Monday, November 8, 2010

Ina Garten's Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Krista Kooks Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I don’t know what it is about roasted potatoes, but I’ve always been so nervous to make them.  I know I know.  With all the stuff that I make, how could I possibly be scared of roasted potatoes?  It’s true!  I just always imagine them coming out of the oven completely charred on the edges.

Each Thanksgiving, my mother is famous for making these oven roasted potatoes that are to die for!  No literally, I think they are a recipe to kill you with all the oil and butter that is used.  I’m not knocking it, don’t get me wrong, because I serve myself some each and every year.  I do it happily.  I know how good they taste!  I wake up on Thanksgiving morning thinking about how I’ll be eating them in just a few short hours.  That said, I know my mother doesn’t love making something so unhealthy just the same as others don’t love eating something so unhealthy. 

After making these mustard roasted potatoes, I informed my mother that I had a way out of all that guilt!!!  These potatoes are FABULOUS!!!  Plus, I know how much easier they are than my mother’s oven roasted potatoes.  I know she’s always a fan of me making something easier Winking smile 

Thus, Kornegay Klan, if you are reading this, get ready for a new recipe for oven roasted potatoes this year.  That’s right; these babies are headed for annual Thanksgiving Day reunion.  What?  You said you weren’t coming?  Oh….these should make you RECONSIDER!!!

Source: Beantown Baker


2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes (halves or quarters for the small potatoes, several more cuts for the larger ones). Place potatoes into a large plastic bag with a zipper seal. Peel onion and cut in half. Slice crosswise to about 1/4 inch thickness to make half rounds and add to bag.

Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to bag; seal, and toss together. This can be prepped a few hours in advance and left in the plastic bag until ready to roast.

Line a sheet pan with foil and spread potatoes and onions onto pan. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour; until potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes occasionally to prevent sticking and for even browning.

Garnish with chopped parsley and more salt if needed and serve immediately.Krista Kooks Mustard Roasted Potatoes

October 2010 060

I enjoyed my potatoes with Bison steak!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crockpot Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Sept 2010 034

Gluten-Free Notes at the bottom of this post.

Guests are in town, you sweated and slaved over dinner last night, or you know you’ll sweat and slave over dinner tonight.  Maybe you’ll do so for both meals.  How on Earth will you provide them a decent breakfast, too?!  Easy…pull out the crockpot!

I’d previously tried another version of this recipe that Stephanie with Crockpot 365 suggested, but it was not my favorite at all.  It was good enough for the sous chef, but it was not for me.  Thus, he ate all of it.

This try, however, was certainly tasty!!!  I attribute most of the taste to the fabulous sausage that I purchased specifically for this recipe.  Jimmy Dean’s new All Natural Regular Pork Sausage is absolutely terrific!  It tastes like it came straight from a butcher.  I realize that sounds odd, but, what I mean is, it doesn’t taste like it’s made with other things than just meat and some seasonings.  When you compare the ingredients of this sausage with that of other sausage on the same shelf, above, and below, you’ll see exactly what I mean!  This stuff is amazing, and I buy it 3 at a time now Smile  I love love love the flavor!

Nonetheless, this breakfast dish is incredible because you can put these ingredients in the crockpot the night before, and, the night morning, you have a hashbrown, egg, cheese, sausage, onion, and bell pepper heavenly dish.  I imagine this would be GREAT for kids that have a big test one day; perfect “I have a big test today” breakfast Smile

Below is how I prepared this dish, but click here to see Stephanie’s original recipe.Sept 2010 036


30 oz package of plain frozen hash brown (shredded) potatoes
1 lb. already-been cooked and cooled sausage (see above note on the HIGHLY suggested
Jimmy Dean All Natural Regular Pork Sausage)

1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
12 eggs
1 cup skim or fat free milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

Use a  6 quart Crockpot for this full recipe.

Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the whole package of hash browns. Spread them out with your fingers, and break up any clumps.

