Feb 28, 2013

Spicy Sriracha Crab Dip

A local grocery market I frequent carries a Spicy Sriracha Crab Dip that I love but as it is a solid thirty minute trip into town to pick some up, I was determined to make it at home. There are two components to this chilled dip that give a spicy flavor, Sriracha sauce and fresh jalapenos. You can tweak this to be less or more spicy to your preferences. Enjoy!

Feb 27, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies

Last weekend I made a whole buncha smoothies. I was testing out what ingredients gave the best flavor and consistency for Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies. I thought today I would share with you a few things I learned.

Primarily, I was testing the difference in flavor between using cottage cheese or cream cheese. If you are wrinkling your nose at the idea of cottage cheese, let me assure you that it blends up totally smooth and there are no curds at all. Between the two choices, cottage cheese won hands down. The cream cheese smoothie was completely overpowered in flavor by the cream cheese, much too sour and you could barely taste the fruit.

I tried testing using different combinations of milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and frozen milk ice cubes. In the end I felt like both the yogurt and the cottage cheese were necessary to give the smoothie a nice thick consistency. A spoonful of sugar or powdered sugar was necessary I found because the fruit was a little tart, along with the cottage cheese, and the little bit of sweetness added really improved the flavor overall.

Having tried all this, I found that my favorite recipe was from ben and birdy. Many thanks to them for the delicious recipe. Enjoy!

Feb 26, 2013

Filet Mignon with Onion Gorgonzola Sauce

Incredible. Incredible is the one word I would use to describe this dinner. Also, easy. So that is two words, incredible and easy. This meal is one of the best tasting and easiest to prepare dinners I have made in a long time. We start off by sauteing an onion until it starts to caramelize, then add cream and Gorgonzola cheese. Prepare your filet mignon, serve it on top of the sauce, and voila, done! If you want to make a special dinner for someone that loves steak, I encourage you to try this one out right away.

For a vegetable on the side, asparagus is equally easy to prepare. Cut off the woody ends, drizzle with olive oil, preferably a lemon olive oil or mixed citrus olive oil, and roast in the oven.

The quality of the meat, just like last time when I made the Filet Mignon with Red Wine Boysenberry Reduction, was superb. This is a dish that you have to watch closely. If you are not familiar with filet mignon, you definitely do not want to overcook it and have it be grey in the middle.

Here is a great article that should help you decide what temperature to cook your filet mignon. Remember that it will continue to cook even after you take it off the stovetop. My pieces were about two inches thick so remember that if you have a different thickness of meat that you may need to adjust your cooking time.

Feb 20, 2013

Seafood Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

For special dinners my family usually goes with a seafood recipe and this was exactly the case for Valentine's Day. If you do a search for Seafood Pot Pie, a lot of the time it is basically a copy of chicken pot pie with seafood subbed in with a cream of whatever can of soup. I'm sure they taste all right but I prefer this version which has a light sauce, lots of scallops, crab and shrimp.

If you have made any type of casserole before that has a biscuit or puff pastry topping, you might have noticed that it can take a long, long time for the topping to actually cook through. Sometimes even after baking it a long time, the bottom of the dough can still end up doughy and uncooked.  Due to this, I prefer to cook the puff pastry topping separately on a baking sheet. This way you don't risk having an under cooked topping and at the same time, an over cooked casserole.

If you want to bake it on top of the casserole, I would suggest adding the puff pastry about 40 minutes into the cooking time, but you need to consider what temperature you have the oven at, and make sure you wont burn the puff pastry if it requires extra time to cook all the way through.

Seafood lovers should love this as much as we did. Enjoy!

Feb 19, 2013

Cheesecake Factory Copycat - Carrot Cake Cheesecake

My goodness you guys. This cheesecake is outstanding. Easily one of the best I have ever tried and worthy of making for a special get together. While some cheesecake recipes can be fussy, this one is really simple. Two batters are made, one for the cheesecake and one for the carrot cake. They are layered in the pan and it bakes up easily, no water bath required. Many thanks to Sifting Focus for this recipe. Enjoy!

Feb 15, 2013

Ranch Macaroni and Cheese

Cassie Craves Week continues! I'm glad Cassie is such a good sport and doesn't mind that I am posting a bunch of her recipes from her blog. You might have noticed I really, really like her recipes. Next up is this Ranch Macaroni and Cheese. Made from scratch and the definition of comfort food: cheesy, carby goodness.

