Tag Archive: baking

Orange-Thyme-Honey Chicken This was my second attempt at making something from one of my German cookbooks. It was a much better result this time. I made Orange, Thyme, and Honey Chicken (Orangen-Honig-Hähnchenbrust) from The German Kitchen cookbook. The recipe called for “juice and zest of 3 oranges” but I only had 2 jumbo oranges. I had never tried to squeeze juice out of an orange before. When I do this again, I will probably use 100% orange juice. I didn’t like that the sauce was such a minimal amount. Chicken breasts can get so dry if you try to reheat them. I’m thinking of tripling the amount of sauce. Again, I had not worked with orange zest so I had a minimal amount. I won’t be using it next time. You definitely taste the orange and honey in the recipe.
4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1. Heat oil in sauté pan
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
3. Sauté the chicken in a pan with the oil until golden on both sides at low-med heat
4. In a bowl, combine the juice, zest, honey, and thyme
5. Pour mixture into the pan over the chicken
6. Add salt and pepper to sauce
7. Simmer for 10 min or until chicken is cooked
8. Baste chicken periodically
Streusel Coffee CakeI realized that Streusel is probably German. So, I cheated by making coffee cake that I have made for years. It is based on a Betty Crocker recipe. For some reason now, when I try to make the streusel topping with butter it becomes a paste. I should be able to just sprinkle it on top. I think the world has changed the ingredients and properties of butter.
Streusel Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
0.25 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons firm Butter
Coffee Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Country Crock spread
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1. Heat oven to 350 deg
2. Combine Streusel Ingredients and mix until crumbly
3. Combine Cake Ingredients and mix on low setting
4. Beat on medium speed for 2 min
5. Spread half the batter in a greased 13x9x2 pan
6. Sprinkle on half the Streusel
7. Top with remaining batter
8. Sprinkle on the remaining Streusel
9. Bake 35 to 40 min
10. Yields 9-12


My first attempted at making International Foods was not great. I decided on a main dish (Hungarian Paprika Chicken / Ungarisches Paprikahähnchen), side (Cheese Spätzle / Käsespätzle), and dessert (German Christmas cookies / Coconut Macaroons / Kokosmakronen). I borrowed 2 cookbooks from my local library: The German Kitchen and Grandma’s German Cookbook. The former had the dessert recipe.
Cheese SpätzleFirst, the spätzle was a complete disaster. It is basically macaroni and cheese with egg noodles. The recipe had me make my own noodles. I couldn’t get the dough non-sticky enough to handle it. I added flour then it was too much so then I added more club soda. It was just a vicious cycle. I got fed up and just ripped off pieces and put it in the boiling water. I got chunks of pasta. I thought try it anyways so I added the mild gruyere cheese. It smelled gross while at the same time having no taste. I’m not making that again. It was too much like macaroni and cheese for me to bother with.
Hungarian Paprika ChickenI was unsure about making the Hungarian Paprika Chicken since this is supposed to be German food month. But, it was listed in my German cookbook so I figured it is fine. This recipe had some ingredients that I couldn’t find in my local grocery stores. They listed sweet Hungarian paprika and hot paprika. I had to make do with regular paprika (origins unknown) and cayenne pepper (the internet says they are different). I also tend not to use things like fresh onion, chilies, and garlic. As replacements, I used onion flakes, Sriracha, and garlic powder. The general idea was to put all those together with diced tomatoes to make a thick sauce. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of paprika which is a lot for a spice. The chicken is browned and then simmered in the mixture. Somehow the chicken was tasteless. I know. It’s crazy. The sauce was hot but it didn’t really stick to the chicken at all. The sauce was a greasy mess. I know I can redo this recipe in a whole new way to make it work. I will leave out the tomatoes.   Stay tuned for the remake of this.
Coconut MacaroonsI made a few mistakes with the cookies. First, I added 1.5 cups of sugar instead of 1.25 cups. The recipe called for dried shredded coconut. I had non-dried sweetened coconut. They didn’t mention if it was sweetened or not. I also added in some vanilla because all cookies should have vanilla. This was the first time I used a water bath (i.e. a pot of boiling water) to cook anything. I had to heat the coconut mixture to 158 oF / 70 oC. The candy thermometer I have was covered with sugar half way through so I switched to a metal meat thermometer which worked much better. I also melted some “chocolate flavored” chips. I dipped the bottom of the cookies in it.  I thought they were good but not great.  I ate 2 of them and took the rest to work (it yielded 15).  Several people came up to me saying it was really good so it must have been fine.  I just had too thick of a chocolate layer on the bottom for me.  I’m not a big fan of chocolate.  I’m not sure if I would make them again but I listed the recipe below.  This is the only recipe I can share because the others were not what I wanted.
There are a few other recipes I want to try in the books, but they were very similar to things I had had before. I wanted to try things that were different this first time around. I ended up making it into for my daily meal for the week which I had not planned on doing. I learned not to do that again. It’s hard to shrink down recipes like these for 1-2 portions.
4 Egg whites
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3.5 tablespoons up all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Prepare a water bath by heating water in a large pot
  2. Separate egg whites and transfer to a custard cup
  3. Add sugar to the bowl and place it in the hot water bath
  4. Mix egg and sugar until the sugar dissolves
  5. Add coconut
  6. Heat the mixture to 158 deg F or 70 deg C while stirring frequently
  7. Remove bowl from the water bath
  8. Add in flour and vanilla
  9. Let cool to room temp
  10. Heat the oven to 325 degrees
  11. Cover baking sheet with non-stick foil
  12. Use a plastic bag to add batter to the sheet
  13. Bake for 25 min
  14. Cookies should be light in color and just slightly brown
  15. Heat chocolate chips in a bowl with the water bath
  16. Dip cookies into the chocolate
  17. Makes about 15 (large) cookies