In a mixing bowl, mix the dozen eggs with the milk, salt and pepper, cheese, cooked sausage (make sure it’s cooled down), and diced vegetables. Pour everything on top of the hash browns.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. This is done when the eggs are fully cooked and the edges start to brown a bit. If you want the cheese to brown and get a bit crispy on the sides, cook it longer.

Note that the edges of the dish in the crockpot did brown a bit.  Simply cut those portions off and do not serve them.  Nothing is wrong with the dish, it’s just the way the dish cooks.

Make it Gluten-Free!

  • Be sure that the sausage you use is gluten-free.  The suggested sausage above is a gluten-free selection.
  • Ensure that your hash browns do not have any additives with gluten.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

Sept 2010 032
Again, Pink Parsley comes through for me :)  As I mentioned before, she’s been making some fabulous recipes lately, and this was another tasty one, for sure.  The sous chef and I paired this one with the wonderful Mexican Corn Salad.

Sadly, my sous chef was volunteering for an opportunity at work that had him working nights, so I had to savor this by myself for the first time, and he had to partake in it alone the first time while I was at work :/  It was hard for the two of us to operate in the same house but not at the same time.  However, making yummy dishes definitely made it not seem SO BAD since we weren’t resorting to eating out every meal just because we were alone.

All that to say that good, home-cooked, healthy food really can warm the soul…and doesn’t have to make you fat ;)

Source: Pink Parsley adapted from Elly Says Opa! originally from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday

2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
1 medium onion, large dice
1-2 jalapenos, diced
1 cup rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions, (OR 1/3 cup cilantro) OR a mixture of both (which is what I did)
1/2 to 1 cup salsa, for serving
lime wedges and sour cream, for serving (optional)


Season chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of chile powder. Preheat a large skillet with oil until shimmering. Brown chicken on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and place on a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible. (As with other chicken recipes, Krista Kooks cooked this chicken in the crockpot with the oil, salt, pepper and chile powder.)

Sautee onion, rice, and jalapeno until the rice is toasted and is no longer translucent and turns opaque. Add the remaining chili powder, the garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook 1 minute, then stir in the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken and the black beans to the pot, stir, re-cover, and cook an additional 10-12 minutes.

Taste a grain of rice. If it is slightly chalky in the center, remove the pot from heat, stir in the green onion and cilantro, and let sit, covered, 5 additional minutes. If it is not cooked through, re-cover the pot, and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until done.

Fluff rice with a fork, and serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mexican Corn Salad

Sept 2010 031
Put down what you’re eating.  Put down the phone.  Stop whatever you’re doing.  You have to to start imaging how this will taste!  It’s amazing!!!  There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be making this again.  It’s so full of flavor!  You don’t need much of it at one time as it’s pretty rich, but that doesn’t mean that it’s in any way bad tasting.

The recipe that Pink Parsley shared specifies using mayonnaise or Greek yogurt.  I’m not a big yogurt fan, so I used mayonnaise (gluten-free mayo to be exact).  Additionally, I skipped the ears of corn and went straight for the frozen corn; I don’t feel like we missed out on flavor at all.

I would feel sad for your grocery list this week if the ingredients for this recipe weren’t on it.Sept 2010 030

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon minced red onion
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
6-8 ears of corn, husked
vegetable oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (Use gluten-free mayo to keep a gluten-free recipe)
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
4 ounces cojita, ricotta salata, feta, or queso blanco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
kosher salt and ground black pepper
hot sauce


Prepare grill, and brush the corn with oil.

Combine the garlic, onion, and lime juice in a medium bowl and toss to coat.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Whisk the mayonnaise (or yogurt) and chile powder into the onion mixture.  Set aside.

Grill the corn 10 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes, until lightly charred and tender.  Allow to cool slightly, then cut the kernels off the cobs and add to the dressing.  Toss with the cheese and cilantro, mixing well to coat with the dressing.  Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. 

