Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Nutella-Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

My boys love Nutella sandwiches.

They would eat them for every meal if I let them.  As it is, they eat Nutella sandwiches for lunch nearly everyday (the days they don’t are they days I prepare myself for lots of whining and complaining and feed them something awful like hot dogs or mac & cheese).

My boys also love French toast.  Bread drenched in syrup?   Perfect.

So naturally, I figured they would go gaga over Nutella Stuffed French Toast.  I mean, this stuff is a kid’s dream!

You know where I’m going with this, right?

They cried.  They whined.  They didn’t want “Tella Toast”!  They wanted a regular Nutella sandwich!


Some days a Mama just can’t win.

So in this instance, my husband and I very much enjoyed some “Tella Toast” and I’m sure you will, too!

Nutella-Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe

12 slices 100% whole wheat bread
2 (ish) ounces cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3 tbsp lowfat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (homemade or store bought)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Waffle Iron Eggs ‘n Biscuits

Brinner (Breakfast for dinner) is quickly becoming a family favorite in my house.  As a mom, I love transforming the ingredients of an ordinary breakfast sandwich into something fun, exciting and kid-friendly and serving it up for dinner!  

And since I often teach Zumba classes in the evening, I love a quick protein packed dinner to fuel my work outs.  Served up alongside a bowl of fresh fruit, this satisfying sandwich is sure to please! 

Waffle Iron Eggs ‘n Biscuits
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe

1 ¼ cup all-purpose baking mix (such as Bisquick)
1/3 cup low fat milk
3 tbsp cooked, crumbled bacon (or precooked bacon such as Oscar Mayer)
6 slices Swiss Deli Cheese
3 large eggs
Salt & pepper
Diced avocado (optional)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roasted Blueberry Basil Margarita

You know those days when nothing goes right?  That’s the day I made these.

It was one of those days that the kids were whining and crying and fighting all day long and my husband was working late.  And somehow during the day I threw out my back, so I was in excruciating pain and didn’t get dinner together.

Then my son “accidentally” broke his glasses.

That’s when I decided to make margaritas.  But of course it doesn’t stop there, no no, it keeps on going. 

I had 2 pints of berries, one for margaritas and another for blueberry muffins.  One pint was a moldy and disgusting…sayonara muffins, this mama needs a margarita!  Then I had to drop a blueberry juice pan on the ground, splashing goo everywhere.  And that’s when my husband walked in the door.

He came over, gave me a hug and offered to go out for a pizza (love him so much!)  Then he helped me get the kids down and we enjoyed some margaritas. 

Oh yes, they were worth it all.

Roasted Blueberry-Basil Margaritas
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

1 pint blueberries
8-10 basil leaves
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup water
1 ¼ cups sprite or lemon-lime soda
6 tbsp tequila
Fresh basil leaves & blueberries to garnish

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Slice of Heaven Cupcakes {Giveaway}

This week (Friday to be exact) this little blog turns two.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for two years already.  And it’s nothing short of amazing to think about how far I’ve come!  Heavy reliance on processed soups to mostly scratch.  Abysmal pictures to…well…I’m working on it, but there is marked improvement!

To celebrate I thought I’d whip up some completely sinful cupcakes and host a little giveaway.

First let’s talk cupcakes.  Cupcakes that are so delicious, I had no other choice but to name them Slice of Heaven Cupcakes.  Because, well, you’re in heaven while you eat them!  The base of the cupcake is an über chocolaty cake that topped with a salted caramel buttercream that is absolutely over. the. top. 

Drizzle a bit more salted caramel and (why not?) top off with a superty delicious, salty-sweet Chocolate Covered Potato Chip!  You will seriously think you’ve died and gone to heaven!

Now let’s get on to that giveaway, because what’s a birthday without presents?  I thought I’d give one of you readers a fun little kitchen toy!  I was recently visiting my mom & she had the Babycakes Mini Doughnut Maker!  


Since I want one so badly myself, I thought I'd give one away for my Bloggy's birthday.  Just use the Rafflecopter form after the recipe (yep, it’s a long one) to enter!