I decided on German cuisine for my first month. I got 2 cookbooks from the local library and I will be looking online for suggestions as well. Also I know someone from Germany so that helps some. So far I learned that Germans eat a lot of potatoes and fruit in their desserts. I’m not a fan. I don’t like chocolate much either so no black forest cake. I plan on finalizing my choices today.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

As usual, I did not have the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I don’t like turkey. For the main course, I had Roast Beef, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli, and Crescent Rolls (Pillsbury). I made Shrimp Cones with Spicy Avocado Sauce (with fresh pineapple) for my lunches and Oat Pecan Pie Bars for dessert. I also made a Pound Cake for my breakfast/snacks. It is a Betty Crocker recipe. It all turned out well. I’m 99% happy with my mac & cheese recipe. I just need some minor tweaking.  I still wanted to try to eat well so I have macaroni with added fiber, cut the amount of sugar in the pound cake, and had more fruit & veg than I usually would have.

I felt like baking something new this weekend so I decided to make some changes to a Betty Crocker recipe for Butter Pecan Chews.  I used ingredients that I already had which included sliced almonds, oats, and sweetened coconut flakes.  I was a little concerned with having to separate eggs since I had not done that before but it was really easy.   I replaced the flour with ground up old fashioned oats to make the base of the chews.  It was a thin layer at the bottom of the pan and after it was pre-cooked I was able to spread it out more evenly.
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I cut the amount of brown sugar in half mostly because I thought it may be too sweet with the sweetened coconut.  Below are the pictures of the egg yolk/almond/coconut mixture before and after adding the foamy egg whites.
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The recipe called for the bars to be cut into 36 pieces but I did 16.  It still ended up being very sweet but good.  If I had to do this with new ingredients, I would use unsweetened coconut but still have half the brown sugar.
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3 eggs (separated)
1.5 cup old fashioned oat flour (2.125 cups of oats)
3 tablespoons sugar
0.75 cup Country Crock spread
1.25 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds
0.75 cup flaked coconut

  1. Heat oven to 375o
  2. Grease 13×9 in pan lined with non-stick foil
  3. Grind up old fashioned oats into flour
  4. Mix flour, granulated sugar, and butter in a medium bowl
  5. Press mixture in the bottom of the pan
  6. Bake for 12-14 min or until light brown
  7. Beat egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt with electric mixer
  8. Stir in almonds and coconut
  9. Beat egg whites until foamy in small bowl
  10. Fold into egg yolk mixture
  11. Remove partially baked crust from oven
  12. Spread filling over the crust
  13. Reduce oven temp to 350o
  14. Bake for 25 – 30 min or until deep golden brown and center is set

Looking for a New Snack

I figured out from the variety of after dinner snacks I eat that things with oats and nuts keep me the most full. So, I’m looking for something I can make that is not too fattening/sugary. I have thought of just making some oatmeal-almond cookie bars but I thought I would ask some of my followers that bake for some new suggestions. I thought of some kind of granola bar type things maybe but sometimes I have those for breakfast.

Any suggestions welcomed. Feel free to give a link to one of your recipe posts. (I should say I’m not a huge fan of chocolate.)

Christmas Cooking 2013

I thought I would share my cooking adventures from Xmas. I didn’t try for a theme like I did for Thanksgiving. I just put together some new recipes for my meals.