Serve with additional hot sauce if desired.
Sept 2010 029

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crockpot Roast Beef with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Sept 2010 025
I’ve prepared one other crockpot/slow cooker beef recipe to share with you on Krista Kooks in the past. I haven’t really ever tried another recipe as the previous one was so delicious!  I’ve made it a couple of times since that first post. 

That being said, I wanted to bring you a gluten-free crockpot beef recipe.  Jen (Beantown Baker) did a guest post on the Novice Chef with this terrific Roast Beef!  As Jen mentions, this is an amazingly easy recipe to throw into the crockpot.  I agree with Jen that more tomatoes should be added to this recipe.  I’m constantly looking for recipes that use up some leftover wine, as well.


1 beef roast (about 4lbs)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup red wine
12 button mushrooms
6 large cherry tomatoes (Krista Kooks suggests using more)
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried thyme


Place meat in slow cooker (trim or remove any extra fat off the meat). Add mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Add wine and chicken stock. Toss in the dried thyme. Cover and set on to LOW. Cook for at least 8 hours. Remove meat and vegetables and transfer sauce to pan. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce. Add 1 tbsp. cornstarch to 2 tbsp. Cold Water and mix in a bowl. Add mixture to sauce pan. Bring to a boil and let thicken. Carve meat , drizzle with sauce.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

Gluten-Free notes at the bottom of this post.Sept 2010 023 I have to say that Pink Parsley has had some fabulous posts lately.  So many of my bookmarked favorites are from her blog!  Thanks for the inspiration Pink Parsley!

I’m sad to say that my cousin can’t partake in this dish due to the pine nuts, but, as long as you can eat everything in this recipe, you totally should!  I and the sous chef both agree that this dish is great and even more fabulous as leftovers. 

On a side note, however, I busted my Magic Bullet in the process of making this dish :(  I’m on the hunt for a repair part.  Sad day!

Source: Pink Parsley adapted from Bon Appetit


4 bacon slices, preferably applewood-smoked
4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 4-6 ears
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh pasta (I used gluten-free pasta)
3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used a mixture of basil, parsley, and chives)


Cut each bacon slice in half length-wise, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.  Cook in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of the fat.

Add the corn, garlic, salt and pepper to the skillet, and saute until the corn is just tender, but not brown, 3-5 minutes.  Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the corn to a small bowl and reserve.  Transfer the rest to a food processor, and add the pine nuts and 1/2 cup of Parmesan.  With the machine running, slowly stream the oil through the feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth.  Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just tender, but still firm to the bite (not quite as done as you would want it).  Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta.  Return pasta to the pot and add the pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup fresh herbs. 

Toss well and add pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with additional herbs, cheese, and reserved bacon. Sept 2010 020
Make it Gluten-Free!
-Make sure to use Gluten-Free pasta.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins

Sept 2010 019
While I’ve never personally made banana ANYTHING, I have tasted many banana breads and muffins in my time.  That said, not a single one of them compares to this fabulous recipe; this is by far the best recipe I’ve EVER tasted!!!  It’s great that it’s gluten free, too ;)

I thought that it would be best for me to freeze all but the few mini muffins I made.  Well, that didn’t really do me any good.  I didn’t need to freeze them.  I still consumed them all within one week.  Ooops :/

Moral of the story: MAKE THESE MUFFINS! :)


2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 cups extra finely ground brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour), 1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour. It is very important that you use an extra finely ground brown rice flour, (and not just any grind) or the muffins will be gritty and heavy.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packed cup very ripe chopped banana  (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (or rice milk)
1/2 cup canola oil
Granulated sugar for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray (or three 5 x 3 -inch loaf pans).

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat evenly.

Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to banana mixture and stir until just blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 18–25 minutes until golden brown (35–44 minutes for loaf pans). Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comfort Turkey Meatloaf

Glutne-Free notes at the bottom of this post.Krista Kooks Bethenny Frankel Turkey Meatloaf I’ve previously mentioned that I’m excited to try more of Bethenny Frankel Hoppe’s recipes after reading her book.  We tried her Comfort Turkey Meatloaf recently, and it was absolutely fabulous.  This was the best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten!  Bethenny describes this as a meatloaf that makes you feel at home, and I definitely agree; makes you feel at home without making you feel guilty.

