pizza cookies for a stranger

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a couple weeks ago, my friend michelle read a blog post on i am baker. she wanted to give away 2 dozen cookies to five different people. she asked her followers to submit stories of those they thought deserved these baked treats and needed a pick-me-up in their lives. the response was incredible - she received over 165 nominations. realizing she couldn't make all these cookies herself, she reached out to the blogsphere asking if anyone would be willing to make cookies for a complete stranger. michelle and i signed up and were assigned this story:

"If I won these cookies I would send them to my Dad. My dad works in the flooring industry he is self taught in the trade and works very hard. He is now the head of a flooring company and his job is very stressful because simple mistakes cost lots of money to fix. He has had a lot of health problems due to the stress of working this job. He would like to quit his job but is waiting until after I get married in October so he can help pay for some of the wedding. After October he is planning on switching from his flooring job to making brick fire oven pizza. (It's amazingly good!) Right now my dad is having a hard time because a few people in our extended family do not support his idea of switching careers, and they tell him quite often. I would like to send him some "pizza" cookies just to let him know that I support him and to give him some encouragement." - Jaclyn

we made the cookies this weekend and shipped them today. we ended up being really happy with the final product...they were not only adorable but actually tasted delicious too. we packaged the cookies in pizza boxes to give jaclyn's dad that extra smile! we used i am baker's sugar cookie recipe and annie's eats royal icing recipe.


foodie fridays

>> Friday, March 25, 2011

there seems to be a lot of carbs on this week's foodie friday menu....whoops? at least i threw in some kind of vegetable...even if it is accompanied by cheese and candied pecans.  enjoy!

roasted brussels sprouts salad with spiced pecans via

chocolate covered s’mores pops via

feta, semi sundried tomatoes muffin via

green goddess grilled cheese panini via

lemon pound cake via


spanakopita panini

>> Thursday, March 24, 2011

in my post yesterday i talked about all of the leftover spanakopita dip i had from kim's bridal shower. i combined other greek-like ingredients to turn this leftover into a simple and easy spanakopita panini. the dip acted as the "glue" so i didn't need to add any cheese. the final product was pretty delicious - the dip melted into a creamy, savory mess that gave the rest of the ingredients tons of flavor. you can use any kind of bread you like, but i used the 100-calorie sandwich thins...bikini season is coming up after all.

100 calorie sandwich thins
grilled chicken breasts, cooked (i used the really thin kind)
roasted red peppers
spanakopita dip

preheat panini press. slather each side of bread/sandwich thins with a generous amount of spanakopita dip. season both sides with s&p. top one piece of bread with roasted red peppers, mushrooms and then chicken. top with remaining piece of bread and cook 5-7 minutes on panini press, until bread is crunchy and dip has melted. serve immediately.


spanakopita bites

>> Wednesday, March 23, 2011

when i was planning the menu for kim's bridal shower i asked her what she wanted. she gave me a few suggestions but definitely wanted spanakopita. i knew making these guys the traditional way would be time-consuming and probably not the best idea since i was hosting the party. i didn't want to be greeting guests while i still had food in the oven. so i decided to make spanakopita dip and serve it in pre-made phyllo cups at room-temperature. they turned out great. my favorite part was the hint of garlic at the last second. i found a few different recipes online but ended up tweaking other to make up my own. with this recipe, i made about 60 mini cups and had tons of leftover dip - i've been using the leftovers this week to make meals for dinner...stay tuned.

30 oz non-fat greek yogurt
6 oz light mayo or light sour cream (i used mayo)
2 pounds frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
8 oz feta cheese crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons onion powder
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
mini phyllo cups (found in freezer section)

in a large bowl, combine greek yogurt, light mayo, spinach, feta cheese, parsley, onion powder, garlic, dill, paprika, nutmeg, and s&p in large mixing bowl. cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge for at least one hour prior to serving to let flavors come together. (i did this the night before).

when you're ready to serve, cook phyllo cups according to package. remove from oven and fill with spanakopita dip. serve immediately or at room temperature. pretty simple...right?


chicken salad sliders

i've been making chicken salad for a long time and i think i've finally mastered this classic. i like to use a combination of light mayo, light sour cream and greek yogurt. i also love to roast the chicken to give it maximum flavor. i made these guys at kim's bridal shower and served them on mini potato dinner rolls.