Shrimp Cones with Spicy Avocado Sauce

I am still trying to incorporate new healthy foods into my diet. My last attempt with avocado was ok but this was a great improvement. I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.  Instead of a yogurt sauce, I made a sauce made with avocado, Sriracha, and ranch salad dressing. I really like the sauce so I think in the future I may use it as my normal salad dressing (without the Sriracha). This is also the first time I cooked with tortillas. All I had to do with these is cut them into fourths and roll them in the shape of cones. The cones are “sealed” with a toothpick so you have to remember to take them out before eating. I marinated the shrimp in olive oil and various things overnight. I’m not too impressed with that. Next time, I will use different spices. The shrimp was heated in a pan while the tortillas were browned in the oven. I put some of the sauce in cone and then 3 shrimp. It turned out better than expected.

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48 large shrimp
2 tablespoon lime juice
0.25 cup olive oil
0.5 teaspoon cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt

0.5 cup Ranch dressing
1 large avocado
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas, cut into fourths
16 wooden toothpicks


1. Peel shrimp and wash in colander
2. Mix Shrimp Ingredients in a medium bowl
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight
4. Blend Sauce Ingredients using a Magic Bullet
5. Heat oven to 350 degrees
6. Shape tortilla wedges into cone shapes; secure each with toothpick.
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Bake tortillas 3 to 5 min or until light golden around edges.
9. Drain shrimp, discarding marinade
10. Heat in a skillet over medium-high heat
11. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 min until shrimp turned pink
12. Drizzle 1 tablespoon sauce inside the cone
13. Place about 3 shrimp inside of each cone
For dinner, I had roast beef, homemade macaroni & cheese, and broccoli. This is my first successful homemade macaroni & cheese. I’m not showing a recipe here but I do have a picture of my plate.

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Dessert: Oatmeal-Nut Ice Cream Cake

I again used my oatmeal-nut cookie crust since I like it so much. I made it to create a shell that I put ice cream (light ice cream) inside and topped with homemade frosting. I was disappointed in the frosting colors. My idea was to do red and green frosting but apparently it is impossible to get red with food coloring. So, I ended up with pink and green frosting. I created a checkered pattern with the center swirled. I thought it was interesting looking enough for me. I’m not trying to buy any fancy icing that I’m not going to use again. On my first time trying to cut the cake, I broke my knife. I think it was just the angle because the next one worked fine. I still had to wait for my piece to thaw a little bit. Overall, I was happy with the cake and my meals in general.

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Crust Ingredients:

2.25 cups nuts (1 cup pecan and 1.25 cups almonds)
2.25 cups regular oats
0.75 teaspoon salt
0.375 cup brown sugar
0.75 cup cold Country Crock spread

Filling Ingredients:

3 cups Ice Cream

Whipped Frosting Ingredients:

0.375 cup whipping cream
0.125 cup confectioners’ sugar
0.25 teaspoon vanilla
Red and green food coloring

Crust Procedure:

1. Line a 8 in x 8 in pan with a piece of parchment paper
2. Heat oven to 350o
3. Grind the nuts and oats into a fine crumble using a Magic Bullet
4. Transfer crumble to a bowl
5. Use a pastry blender to mix in salt, sugar, and cold butter
6. Mixture until it is easy to handle
7. Press the crumble firmly into the pan
8. Bake until set (about 25 min)
9. Let the crust cool completely (about 1.5 hr)

Filling Procedure:

1. Remove ice cream from freezer to soften (about 30 min)
2. Spread ice cream over the crust
3. Freeze for 3 hr until the ice cream is firm

Whipped Frosting Procedure:

1. Chill mixing bowls
2. Add sugar, vanilla, and cream to the mixing bowl
3. Add food coloring to bowls
4. Mix on high until stiff peaks form
5. Frost cake
6. Freeze until serving

Because I have to be healthier, I decided to make my Thanksgiving meal contain the 2 things I am working on at the moment:  Fiber and Potassium (K).  Having both of these in my diet is supposed to help lower my blood pressure and help with weight loss.  I created a menu for myself to do this and with the help of MyFitnessPal, calculated the amounts of these for each meal.  I cut down on the amount of food that I usually cook in the interest of not overloading on calories.  Most turned out well but one of them was not what I imagined it would be.  I’m still not near the amount of K that I need but I’m working on it.

I varied my dessert from my original Oat Pecan Pie Bars by making the crust with almonds instead of more pecans.

12 servings.  4 grams Fiber, 158 mg K, 344 calories, and 15 g sugar per serving.




