Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

So are you guys ready for Valentine’s Day this week? I feel like it’s everywhere. And I haven’t even been down the seasonal aisle at Target yet. (Okay, I’ll be honest, if I had been down that aisle, it would have been the one at Walmart not Target. Because I’m super classy.)

IMG_0973Eric and I went on a Valentine’s date this weekend to avoid the crowds on Thursday. We decided to do no gifts this year, but Eric stopped at a cute little garden shop on the way to our babysitter’s place and told me to pick out a plant. He knows me well. Don’t get me chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Get me a new friend. (Aren’t you guys friends with your plants?) One of my plants died a while back (after weeks of neglect. I guess I’m not a very good friend. I looked up at that plant from my position on the couch several times while I had the flu and thought “I need to water that plant…later.”) Anyway, we picked out some awesome plants and now I feel like I live in a magazine. Even though my lamps don’t necessarily match my curtains and there are toys littering the floor. Plants just make you feel good.

IMG_0955This Indian dish will make you feel good too. My brother Nathan just about choked when I told him that this recipe calls for no butter. That’s right…there is no butter in this Butter Chicken. Seems kind of counter-intuitive, I know. Puja, the lovely author over at US Masala, says that it’s called Butter Chicken because the sauce is creamy like butter. I don’t care how you want to describe it, all I know is that it is food from heaven.

There are just about as many recipes out there for Butter Chicken as there are recipes for spaghetti sauce. I think it’s one of those dishes that is best adapted to taste, so go wild. I like this recipe because it doesn’t call for heavy cream, but you really don’t miss it. I love it when you can taste heavy cream that’s not actually there. Makes me feel pretty good about myself.

Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)


Source: US Masala

Makes 4 servings

For the marinade:

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (fresh will work great too!)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon Tandoori masala
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste (or fresh!)
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 8-oz can tomato sauce, or 1 cup diced tomatoes, pureed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Tandoori masala
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup evaporated milk or regular milk
1 teaspoon kasoori methi (fenugreek)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
cilantro, to garnish

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade except the chicken. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and combine with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. The longer the better.

To cook in the oven: Preheat oven to 425˚F. Thread the chicken onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (or a broiling pan). Bake until the chicken is done, turning the skewers every 5 minutes or so. It shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes total.

To cook on the stove: Lightly grease a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook until just barely done, making sure you don’t stir too often. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes or so. Set aside.

In another large skillet, heat the tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste, salt, and turmeric, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, paprika, Tandoori masala, and coriander, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken and garam masala and combine.

Add 1/4 cup water and simmer for a couple minutes. Add milk and kasoori methi and bring to a boil. Add more water if you want a smoother sauce; I actually added some of the leftover marinade. Remove from heat and add sugar and chopped cilantro, or add the cilantro individually.

Serve with hot rice, naan, or roti.

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One Hour Cinnamon Rolls

IMG_1031This one’s for you, Saturday morning. One hour cinnamon rolls. Seriously, I timed myself. I was stuffing my face with cinnamony goodness almost exactly one hour after I started. Sometimes I crave cinnamon rolls but then I’m like hm, can I wait 3 hours? No, I guess this spoonful of nutella will have to make do. (Sometimes it kinda scares me how much my body craves sugar. Good thing no one ever offered me heroin as a youngster, otherwise I’d be in the back of an alley somewhere. I’m joking. Kinda.)

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My mother-in-law Kris makes these cinnamon rolls whenever all of us come to visit for the holidays. She is one of those on-top-of-it kind of people who is up and dressed by 6 every morning. She is always busy rolling out delightful pastries while the rest of us are barely rolling out of bed. I feel guilty when I finally stumble bleary-eyed down the stairs and she is fully dressed, smiling perkily, breakfast all ready for us. When I tell her thank you, (huge bite of third roll) these are amazing (chug chug chug milk) she always says “It’s no big deal. It’s not hard.”

