Thursday, August 29, 2013

Garlicky Old Bay Shrimp

This garlicky old bay shrimp is awesome!  It is a play on shrimp scampi but with old bay seasoning.  If you are from Maryland, you always have old bay seasoning!  I served this garlicky old bay shrimp with a lemon pappardelle pasta from Trader Joe's and it was perfection.  If you don't have this pasta, a linguine or fettucine pasta would be great too.  I just loved the garlicky old bay sauce tossed with the pasta.  Not only is this dish delicious but it is quick and easy, perfect for a weeknight meal.  Enjoy!

Garlicky Old Bay Shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces frozen raw shrimp, thawed (about 31 to 40 large shrimps)
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 to 3 teaspoons old bay seasoning
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in olive oil and butter.  Add in garlic once butter melts.  

Next, add in shrimp.  Season with old bay, salt and pepper.  

Cook shrimp until just pink, about 3 to 4 minutes.  

Toss with lemon juice and parsley.  

Serve shrimp with your favorite pasta.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Easy Double Chocolate Cupcakes

It was my coworker's 50th birthday and my team went all out for it!  I made him these easy double chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate cream cheese frosting.  I doctored up a chocolate cake mix to save time and made the frosting.  I also used neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese to be a little more healthy - but feel free to use regular cream cheese.  Overall, these cupcakes were a huge hit with my coworkers and friends.  The chocolate cupcakes were light and moist and the frosting was chocolatey without being overly sweet.  Enjoy! 

Easy Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients for Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix (I used devils’ food.)
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup coffee

Ingredients for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup cocoa powder

Directions for Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 muffins tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, oil, vanilla and coffee together.   Whisk in cake mix and pudding mix until combined.

Distribute batter evenly into lined muffin tins.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to cool for about 5 minutes in muffin tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Directions for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter.  Slowly add in powdered sugar.  Mix in cocoa powder.

I used a frosting bag with a piping tip to frost the cupcakes. 

Store frosted cupcakes in refrigerator if not serving immediately. 

Serves 24 cupcakes.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Traditional Flan

My coworker made this flan and it was so good.  Of course I asked for the recipe and I finally made it for my mom's birthday.  The flan was rich, creamy and delicious.  This flan has only 5 ingredients too, how simple is that?  The only thing you should definitely be careful to do is to not burn the sugar.  Also, the water bath is very important so that your flan doesn't burn while baking.  Other than that, you should be fine.  My family enjoyed this flan, even my uncle who is on a diet couldn't resist!  By the way, we took my mom to Penang in Bethesda, MD for dinner per my cousin's suggestion and I can't wait to go back there.  They serve Malaysian, Chinese and Indian dishes, and everything we got was amazing.  If you follow me on instagram you would have seen all the dishes we picked.  Enjoy!

Traditional Flan

1 cup sugar
5 eggs
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Fill a larger baking dish with water about halfway, such as a 13x9 rectangular dish, this will create a water bath.  Allow to preheat in the oven to warm the water.

In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt sugar until it turns into a golden liquid, like caramel.

Pour melted sugar into a 9” or 8” square (or round) glass baking dish.  Try to evenly coat the bottom and sides. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla.

Pour egg mixture into baking dish.   

Place the smaller baking dish into the larger baking dish/water bath.

Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes.  

Allow to cool completely.  Serve by carefully inverting onto a serving plate.

Serves 8 to 10.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chinese Strawberry Cake

I made this Chinese Strawberry Cake for my dad's birthday last month.  Chinese desserts are not overly sweet and the typical Chinese style cakes are fruit filled.   This strawberry cake was perfect for my dad.  It was a hit with my entire family.  I love how light and airy the cake was and the whipped cream isn't as heavy as typical frosting.  This is a great summertime cake too!  I'll admit that this was a more time consuming cake to make but its worth it.  I will definitely be making this cake again.  Enjoy!

Chinese Strawberry Cake

Ingredients for Cake
1 cup cake flour
6 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Ingredients for Whipped Cream
3 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
4 cups strawberries, sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks.

In a large bowl, beat the 6 egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar, salt and vanilla until mixture is pale yellow in color.

Add water and vegetable oil to the egg yolk mixture.  Continue to beat together.

Next, sift the cake flour and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture.  Stir until combined.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/3 cup sugar.   Beat until egg whites are stiff peaks.

Slowly, fold in half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter.  Fold in remaining egg whites and do not over mix.

Pour batter evenly into 2 ungreased 8” or 9” round cake pans.  

Bake for 40 minutes.  

Allow cakes to cool by inverting onto a cooling rack.  This allows the cake to cool upside down and will prevent the cake from collapsing.

While cake is baking, you can make the whipped cream.

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in sugar.  This could take about 10 minutes.  

After cakes are cooled, spread whipped cream on one cake.  Place sliced strawberries in a single layer on top of the whipped cream. 

Place second cake layer on top of strawberries.  Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the top and sides.  Decorate with any leftover strawberries.

Store in refrigerator.

Serves 8 to 10.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pesto Chicken

I love pesto and this is such a simple and quick recipe.  The recipe name says it all, you just need pesto and chicken!  I used my favorite store bought pesto from Costco or you can make your own.   You can click here for my spinach and walnut pesto recipe too.  I did top the pesto chicken with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese just because I had some.  It is great served over a salad for a light, summer meal.  Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken

1 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless
½ to 1 cup pesto sauce (I used Kirkland’s signature basil pesto from Costco.)

Optional Ingredients
salt and pepper
tomatoes, sliced
mozzarella cheese, shredded


Season chicken with salt and pepper if desired.

Spread a light layer of pesto on one side of chicken.

Place chicken, pesto side down, in a grill pan, over medium-high heat. 

Spread other side of chicken with a light layer of pesto.

Cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned.

Optional – top each chicken with a slice of tomato and mozzarella cheese.  Cover pan (with lid or foil) for a few minutes until cheese is melted.  

Serves 4 to 6.   

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I made this Chocolate Zucchini Bread for my coworker's birthday a few weeks ago and it turned out great.  It is chocolatey without being too sweet.  It smelled so good while baking!  This is great for breakfast or dessert.  If you have an abundance of zucchini this summer, you should try this recipe.  I promise you won't be disappointed!   Also, sorry for my lack of blogging/posting recipes lately but life has been keeping me busy this summer.   Hope you make this chocolate zucchini bread soon, enjoy!

This bread is so good that even Buddy wants a taste...too bad he can't!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature (or 1 stick)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups grated zucchini (1 medium to large zucchini)
1/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk to combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Next, beat in eggs and vanilla.

Slowly add in flour mixture.

Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from pan.