Friday, August 29, 2008

Basic Fried Rice

Well it's back to blogging! I have been away on vacation and it feels like forever since I have posted a recipe. We all went to Chincoteague Island which is located on the far eastern shore of Virginia. It is the kind of place to go to get away from it all. Not a vacation area that teens would enjoy. More for younger families and people who enjoy a natural beach setting versus a commercialized one. They do have several great restaurants and mini golf for the kids, but the main attraction is the beach. I don't know how many of you are familiar with this area but this is the island where ponies run free and they "make the swim" across the far end of the island to the main island and are auctioned off every July. Evidently they have to auction some of them off to keep the area from overpopulating. No, I don't like the fact of auctioning off these beautiful animals and could not EVER watch that, but I was assured that they are given the very best homes and anyone interested in one is thoroughly screened.

While we were on the island we also visited several of their gift shops. I came across a very neat cookbook that certainly caught my interest. It is called "1 Batter, 50 Cakes." I don't know if any of you are familiar with this book but it is very interesting. The same basic batter is used for a variety of cakes and only the flavorings, spices, etc are altered. And of course the type of pan used. I can't wait to try some of these cakes. It should be fun and I will definitely post the ones I make.

In the meantime, here is a very good fried rice recipe that I found on This one caught my interest since it uses a quarter cup of oyster sauce which really perks up the flavors of the rice. Hope you enjoy!!! (It's also super simple to make!).

You'll need 2 cups of cooked, cold rice (make sure rice is cold)

1/2 chopped onion

2 green onion ends

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup peas and carrots (defrosted)

1/4 cup oyster sauce

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

canola oil

Heat 1 tbs canola oil in large frying pan. Add beaten eggs and let cook until tops are dry. Remove to plate and cut up using two knives. Set aside. In same pan on medium high setting add another tablespoon of canola oil and chopped onion. Cook for 1 minute and then add cold rice. Cook rice for one minute and add oyster sauce and soy sauce which have been combined together in small bowl. Make sure rice is thoroughly coated with these sauces. Cook for approximately another minute. Now add peas and carrots, green onions and egg and cook for another minute or until all is heated through. This will make about 6 servings.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomato, Basil, Yogurt Tart

This is a delicious tomato tart that is different from most since it is made with yogurt. I found the recipe on and made a few changes but the basics remain the same. It is great for either lunch or dinner. This goes great with a salad and bread. One change that I did not make but would in the future is to not use store bought refrigerated pie crusts. I bought the type you can fit in your own tart pan but wouldn't do it again. I would use a thicker homemade crust. The store bought one just didn't do the tart justice. This is quite easy to make and very impressive.

3/4 cup plain low fat yogurt (I used 1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt and 2 tablespoons sour cream)

6 eggs

8 roma tomatoes, sliced in halves, seeded (any type tomato will do)

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil (I used purple basil)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (use your own recipe instead)

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Place crust into 9" tart pan or pie pan and trim of excess crust from edges, or crimp edges (flute); bake for 10 to 15 minutes until a very light golden brown.

In a large bowl combine the yogurt, sour cream, eggs, 1/4 cup basil, black pepper, salt and parmesan cheese. Beat well. Pour the mixture into the tart shell, top with tomato pieces and remaining basil and sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese and bake 20-30 minutes or until cooked (the tart should be firm to the touch). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Broccoli Casalinghi

This is a very simple but tasty recipe for broccoli that I discovered years ago in the cookbook Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito. It is easy to make and goes great as a side dish with almost any meal. I could eat this almost every night, it is that good!!!

1 bunch broccoli

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Trim off the thick woody stems from the broccoli and cut broccoli into 1 1/2 inch florets, separating the florets. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until the garlic begins to soften. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and stir to to coat with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover and cook until the broccoli is crisp tender, about 6 minutes. Add additional water if needed to keep the broccoli from burning. Transfer broccoli to a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and the cheese. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Orange Crush Pound Cake

Here's another soda cake to follow up on the recent 7 Up cake. This one uses Orange Crush soda. I had never heard of using Orange Crush in a cake but my husband found all these cakes on the net that use soda! It's on the sweet side and definitely tastes like pound cake with an orange twist. It also called for an icing but enough orange is enough......I don't know who wrote the recipe for the icing but I took one taste and decided right then and there that it was NOT going on the cake!!! I can tell you one thing - these cakes are great to take to a potluck, office party, etc. They will become a conversation piece and everyone will be amazed that the cake actually contains soda! I have made a Coca Cola cake in the past and it is excellent. I will probably make that again sometime in the near future and post it. In the meantime hope you all enjoy the Orange Crush cake!!!!!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 cup Orange Crush or other carbonated orange drink
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powder sugar, optional, for dusting

Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan. Cream butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a second bowl, sift flour and salt together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, alternately with orange drink. Add flavorings. Pour batter into tube or bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes (mine took 1 1/2 hours) or until cake is golden brown.

Cool cake in pan about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cake cool down completely on wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chicken Tenders

This is about as simple as cooking can get and that is why I am posting it. I've found myself at times not knowing what to cook for dinner so I search the net for ideas. Sometimes the simplest thing is the most appealing, especially after a long day at work or whenever you just want something easy but tasty. These tenders are just that. Kids love them and they make great leftovers. What I've done with what is leftover is have them the next day on a sandwich of toasted bread, a thin layer of ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato. Very tasty and simple!

About 3 large, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 cup plain breadcrunbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (mix with bread crumbs, if desired)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice chicken breasts lengthwise into 1 inch wide strips (can be larger if you prefer)
Dredge chicken strips in flour
Dip in egg (beaten, with a little water added)
Coat with breadcrumbs
Repeat (the coating is great when you repeat this....)

Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chicken tenders for several minutes on each side until nicely browned. Add more oil if needed. Place on plate with paper towel when done to absorb any extra oil.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mom's Zucchini Bread

I came across this recipe on and it had gotten over 1,ooo reviews with 5 out of 5 stars. When I read that I HAD to try it. Let me tell you - it is good. At first I had my doubts. It really didn't look all that spectacular when I took it out of the oven and I couldn't get over how dark it was. I had never baked a zucchini bread this dark. Most of them were yellow and you could see the little green flecks of zucchini pretty well. While you can see the zucchini in this bread also, it is overwhelmly more of a cinnamon-zucchini bread. So if you like cinnamon then this is the bread for you. It is a great breakfast bread or afternoon coffee bread. Basically, it is just a great bread and deserves the 5 stars reviewers gave it!!!!

I think I need to start cooking more food and watch out with the baking. I enjoy baking much more than cooking, but the waistline and thighs are where it all lands. It's just that when I see a recipe that sounds so good I HAVE to try baking it. I think you all know what I mean! Maybe I should just walk more.......

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. (I used 9 x 5; one loaf was a bit smaller.) Preheat over to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. (I let cool for 10 minutes). Remove bread from pan and completely cool.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Bars

It's another blueberry recipe here. I have SO MANY blueberries. I picked up a large container of them this weekend since they were on sale. Little did I know my husband picked up a large container also. So you can just imagine the amount I have! I was searching the net for a different blueberry cake when I came across this recipe from She originally found it at but made a few changes. It is really good and the bars are very easy to slice. She suggests refrigerating it and I will be doing that later and try it cold. I think it will be delicious that way too! The bar cookies I normally make are ones with chocolate chips or m&m's so this is a nice change (even if it is blueberries again!). I followed the recipe that smittenkitchen used and it's a good one.

1 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 cups of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
Bake in preheated over for 45 minutes (my oven took almost one hour), or until top is slightly brown.
Cool completely before cutting into squares.