IMG_0995Kris actually says that a lot, and I’ve taken it to heart. Sometimes I start to complain about things in my head, usually about everyday things, like dishes (shudder), or wiping Charlotte up after she eats, or making the bed. And then I hear Kris, “It’s not hard! It’s easy!!” She’s like my own personal Richard Simmons for house work. And then I don’t feel so grumpy about the laundry I’m folding. Thanks Kris! Next time maybe you could dance around like Richard Simmons though, it might make me even more motivated.

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One Hour Cinnamon Rolls


Source: Marilyn Chapple, Jean McCray, and Sharon Hansen

1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 beaten eggs
5 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar, I used dark brown

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon butter

In a large bowl, mix 1/3 cup sugar, yeast, and oil with warm water until dissolved. Cover and let stand in warm place for 15 minutes. I turned my oven on to warm (170˚), turned it off, then put the bowl inside and set the timer. Sift your flour while you wait.

Blend eggs into yeast mixture. Add salt to sifted flour, then gradually add to yeast mixture to make a very soft dough. Resist the urge to add more flour.

Knead dough for 5 minutes on lightly floured surface, or switch to the dough hook on your mixer and let a machine do the work. Roll dough into rectangular shape, about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush dough with melted butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over dough.

Roll up dough and slice into 12. Place in a greased 9×13 pan. Let rest 10 minutes.

Bake at 425˚ for 12-17 minutes. You want them to be nice and brown on top–it’s easy to underbake this recipe.

IMG_0979You can see how brown mine were when I took them out, and I probably should have let them go another minute or two.

To make glaze, combine the hot water and butter with a whisk. Add the powdered sugar gradually, whisking as you go. If you’re butter isn’t getting incorporated, just stick it in the microwave for a few seconds. Drizzle over the hot rolls and serve immediately! And everyone will love you!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Gluten-Free)

Who’s ready for more pizza? I know I just posted another pizza-themed recipe last week, but honestly, is there ever too much pizza? Not possible. I think that was one of Charlotte’s first words. Eric cheered loudest on Sunday after he realized he guessed right on the coin-toss at the Super Bowl and won a free pizza from Papa Johns.

IMG_0913Also this makes 2 recipes in a row I’ve posted that are actually healthy but masquerade as comfort food. (Banana ice cream anyone?) Don’t worry, I’m not trying to trick you. I only eat things that taste good. I’m picky like that. I can’t be held responsible if sometimes those recipes also happen to be healthy.

IMG_0906Raise your hand if you have gluten-free friends. Seems like everybody is going gluten-free these days (or being diagnosed). So it’s good to have some tasty grain-free recipes up your sleeve. I have never seen anyone so happy about something I made for them. I thought my friend Gia was going to cry when I told her I made her flour-free pizza.

IMG_0928I’ve been stalking Natalie over at Perry’s Plate recently. She has some really amazing grain-free recipes on her site. I just realized that this is the second pizza recipe of hers I have made. She knows how to do pizza, what can I say.

IMG_0921This crust is not bread, and isn’t trying to be bread. It’s cauliflower. So don’t expect anything yeasty. Natalie says it tastes like quiche, and I think that’s a pretty good description. But quiche that tastes like pizza. How can this be a bad thing?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Gluten-Free)


Source: Perry’s Plate

1 head cauliflower, stems removed and cut into 2-inch florets
3 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or whatever combo you like of oregano, thyme, basil, etc.
a few big pinches of salt (maybe 1/2-3/4 teaspoon)
Your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray or silicone liner. I used an 11×17 inch pan.

Boil or steam the cauliflower until it is fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer cauliflower puree to a large bowl and add the eggs, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, dried herbs and salt. Mix well.

Spread mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 16-20 minutes or until the crust begins to turn a darker golden brown around the edges with spots on top.

Remove from the oven. Add desired sauce, toppings, and cheese. Return to oven for 10-12 minutes or until toppings are heated through and cheese is melted and golden.

Five-Minute Healthy Banana Ice Cream with Biscoff Swirls

So, have you all recovered from last night’s indigestion?

IMG_0890Don’t you just love American holidays? Not that the Super Bowl is a holiday, but it’s still a food event just like Thanksgiving and Christmas. We hang out with friends and family and eat until we’re sick. I really can’t think of anything I would rather be doing.

