Friday, September 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

"Pork Chops to Live For"

Pork Chops, Smashed Potatoes and Bruschetta

The Good:  Put these succulent chops in the cooker early in the day and forget about it until dinner time!
The Bad: I would like a little more flavor kick but my guests still thought the flavor was perfect.
The Ugly:  Apparently a double batch does not fit in my cooker!

Suggestions Before Starting:
Make sure your slow cooker is big enough before starting! If not, you can cook any extras in a casserole dish in the oven at 400 for an hr.
Next time I would add a couple smashed garlic cloves.  I love garlic!
Make sure you remember to dip the edges of the chops into the flour, as well as, browning them. Don't wear dark colors while using flour! lol
Remember you only are browning the outsides.  This helps to seal in the moisture and give chops a nice color, not to actually cook it.
When placing ingredients into cooker, we started with a layer of soup mixture and did it in layers to make sure everything was evenly distributed.

Come back soon for the Bruschetta and Smashed Potato recipes!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mint Tea Punch

Mint? Lemon? Orange?  Refreshing overload?

The Good:  Mint Tea Punch is absolutely refreshing. Great on a hot summer day!
The Bad:  Good things come to those who WAIT! Unfortunately the tea blends together better by the 2nd day.  Hang in there it will be okay!
The Ugly: My mint plant looked beautiful before I took 12 sprigs off of it... now it looks kind of small.

Suggestions before starting:
If you would like a less sugary version feel free to use Stevia or honey instead of sugar and adjust the measurements to your liking.
For a more natural lemon flavor you can use lemon balm leaves. (Lemon balm has tons of health benefits: decreases depression, anxiety, indigestion...)
I started my mint and tea bags in a bowl to make it easier for mixing and for fetching out the tea bags.  Once we were ready to add the cool ingredients I switched to the pitcher.  As long as the bowl is easy to pour it works great!
The recipe does not specify what type of tea bags to use so we used some cheap black tea bags that we bought in bulk! (Thank you Neko Knit for pointing this detail out!)

Where in the World are the Wicked Chefs?

I wanted to apologize to our followers for our surprise hiatus.  Dave and I have been crazy busy but I know this is no excuse not to be cooking.  While we were gone: we've been moving, cleaning, buying antique furniture (love our dining room table and hutch, hiding in all our new photos!), Dave's working 60+ hrs a week, I'm working 1st, 2nd and 3rd shift... and the list goes on and on!  We have good news though!  We have recipes that will be uploaded soon and they're coming with a surprise new feature!  We miss being in the kitchen and especially miss your feedback.  Tonight we will have a delicious summary recipe for all of you and we can't wait to hear from you all (new feature will not be featured tonight sorry).  As always, we would not suggest it unless we love it ourselves.  O boy, I ramble... anyways we look forward to being back and can't wait to share some more delicious recipes with everyone.  Happy cooking!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oreo Truffles

Chocolate... need I say more?

The Good:  If you are a chocolate lover, these are for you!
The Bad: These are almost too chocolaty.

Suggestions before starting:
Use quality chocolate!  Cheaper chocolate is not good for dipping.
I wanted mint chocolate but it was not available so we added a bit of mint extract while melting the chocolate.
In order to evenly melt the chocolate it is common to use a double boiler.  Dave and I do not have a double boiler yet so we created our own... more ghettofied version by using 1 pot on the bottom with water and 1 on top with the chocolate.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thank you for your support

Thank you so much for everyone that voted for our Cavatini!  It was definitely a close contest.  I especially appreciate all my last minute facebook votes!  I am completely overwhelmed with all of the support we received.  It is definitely a surprise to see so many people supporting our blog.  Its a very nice reminder of why we started this blog.  I would love for everyone to stop by Big K, little a and try all of the recipes.  There really were some great options in the contest and K has a great blog that deserves all the credit for creating the contest.

Please stop by :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Running out of time to vote!

Voting Closes at 2 am on Thurs Morning!!!!

This would be our first contest  as Wicked Chefs :)
We truly appreciate your support.  We are absolutely overwhelmed with your responses.
If you were wanting to vote for our Cavatini, PLEASE DO!  There are only 2 days left to vote and we would appreciate your support :) Big K, little a Recipe contest

Heavenly Angel Food Cake with a Wicked Twist

Light and fluffy, fruity and oooo so tasty!
The Good:  You have to like scrumptious desserts to like this.
The Bad: I think it gradually flattened... we had to make it 2 days early.
The Ugly: Be very quiet! Loud noises will drop any cake!
Suggestions before starting:
My mother always told me to separate the yolk from the white by cracking the egg in 1/2 and gently passing it back and forth between the two halves.
Do not forget to continue onto the second step while it says wait 30 minutes.
If you do not have a sifter you can use a very small holed screen/strainer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Italian Cavatini Made It- Now We Need Your Votes!

