Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe Swap: Krispies

 
For this Blogger's Choice Recipe Swap hosted by Taste of Home Cooking, I was given a blog that will seriously make your mouth water - Cookies on Friday. 
 

Now, I should have known by the name of the blog that it would be mostly desserts, and if you follow my blog, you know I don't bake. I sat down with my iPad one night and started to browse. Page after page of delicious looking cakes, breads, cookies, and other sweet treats. I turned to Jon and said "Oh, shit." Yes, those were my exact words. Don't get me wrong, everything looked amazing and I'd love to eat all of it. I just don't want to make any of it!
But like I have said before, I love these swaps because they push me out of my comfort zone.
 
I chose a recipe, made it, and unfortunately it was inedible. I don't even want to share what it was because supposedly it was an easy recipe. Even my dad couldn't eat it, and he eats anything I make! So I decided to give another recipe a shot, and chose 4 different cookie recipes that I could make with the baby girl (who is turning into such a little girl - almost two-and-a-half already!!). I finally decided on these Krispies - cookies with Rice Krispies and a Chocolate Rice Bar. Sounds good, right?
 
Well they were! Baby girl and I had so much fun making them, too! She kept stealing little bits of chocolate, and even grabbed a bit of cookie dough before I could stop her. At one point she blew on the bowl of flour and was so surprised when it flew all over her face - I wish I had my camera ready for that moment!
 
 
 
 
 These cookies were so good! I think I'll even make them again for Christmas.
 
I made one change to the recipe. My chocolate bar was only 4 oz, so I added some chocolate chips to make up the rest (recipe called for 6 oz of chocolate).
 
Krispies
 
Ingredients
     
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 6 oz. crispy rice chocolate bars, chopped (I used a 4 oz bar and 2 oz of chocolate chips)
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. I don't have silicone mats so I lined my sheets with parchment paper and it worked just fine.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
  • In a large mixer bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar, and butter.
  • Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium until fully combined.
  • Add flour mixture and stir on low until combined.
  • Stir in the crispy rice cereal and the chopped chocolate bars.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set and light golden brown.
  • Transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. And definitely eat one while they are still warm!!
Take a look at the other recipes featured in this Blogger's Choice Recipe Swap -


 
 





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup


Last week I wanted a quick and easy soup, but something that would still have great flavors and taste like it simmered all day. I usually turn to this Roasted Tomato Soup - it's a great soup, doesn't have any cream, but it requires roasting your own tomatoes. I know, not a big deal, but I had a little one running around and wanting my attention.

I bookmarked this recipe from the blog Coffee and Cannolis as soon as I saw it. The title of it sucked me in, and then I saw that it was a really easy recipe and something I could quickly make with a 2 year old running around. I was sold!

This soup was delicious! It was a touch tangy, so I think next time I'll add some carrots to cut the acidity. But overall it was really good, and had a nice kick which I love.

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
Source: Coffee and Cannolis

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 (14 oz) cans of hunts' fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (I used light cream)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper
Directions
Slightly changed from the original recipe's directions
  • In a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and saute with the onion for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and their juice to the pan and cover for 15 minutes, stirring as needed.
  • Add the chicken stock and half of the basil and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree until there are no large chunks of tomatoes (or transfer to a blender and puree in batches).
  • Return to heat and add the rest of the basil and the half and half or light cream. Heat until warmed through. Serve immediately.
This soup got even better the next day, so I'd recommend making it the day before you plan on eating it. Some homemade croutons would be great with this soup!
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bang Bang Cauliflower



I've heard a lot of buzz about a recipe called "Bang Bang Shrimp." I don't eat shrimp so I didn't pay much attention to it. But then while browsing on Pinterest one day, I saw a recipe for Bang Bang Cauliflower on the blog That's So Michelle. I was intrigued, so I took a looked and pinned it with plans to make it.

I bought a huge head of cauliflower last week, and decided to give it a try. The recipe on Michelle's blog called for dipping the cauliflower in flour, egg whites, and panko. But I wanted something thicker, more like tempura, so decided to make a batter.

I hadn't made a batter before, so used this simple recipe for a tempura batter on Food.com. It was exactly what I wanted - a nice thick and crunchy coating that stuck to the cauliflower and soaked up all the sauce.

Between the crispy, crunchy cauliflower and the creamy, spicy sauce, this cauliflower was absolutely amazing. I can't wait to make it again, and plan to try it with chicken and some other veggies, too.

