Diary of a Foodie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Sunrise Spritzer

Here's another drink option for when you're entertaining large groups. We love this one and use it very often, and I always need to have extra ingredients on hand to make a second batch.

It's light, fruity, sparkly and sweet. Try it for your next BBQ or family dinner.

Yields 4 Gallons-Pair down ingredients if needed.

Summer Sunrise Spritzer

4-12 oz cans of Peach nectar
2-2 L lemon lime sodas
1/2 gallon orange juice
1-46 oz can of pineapple juice
2 oranges and peaches, sliced-for garnish

Mix all ingredients together, except for garnish, in a 4 gallon container. Add the sliced fruit and add ice right before service.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scratch Made Scones

Fried dough. With sweet toppings. Let that sink in for a moment. I know you love it just as much as I do, so go make it for a fun summer treat.


3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 c milk
1 TBSP baking soda
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt

In a stand mixer with a bread hook attachment, add all ingredients together and let knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough hook and cover bread, letting is rest at room temperature at least an hour.

Once dough has rested, roll dough into 1 inch balls and dip them in some flour. Using either hands or a rolling pin, pull/roll dough into 1/4 inch thick circles/rectangles. Whatever shape you want will work, just make sure they are even. Let them rest on wax paper while oil heats up.

In a large sauce pan, heat up 2 cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. You can test heat of oil using a piece of dough; if it bubbles and rises to surface quickly oil is ready. If it sinks, oil is too cold. Turns brown quickly, too hot. Fry dough on 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

Other Serving Ideas:

Serve with jam. I like raspberry.
Serve with honey butter-you can make this by whipping together one stick of softened butter with 1/3 cup honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Serve with cinnamon sugar.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti

Is there every anything wrong with cheese? And a lot of cheese?? This is stuffed full of three different cheeses; ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella. And all is right in the world.

Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti

2 packages Manicotti (about 21 pieces)
30 ounces part skim Ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1 TBSP dried oregano
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups marinara sauce (use your favorite or my recipe shown here)
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring 8 qts of water in a 10 qt sauce pan, to a boil. Add 1 TBSP olive and 1 TSBP Kosher salt to the boiling water. Working in batches of 7 tubes of pasta  at a time, cook the manicotti for 7 minutes. Try not to let the manicotti touch each other while cooking. Once it has cooked for 7 minutes, remove from boiling water using a slotted spoon or tongs and place pasta on waxed paper to cool. Once all pasta is cooked, let is cool while you make the filling and prepare the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread 1/2 c of marinara sauce in the bottom of 2- 9X13 pans.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together Ricotta cheese, eggs, oregano, 3/4 c Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper. Using either a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with the end cut off, fill the center of the manicotti with the Ricotta mixture, the place in the prepared 9X13 pan. Once all the manicotti are filled and in the pan, cover with the remaining marinara sauce. Then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and the  1/2 c Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil leaves. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie with Scratch Made Black Pepper Crust

Chicken Pot Pie evokes memories of everything homey. It's old school. It's delicious. It's warming.
Try it tonight!

Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (cook it any way you would like-boiled, baked, rotisserie)
4 medium potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled in salted water til fork tender, then drained
1 1/2 c frozen peas
1 1/2 c frozen carrots
2 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise, then diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced

Place all ingredients in a 9X13 inch pan. Set aside while you get the sauce and crust ready.

Black Pepper Crust

2 cups AP flour
12 TBSP cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp gound black pepper
UP TO 1 cup ice cold water

In a food processor using blade attachment OR stand mixer using paddle attachment, add flour and butter and seasonings together, pulsing/mixing until butter is incorporated into flour. While food processor/stand mixer is on, stream in water very slowly, stopping when it starts to come together into a ball. Remove dough and wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.


1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
14 ounce can of chicken broth
1/3 c milk
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste

In a 2 qt sauce pan, melt butter. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk together until smooth, cooking flour for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, milk and all seasonings (except salt). Bring to a boil, whisking continually. Sauce will thicken only when it is brought to a boil. Once it has thickened, remove from heat. Taste to check for saltiness. Add salt only if needed. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables, stirring til everything is coated.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the chilled dough on a floured surface, into a 9X13 inch rectangle. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place dough on pot pie filling, cutting off extra dough that may be on the sides. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour, until crust is browned and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven once baked and let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Asian Steak Tacos with Creamy Broccoli Slaw

It seems like everyone is doing culinary fusion these days; taking foods from two or more different cultures and mixing them together to make one cohesive dish. I've been wanting to get in on this awhile. Tons of food trucks are doing Asian tacos and this is my own spin on this food fad.

