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Learn the basics and then get creative!


It's Been Too Long

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 4:21PM by JustBaileyDesigns 0 Comments -



Bless me friends, for I have sinned. It has been waaaaay too long since my last blog post.


Ooops! Raising two boys under the age four is hard business and time just really seems to get lost along the way. My youngest has started pulling up and is very anxious to master that first step, making it so that I can’t turn my back for even a second. Shew! But alas, with the passing of a holiday weekend, I have vowed to take a moment to add a very special, do ahead recipe for those of you out there who find yourself as busy as I am these days!

French toast

Do Ahead French toast? ------ You got it!

For this recipe you will need:

½ loaf French bread

4 eggs

2 c milk

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Easy right?

1.  Now, the night before you want to enjoy this tasty treat, you need to slice your French bread diagonally into 1-1 ½ in slices. Forming a single layer,  place bread slices into a greased casserole pan.

2.  Mix together your eggs, milk, salt, vanilla and sugar.

3.  Pour mixture over bread.

4.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.


Cover your dish and place it in the fridge overnight.

Now, when you wake up in the morning, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your French toast for 45-55 minutes (or until bread starts to turn a golden brown color).



Now, this recipe will feed a typical family of 4. But, if you have house guests, as I do from time to time, you simply need to double the recipe and use your entire loaf of bread.  This is a great recipe to use when you have houseguests because it allows you to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.  Plus, they will all be amazed when you present them with their breakfast and they never even noticed you slaving away in the kitchen : )


As with any French toast, there are numerous variations on this recipe.

  • If you have a sweet tooth, you can try a maple and pecan style French toast. To do this, you simply need to combine your favorite maple syrup and dark brown sugar. Then pour the mixture into the bottom of your casserole dish. Add a layer of chopped pecans and then layer your bread slices over the top. Proceed as normal and you will end up with a sweet and gooey treat that is guaranteed to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours.


  • If you have a fruit lover in your group, try adding some fresh berries or you can try a bananas foster style French toast. To do this, you make your French toast like normal. In a sauté pan add butter and sugar. Stir the butter and sugar mixture until it begins to turn a dark caramel color. Add in your banana slices and heat until well coated. Sometimes I like to add a splash of orange or pineapple juice to this mixture.


  • You may also decide to top your French toast with whipped cream or powdered sugar instead of syrup.



As with most of my recipes, this one is very simple and has too many variations to count.

Try it out! Experiment! And let us know what combination you come up with! Now, back to my babies, HAPPY COOKING!




Get Your Dumplin On

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 9:17AM by JustBaileyDesigns 0 Comments -

I know it has been, well, a while since I have posted. I have been a busy busy girl and let's just say I have found some inspiration that lead me back here once again. Today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite things in the world, DUMPLINGS, or since I plan to fry them, Potstickers! Once you get the hang of folding your dumpling, you can experiment with all kinds of tasty fillings. You can stick with a basic asian pork dumpling or crab ragoon, or you could spice it up with a jalapeno popper or spinach and artichoke filling. Whatever path you decide on, figuring out the dumpling is key.

Here is a pre-made WONTON wrapper that can be found at many supermarkets in my area. They are typically found in or around the produce area and are kept cold. These are perfect for our purposes!

To get started, let's work on our filling. Today I am doing a basic asian pork filling using the ingredients I have on hand. I am adding:

-1lb Ground Pork
-1c shredded cabbage
-finely chopped scallion
-a handful of roughly chopped mushrooms
-spoonful minced garlic

Then I added a little soy sauce, some salt and pepper and sprinkled it with about a teaspoon of cornstarch. Toss the ingredients and work with your hands to make sure all ingredients are equally distributed throughout the meat.

Pork Mixture

Now, lay out your wonton wrappers side-by-side on parchment paper or any clean surface. You need to put a spoonful of the mixture (about as big around as a quarter) in the center of each wonton wrapper.
**You may need to experiment a bit here. If you have too much filling, you will tear your wrapper and the dumpling will fill with oil. If you use too little, the dumpling will fill with air and blow up like a balloon.**

Now, using your fingers or a small basting brush, you need to put some water on the edges of your dumplings to help them seal. Using too much will result in a big mess so go easy.

Now, lets begin by folding our wonton wrapper around our filling corner to corner. Like this:

Press down carefully around the edges to seal the dumpling. Be sure to push out any air.

You've done it! Now that wasn't so bad. If you like you can start the cooking process now. If you want to fancy your dumplings up a bit, you can use a fork to crease the edges.

And if you want that wonton look you can pull the outer corners to the center and use a little water to connect them.

