Stay Connected

Friday, January 31, 2014

Blueberry, Peach & Banana Smoothie

When I first started making these drinks, I was unsure if I should call them juices or smoothies. To me, a smoothie always had the connotation that there was milk or yogurt involved somehow. However, upon some research, a smoothie is anything blended; whereas a juice is also blended, but then the mixture is then separated using a sieve to form a thin liquid removing the pulp. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

80+ Super Bowl XLVIII Game Day Recipe Ideas

Super Bowl XLVIII, is just a few short days away and is being hosted in my home state of New Jersey; just 32 miles from my home. Yes, the Super Bowl is in NJ not NY. We Jersey folk are pretty sensitive about that sort of thing considering our two football teams (Giants and Jets) both play in our fine state and not in New York.
Photo Courtesy of Wagner Cedeno
Will I be anywhere near the stadium this weekend? ABSOLUTELY NOT! NJ road systems are crazy enough as it is. Throw in thousands of out of town drivers that now have to navigate to the stadium on our fine road system (haha) and it will be a nightmare.

In any event, my beloved Giants are not playing in the Super Bowl this year; however, I'll still be watching the game from the comforts of my own home with a warm fire blazing and a nice home cooked meal prepared by my family to celebrate my birthday (I don't cook on my birthday...ever!). We'll probably have a few fun snack foods as well, but not quite sure which one's they will make so I figured I'd compile a list of my favorites to help them out.  If you're looking for more inspiration, you can also check out these posts: Top 10 Must Have Foods for Super Bowl SundaySuper Bowl Appetizer Ideas or the Top 10 Appetizer list I compiled recently.

 ~Enjoy and may the best team win!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reduced Fat Buffalo Chicken Dip

My husband never tried Buffalo Chicken Dip until a few months ago when he tried it at a friends house and loved it. I've eaten it before, but have never made it myself. I wanted to try to make another appetizer idea to share with you for Superbowl and this recipe is real easy; however, I wanted to lighten it up a bit because who can really stop at 2 tablespoons of this goodness?!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Italian Beer & Beef Chili


Chili is a wonderful meal to make for any occasion as it is high in fiber, filling and goes a long way. I chose to make this version using Italian beer as the base; as well as a lean ground beef (90/10), but you can also substitute ground turkey or chicken in it's place.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Flatbread

With the next several weekends being glued to the TV between the Superbowl and the Winter Olympics, I wanted to create another flatbread recipe since my family really enjoyed the Copycat Olive Garden Caprese Flatbread I made over the summer. It's kind of a Sunday ritual in our house anyway to make a few appetizers and stay home on a Sunday. It's our "family connection day" and we try not to make plans outside of the home. We generally either entertain family or just relax and watch movies while unwinding from the previous week. I decided to make a new experiment and created this Spinach & Artichoke Flatbread; which has a little lemony twist.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Seafood Frenzy Friday #61

TGIF and Welcome Back to Seafood Frenzy Friday! I know, it's been a while and if you're new to CEK let me explain. I don't like or eat any seafood so you will rarely find seafood dishes here at Carrie's Experimental Kitchen. My family will eat some varieties of seafood, but I generally don't cook any seafood dishes at home so they order it out when they're in the mood. 

I created Seafood Frenzy Friday several years ago and have brought it back here on the blog in different formats; however, none of them seemed to do well except my original concept of seeking them out on the web and sharing them here with each of you. I find most of the recipes on food sharing sites and try to find the most appetizing looking recipes; then link directly to the owners original post. If you are a blogger and would like your seafood dish featured here on Seafood Frenzy Friday in the future, please contact me at carrieexpktchn (at) optonline (dot) com. 

Without further ado, here are this week's fabulous seafood creations. You can also find all of today's recipes on my Seafood Pinterest Board.

 ~Enjoy and Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spinach, Pear & Mint Smoothie

We got a Vitamix blender for Christmas! Well technically I should say that my hubby wanted to start making smoothies at home so the girls and I got him one for Christmas, but it's one of those gifts that the whole family loves. My hubby works long hours and hardly has time to eat, let alone eat healthy and get enough fruit and vegetables into his diet. But with the blender, I'm able to make him a fruit or vegetable (or combination of both) smoothie for him to drink on his way into the office like this Spinach, Pear & Mint Smoothie.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gluten Free Lemon Chicken Spinach Pasta

My family and I do not suffer from Celiac Disease; nor do we follow a Gluten Free Diet. However, I wanted to try gluten free pasta in a recipe to see if there was a difference as we may have wheat allergies; which causes that bloated feeling after eating wheat products found in pasta and bread.