Last night we headed over to my sister Nikki’s house because they just bought a TV that is taller than Charlotte. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. I felt like I was in Best Buy.

IMG_0883Somehow the conversation (I should clarify that only the females were conversing. The men only spoke up when they felt the need to shout at the females to be quiet, or after a touchdown. Although I don’t know if the latter can be called talking, it sounded more like Indian war-cries. With the dance to match.)

Anyway, the female conversation turned to our respective awkward-pubescent stages. Nikki’s husband has twin sisters, and they were trying to convince us that the attention they got as identical twins made their awkward stage all the worse. That’s when Nikki chimed in, “No, Karen’s got you beat on this one.” I’m glad to know that I was so horrifying as an 11 year old that I made these kind of lasting impressions. It’s like in Mulan when her Dad basically tells her that she hasn’t bloomed yet but when she does she’s gonna be “the most beautiful of all.” At least that’s what I tell myself.

IMG_0875So raise your hand if you want some ice cream that’s good for you. And actually tastes like ice cream. I swear I am not making this up. This is all over the internet, with good reason. Who knew that blended frozen bananas would taste exactly like ice cream? It’s amazing. If you don’t like bananas, don’t try this. It tastes just like bananas, except in ice cream form. I feel stupid saying that, but I don’t want to disappoint you. (Like all the pins you see on Pinterest that try to convince you that cauliflower tastes like mashed potatoes…we all know that’s just wrong.) My favorite way to eat bananas is when they are dipped in Biscoff, so this ice cream is like the more awesome version of my favorite snack.

Five-Minute Healthy Banana Ice Cream with Biscoff Swirls


Source: Pennies on a Platter

Makes 4 half-cup servings.

Note: This recipe can of course be adapted to include whatever you want. Instead of Biscoff you could try Nutella, peanut butter, hot fudge, or whatever you think of that would taste good with bananas. Nikki over at Pennies on a Platter also made a Chunky Monkey version you should check out. Yum!

3 bananas (mine were pretty ripe, but I don’t think it matters too much.)
3 or 4 tablespoons Biscoff Spread

Peel the bananas and slice them into 1/2 inch disks. Spread them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and freeze for about 2-3 hours. (At this point you can either make the ice cream or throw the frozen bananas in a ziplock and save for later.)

IMG_0837Place frozen banana slices in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary. Add the Biscoff to taste; you can either swirl it in with a spoon or blend it so that it is fully incorporated. I melted some Biscoff in the microwave and drizzled it over the top.

If you serve this immediately, your ice cream will be pretty soft, looking more like this:

IMG_0843I stuck mine in a tupperware in the freezer for several more hours to achieve true ice-cream consistency.

Hot Pizza Dip

IMG_0819I really love the waves that come on food blogs. You probably wouldn’t notice unless you follow multiple, (or like 1200 if you’re me) but they’re all so predictable. Pumpkin and apple recipes starting October 1st, thousands of cookie recipes in December, everyone pledging to be healthy in 2013 with salads in January, then a few weeks later conveniently forgetting about that in time for Super Bowl appetizers, the more cheese and carbs the better. I’m not complaining, really. I’m one of them. It’s just a nice feeling having 1200 dips to choose from this week.

IMG_0796So here’s my carby-cheesy appetizer for you guys. It really is sooooooo good, but were you that doubtful after you heard carby-cheesy? I first had this dip a few New-Years-Eve’s ago at my brother Eric’s house. He and his wife Sandi decided to make all the top-rated appetizers on Allrecipes.com, and this was one of them. It blew everything else away, in my opinion, even though it was competing against the likes of these and these and these.

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Sometimes you just need some straight-up pepperoni in your life.

The recipe has 450 reviews on Allrecipes.com, which means that it’s got to be pretty reliable. And now you have my Pizza-Dip-Testimony too. Oh, and did I mention this is cooked in the microwave? Yeah dude. Have fun watching the commercials the Super Bowl!!

