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Showing posts from May, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars are great for when you aren't in the mood to make pie crust from scratch. Chewy and chocolaty. It is hard to go wrong when you are dealing with pecans and chocolate.

My Big, Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is something about the sight of a just barely undercooked chocolate chip cookie that is drool inducing. Once the cookies cool and set up a bit, they are the perfect combination of browned and chewy on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside. Perfection.


Herbed Garlic Bread

First off, I didn't do so well with mashing the garlic into a paste, as you can see. I think my problem was not using enough salt. Ah well, it still tasted great.


Pepperoni Macaroni and Cheese

If you glance at the title of this recipe and assume it is a run of the mill "throw a jar of spaghetti sauce together with mozzarella cheese and bake it," casserole, you are sorely mistaken. This is, dare I say, gourmet Mac and Cheese.  A delicious white cheese sauce coats the pasta and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and cheese is used to top this glorious dish.


Flat-and-Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies

What attributes make the perfect chocolate chip cookie? Is it chewy or cakey? Loaded with chocolate or sparse? What about the important question: Do you eat them with a glass of milk?

When it comes to the flat and chewy chocolate chip cookies, these might be my favorite. They are buttery, chewy, a little salty and utterly delicious. I'm still on the hunt for my favorite cakey chocolate chip cookie. If you have a recipe to recommend be sure to leave a comment.

Be sure to check out these other food blogs that have tried the recipe: The Wednesday Chef, Laura Rebecca's Kitchen, and My Madeline.


Deconstructed Strawberries Romanov

The other day I was over at Kalyn's Kitchen reading about Strawberries Romanov when I noticed that she had mentioned a restaurant that served strawberries alongside brown sugar and sour cream. First you dip the berry in the sour cream, then lightly coat it in the brown sugar. I was intrigued!

Today I finally got to try it out. It was delicious! You really can't taste the 'sour' part of the sour cream at all. If that seems a little too weird for you, just mix the two together and you get a brown sugar cream seen in this Blueberries and Brown Sugar Cream recipe.

It takes about 5 seconds to throw together and would be perfect on a larger scale for parties as well. I went a little too heavy on the brown sugar with mine, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Oatmeal Coconut Chewies

Let me introduce you to my favorite cookie recipe ever. No exaggerations, this is the one. I am a coconut lover and this hits just the perfect balance of chewiness, sweetness and coconutiness (not a word, I know).

Try this recipe out soon, it is amazing. Many thanks to Mel's Kitchen for this recipe.



Oatmeal Coconut Chewies
Makes about 2 dozen


1 cup granulated sugar1 cup brown sugar2 eggs1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to cool room temperature2 teaspoons vanilla1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt2 1/2 cups flour1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut1 cup quick oats

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl cream together the sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or lined (silpat or parchment) baking sheet.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are set but not overly browned (bake a few minutes longer for a crispier v…

Bourbon Mint Iced Tea

Who is ready for Summer weather? Me, kinda. Who is ready for Summer food? Me me me! So besides being a refreshing beverage, this Bourbon Mint Iced Tea has the bonus of having booze in it. Of course if you don't drink alcohol you can leave it out. 

Bourbon Mint Iced Tea
Makes 2 Quarts

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (4 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (4 ounces)
1 cup bourbon (8 ounces)
Ice cubes
1 quart plus 1 cup unsweetened iced tea (40 ounces)

In a two-quart pitcher, muddle or mash the lemon wedges, sugar and mint leaves with a large wooden spoon until a thick syrup forms. Add the orange juice, lemon juice and bourbon and stir to combine. Fill the pitcher with ice cubes and add the iced tea, then stir to combine.

Source: Rachael Ray

Chile Con Queso

Today was one of those days where melted, spicy cheese really hit the spot. I think my personal preference would be to make this without the sausage the next time around, but that is just me.

Chile Con Queso, Revved Up
Makes many servings, plus extra for freezing

2 lb package Velveeta Cheese
1 lb package Hot Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean, Potter’s, etc.)
1/2 large onion
1 regular can Rotel (either Regular or Extra Hot, according to preference)
1 7-oz can diced green chilies
1 to 3 finely diced jalapeno peppers, according to preference. (If you like things more spicy,
leave the seeds and white membranes.)

1. Chop the onion and brown with the breakfast sausage. Drain excess fat so you won’t have a
coronary. Cut Velveeta into cubes and add to warm skillet. Add Rotel and green chilies, and stir
together over low heat until mixture is melted. Add finely diced jalapenos, stir together, and serve warm with tortilla chips. During serving, Queso needs to be kept warm, either in a fondue pot, cha…

The Amazing Citrus Wedding Cake

Alternate Title: Moist Yellow Wedding Cake with Fresh Lemon Curd, Candied Orange Slices and Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting.

