Monthly Archives: April 2010

cinnamon french toast bake

I am trying with all my might to keep up with this blog, but lo is it hard. A lot of my cooking has been sort of spur-of-the-moment and I never happen to have my camera around so it goes undocumented.. or else I think up some sort of meal and realize it’s probably not good enough for this thing, so while I cook often, not all of it makes the cut. Anywho! I felt the pressure last week and after a group project, quiz and exam, I felt the need to go home for the weekend and cook SOMETHING.

I decided to focus on breakfast for a change and because in my house, whatever you make for breakfast will disappear – good or bad. I ended up Googling my way around, stumbling off egg recipes and for some sort of “bake.” Ultimately, I found this Cinnamon French Toast Bake from Pillsbury which seemed to fit the bill as my whole family loves french toast and warm things and the occasional nuts-on-top. The recipe itself was about as easy as it gets and with minimal ingredients – just eggs (lots of them! …okay, 6), vanilla, cream, cinnamon and maybe some flour? and of course, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. On top, I only ended up using one cansiter of the icing because I figured the less dripping sugar on top, the healthier. Somewhat, anyway. I’d definitely make it again, but probably bake it for another few minutes and maybe leave off the pecans (personal preference). Judging by what was left an hour after it came out of the oven though, I’d say it was a success.

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chicken cannelloni

I was going to start this off with “a few years ago,” but I did the math – and it was FIVE years ago. Anywho. Five years ago, my dad and I went to Florida over my high school winter break. While there, besides tasting “Alligator Bites,” we stumbled upon a restaurant called Romano’s Macaroni Grille, a restaurant I think we may have heard of from one of my dad’s coworkers, but I can’t remember details back that far. I ended up ordering the chicken cannelloni and was blown. away. “Hand-rolled pasta filled with roasted chicken, fresh spinach and melted cheese, then baked in an Asiago cream sauce. Topped with imported tomato sauce.” .. how can you not devour it?! We asked about any locations they had up north and there’s 2 in Massachusetts, but they’re each about an hour from here — so there was only one real thing to do recently when I started craving just that – find a copycat recipe and make it myself.

Matt and I loved it, though next time I’m not sure I would mix the two sauces together because as I remember the dish in the restaurant, it was an asiago sauce with a small topping of tomato sauce on top of the actual pasta, as opposed to a complete mix of the sauces. Regardless, the dish was gone a day or two later (it makes  a lot!) and I’d definitely make it again. It’s relatively easy, it’s just really about timing the cooking of the chicken with the cooking of the lasagna noodles – so the chicken has a little time to cool and the lasagna noodles don’t sit too long and stick together. Pictures & recipe…. Continue reading

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jumbo chocolate chip cookies

At the Auburndale book sale in early March, I snagged a few cookbooks, namely a Family Circle one which I am currently busy worshipping – so many great recipes and kitchen/cooking tips that I would never know otherwise! As most of my friends know, when I’m bored – I bake. So on a recent night, I broke out my brand new (okay, slightly used) Family Circle cookbook and flipped through for something on the dessert spectrum that was quick and easy and these cookies did it! They really are jumbo (we scooped dough by the 1/4 cup), but they are THAT good. I know every oven varies, but my first batch was in the oven for the just-perfect amount of time – long enough that they had cooked through, but short enough that they were just barely browned, still soft all around. I would definitely make these again and recommend them if you’re looking for something relatively easy, but sort of spur of the moment – and definitely go the extra step to buy chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips .. it’s part of the jumbo experience! Pictures and recipe, right where they always are…

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b’s birthday – part 2: checkerboard cake

I didn’t mean to wait this long in between posts about the same meal, but the rest of life sort of got in the way. SO! here’s part two. Like I said in my last post, B had had a pretty rough week before her birthday, so I was trying to make it extra special. I had also had a recipe for a checkerboard cake – from scratch – for a while and figured now (or then) was as good a time as ever.. so, I decided to sweat it out and cook it up!

After telling my sister about it, she showed me the pans they now MAKE specifically for a checkerboard cake! but at the time, I knew nothing of it, so while it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as perhaps that pan would’ve made, I tried pretty hard. I also asked B what her favorite candy/color was for decorating purposes, but “peanut m&ms” and “green” weren’t exactly what I expected in return.

So, while there’s now perfect-sized pans and box mixes that would’ve made this recipe way easier, there’s something to be said about the satisfaction that comes from imperfect checkerboard patterns and from-scratch cakes. Recipe and pictures after the jump.

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