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Hot Pizza Dip


Source: adapted from Allrecipes.com

Serves 6-8

Note: You don’t have to microwave your pepperoni before placing it on the dip. I like that step because not only do you get to throw some of the grease away, but the pepperoni turns out crispier. Yes please. Oh, and obviously you can put whatever pizza toppings you want on this dip. One more thing: many of the reviews on the original recipe say that this isn’t worth eating unless you make it at least 24 hours ahead of time. That’s fine and all, do that if you want. But I’m pretty sure I ate like half of that pan after taking these pictures, and I had just made it so…obviously I think it’s good right away.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
dash crushed red pepper, optional
dash paprika, optional
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup pizza sauce
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 ounces pepperoni, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1 loaf french bread/baguette, sliced (or tortilla chips if you are gluten free)

Place a paper towel on a large plate. Place a single layer of pepperoni slices on top (You can chop them before or after this step. I do recommend chopping them at least in half, it makes for easier eating.)

IMG_0735Microwave the pepperoni for about one minute, or until it is just barely starting to get crispy. Set aside.

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It really does make you feel pretty good about yourself to throw this paper towel away.

In a bowl or mixer, beat together the cream cheese, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder, red pepper, and paprika. You could do this with a spoon if your cream cheese is soft enough.

Spread mixture in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate, or a shallow microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture. Spread the pizza sauce over the cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then top with green pepper, pepperoni and olive slices, or whatever pizza toppings you want. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut your bread into thin slices. Place in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil for 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on it. I rotated my pan once. If you want them toasty on both sides, flip them halfway through.

Serve the dip while it’s hot, using a spoon to get the dip onto your bread. You could also serve this with tortilla chips to make it gluten free.

Browned Butter Brownies

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Oooooohhhh fffffuuuuuuuuuuuudge

If there is ice cream in the house, Eric is incapable of eating anything that could be considered a dessert without a scoop of said ice cream to go with it. He of course pulled out the vanilla when I made these amazing awesome brownies, and it made me think for some reason of my sister Nikki and her deceptive ice-cream-cake-full-of-lies from a few years ago.

BYU and the University of Utah have a huge rivalry, and every year they have an ice cream contest. Local stores stock up on BYU ice cream and U of U ice cream, they keep track of sales, and at the end of the football season whichever team has sold more ice cream wins.

Nikki’s husband Mike is a huge BYU fan, so for his birthday she decided to make him an ice cream cake with BYU ice cream. Except that the day of the party came and…every single store within reasonable driving distance was completely sold out of BYU ice cream. That’s when she remembered that the ice cream is the same for each team, the only difference is the packaging: blue for BYU or red for U of U.

Oh yes, she did. I think we may have actually burned the empty U of U ice cream boxes after we made the cake so that he would never find the evidence. The ice cream cake was delicious…but only because he had no clue that it was ice cream from the enemy.

I actually called Nikki before writing this story just in case she hadn’t fessed up to Mike yet. I didn’t want to be the cause of their divorce.

IMG_0669Now about these brownies. Everyone knows that everything tastes better when you put browned butter in it. It’s a fact. Brownies are no exception. You can’t even taste the browned butter, but it works its magic to make the brownies ridiculously rich and decadent. Seriously, the batter is so thick you could probably turn the unbaked pan upside down and it wouldn’t come out.

I’m a brownies-and-milk kind of girl, but even I have to admit that ice cream definitely ameliorates these already fabulous brownies. Prepare yourself. You will need something, because these brownies will make all of those got-milk commercials come true, and you may actually die from chocolate overload if you don’t have at least a glass of milk. Enjoy!

Browned Butter Brownies


Source: Something Swanky

Makes one 9×13 pan.

2 1/2 sticks salted butter (1 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lining with parchment paper or foil and then spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Or just spray the pan.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. The butter will foam up, then back down and start forming brown colored milk solids or “bits”. When it is a nice light brown and it starts to smell like you could drink it straight, that’s when you know it’s done. (Here’s a good lesson on browned butter.)

While your butter is browning, combine sugar and cocoa in a bowl or stand mixer.

Once the butter is nice and brown, immediately pour the butter into the bowl with the sugar and cocoa (so that it stops cooking. You don’t want it to burn). Beat the mixture until it is smooth, almost creamy.

