Spicy Richmond

Bringing heat back to the South

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

What a busy weekend! Tyler and I went to dinner at The Hard Shell Friday night which was delicious! They have a great atmosphere and awesome, fresh seafood.

Then we had his Member/Guest awards dinner. Hello excuse to get dressed up!

We clean up pretty well if I do say so myself! :)

Come Sunday I was itching to get in the kitchen since I had been here, there and everywhere all weekend.

I have been DYING to make something with pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin muffins…are you sensing a trend? A few years ago I was introduced to the deliciousness that is pumpkin cake so that’s what I ended up deciding to be the must bake fall treat!

Now, I have to admit I am not much of a baker. I don’t like to measure things out. I much prefer to just throw stuff in based on taste and preference but with baking, you have to follow the recipe or else you could end up with a disaster on your hands.

Someone once told me that “cooking is an art and baking is a science” and that really stuck with me. I hate science. I was always more of a History/English person myself so why bother with science experiments? Well, this was an experiment that had a happy ending!

I started with my flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.

Then came the sugar…a LOT of sugar.

Which then was accompanied by pumpkin, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs.

Then mix it all up.

Mix it until it is nice and creamy.

Then I poured it into my bundt pan that I sprayed generously with non-stick cooking spray.

Now pop it into a pre-heated oven to 350 degrees. The recipe I based this off of said to cook it for 30 minutes but when I checked mine after 30 minutes it was still a little gooey so I popped it in for another 10 minutes and it was perfect!

One suggestion: run a rubber spatula around the edges of the pan AND around the center before flipping it over. I forgot to run it around the inside part and some of it stuck. Good thing all of the imperfections are covered up with delicious icing!

Start by combining room temperature cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla and butter.

Beat it with your mixer until everything is evenly combined and let chill in the fridge while your cake is cooling.

Voila! Everyone has raved about it and commented on how moist the cake is. I’ll definitely be adding this to my arsenal of awesome recipes!

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the icing:

  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese (I used neufatchel cheese to cut some calories/fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter

Happy Baking!

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Lightened-up Chicken Parm

I think I should have been born Italian. No really, I do. I LOVE cooking Italian food. Ok, I guess I might like to eat it too. Not to mention my Italy trip was by far my favorite trip ever!

My extremely generous Mom took me for a girls trip after I graduated college.

Beautiful, right?

So, the other night I was feeling nostalgic and decided to make Chicken Parm for dinner.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then rinse 4 chicken breasts and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Pour flour into a bowl (or on aluminum foil like I did for easier clean up).

Whisk 2 eggs…

And pour out some Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

Dip each chicken breast in the flour then your egg wash and then make sure each is generously coated in bread crumbs. Pour a generous amount of vegetable oil into your pan so that the bottom of your pan is coated and heat the oil. Place each breaded chicken breast in the hot oil and cook about 3-4 minutes per side or until you have a nice golden crust.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and put thin layer of pasta sauce on bottom of the dish.

I was feeling ambitious and made Teresa Guidice’s “Quickie” Sauce from her Skinny Italian cookbook.

Then I placed each of my chicken breasts in the baking dish on top of the layer of pasta sauce and topped each breast with a slice of mozzarella and sprinkled Parmesan on top and placed it in the oven.

It should take 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.

Look at that bubbly delicious goodness.

Did I mention I added more cheese? Everything is better with cheese.

This meal is always a crowd pleaser!

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Lightened up at home Chipotle Burrito Bowl

So, we all know everyone loves Chipotle. And if they don’t, they need their head examined. Fresh ingredients (some of which are even organic) make its lighter take on Tex-Mex so wonderfully delicious!

But, have you ever looked at the nutrition facts online? Its not nearly as healthy as you might think. Even the salad I typically get weighs in at almost 700 calories! 700 calories!!