If you liked this recipe, please vote at Concours d'Cusine !

Big K, Little a is having a recipe contest the rules are available on her site.  If you liked this recipe and want it to make it to the final round please vote for it!  Thank you for your support.  Even if you don't like Italian food please vote for someone at Big K, little a

Wicked Chefs attempt at Will Cook For Smile's She Crab Soup

Simple, delicious and great for a stormy day!

The Good:  Absolutely delicious!  This winner of our Soup Contest is completely deserving of the award.
The Bad:  Crab can be a bit expensive!
The Ugly: This recipe is not as good reheated... the crab gets chewy.

Suggestions before starting:
We used precooked snow crab legs; we just had to de-shell them.  King crab legs are supposed to be "better" but they cost $14 a lb here!
Don't miss the part where it says to saute the shrimp separately for 1-2 minutes.
When cooking with milks always be careful to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom.  You can use a plastic or rubber spatula or spoonula to protect your pan from scratches.
If you are sick... find someone to cook for you :)
Most importantly: Follow Will Cook for Smiles for more great recipes :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Soup For My Cold - The Champion!

Today's the day! And the winner is:

When you're sick, you need something warm and soothing to help make your day go a bit better. The natural choice is a bowl of hot soup. Not just any soup though, we needed to find something that was not only soothing and delicious, but easy to make and unique. Out of all the choices of ingredients, we never would have thought of seafood as a contender until we saw the recipe for this appetizing option!

After reviewing all the steps, I went out and bought everything we needed. It seemed like no time at all from the time I got home till the time it was ready to enjoy. Easy to prepare and smelling great, I saw a smile on Linds' face where before was cold-stricken misery.

So without further adieu, here is the winning recipe straight from Will Cook for Smiles!

She Crab Soup

This is one of my favorite soups. It originated in the South Carolina Lowcountry and Georgia coast. The "She-crab" soup got its name because traditionally a gravid female crabs were used for the she crab soup. Crab roe was the main ingredient of she-crab soup and it is what gave the soup orange tint. Today, any crab meat is used. I also added some shrimp, just to see if I like it, and yes I DID!

This is a very easy and quick soup. Makes for a delicious lunch or dinner!
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (or 1/4 cup dry sherry)
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs crab meat
  • 1 cup of small shrimp (optional)
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • salt/pepper to the taste 
1. Melt the butter in the pot in medium heat
2. Saute onions until transperent

3. Add the flour, stir well
4. Add the Worcestershire sauce (or the sherry). Thin with some milk if needed.
5. Add the crab meat and the shrimp. (Saute the shrimp separately for about a minute or two)

6. Pour in the milk and heavy cream slowly while whisking.

7. Bring to a low boil and turn back down to medium (be careful not to boil over)

8. Cook on medium for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their recipes to the contest, they all truly looked amazing and we had a tough time deciding! And also, stay tuned for tomorrow where we will post our detailed review of this awesome cold-fighting meal.

Wicked Chef #2-Dave

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Soup for my Cold

Cold, bronchitis, tonsilitis... who knows what it is?!?! We all know what it is like to be under the weather but few of us have GREAT soup recipes.  I caught a bug and just when I go to ask Dave to make me some soup I realize I need a recipe!!!! Aye carramba!

Ladies and gentlemen, I need your help!  Please link up great soup recipes.  On 5/17 Dave and I will choose a soup to make and feature it.  All you have to do is link it up!  By the way.... I am on strike until I get more energy and soup :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Nom nom nom...

The Good:  Incredible, versatile and scrumptious.
The Bad: It's really hard to make sushi without rolling mats.
The Ugly: It is difficult to find rolling mats in rural areas.

Suggestions before starting:
If you want to use the same roller multiple times, cover it in plastic wrap and remove when done.
The vinegar we use is rice vinegar but you can use any type of white vinegar.
Before pressing down the rice, it helps to dip your fingers in water so the rice does not stick to your fingers.
The ingredients listed here are for a version of Philadelphia rolls (without avocado). You can feel free to use whatever ingredients/seasonings you like!
We suggest peeling the cucumber.
If you use raw fish do your research well before preparing your sushi. There are certain techniques that you need to use to protect yourself!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mango, Peach, Strawberry Smoothies

 Healthy, smooth and fruity...

The Good:  This is definitely one of our healthiest recipes thus far.
The Bad: It turned out very frothy with our "smoothie" setting.
The Ugly:  The mango turned out a little bit... stringy.