Bang Bang Cauliflower
Batter recipe: Food.com
Sauce recipe: That's So Michelle

The Batter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 c ice water
  • 1 3/4 c flour, sifted
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl. Add iced water gradually, blend well. Add the flour all at once and stir briefly so it's all mixed, but still has lumps and clumps. Make this batter as soon as you are ready to start cooking - you don't want it sitting around.

The Bang-Bang Sauce

Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl:
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
 
The Cauliflower

1/2 head of cauliflower cut into florets. Heat oil in a large pan - about 1/4 inch deep. Dip cauliflower into the batter, and then drop it into very hot oil. Cook a few minutes per side until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack or paper towel lined plate to drain. Toss with the sauce and top with green onions. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bacon Ranch Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes


When I did my menu plans for last week I only made it as far as Wednesday, leaving Thursday as a "throw something together" day. So when Thursday rolled around, I started to panic. I don't like not having a plan! Jon and I were texting back and forth for a few hours trying to figure out what to make. We both didn't have any strong cravings, and didn't feel like making anything too time consuming or that would produce a lot of dirty pots and pans.

For inspiration, I went through my starred recipes in Google Reader and came across this recipe for Bacon Ranch Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes on the blog Simple Gourmet Cooking. And then I found out that this is actually an original creation by my friend, the author of the blog A Taste of Home Cooking and it has made its way around the food blog world. I texted the title of the recipe to Jon, and his response was "Bleeeeccchh." See, he pictured pouring a bottle of ranch dressing over the pasta. I'm a little disappointed that he could even think that I'd do that! I explained the recipe to him and he agreed to give it a shot.

While I was cooking my parents called so I invited them to come over - I always make more than enough food. But when my mom heard the name of the recipe she wasn't sure. So I explained it to her and she said she'd give it a try too. And my dad, well he'll eat anything I make!

It was definitely worth trying! What a great creation my friend came up with! The sauce was delicious, and did have a similarity to ranch dressing. We all really liked it, and everyone had seconds. Except Jon...he had thirds!  

Bacon Ranch Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes
Adapted from: A Taste of Home Cooking

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 lb short cut pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Directions
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Cook bacon. Allow the bacon to cool, then crumble.
  • In a small bowl, combine parsley, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and thyme.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet large enough to hold the pasta over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, saute 1 minute.
  • Add cream and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add seasoning mixture from step 2 and some cheese - about 1/2 c. Stir.
  • Add the pasta and spinach. Toss until the spinach wilts.
  • Add some of the bacon, toss to combine.
  • Top with additional bacon and cheese.  
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup



Last week I made roasted cauliflower to go with our dinner. Because it was such a large head of cauliflower, I had a ton leftover. Instead of eating it again the next night, I decided to turn it into a soup that I enjoyed for 4 days.

This soup was just a touch sweet, creamy, and definitely hearty and filling. And what a great way to use leftover roasted veggies. I'll be trying this out with other leftovers in the future!

I made this up as I went along, making decisions based on taste. The ingredients and directions below include the step for roasting the cauliflower.

Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • Approximately 3 tbsp olive oil for the cauliflower; 1 tbsp for the soup
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • A few pinches of dried thyme
  • 3-4 c chicken or vegetable broth (depending on how much cauliflower you have)
  • 1/2-1 c light cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  • Toss cauliflower with the garlic and olive oil and lay in a single layer in a large baking dish or cookie sheet with deep edges. Roast on 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  • Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and stir until they turn a rich brown color - about 20 minutes - seasoning with the thyme near the end. You want them to caramelize, not fry or burn, so keep your heat low.
  • Add the cauliflower, then add the broth so it just covers the cauliflower. Stir, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and puree with a handheld immersion blender; or transfer to a blender and puree in batches.
  • Return to the heat, add the cream and salt & pepper to taste. Let simmer until warmed through.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recipe Swap: Loaded Baked Potato Bites



It's Recipe Swap time! This Taste of Home Cooking swap featured Game-Day Recipes.

I submitted my Chicken Bites with Homemade Honey Mustard and was given an original recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Bites from the blog A Seasoned Greeting.

I was excited to make these - I love mashed potatoes and could eat them daily!


This was a great recipe - perfect size, delicious, and hard to stop eating! And how cute are these little bites? I loved how they looked and couldn't stop taking pictures.


I didn't have a special occasion to make them for - unfortunately (or fortunately?) Jon's team, the Buffalo Bills, are never on TV here in PA, so Jon heads out to a local bar to watch the games. Instead, I made them for lunch! But I will definitely keep this recipe at the top of my list when I need an appetizer for a crowd.

The below recipe is for 45 bites; I made 15 but still used 2 potatoes so I'd have leftovers.