I will say that, if you are making this for 2 or 3 people, I would half the recipe.  Add this to your meal plan this week or next; it’s so amazing!


2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic plus 1 tsp
1 tsp of each, chopped: thyme, rosemary
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 egg whites
1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ C ketchup
2 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ C soy milk or lowfat milk
2/3 C whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 lb. ground turkey meat
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
½ C canned tomatoes, crushed or chopped
Chopped parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil and add onions, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened or caramelized (about 5 minutes).  Add 2 teaspoons garlic and the herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Cool the vegetable mixture and add the eggs, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and milk.  Mix until combined. Add breadcrumbs, ground meat, salt and pepper, and mix only until incorporated.

Transfer to loaf pan and form.  Pour tomato mixture over the top and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh parsley.

Note: Meatloaf is better when made a day before and reheated.
Make it Gluten-Free!
-Use corn tortilla crumbs or proper gluten free bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffin

Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffin Krista Kooks
Gluten-Free notes at the bottom of this post.

I bookmarked this recipe way back in January, but I had yet to get around to making it.  Well, I finally did, and these were fabulous!!!  My bosses both loved them, and, of course, the sous chef did, too :)  These would be a GREAT side to your tomato pasta dish.


2 (8 1/2-ounce) packages corn muffin mix
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (from an 8-ounce jar)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 muffin tins.

In a large bowl combine the muffin mix, corn, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the muffin mix. Stir to combine. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins, filling up the cups about halfway. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffin Krista Kooks 3

Make it Gluten-Free!
-Use this mix for the corn muffin mix.
-Make sure to use Daisy brand sour cream to ensure a gluten-free sour cream.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries Krista Kooks

If it’s possible for you to believe, I had never eaten sweet potatoes until August 1st.  What’s harder for me to believe is that I’d never eaten the fabulous potato created by a Texas A&M professor! :)  Nonetheless, so far I at least know I like them in baked french fry form.  I have yet to try them any other way.

The following day, I  decided to make some at home to go alongside our Mexican Turkey Burgers.  This recipe was perfect!  I should say that I should have sliced these potatoes into a smaller fry; I think they would have cooked better.


1 lb peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1/4" match-sticks
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
1/8 tsp black pepper
*you want 1 lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.


In a small bowl combine cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, parsley, and pepper.

Place sweet potatoes in a pile directly on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Use hands to toss until all pieces are well coated. Sprinkle seasoning mixture on top and toss again with hands to coat.

Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer so that pieces are not touching each other. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Use a metal spatula to gently flip fries and then return pan to oven. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until fries are starting to lightly brown and crisp. Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately.Baked Sweet Potato Fries Krista Kooks 2

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mexican Turkey Burger

Mexican Turkey Burger Krista Kooks 2 The sous chef and I are VERY excited to share this recipe!  We both were so surprised by the flavor and tastiness of this recipe.

I’ve recently started reading Bethenny Frankel’s Naturally Thin in order to possibly change my whole way of thinking on how I nourish my body.  I took a browse on her website and found this recipe.  We were so impressed with the flavor of this turkey burger, and my new bosses :) thought it looked super yummy the next day when I brought in my leftovers for lunch.  The sous chef and I were discussing, post-dinner, about how we didn’t even realize that we were eating turkey as we ate this dinner.

We also dressed this burger with wheat buns, mango pico de gallo, and romaine lettuce.  No sauces or cheese involved.

I seriously SERIOUSLY think  you need to add this to your meal plans this week or next.  You won’t be disappointed.