Asian Steak Tacos

2 lbs steak cut for stir fry (you can usually find this already cut in the meat section. If not, just get 2 lbs of skirt steak and cut it into thin slices)
1 cup orange juice
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
2 TSBP light soy sauce
2 TBSP honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSBP minced ginger
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 TBSP Kosher salt

Place steak in a 9X13 pan. Whisk together all ingredients and pour marinade over meat and cover. Let marinade in fridge for 2-4 hours. After it is done marinating, heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat with 2 TBSP vegetable oil. Cook steak for 3-4 minutes, stirring about halfway through. It should cook quickly because it is thin cut meat. Remove meat from pan and reduce the pan drippings by half and then pour the sauce over the meat. Set aside for assembly.

Creamy Broccoli Slaw

12 ounce package of Broccoli Slaw (in produce section near regular slaw)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Chinese hot mustard
zest and juice of one lime
1 TBSP honey
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except slaw) until smooth. Add in the slaw and toss until slaw is coated. Place in fridge until ready to assemble.


18-20 corn tortillas, softened
2 green onions, chopped

Take warm and softened tortilla and place cooked steak down the center, topping with slaw and a few fresh green onions. Serve warm.

Wedge Salad

It's summer. It's hot. It's like 100 degrees everyday. I'm melting. I can't cook in this heat. I've been chowing down a lot on wedge salads. I had leftover dressing from last weeks
 BBQ Bacon Cheese Chicken Sandwich recipe, so I've been repurposing it here. Try it today!

Wedge Salad (makes 6 salads)

1 Head of Boston Lettuce, cut into 6 equal wedges
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced

Assemble together a wedge of lettuce with grape tomatoes, 1/3 of an avocado, and sliced cucumber. Sprinkle with pepper and serve with Grilled Onion Buttermilk Sauce. Or your favorite dressing.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Here is the easiest vanilla ice cream recipe you will ever see. 5 ingredients. There is no way to mess it up. All you need is an ice cream maker of some sort and follow the instructions for your specific mixer.

In the picture posted, I pair the vanilla bean ice cream with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You can eat the ice cream with fresh berries, cookies, or all alone. I will be posting ice cream variations soon, as this can be a base to many different flavors.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk (whole is best but I have used 1% and it totally worked)
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cream, milk, sugar and salt. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla bean seeds and add them to cream mixture. Whisk until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add ice cream base to ice cream maker and churn until soft serve consistency, then pour into a freezer safe bowl with a lid. Place in freezer and hard freeze for 4 hours.

TIP: I use a Kitchenaid ice cream maker that attaches to my stand mixer. I have to freeze the bowl for 24 hours before use. Check your ice cream maker for things you may need to do ahead.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cotija and Lime Corn

Need a simple, summery side for your BBQ? This fits the bill and you can have it on the table in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.

Cotija and Lime Corn

8-10 ears of corn, husked and cleaned
2 TBSP butter
1/3 c cotija cheese, crumbled
2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
juice and zest of 2 limes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Heat the BBQ to medium-high heat. Place cleaned and husked corn on the grate and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, watching carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Once corn is slightly charred on all sides, remove from heat and cut off all corn kernals into a bowl. Add butter, cheeses, lime zest and juice, and seasonings. Cook in microwave for 4-5 minutes, stirring after each minute. Serve hot.

Don't want to grill the corn? Just boil it in salted water for 3-4 minutes and then follow recipe above.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

BBQ Bacon Cheese Chicken Sandwich with Grilled Onion Buttermilk Sauce

My friend posted a recipe the other day of chicken smothered in cheese and bacon. Oh. My. Goodness. I did a double take and drooled over it.

So, I decided to make it my way, adding some sauces, jalepenos and making it into a sandwich. It was AH-MAZING. My husband dubbed it one of the Top 3 Meals I've ever made in 16 years of marriage (but he couldn't decide what the top 2 were, LOL).

BBQ Bacon Cheese Chicken Sandwich

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half width-wise (to make 8 equal pieces)
8 slices of cooked bacon, halved
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup BBQ sauce (I love Famous Daves)
8 Kaiser rolls
1/4 cup jalepenos (optional-don't like heat? Don't use them)
sliced tomatoes optional

Preheat outside grill to 350 degrees F. While grill is heating up, get your ingredients prepped and ready to go, including cooking the bacon. TIP: I place bacon on a silpat on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crispy.

Once grill is heated, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place on the grill, cooking it for 5-7 minutes per side, or until done. In the last two minutes of cooking time, smother both sides of the chicken with BBQ sauce. Then top each piece of chicken with two halves of bacon, then  1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese. Close the lid of the grill to let the cheese melt, about 2 minutes.

Cut rolls in half and let them toast on the grill for about 30 seconds. Place chicken on the bottom of the Kaiser roll, top with jalepenos  and tomatoes, if desired, and some of the grilled onion buttermilk sauce.

Grilled Onion Buttermilk Sauce

4 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
2 green onions, grilled

While grilling the chicken for above recipe, place two green onions on grill and let them char on each side, about 2-3 minutes. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Use on chicken sandwich. Leftover sauce can be kept in fridge and used on salads or sandwiches.