Marble Biscotti Using Melt

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Miranda, who does promotional services for Melt, and she sent me a couple of free samples. I first discovered Melt over at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts (Triple D if you're Guy Fieri) and was surprised it could be used in baking. Previously, I haven't had good luck baking with margarine, butter substitutes, or shortening instead of actual butter, and Melt baked perfectly for my Marbled Biscotti.

Taco Tuesday

Drop that seasoning packet! Nope, you're not going to need that anymore; save your ninety-nine cents.

Creamy Chicken Soup from Fresh and Fabulous

This soup was perfect timing for this week as Jen (my wife) and I have been fighting off some semblance of colds and sinus crap. There's nothing better than a nice hot bowl of soup to warm the soul and relieve those nasty body aches.

Beans n Rice; Rice n Beans

Jen and I have become recent fans of Dave Ramsey, and one of his popular expressions is going on a "beans n rice; rice n beans grocery budget." This is a great way to save about $10 a week on the grocery budget, or even more, weekly, once you've stocked the ingredients.

Bacon Meatball Subs from The Cilantropist

Continuing with a meatball theme this week...

Swedish Meatballs

It's been a long, long time since I've had a Swedish meatball. I think my grandmother made some as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas some 25 years ago. Considering I was only a kid at the time, they must had made some impact on me to remember loving them so much, so when I found this recipe in Food Network Magazine I had to give it a go.

Noob News

I don't have a recipe today, but I do have some cool and fun announcements about what's been happening around here lately.

Beef Burgers with Crunchy Sour Cream Onions by Pass the Sushi

 I discovered this recipe that I had archived in my Foodbuzz inbox a couple of months ago. Jen and I were just discussing the previous night how we were craving a good burger, and this hit the spot!

Pumpkin Enchiladas by Cooking Healthy for Me

Tonight's guest recipe comes from Ann at Cooking Healthy for Me. Normally, I try to feature a recipe from a fellow foodie blogger from at least a couple of months ago so it doesn't seem like I'm trying to steal another blogger's thunder.

Tervis Tumbler

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a Tervis Tumbler in the mail.

Let me just say that I love my cup, and I love being part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program!

Buttermilk Pancakes by Brown Eyed Baker

Wow! My pancakes look laughable compared to Brown Eyed Baker's. I'll tell you what, though, they still tasted awesome, especially since I added blueberries and used agave nectar instead of syrup. I don't make pancakes very often, although with this recipe I may start. So, I learned a few interesting techniques for better pancakes that I'll be happy to share.

Bauducco Panettone

 As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a 26 oz. sample of Bauducco Panettone with Hershey's Chocolate Chips and a 26 oz. sample of Bauducco Panettone with Sun-Maid Raisins. 

Twice Baked Potatoes by In the Kitchen with Kath

I'll get to the guest recipe in a sec, but first this quick personal update that I'm excited about. Above is my new spice drawer. I know it doesn't look like much, and I'm certainly missing lots of spices for a properly stocked kitchen, but I'm quite proud of my work.

Black Bean Dip

I'm a big fan of black bean dip, but it's somewhat expensive at $3.99 a jar considering a can of black beans costs about $.60. It's also very fast and simple to make it homemade, so why not save a few bucks and eat better quality too?

Cheesecake for Ask Chef Dennis Guest Post

I've made a very special, family recipe cheesecake for my guest post on Ask Chef Dennis tonight. So, hop on over to Chef Dennis' blog and check out my guest post.

Also, if for some bizarre reason you've never been to Ask Chef Dennis be sure to check out the rest of his blog. It's full of awesome recipes from his own kitchen, a wealth of recipes from other weekly Foodie guest posters, and not to mention his incredible Ask Chef Dennis Segments that are an excellent resource for food bloggers.

Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

Tonight's dinner was a bold adventure. I found this recipe on a really old newspaper clipping in my wife's bag of old family recipes. This one comes from a person in Cohasset, a town just outside of Boston, so probably a Boston newspaper where my mother-in-law is from.

General Tso's Chicken by Adventuress Heart

General Tso's Chicken is my all-time favorite Chinese dish. I love its sweet and spicy combination as well as the tender chicken coated in crispy exterior. Serve it over rice, of course traditionally, but it also adds an extra texture and nutty flavor (especially if using brown rice) while spreading the sauce out a bit. Broccoli is the perfect vegetable for a side because the florets can be used as little mops to soak up the last bit of the precious sauce remaining on the plate. Ahh...