1 lb. ground turkey meat (white if ultra lowfat, dark for more flavor, a mixture for a combination of elements)
¼ red pepper, chopped
¼ yellow pepper, chopped small (if you only have one color, that is fine)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
Dash of tobasco
Dash of Worcestershire Salt and pepper


Combine and broil until cooked and center isn't pink at all.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies Krista Kooks 3 According to the brand new parents, Carissa and Nick, these are some pretty amazing cookies :)  The sous chef and I went with some other friends to celebrate and congratulate C&N on the arrival on their new twin girls, and I brought these delicious cookies with us.  I trust C&N’s taste as C is a pretty good cook/baker herself.   Not to mention, the sous chef loved these himself.  I, too, have to admit that these rank right up there with another one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes.

I was also pretty excited to share in making the first post for The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  I think she does a fabulous job with her blog, and I was shocked that I migrated all the way to her first post!  It was pretty exciting to do this as I don’t think I’ve done this with any other blog that I follow.

Nonetheless, make a trip to grab some cream cheese and pop these babies in the oven!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.  Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugars until creamy; add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by 1-inch spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake until brown around edges and center is set.  Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies Krista Kooks
Also!  Credit goes to the sous chef for photography on this post ;)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 3 Krista Kooks

While shopping through Sam’s Club the other day, the sous chef and I came across La Madeline’s salad dressings.  Yep, they sell the Caesar and Balsamic in bottles there.  Well, my sous chef began to salivate a little, and I assured him that I could make fresher and healthier salad dressings/vinaigrette at home from scratch as I have in the past.

Thus, a few nights ago, I tried another new one!  After this salad was served, it didn’t take long for the sous chef to finish and plead for another salad.  Haha!  He asks, “Did you take a picture already?” Chomp chomp chomp. “Because you HAVE to blog about this one!  It’s soooooo good!”  So there ya have it.  It’s a winner salad dressing!  Yes, and I liked it too :)



1 cup packed cilantro

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of minced garlic


Puree cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 2 Krista KooksI use the Magic Bullet to puree our dressing :)  You can half this recipe if this is just serving 2 people.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shrimp, Peas and Rice

Shrimp, Peas and Rice Krista Kooks

When I saw the title of this recipe, I was highly unsure of why this dish would yummy to eat.  It’s not that any of 3 taste bad, but I wasn’t sure why they would all be together in one dish.

Well, I’m officially wrong because this was the best thing we have eaten in a while that was extremely easy to make!  What we loved about it even more was that it makes a great 'take-to-work’ dish for lunches.  Make this for your family tonight, and I promise you’ll be asking why you didn’t double the recipe for leftovers.  Best part is, it’s rather healthy!

Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

2 cups fat free chicken broth

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon light butter spread (I used Smart Balance light)

2 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tbsp chopped parsley

salt and fresh pepper


In a medium size heavy pan melt butter spread. Add rice and saute about a minute. Add chicken broth and peas and bring to a boil. When all liquid is absorbed reduce heat to low and cover. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, until rice is cooked through.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to hot pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet and add rice. Add grated cheese, shrimp, and parsley and saute another minute, mixing well.

Shrimp, Peas and Rice Krista Kooks 3

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crab Quesadillas

Crab Quesadillas 2
I think I warned you previously that I had lots of seafood recipes ready to provide you :)  I wasn’t lying!  I found this recipe on, although it is an recipe. 

I’ve also discussed before that it’s wise to check the reviews on recipes before making it, and I failed to follow my own advice this time.  Had I done so, I would have read people warning against using the orange zest and orange juice in the quesadillas.  For me, that is the flavor that ruined it.  That said, the sous chef LOVED it!  Hence the reason I’m posting this recipe.  I mentioned previously in my Orange Chicken post about how the orange flavor was much more received by the sous chef than I; the same situation applied here.  Thus, if you think you are ok with things being orangy, leave it in.  If not, take it out, and I think you’ll be just fine.

The recipe below is adapted to accommodate leaving out the orange flavor, if you desire.


