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BSI Roundup & Winner!

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Whew! I tell you what, you guys made my job really hard with all the great recipes you sent in!  Thank you to all those who participated and made this so much fun!  First let’s do the roundup so you can see what I’m talking about, then I’ll announce the winner.    


My friend, Cheryl, of The Southern Cookbook submitted her family’s favorite recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread, which looks fabulously moist and wonderful.  I also love that this recipe uses zucchini, an in-season ingredient that many people have coming out of their ears right now!    


Natasha of Natasha’s Kitchen submitted her recipe for Nalesniki, which are Russian Cheese Crepes.  I bet you’ve never heard of Nalesniki, have you?  Well, now you know!  I always enjoy Natasha’s recipes since Ukrainian and Russian cooking are so foreign to me and I’m feeling much more educated (and hungry) since subscribing to her blog!    


My friend, Kim, of Foodin New England submitted her Crispy New England Beer Battered Shrimp recipe.  Crispy beer battered shrimp?  YES PLEASE!  And hand over that rice with the white wine oyster mushroom sauce while you’re at it!  This chick is very creative in the kitchen and never ceases to amaze me.    


Oy, the ugly deliciousness of a casserole!  (Don’t worry, it’s my picture so I can say that.)  If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of a scoop of casserole on your plate, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s nearly impossible to make it look pretty!  My buddy, Marina, sent me her recipe for Fiesta Chicken and Cornbread that has flour not only in the creamy kicked-up chicken filling, but in the cornbread topping as well.  She doesn’t have a food blog or a picture of her recipe, but after reading through it, I think you’ll see why I had to make it ASAP, which is why there is a picture.  Believe me, this casserole is incredible.  Seriously–look at the ingredients in the recipe below.  There is enough fat in there to make Paula Deen die a happy death.  Whipping cream, butter, bacon grease and bacon?  It’s enough to make you slap your Grandma!   


½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 (10 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons Tabasco Green Pepper sauce (optional)
4 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1 (11 oz) can Mexicorn, drained
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
Southwest cornbread (recipe follows)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese   

1 ½ cup flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup bacon dripping
1 large egg
1 cup yellow kernel corn, drained
10 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
1 (4 oz) can Ortega chopped green chilies
½ cup minced green onions
½ cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese   

1.   Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.   

2.   Sauté onions in butter until soft. Add flour and blend well. Add soup, whipping cream, broth, and Tabasco green pepper sauce (if using). Cook until thick. Add chicken, tomatoes, corn and chilies.   

3.   Pour chicken mixture into a large deep 13-inch casserole baking dish. Spoon with Southwest Cornbread batter and spread to edge of casserole covering chicken completely. Sprinkle with cheese   

4.   Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (depending how hungry you are)   

5.   To make corn bread mix first 6 ingredients and set aside.  Beat  buttermilk,  bacon dripping and egg in small bowl.  Stir in dry ingredients only until moistened:  DO NOT OVER MIX.  Batter will be lumpy.  Stir in corn, crumbled bacon, chilies, onions and cheese.    

*Serve with sour cream and avocado slices.   

Serves 9-12    

Veronica’s Note: The filling was way too runny for me so instead of adding more flour, I strained the mixture through a sieve and froze the leftover for another batch.  You might need to add more like 1/3-1/2 cup flour to the filling to get it thick enough.   


Heather of girlichef submitted this droolworthy recipe for Cherry Almond Bars and says although she’s a cherry freak (so am I!), she was gaga over the crust because it was like a “buttery-addicting shortbread-sandy.”  You’re speaking my language, Heather!   


Go, Pop, Go! submitted his “Healthy” Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  He says although they’re super-fabulous, they’re not technically healthy since they’re packed with butter and sugar but he added ground flax seeds and oats to make them <air quotes> healthy.  LOL!  Love that man.  If you haven’t checked out his blog, take a minute to do so–I can guarantee you some laughs!    


The Taste Space submitted these Walnut, Cranberry and Cinnamon Rugelach Pinwheels.  If you’re not familiar with rugelach, they are a traditional Jewish cookie that are usually shaped like crescents and consist of a cream cheese dough with a sweet filling usually made of jelly, nuts & raisins.  I love the flavors used here and also love that it wasn’t done in the traditional crescent shape but in a pinwheel form that almost makes it look like little cinnamon rolls!    


The Taste Space also sent in this recipe for Thick, Chewy Granola Bars which uses oat flour.  I made some granola bars with homemade oat flour several months ago and I have to tell you that they didn’t hold a candle to these beauties.    


Faith from An Edible Mosaic rocked my world with these Lavender Shortbread Cookies!!  She took some local organic lavender to make lavender sugar, then used the sugar both in the cookies and on top of them.  These cookies are just so brilliant that I think I’m turning pink with delight.   