Suggestions before starting:
Peel all fruit and remove pits before starting.
You can substitute the ice cream for yogurt.  I needed an excuse to get Dave to buy ice cream so we used that instead :)
We used Skim milk but you can use any type that you would like.
You can use canned or fresh fruit.  We used fresh strawberries and mangoes but canned peaches.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been awarded "Versatile Blogger Award" via The Real Housewife of Longleaf Ranch!  Thank you Cassie.  This is my first award as a blogger and I am honored to receive it from you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Family Favorite-Nachos

Tasty and simple to make, nachos you will love to make!

The Good:  These are absolutely delicious and easy to make.  Great for parties and for children who like to help in the kitchen!
The Bad: Its really hard to stop eating these so we always make massive amounts.
The Ugly:  These are terrible for dieters.

Suggestions before starting:
Please do not get frazzled because I do not give amounts to anything with this recipe.  This is another recipe where you do it how you like.
Any tortilla chips work but we like to use scoops because they are so much easier to eat.
I do not typically like olives but I do like green olives on these.
Chili powder is best fresh.  Make sure you get the spice not the mix.
Do not be afraid to add plenty of spice.  It is hard to overdo it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Honey Cookies In Memory of Annie

In our lives we come across a million different personalities.  Some are incredible enough we carry the memory of their presence forever.  Today I would like to honor an incredible woman, Anna M. Hufford.  Anna is the grandmother of Wicked Chef #2 (Dave) and one of the most distinguished and incredible people I have met.  On Sunday, April 17th, 2011 Annie lost her short battle to a brain tumor but quickly gained her wings.

The first time I ever met Annie she told me the story of her and her husband, Walt, making honey cookies.  As she told the story, I knew this is a family I want to be part of someday.  I wish to have similar passion as her and Walt share.  She told us how she had Walt mix her cookies the day before and how exhausting the project was.  I had never heard of honey cookies before so I pictured the older couple mixing typical cookies and sitting down for a rest afterward.  Little did I know they were a very vibrant couple and the cookies were very difficult to mix.  I had never heard of 2 day cookies before!  In the brief time I knew Annie, I saw my original impression was not entirely wrong, her and Walt were incredible together and recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.  Annie is truly loved by many; even her mere acquaintances were made to feel like close family.

Suggestions before starting:
Annie would make the cookies around Thanksgiving and hide them in the pressure cooker until Christmas.  Unfortunately, her kids were a little sneakier and she would only ever see half of the original cookies at Christmas.  The longer the cookies sit the softer they become.
Annie would usually use walnuts instead of almonds and currants are a necessity.
The dough is very thick due to the honey and is quite difficult to mix. When Walt was unavailable, Annie would recruit her grandchildren or strong neighbor kids to mix for her.

Honey Cookies courtesy of Anna M. Hufford

1 qt. honey
3 c brown sugar
1 lb raisins
1 lb currants
1/2 lb chopped almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 qt sour cream
4 tsp soda
flour, enough for soft dough

  1. Boil honey and brown sugar together for a few minutes and cool.
  2. Separately, mix the rest of the rest ingredients into a soft dough.
  3. Add honey/sugar mixture and mix well.  Let stand overnight in fridge.  Roll to 1/2 inch, cut and bake in oven at 350.

Lets toast to Annie!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Provolone Burgers

"So juicy and flavorful you don't even need condiments!"

The Good:  If you want to be known as the grill chef this is the recipe to do it with.
The Bad: The recipe calls for a large amount of meat.  Great for parties, not so practical for couples.
The Ugly: Ground beef is not the healthiest option.

Suggestions before starting:
We used the griddle instead of a grill set to 375. I absolutely love my griddle.
The original recipe says it makes 8 burgers but we made 11 last time we made this recipe.  Make them the size you prefer but remember to pat them down tight and flat so they will cook evenly.
It says to cover while cooking, you can cover it with a ceramic bowl or any type of dish that can stand high heats.  I usually do not cover it other than when putting the cheese on.  It is supposed to help cook it more evenly and trap the heat in.
If you are unsure if the burgers are done, do not hesitate to cut one down the middle.  I like mine a little pink but I know others do not.
As you can see we added some sauteed portobello mushrooms... they're perfect for all meals!

Healthier option: try all the same spices with turkey instead of ground beef.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Family Favorite- Apple Coffee Cake

Succulent, flavorful and perfect for any time of the day or night!

The Good: This is an absolutely delicious cake that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion.
The Bad: This cake never lasts long.
The Ugly: My coworker keeps threatening me because it took so long to post this.

Suggestions before starting:
As with all recipes I make, I set out the eggs so they will be luke warm when I am ready to make the cake.
Usually 2 apples are enough for this recipe.  We always use Granny Smith apples because they are perfect for baking.  Make sure to dice them fairly small.  My parents usually use a grater for the apples but I like them larger; however, if they are too large it will not bake properly.
The recipe calls for 1 cup of walnuts... I leave these out.  I do not like walnuts but my parents always add them.
Immediately after removing from the oven I cover the cake with a clean towel to keep in the moisture.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Family Favorite-Stuffed Peppers

Spicy or mild, creamy or crunchy... these are delicious!