Ingredients
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 3 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4-5 slices of bacon
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives (or equivalent of fresh chopped chives)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (I don't use garlic salt, so I just added a bit of salt and some extra garlic powder)
  • 3 boxes of 15-ct phyllo shells, thawed
  • Paprika
Directions

  • Peel and and cut potatoes into chunks, place in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain water and return potato to pot.
  • While potatoes are cooking, bake bacon strips at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Cut into small pieces.
  • After bacon is cooked, place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-4 minutes to crisp. (this step is optional, you don't have to pre-crisp shells - I did)
  • To the potatoes add the cream cheese, melted butter, and milk. With a handheld mixer, blend together. You just want to combine the ingredients until it holds together, if too thick add more milk. You DO NOT want this to be smooth or the consistency of mashed potatoes....you still want some chunks of potato in there. Because these were supposed to be a bit chunky, I chose to use my double action potato masher - it looks like this one from Crate and Barrel:


  • Once blended, add the bacon pieces and cheese. Stir to combine. Next add the garlic powder, garlic salt, and chives. Stir to combine.
  • Fill phyllo shells with mixture and sprinkle with paprika. I also topped them with a touch more cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with sour cream for dipping.
Take a look at all of the other great Game-Day Recipes that were a part of this Swap:



Monday, November 12, 2012

Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup with Dill and Dijon


Potato soup is one of my favorite kinds of soup, specifically this Roasted Potato, Onion, and Garlic Soup. I thought about making it last weekend, but also had a bunch of carrots sitting around so I looked for something new.

I came across this recipe for Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup with Dill and thought it sounded really interesting. Dill isn't something I'd think to put with carrots and potatoes in a soup, so I had to give it a try, and luckily I had some dried dill to use.

I used the author's recommendation to add Dijon mustard and omit the Worcestershire. Unlike the author, I did not grate my potatoes and carrots but instead turned this into a smooth pureed soup.

I loved that at first the soup tasted sweet and creamy, but then you were hit with another level of flavors from the dill and Dijon. I'm trying to think of some words to describe it and "sophisticated" keeps coming to mind. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup(Makes 6-8 servings, adapted from My Kitchen Addiction)

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped
  • 6 large carrots (about 1 pound), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot
  • Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened
  • Add the carrots and potatoes, stir to combine with the onions.
  • Add the thyme and dill, followed by the broth. Bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 15-20 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  • Remove from the heat and using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup (or transfer to a blender and puree in batches).
  • Return to low heat and stir in the dijon and cream. Once warmed through, add the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Yes, these are homemade cookies. Completely homemade. Can you believe it?

Our daughter was home from daycare all week, and I was out of work due to the horrible storm that was Hurricane Sandy. On the first day, just before the storm hit, I wanted to do something fun and different with her. So this non-baker chose baking. Go figure!

I picked this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe because it looked easy enough (hey, the web site I found it on was even called Easy Cookie Recipes), and included 2 ingredients that the little one loves - peanut butter and chocolate. They were easy to pull together, and for once all the measuring didn't bother me one bit. Seeing the look on her sweet little face as she measured, poured, and stirred made it all worth it.

These cookies were really, really good, especially right out of the oven! My daughter liked them so much that I kept catching her grabbing them off the cooling rack, taking a quick bite, and then putting the cookie back! I had to turn away from her as I laughed!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 
  • In large bowl, cream together butter, sugars, salt and peanut butter.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla and then add the flour and soda.
  • Mix well and then add chips.
  •  Roll balls of dough and drop onto greased cookie sheet 2" apart. Flatten a bit with the bottom of a glass. Bake 10 - 12 minutes and then let cool.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken Stroganoff

 
Stroganoff is traditionally made with beef, and while I've never made the traditional recipe, I do make a casserole variation. But then a few weeks ago I saw this recipe for Chicken Stroganoff on my friend's blog, A Taste of Home Cooking, and knew I wanted to try it.
 
Now Jon isn't the biggest fan of chicken, but he has tried the 100+ chicken recipes I have in this blog. He has a few favorites, like my Spicy Garlic-Lime Chicken (he requests it whenever I ask him to help out with menu planning), but in general he wouldn't be upset if I didn't put chicken on a weekly menu.
 
Then he met this recipe. We devoured it. Every last bite disappeared - sorry dad, no leftovers for lunch! It was THAT good! And wow, so quick and easy, too. Try this one!!
 
Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces white or crimini mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks (I used chicken breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or mushroom broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Directions
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, then drain.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the chicken, flour, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until the chicken browns, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a gentle simmer; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 more minutes.
  •  Divide the noodles among plates. Top with the chicken mixture, parsley, some sour cream and paprika.