Slice of Heaven Cupcakes
Inspired by Brown Eyed Baker

½ cup hot water
1 tbsp instant espresso
1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream
½ cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips

My favorite candy shop is famous for its “Chippers” (chocolate covered potato chips).  They are so unbelievably delicious!  The salty crunch of a potato chip combined with chocolate is nothing short of sinful!  Here’s a simple homemade version of one of my favorite treats!

Recipe Notes:
*I used semi-sweet Baker’s Chocolate to dip my chips, but any chocolate will do.  Dark or milk chocolate are equally delicious!

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips
Inspired by Widman’s

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grown Up Egg McMuffin

I used to love Egg McMuffins.  But as my tastes become more refined, I’m realizing that the fast food version is quite greasy and usually results in a stomachache. 

When I was in high school, my mom used to make me a simplified homemade version of an Egg McMuffin when I had finals.  She made it with a soft boiled egg and a big slice of Velveeta cheese.  It almost made finals worth it.

Now, on days when I’m feeling extra ambitious, I make myself this grown up version of my favorite breakfast sandwich (even if I don’t have any finals.)

Grown Up Egg McMuffin
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe

2 slices whole wheat toast, cut in 4 inch circles (or 1 English Muffin)
2 slices deli ham
1 tbsp shredded cheese
1 oz avocado, sliced
1 egg, soft boiled (directions follow)
Salt & pepper to taste

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paprika Rubbed Steaks

Remember that ginormous thing of steaks I bought at Sam’s?  This is one of the first recipes I made from that pack.  This recipe is perfect if you’re short on time, but want a marinated-style steak!

Paprika Rubbed Steak
Adapted from Food Network

2 steaks (about 1.5 lb)
1 tsp meat tenderizer
1 tbsp paprika
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Rub the meat tenderizer onto both sides of the steaks.

Sprinkle half the paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper onto each side of the steak, then drizzle both sides with olive oil.  Let the steaks marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (alternately, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours, leaving the steaks out for the last 30 minutes), then grill to desired doneness.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Garlic-Thyme Steak

It's my pleasure today to be co-hosting Marvelous Mondays with Julie over at Jam's Corner!  Following today's recipe feel free to link up all of your wonderful recipe, craft & DIY creations!

But first, today's Marvelous recipe!

For our anniversary this year, my parents bought us our first ever Sam’s Club Membership.  To say I’m loving it is an understatement.

So of course, at every Sam’s trip I come home with a giant package of steaks or pork chops or chicken that needs to be dealt with immediately.  Cue freezer marinades!

Most recently I bought a family pack of steaks and this is one of the delicious marinades I made for these steaks.  The star of the show is garlic.  And how can’t you love garlic?  And also thyme.  It’s a winner.  Try it.  Even if you didn’t buy is giant pack of steaks.

Garlic-Thyme Steak
Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced (1 heaping tbsp)
1 tbsp (approx. 15 sprigs) fresh thyme, leaves only
2 steaks (I used sirloin), about 1 lb
Salt & pepper

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Oreo Cake

Two weeks ago, my little one turned two.

The day before his birthday, we invited family and friends over and had a wonderful Nautical Party complete with cookies and cupcakes.

Since we had about 8 cupcakes and a handful of cookies leftover, we planned to celebrate Little One’s actual birthday with another cupcake.

But my sweet little 4 year old was very upset about his brother not getting an actual cake.  He kept telling me, “But Mama, he needs a birthday cake!”

How can you say no to compassion like that?

So as Little One slept in, exhausted after his birthday party, his brother and I set to work on his birthday cake.  And you know what?  It was totally worth it!

Recipe Notes:
*Since this was a last minute cake, I used a plain cake mix in this recipe.  However, you can use any doctored cake mix or your favorite scratch cake instead.

Oreo Cake
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe

1 chocolate cake, mixed according to packaging
10 Oreos, broken
1 recipe chocolate frosting (recipe follows)
1 recipe Oreo Buttercream (recipe follows)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pesto & Roasted Tomato Crostini

It’s Pesto time again on Vegetarian Friday!

This yummy crostini can be an elegant appetizer as guests walk in the door or a light dinner after having a large lunch.

I always adore the basil-tomato-mozzarella combination and this one hit it out of the park!

Recipe Notes:
*There aren’t any measurements in this “recipe” because you can make it to suit your needs or tastes.  If you’re making the crostini for two, you only need a few.  Love roasted tomatoes?  Add a bunch!