Sargento - An Experiment with Cheese

 As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a $25 gift card in the mail to be used toward the purchase of a Sargento cheese product, a competing processed cheese product, and any other accompanying groceries that would aid in my cheese-tasting event.

Football Night Nachos

I've been doing a guest recipe post every Thursday night for a few weeks now, but tonight is a little different, a little special. You see, I'm a native Packers fan (not of Green Bay, but of Wisconsin), so I wanted to do something a little different with dinner tonight. I'll resume Guest Recipes next week. Who will it be???

Dirty Risotto

Risotto again! It's an entirely different recipe. Plus, through the magic of blogging, we didn't actually eat that Lemon Chicken Risotto last week. The truth is the photos have been in the hopper for a blog post since early July. I don't do that often though.

Lemon Streusel Bars from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!

This week's guest recipe of Lemon Streusel Bars is from Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! And that's no exaggeration! I've been a reader of Liz's food blog for several months, and she is nothing short of a miracle worker. She writes quality blog posts of drool-worthy recipes and has some beautiful photography, and manages to make a post almost every day! I call that truly inspired!

Continuing with the lemon theme this week, this recipe worked out perfectly. I was looking to bake a dessert instead of a dinner for a guest recipe (I do dinners for my own posts all the time..) and something not chocolate. I always do chocolate...and I stink at cakes. I was also looking to do something a bit challenging, or at least, different. As I was scrolling through my Foodbuzz recipe archives, the word Streusel stood out and my decision was made.

This recipe is only complicated because you're working with three different elements - the crust, the filling, and the streusel. For this first part, I'm doing the crust. So far, I have flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt mixed together in a bowl. I'm cutting a stick of butter into small pieces that I'm going to infuse into the flour mixture using my fingers.

Work the butter pieces into the flour by pinching the flour into the butter. It's kind of weird, you smoosh (smush?) the butter between your fingers with a little flour. It feels greasy, but your fingers come away clean. I tried using the 2 knife method (like for pie crust) but it didn't work as well...get yer hands dirty!

When all of the butter is worked in add two eggs and incorporate it in with a fork.

Here's my dough after the eggs have been mixed in.

 Here's the part I always have trouble with. I've turned the dough out onto a floured surface.'s not this part I have trouble with.

I've condensed the dough into somewhat of a ball. I always figure with crusts that for a flakier crust I don't want to work it too much. Okay...this is also not the part I have trouble with.

Roll the dough out into a 12x16 rectangle. Here is where the trouble starts. As advised by my wife, do not roll back and forth - roll one way. Rolling is challenging for me because I don't have a practiced hand. Where I had trouble here was peeling the dough up off the counter. Sure, there was plenty of flour, but I should have rolled on top of wax paper or parchment for easy peel-up and transfer to a 9x13 pan.

I did manage to peel it up in decent shape (with some help). I had to almost completely reshape the dough into the pan. I guess this is what separates someone like Liz from a Noob like me. :) Notice the pan has foil in it and that has cooking spray. You'll want to weigh this down with parchment and dry beans or something. The crust gets baked with the weights for 10 minutes at 350 and then an additional 5 minutes without the weights.

No worries about the details, you can get the recipe from Liz's blog.

While the crust is baking, I'm starting the topping recipe. Basically flour, baking powder, and sugar mix together in a bowl. Add a stick of melted butter and stir together.

The mixture should be nice and crumby (crummy?).

The crust comes out of the oven after 15 minutes freeing your oven for the crumb topping.

Spread your crumb topping out over a baking sheet covered with parchment and bake it at 350 for 15-20. I had to go the full 20 to get a nice golden brown. Let the crust cool.

 In the meantime, you have about 20 minutes to prepare the lemon filling. Zest a lemon and then squeeze the juice out of it. You'll need about a 1/4 cup of lemon juice, so be sure to have extra lemons or juice from a bottle (like I did) to top off your measurement.

2 eggs and zest goes in one bowl - mix it up.

Lemon juice and sugar in the other bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Taste it!

Combining eggs into sugar mix I decided was easier than combining sugar mix into eggs. Whisk this up really well.

