Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lil' Annie, Big Dessert

Annie Ewing is in the house (or she was like 3 weeks ago, and I'm finally blogging about it) and she's hookin us up with my favorite combination in the world: Coffee and cigars.

Wait. Okay, my second favorite combination: raspberries and chocolate.

This dessert has more calories than Annie has centimeters, but that's still not very many.
Before baking this bomb batch of berry-infused brownies, you'll need this stuff:
(recipe courtesy of

7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa, sifted
1 1/2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (if you use frozen, no need to defrost)

Then, do this:
  1. Preheat Oven to 355°F.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth.
  3. Place chocolate in a bowl with sugar and eggs.
  4. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix to combine.
  5. Pour into a 9 inch baking pan lined with non-stick baking paper (which we didn't have, and it wasn't the end of the world).
  6. Top the mixture with the raspberries and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set. Serve warm.
When that's done, you should have something that looks like this:

And this:

That's it! Let the Age of Baking begin.
Our Basil plant is really bored.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Holy Cheese Fungus Bird (Swiss Mushroom Chicken)

If there are two things I love on my chicken, they are mysterious cheese and edible fungus.

This is one of the most simple and most healthy recipies we have done so far..and pretty much all of our recipes are simple and healthy. Westin cooked this one; the recipe is courtesy of

Before we begin, I have a special message for those of you who are already crying in your chairs, "I don't like mushrooms!" My message is this:

But seriously. Assuming that all mushrooms taste the same all the time is like assuming Lindsey Lohan has always been a high-strung's simply not true. She didn't start until she was 9. That being said, there are a LOT of mushrooms in this recipe.

If you're really freaking out, just make it without the mushrooms, and this recipe will still be a ridiculously simple, but tasty way to bake your chicken. (Get it..baked..Lindsey Lohan..)

To begin this crack-free recipe, you'll need this stuff:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 chopped green onion
1 8 oz package fresh mushrooms (sliced)
4 slices Swiss cheese

Ignore the cajun seasoning in the picture.
I decided not to use it.

Once you've chopped your green onion and sliced your mushrooms, do this:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Combine oil and garlic in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken breasts and coat well with the oil and garlic. Sprinkle with the vinegar.

  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove chicken from oven and cover with green onion and mushrooms; then add a few more sprinkles of oil and vinegar and return dish to oven for 10-15 minutes more. Remove from oven and immediately place 1 slice of cheese on top of each chicken breast; cheese will melt. Serve immediately.
*Note: The recipe lady and I disagree slightly on this last step. Rather than re-bake the chicken, I took it out of the oven after 25 minutes, added everything on step 4, then returned to the oven for 10 more minutes, and it turned out a-ok. I don't want to Lindsey Lohan your chicken..sorry, I mean over-bake.

THAT'S IT. Ohmahgawsh it's so easy. Enjoy! When you're done, it should look something like this:

Cost of this meal per serving: I don't remember, but less than a gram of crack, I bet.
Status of Basil plant: Flourishing, but slightly bored.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maria's Marvelous Mid-Morning Minnesota Mom Munch.

Full credit for this recipe goes to our lovely new neighbor, Ms. Maria Becker. Looks like our hallway will be sharing many good meals together.

If you'd like to join us on this delicious new floor-wide friendship, then make sure you have this stuff:

1 loaf French Bread
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil (duh)
Whatever veggies or meats you'd like to throw in. We used asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, and red pepper.

Then, do this:
  1. Cut the crust off your French loaf and cut into 1 inch cubes

  2. Place cubes French bread pieces into a 13x9 greased pan.

  3. Whisk eggs in a bowl, add milk and salt and pepper.

  4. In a frying pan, sauté vegetables and meats with olive oil.. ours looked something like this:

5. Pour your egg mix over the bread, followed by your sautéed vegetables. It should look like this:

6. If possible, store in fridge overnight. Preferable, but not necessary.

7. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, depending how you like yo eggs. Make sure the middle is set and not too runny. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving, and it should look something like this:

Enjoy! Also, our Basil plant is still flourishing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Basil Plant: Flourishing. Blog: Neglected.

Yeah...sorry about that.
We've been cooking, I just haven't been blogging. I apologize in every language for the delay, but now

To be honest, a few recipes/pictures have been lost in the sad bout of neglect, but not to worry. Scott is here to save the day with one of my favorite meals of all time--Chicken Parmesan.

To begin this recovery meal after weeks of roman noodles because you can't survive without our blog, you'll need this stuff:

1 26 oz jar traditional pasta sauce, divided.
4 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Hot cooked linguine

You'll also need this stuff:

Pictured: Other stuff you'll need.

Once you have all that stuff, do this:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
  3. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound to 1/2-inch thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin or child.
  4. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper (to taste).
  5. In another shallow bowl whisk together egg and skim milk.
  6. In a third shallow bowl (SO MANY BOWLS) combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  7. Dredge a chicken breast in flour mixture; shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture; let excess drip off. Dredge in bread crumb mixture; shake off excess. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  8. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded chicken, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn with a spatula and cook 3 minutes more or until golden brown. Place in prepared baking dish.
  9. Spoon remaining pasta sauce on chicken. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Make your linguine while you're doing this.
Once you've done all this, taken a few bites because you forgot to photograph your food, then taken a really low-quality picture, it should look something like this:

Despite the crappy picture, this meal was delicious.
Speaking of success, our Basil plant is flourishing.
Speaking of failure, we lost the receipt for this meal, so I have no idea how much it cost. But I'd definitely serve it with asparagus.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Let me introduce you to a brand new dance.