Pesto & Roasted Tomato Crostini

Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
French bread or baguette
Fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lemon-Thyme Iced Tea

Berry Basil Iced Tea has been my go-to drink this summer.  But after I made pesto, I thought I’d best let my basil recover a bit before making more tea.

So I peeked in the refrigerator and saw some lemons that needed to be used up and peeked out to the garden and saw the aggressively growing thyme.  I knew from last year that I loved the lemon & thyme combination, so I thought I try it as tea!  And while Berry Basil tea is still my favorite, this one is a close second!

Lemon-Thyme Iced Tea
An Amy’s Cooking Adventures Original Recipe

 1 quart (4 cups) water, boiling
Juice & zest from 1 lemon
Small handful thyme sprigs
2 tbsp honey
6 bags green tea
3 cups ice

Monday, August 13, 2012

Turkey Meatball Gyros {SRC}

Each month, I just love peeking into my inbox and seeing my latest Secret Recipe Club assignment.

This month I was delighted to find Heather’s blog, Join Us, Pull up aChair.  Heather is a mom who loves to let her daughter help out in the kitchen.  She says her daughter is much more willing to eat foods she helped prepare – I’d better take a leaf out of your book, Heather!  Maybe we can get my son to be a bit more adventurous!

As I was perusing Heather’s blog, I started waaaaay back in the archives (I just love looking through those old forgotten recipes!) and found a recipe for an amazing Turkey Gyro!  Since I recently perfected homemade whole wheat pitas, I knew that this was going to be the recipe to make.

My husband and I loved the sandwiches.  Picky pants 1 & picky pants 2 decided that they didn’t like meatballs the day I made these (though they both love meatballs most of the time).  My husband’s only critique was that he thought the spice could’ve been amped up a bit (but we’re total spice hounds, so add spice as you prefer).  And don’t forget to swing by Join Us, Pull up a Chair and say, “Hi” to Heather!

Recipe Notes:
*I always use disposable rubber gloves when mixing meat of any kind – it keeps that ground meat from hiding out underneath the fingernails!
*If you want to amp up the spice, double the amount of gyroseasoning called for in the recipe.

Turkey Meatball Gyros

5-6 whole wheat pitas, cut in half, pockets opened
Turkey Meatballs (recipe follows)
Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)
Sliced cucumbers
Diced cherry tomatoes
Feta Cheese, crumbled

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nautical Birthday Party

This past Monday, my little one turned 2.  To celebrate, we had family and friends to our house for a Nautical Party the day before.

I made Nautical Cookies, using the various tutorials from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

We also had some birthday cupcakes.  Nothing fancy here, a box of dark chocolate cake mix, frosted with a standard cream cheese frosting (and topped with starfish cookies!)

The weather was gorgeous, so we were outside the entire time.  Kids played in a bounce house our wonderful neighbors lent us for the day (though somehow I didn’t get a single picture of the kids playing in said bounce house).

All of the children enjoyed the sandbox.

And we also set up an obstacle course!  The kids loved it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pasta with Pesto Alfredo Sauce

Pesto, pesto, pesto.  I i pesto!!!

Can I tell you how happy I am that my basil is thriving enough to make pesto this year?  So, so happy!  I just recently needed to give my basil a “little trim” when it was getting unruly and had enough leaves for 3 ½ batches of pesto.  Needless to say, my freezer is fully stocked for a winter full of pesto.  Yay!

Since the pesto can’t all be relegated to the freezer, I also made this wonderful pasta dish (and I am so making a tortellini version of this in the very near future because, OMGosh, can you imagine?!?)  Mucho delish pasta + amazing basil + light alfredo + garden fresh tomatoes...AHHHH!  Amazing!

Pasta with Pesto Alfredo Sauce
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

8 oz (weight) whole wheat pasta (about 3 cups)
2 tbsp salted butter
½ cup lowfat milk
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup basil pesto
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lemon Herb Chicken

My experience with Lemon-Herb Chicken has been an interesting one.

The first time I recall having this combination was at my college dining center…*shudder*

Needless to say, lemon-herb chicken did not rate very high on my favorite flavor combinations.  Super dry chicken, overly strong fake lemon, and where were the herbs?  Ish.

