Community Cooking Class

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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Hey everyone!! Im very excited to show you all parts of the cooking class we had on Saturday 15th. We had a awesome time making delicious Mexican cuisine and the kids did great. I had a big range in age, some of the kids were 9-11, some 12-15. This just goes to show you that anyone at any age can cook with fresh ingredients. Be in mind, kids are talking, laughing, mixers going and everything! Below are two of the sides we created to go with our meal. They are sure to please. Enjoy =]

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Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

2-3 Chicken breast,
8oz. Monterey/Colby or Mexican cheese
1 pkg. Pie Crust
3 tbl.Cilantro, finely chopped
Enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a pot over medium heat, add enough water to cover chicken. Sprinkle in cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano (Italian seasoning) salt, pepper.
Boil chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken, shred, Add Cheese, enough enchilada sauce to moisten up the mixture.
Roll out pie dough sheet. Using a measuring cup or circle cookie cutter, cut 12-15 circles.
Fill dough with 1-2 tbl of meat; wet the out sides with water
Fold over, crimp with fork
Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown

Smokey Guacamole

2 Ripe avocados
1/2 Red onion, minced
1-2 Poblanos, charred,peeled, chopped
Small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 Limes, juiced
1-2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
splash of hot sauce( chipotle tobasco is my fave)
salt/pepper to taste

Cut avocados in half, removing seed. Scoop out the avocado and place in a bowl.
Using a fork, mash avocados until smooth.
For poblanos, simply char on an open flame on the stove, remove and place in plastic wrap. After a few minutes, peeling will be easy!
Add remaining ingredients, stir, and Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 Can crushed pineapple
2 Mangos, chopped
1/2 Purple onion, diced
small Jicama, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
Bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Lime juice

In a bowl, add all ingredients, Season with salt and pepper.

Hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer

Keep it Hip and Fresh


Sizzling Steaks and a Heavenly Hostess Cake

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hi All!! So I definitely enjoyed being at the Pier on Sunday watching my Dads group sing! The weather was perfect and the music was great. When the weather is nice like that I love to grill quick meals that everyone can enjoy. A few weeks ago I found thin cut ribeyes, 5 for a little less than $5.00 at Eurofresh. How amazing is that! We did get my Dad a Tbone for some extra chowing down though! For the sides, we had grilled sweet potatoes and broccoli rabe which took no time. If you're looking for something quick and easy, try this delicious meal!

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Also, my mom just celebrated her Bday on the 17th!!! Woohooo . She always loved Hostess cupcakes and wanted me to make her cake just like it. This cake is dangerously good. BEWAREEEEEE

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Sizzling Summer Steaks

Steak of choice

Dry Rub

3 tbl.salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp.onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbl.brown sugar
2 tsp. ground red pepper

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub the steaks generously with the seasoning and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hrs.
Preheat grill, and remove steaks from refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes prior to grilling.
Place steaks on hot oiled grill to put a char on each side, then move steaks to a cooler part of the grill to continue cooking for 6-7 minutes. (This is what I did for the Tbone, the thin cut ribeye's grilled for 2-3 minutes per side.)
Remove steaks from grill and allow to rest for 7-8 minutes.

Grilled Sweet potatoes

2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced(1/8-1/4 thickness)
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning

In a bowl, add sweet potatoes and drizzle olive oil evenly.
Sprinkle seasonings to your liking and place on hot oiled grill
Grill potato slices until brown on one side, turn and brown other side, until sweet potatoes are tender.
You may drizzle with more olive oil and enjoy!!

Broccoli Rabe Packets

Broccoli Rabe, washed and trimmed
olive oil
onion powder
garlic powder

Using Aluminum foil, lay one piece horizontally and the other vertically.
Oil the bottom of the foil and place the Rabe inside
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings to your liking
Close packet and grill for 10-15 minutes

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This chocolate cake recipe will never fail you!!! Check it out @

Heavenly Hostess Cake

2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Hershey's Cocoa
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Eggs (I use large eggs)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Mazola Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Boiling Water

Preheat Oven to 300° F

lightly grease and flour cake pans/or baking dish(9x13)
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Mix at medium or medium high speed until all ingredients are blended and smooth.
Pour into greased and floured baking dish/or pans
Test by sticking with knife. If it comes out clean, it's done! (30-45min for 9 inch cake pans, 1 hour for the 9x13 baking dish)
Allow to cool.

Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

1 stick butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
16 oz.Marshmallow fluff
2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, cream butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add marshmallow fluff. Add milk for smooth consistency(may need more.) Keep in refrigerator until firm enough to fill the inside layers of the cake.

Easy Ganache

12 oz. Semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half/half
3 tbl. butter
2 tsp. brandy

In a sauce pan over low heat add butter and chocolate. Slowly add in cream and add brandy. Stir until completely smooth. After filling your cake, (crumb coat)begin pouring and spreading your ganache to cover all sides of the cake. Refrigerate to set. Next, pour and spread another layer of ganache, Refrigerate and Indulge!

