Lemon Oregano Chicken

Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Though I am back in Florida, I have been at my Mom’s house the past few days. We celebrated New Year’s Eve by having fake Christmas since we were all apart on Christmas day. I was planning on heading back up to my place today (4 hour drive), but I woke up this morning with a nice fever! My little brother, Nick, is sick too so I’m not sure if he gave me this lovely gift or if I got it while traveling. Either way, it really stinks! I spent most of the day sleeping.

Due to having the plague, I am going to share another wonderful recipe from my friend, Amanda. This recipe is light and perfect for those of you who made a resolution to eat healthier in 2012! Hopefully by the end of this week, I will be back in my own place and back to normal cooking and blogging!!

Lemon Oregano Chicken

From The Sopranos Family Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 2 lemons

– 1 3 1/2 pound chicken, quartered (or if you would prefer, you can just use chicken breasts)

– 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

– 1 tbs. olive oil

– 1 tsp. dried oregano

– 2 garlic cloves, chopped

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Squeeze the juice from one lemon and slice the other one. Put the chicken and potatoes in a baking pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, oil, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Turn the pieces to coat evenly, then turn the chicken skin side up. Tuck the lemon slices and potatoes in between the chicken pieces.

2 .Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes. Baste with the pan juices. Continue to bake, basting occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes longer or until the chicken is browned and the potatoes are tender. Transfer the chicken, potatoes and lemon slices to a serving platter. Tip the pan and skim off the fat. Pour the juices over the chicken and serve.

Top 10 Posts of 2011

Hi All! I’m back in the Sunshine State! Well, at least for the next 2 1/2 weeks and then it’s back out to Cali for my B.F.F.’s wedding! As we enjoy the last two days of 2011, I thought I would take a cue from my fellow bloggers and do a quick post to share some of my favorite and most popular posts from 2011. I’ve only been blogging since May, but I am getting close to celebrating 100 posts on Eat. Drink. Love.! I’m so glad that I finally started this blog and I am so thankful for each and every one of you who takes the time to read it! Though I may not always be able to answer every comment you leave, I promise you that I do read them all! I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

Ok, so let’s get this Top 10 list started. Picking just 10 recipes was tough, but I’ve made my picks based on both views and searches, and of course, your wonderful comments! And let’s just say that wow, you guys REALLY like desserts! And hey, I don’t blame you, I love them too! I just couldn’t bring myself to actually rank these so they are in no particular order! Here we go!

10. Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Who would have thought a simple biscuit recipe would be so popular? These tasty biscuits are pretty darn close to the famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. This post was in the top 5 most popular on my blog and was also one of the most favorited recipes on TasteSpotting for the month of October!

9. Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

This was my first time making whoopie pies. Though they came out a little thicker than I had originally wanted, they were still very delicious! I loved this post not only because these were fun to make, but also because it was my first blog giveaway which was so much fun! In fact, I think another giveaway may be coming soon…

8. Homemade Manicotti

While I can’t say this was the most popular post on my blog, it will always hold a special place in my heart as it is probably one of my most favorite family recipes EVER! Once you try making your own shells and sauce from scratch, you won’t want to go back to store bought again!

7. Spicy Cheddar Witch Fingers

Ah, Witch Fingers. If only you guys could have seen me and the Hubs trying to snap these shots. Me, crouched down on the floor with a cooler filled with dry ice and water and the Hubs quickly trying to snap pictures. Oh, and don’t even get me started on getting those fingers to stay in the box! Many curse words were used. Though taking these pictures was not easy, this is easily one of my favorite pictures that I have taken. Oh, and the fingers were also really tasty!

6. Low-Carb Pumpkin Muffins

Despite all the sweets included in this list, I have a passion for developing healthy recipes. As someone who REALLY loves sweets and carbs, trying to find new and healthier ways to enjoy baked goods has been a challenge, but I really enjoy experimenting! These low-carb pumpkin muffins were pretty delicious and also seem to be pretty popular with y’all!

5. Chicken Farfalle with Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

This alfredo dish was probably one of my husband’s favorite things I have made. He is a big alfredo fan and you guys must be too! I don’t typically like alfredo sauce as it is heavy and doesn’t usually have a lot of flavor, but this sauce is both lower and fat and full of flavor! Win!