The Amazing Citrus Wedding Cake is a little bit easier to say though, isn't it?

My mom made this for my wedding. Being a total goober, I forgot to take a picture of the finished wedding cake. *Facepalm*

Orange Curd (substitute orange for lemon): Martha StewartCandied Orange Slices: Martha StewartItalian Meringue Buttercream Frosting: Recipe from Fancy Flours (Recipe below - My mom actually got the recipe directly from them from their physical store location, back when they had one, so I don't think the recipe is online at their website.)Moist Yellow Cake: Martha StewartLemon Infused Simple Syrup: No recipe that I could find for this at the moment. It is brushed on top of each layer of yellow cake.

Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Makes 8 cups

8 egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. white corn syrup
3/4 c. sugar
1-1/2 pounds unsal…

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

All in the same week I came across several recipes for Cheesy Potatoes (also known as Funeral Potatoes, Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole, etc.) and I knew I'd have to make it. There are small variations between the recipes, but if you ballpark it to match your tastes you should be fine. In the photos shown I used a bag of frozen Potatoes O'Brien, which contained some pepper and onion pieces for extra flavor.


Many thanks to The Farm Girl and Carrie's Cooking and Recipes for their recipes. It was ultra comforting and delicious.

Cheesy Potatoes (Also known as Funeral Potatoes, Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole, etc.)
Makes several servings

1 28 oz. bag frozen hashbrowns
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
(I added a little bit of melted butter, help me God. The reason being one - butter is tasty and two - one recipe had a bit of melted butter and one did not, so I chose to add just a bit as a compromise)

1.  Preheat oven to 35…

Blueberries with Brown Sugar Cream

I'm so excited for summer desserts. Sweet treats that satisfy your craving but are light enough to not feel like a brick in your stomach on a hot day. This recipe for Blueberries with Brown Sugar Cream fits the bill, light and totally delicious.

Note: The original directions don't call for you to mix the brown sugar and sour cream together, but I did and I think it is better my way. Ahem.

Blueberries with Brown Sugar Cream
Makes 4 servings

2 cups blueberries (1 pint)
1/3 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
4 teaspoons brown sugar

1. Add ½ cup blueberries to each of 4 small bowls. Set aside

2. Mix together the sour cream and brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of mixture on top of each serving of blueberries.

Source: Adapted from Real Simple

Grilled Beer Brats

I can hardly wait for grilling weather. There is something about the smell of meat cooking on a grill, oye, it is so good. If you want to jazz up the standard brat, try out these delicious grilled beer brats. 

Grilled Beer Brats
Makes 6 servings

6 bratwurst
3 bottles beer
2 onions
hot dog buns
mustard

1. Prepare grill before starting.

2. In a large pot, add sliced onions to the bottom of the pot. Top with bratwurst and add beer. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove brats and onions. Discard liquid. Set aside onions if using. Transfer brats to grill. Grill several minutes on each side, or until done.

Source: Not sure, still tracking it down

Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole

This is a comforting, easy little casserole. The filling is similar to one that I use for chicken pot pie. Very quick, buttery, delicious.


Goat Cheese, Avocado and Slow Roasted Tomato Penne

This month over at Food 'n Flix the movie selected is Under the Tuscan Sun, which was chosen by girlichef. This movie has been a favorite of mine for quite a few years now. There is something so magical about dropping everything and moving away to an exotic country and being on your own. Are you a fan of this movie too? 

My entry for their food event is this Goat Cheese, Avocado and Slow Roasted Tomato Penne. Fresh, rich flavors that aren't bogged down by a heavy sauce. 

Goat Cheese, Avocado and Slow Roasted Tomato Penne
4-6 servings

2 pounds red and yellow cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound penne
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 avocado, diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Halve each tomato and place cut side up in 1 flat layer on the baking sheets. Drizzle the t…

Cherry and Vanilla Layered Cake

I know, okay? I know, I know, I know. Cake mixes are evil. No one should ever stoop so low as to make them. Blah-dee-dah. If I lie and say that I agree with all that, can we just move on? Good. now make this cake.