Here in my area, ground pork is not widely used and is only available in 1lb increments. This will make a LOOOOT of dumplings. The good thing is that, you guessed it, you can FREEZE them. If you decide to freeze some of your dumplings, be sure and lay them flat in the container and then separate the layers using parchment paper. If you do not, your dumplings will freeze into a clump that makes them impossible to pull apart later.

These dumpling can be steamed if that is your preference, but today I am craving something fried. So, I am going to put about an inch to an inch and a half of oil in a nonstick pan on Med-High heat. You can tell when your oil is hot by holding your hand about 6 inches above. If you can feel the heat, it is ready. Now, don't go and burn yourselves and say I told you to ;)

Lay your dumpling flat in the oil and cook them for about 1 minute on each side until the are golden brown.

As I always say, give it a shot and once you feel comfortable start getting creative with your fillings! Try a Mexican take with some refried beans, cheese and taco seasonings or a spinach dip with spinach, cream cheese and parmesan. Want something spicy? Try adding some crumbled bacon jalapeno and cheddar! Seriously folks, I could do this all day. Have questions? Just ask! Happy cooking!


The Search for Freshness

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 2:29PM by JustBaileyDesigns 0 Comments -

Hello friends! It's been a while. This rainy winter has not left me short of inspiration. In fact it has left me longing for the freshness that my Summer garden brings. In search of a bit of Spring I decided to try something new. My grocery store just happened to have some lovely Wild Caught Mahi Mahi filets. I snatched one up and came home in search of the perfect ingredients. The dish I came up with has such a delicious balance of flavors. Sweetness, Acid and some Heat always gets your taste buds excited. Mahi Mahi is a very meaty fish but the coconut broth really seems to bring out its delicate side. And the best part is there are only 6 ingredients and a handful of steps! This recipe was a big hit with my family. Even the 2 year old was asking for more!

1-2 Mahi Mahi filets
1 can coconut milk
2Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp minced ginger

heat* This recipe calls for some heat. A thinly sliced Thai chili or jalapeno would be wonderful! Since I didn't have any on hand, I used some sriracha which is an Asian hot sauce.

citrus* This recipe also needs some acid to balance the flavors. The juice and zest of a lime would be ideal. I didn't have a lime on hand, so I substituted a blood orange.

1. Combine last 5 ingredients in a large sauté pan. Heat on medium.

2. Once sauce is hot, add fish skin side down.

3. Cook covered for 5 minutes.

4. Uncover and cook another 3-5 minutes, basting fish in sauce.

Fish should flake apart when it's done.

Mahi Mahi is a meaty fish that can definitely stand on it's own. In this recipe, I prefer to serve it with veggies and a fragrant Jasmine rice.

Vegetable Suggestions: Baby Bok Choy would be excellent. Simply wash the stalk and slice the leaves lengthwise into 1/4 in. pieces. Then add it to the fish and coconut milk mixture during last 5 minutes of cooking. Other leafy vegetables including kale or Swiss chard would also be great! I didn't have any leafy greens on hand and ended up using a mixture of napa cabbage, carrot and bamboo shoots.

Tip: Try sautéing your vegetables in coconut oil or adding some of your citrus to blend the flavors!

This very easy recipe would work with a number of different fish. I would imagine, for example that a Chilean Sea Bass, Tuna or Marlin would be an excellent substitute. Go out there and try it out!



Mon, 08/27/2012 - 12:20PM by JustBaileyDesigns 0 Comments -

I have been growing and sharing and trading vegetables like crazy this summer. Recently, as with many of you, the apples have begun to creep into my kitchen at an alarming rate. Big apples, small apples, yellow, red and green apples. My boys love to eat them just as they are but for our Sunday dinner, I decided to get a little more creative. As you all know by now, I love a good pie. Pies are SO simple and SO yummy. The best part is that most people have all the ingredients for a pie on hand in their pantry. Here’s what you need to get started:

4 Large Apples (any variety)
Brown sugar
2 Pre-made Refrigerated Pie Crusts
Unsalted Butter

Now, these are the only ingredients you NEED but feel free to throw in some additional flavors if you have them. In my apple pie I added a little orange zest and nutmeg. You could also consider a squeeze of lemon juice or a little cayenne for a touch of heat.

First, go ahead a lay out your pie crusts. They are easiest to work with at room temperature.

You can usually find these in the dairy section of your supermarket.

Now, you need to peel and dice your apples. Try to make sure that your pieces are about the same size so that they cook evenly. Now, toss your apples into a sauté pan. Add in about ½ cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of white sugar, a few shakes of cinnamon, a teaspoon of salt and about 1/3 cup of all purpose flour. Toss the apples to coat. Turn your eye onto a med-high heat and stir constantly. Continue cooking your apples until your mixture thickens.