I have to say that not only was this recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Chicken Spinach Pasta delicious, we also all felt great after eating it. The meal was very satisfying and I loved the lemony flavor combined with the grilled chicken and fresh spinach. I did find that the more you stirred the pasta, the noodles broke apart easier and didn't hold their shape like regular pasta, but that could have just been the brand I used. This is a fantastic meal to make during the week and to even speed up your food prep, I would grill your chicken the night before. ~Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Copycat Capital Grille Au Gratin Potatoes

First,  I hope you all enjoyed Soup Week and thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway for the KitchenAid 2-Speed Hand Blender. The winner was Rachel T. from Virginia. Congratulations Rachel!

WARNING! I went off my diet here a little bit folks because I just had to replicate one of our favorite side dishes at Capital Grille...Au Gratin Potatoes. My husband and I don't get to go out alone often as a couple, I mean really alone. No kids, no other couples, just us. So when the opportunity presented itself recently because previous plans had fallen through, I took a chance and logged into Open Table (love this site!) and booked dinner for two at one of our favorite restaurants, The Capital Grille. The closest chain is about 1/2 hour away, but it is also connected to a mall where we needed to do some Christmas gift returns anyway so it worked out perfectly.

If you've never been, the restaurant offers mostly steak and seafood options on their menu and the sides are ordered separately, similar to many other high end steak houses. Oh and the wine list is larger than the menu...we love our wine. :) In any event, we each just ordered a small filet as their portions are very large and opted to share two sides: Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Au Gratin Potatoes. My husband really likes their Mashed Potatoes; which I've shared here on the blog before, but he never tried the au gratin version (which he loved!).

So after our evening out, I started to look around online to see if I could find the recipe. And...I couldn't. That is until I found a quick blurb on the restaurants' Facebook page where another guest had asked how to make the same recipe. The restaurant replied with the ingredients used, but not a specific recipe. Hence, my version of Capital Grille Au Gratin Potatoes were formed.

What did my family and I think of my latest experiment? Heaven. Pure Creaminess. Heaven. Yes, I said it twice. They were seriously THAT good and tasted just like the restaurant version. So if you're looking to treat your  sweetie this Valentine's Day with a decadent, home cooked meal, you will have to add this recipe for Au Gratin Potatoes to your menu. Trust me, you won't be sorry! ~Enjoy!

Copycat Capital Grille Au Gratin Potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 30-40 minutes      Servings: 4

  • 3 Medium Russet Potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tbsp. Butter, divided
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 c. Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 c. Shredded Jarlsburg Cheese
  • 1/2 c. Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 2 c. Potato Chips
  • 1 c. French Fried Onions
Equipment Needed 
  • 4-7(ounce) Ramekins or Oven Safe Dishes
  • Mandoline or Sharp Knife
  • Baking Pan
  • Small Saucepan
  • Food Processor
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice potatoes and place into your ramekins. (You may have to cut the potatoes in order to fit them if the potato is too large). Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. 
  3. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tbsp. of butter over low heat; then add the garlic. Saute garlic for 1 minute; then whisk in flour to form a roux. 
  4. Stir in the heavy cream and mix until the roux has dissolved; then add your cheeses. 
  5. Simmer the sauce for 5-8 minutes until all of the cheese has melted; then pour the mixture over the potatoes in each ramekin. (Fill as much as you can to the top leaving space to add your topping). 
  6. While the sauce is cooking, add the potato chips and fried onions to your food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. 
  7. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter and add to the topping. Mix well then sprinkle the topping over each ramekin. 
  8. Place the entire pan into the oven and bake 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the potatoes are tender. 

Nutrition Facts per Serving You really don't want to know, but if you do here it is! =)
Calories 700, Carbs 36.8g, Fat 56.4g, Protein 11.2g, Fiber 1.9g, Sugar .9g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pork Milanese

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" . Today, whether  you choose to reflect on the many wonderful changes this man brought to our country or setting out actively to make a difference, I hope you enjoy your day. And now for today's new recipe, Pork Milanese.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spinach & Chick Pea Soup

Welcome to the last day of Soup Week where I've saved the best for last. Well, at least this one was our favorite (3 out of 4 approved!). Not only does this soup contain a mere 6 ingredients (all of which I have on hand at all times), it can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cheddar Jack Potato Leek Soup

Do you want to hear a funny story. Well I'm going to tell you one anyway. :) Being that this is soup week, I had all my posts ready to go for each day this week ahead of schedule. But yesterday, when I went to check on the post to make sure I didn't want to add anything to it, the post wasn't there! A BLOGGERS NIGHTMARE! Well at least it was for me because once I type it here on the blog from my scrap pieces of paper I carry around the house with me, I throw it out. Gone! Now some of you will say, "Why didn't you back up your computer?". And well I did as a matter of fact, two days ago before I added the recipe for Creamy Ham & Potato Soup using the ham bone. It was good too. I'll have to try to replicate that one again next time I make a ham (hopefully it won't be another 2 years!).  In any event, today instead of the ham and potato soup, I give you Cheddar Jack Potato Leek Soup. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Organic Alphabet Soup