1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (optional)
1 tablespoon orange juice (optional)
8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat, drained if necessary
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided


Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest (if using) and juice (if using) in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Crab Quesadillas 4

Friday, July 23, 2010

Corn Salsa with Lime

Corn Lime Salsa
So this corn salsa from Gina is much like the Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango salad I made previously.  Obviously there are some added ingredients in the later, but the prep is much the same.  This particular corn salsa is like that of Chipotle’s corn salsa.  Sadly I must say that I wish I had made Chipotle’s recipe.  This recipe isn’t bad by any means.  It’s still tasty.  We actually ate it as a side along the crab cakes.  Later that week, I also used some of the leftovers of this corn salsa on top of some baked tilapia.  It’s just my recommendation, however, that you select the Roasted Corn recipe above or the Chipotle recipe above.

The recipe also calls to make 6 cups, which I could never have consumed in our household, so our recipe below is halved.

Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3

2 cups (10 oz) cooked sweet yellow corn, cut
1 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 scallion, diced
1 jalapeño, diced (remove seeds unless you like it really spicy)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
3/4 limes, juice of
chipotle chili powder, to taste
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for about an hour. Makes about 3 cups.Corn Lime Salsa 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baked Lump Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Chipotle Lime Sauce

Crabcakes Krista Kooks 5 Yuuuuuuum!  I went crazy picking out seafood recipes recently, and this is the first of those recipes.  It should be obvious why I picked it first; so delicious!  Also, the Red Pepper Chipotle sauce is soooo amazing!  The sous chef and I both agreed that it would make a great friend to some fish as well. 

These make a great dinner as I wasn’t even able to finish 2!  The sous chef had to finish off my last few bites :)  I wanted very much to eat them all, but they are just very filling.  The recipe below serves 4 crab cakes, but you could make them smaller to make bite size crabcakes; say 16 crab cakes would make these small enough for bite size.  Making them smaller might alter your cooking time though, so be aware.Crabcakes Krista Kooks 4 Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 cake

Crab Cakes
9 ounces lump crab meat, picked free of shells
1/2 cup (about 13) reduced fat Ritz crackers, crushed
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
2 finely chopped scallions
2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
Zesty Chipotle Lime Sauce
1 tbsp roasted peppers (jarred)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice

In a small blender (or magic bullet) puree mayonnaise, lime juice, roasted pepper and chipotle pepper.

In a large bowl, combine crushed crackers, eggs, scallions, pepper, mayo, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well, then fold in crab meat, careful not to over mix so the crab remains in large chunks. Gently shape into patties using a 1/2 cup measuring cup.

Chill in the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Bake about 8-10 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

Drizzle red pepper chipotle lime sauce over crab cakes and serve.
Crabcakes Krista Kooks

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheesy Barbecue Casserole

I know, I know.  Could I have been gone ANY longer?  It feels so crazy to not have posted in over a month.  I’m so sorry!  I have some more fun stuff coming up, so hopefully I can redeem myself :)Cheesy BBQ Casserole Krista Kooks 4 I know I’ve never really discussed my obsession with BBQ on this blog, but I can assure you that I join several other Southerners in the “I could just eat BBQ sauce only” club.  I love it on everything!  Thankfully, my cooking interest has led me to understand that their are flavors outside of BBQ sauce.  Nonetheless, this recipe was calling my name when I opened up this cookbook.Betty Corcker Pasta The sous chef and I really enjoyed this recipe!  There were no leftovers :)  I also substituted ground turkey for ground beef for a healthier option.  Oh….and I may have increased the amount of BBQ sauce that the recipe called for ;)

Betty Crocker Cheesy Barbecue Casserole
3 cups uncooked ziti pasta (11 oz)
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

Stir pasta, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the milk, barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese into beef in skillet. Spoon mixture into casserole. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese.

Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.Cheesy BBQ Casserole Krista KooksCheesy BBQ Casserole Krista Kooks 3

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cucumber Sandwiches

May 2010 014
Recently, I and a few other ladies threw a shower for a sweet friend our ours, Carissa.  I was assigned to bring Cucumber sandwiches.  Hmmm, well…

#1 I’ve never made them before
#2 I don’t like cucumbers
#3 I’ve never even seen them before.