Enough to cover a 9 inch cake

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Keep it Hip and Fresh


Strawberry Fields Forever

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hello everyone! Lately Ive been in a ''strawberry mood'' because I can buy a pound of strawberries for $0.99 to a $1.29 at my favorite store....ALDI's!! Last week I made a moist lemon cake with fresh strawberry buttercream. Can you say Amazing =] Also, while I was in Michigan this weekend, I had the best salad. It was a strawberry salad and I decided to make my own with an easy vinaigrette dressing. Today's title I'm sure makes you think of the Beatles, so I had to share the music video with you all. Strawberry Fields was a Salvation Army home in Liverpool that John Lennon had fond memories of. This song is this weeks music inspiration. Hope you Enjoy!!

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Moist Lemon Cake

I used the classic white cake recipe and added a touch of lemon =] You can find the original recipe at This is for a 2 layer cake, I made a three layer just for height!

Makes 2 - 9" cakes

1/2 liquid c. egg whites
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. cake flour (sifted)
1-1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. softened butter
2tbl. lemon zest
juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour 2-9" pans and line bottoms with wax or parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low for 1 minute. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low until blended. Add 3/4 c. of the milk and beat again until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and blend on low. Scrape down bowl and beater. Beat on high for 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

Gradually add egg mixture and beat until well blended. Add lemon juice and zest.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes before inverting on to wire racks.

* Variation- I also added a few drops of yellow food coloring for some fun coloring.

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk
8oz. Strawberries, chopped
1 tbl. sugar

* Before making the buttercream, blend strawberries and the 1tbl. of sugar in a blender or food processor.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add milk and strawberries. Keep in refrigerator until firm enough to spread.

* I also added a touch of red coloring for a bright pink!

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Sassy Strawberry Salad

1 bag spring mix( Arugula is even better)
1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
3 oz.goat cheese( I used crumbles)
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 cup milk
1/2-3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Oil for frying

Onions: In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and seasonings.
In a separate bowl add milk.
In batches, dip onions in milk, then in the flour mix, add to hot oil
Fry until golden and place on paper towels

Easy Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tbl. white sugar
1/2 tbl. brown sugar
1/2 tbl. dijon mustard
1 tbl. strawberry preserves
splash of worcestershire
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth.

In a bowl or salad plate add salad, strawberries, goat cheese, and onions.
Drizzle your yummy vinaigrette on your salad and Enjoy!

Keep it Hip and Fresh!


Groovy Grilling and Volunteer Love

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hi everyone! This weekend was great, my family and I volunteered in Riverdale IL along with CSX to bring some light into the community. We painted murals, planted trees, put fences and picnic tables together and more. That was one of the best experiences ever and I plan to do tons more in the community. Hipstir Fresh will be having their first hands on cooking demo with young adults from 12-18 years old next week. Im so excited, its ridiculous and we will have it all on video to watch so be on the look out =]. I put together a quick slideshow of our fun time this weekend with CSX, hope you enjoy!

Last week, my mom and I made porkchops, grilled green bean packets, and delicious sweet corn with this amazing butter spread. This meal was super easy and very affordable. Im leaving the serving sizes up to you. Everyone's family is different so let these recipes work according to your family size.

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Baby Brine Pork chops


For Brine
1/4 cup Salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
black peppercorns/1 pepper
sliced head of garlic, skins and all!

* Variation- You do NOT have to brine, simply use the grill seasoning and go about your grilling =]

Grill seasoning
1 tbl salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbl brown sugar
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika

In a bowl use enough water to cover chops.
Add the other brine ingredients and brine for 4 to 24 hours.
Remove Chops from brine, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle with grill seasoning( you don't have to use it all)
Over a medium heated grill(oiled too), grill chops 4-5 minutes per side
Let rest for 5 minutes, and enjoy!!

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Grilled Bean Packets

Frozen Green Beans
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic, minced
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Using aluminum foil, lay one piece of foil vertical and the other horizontal to create spill proof packets.
Spray foil with non stick spray or a drizzle of oil will work too
Add frozen green beans, onion, garlic, drizzle with oil, and season with salt/pepper
Close packets and place on a hot grill
Grill for 15-20 minutes and enjoy!

*Variation- These packets can also be placed in the oven and maybe add a tsp of liquid smoke for that smokey goodness.

Grilled Corn w/smokey butter spread

5 ears of corn, shucked(love that word! lol)
2oz. Cream cheese, softened
4 tbl. butter, softened
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt

Boil ears of corn in a pot of water for 10 minutes
Place corn on a hot grill and grill for about 3-4 minutes per side
Mix together cream cheese, butter, and seasonings and serve with your grilled corn
Next, tell me how good that butter spread was =]

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Keep it Hip and Fresh!