Add the salt, water, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition.

Add the flour and chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated. Batter will be about the consistency of cement. Have a taste. It’s awesome.

Use a sturdy rubber spatula to spread batter in the 9×13 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool, then cut into 2″ squares to serve. (Or don’t let it cool, and cut it into 5″ squares like me.)

Cream Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

IMG_0612We had our neighbors over for games tonight. I was in the kitchen talking to my friend Jessica, who asked about the brownies I had made (which I will be posting soon because they were a-maz-ing). Here’s roughly how that conversation went:

Me: Yeah, they have browned bu-

Eric, from across the room: Karen.

Me:-tter in them and only a cup of

Eric, from across the room: Karen.

Me: flour so they are super rich. Yes, I

Eric, from across the room: Karen.

Me: licked the bowl, try not to judge

Eric, from across the room: Karen!!

Me: me. I know I’m pregnant but only one in ev

Eric, from across the room: KAREN!!!!!!

ery 20,000 eggs has salmonella so I take the ris–

Eric, from across the room: KAREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: OH MY GOSH YOU ARE LIKE A 3-YEAR-OLD SAYING MOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOM OVER AND OVER AGAIN CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT I AM HAVING A CONVERSATION?!!!

Eric, having finally gained my attention: Is it time to put Charlotte to bed?

IMG_0627I love my husband. I really do. He is infinitely superior to all of your husbands. But sometimes…I feel like his mom.

Who’s ready for some biscuits and gravy?? Yeah dude. I love this stuff. I had a meal plan in a campus cafeteria my freshman year of college where they served biscuits and gravy for breakfast all the time, and those were basically the best days of my life. And that was just a cafeteria version. This recipe will make you want to move South, buy a Rebel t-shirt, and pretend your accent sounds like Reese Witherspoon’s on Sweet Home Alabama. So so good.

Cream Biscuits and Sausage Gravy


Source: Cook Like a Champion

Cream Biscuits:
Makes 8 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cream with a spoon until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Gather into a ball and knead until smooth. Don’t overdo it. Less is more.

Using your hands, shape the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Using a 2 1/2-inch floured cutter, cut the biscuits into rounds and place on prepared baking sheet. Reshape the dough to cut additional biscuits. (At this point, the baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.) Bake biscuits for about 7 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake for another 6-8 minutes, until golden brown.

Sausage Gravy
Serves 4-6

12 ounces bulk pork sausage
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up with a spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside. Remove the sausage as soon as you think it’s done. You don’t want all your beautiful grease to disappear.

Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and whisk for about 1 minute. Continue whisking while slowly adding the milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sausage and serve immediately over split biscuits.

Creamy Lime Bars

IMG_0583I secretly love rainy days. If you know me well enough to know my feelings about weather, this may seem odd, because I really really love sunshine. But now the cat’s out of the bag. I finally accepted it this morning after years of denial when I caught myself thanking the Lord in my prayer that it was cloudy. What the heck?

Today was a doozy though. (Name that movie.) (Okay, I swear I was not going to waste any more of your time with this, but I just googled the word “doozy” and the first hit is on Merriam Webster, and the example sentence is, “Watch out for that step, it’s a doozy.” My life is complete.)

IMG_0610Anyway, today we had some crazy freezing rain. All the crunchy snow that looks perfectly step-able is actually death in the form of ice.

IMG_0599I can’t stop eating these lime bars. I’m sitting here trying to write this post, but have to keep taking breaks to eat more and then deal with the subsequent mess on my fingers. (And by “deal with” I mean lick off every delicious speck.) I’m a total sucker for tart desserts, but these lime bars are no joke. I was dubious about the Nilla Wafer crust, but don’t be like me. It is amazing. Go make some right now. Good luck waiting the 2 hours they are supposed to cool in the fridge.

Creamy Lime Bars


Source: slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

Note: These can of course be made into creamy lemon bars. Just swap the zest and the juice for lemon.