4. Apple Spice Cupcakes

These Apple Spice Cupcakes crack me up because when my friend, Amanda and I made the first batch, we totally screwed them up and we were using cake mix as a base! That’s what happens when you try to half a recipe with cake mix. Watch out people! But, we kept on and finally got them to turn out and they were perfectly yummy!

3. Olive and Cream Cheese Penguins

You all really seemed to love these little guys and I can’t say I blame you! Though they were a little tedious to make, they were definitely worth the effort! Just looking at them makes me smile!

2. Brownie Batter Dip

Who would have ever thought beans could replicate brownie batter dip?! Of the sweet dips I have posted, this is by far my favorite! It has such a delicious and rich chocolate taste! The perfect guilt-free taste!

1. Nutella Cupcakes

If I had to rank my posts according to popularity, these Nutella cupcakes would probably still come in first place. They are so easy to make and absolutely fantastic! You.must.make.them.now!

Oh, ok, I know I said this was a Top 10 list, but let’s do one more for good luck!

Cranberry Orange Bars

I gotta give these a shout out because not only were they super yummy, but they were also my first Top 9 on Foodbuzz!

Well kids, there you have it, the Top 10 (erm…11) posts on Eat. Drink. Love. according to you (oh yeah, and me too!)! I hope you all have a very happy and safe New Year’s. Here’s to 2012!

Spanish Shrimp


Wow, yes, it’s true. I AM still alive!! Sorry I haven’t posted this week, but holiday traveling has kept me quite busy! Hubs and I are still in California. As you can see, I have been taking full advantage of this little break to enjoy some time away from work and school and the blog (if you are a fellow blogger, I promise to get back to my usual reading/commenting after I get back to Florida this weekend!). I had a wonderful Christmas with my in-laws and enjoyed spending time with my cutie little nephew over the past few days. I hope you all also had a great Christmas. Did Santa bring you anything good? Santa brought me so many new food props like fun dishes and bowls. I don’t need to buy any for a very long time!

Last night, my cousin-in-law, Nellie and I headed over to Beverly Hills so that we could go check out Lisa Vanderpump’s (of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) restaurant, Villa Blanca. Lisa wasn’t there, but her daughter, Pandora, was there and she was also our waitress! Pandora’s new hubby was also there waiting tables. I thought it was super cool that they were actually working at the restaurant. Pandora was really sweet and seems totally down-to-earth. The food was also really tasty! I would definitely go again. And no, I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t want to be a total dork and it was really dark in the restaurant. I know, I suck.

Today, I am bringing you a recipe from good friend, Amanda. Although she doesn’t have her own blog, Amanda also loves to cook and take pictures of her food. And seriously, she makes some really yummy things, like this Spanish Shrimp. Amanda has been so sweet to send me some of her recipes and pictures to share with you all this week while I am still traveling. This shrimp dish would make a great appetizer for your New Year’s Eve parties!

Spanish Shrimp

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 1 lb. of shrimp (peeled with tails left on)

– 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 tsp. paprika

– 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

– 2 tbs. of sherry

– 1/4 cup of olive oil

– 1 tbs. of chopped fresh parsley

– 1 lemon, juiced

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes. Saute until the garlic begins to brown (garlic burns quickly- keep an eye on it). Turn the heat to high and quickly add shrimp, lemon juice from the lemon, sherry, and paprika. Gently stir until shrimp turns pink and curls (~3-4 minutes). Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to platter.

York Peppermint Cupcakes

Hi Friends! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. Hubs and I are currently making our way from Florida all the way to California to spend Christmas with his family so my internet access has been quite limited. But, we stopped for the night to get some rest and I wanted to share these cupcakes with you guys.

My brother, Mike, loves York Peppermint patties. My mom always keeps a bag hidden in the cupboard and her and Mike are always sneaking in to take one. It was Mikey’s birthday over the weekend and I wanted to make him a special treat. I have been wanting to give these cupcakes a try for some time and Mikey’s birthday was the perfect occasion! Mike seemed to enjoy the cupcakes and also said that these cupcakes were good because they also freshen your breath. So, there you go, dessert that also freshens your breath! Sounds good to me!