The Good: These are incredible easy, great as an appetizer, carry-in dish or holiday hors d'oeuvre.
The Bad: If you decide to reheat these expect them to get gradually hotter.
The Ugly: Unfortunately the peppers do not come with a spicy thermometer so it can be guess work to know if they will be spicy or not.

Suggestions before starting:
If you are someone who does not like spicy foods, feel free to use another type of pepper or taste test your peppers before using the bunch.
The first time I had this recipe it was not spicy at all but the second time it had a bit of a kick.
Adjust the cream cheese and sausage to your taste.  I love cream cheese so I added more than Dave (Wicked Chef 2) would.
All of the quantities are approximations.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Family Favorite- Meatloaf twist

It seems every family has their own version of meatloaf.
This has always been one of my favorites but this time we improvised.

The Good: Simple, tasty and cheap, it is hard to go wrong with a good meatloaf.
The Bad: Every family has their own style of meatloaf so sometimes its hard to make one you know everyone will be familiar with.
The Ugly:  If you're looking to go on a diet, do not use ground beef!  There is a lot of fat released from the meat but if you are just looking for great tasting comfort food you are in for a treat!

Suggestions before starting:
Due to the oils released from the meat I always cover my pan with foil with a very light layer of cooking spray before starting so it is easier to clean.
The recipe below has saltines, onion and spices; however, if you followed the Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and had a lot of extra stuffing leftover, you can substitute most of the ingredients with the stuffing you had leftover.  The fresh spices are incredible but you can also use dried herbs. The bread crumbs just make the meat softer.  For a harder meatloaf use the saltines.
When making this, if you think the measurements do not look how you would like them to, change it.  Add anything you want and as much or little as you like.  That's the great thing about meatloaf, it can be made however you would like.  I have seen people add celery, peppers, salsa, raisins... you name it!
To mix/combine means use your hands in this recipe.  I always sit the ingredients out early so they will be at least luke warm.  Otherwise this can be painfully cold.  Dish soap is the best cleaner to cut the grease off your hands afterward.
I always mix the seasonings together before mixing in order to make sure they are evenly spread.  If using fresh spices make sure they are minced first.  If using dried, just use more than you would if fresh.
For a healthier option: do not be afraid to try Turkey meat.  It will just be a little dryer.  When using ground chuck we tend to get 80% lean.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Smothered Green Beans- Follow up Recipe!

Flavorful and succulent, these green beans perfectly compliment the Stuffed Pork Tenderloin,
as well as uses some of the extra ingredients!

The Good:  This is a simple recipe that goes perfect as a side dish (especially with the Stuffed Pork from yesterday!)
The Bad: The recipe says you may need a little extra water, we used at least 4x's the amount!
The Ugly: Watch your water level closely. If it gets too low your onions and garlic will burn.

Suggestions before starting:
Keep a large sum of water nearby and ready to add.
To render just means to melt the fat.
If you are not sure if the beans are done... well try one.  You are the best judge for what you like!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stuffed pork Tenderloin

Flavorful, hearty, juicy and tender... this dish is enough to make any one's mouth water.

Stuffed Pork, Smothered Green Beans & Sauteed Mushrooms

The Good: This recipe is absolutely delicious and the fresh herbs are to die for!
The Bad: There was so much stuffing left over when we followed the recipe.  Friday expect to see what we did with the extra filling.
The Ugly: Only 2 servings!  This is a lot of work for only 2 SERVINGS!

Suggestions before starting:
When making this we did not having any kitchen string so we used toothpicks instead.
This dish is extremely fragrant and will leave the smell in your clothes, purse and other items.  If this is something that bothers you, be sure to put those items in another room before starting.  Sage is a very fragrant spice when baked.
We made the green beans to go with the pork because I don't use bacon often and wanted to use it up.  Tomorrow expect to see the recipe for that and Friday watch for a recipe that uses the extra stuffing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank you a million!

I would like to thank everyone for their incredible support with this blog! I am so ecstatic to see so many new followers as well as continued followers.  After an absolutely crazy weekend at work (every pun intended), I am hoping to put up some new recipes this week.  The first will probably be posted on Tuesday rather than the usual Monday.  (I just worked 3rd followed by a double 2nd, 3rd surprise so please bare with me and any spelling/grammatical errors!)  I hope everyone has an incredible week and, as always, great food to eat :)

P.S. New followers from the blog hops... I will return your follows asap, probably later tonight or early tomorrow.  Thank you for your patience.  I can't wait to see your blogs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tomato Artichoke Chicken

Delicious... scrumptious... succulent...