I also was told to get more fish oil in my diet so I decided to have a fish type course for lunch.  My idea was to make Honey Soy Sauce Salmon Rice Balls.  I had my proportions all wrong and it came out more like a fish meatball with rice in it.  The majority of the rice was brown rice.  I have the ingredients listed below.  Basically, I cooked the salmon and ground it up in the Magic Bullet.  I cooked the rice and the sauce as made in another recipe.  I mixed all three together into little meatballs (21 of them) and cooked them in the oven for about 30 min at 350 degrees.  They are decent but not great.  I thought it would be good to pair them with some mandarin oranges since citrus is good with that type of sauce.

Rice balls:  21 servings.  0 grams Fiber and 182 mg K per serving.

Mandarin Orange (Cuties):  1 serving.  2 grams Fiber and 200 mg K per serving.



1/3 cup lite soy sauce (50% Less Sodium)

0.5 cup honey

1 teaspoon garlic powder

0.5 teaspoon minced onions

0.5 teaspoon black pepper

0.5 teaspoon red pepper

1.5 lbs. Salmon

~ 4 cups Rice (1/8 cup White rice, 1 cup Brown Rice, 3 cups Water, and 0.25 tsp salt)



For the main meal I made Chicken & Broccoli Casserole.  I adapted the recipe from a Williams-Sonoma cook book.  It is basically chicken and broccoli in a Romano cheese sauce. I have the ingredients and procedure below.

8 servings.  3 grams Fiber and 833 mg K per serving.



~ 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon dried sage

2 teaspoon paprika

6 tablespoon unsalted butter

18 oz broccoli

24 oz heavy (double) cream

¾ cup dry sherry

1 ½ cup Romano cheese


Black pepper

Red pepper

Garlic powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350o
  2. Trim any visible fat from the chicken
  3. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat
  4. In plastic bag, mix the flour, sage, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and paprika together
  5. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture
  6. Add the chicken pieces to the pan turning as they become golden, about 3-4 minutes on each side
  7. Arrange the broccoli in a layer in the bottom of the baking dish
  8. Cover broccoli with the browned chicken
  9. Pour off the excess oil from the sauté pan
  10. Add the cream to the pan and bring to a boil high heat
  11. Deglaze the pan by stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom
  12. Add the sherry and boil for 2 minutes
  13. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese
  14. Season the sauce with salt, black pepper, and red pepper and remove from the heat
  15. Top each piece of chicken with a large spoonful of the cream sauce and pour the remaining sauce around the chicken
  16. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoon cheese over the top
  17. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes

Oat Pecan Pie Bars

I was inspired by recipes on 2 blogs (Almonds & Avocados and Oh She Glows) to make some oat pecan pie bars. Those are no-bake recipes but I did bake mine. Basically what I made is a pecan pie with an oatmeal cookie crust in bar form. You can see my slideshow with pictures at various stages of the process, ingredients, and the procedure below.


Crust Ingredients:

1.5 cups pecan halves
1.5 cups regular oats
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.25 cups brown sugar
0.5 cups cold Country Crock spread

Filling Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
0.25 teaspoon salt
0.25 cups Country Crock spread
2/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecan halves

Crust Procedure:

1. Line a 8 in x 8 in pan with a piece of parchment paper
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees
3. Grind the pecans and oats into a fine crumble using a Magic Bullet
4. Transfer crumble to a bowl
5. Use a pastry blender to mix in salt, sugar, and cold butter
6. Mixture until it is easy to handle
7. Press the crumble firmly into the pan
8. Put pan in the freezer while preparing filling

Filling Procedure:

1. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter, syrup, and vanilla with hand beater
2. Stir in pecans
3. Pour into crust
4. Bake until set, 40 to 50 minutes
5. Cool slightly and serve warm or refrigerated

So last week, I had an on-site interview that I had to drive 6 hr to.  Of course they will pay me an amount per mile for my trouble and overall I will make money from that.  However, I didn’t get that job and they emailed me pretty quickly.  The same day I got the “We Hate You” email, I got scheduled for a phone interview for another place.  I had the screening and just waiting to see if I move on to the next step.  It is so much work do all these things.  I have to travel, do research on the company, and get very little to show for it.

Since I am still working part-time and my days were shifted around for next week, I decided to cook a new big meal.  Meaning dinner and dessert.  I haven’t decided what yet but I’d like it to be something I haven’t had before.  I’ll probably look around some of the cooking blogs I follow for ideas.  Any suggestions would be good.


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