Sugar-Free Almond Cornmeal Blueberry Shortcakes from Kim at The Ungourmet.  In a new quest to cut sugar from her family’s diet, she came up with these gorgeous shortcakes by using Xylitol for sweetness.  Since Xylitol is the ONLY sugar-substitute that my health nut Grandpa approves of (oh, I almost forgot about Stevia–he loves that too!), I have to approve too!  One added perk of Xylitol is that it’s good for your teeth, which is why so many chewing gums are now using it for sweetener.  Betcha didn’t know that!   


Jamaican Coffee Brownies with Pecans from Chaya’s Comfy Cook Blog.  Look at that brownie!  Doesn’t it look like it’s floating in mid-air?  How did she do that?!  I don’t know, but I swear it’s about to fly right into my mouth. :)  These brownies are gluten-free and made of white rice flour and brown rice flour.  Chaya is either one experienced or daring baker to throw these puppies together so successfully because I know gluten-free baking can be a real challenge.  But look how amazing they are!  As if they weren’t unique enough, being gluten-free and made with rice flours, they also have Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee in them and crystallized ginger.  Very cool!   


And looky what else Chaya sent me!  Five Minute Mug Cake from her other blog, My Sweet and Savory.  I have seen the recipe for chocolate mug cake many times but have never seen it done up so pretty, torted with whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache drizzled over the top!  This would definitely be the treat to make when you just need a single serving of chocolate cake in a hurry!      


 Biz of Biggest Diabetic Loser broke out her tart pan to whip up this Sour Cream Apple Tart.  What amazes me most about this tart is that it’s got three layers and only eight ingredients!  Look at all that’s going on here–crust, apples, custard filling, and crumb topping.  Only eight ingredients!  This defies the laws of baking!      


 S’more Cookies from Dana of Food For Thought.  Dana says these are so delicious that her boyfriend requests she make them every time they are invited to a function that requires bringing food, and gets mad at her if she makes anything else!  Think chocolate chip cookies with part of the flour replaced with graham cracker crumbs and topped with marshmallows and Hershey’s milk chocolate and you are pretty much in S’mores heeeeeaaaaven.     


 Yay–another zucchini recipe!  We all need these right now, don’t we?  These are Zucchini Fritters from Torview.  These fritters aren’t your standard–they’re kicked up with ginger garlic paste and coriander leaves (which I believe we call cilantro in America)!     


 Chicken ‘n Krazy-Kraut from Erin of double E environment .  I give you full marks just for the name of this German-inspired chicken dish, Erin!  She cooked up some chicken and served it with a mixture of apples, onion, & sauerkraut spiced with brown mustard seeds, dill & caraway.  I have never heard of anything like this before so you also get full marks for creativity!   


 Erin’s also gearing up for fall with this Pumpkin Chestnut Bread.  If you couldn’t tell by her first submission, she is very adventurous and creative in the kitchen and she put that to good use here, using homemade chestnut flour, and sweetening the bread solely with maple syrup.  Great ideas here, Erin–I love your unique flour choice!  In fact, I have to say this is my favorite flour used from all the BSI submissions!      


Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner Healthy sent in this recipe for Coconut Macaroons.  Classic! Is there anything better than these moist, chewy cookies?  If you’ve never made them, check out Debbi’s recipe to see how simple it is (only 6 ingredients) and then do me a favor and make an extra batch to ship to me. :)   


 And hey, while you’re making the macaroons, could you whip up an extra batch of Lisa’s Chocolatey Drizzle Coconut Cookies for me?  Thanks!  These come from The Pursuit of Happiness and Lisa won the last round of BSI with the most beautiful meatloaf I’ve ever seen in my life.  Don’t believe that a meatloaf can be beautiful?  Well, she rolled hers up jelly-roll style with some spinach filling!  Now she’s trying to win twice in a row with these coconut cookies.  This girl knows the way to my heart–cookies (and bread) are my weakness.   

 OK, we made it through the roundup!!! Wow is all I can say.  Can you see why it was so hard for me to pick a winner?  I loved everyone’s recipes, but I first narrowed it down to my top favorites to choose a winner.  They are Marina’s Fiesta Chicken and Cornbread because, well, it’s just the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in months, Heather’s Cherry Almond Bars because I love the flavor & texture combination more than I can even tell you, Faith’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies because of the unique addition of lavender and because cookies are my weakness, and Erin’s Pumpkin Chesnut Bread because of the creative use of chestnut flour.   

 After much deliberating, I finally settled on Faith’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies as my favorite recipe.  These things do something to my insides when I look at them.  I kinda get a little melty.  They are not only completely original and unique, but just so appealing with their dainty femininity.  Am I reading too much into these cookies by ascribing them Victorian female attributes?  I don’t know, but I do know I love them so CONGRATULATIONS, Faith, your cookies won you more cookies!  Or beer bread mix, if you so choose.  Send me your preference and address and I’ll get them out to you ASAP.   

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated.  You made my first time a lot of fun and I just wish I had more money so I could ship prizes to all of you!  Cheryl of The Southern Cookbook is hosting next week’s BSI contest so be sure to hit up her blog to see what the secret ingredient is.   I’m even more excited about her BSI than mine and I know you guys will come up with some amazing things!  Good luck and God bless!

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