decide, I would have to say that original Starburst candies are my favorite candy. Recently, Mars Incorporated came out with a new line of Starburst.


Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The package only includes four flavors: watermelon, cherry, strawberry and fruit punch.They are all amazing except for the fruit punch. I developed an aversion to anything fruit punch flavored after my dentist made me do fruit punch flavored fluoride trays as a child. ICK!

I'm sure they won't be around long so indulge yourself now.

I also have an obsessive love for anything coconut flavored. Well, M&M's hit the mark with their new Coconut M&M's. But again, they won't be around for long and they are so delicious I'm sure they are flying off the shelves like they have might have a Willy Wonka
golden ticket inside.