Monthly Archives: August 2014

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Pineapple Banana Smoothie 1

Fruit smoothies are one of my favorite ways to start my day! Especially in the summer when the thermometer on our kitchen window outside reads 101F and it’s not even 10am–which happened to me this morning. Add in the humidity of  more than 50% and I seriously wonder how anyone lives here. But that’s getting off topic.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie 2

Today’s topic: this pineapple banana smoothie. This is a perfect smoothie to start (or end)(…or continue) the day with! And it only has four ingredients. Yeah, that’s right! All you need besides the obvious banana and pineapple are yogurt and a few ice cubes!Put all of the ingredients in a blender, blend for a minute or two, pour into two glasses, and enjoy!

Pineapple Banana Smoothie 3

I had to take a gulp sip before I was finished photographing! So good!


Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 8oz glass servings

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

A refreshing and healthy smoothie to start (or end)(...or continue) the day with!


  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 ice cubes


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until fully incorporated. Pour into two glasses and enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan 8

Don’t you just love crusty breaded chicken encompassed in tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese? Yeah, me too. Which is why I like chicken parmesan so much. And the best part is, this chicken is baked, not fried! So you don’t have to feel guilty about making it: only a little bit of oil is used, just enough to grease the pan and keep the chicken from burning to ashes.

Ok, so maybe it wouldn’t burn to ashes in half an hour, but prevention is key.

Parmesan Chicken 1

I used my dad’s “recipe” for tomato sauce. I say “recipe” because his recipe isn’t written down; he basically told me “saute some onions, garlic, and any veggies we have; add in the tomatoes and cook”. So that’s what I did (but don’t worry, I’ll give you a more formal recipe than that)

To make the tomato sauce, cut up the veggies and then saute them for a few minutes on oil (any oil works)

Parmesan Chicken 2

After adding in the crushed and/or fresh tomatoes, the spices go in next. Nothing really exotic about them, except for the black pepper. It’s in that really cool grinder in the center. We got it from my grandparents’ in Serbia–that is, the grinder, not the pepper. I love using it, which is why many of the dinners I make are too peppery. But it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing. Even when I don’t have a clue–but, hey! I’ll add in some pepper to make people choke on the food so they can’t criticize it! Brilliant, I know.

With that said, cook the sauce for at least an hour (until the sauce has the consistency of spaghetti sauce)

Chicken Parmesan 3

Cut up the chicken into thin slices (I cut these pieces in half horizontally). You’ll need three bowls: one with flour, salt, and pepper; another with the breadcrumbs and spices; and a third with lightly beaten  eggs.

First dust the chicken with flour. Dip it in the eggs and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place in a lightly greased pan. Repeat for all of the chicken slices.

Drizzle olive oil on top of the chicken and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  And then turn around…

Chicken Parmesan 4

and see this mess and realize you only have 20 minutes to clean it up and sanitize it of salmonella. Work hard. I know you can do it!

Chicken Parmesan 7

After 20 minutes (and cleaning up), pour the tomato sauce over the chicken and top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Place a sprig of rosemary on top if your heart (and tastebuds) so desire. Bake until the cheeses melt and become lightly brown (about 10 minutes).

(Oh, and that’s my eager-to-eat little brother in the kinda-blurred-upper-right-corner of the picture)

Enjoy with your favorite pasta or bread!


Chicken Parmesan

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: Serves 6 (with leftovers) or 12

Chicken Parmesan

Crusty breaded chicken encompassed in tomato sauce and topped with melted cheeses! And the best part is, this chicken is baked, not fried! So you don't have to feel guilty about making it: just enough oil is used to grease the pan and keep the chicken moist! Enjoy!


    For the Tomato Sauce
  • 2 medium-small onions (or 1 large onion), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into quarter-moon slices
  • 1/2 a bell pepper (or a whole)
  • 1 celery stick
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz fresh tomatoes (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • a dash of turmeric
  • pinch of sugar
  • For the Chicken
  • *2 1/2 lb skinless,boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, washed
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil, for drizzling on chicken
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • spaghetti or bread, for serving with


    To make the Tomato Sauce...
  1. saute the vegetables on the oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add the bay leaves and saute for 10 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, coriander, basil, oregano, turmeric, and sugar. Cook on medium-low heat until the sauce has the consistency of spaghetti sauce (1-3 hours)
  4. To prepare the Chicken...
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  6. In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 1 sprig of rosemary (remove the leaves from the stem, discard stem, and mince the leaves), thyme, and parmesan cheese.
  7. In another bowl lightly beat the eggs.
  8. In a third bowl combine the flour, salt, and pepper.
  9. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture; then dip into the eggs. Next, coat with the breadcrumb mixture before placing in a lightly greased pan. Repeat for all of the chicken slices.
  10. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken; bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
  11. Put it all together!
  12. When the chicken is baked, take it out of the oven and adjust the oven temperature to 500F.
  13. Pour the tomato sauce evenly all over the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and add the second sprig of rosemary on top (optional).
  14. Bake until the cheeses melt and are lightly browned (10-15 minutes). Serve with pasta or bread.


*You can easily half the chicken if you're not feeding a crowd; just adjust the amount of breadcrumbs, eggs, and flour accordingly.