The Good: This is definitely one of our new favorite recipes! Absolutely tasteful!
The Bad:  If you are someone who likes every recipe to measure out according to plan, it won't.
The Ugly: If you are also using a Casseround... it is incredible difficult to wash the cheese off.

Suggestions before starting:
Although this recipe says to stuff the chicken, we used some of the extra stuffing to layer the chicken almost like a lasagna.
I think it is crucial to use fresh spices to get the full flavor from this recipe.  Depending on the size of your cloves of garlic, you may want to add extra cloves.
When dishing out, we used a slotted spoon so it was not too juicy and served with pasta covered with the extra juice.
We had a large portion of the stuffing left over, we saved it to use as a marinara.  It could also be used for lasagna, meatloaf or stuffing any other type of meat.  It is very versatile and tasty.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Delicate, with a hint of chocolaty coffee, Tiramisu is an incredible Italian dessert.

The Good:  Although this is traditionally an Italian dish, it goes well after any meal.  Its refreshing and easy to make.
The Bad:  Sometimes it can be hard to find Mascarpone cheese and lady fingers.
The Ugly: This unfortunately is not a dish that you can eat immediately after preparing.  It has a long cooling period, including a one hour cooling period after step one.

Suggestions before starting:
The recipe calls for a 7x11 pan.  We used a 9 x 13 and it was still delicious.
If you are unable to find lady fingers I have found recipes that use vanilla wafers.  Please remember this will change the consistency because lady fingers are very delicate, whereas, vanilla wafers are heavier.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lemon Cookies

If only all things in life were as simple and delicious, I present to you Easy Lemon Cookies

The Good: Cheap, delicious and did I mention easy?  This is a great recipe if you have children that want to help in the kitchen.
The Bad: If you like just a subtle hint of lemon, this is not the recipe for you.
The Ugly: I once saw a 6'7 guy fight with a 5'5 girl over the last cookie. She won...

Suggestions before starting:
Whenever baking cookies and using the same cookie sheet, remember the batches after the first will not take as long b/c the pan will already be warm.
When I made the cookies I was worried about putting too much powdered sugar on them and ended up not getting the design that the original website has.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pierogi Casserole

The delicious potato dumplings now in an easy casserole form.

The Good:  Don't worry about counting how many Pierogies you're allowed to have, just 1 can be as much as you'd like! This recipe is delicious, easy to make and freezes well.
The Bad:  Some of the measurements are ambiguous. 5 potatoes could be any amount of potato!  I would suggest using large ones.
The Ugly:  This recipe is not intended for those who are lactose intolerant.

Suggestions before starting:
When we made this dish we had too many noodles.  Because it is a casserole feel free to add or subtract any ingredient that doesn't seem like the proper amount to you.
The first time we made this recipe we split it up into 3 8x8 pans.  We had to add at least 3 potatoes to make it fit properly.
If it seems like you are making mashed potatoes... you are!  Feel free to make them how you like them best.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

Creamy, delicious, simple and craved by many,
this peanut butter pie is sure to be the talk of any event!

The Good: This recipe is so easy and always a big hit!
The Bad: Everyone that has tried or seen pictures of this pie has begged for me to make them one.
The Ugly: This recipe is not good for people with peanut allergies.

Suggestions before starting:
I am not a chocolate person so I prefer to not use chocolate syrup on top.  In the picture above I melted sugar in a pan to make a crunchy caramel topping.  Although it tasted great it did not look as great a couple days later.
Another option that is not as chocolaty, Dave and I sprinkled cocoa powder on top and it looked fantastic and did not have a strong chocolate flavor!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Italian Cavatini-Family Favorite

Scrumptiously easy and easily scrumptious!

The Good: Delicious, easy to make for groups, low cost and freezes well.
The Bad: Unfortunately the sauce is not homemade.
The Ugly: If you are not good at multi-tasking it may be difficult for you to cook the sausage and the mushrooms at the same time.

Suggestions before starting:
Feel free to add or subtract ingredients to this recipe.  It is also great with onions and peppers.  Just remember if sauteing all the vegetables together be sure to cut them the same size so they saute evenly.
Our family traditionally uses Prego for the sauce.  My favorite is the Mushroom Prego.
It has become increasingly hard to find Tri-Noodles.  Any noodle will work but I still like to mix at least shells and rotini (50/50).
If it is too difficult to cook the sausage at the same time as the mushrooms, precook the mushrooms before even starting the water.
To save time warm the sauce up in the microwave before putting in casserole dish.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Parsley- The Herben Dictionary

A Wicked How-To for Parsley

If the idea of using fresh herbs blows your mind, don't worry you're not alone.  Whether it be Italian flat-leaf or curly parsley, this herb has many hidden talents!