So, needless to say, I was very excited when I found SkinnyTaste.com's recipes for Crock pot Pork Carnitas and Cilantro Lime Rice.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I got a new crock pot for my birthday in April and have yet to use it…but this recipe definitely was a great way to break it in! I plopped it in before work and it was ready when I got home. Not to mention, my house smelled heavenly!

(See, it still has one of the stickers on it!)

Ok, now I have another confession: I have never made real rice. I’m not a huge rice fan so I’ve always just gone with the flavored packages or boil-in-a-bag kinds. So this was my first attempt at actually cooking rice.

This recipe might be the only way I eat rice from now on. I added the juice of an entire lime instead of a 1/2 as Skinny Taste’s recipe calls for because I love the flavor of lime juice but my goodness was it good!!

Then I started creating my burrito bowl starting with my rice.

Added some of the Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas.

Then I topped it with a dollop of fat free sour cream, cheddar cheese and Sriracha. I have to say I was amazed at how much this tasted like the real thing! Everyone can always use to cut back on eating out to save money and a few extra calories and this will definitely do the trick.

Now if only I could figure out how to make those delicious tortilla chips with lime salt lower calorie…

But tomorrow is Friday so enjoy your weekend :)

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Saturday Breakfast

Sorry its been a while since my last post. I came down with Strep Throat which then turned into an abscess on my tonsil so cooking has been the last thing on my brain lately…not to mention everything I’ve been eating has been mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, yogurt, etc. Needless to say, not much to blog about.

So after finally getting relief on Friday, I was more than ready to eat some real food again.

I’m sure many of you have experienced the wonderfulness that is an omelet bar. The omelet station at Shafer Dining Hall was easily my favorite part of the dining hall my freshman year in college. The oil they coated the pan with would explain my weight gain that year but I digress…

While I don’t quite have the omelet-making skills of those omelet station workers from Shafer back in the day, I still try my hand at it every once in a while and man was this yummy!

I first started with 3 eggs.

Then I added in some salt and pepper and whisked them up.

I sprayed cooking spray on a nonstick pan and heated it up while I was whisking the eggs and then poured the egg mixture in my pan.

Let the eggs set, running a spatula around the corners to make sure its not sticking too much. Then I added in my toppings. I had some basil in the fridge that I needed to use fast before it went bad that I chopped up and then added in some chopped white onion and goat cheese.

Then I flipped one side over and let the eggs on the inside and my fillings set.

Flip it over onto the other side to ensure the eggs are fully cooked. You also want to give the cheese time to melt so it oozes out once you cut into the omelet. Who doesn’t love ooey gooey cheese?

Once everything has set (I put a little slit in the middle to make sure the egg still wasn’t runny) you’re ready to eat! I also toasted 2 white house rolls and buttered them. For those of you not from Richmond and are not familiar with Ukrop’s Whitehouse rolls, I’m sorry. You’re missing out on some serious deliciousness.

Tada! Again, my photography and plating need some serious work but the cheese was perfectly meltedĀ  and the basil added a nice pop of flavor.

Yum! What I did not photograph was the side of Sriracha I used for dipping…sometimes I just can’t help myself. Its just so gooood!

Now off to soak up some much over due baby time with my friend Bridget’s precious baby boy, Parks! Enjoy your weekend everyone :)

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Sushi and Sake

So I had totally planned on a night in with Tyler in my PJs catching up on stuff I had on the DVR and maybe a movie…until I got a text inviting us to triple date for Sushi and Sake. So, I threw back the covers (yes, I was already laying in bed), freshened up my makeup and off we went to Tyler’s brother and his girlfriends house where another one of our friends were already waiting.

When we got there, the boys were all set up watching this. Have you seen this video? Or anything else from Epic Meal Time? It looks like a heart attack. Men…

So once they had gotten in their thrill of watching these men eat 50,000+ calories, we were off to Samurai Sushi! Samurai is actually really close to my office (and they deliver!) so I eat there for lunch often but have never been there for dinner.

We started with some Calamari and Edamame. The Calamari was served with what looked like ketchup but was spicy and delicious! Ketchup and Sriracha in one? Could it be?