My only change was that I toasted the crushed Ritz crackers with butter in a pan and added them to the top of the macaroni as opposed to stirring it in when the cheese sauce is added. This recipe makes a ton so if you are worried about too many leftovers, you might want to cut the amounts in half. Enjoy!

Feb 14, 2013

Chocolate & Cherry Coconut Macaroons

Today I have a sweet Valentine's Day treat to share. Traditional Chocolate Coconut Macaroons that are jazzed up with maraschino cherries on the inside and garnished with cherry and white chocolate drizzles. The texture of this treat is a very chewy, intensely chocolate cookie.

I came up with this creation for a new foodie event, the Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge, hosted by Sheryl at Lady Behind the Curtain. Two ingredients are chosen each month and shared on a set upon reveal day. This month the ingredients that were chosen were chocolate and cherries. Yum!

What I love about this event is that you aren't required to post each and every month. If life gets busy and you have to skip out one month, no worries and no stress, just jump back in when you are able. I'm excited to see what everyone else comes up with and many thanks to Sheryl for hosting for us. Happy Valentine's Day!

Feb 13, 2013

The Best Ever Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries

I might as well go ahead and name this week Cassie Craves Week. So far I have posted Pretty Damn Amazing Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and Cowboy Burgers with Caramelized A1 Onions. Next up is the best Broccoli Salad that I have ever tasted.

Have you ever tried the broccoli salads from the grocery store? While they may be good, they sure are expensive. It is much more economical to make your own. It is fresher, tastes better and you can make much much more of it.

The only change I made was to add about 3/4 cup dried cranberries since I like a hint of sweetness. You could use raisins instead of cranberries if you'd like, or omit the dried fruit component entirely if you prefer. Enjoy!

Feb 12, 2013

Cowboy Burgers with Caramelized A1 Onions

I mentioned before that I have pinned a few dozen recipes from Cassie Craves. This week I will prove that I was not fibbing! Cassie has so many great recipes to try out. I tried the Pretty Damn Amazing Biscuits with Sausage Gravy first, next up are these Cowboy Burgers with Caramelized A1 Onions.

As you can see I actually made sliders, not burgers. I was about to get about 8 slider patties from one pound of ground beef. My only other change was I used only one onion for the Caramelized A1 Onions, but I kept the butter and 1 Tbsp. of A1 Sauce amounts the same since I wanted them to have a strong flavor. Enjoy!

Feb 8, 2013

Cherry Brownie Bites with Cherry Cream Cheese Drizzle

Someone please take these away from me before I eat too many. I spied this recipe at The Lady Behind the Curtain. They are so so delicious and a perfect treat for Valentine's Day.  My only issue was that baking them in the muffin pan proved to be a pain in the butt. Slightly under baked and they wouldn't come out cleanly from the pan and over baked meant they wouldn't be fudgey.

If I make these again I would stick to baking them in a traditional brownie pan, lined with either parchment or foil to lift the brownies out easily, then cutting into squares (or hearts) and icing as normal. Many thanks to The Lady Behind the Curtain for this recipe. Sheryl also hosts Cast Party Wednesday so if you enjoy linking up to parties or enjoy browsing all the yummy recipes at link parties, hop by there and browse. Enjoy!

Feb 7, 2013

Pretty Damn Amazing Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Let's get right to it. These are the best biscuits with sausage gravy that I have ever tasted. Two ingredients that may surprise you are the maple flavored sausage and cream cheese. Traditional sausage gravy is thickened using flour. Not the case with this recipe. Please try it, it is absolutely incredible.

Many thanks to Cassie Craves for this recipe. I have pinned several dozen recipes from her site, particularly a lot of dinner recipes. Be sure to visit her if you are in the need of new recipes for quick dinners.

Feb 6, 2013

Banana Split Cake Mix Cookies

Have you made cake mix cookies before? I have a few times with pretty great results. Today I baked up these Banana Split Cake Mix Cookies which utilize a funfetti cake mix and a box of instant banana pudding. They turned out fantastic. I found this recipe at Taste and Tell, which has tons of great recipes to check out. Enjoy!