21 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (I used 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temp (you can place eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar, for dusting
2 tablespoons grated lime peel, for dusting

Set out your eggs and cream cheese so that they are room temperature when you need them. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafers until they are very fine crumbs. Add 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar, and pulse to combine. Chop butter into small pieces and add them to the processor. Use one-second pulses (only like 4 or 5) to cut in the butter–don’t overdo it. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. (You can of course do this with a pastry cutter too. If you don’t have one, just use a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.)

Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 tablespoons flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 tablespoon lime zest and lime juice. Make sure you scrape the bowl well so that there is no unblended cream cheese. Pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer the better. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons grated lime peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator.

Swedish Meatballs

I’m listening to Eric singing in the shower after working out at the gym. He’s one of those good people of the world who exercises every day, even after a long day at work. Me? Well I’m pregnant. I know, doctors keep telling us that this is in fact exactly why I should start exercising, but we all know doctors change their minds about stuff like this every 10 years anyway. Right??

IMG_0565I think I might be nesting. Or maybe I’m just finally reaching what most people would consider a normal level of cleanliness. We’ll see how long it lasts. Today I scrubbed my oven within an inch of its life. I deep cleaned my Kitchenaid. I did all the laundry in the house. Changed all the sheets. I even cooked dinner. Yet somehow I managed to avoid the biohazard level of dirty dishes that were literally overflowing my sink. You know those days, when the dishes are stacked so high that it’s impossible to fill your water  pitcher without bailing in water from a cup, and you can’t wash your hands without lifting up your elbows.

Sometimes I write about stuff on this blog that I think other people will relate to, but then I realize that no, I’m the only one in the world who is this disgusting.

IMG_0557These meatballs, on the other hand, are divine. Eric’s family is Swedish, and this is the special meal they eat every year on Christmas Eve. They are awesome and delicious and guess what, they are super easy. They are similar to the meatballs you can get at Ikea (but way better!)

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Swedish Meatballs


Source: Eric’s Grandma Prudie

Serves 6-8

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-5 dashes hot sauce

3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 cans water

5 lbs boiled potatoes

Combine all meatball ingredients (ground beef through hot sauce) in a large bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then spray lightly with nonstick spray. With moistened hands, shape the meat into balls that are about the size of a ping pong ball. (It doesn’t really matter as long as they are uniform.) Place them on the baking sheet; you can put them right next to each other, just make sure they’re not touching. Bake in a 450˚ oven for 11-16 minutes, until they are brown and starting to get crispy on top.

You can cook this in the oven or in the crock pot:

Oven directions: In a 9×13 casserole dish, combine mushroom soup with 1-1/2 cans of water. Add the meatballs and stir. Bake at 350˚for 1 hour.

Crock pot: Combine the soup and water in the crock pot. Add meatballs and stir. Heat on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4. You just need it to get hot.

Serve over boiled potatoes.

Chickpea Curry with Jasmine Rice (Vegetarian)

It’s Friday!! Hurray! Oh wait…I’m a stay at home mom.

Okay, so that lack of enthusiasm for the weekend is not how I usually feel, but it definitely is this time around. Member last week how I was bragging about not getting sick even though everyone around me was? Yeah. I think you all called that one.

The worst part is not the incessant coughing or the 19 boxes of kleenexes we’ve gone through, but the fact that Eric has decided this week that he is in love with West Wing. Seriously? Could there be a more boring TV show? And Downton Abbey just came out. It’s like insult to injury.

IMG_0454You can’t argue with this chickpea curry. It’s super easy and quick, not to mention cheap and a good way to get in some leafy greens. A great meatless meal for a busy weeknight. Or a Friday afternoon after not having cooked for the entire week. (I know you won’t judge me when I tell you I had Cheetos and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner last night. Rations were low on the cold front.)

Chickpea Curry with Jasmine Rice


Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted crushed tomatoes (I couldn’t find this, I used a can of petite diced tomatoes)
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a small saucepan, combine rice, water, salt, and garlic. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once it starts to boil, turn heat to low and set a timer for about 12 minutes. Do not stir. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat but do not remove the pan. Set the timer for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garam masala; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt and salt. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice.