Welcome to The Pink Kitchen.....where life is fashionably delicious!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Some of my Favorite Things

This is like Oprah's favorite things, "Pink Kitchen" style. Everyone has certain items in their kitchen that are their favorites or that they constantly reach for. Here are mine:

1. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Of course my pink KitchenAid mixer is at the top of my list since it's what started this crazy "pink" obsession in the first place. This mixer is my favorite for making cookies or mashed potatoes. ($299.99, Macys.com)

2. Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart French oven and 3 1/2 quart Braiser. I cannot tell you how much I love these. I use them constantly.  The French oven is great for roasting a whole chicken or for soups and chili. The casserole pot can be used the same way as a saute pan. I am always cooking chicken breast or ground beef in that one. These can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma (www.williams-sonoma.com) or the Le Creuset outlet in The Philadelphia Premium outlets in Limerick.  Also, I purchased the stainless steel knob on the yellow one at the outlets. The regular black knobs can only withstand a certain temperature in the oven. I think the yellow color (Citron at Williams-Sonoma) is discontinued, but the Dune shade is still available. (French oven, $240. Braiser, $205. Williams-sonoma.com)

3. Pampered Chef Bamboo Knife Block set. These are the best knives I've ever used! Plus, this set comes with all the knives (except for the pink one in the picture), kitchen shears, and a sharpening tool. ($415, www.pamperedchef.com)

4. Deni 56-Blade Meat Tenderizer. If your chicken always turns out tough (like mine used to) this is a lifesaver! This makes chicken and steaks so tender you could cut them with a butter knife! I purchased mine from QVC, but I think it's currently out of stock. They are also available on Amazon. ($26 amazon.com)

5. Swissmar Peelers, set of 3. These peelers don't look like anything special, but they are! Includes a straight edge peeler, serrated edge peeler, and a julienne peeler. The straight edge is great for potatoes and carrots. The serrated edge can be used on softer items like peaches or tomatoes. I can't wait to use the julienne peeler this summer to make "pasta" out of zucchini, since this one slices into thin strips. Only $15 for the whole set! What a steal! ($15, williams-sonoma.com)

6. Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste. This stuff rocks! It has little vanilla bean flecks in it so it makes homemade vanilla ice cream look gourmet. A little goes a long way. One bottle usually lasts me about 1 year. Has more flavor than vanilla extract so you don't need to use as much. I swear it makes chocolate chip cookies taste better! ($11, Williams-sonoma.com)

7. Tastefully Simple Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic seasoning blend. I love fresh garlic and onion, but sometimes I'm a little lazy and don't feel like chopping onions and messing with stinky garlic. These seasoning blends make your dish taste like you used the real thing. I use these all the time. The Onion Onion is great in meatballs! ($8.99 each, Tastefullysimple.com)

8. Stove-side must haves: Pepper mill, Salt Pig, and Olive oil. I like to have these right beside my stove so I can just grab them while I'm cooking. The pepper mill and salt pig are from HomeGoods. The olive oil dispenser is from Reading China and Glass.

9. Pampered Chef Garlic Press. The BEST garlic press on the market. You don't even have to peel the garlic clove. Just throw the whole thing in and squeeze! The little tool that comes with it is for cleaning and it attaches directly to the inside of the handle so it doesn't get lost. ($16.50 Pamperedchef.com)

10. All-Clad Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons. First of all, I love All-Clad. They make the best products and almost all of their items have a lifetime warranty. These are not only cute (they resemble the full-size stainless steel All-Clad pots), but super durable too. ($50 if you buy them as a set, williams-sonoma.com)

11. Pampered Chef Stoneware. I'm sure everyone gets sick of hearing how much I love this stuff, but it really is amazing! In the picture above, I included a brand new stone, so you can see how much I've used the yucky brown one. Even though it looks gross, this is how you want it to look. The uglier it gets, the better it performs! It creates its own non-stick surface.
(Medium bar pan, $24. Pamperedchef.com)

12. Metrokane Rabbit Wine Tool Kit. If you love wine, you need a rabbit. Opens wine like nobody's business! Simply love it! I love to have a glass of wine while I'm cooking dinner. Turn on a little Michael Buble....heaven! ($49.99, Bedbathandbeyond.com)

Thanks for checking out my favorite things! Speaking of wine, I think I might have a glass!

***Anyone interested in Pampered Chef products, please contact my mom, Sue Greer via email at sgreer48@comcast.net. She'd be happy to discuss the products with you or set a date to host your own Pampered Chef party and earn free products! You can also order directly from her website: http://www.pamperedchef.biz/suegreer

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I have to share my recipe for Irish Potato Candy. These adorable, little treats are so addicting! I received this recipe from a very Irish classmate in elementary school and have been making them ever since. I made a double batch this year and gave a bunch away, otherwise I'd eat them all myself! They resemble little potatoes although they do not contain any potato at all. Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Irish Potato Candy


2 cups coconut flakes
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon


1. Cream together butter and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.

2. Beat in vanilla extract. Add in confectioner's sugar in small batches until incorporated. Mix or stir in coconut flakes.

3. Refrigerate coconut mixture for about 2-3 hrs or until firm. Roll into balls/potato shapes and refrigerate for an additional 1-2 hours.

4. Place 1 Tbsp cinnamon in a large ziploc bag. Place all "potatoes" into the bag and gently shake/tip bag  until all potatoes are coated with cinnamon. Add more cinnamon if desired.

Adorable little "Irish Potatoes"

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Is there anything better than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter? How about if you put it on top of a rice crispy treat? In the words of my friend Lisa (pictured below), "these bars are like heaven", followed by her saying "oh my God, oh my God" repeatedly! When I saw these bars on one of my favorite baking blogs (www.browneyedbaker.com) I thought they looked delicious, but not until I tasted them did I know how absolutely fabulous they really are! This recipe is a MUST TRY!

Peanut Butter Cup Rice Crispy Treats


6 cups Rice Krispies
1 bag (10.5-oz) miniature marshmallows
¼ cup (2 ounces) butter
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 bag (12-oz) miniature peanut butter cups (about 40), quartered
1 cup milk chocolate chips (or 6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped)
1. Butter a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.
2. Measure the cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt the marshmallows and butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave for about 3 minutes, but keep watch so the marshmallows don’t puff over the sides of the bowl!). Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal and mix well so the cereal is coated. Pour into the prepared pan and use a buttered spatula to press evenly into pan.
3. In the microwave, melt the peanut butter until thin, about 1 minute. Gently stir in the quartered peanut butter cups and then pour over the treats. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread the peanut butter mixture evenly across the top.
4. Again in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate across the top. Place the pan in the refrigerator to set before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container.
                                               Lisa enjoying her "heavenly" treat!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feeling Spicy

I know spicy food isn't for everyone, but I love it! My two favorite Mexican restaurants in the area are Fiesta Ole in Emmaus, and Los Aztecas in Pottstown. Fiesta Ole has amazing margaritas and Los Aztecas is B.Y.O.B. But if you can't make it out, here's a great recipe for your next "Mexican night" at home!

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Skillet


2 tsp olive oil, divided

1 cup frozen corn (thawed)

2 cups cooked rice or quinoa

2 tsp-1 tbsp homemade mexican seasoning mix, depending on how spicy/flavorful you want it to be (see recipe below)

16 oz container chunky salsa

1/3 cup water

3 boneless chicken breasts

1 cup shredded mexican cheese blend

Sour cream


1. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Add corn to skillet in a single layer. Cook without stirring for 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side. Remove corn from skillet. Set aside.
2. As corn cooks, pound out chicken with a meat tenderizer and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Combine chicken pieces and mexican seasoning in a bowl until coated. Add 1 tsp olive oil to skillet and cook chicken over medium-high heat until center is no longer pink.
3. Add entire jar of salsa and 1/3 cup water to the skillet. Stir until mixture is heated through. Add corn and cooked rice. Top with shredded mexican cheese blend and allow to melt.
4. Top with a dollop of sour cream just before serving.

Homemade Mexican Seasoning Mix (aka Taco seasoning mix)

Simply mix together:

4 tablespoons chili powder 
2 tablespoons onion powder 
2 tablespoons garlic powder 
1 tablespoon natural brown sugar 
2 tablespoons ground cumin 
4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste 
4 teaspoons paprika 
4 teaspoons dried oregano 
1 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
This makes 3/4 cup of seasoning mix that can be stored in an airtight container until ready to use! I got this recipe from the Whole Foods website and haven't bought taco seasoning from the store ever since! Most taco seasonings are packed with MSG, so this is a safe and healthy alternative. 

Alissa's notes: When you cook the rice/quinoa for this recipe, I recommend using chicken broth instead of water. This gives the rice more flavor and it blends nicely with the rest of the flavors in this dish. I decided to serve the chicken over the rice instead of stirring the rice in. Either way, this is so delicious!