Skillet Chili Mac

March 9, 2014
Skillet Chili Mac

Growing up, the commercials on TV lead me to believe that the only things Americans ate for dinner were tacos, Sloppy Joes, various forms of mac n’ cheese, and delivery/take out junk food (fried chicken, pizza, burgers, etc). To a kid, especially one being forced to suffer through endless helpings of eggplant at dinner, this all looked amazing. I mean, it still looks amazing to adult Tina, but kid Tina was all WAHHH, I WANT AMERICAN FOOD NOW NOW NOW!!! Once I went off to school and was left to my own devices, I definitely did my share of indulging in so-called “American food.” College Tina ate a lot of burritos/tacos, fried chicken, pizza, and other delightfully artery-clogging foods. College Tina also gained 15-20 lbs and quickly realized...

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Hurricanes

March 4, 2014
Hurricanes

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! Is anyone doing anything fun? In a perfect world, I would be down in New Orleans right now, stuffing my face with fried, powdered sugar-covered beignets, drinking like a fish, and enjoying 60-degree weather. Instead, however, I’m sipping a healthy green smoothie, glaring out the window at the giant muddy snow piles on the sidewalks, and wishing it weren’t 22 degrees outside. Things could be worse…but they could also be way better, ya know? My original plan for my Mardi Gras post was to make Nutella-stuffed beignets. I found this great recipe online, and was actually looking forward to working with yeast again (excuse to break out my awesome wedding-gifted stand mixer). But then it snowed a bunch, and we...

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Eggplant Parmesan

March 2, 2014
Eggplant Parmesan

You know how there are some foods that, as a kid, are the grossest things ever, but as soon as you reach a certain age your tongue is all OMG what is this deliciousness?!?!? For a lot of people, it seems to be brussel sprouts and spinach (see e.g., the explosion of brussel sprout recipes on FoodGawker, Tastespotting, etc.). For me, it was eggplants. I can still remember (strangely vividly) the first time my mom made me eat eggplant. It was cooked Chinese-style – cut into slices, sauteed until soft with ginger, a ton of garlic and soy sauce. It looked…super gross. Mushy, gray-ish-purple chunks in goopy looking sauce? Seven year old Tina was not on board with that. Of course, seven year old Tina...

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Balls…and a Giveaway! {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

February 13, 2014
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Balls…and a Giveaway! {GIVEAWAY  CLOSED}

Guys, can I be honest with you for a second? These cake balls started out as cupcakes. Gorgeous, moist, fluffy chocolate cupcakes that I decided to top with a strawberry cream cheese frosting that had just a smidge too much strawberry puree in it and ended up dripping and oozing all over the plate (and my dining table). Oh, and for some reason I decided that chocolate ganache would help the ooze-factor, so I spooned that on top of everything. But guys? It didn’t help. At all. I have never seen less appealing cupcakes in my life. But, being the thrifty optimist that I am, I decided to make lemonade out of my cupcake lemons and turn the whole sticky, drippy mess into something more...

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Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

January 27, 2014
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

This post is inspired by the three-layer chocolate mousse cake I had at my friend Dave’s house last weekend. Our friend Doug was in town to celebrate his last pre-30s birthday, and his brother’s awesome girlfriend made him this gorgeous cake as a special birthday treat. And let me just say that, although I’ve only met this girl once, based on this case alone she’s my new favorite person in the world. It. Was. AMAZING. Picture (and taste) this: two gorgeous, thick layers of airy mousse on top of a rich chocolate cake base that’s so moist and fluffy that it’s almost mousse-like in consistency. You take a bite and it just melts in your mouth – but, not before the distinct yet complementary...

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DIY Nutella

January 24, 2014
DIY Nutella

Guys. Remember how I have a rule about not letting myself keep Nutella in the house? Because I have serious Nutella-addiction issues and am prone to gorging myself on that smooth, creamy, choco-nutty crack by the spoonful until I make myself sick? Well. I threw that rule right out the window last weekend and made my own Nutella. Made. My. Own. Nutella. It was delicious. It tasted like the store-bought stuff I love so much (maybe a tad less creamy/smooth?). And it was super easy to make. Like, really easy. So easy I could definitely make my own Nutella in less than an hour any time I have a craving. This could be…a serious problem. So far, though, I have exercised extraordinary will power and...

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Salmon & Avocado Poke Bowl

January 20, 2014
Salmon & Avocado Poke Bowl

When Dan and I first started dating, he told me that he didn’t really like Asian food. Rice was too bland, and anything more adventurous than Orange Chicken was too much. His idea of Chinese food was Panda Express and the over-sweet, candy-red BBQ ribs and fried egg rolls from some place called China Villa. Spicy food gave him indigestion, and sushi (of course) was a no go because he refused to eat raw fish. Sigh. Sob. This was, as you can imagine, devastating to me. Like, almost a deal breaker. I liked Dan (a lot), but I couldn’t bring someone who didn’t even like rice home to my parents, ya know? But more importantly, Asian food is awesome and Dan needed to know that. So I took...

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Homemade Teriyaki Chicken

January 18, 2014
Homemade Teriyaki Chicken

Is it weird that I sometimes miss college dining? Not dining hall food…definitely not. My dorm’s dining hall served mainly bland stir fries, greasy baked ziti, and soggy Monty Cristo sandwiches. Blech. What I do miss is the food from student center. I liked having all those options, you know? There was a brick oven pizza place that had amazing, gigantic sausage pizzas that my roommate and I devoured every weekend. Right next to it (same counter, really) was a bagel joint that made the best chicken salad bagel sandwiches I’ve ever had. Kitty corner from that was a creperie that, oddly enough, sold delicious frozen bubble teas. That was eventually taken over by Ana’s Taqueria, which made mind blowing al pastor quesadillas. And inside...

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Crockpot Parmesan Chicken….and a Giveaway! [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

January 10, 2014
Crockpot Parmesan Chicken….and a Giveaway! [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Happy 2014, everyone! Did you guys have fun over the holidays and/or New Years? Maybe you’re a little bit like me, and maybe you slightly over-indulged (a lot) over the holidays. Perhaps you are still getting residual bouts of heartburn from all that rich, indigestible food you shoveled happily into your body and all those boozy cocktails you tossed back. Yes? Well then, I have the perfect giveaway for you today! The nice folks at TUMS have provided me with a few samples of their products, and I’d like to share them with you: TUMS Freshers: The only TUMS product that relieves heartburn fast and freshens breath at the same time. TUMS Chewy Delights: Offers the same great heartburn relief as other TUMS products, but in...

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Reader’s Choice: Best of 2013

December 30, 2013
Reader’s Choice: Best of 2013

Well, 2014 is almost upon us. How did that even happen? 2013 was kind of a blur for me. Work was busy, wedding planning kept me really busy, and then there were all those trips for friends’ weddings, the honeymoon, and a whole bunch of other reasons I can’t even remember now sprinkled in the mix. Phew. What a great year though, huh? It was certainly a great year for Just Putzing Around the Kitchen. Lots of recipes came out of my kitchen this year, and you all seemed to like them, if Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are any indication. Here are the best posts of 2013, according to you: APPETIZERS: Restaurant-Style Queso - I’m happy to see that you guys love chips and dip as much...

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