When your crust is cool you can pour the filling into it. When your crumb topping comes out of the oven the filled crust can be baked at 350 for 15-20 minutes ( I had to go 20).

The crumb topping should be nice and golden brown. Break it up into smaller pieces if you need to. When the filling is finished baking (it'll be thick jelly-like) spread the crumbs out over the top and bake the whole thing for about 5 minutes at 350.

Everything will come out nicely and you'll have a beautiful Streusel. Let it cool before you dig into it. That's always the hard part.

If you love lemons, you're going to love this. If you love pie, you're going to love this. If you love butter and sugar, you're going to love this.  Let's face it, if you love breathing air, you're going to love this. I had a cup of Earl Grey tea with mine and they went perfectly together.

Thanks to Jen (my wife) for taking all of the pictures during the baking process so I could have free hands and concentrate on what I was doing. Be sure to check out the links to her jewelry and embroidery - she's very talented even though she'll deny it up and down.

Special thanks to Liz for making awesome food every day and sharing her creations with all of us. Be sure to check out That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! especially if you've never been there before.

Lemon Chicken Risotto

I'm a big fan of risotto. Not just eating it, but making it. This is my 3rd or 4th attempt at risotto, and my first attempt at this particular recipe. I think my second attempt it was a little undercooked, but all other times it has turned out quite well.

Parmesan Chicken Burgers by Tracey's Culinary Adventures

I'm excited to announce that today's Guest Recipe of Chicken Parmesan Burgers comes from Tracey's Culinary Adventures. I found Tracey quite accidentally, actually, a couple of weeks ago when I resolved to organize my Foodbuzz profile and proceeded to go through all 4,000 messages in my inbox dating back to April of this year.

Rigatoni Pugliese

Over the weekend I checked out Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food from the library, and so far, it's an exceptional book for authentic Italian recipes. This is my first recipe attempt from the book.

No Bake Peach Tart from Ask Chef Dennis

I'm trying something new here on The Kitchen Noob. There are so many food bloggers out there in a vast foodie community, and it's fun to see what people are cooking and posting every week. Something I like to do is actually make some of the foods I see on others' blogs, and I wonder if others do the same.

Coconut Banana Bread

One of my favorites from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. This moist, scrumptious banana bread is laced with the sweet texture of shaved coconut that not only tastes incredible but lends a satisfying chewiness to every bite.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Swiss Cheese

One of the ugliest yet most delicious meals I've ever made. The floured chicken seasoned with oregano and paprika, which gives it a nice golden color, is pan seared for a light crispy breading. The chicken is then topped with a saute combo of mushrooms, scallions, and garlic that are then boiled with chicken broth and dry white wine.

Chocolate Coconut Cake or LOLCake

So yeah, cake is not my strong area in the kitchen. I think this is the second time I've tried to make a cake from scratch, and this one turned out twice as good as the previous.

9 Reasons to Make A Weekly Meal Plan

Every weekend I spend a little time pouring through cookbooks and recipes online that I've bookmarked from other Foodie blogs. From those sources I devise a weekly meal plan schedule. There are a few good reasons why setting aside a little time each week is beneficial:

Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

This dish has been one of the most flavorful dishes I've had in some time. With a variety of ingredients, each bite has unique tastes and textures that never get boring from the start of the meal to the last bite on the plate.

Polynesian Pineapple Chicken

The Role of Food is Important to Family and Health
I'll get to the food in a minute, but first I wanted to share some thoughts. I've learned over the past couple of months the importance that the role of food has in family and health. No, this isn't a lecture to eat healthy, just a little something, I feel, is important that I learned.

I'm Not On a Diet Part 3

I'm Not on a Diet Part 1 and I'm Not on a Diet Part 2 are here if you have catching up to do!

For the last installment regarding mine and Jen's change in eating habits for the better, I'll go over the additional bonus habits that can be adapted into a daily routine. Then, this week I'll get back to the food, hooray!

I'm Not On a Diet Part 2

I'm Not on a Diet Part 1 is here if you have catching up to do!

With 5 new good habits to begin and maintain, naturally there are 5 bad habits to break. As with the good habits some of these are very difficult, and some of these are very easy to attain depending on where you're coming from.

I'm Not On a Diet Part 1

Most of my cart is now produce when I do the grocery shopping.
So, last week my wife, Jen, and I went on a diet changed our eating habits.