This Organic Alphabet Soup has got to be the EASIEST soup you can make. With only 3 ingredients and about a half hour of your time, you are well on your way to make a delicious, quick and filling lunch or dinner you and your family are going to love!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Welcome to Day 2 of Soup Week! Today I'm going to share my version of Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. I started off thinking I could copy Panera's version, but I never tasted it myself. Hence, I can't replicate it at home exactly, so I came up with the next best thing. I've never made this kind of soup before as my family didn't particularly care for beans. But as my kids got older, and willing to try new things, I've been slowly incorporating them more into our diet. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Minestrone Soup and a Giveaway

January is National Soup Month and it couldn't have come at a better time. Here in NJ, as is in most of the country, we've been experiencing extremely frigid temperatures. So what would be better than a nice, hot bowl of soup to warm your soul. This week, I'll be sharing a new soup recipe each day. And to start, here is one of my all time favorites, Minestrone.

Friday, January 10, 2014

50 Main Entrees Under 400 Calories

If you're like the millions of people that start each new year with a resolution to loose weight or eat healthier, most find it difficult after time to find new recipes to help keep you reaching your goal.

To help with your goals (and mine!), I've compiled a list of 50 Main Entree Recipes that I have created all Under 400 Calories. All calculations are based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate because of the specific brands I've used, but it will give you a good starting point. I've broken the recipes out into sections: Poultry, Beef, Pork & Pasta and NonMeat. Click on the recipe name to be taken to each individual recipe post.  ~Enjoy and Good Luck with your New Year's Goals! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Herbs de Provence Encrusted Pork Loin with Chardonnay Pan Gravy

Herbs de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs containing savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender. If you've been a CEK reader for a while, you also know that I generally don't use many dried herbs in my cooking. However, when I saw this package of herbs while out shopping recently, I had always wanted to try it. After all, they did contain many of the same flavors I love to cook with.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sauteed Spinach with Dried Cherries

I just love spinach; especially this time of year when it helps boost your immune system with all of it's vitamins and minerals. But when making it as a side dish, you have to purchase quite a bit  to get enough to serve everyone as it shrinks a lot when cooked. I prefer using baby spinach leaves; which are generally tender and a little sweet versus the larger spinach leaves; which tend to be more bitter. Whatever type of spinach you are preparing, remove the spinach from the heat as soon as the leaves start to wilt as they will continue to cook and you want them to be bright green in color.

When making spinach as a side dish, I generally make this Sauteed Fresh Spinach with Garlic, but was in the mood to try a little something different. I had some leftover dried cherries laying around from when I made the Baked Brie, so I added some of those. The cherries gave the spinach a nice, mildly sweet flavor that went well with a pork dish I'll be sharing with you tomorrow. ~Enjoy!

Sauteed Spinach with Dried Cherries
Prep Time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 3 minutes Serves: 6

  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 20oz. Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 c. Dried Cherries
  1. Rinse and dry spinach; then remove any large stems. 
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat; then add the spinach and dried cherries. 
  3. Saute until the spinach has wilted; approximately 2-3 minutes. 
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories 94, Carbs 13.2g, Fat 2.3g, Protein 3.7g, Fiber 4.4g, Sugar 6g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crock Pot Greek Mashed Potatoes

Today I'm going to be sharing a new experiment with you for Crock Pot Greek Mashed Potatoes. This is one of those recipes that started out one way in my head; then wound up another. Not a bad thing mind you, just different.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Melanzana

Happy Monday, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I was pretty busy as usual chauffeuring the kids to cheering practice; then headed to a cheer competition at a local college for our eldest daughter (they took 1st...YAY!). Hubby and I also took advantage of a last minute family gathering cancellation and went on a date night to The Capital Grille for dinner. Love that place. Great food and the wine list is incredible! We also De-Christmased (I's not a real word!) the house. It was fun while it lasted, but onto bigger and brighter beginnings for 2014.

I'm back in my kitchen in full force and have a LOT of wonderful new recipes to share with you in the coming weeks. We got a Vitamix for Christmas so I'm going to try my hand at some smoothies too so be on the lookout! Just as a reminder, if you don't already follow Carrie's Experimental Kitchen by email, you can sign up in a snap. Just click on this link "Sign Up for Email", and each week you will receive 3-5 new recipes delivered to your mailbox. No more waiting to see what my next experiment will be or missing a post on one of my social media channels (especially since Facebook has been hiding my posts from you with their new algorithms). You will know first hand!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Best of 2013 from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed celebrating over the last couple of weeks, but now it's time to start fresh and write some new chapters in the coming year. I'll have some new recipes for you next week, but wanted to share some of most viewed recipes I created in 2013.