Hahah!  No problem.  The ladies helped me out with a recipe, and I did some browsing online.  Here’s how I decided to make them, and they were REALLY good!


Pumpernickel bread (I simply bought some at the bakery at my grocery store)
1 8 oz. package of fat free cream cheese
1 packet zesty italian dressing mix
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 cucumber (sliced)


Whip cream cheese until creamy.

Into cream cheese mix italian dressing packet, garlic powder, red pepper and fresh dill.
Spread cream cheese mixture onto bread in thin layer.  Place one slice of cucumber onto each sandwich.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos

May 2010 005 Do you work?  Ok, then stay tuned.

Are you the typical cook in your household? Ok, then stay tuned.

Are you short on time?  Ok, then stay tuned.

If you answered yes to a single one of these questions, I promise you want this recipe.  I was planning to be out of the house for 6 days straight and was not going to be able to help my sous chef with his meal prep :)  Thus, I wanted to make something he could put in the oven and it could be done fairly quickly but still feel like a home-cooked meal.  This burrito recipe was PERFECT for that.

If you have a look at Aggie’s original recipe for this, you’ll notice that she used sweet potatoes.  Um, I don’t like those (even though my sous chef does), so I decided to sub tomatoes instead.  If you like sweet potatoes, I’d say stick with those!  Using tomatoes was not bad, I promise, but I think those others that have made it with sweet potatoes have really enjoyed it.

Anyhow, we ate 4 of these burritos the night I made them and saved the other 4 so my sous chef could prepare quick meals while I was gone.  I wrapped those other 4 burritos in foil, and he placed them in the oven on the nights he was ready for some yummy dinner :)


2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (small) (Krista Kooks subbed 4 large tomatoes, squeezed of seeds and juices, and cubed)
1 red pepper, cubed (small)
1 red onion cubed (small)
2 jalapenos, diced (if you want less heat sub another red pepper)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil

can black beans, rinsed
handful chopped cilantro
squeeze lime
shredded cheddar

Whole Wheat Tortillas or Wraps , burrito/wrap size
nonstick olive oil spray


In a bowl, toss veggies in olive oil and season with spices.  Place in large baking dish and roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing around halfway in between.

Let cool.  Add to a bowl of rinsed black beans.  Add cilantro and squirt of lime juice.  Combine gently.  At this point, mixture can be stored for later use.  Warm wraps in microwave according to directions on package.  Add two heaping tablespoons of vegetable and bean mixture to center of wrap.  Top with shredded cheese.  Fold over, fold in sides and continue to roll.  Place on baking dish, seam side down and spray with nonstick spray or olive oil spray.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Baking this way will make tortilla wrap crisp. For a softer burrito, spray burrito with nonstick spray, then wrap in aluminum foil and bake for same amount of time.
Makes about 6 burritos.

Tip: Premake your burritos and wrap in aluminum foil. Keep in refrigerator for 3-4 days for a quick lunch or dinner!May 2010 003

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta 3 I have been all about making some of Gina’s recipes lately.  This entree was a staple, and I know we will continue to make this in our house.  In fact, even though I rarely make a meal twice, this one has since been made a second time.  We’ve had it twice in a matter of weeks!  Coming from Krista Kooks, I hope you realize that means we love it!

I was not able to find seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs, so I purchased plain whole wheat and seasoned them myself with Italian Seasoning.  Remember…you can make Italian seasoning yourself!


2 (16 oz) chicken cutlet halves, all fat trimmed

freshly ground black pepper

2 large egg whites

2/3 cup seasoned whole wheat dry bread crumbs

Olive oil spray (about 1 tbsp worth)

1 tbs light butter

juice of 1 lemon, lemon halves reserved

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp capers

Sliced lemon, for serving

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Cut chicken into 4 cutlets, then place cutlets between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
In a shallow plate, beat the egg whites and 1 teaspoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs in another plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the egg, then bread crumbs.

