Archive for February, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Cilantro Potato Salad

The first time I saw this recipe, I knew I had to put it on my to-make list. Well, it was on that list for some time and last weekend I finally decided to get my butt in gear and make it. I have never made potato salad before and was excited to make this recipe since it had a nice cilantro twist. I was a little unsure as to how long I was suppose to boil the potatoes for since it didn’t say in the original recipe….and since I was a potato salad virgin. With a call to my mom I found that 6-7 minutes would do the trick. This was so quick to make that I started and finished this potato salad all while talking to her……or maybe it took a long time to make and I just talk too much. :)

I served this potato salad with slow cooker barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches and the result was one delicious meal. I enjoyed the original recipe as stated below. However, my husband doesn’t like mustard so I’ll definitely omit it the next time I make this. Whether you include the mustard or not, it will make a great side dish to any meal.


Cilantro Potato Salad

1 lb. red potatoes, quartered
1/3 cup red onion, chopped finely
1/3 cup celery, chopped finely
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 – 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large saucepan, bring potatoes to a boil and cook until tender (around 6-7 minutes); drain and let sit until cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the onion,celery, garlic, mayo, mustard and lemon juice. Add in the potatoes and toss to coat. Gently mix in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chill, covered, for 1 hour before serving.

Adapted from: With a Cherry on Top


PostHeaderIcon Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken

I made this meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon using my crock pot. I absolutely love my crock pot – what an amazing invention! What else allows someone to throw raw chicken and a bunch of odds n’ ends in it that always results in a delicious meal (with super tender chicken)! I have a small crock pot, which I use constantly to make apple sauce and fun appetizers, and a large crock pot for dinners.

This is such an easy meal – just throw everything in the crock pot, let sit on low all day, shred chicken, serve on buns, and enjoy! I served this with cilantro potato salad and it complimented the sandwiches perfectly. My husband and I both really enjoyed these sandwiches and we will definitely have them again soon!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken


6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

1/2 cup italian salad dressing

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce


Place chicken in a slow cookier. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook 6 to 8 hours on low. Shred chicken 15 minutes before serving and place back in slow cooker. Serve on buns and enjoy!

Source: All Recipes


PostHeaderIcon Pasta & Bean Soup

I try to make vegetarian dinners at least twice a week. I made this delicious soup a few weeks ago, right after the huge blizzard that hit Chicago, and it was the perfect dinner to survive the brutal weather. I’ve always been a fan of bean & minestrone soups and this is the perfect combination of both! I love making this in the summer using fresh vegetables from the farmers market but this is wonderful in the winter as well. It just makes you dream of the warmer days to come……

This makes a perfect meal paired with a piece of bread or salad. I love eating soup with a nice crispy piece of bread (and a ton of butter).

Pasta & Bean Soup


1 cup uncooked small pasta
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded fresh spinach


Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick saucepan, saute the celery, carrots, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Stir in the water, tomatoes, broth, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Drain pasta; stir into vegetable mixture. Add the beans; heat through. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: Taste of Home


PostHeaderIcon Vanilla Bean Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day (weekend)!

I am constantly trying new vanilla cupcake/cake recipes. I think this is my favorite recipe yet. This one stands out from other recipes because it uses a vanilla bean and buttermilk instead of regular milk. Those two substitutions really make this cake stand out from others I have made. Vanilla beans can be quite expensive but buying them in bulk really helps your wallet, I usually buy them on Amazon. However, you can substitute vanilla paste for the vanilla bean with similar results (1 vanilla bean is equal to 1 tablespoon vanilla paste).

I frosted the cake using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (Wilton 2D tip). It didn’t take long at all to frost and I think the little extra effort it took was well worth it! The heart sprinkles can be found at any craft store.

Now go make this for your special Valentine!


Vanilla Bean Cake

Yield: 2 8” cake pans or approximately 30 cupcakes

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste)
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting


Preheat oven to 350. Butter and line two 8-inch pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Split and scrape the vanilla pod into the butter, discard pod (or reserve for another use). Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until the butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds.

Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the mixer speed. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Lift up the pan with the batter, and let it drop onto the counter top a couple of times to burst any air bubbles and allowing the batter to settle. Center the pans onto the lower third of the oven and let bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake is lightly brown on top and comes away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Let cool completely in the pans before removing the cakes and frosting.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride




PostHeaderIcon Green Bay Packer Sugar Cookies

I made these football and jersey sugar cookies for a Super Bowl party at my parents’ house. Since my entire family loves the Packers (and I love finding excuses to make sugar cookies) I had to make these for the Super Bowl. I have so many cookie cutters it was difficult to choose which ones to use. I finally decided on the jersey and football sugar cookies and I love how they turned out. I’m already looking forward to making more next season!

I do sell my decorated sugar cookies. If you’re interested in ordering you can contact me here.

Everyone really enjoyed the cookies, especially my niece and nephew! They ate so many that their chins turned green from the lettering. They are just the cutest kids! My niece, Lily, is 18 months old right now and she was saying “Go Go Go!” during the game! Her father, a HUGE Packer fan, was very proud to say the least! I could just go on and on about those two cuties. Can you tell I’m a proud Aunt? :)

Here’s a picture of them before the big game:


PostHeaderIcon Tomato Dill Soup

This is my favorite recipe for tomato soup. I have made several versions of tomato soup but nothing compares to this recipe. I tried one recipe where I roasted fresh tomatoes, which took a lot more time, and it didn’t taste half as good as this recipe. My husband and I both LOVE this tomato soup. When my husband suggests this for dinner I’m always happy to oblige since it takes no time at all to make.

The last time I made this soup I served it with egg salad sandwiches. I have also served it in homemade bread bowls – that was our favorite combination! I’ll have to make the bread bowls again so I can post the recipe. Whatever you pair this soup with, it’ll be delicious!

Tomato Dill Soup

1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or 3 cups of fresh tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried dill)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

In a large pot combine first 7 ingredients. Cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.