Monday, December 20, 2010


This is more of a family recipe that was taught to me by an old family friend. Personally, this is one of my absolute favorites and I am SUPER picky about eating this at actual Mexican restaurants because its such a flexible dish (you can use fish or shrimp...add this or take out that). Please read this recipe thoroughly.

**Pictures added 1-11-2011**

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 lb. frozen shrimp*
  • 1 bottle shrimp cocktail sauce*
  • 1/2-1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tomato, chopped
  • 4 large lemons*
  • 4 large limes*
  • squirt of ketchup 
  • jalapenos to taste
  • cilantro to taste
*quantities are per 2 people

Thaw shrimp in water; transfer to a medium to medium-large bowl. Add lemon and lime juices. Cover and refrigerate. In the meantime chop onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro. Add to the shrimp along with a hearty squirt of ketchup and the entire bottle of shrimp cocktail sauce. I know this sounds insane but you will not taste the ketchup. Cover and place back in the refrigerator for *at least* 4 hours.

Please note:

This is a recipe that should be made in the morning; especially if using raw shrimp!! The timing is crucial since the lemon/lime juices are what cook the shrimp. If you cheat,(like I do sometimes) and use cooked shrimp, I still recommend letting it sit for at least 3-4 hours since this will allow the flavors to coagulate and the spiciness of the jalapenos and cilantro to become stronger.

 The shrimp, thawed and marinating in lemon-lime juice
The final product, ready to be served! Delicious looking, yes? Well, wait till you try it out!!!

Now, go! Make and share with all those you love!!! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I came across this recipe on a fellow blogger's page (link will be provided at the end of post) and just had to try them out!! I will say beforehand, this recipe calls for quite a few steps since you're making the cupcakes, snickerdoodle cookies, and (if you want) the frosting. I opted out of making the frosting from scratch since I had two cans of store bought frosting in the pantry and wanted to put them to use. So that being said, let's get to the recipe!

*Recommendations can be found at the end of the recipe*

**Pictures are added at the end of the post, after the recipe and recommendations*

Here's what you'll need:

For the cupcakes; Yields 30

  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 /12 c cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c milk
For the frosting
  • 3/4 c plus 1 T. sugar, divided 
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 T light corn syrup
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
For the garnish
  • mini snickerdoodles *make sure to half the recipe
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. sugar
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; whisk to combine.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pans about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves.  Continue boiling without stirring until the temperature reaches 230° F.
In the meantime, while the sugar mixture is heating, beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium-high speed until medium-soft peaks form.  As soon as the sugar mixture reaches 230° F, remove the pan from the heat.  With the mixer on medium-low, pour the syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow steady stream until it has all been added to the bowl.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whisk until the bottom of the bowl is completely cool to the touch and stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.  Use immediately.

Original blogger left these notes: 
"I used an Ateco tip #829 to frost these cupcakes" 
"To make the mini snickerdoodles, I used a half recipe of regular snickerdoodles (and didn’t even use all of the dough) and rolled the dough into tiny balls, about ¾-inch diameter.  I reduced the baking time to about 8-10 minutes."

Recommendations (for cupcakes):
1. If you do not have an electric mixer with a bowl, use a larger bowl than size you used for the dry ingredients. 
2. I am forever terrible when it comes to recipes that call for "butter at room temperature" so what i did was pop each stick in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it soft. Doing this also gives you the option of hand whisking the butter, sugar and eggs together (which I did since I was on the phone).
3. I *did* use the electric mixer for adding the milk and dry ingredients. ::sigh:: Once again, learn from my forgetfulness...make sure when you turn off the mixer, you let it come to a complete stop before pulling it out of the batter. 
4. With that said, while the mixer is out of the batter, it helped when I would scrape the sides of the bowl  with a rubber spatula in between adding the milk and dry ingredients. 
5. I discovered if you let this batter refrigerate for about 10 minutes, it will thicken it and make it slightly easier to transfer from bowl to pan. 
 The cupcake batter, in the process of mixing. 
 Look how smooth this batter is once its all mixed together!! (btw...this batter is finger-licking good if you enjoy licking the bowl!)
 This was halfway through the baking time (10 minutes) when it was time to rotate. 
 Cooling!! Don't they look delicious?! 
The snickerdoodles I made. There were about a dozen more than this that I experimented with. It didn't work so I tossed them. 