Fast forward 5 years later when I thought I was buying a bag of frozen  (plain) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but got home and found that they were lemon-herb flavored! 

I ignored them for a looong time.

Then I ran out of chicken and had no choice but to make the marinated ones.  And you know what?  They were pretty good! Excessively salty?  Yes.  But not bad.

So with an abundance of bright fresh herbs growing in my garden this summer, I knew it was finally time to make my own lemon-herb chicken. 

I’m so glad I did.

This is one of our favorite chicken marinades (and it’s fabulous on pork, too!)

Lemon Herb Chicken {or Pork}
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dried) basil, chopped
2 tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dried) thyme, chopped
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or pork loin or chops)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Anatomy of a Salad {Frito Salad}

People, we need to talk salad.

We’re all seen those “Eat this, not that” postings that show salads (especially the restaurant varieties) with as many or more calories as a Big Mac but this can totally happen at home, too.  Why?  Because of all the toppings.

Now I love toppings as much as the next person, but it’s all about moderation.  Here’s my recipe for the perfect salad.

1.      Pick a bowl (I usually choose a standard cereal bowl, but sometimes I go larger)
2.    Fill the bowl nearly to the top with your lettuce of choice (my favorite is nutrient-rich spinach).  Don’t worry about there being room for toppings, the lettuce will squish down.
3.    Add protein (beans, beef, chicken, tofu, however you roll).  I like to stick with ¼ cup if it is a fattier protein, like beef.  But if I am using 2 forms of protein (beef and beans) or a leaner protein, I’ll add up to ½ cup
4.    Add additional vegetables.  Add as much as you want, but I usually stick with ¼ cup of each veggie so none of them overwhelm the salad.
5.     Now here’s the tricky part: fats.  You have to be selective with your fats.  When it comes to cheese and dressing, I try to do no more than 1 tablespoon of each (and really, there’s plenty of other flavors are play here, you don’t need that much fatty dressing).  And personally, I’d rather have more avocado (healthy fat) than dressing.  Adjust accordingly.
6.    Crunch.  In the salad below the crunch comes from corn chips, but typically this is croutons.  I’m a big time crouton lover – this is another reason I use less dressing.  Check the back of your croutons.  I can almost guarantee that ¼ cup (4tbsp) croutons has far less calories than 4 tbsp of dressing or cheese.

So there you have it!  The recipe for the perfect salad!  While you’re at it, try out the recipe with the Frito Salad below.  Make adjustments as you see fit, but try to keep the veggies high and the fats low!

Frito Salad
Adapted from The Meaning of Pie

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cucumber-Melon Refresher

Heat wave = loads of fantastic drink recipes.

This one is super similar to the Watermelon Margaritas, but kid-friendly (or not, your call).  Super awesome on a hot day and so so refreshing!

Cucumber-Melon Refresher
Adapted from TheKitchn

1 cup seedless watermelon, cut in chunks
½ cup cucumber, peeled & seeded
1 sprig mint, 6-8 leaves
½ cup lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite
1 oz tequila (optional)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Traditional Basil Pesto

It’s 30x30 time!

My basil plants are doing so amazingly well that I got to make my basil pesto (oh and it’s totally a good thing that I had basil growing in my yard, because pine nuts are crazy spendy!)

I made a lovely Poblano Pesto earlier this spring, but I’ve always wanted to give the traditional a try.  I am so happy I did!  It was fabulous, made a ton and I can’t wait to tell you how I served it!

Traditional Basil Pesto
Recipe from Simply Recipes

2 cups fresh basil, leaves only, packed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced, (1 heaping tsp)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beer Marinated Sirloin Steaks

Nearly every time we have guests at our house, someone brings a case of beer and ends up leaving the leftovers for the hosts.  This is very nice of our friends, except that we’re wine drinkers…not so huge on the beer.  So what to do with the left over beer?  Use it as a base for a steak marinade!

After marinating in the beer, these steaks were so amazingly flavorful and tender!  There are a lot of strong flavors in this marinade, but they blend together beautifully to make a very harmonious dish.

Recipe Notes:
*I used a dark Leinenkugel 1888 Bock in this recipe

Beer Marinated Sirloin Steaks
Adapted from Epicurious

¼ cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp black pepper
½ cup dark beer (see recipe notes)
1 ½-2 lbs sirloin steaks



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