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. Okay..it'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.