2 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (can substitute dark meat if you like)
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup light mayo
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 non-fat greek yogurt
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parlsey, minced
4 teaspoons lemon juice
mini potato roll

preheat oven to 400 degrees. trim off any excess fat on chicken and place on roasting pan.  liberally season with evoo, s&p and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. make sure to season under the skin as well. place in oven and bake for about 1 hour, until fully cooked though. set aside and let cool.

once chicken has cooled, remove skin and pull apart from bone. shred into small pieces and place in a big bowl. add celery, light mayo, light sour cream, greek yogurt, dried cranberries, parsley, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and s&p. keep in fridge until ready to eat. to serve, scoop a large dollop of chicken salad on each mini potato roll and garnish with fancy toothpick.


bridal buffet bonanza

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011

last sunday i hosted a bridal shower for my friend kim who is getting married in the bahamas in just a few short weeks. i love entertaining and jumped at the chance to host this party. i was in charge of the food buffet and my friend michelle was in charge of the desserts buffet (jump over to her blog to see what an amazing job she did with this). i was going for a simple and elegant theme..nothing over the top, but nothing boring. here is the menu we came up with.  the **starred** recipes are the ones i made. the rest were brought by the other gals.

side view 1
side view 2
chicken salad sliders
brie mushroom tartlets

sausage wonton stars...made with ranch!

antipasto platter
spanakopita bites

egg rolls & deviled eggs
got these cute straws from etsy and made the tags

honey mustard turkey bites
high school friends with the bride :)


sweet & tangy meatballs

this normally isn't like me - but i have another asian recipe coming your way! i made these meatballs for my friend's bridal shower this weekend (that post is coming later) as an appetizer. i turned the leftovers into a weeknight dinner by adding brown rice and some veggies. theses little guys were extremely flavorful, moist, and sweet with a kick of spice. the best part is that you cook these in the slow cooker so there is really no cooking involved!

adapted from my recipes
1 lb ground beef, turkey or pork
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 scallions, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1/4 cup chinese plum duck sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons hot chili garlic sauce
sesame seeds, for garnish

combine meat, panko, scallions egg, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. mix with your hands and form into 1-inch balls.

spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. add meatballs.  in a small bowl, whisk together bbq suace, plum duck sauce, hoisin and hot chili garlic sauce. pour over meatballs and gently stir, making sure to coat each one. cover and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours.

serve over brown rice and your favorite green vegetables - i chose a medley and added a little soy sauce to both. garnish meatballs with sesame seeds and eat up.


asian chicken pizza

>> Friday, March 18, 2011

i found this recipe over at stephanie's cooks.  my roommates are pretty obsessed with anything asian-flavored so i decided to try this pizza out on them. i ended up tweaking the recipe a little bit to make the sauce a little thicker. i think next time i would add a vegetable to balance things out - maybe red pepper strips or broccoli - but overall it was really delicious. i added a lot of red pepper flakes, so use your own judgment here.

pizza dough ( i always buy the trader joes brand)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 tablesoon. honey
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup mozzarella cheese
sesame seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon water


preheat the oven to 450.

roll out pizza dough onto baking sheet. drizzle with evoo and cook for 5 minutes. remove from oven and set aside.

meanwhile, combine red pepper flakes, soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. heat skillet over medium-high heat with evoo. add chicken and cook about 5-7 minutes, until fully cooked through. remove from pan and set aside.

pour the sauce mixture into the pan. in a small bowl, whisk flour into water. beat until there are no more lumps of flour. add to pan and cook until sauce thickens and becomes syrup like, about 10 minutes. add the chicken, toss well.

top pizza dough with chicken/glaze mixture. make sure to cover every inch! top with cheese and sprinkle with sesame seeds. bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. serve immediately.