Recipe for chicken adapted from No Recipes

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart 12 Along with  eclairs I made this chocolate tart for my birthday two weeks ago! Rich, creamy and chocolaty, it was a great way to start the first day of my new year! Whether it’s for a birthday, a family-gathering, a rainy day, a holiday, a back-to-school treat, to satisfy a chocolate-craving, or to spice up a bland day, this tart will be a winner for everyone!

Chocolate Tart 2

These recipes are adapted from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts. It has now become my favorite baking book. I love the way she presents recipes: a Master Recipe begins each chapter and that recipe is tweaked to create new recipes. So instead of memorizing 35,683,500,671 different recipes, learn the Master Recipe, understand the techniques behind it, and you’re ready to make chocolate souffles, chocolate sauces and chocolate fillings from the same Master Recipe with the same basic techniques!

Chocolate Tart 3 This crust recipe, like all of the recipes in the book, stems off of a Master Recipe for pie dough. In her book, Ms. Sherry describes in detail the differences between and processes behind flaky and mealy pie doughs. 

Chocolate Tart 4

The recipe makes enough dough for two 9-inch pie crusts. I only wanted to make one chocolate tart, so I used the extra dough to make tartlets (isn’t that a cute name?) which I filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh blueberries. You can use the extra pie dough for anything your heart desires (if your heart desires two chocolate tarts, double the ganache recipe).

Chocolate Tart 7

Before reading Sherry Yard’s book, ganache seemed like a mystical treat. But after reading through the Master Recipe (and memorizing it) I was stunned by its simplicity: boil heavy cream, add to cut up chocolate, tap bowl, let sit for a minute, gently stir, and BAM! That’s all! (I was also shocked to find out how easy it actually is to make souffles; that should be my next adventure in the kitchen!)

Chocolate Tart 11

After pouring the ganache into the crust, I topped it with whipped cream in the middle and refrigerated it before serving.

I must give one warning before giving you the recipe: the filling is very rich and creamy; better to slice it thinly and get two (or three–if no one’s watching) slices then to slice it thickly and have to throw away half-eaten slices.

Just sayin’

Chocolate Tart

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 16 slices

Chocolate Tart


    Almond Crust
  • 6 oz. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • Ganache Filling
  • 9oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream


    Almond Crust
  1. Sift together the flour, almond flour, and sugar.
  2. Add in the butter and combine until the dough resembles coarse walnut-sized pieces.
  3. Mix together the egg and salt. Add to the flour and butter mixture and mix until the dough just starts to come together.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. (The dough can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days)
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll it out in a circle with a diameter an inch or two larger then the pan it will be baked in.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased baking pan. Using a fork poke a few holes in the bottom of the dough. Place parchment paper over the dough and fill the bottom with a faux filling. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Take out the faux filling and bake for another 10 minutes at 325F. Once the crust is golden brown, take it out of the oven and cool before using.
  9. Ganache Filling
  10. Cut up the chocolate into small pieces (about 1/4 inch). Place in a heat-proof bowl.
  11. Bring the heavy cream to a boil.
  12. Immediately pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and tap the bowl on the kitchen surface to settle the chocolate.Let sit for one minute.
  13. Gently stir the mixture with a spatula, careful not to add too much air to the mixture while stirring. Keep slowly stirring until the chocolate and heavy cream have been combined into a thick ganache.
  14. Pour the ganache into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least ten minutes before decorating (optional).


Recipes adapted from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking Almond Pie Dough recipe and Master Ganache recipe

Disclosure: this post was not sponsored by Sherry Yard or affiliates; all opinions are my own

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 6

I’ve been a very bad blogger; almost two weeks have gone by without a post. Shame. But today I have a recipe that will make up for those two weeks. It’s tasty, quick,and easy to make! It is…


In casserole form!

Don’t they look tasty?

Oh, and on a side note: yes, those are keys in the background of the above picture. Don’t ask.

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Ever since my sister made chicken enchiladas I’ve had a soft spot for these tasty filled rolls. What was stopping me from making them, though, was how time-consuming they are to make. I figured if I could only skip the fill-each-and-every enchilada step, I could make them more often.

And then one day I was browsing pinterest and I came upon this recipe (see, pinterest isn’t always a waste of time!) I glanced through the recipe and my hopes were confirmed: this recipe skipped the fill-each-and-every enchilada step! It wouldn’t take all afternoon to make them!

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 2

And another bonus: this casserole has plenty of cheese. Can you ever have too much cheese? I don’t think so. That’s why you can add as much as you want to–if you have the patience to grate it

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 4

Combine all of the ingredients (but only half the cheeses) in a large bowl.

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 5

Then pour it all into a prepared baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, top with sour cream, and enjoy!

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 7

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

This is for all of my fellow enchilada-lovers who just don't have the time to make classic enchiladas but still want the delicious dish for dinner!


  • 1 cup Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joes or quinoa
  • 1 10-oz can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup canned or frozen corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato, washed and diced


  1. Cook the harvest blends or quinoa according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Combine the grains, enchilada sauce, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Sesaon with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half of the cheeses.
  4. Spread the mixture into the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Afterwards,broil on high to brown the cheeses on top (if desired).
  7. Serve with the avocado and tomato.


Recipe adapted from Quinoa Enchilada Casserole