Cherry and Vanilla Layered Cake
6-8 servings

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. water
2 -3 eggs, depending on instructions on box of cake mix.
15 maraschino cherries, approximately
3/4 c. maraschino juice
Seeds of one vanilla bean
Frosting recipe of your choice or *dare I say it* a premade jar of frosting

1. Preheat oven to box directions. Drain the cherries reserving juice; chop cherries in half and reserve.

2. Prepare cake mix according to box directions, adding water and cherry juice to equal the amount of liquid needed for cake mix. (In my case, the amount of water called for on the box was 1 1/4 c. I substituted 3/4 c. cherry juice and 1/2 c. water instead)

3. Fold the cherries and vanilla bean seeds into the cake mix; stirring by hand. Pour mix int…

Meringue Topped Banana Pudding

I'm willing to bet that most people haven't seen a banana pudding with meringue baked on top. This recipe comes from Maya Angelou and uses a from scratch vanilla pudding, sliced bananas on top of a layer of nilla wafers.


The pudding got quite brown only after 15 minutes, much more brown than I would have liked. I think next time I would bake only till tips were golden. Regardless, it tasted great.

Day two taste test: As much as I loved this pudding, it’s definitely not as good on day 2. The nilla wafers turn to a grainy sorta paste. I would think this recipe would be great just minus the wafers if you planned on having leftovers the next day. If you are planning on only serving it once, go for the wafers.

Maya Angelou's Banana Pudding
Makes several serving

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 cups milk
8 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups vanilla wafers
4 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1. P…

Mexican Dorito Casserole

I'm not even gonna pretend that this anything but what I call "Trash Food." Every once in a while trash food is the best kind of food, comforting and totally delicious. Mexican Dorito Casserole fits that description perfectly. Enjoy!

Toddler Activity: Cookie Decorating Party

If you are in the need of a play date activity or perhaps just in the mood for some silly food fun at home, try a cookie decorating party. Preparation for this is quick and since you can eat your work, clean up is quick too.

Start with a plate of plain sugar cookies, probably 3-4 per child. You can provide a plastic baggie after the icing has set to store leftovers for each child to take home. If you have the energy to make cookies from scratch, God bless you because I sure don't. I bought some take and bake sugar cookies, but you could even get away with baked cookies that are fresh, like the kind from Costco. If you are baking them yourself you can make them the morning of or the day before to save time.Line up some extra roomy plates to lay out your cookies. Make a big batch of powdered sugar and add a little milk at a time and stir with a whisk to remove any clumps and to incorporate completely. Once you are at a good consistency of not too thin - not too thick, pour the icing…

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie is the ultimate party food. Sweet apples and pears, buttery crackers, crunchy nuts and creamy cheese. The great news is it is so simple.

So, don't tell anyone, but I nuked my brie in the microwave. I've actually made this in the oven as well, and from what I can tell, microwaving is a lot easier and faster. I nuked mine for about 45 seconds. Just keep an eye on it, and heat it in 15 second increments. The only downside to this is the nuts wont get as that toasted flavor, so I would recommend microwaving only if you are in a time crunch.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
18-20 servings, depending on size of brie

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans (I used walnuts)
1 tablespoon brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving

1. In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

This is a delicious and moist pound cake that goes great with a cup of coffee. I used vanilla instant pudding (with a dash of cocoa powder) instead of chocolate because I like a much milder chocolate flavor. You may want to try dredging your chocolate chips in flour as well. My chips all sank to the bottom of the pan.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
Yield: 1 (10") cake

1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix (without pudding)
1 (5.9-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
4 large eggs
6 ounces semisweet chocolate mini-morsels (I used less)
Powdered sugar

1. Beat first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl at medium speed of an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until creamy; add sour cream, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate morsels. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10" tube or Bundt pan.

2. Bake at 350…

Chocolate Pudding Pie

I grew up with this very easy, very quick dessert. Take two servings of Jello chocolate pudding, make according to the 'pie' directions (I think it uses just a touch less milk) and pour into a baked pie shell. Pop in the fridge for a few hours, then serve with some whipped cream. It is the perfect dessert when you want a chocolate fix without much effort.

Pineapple and Bacon Wraps with Rosemary Skewers

If you have been to a potluck chances are you have tried a pineapple and bacon wrap. What makes these different is the addition of vanilla bean seeds added to the pineapple, as well as a rosemary skewer. The skewer is optional. I couldn't quite decide if I liked them aesthetically or not.

I will note that they taste significantly better when they aren't piping hot. The heat brings out the heavy vanilla scent and leaves a strong after taste. If you let them cool down just a tad the after too-strong taste pretty much disappears.























Pineapple and Bacon Wraps with Rosemary Skewers
Makes many servings

1/2 Vanilla bean, seeds removed (I used a whole bean, I think it may have been a tad too much)
1 can pineapple rings (Obviously, if you can get fresh, go for it)
1 package thin sliced bacon
Sprigs of Rosemary for skewering

1. Cut up pineapple into goodly sized chunks and mix with vanilla bean seeds until the seeds are evenly distributed.

2. Cut bacon slices in half, then wrap around a …