Coloring Dishes

To Use:
Wash gently in a bowl of cold water to keep from destroying the leafs. Repeat.  Depending on the recipe you may use the leaves, just the stems or both.  If the recipe does not specify use your judgement for texture.  The stems tend to be a little more crisp but the leaves will color lighter colored dishes.

Italian Flat-Leaf vs. Curly
Italian flat-leaf tends to be less bitter and more fragrant than curly parsley.  Regardless of the type, be sure to buy parsley that is dark green, unwilted and looks crisp.  Italian flat-leaf works better for hot dishes than curly because it is more flavorful.  It should be added near the end of the cooking process to maintain its flavor.

Unless dried, be sure to keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.  Keep the parsley moist, especially if it appears it is beginning to wilt.  To do so, sprinkle with water and store.  Italian flat-leaf can be left out on the counter to dry in individual layers and later stored in an air tight container out of direct light.  Curly parsley is better saved by freezing.  Once it is frozen use while still frozen to maintain crispness.

Dried vs. Fresh:
Dried parsley quickly loses color and flavor so it is best to buy it in small amounts and only when needed.  It is important to check the color to make sure it is dark green and without yellow stalks mixed in.  Because it shelf life is limited dried you might as well just buy fresh to make sure you are getting a quality product.  However, if you insist on using dried the conversion is 1 tsp = 1Tbs.

Herben Facts:
Parsley is rich in anti-oxidants, folic acid, Vitamin A & C. Long story short, it helps fight cancer, repeated ear infections, colds, heart disease, Urinary Tract Infections, digestive disorders, bronchitis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
A third type of parsley and less commonly used, turnip-rooted, is harvested for its roots.
The Ancient Greeks considered Parsley to be sacred and would use it to decorate tombs and praise victors.  Who needs a gold medal when there's all this parsley available?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits

The best part of Red Lobster is always the biscuits.  Who knew they'd be so easy to make!

The Good: This recipe is so simple!
The Bad: This version turned out just a little dry but it may be because we used Skim milk instead of whole.
The Ugly: People will get upset if you eat the last one before them!

Suggestions before starting:
Do not forget to set out milk before starting recipe.  Typically I would suggest setting out the butter as well but this recipe calls for cold butter.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Salted Peanut Chews-Family Favorite

Chewy, crunchy, sweet and Ooooo so tasty!

The Good: This recipe is great for carry-ins, parties or whatever occasion!  Also, I am not a fan of salty foods and I love this dessert.  It does not taste salty at all.
The Bad: The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix plus but it no longer exists... I've found the newer version (super, I believe) is harder to get to set right.
The Ugly: Since bringing this dish into work I have had coworkers threatening to do terrible things to me if I do not give them the recipe.

Suggestions before starting:
It is important to make sure the butter is completely softened before mixing.  Otherwise it is increasingly difficult to mix the cake batter.
Although the recipe says the base will be crumbly, it needs to be moist enough to hold the base ingredients together.  Egg size can be an issue for this step.  If you use too small of an egg it will just fall apart.  It is almost better to have too much egg than not enough.  One extra-large egg would be best for the recipe but using two small and gradually mixing it in will do just as well.
If you are someone who like to jump ahead on a recipe, DON'T! Timing is everything for this recipe, follow the order the recipe gives you and the timeline it gives you.
Easy cutting tip: Use a knife to run around the inside edge of the pan. Then take a large cutting board and sit it on top of 13 x 9 pan and flip until it breaks free from dish.  If you have a second cutting board you can flip it again and cut the bars while they are free from the pan.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chai Tea

This delectable drink will have you begging for more cool evenings.

Photography and kitchen assistance by Lauren Farello

The Good: Finally! A positive to those frigid winter nights and this recipe makes plenty to share.
The Bad: There are so many spices in this recipe and some of them are not very common.
The Ugly: Cardmom runs approximately $10-$13 dollars per small container!

Suggestions before starting:
The measurements do not need to be overly precise.  If there is a particular ingredient you like a lot, you can add a little bit more.  This recipe is not rocket science and can be altered to your liking easily.
This recipe makes for a great gift!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pumpkin Dutch Apple Pie

A common holiday favorite with a not-so-common twist!

The Good: If you are tired of the same old pumpkin pie, this is a delicious twist that is easy and quick to prepare.
The Bad: Although it is quick to prepare, this is not good for time constraints because it has to bake for 50 minutes.
The Ugly:  Typical pumpkin pies will turn green with envy when this is the new holiday favorite!