step right up

>> Thursday, March 17, 2011

every time we hire a new employee at work, the party planning committee (me and the office manager) try to host an event to welcome the newbie to the team.  i've always been a fan of a themed parties (i once threw a murder mystery holiday party), so this time we went with a carnival theme. we served all the traditional carni foods you would expect - nachos, cotton candy, popcorn and old-fashioned coke bottles. i also made rainbow fruit skewers and strawberry fruit dip for the more health-conscious. we set up a buffet table for the occasion, but unfortunately the nachos couldn't go on the table because they had to be plugged into an outlet since we served it in a fondue pot. 

here are a few pictures of the food and set-up:

the line up - minus the nachos
excuse the office chairs.
i bought these popcorn bags at party city and then taped these tags i made to them.
all i did was cut yellow card stock with fancy scissors and decorate with some sharpies.
half the popcorn we served was original and half was kettle corn.
the other half - sweet.
taste the rainbow.
fruit dip was so easy and only two ingredients - get recipe here

portion control is key for this sugary treat.
i wish i hadn't given up soda for lent or else i would have downed two of these.


garlic teriyaki edamame

>> Wednesday, March 16, 2011

i made this tonight as a quick easy appetizer while we were cooking dinner. they were sweet, tangy and salty - all in one bite. it is seriously so easy and a great way to spruce up your favorite soybeans. i found the recipe over at and tweaked it a little bit.

1 (16 ounce) package frozen edamame in the pod
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons garlic powder
kosher salt

combine teriyaki, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and garlic powder in a bowl.meanwhile, cook edamame according to package directions (i bought the kind you can microwave).

heat large saucepan over medium high heat. add cooked edamame and teriyaki mixture. cook and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes. sprinkle with sesame seeds and kosher salt to serve. enjoy!



>> Monday, March 14, 2011

that's me. to say i had an awful week last week would be an understatement. between work, messing up my knee and other things, food was the last thing on my mind. i'm singing a different tune these days and can't wait to get back into the kitchen. i'm hosting two parties this week - one at work and one for my friend kim (it's her bridal shower!) i'll be cooking and setting up cute decorative buffet tables for both events. here's what recipes you can expect from me:

  1. asian chicken pizza
  2. chicken salad on mini croissant
  3. mini spanakopita phyllo cups
  4. dinosaur sugar cookies with royal icing
  5. rainbow fruit kabobs with dipping sauce
be back soon. i've missed you.


foodie fridays

>> Friday, March 4, 2011

foodie friday is back this week with some great delights. every recipe makes me want to 1. drool and 2. leave work right now and go get in my kitchen.

a healthier take on one of my high school vices.

just in time for mardi gras.

this + friday date night = perfection.

take sunday family dinners to a new level with this elegant recipe.

you can't guess how easy these are - only 6 ingredients!


roasted greek chicken

>> Thursday, March 3, 2011

whole chickens were on sale this week at harris teeter so i picked one up and decided to go greek with it. the flavors worked great together - the zing from the lemon paired nicely with the savory herb rub i made. the only downside to this meal is that it takes awhile to cook - i would save this for a weekend dinner.

3.5-4lb whole chicken
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lemon, cut in half
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves

preheat oven to 425 degrees. in a small bowl mix together dried oregano, dried thyme and garlic powder.

remove the chicken giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out. remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. liberally salt and pepper the inside and outside of the chicken. squeeze half of lemon juice on the outside of the bird and the other half on the inside of the cavity.

drizzle evoo over outside of chicken. using your hands rub herb mixture over entire bird, getting under the skin too. stuff the cavity with a bunch of parsley, onion quarters, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic cloves. tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

place chicken on a roasting tray in a tinfoil lined baking dish. roast about 1 1/2 hours or until juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. **warning i took mine out of the oven after cooking for 60 minutes and it was still raw so be careful.**

remove from oven and let chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving. serve with your favorite greek side dish - i did greek orzo salad.


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