York Peppermint Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

– 1 box devil’s food cake mix

– 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix

– 4 eggs

– 3/4 cup vegetable oil

– 1 cup sour cream

– 1/2 cup milk

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 24 small York Peppermint patties, frozen overnight

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add in cake mix and pudding mix and continue mixing until well-combined.

2. Place cupcake liners into muffin pan and pour batter into cups filling each cup approximately 1/4 of the way, then place a small york peppermint patty. Fill the liner with more batter until it is about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for the Peppermint Buttercream Frosting:

– 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

– 2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

– 6-8 tbs. milk or heavy cream

– 2 tsp. peppermint extract (or to taste)

Directions:

1. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add in confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time and continue until all sugar is creamed together with the butter. Add peppermint extract and 3 tablespoons of the milk or cream and mix. Keep adding a tablespoon of the milk or cream until your frosting is smooth. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with an additional mint or with shaved chocolate or sprinkles!

Notes:
– When baking with candy, I recommend freezing it overnight, otherwise, it will melt right into the batter while it’s baking!
– If you can’t find the small-size Yorks in a bag, you can just buy the large ones and cut them up into smaller pieces!

Low-Fat Cranberry Orange Bread

Ok, I know, another sweet post. I just realized that everything I have been posting lately is sweet! But, I think this is probably true for a lot of bloggers out there. As much as I love baking, a part me of wants the holidays to be over so I can get back to my normal diet and so my kitchen doesn’t look like a bomb went off in it!

My mom and I love cranberries. In fact, on Thanksgiving, I think we are the only people that touch the cranberry sauce! My mom gave me this recipe for cranberry orange bread a few years ago and we both enjoy making it this time of year. Given all the sweets I have been eating, I wanted to try to make this bread a little heartier and lighter in fat. This bread is made with whole wheat flour and I also added in some flax meal which along with the pecans, gave this bread a great nutty flavor. This was also the first time I used applesauce in place of butter and I was pretty happy with the results!

Low-Fat Cranberry Orange Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

– 2 cups whole wheat flour

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1 tbs. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– Grated rind of 1 large orange

– Optional: 1/4 cup flaxseed meal

– 2/3 cup fresh orange juice

– 2 eggs, lightly beaten

– 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

– 1/4 cup vegetable oil

– 1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries

– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with wax paper and grease.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in orange rind. Make well in center and add orange juice, eggs and applesauce. Stir from the center until the ingredients are blended. Do not overmix. Add cranberries and walnuts. Stir until blended.

3. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Serve thinly sliced, toasted or plain, with butter or cream cheese and jam.

Notes:
– If you want to cut the sugar in this recipe, I actually made mine with closer to 1/4 cup of sugar, but if you wanted, you could use Stevia or Splenda!
– If you don’t have whole wheat flour, you can use white flour. Don’t want to use applesauce? Then use 6 tablespoons of butter!

A Very Merry Berry Martini

A very merry berry martini. Wow, try saying that 5 times fast! When it comes to alcoholic drinks, I’m usually just a wine kind of gal. I don’t typically like drinks that are super sweet, but sometimes, I do enjoy a nice fruity martini and yesterday called for a fruity martini! I have been working pretty hard the last month on finishing my preliminary doctoral exam paper and yesterday, I had to defend my paper in front of my committee. I’m happy to report that I passed my defense which now makes me an official doctoral candidate! Now all I have to do is finish my dissertation and I can finally be done with grad school! And of course, after a stressful defense, all I wanted to do was go home, put on pj’s, and have a drink!

A Very Merry Berry Martini

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

– 4 ice cubes

– 3 oz. raspberry vodka

– 1 oz. orange liqueur

– 2 oz. cranberry juice

– Optional: splash of grenadine

– Suggested Garnishes: cranberries, colored sugar for the rims of the glasses

Directions:

1. Pour all ingredients into a martini shaker and shake until well-combined. Cheers!

Notes:
– You can use plain cranberry juice if you want, but you could also try adding other flavor combos like cranberry pomegranate, or cranberry-apple, cranberry-strawberry juice, etc. Whatever you want!