Suggestions before starting:
Be careful not to cut the apples too early in advance because they will begin to brown up.  If it is necessary, cover with the lemon juice the recipe calls for to keep from browning.
Set ingredients from the fridge on the counter before starting the recipe so they will be approximately room temperature when you make the recipe.  This will help the ingredients mix more easily.
If you are like me, you do not like nuts in your pies. Do not worry, just leave them out!  This is true for most pie recipes (with the exception of pecan pie).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Potato Casserole- Family Favorite

Another devine family favorite
A dish that is craved at all family gatherings and is always the first to run out

This is an 8x8, the recipe makes 9x13

The Good:  This recipe is simple, delicious and great for children wanting to help in the kitchen.  It is another recipe you can make ahead of time and freeze if needed.
The Bad: You shouldn't eat it the second it comes out of the oven... it will burn you.
The Ugly: I'm serious, let it cool down first or it will burn you!

Suggestions before starting:
My mother always leaves the butter out of the mixture but puts butter with extra corn flakes to spread on top.
Don't forget to buy cornflakes and account for the butter in the topping.
An interesting twist, make with french fried onions on top instead of the cornflakes.
My sister has used the frozen hashbrowns with peppers and veggies already in it and it was incredible!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hamburger Balls

These unusual ingredients make for a surprisingly delicious party favorite appetizer or meal!

The actual recipe makes 3x's this amount

The Good: This dish has been a favorite recipe in our cooking group and it freezes wonderfully.  Also, it is easy to prepare ahead of time.
The Bad: The recipe calls for 4-5 lbs of hamburger so it can be difficult to minimize the recipe.
The Ugly: It takes 2 hrs to bake these once they are prepared.

Suggestions before starting:
If you don't have any bread, saltine crackers work just as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lattice Chicken Potpie

If you love Chicken Potpies but are intimidated by most recipes, this is the recipe for you.  Almost embarrassingly easy, delicious and cheap, this is practically a perfect recipe. 

The Good:  The 3 things I love most in a recipe: delicious, easy and cheap!
The Bad: Unfortunately it doesn't make an ever-lasting amount.
The Ugly:  Although it makes plenty for guests to join, you may quickly become asocial in fear they will eat the rest of your potpie.

Suggestions before preparing:
We simply eye-balled salt and pepper for seasoning.
If you are the type to prepare meals ahead of time, this recipe also works well frozen. Just remember to refrigerate the crescent rolls until ready to cook to make it taste fresh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Behind the Blog

If you are familiar with Dave and I, you know things don't always go according to plan.  We are wired differently than most people and each other most days.  Add our clumsiness and we have a potential disaster at every corner so we thought cooking together was the way to go :)  If you're in the mood for a silly story, please join us for Behind the Blogs.

Tuscan Chicken Catastrophe
One bitter winters day, Dave and I returned home after a long trialing day of dreaded Christmas shopping.  My nerves had been tried by every makeup artist in the mall attacking me trying to sell me "the best makeup product ever created" and I decided to take a warm shower to relax, remove the makeup they put up and down my arms and so I would not take my frustrations out on the innocent and loving Dave. While in the shower, I suddenly began a very agitated cough and thought to myself, "Great! Getting sick is just what I need to cheer my spirits."  Little did I know Dave decided to surprise me by starting our cooking project while I was attempting to release my tension.

As I finish my shower and walk out into the apartment, I am overtaken with smoke.  Swimming through the sea of smoke, I turn the corner into the kitchen to find Dave flipping the chicken breast that has now become unrecognizably blackened.  Shocked I asked him what he was doing. His response, "Cooking the chicken."  Flabbergasted I say, "Its black! Why are you cooking the chicken that is already black?!?!"  Dave's saddened face simply says, "It's not done on the inside."

At this point I was trying desperately to remember that Dave is new to cooking and he probably did not understand that you need to turn the heat down when the inside of something isn't cooking fast enough.  As an engineer it makes sense to turn the heat up if something isn't hot enough but it was hopeless, my temper had the best of me.  Trying to hide my fury, I asked Dave to go to the store and get more chicken and the other items we needed for the week and he quickly scrambled out the door to try to amend the situation.

A long while later Dave returns home bearing only one item... Vaseline.  Sleep deprived and enraged I ask about the chicken.  I could see his heart break as he asked, "What chicken?" Instead of explaining that I had asked him specifically to pick up chicken so we could eat dinner I simply asked what we were supposed to eat.  His reply hit me like a bag of potatoes, "The chicken I cooked."  Confused tired and angry I ask, "Why on earth would we eat the blackened and now chilled chicken."  The puzzled Dave simply replied, "Its not cold, I put it in the oven at 350 before I left."  Hopeless at this point (2 am), I collapsed to the floor and said I was retiring for the evening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuscan Chicken

This flavorful chicken in a creamy Tuscan sauce with cherry tomatoes can be a delectable surprise.  While white meats are typically served with a white wine, we chose a smooth Malbec to compliment the thickness of the sauce with a nice full flavor.