So, I lied about the vegetarian thing today. Sorry. The order of our cooking got switched up,
so I'm cooking again, and we gettin' fancy. Because our room averages about $2 per serving for most of our meals, I decided it was ok to splurge with some fancy fish. So please play this song in the background as you follow along:

(Modified recipe from the Food Network) (Serves 4)

Once the song is playing, you'll need this stuff:

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
2 scallions
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 skin-on wild salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/3 cups cooked edamame
Lime wedges, optional garnish

Once you've put the song on repeat and have all your ingredients:

  • Position an oven rack so that a baking sheet set on the rack is about 4-inches below the heat source. Preheat the broiler.

  • Finely chop the cilantro and scallion and mix in the oil and ginger. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Cut two 3-inch long slits lengthwise on the top of the salmon fillets, going about halfway into the salmon. Evenly stuff the slits with the herb mixture. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

  • Stir together the lime juice, soy and honey until smooth.

  • Place the fillets, skin down, on a foil lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil, basting 3 to 4 times with the sauce, until just cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Served with edamame, it should look something like this:

Average cost per serving: $5.25
Status of Basil Plant: Enjoying the College World Series.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

For decades, it has terrorized homemakers, children, and chefs of all shapes and sizes.

Some say it cannot be done.

Some say it should never have been tried.

Some say there's no way Scott could do it.

I am speaking, of course, of


Whoa. Calm down, Sad Sandwich, terrified movie crowd, and my sister Lauren's baby picture.
He made it, and it was DELICIOUS. Seriously.

But before he was able to make it, he needed this stuff:
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce (the recipe called for yellow mustard, which Scott hates. A lot.)

He also needed this stuff:

1 large mixing bowl
1 not-as-large mixing bowl
Stirring utensil
Measuring things
Cutting board
(not pictured) baking sheet and foil

Then, he did this:
(recipe courtesy of HyVee ComfortFoods) (Serves 8)
  • Heat oven to 350.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine beef, tomatoes, oats, onion, bell pepper, egg, salt, and black pepper. Mix gently until blended.
  • Turn mixture into 9x5 inch loaf pan (or just form it yourself into a 9x5 inch loaf) and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Set aside.
  • In not-as-large mixing bowl, stir together ketchup, brown sugar and barbecue sauce. Spread on top of meatloaf. Bake 9x5 inch loaf for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 160.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Slice.
  • Eat.
Now, your meatloaf, with a nice side of potato salad and some strawberries, should look something like this:

Colin delivered this to me while I was at work. 5 points for Gryffindor.

See, that wasn't so bad, right? I'll be honest, I judged meatloaf before. No more. Between having these guys as roommates and the good food we're eating, ain't no doubt about it--we are doubly blessed.

The average cost of the meatloaf (based on 8 servings): $1.25. Wow.
Status of Basil plant: flourishing

Stay tuned tomorrow for some vegetarian goodness!

Conquer your fears--try making this yourself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chef Colin's captivating culinary creations containing carbs, carrots, citrus and candy!

It's time to see if C-$ McDonald can cook as well as he can run half marathons (which is really well).

Spoiler Alert: He can.

Last night he treated us to Pasta Primavera and HE MADE DESSERT.

Because the phrase "eat dessert first" is, to me, not so much a funny saying as a mandate from God, we'll do dessert first. But seriously, if you're making both, make dessert first. It needs to chill.

Lemon Breakfast Parfaits (recipe courtesy of tasteofhome magazine)
Serves 6.

First, you'll need this stuff:
3/4 cup fat-free milk (we used 2%)
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup lemon yogurt
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
1 cup sliced peeled kiwi
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
(Fresh mint would be awesome on top, but we didn't have any. One fresh plant at a time).

  • In a small saucepan, bring milk and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until milk is absorbed. Fluff with a fork; cool.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, yogurt, honey and lemon peel. Stir in couscous.
  • Combine kiwi, blueberries, and raspberries; spoon 1/4 cup into each of six parfait glasses. Layer with couscous mixture and remaining fruit. Garnish with mint, if you have it. Ginger would be nice, too.
It should look something like this:

Now let it chill while you make yo dinna.

Pasta Primavera. (Recipe courtesy of tasteofhome magazine)
(Serves 8-10)

Sidenote: I looked up the definition of "primavera" and this is what I got:
(noun) the hard, light-colored timber of a Central American tree.

Oh. Right.

So first, you'll need this:

A Central American tree with
lightly colored timber.

You'll also need this stuff:

1 16 oz pkg of spaghetti
1 lb. fresh asparagus. trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces
2 medium carrots cut into 1/4 in. slices (as you can see, Colin used more).
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 10 oz. pkg frozen peas, thawed
3 green onions, chopped (the recipe tried to make us use 8, we said "no, no, no.")
3 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (the recipe said white pepper, we said "huh?")
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup grated Parmesean cheese (split into 2 half-cups)

Once you've chopped and diced and blahblah, start boiling your water for the spaghetti, then..
  • In a large skillet, saute asparagus and carrots in butter for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; saute until crisp-tender.
  • Stir in ham, peas, onions, basil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Drain spaghetti; place in large bowl. Add contents of skillet and 1/2 cup cheese; toss to combine. Serve with remaining cheese.
Hopefully, the new contents of your large bowl look something like this:

I think this is Colin's way of saying "we need to eat more vegetables."

And once we've combined all of the above with the garlic bread our dear friend Natalie brought over, you should have a plate that looks like this:

"Aw man, I thought we were supposed to mix the dessert in with the pasta!"


That's it! Covers all the food groups, including dessert.
Average cost of the pasta primavera per serving (based on 8 servings): $2.80
Status of basil plant: flourishing

Ditch the easy mac. Make this instead.