Heat a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Spray a generous amount of olive oil spray on one side of the chicken, and lay it in the pan, oil side down. Spray the top of the chicken generously to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Set aside until you make the sauce.

For the sauce, clean the saute pan. Over medium heat, melt butter, add the lemon juice, wine, chicken broth and the reserved lemon halves, salt, and pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Discard the lemon halves, add the capers and serve one chicken cutlet on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.Chicken Picatta

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Diet Soda Cake

Diet Soda Cake 3
Oh wow!  I can now have cake without so much guilt!  Thank you to Gina for sharing this lovely secret to your everyday box cake :)  Find your favorite diet soda, 2 egg whites, your favorite boxed cake, and your done!  How incredibly simple. 

Because I love the taste of Dr. Pepper, I was determined to make this cake with Diet Dr. Pepper.  The sous chef and I loved the flavor of this cake, no frosting/icing needed, and the egg whites really made it light and fluffy.  Highly recommend this quick and easy dessert!

1 boxed cake of your preference
2 egg whites
10 ounces of diet soda (your choice)

Preheat oven according to box directions. Spray pan of your choice according to box directions.

Beat cake mix, diet soda and egg whites. Pour into pan.

Bake as directed on box, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Let cake cool about 10 minutes before cutting.
Diet Soda Cake 6

Monday, May 31, 2010


Paella 4 I know Cinco de Mayo was a while ago, but it got me inspired to make Paella for the first time!  Yes, that’s right, I’ve never made Paella before.  Usually, when I’m making a somewhat traditional dish that is a first try for me, I’ll dive into my Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  This cookbook is great for that sort of thing!

The sous chef and I discovered that we aren’t big fans of clams, so…we ended up removing those little guys and tossing them.  Otherwise, this dish was TERRIFIC!  We had plenty of leftovers and ate them all!!!  The recipe I’m posting below is the halved version of the recipe as I just can’t imagine needing the full recipe that the cookbook lists.  As it is, we had to use our largest tupperware dish to save the leftovers!

adapted from Fannie Farmer Cookbook

1/16 teaspoon of saffron
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 chicken breasts
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
6 thin slices spicy Spanish sausage (Chorizo)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup short grain rice
1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, shelled, and deveined
1/2 package frozen tiny peas, or 3/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt


Put the Saffron to soak in 1 Tbsp of the chicken broth.  Rinse the chicken, pat it dry, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the chicken and brown well on all sides.  Add 2 tbsp of water and the oregano.  Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is done.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Lightly brown the sausage slices; remove and set aside.   Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the rice, saffron, and about half a teaspoon of salt, cooking for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a shallow 4-quart casserole, arrange the rice, chicken, shrimp and sausage so that some of each shows on the top.  Paella Heat in the oven about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile either pour boiling water over frozen peas or blanch frozen peas 2 minutes.  Scatter over casserole, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.Paella 3

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Soup Recently, a friend of mine had to make a trip to the hospital after a horrible food poisoning case.  It was no fun for her, for sure.  I thought some chicken soup might help once she was back at home and able to eat little by little.

I took some help from Annie’s Eats recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup which she got from Cooks Illustrated.  I definitely didn’t have the time on hand that day to make her recipe in full, so I did take some shortcuts.  Below is the adapted form of her recipe that I made, although I know, if you have the time, making it Annie’s way will produce and healthy rich-tasting soup :)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
1 cup thinly sliced onion
½ cup celery, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup (4 oz.) egg noodles
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tsp Cumin

Put 1 Tbsp olive oil and chicken breast in crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours.  When chicken is cooked through, place chicken in medium bowl and shred chicken with 2 forks.

Fill Dutch oven/large pot on the stove with 5 cups of chicken stock.  Heat over medium-high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water; whisk together until a smooth slurry forms.  Stir the mixture into the stock and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook 10-15 minutes.  Add the egg noodles and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and the noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and parsley to the soup.  Cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin, and serve.


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