The Good:  After trouble-shooting this recipe it turned out to be a pretty tasty dish!
The Bad:  Unless you live to eat tomatoes, there is an excess of tomatoes in the original recipe.
The Ugly:  The original recipe said to cook each side of the chicken for 7 minutes... that was the worst blackened chicken I've ever seen.  Keep an eye out for my Behind the Blog for a juicy story.

Suggestions before starting:
Unless you are a huge tomato enthusiast I would cut back on the amount of tomatoes.  While they add a nice flavor, they can become overbearing especially if you're not a huge tomato fan.
Understand that while starting the chicken in the skillet, you're only goal is to brown the outside.  The inside will still be pink and will finish in the oven.
Remember to constantly stir the sauce so it does not burn in the skillet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Puppy Chow - Family Favorite

A dish you won't be willing to share with your dog!

As long as I can remember my mother has made this wicked recipe and allowed my sisters and I to help her in the kitchen.  This peanut butter treat is absolutely delicious and easy for the little ones to help with.

The Good:  This recipe is sinfully easy, cheap and everyone loves it!
The Bad:  This recipe can get messy but that's 1/2 the fun.
The Ugly: This recipe is not advised for people with peanut allergies.

Suggestions before starting:
The original recipe suggests using a grocery bag; however, with my severe case of germaphobia I would never consider it.  I use a 2 large Ziploc bags per recipe and split it up.  Once the recipe is finished I put it in a fresh bag or dish for appeal.
If you can't find 12 oz bags of peanut butter chips, don't fret! The closest you can come to 12 oz will be perfect.  This recipe does not need to be exact on any of the measurements.
I like to use a softer spatula/spoonula to mix the chex to keep from breaking too many.
The recipe has never specified an amount of powdered sugar... I've never used a whole bag.

The moment we've all been waiting for: The Recipe!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Garlic??? Yes Please!

A Wicked How-To for Garlic

If you are like many others, the idea of using fresh garlic entirely befuddles you.
Don't worry its not as difficult as it looks. Let's start at the beginning...

This is a bulb of garlic:

A bulb of garlic is made up of several cloves.  In order to get a clove you need to break through nature's protective layers and break the clove free.

Your next step is to remove the protective layers from the garlic clove.  I've found the best way of doing this is to use the flat end of a knife and press down on the clove of garlic. I like to use any knife with a decent amount of surface area.

Please excuse my 100 yr old knife.
Now it will be simple to remove the outside layer.  Your clove should be smooth and slightly shiny and now ready to use.

Most recipes call for minced garlic.  It simply means to cut very finely.

Troubleshooting for Garlic:
Sprouting: Unfortunately, garlic is harvested best in June or July but is wonderful year round, especially in those cold months.  When garlic sits around for too long it begins to sprout.  There are 2 ways to handle this 1) you can plant it or 2) you can work around it.  Some people choose to leave the sprouts in but it tends to make the garlic a bit more bitter than I like.  So to remove your sprouts, slice down the middle of your garlic the long ways and open it up.  Now all you have to do is pull it out and discard.  Your garlic should be just fine to use from here.
Stinky hands: Whenever you use any ingredient that makes your hands stink I whip out the fresh lemon.  If you don't have access to fresh lemon, lemon juice or citrus juice is the next best thing.  Rinse your hands with the juices, let it sit for a couple seconds and rinse.

Fragrant Facts:
Garlic is freshest typically in June or July but is available all year round.
Garlic is part of the onion family.
Garlic's actual name is Allium sativum.
The leaves and flower of the plant are also edible just less pungent and not often used.
Garlic has been used for centuries medicinally.
Garlic is a tasty way to keep your vampire friends away.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do you like what you see?

If you like what you see so far please follow us.  Its simple, easy and will help keep us motivated to post.  If you follow you will see more recipes, cooking tips, featured ingredients and cooking terms and eventually wine pairings and cost for each recipe.

Please feel free to leave us feedback.  We can't improve without knowing what you guys would like to see, read and taste :)  If you have a recipe that you'd like us to review, let us know!

How to follow:
Click on the link that says "Follow" on the left hand side below "A SPECIAL THANKS TO YOU".
Click on the type of account you already have (Google, yahoo, twitter...)
Then choose if you'd like to follow anonymously or publicly.
You're done!  Thank you for follow us :)

Cabbage Rolls

This typical European and Western Asian dish is absolutely delicious when prepared properly.  Typically filled with onions, rice and meat, it can be a simple and delectable meal best for large groups.

This particular recipe used hamburger for the meat and a tomato sauce that turned out almost tangy.

The Good: The recipe is easy to make for large groups.
The Bad: Parts of the recipe can be fairly ambiguous, especially for those new to cooking with cabbage.
The Ugly: This recipe does not save well.  The cabbage tends to get stringy when reheated.