Then our entrees came out.

Tell me that doesn’t look delicious! Note the glowing cucumbers. I really enjoyed that but then again I’m easily amused.

Then came my roll (sans glowing vegetable of any kind…bummer).

Once we had finished dinner the guys decided they were still hungry. Big surprise there. So we decided to go by Ciao Pizza and get some cannoli for dessert.

YUM! Tell me those don’t look delicious. But since we ordered 6 of them and it was getting kind of late, we had to wait for them so they gave us some little doughnut-y bites of heaven. I mean SO good.

…so good I couldn’t get a picture of them fast enough. They were served with a side of chilled chocolate. Yep, I’d like a second order. Or three or four for that matter.

But I’ve been laid up in bed all weekend with Strep throat so I’m hoping and praying I’ll be all better after 2 days on antibiotics so I can go to work tomorrow and get out of my house.

I hope everyone has a good week!

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Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

So I have been dying to make this Roast Red Pepper dish since I saw it on How Sweet It Is earlier this week. I decided to add sun dried tomatoes because…well I love them and use them in anything and everything I can. And who doesn’t love roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes together?? YUM!

I literally could have eaten it with a spoon and been a happy girl. Its that good.

Here’s what you’ll need:

(adapted from How Sweet It Is’ recipe)

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 10 basil leaves
  • about 3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First I cut up my peppers into pieces and cored them and took out the seeds. Then I placed them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil skin side up. Preheat your broiler and place them in the oven. It took about 15 minutes give or take a few in my oven but start watching it closely at around 10 to make sure. You want them to be charred on top so the skin is easier to peel off.

Once they’re done, immediately put them in a Ziplock bag to steam. I let mine sit for about 15 minutes and then pulled the skin off.

While that was steaming, I placed two chicken breasts in a pan with olive oil to cook. Season each piece with salt and pepper and be sure they are dry. The chicken breasts that I used were small so I probably only cooked them 3-4 minutes per side.

Combine the peeled and roasted peppers, tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor and blend.

I paired it with asparagus that I baked in the oven for about 10-12 minutes with salt, pepper, and olive oil and some Cous Cous (another new addiction of mine).

This was the finished product. My presentation could use a little work but this was delicious! And not only that, but it was so light!

Now its time for the Grey’s Anatomy premiere! Perhaps I’ll even let Bella on the couch with me…

Its so hard to say no to that sweet face!

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Ciao Pizza

So today I was totally craving a slice of pizza so I went up the street to the pizza place closest to my house with a few girlfriends for our ritual Monday night girls dinner. I had heard about it from a few friends who live near by saying how awesome their pizza and cannoli were and had been meaning to try it but never got around to it. But tonight was the night and the everything was awesome! Its a family owned restaurant and you definitely feel like you’re part of the family. Who doesn’t love great food and great service?!

We started with a few appetizers:

An order of Garlic Knots…

And the you pick 3 appetizer sampler (looks healthy, right?). We chose the Jalapeno and Cheddar toasted raviolis, fried mushrooms and mozzarella sticks. The ravioli’s were delicious!

After all that really “healthy” food, we decided to go with a large pizza with pepperoni, black olives, green peppers and mushrooms. It was definitely the best pizza I’ve had in a while! I don’t like pizza that’s too doughy and theirs is thin but not too thin with the perfect amount of cheese. Yum!

This is definitely my new favorite pizza place and its quite convenient seeing as how its only a few blocks from my house! Delicious food and a pleasant staff = my kind of place! Check them out: 592 Mountain Road Glen Allen, VA 23060

And after a meal like that I was very glad my roommate and I did an early morning workout!

What is your favorite pizza?

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Welcome to Spicy Richmond!

I started following a couple of food blogs at the beginning of the year and have started following them so closely that I decided to start my own. I hope y’all enjoy my recipes, reviews of restaurants and little tid bits of my life! :)