Let the liquid reduce and thicken!I

At this point, I decided to add a pinch of nutmeg and some orange zest.

Orange Zest

Now, while your apples are cooling, get out your pie pan. I prefer to use a glazed, ceramic pie plate. Roll out one of your crusts and lay it over your pie plate. You don’t need to grease your plate. Press the crust down and then cut off the excess. When your apples haves cooled to room temperature, add them to your pie plate. Spread the mixture out so it is dispersed evenly. You will now need to dab some of your unsalted butter of the top of the pie. You shouldn’t need more than a tablespoon or two. With your top crust you can get creative. You can use a pizza wheel to cut your dough into strips for a lattice style top. Or, you can just lat the entire crust over the top. If you use this method, be sure to cut some slits in the top of your pie to release the heat. If you have cookie cutters or are adventurous with your knife, you can experiment with all sorts of fun designs. I decided to use my pairing knife and cut out a little palm tree design in my pie. I used the cut outs for additional decoration.

I even decided to roll out and twist my excess dough to create a unique crust.

Once you have assembles your pie, you will need to brush the top. You can use water, milk, or an egg. I decided to use and egg. After brushing your liquid over the top of your pie, sprinkle the dough with sugar.

Now, put your pie into an oven preheated to 450 degrees. Be sure to put a pan underneath to catch any filling that might spill over. After 15-20 minute you will need to cover the outside crust of your pie with foil to keep it from burning. A great way to do this is to cut out the center of a foil pie plate.

Now you can reuse the plate and use it for all your pies to come!

When you cover your crust, set your timer for another 30-35 minutes. When your pie is a beautiful golden brown, it can be removed from the oven. As with all pies, it will need to cool and “set” before you dig in.

If all your filling oozes out then you didn't let your pie set up long enough.<


A Little Sunlight Goes a Long Way

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 6:32PM by JustBaileyDesigns 0 Comments -

Squash Plants

Summer is here once again. Although I have neglected my recipes, I certainly have not neglected my kitchen. My two little boys are eating me out of house and home! We planted a garden again this year. Really, we felt we had little choice. The extra sun that resulted from the removal of a shade tree, and the compost we have been making have turned out to be a true culinary blessing. It is only the first week of June and we are over run with squash, zucchini, half – runner green beans and cucumbers! The cayennes and tomatoes aren’t too far behind and my okra plants have just begun to blossom! Amazingly enough, the other corner of my little yard in the city is so cool and damp that it’s still producing the most delicious lettuces and swiss chard! I am truly in Heaven. As the squash and zucchini begin to fill my kitchen, I am reminded of this world of recipes that I have been neglecting.

Tonight my husband is recreating my squash casserole and we have revisited my zucchini bread recipe. I haven’t made a frozen lasagna yet, but I did manage to create a shrimp pasta that got great reviews. My oldest son has a fondness for shrimp so I decided to combine shrimp, zucchini, squash, angel hair pasta and a fabulous pesto! For this recipe you will need:

½ lb shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
*Smaller are better! I used 51/60s.
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
¾ lb angel hair pasta

Pesto Recipe Follows

Boil Pasta (Following directions on package)

Combine diced squash, diced zucchini and shrimp. Take aluminum foil and create a pocket. Add Mixture.

Place foil packet onto a grill (med-low heat). Stir shrimp/veggie mix occasionally.

Gradually begin to coat shrimp and vegetable mixture in pesto.

When shrimp and vegetables are cooked to your liking, combine mixture with pasta and toss.


Now, this pesto recipe is not precise and it can easily be altered. As you get to know me, you will find many of my recipes can be picked apart and redesigned. I picked all of these ingredients fresh from my garden. If you do not have access to a garden, you can purchase these herbs at most supermarkets or you can buy pre-made pesto (often found in the pasta sauce section of your supermarket).

Pesto Recipe:

Half of my Pesto mixture was Basil:
Fresh Sweet Basil (finely minced)
Italian Basil (finely minced)

The other half of the mixture consisted of:
Rosemary (finely minced)
Oregano (finely minced)
Thyme (finely minced)

I also added:
Roasted almonds (finely chopped)
Olive Oil
Powdered Parmesan Cheese
Lime Juice

I combine all the herbs with the almonds. Add enough Olive Oil to create a paste. Add Salt & Pepper to taste. Add Parmesan to taste. I add a small squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of sugar as well.

Pesto is such a fun option. There are endless varieties. The Basil, for example could be replaced for peas! The almonds, traded for the more traditional pine nuts. As I always say, do your research, experiment, HAVE FUN, and discover a combination that is delicious and unique to you. This entire recipe is so simple and easy, and yet it exudes this sort of silky refined confidence that you can’t help but love. I LOVE when that happens!