Baked Potato

I know, I know… It’s just baked potato. But I have tried so many recipes for baking a potato and by far, this is the best and easiest baked potato I’ve had. The taste is unbelievable. I love eating the skin too. Just make sure you wash the potatoes really well. This is a perfect no-fuss side dish that you can just stick in the oven while making the main dish. As an added bonus, the aroma of the potatoes baking in the oven is so heavenly. I know, I know… it’s just baked potato. But a very delicious baked potato indeed!

Baked Potato

adapted from Good Eats by Alton Brown 

  • 1 large russet potato
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
  2. Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. But watch out, there will be some steam.

NOTE: If you’re cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

 

Chicken Buffalo Dip

I have never tried making a chicken buffalo dip, although a few people told me that it is really easy to make. I like easy recipes, especially when you’re entertaining friends. I feel like the past couple of months were a blur, and getting my girl friends together is the only way that will make me stay sane. So I decided to have them over, have some drinks and some appetizers, and just chat and relax. Along with other appetizers, I decided to finally make Chicken Buffalo Dip, and serve it with chips and crackers. I can’t believe I waited this long to make this! It was really good and so tasty. I made mine spicy (by adding extra hot sauce) to really feel the chicken buffalo flavor. I also used blue cheese instead of mozzarella cheese to give that extra sharp and salty flavor. From now on, every time I’m entertaining, chicken buffalo dip will be on the menu. ūüôā

Chicken Buffalo Dip

modified from allrecipes.com

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup cayenne pepper sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 (9.75 ounce) cans Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
  • Assorted fresh vegetables or crackers
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it’s smooth. Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

So I recently noticed that whenever I’m extremely happy and satisfied with my day, I go to my kitchen to bake. I made it a golden rule to not bake when I’m mad, because I know that it will not turn out right. I think your emotions emanate to the food that you’re making at that moment. For example, if you’re angry and you’re cooking, there’s a tendency for the food to be overly spiced. So one night, I decided to bake because that was the first day that I got to relax and not worry about a single thing. And because I had positive vibes that night, my carrot muffins turned out to be so moist, and the cream cheese filling was so creamy with the right sweetness. I shared the muffins with my family, and my husband’s co-workers, and they all loved it!

And a bonus: this muffin is great with coffee ūüôā

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

adapted from Fix Me A Snack

For the muffins:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup raisins, chopped

For the filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a small bowl, make the filling by mixing together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Then add the carrot and raisins. Stir to incorporate.
  5.  Spoon the muffin batter into a well-greased mini muffin pan, filling each cup only half way. Then place one teaspoon of the filling in each cup. Cover the filling with the remaining muffin batter.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5-10 minutes before gently moving them to a cooling rack. Serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 48 hours or freeze in an airtight container in a single layer.

Grilled Portabella Mushroom

I accidentally discovered how good a grilled Portabella Mushroom is! I was planning on making a Mushroom and pasta salad, and the direction was to grill the mushroom before cutting it to pieces and mixing it with the pasta. I already grilled the mushroom when I realized I did not have the pasta nor the other ingredients for the dressing. I decided to just cut up the mushroom and serve it along with the grilled asparagus as sides for oven-baked chicken. It was really juicy, and the olive oil just intensified the flavor of the mushroom. I must say this is now our favorite side to grilled meat.

Grilled Portabella Mushroom

  • 2 Portabella mushrooms, cleaned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat and oil the grates.
  2. Place the portabella mushrooms on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
  3. Place on the grill directly and grill until just tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes on each side.

Grilled Asparagus

I love ¬†making this as a side dish for grilled meat. Not only is it very easy to make, it is also very tasty. In fact, grilling the asparagus brings out its sweetness. Try it and you won’t regret it!

Grilled Asparagus

adapted from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking

  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat and oil the grates.
  2. Place the trimmed asparagus on a baking sheet. Add the chopped garlic and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Place on the grill directly or in a grill basket. Grill until just tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.