 Cupcakes decorated. As you can see, I tried different frosting techniques. I also used canned frosting instead of the homemade. 
 More canned frosting. In vanilla. I decided to try the basket weave design so this is my first attempt. haha. 
...and this is my third attempt. 

Have fun with decorating the cupcakes!!! Especially if its for an informal event. :) 

[[Original recipe can be found at Annies-Eats]]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crock Pot Tenderloin with a side of oven baked Spicy Potatoes

Here is a crock pot recipe for y'all for a super busy day!! :) A and I *loved* how this came out!! I will definitely be using this recipe again! Just a hint, this is a good time to use some of that leftover onion and peppers from the fajita recipe. ;)

*This is my revised version of the Spicy potatoes. Original recipe can be found in link at the end of post.*

**Picture added at the end of the post**

Here you'll need:

For the tenderloin:

  • 1 tenderloin pre-packaged and pre-seasoned
  • 1 1/2 c water
For Spicy potatoes: 

  • roughly 16 small red potatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 small package pre-chopped onions
  • 1 small package pre-chopped mixed peppers, red and green
  • red chili flakes
  • ginger, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Place tenderloin in crock pot and add water. Let cook on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours. 

When ready for the Spicy Potatoes, preheat oven to 500˚F. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and place quartered potatoes skin-side down and generously add olive oil over all potatoes. Add onions, pepper, chili flakes, ginger, salt and pepper to taste and place in the oven for 22 minutes. 

This was so delicious!! :D A couldn't figure out if which part of the dinner he liked more. joke...this tenderloin was *so tender* we could pull it apart with our forks...and we did!!!! It will melt in your mouth!!! And our potatoes were *spicy*- how A likes them. 

[[Original recipe for the spicy potatoes can be found at Rachael Ray's Potatoes with Peppers & Onions]]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Homemade Fajitas

So it goes without saying that A and I love mexican food. We both grew up with it being from Texas and myself being part Mexican. I dislike frozen fajitas very much but I cannot find a mercado (a mexican market) anywhere near where I live in VA so the local meat market in The Fresh Market had to do. :) This is a super fast, easy, budget friendly meal! The meat cost almost $12 but keep in mind, I went to a Whole Foods/Organic type grocery store; their prices are usually going to be a tad higher. Also, keep in mind this is a recipe for two people; adjust the meat quantity as needed.

*I did not follow any set recipe for this dish; this one was my own.*

**Remember to have your local butcher cut the meat in the necessary size for you. It's free and will save you time and clean up in the kitchen later!**

***Pictures are added at the end of the post***

Here you'll need:

  • 1 lb. skirt steak, cut into roughly 1/4" thick (you want them pretty thin)
  • 1 small package of pre-chopped onions
  • 1 small package of pre-chopped mixed peppers, red and green
  • 1 package tortillas 
  • condiments to your liking (guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc.)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • I also used Fresh Market poultry blend spices which include: sea salt, coriander, garlic, whole cumin, basil, while black peppercorns, sage, mustard seeds, red chili flakes. (You don't necessarily need this, but its what I used so I'm going to add it here if you're interested.
  • 2-3 T olive oil
In a medium size skillet on medium-high heat, add olive oil and skirt steak. Allow to brown halfway and add salt and pepper (and additional spices if desired). Finish browning. Add onions and peppers to taste (we used roughly a quarter cup). Allow to cook a while longer and turn heat to low. Heat tortillas. Plate and serve. Add any condiments and enjoy! :) See, not difficult at all!!

How it looks when finished cooking! Yummy, huh? Wait till you taste it!!

[Here's a rough idea of how thick the skirt steak should be cut]


Ok, so A has been super busy at work lately resulting in my/our eating out lately. :/ However...I will be updating the blog tomorrow with THREE (you read correctly!) recipes!!! I just have to make these cupcakes for our Friday Thanksgiving (you read *that* correctly as well! A has duty tomorrow. In the meantime, you should check out the link below. There is currently a "challenge" going on between Jayma Mays (from gLee), Peter Facinelli (from the twilight saga), and Joan Cusack (actress). *It's not the official site but this is the best one I've found with all three stars.*

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chicken Parmesan & Broccoli

This has got to be one of A's favorite meals!! It's quick, easy, and (in my opinion) pretty budget friendly! It usually takes about 45 minutes roughly if you do the prep work beforehand. The recipe here is for two people. :)

*Recommendations can be found at the end of the recipe* 

**Pictures are added at the end of the post, after recipe and recommendations**

Here you'll need:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded 1 1/4" thick (or 1 lb. if the chicken breast is large like mine pictured below)
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce ( I use Bertolli Tomato & Basil) 
  • 1 box of spaghetti noodles
  • 3 heads of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets 
  • 1 package of parmesan/mozzarella mixed cheese (or one bag of each)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • plain bread crumbs
  • 2 T butter
Whisk egg and milk together. Dip breasts in mixture, then in bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken 4 minutes on each side. As it browns *do not touch it*. Set chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle desired amount of mozzarella cheese on both chicken breasts. Pour spaghetti sauce over breasts. Sprinkle desired amount of parmesan cheese and more mozzarella if desired. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until bubbly. Once that is in the oven, begin to boil water for spaghetti noodles. Once boiling add 1 tablespoon butter and allow to boil on medium high until the chicken reach 15 minutes left. At this point, add the spaghetti noodles. When chicken has 10 minutes left,  in a medium saucepan (with cover), add water and bring to light boil. Add broccoli, cover, and boil for 6 minutes. Strain noodles first, pour back into pot and add the rest of the butter stirring thoroughly. Rinse colander and strain broccoli either placing it on display dish or back in pan. Add salt and pepper and remove chicken from oven. Plate and serve. 

I know this sounds hectic, but trust me I do this exact thing every single time and if you prepped beforehand there is no rush. This is where my recommendations can help. 


1. When buying the chicken, go for the local deli/meat shop instead of the pre-packaged chicken. The butchers will be able to pound it to the appropriate size for you *for free* which means you save time and energy. (Trust me, those bad boys put up a fight!) 
2. Before you even start making the meal, prepare the broccoli. Cut it into the appropriate size in the morning or day before, place in tupperware, and save until you're ready. Again, this will save you time and energy and will play a major role in keeping the hectic level down. 
3. Instead of placing chicken in a frying pan then a baking dish, use a pan that is also oven friendly so you just slide that baby into the oven and bake. No transferring. *Do not do this with any stove top pan that has plastic handles.* {view example below for clarification}

 Here is the chicken, pounded out by our local butcher and sliced in half by me. After this, A and I thought we would be fancy and quarter it for smaller pieces (like they do in France I'm told).

Chicken breasts cooked in the oil. Don't let the one "extra cooked" one worry you. My stupid electric stove is crooked so that one had extra oil lovin'. *It will not affect the taste*

Chicken loaded with cheese (just like A likes it!) in the oven and ready to go! 



[[I found this recipe on the internet so long ago I don't remember where. I did make quite a few revision on my own though that I don't think I have the actual recipe anymore]]

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So due to the change in hubby's (A) schedule, we have been eating out the past few days which is why there have been no posts. :( I will be posting a new recipe soon though! :) In the meantime, I have added an email for anyone to send any recipes they'd like for me to try out. To find the link, just look to the right of the blog under "Contact Me".

Happy Veteran's Day everyone! :) 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

So the hubbs was craving stuffed peppers the other night so (not knowing he wanted stuffed bell peppers) I found this nifty recipe for Stuffed Peppers! I'm going to admit that not only was I a tad skeptical, I was also slightly terrified. I think I always get that way before making a new recipe though. Is that weird? Either way, let's get to it!

*Below is the original recipe used*

**Pictures are added at the end of the instructions. Following the pictures will be revision recommendations if interested**

Here you'll need:

  • 3 T cooking oil
  • 1 c chopped celery (about 2-3 if you cut them in half, then chop them)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. breakfast sausage (for this, I used the long sausage...not the patty kind)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/3 c freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 T hot sauce 
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs
  • 20 Anaheim or Poblano peppers, cut in half and seeds removed ( I used Poblano) 
In a saute pan over medium-high heat add the oil. Once heated add the celery, bell peppers and onion and saute for about 8 minutes. Add sausage and garlic and brown. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Take off heat and stir in parsley, hot sauce and bread crumbs. Let cool. 

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Stuff peppers with vegetable and cheese mixture and bake for 15 minutes or grill until char develops. 

Cook Time: 15 minutes; Level: Easy; Yields: 8 to 10 servings 

The stuffing mix with everything added and slightly cooled. Basically, the end result if you use above ingredients.  Don't let looks fool you, it was pretty yummy on its own.

The peppers stuffed and ready for the oven. Not the prettiest, but the end result was fantastic!

Now for revisions

1. I would use 1/2 lb. of ground beef instead because silly me bought this in the pre-made, ready-to-cook packet and it was a hassle getting the meat out of the meat tube...which is why the Mister did it.
2. I would prepare the celery, onion, and bell pepper earlier in the day that way I could just jump right into the cooking.
3. On that note, I would also use those 8 minutes to prepare the peppers. Go for the ones as symmetrical as you can find them. As you can see, some of them were pinched which made it difficult to stuff and therefore more time consuming.
4. Whatever pan you use to hold the stuffed peppers ( I used a 13x9 in. baking pan), line that sucker with foil!! It won't affect the cooking and that will be one less thing you have clean.
5. Let the cream cheese sit out ( I just opened it when I started cooking and left it alone until I needed it) that way it will melt slightly faster.
6. Use a large pan!!! We used a medium-sized pan and it was a pain! So just do yourself a favor and use the extra space.

**Side Note: The spiciness of the peppers do not come from the seeds, it comes from the veins. Therefore, if you are like me and do not care too much for the burning sensations that comes with eating peppers, make sure you remove those white veins!! If you are like the Mister and *do* like a little spice in your life, then you can either leave them in or partially remove them.**

I can honestly say that, including prep time, this was quite a bit longer than 15 minutes. That being said along with my revisions, its still a super easy recipe to make and it did a great job feeding just the two of us.

[[This recipe was courtesy of Dwain Matelski from the Food Network Challenge; Episode: Challenge: Texas Steak Cook-Off. For this recipe visit Food Network Stuffed Peppers]]

Red Velvet Cake Balls

These are SO delish!! Even without being dipped in chocolate! I have been eyeballing these babies for *weeks* now and the other day I finally made the time to try them out. It was so much easier than it looked. I definitely see more of these...maybe even more my near future. :)

**Pictures are added at the end of the instructions**

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 box of Red Velvet Cake
  • 1 can of Cream Cheese frosting
  • Dipping Chocolate ( I used 2 boxes of Baker's Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares from Krogers) 
  • 13 x 9 pan (for cake)
  • cooking spray
  • something to hold cake balls ( I used the HEFTY EZ FOIL Oven Rack don't have to use this though if you have an alternative space for them) 
Follow the box directions for preparing the cake. Once the cake is *completely* cool, crumble fine in a large bowl. Add the can of cream cheese frosting. I used my hands for this part, it was super messy but also so much easier than when I tried using a spoon. Either with a small ice cream scoop or with your hands ( I used my hands) make small quarter-sized balls; place on Rack Liner. This recipe made 49 for me. Place in the refrigerator and let chill till hard. For this, I honestly let it set a day or two just because I became busy with other things. (Meanwhile everyone...including myself...felt the need to steal one for a quick, sweet snack. Let me just say they are *amazing* without the chocolate! I even put a few aside instead of dipping.) Once they are hardened (not gooey) place the chocolate squares in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, remove, stir and "cook" for another minute. Stir until completely melted (**Be careful here!!! I know this may seem silly to add as a reminder but I ended up burning myself so make sure you have something to grab the bowl safely!!**) Next, using a spoon, your fingers, or a long-stemmed fondue fork, dip the balls into the chocolate making sure you cover each one entirely and place back on the Oven Rack. Once all the cake balls are dipped, place back into the fridge until chocolate hardens. I let it sit over night. Now, enjoy!!! 

 Here is a picture of me dipping the cake balls in the chocolate. I apologize for it being blurry; Hubby took this pic.

Here is a picture of a couple of the cake balls post-dipping, just to give you an idea of how many this recipe makes (minus about 5 that we ate!) as well as what they look like dipped. 

Ok, so I know this is not a great picture but here I'm covering the holes left by the forks by just dribbling a tad bit of chocolate over the holes. Can't even see it! :)

Here is a close up of these bad boys all dipped and waiting to have a bite taken out of 'em!! I have to say, separately the white chocolate and the cake balls are both pretty sweet...but when you combine the two the white chocolate actually balances the sweetness out. SO GOOD!!!

[[This recipe was courtesy of Bakerella's website. To find this and other Cake Ball recipes, visit and fall in love! :) ]]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Before I Begin

I should just point out that most of the recipes I will blog about will be ones that I have found and tried (and probably revised) or will be trying for the first time. If I post one that I have created myself, I'll leave a special note on the post. If I have the resource, I will post it but some of these recipes I have had for *years* so no original source. That being said...enjoy these recipes!! :)

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