Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mascarpone Dark Chocolate Brownies with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Blizzard warnings in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  March is indeed going out like a lion.  Time for some energy food for dealing with snow and shoveling.

Mascarpone Dark Chocolate Brownies 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup double-dutch dark cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 - 3.17 oz Midnight Reverie Ghirardelli bar, finely chopped

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, vanilla and Mascarpone.  Fold in the dry ingredients and then the chopped Ghirardelli bar.  Put in a greased 8 x 8 pan.  Bake for 50 minutes at 325°,

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in Mascarpone and whip until stiff peaks form.  Add in vanilla and powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chili Honey Chicken

A sweet and spicy chicken that with hurricane type winds, I had to grill inside instead of outside like I would have preferred.  This recipe would work really well in the oven too.  I just threw this together with some ingredients that happened to be all in my line of sight when I went into the kitchen to decide what to make for dinner.

Chili Honey Chicken

2 chicken breasts, either bone-in or out and with or without skin will work
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients other than the chicken breasts.
Grill or bake chicken until the internal temperature reaches 160°.  Baste the chicken and continue baking until the temperature reaches 165°.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mexican Shepherd's Pie

I ended the weekend on a spicy note.  Also a lazy note, since my fancy piping of cheesy mashed potatoes was done with a quart plastic bag and the corner tip removed.  

Mexican Shepherd's Pie

1 # extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning mix (I used my own homemade recipe ~ see below)
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 tbsp green chilies
6 large red potatoes, peeled, sliced and boiled
butter and milk for mashing potatoes
1 1/4 cup Mexican mix shredded cheese, divided

Brown the ground beef.  When it's almost done, add in onions and green chilies and finish cooking.  Add in taco seasoning, sea salt and pepper.  Place mixture in a greased casserole dish.  In the same pan you cooked your potatoes in, drain them completely and mash with butter and milk.  Stir in 1 cup of Mexican cheese and stir until it's melted in.  Spread or pipe on top of ground beef mixture.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with remaining 1/4 cup of Mexican cheese and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp sea salt

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caramel Apple Bars

A lazy Saturday in the valley with chilly temperatures outside (again).  Time for a comfort dessert to enjoy while watching the NDSU basketball team play in the NCAA championships.  

Caramel Apple Bars

1 stick of butter, melted 
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups quick oats
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 extra large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups apples, cored and diced 
1 tbsp lemon juice (stir into diced apples)
14 oz caramels
1/4 cup milk

In a large bowl (use a large one to make mixing easy without a mess), combine the flour, oats, dark brown sugar, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon.  Add in the cooled butter, egg and vanilla and stir until it's well combined.  In a small saucepan, melt together the caramels and milk.

Save 2 cups of the oat mixture for the topping.  Place the remaining mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350°.   Remove from oven and top with apple slices.  Sprinkle remaining two cups of oat mixture on top.  Drizzle the caramel mixture on top.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Turkey & Wild Rice Hotdish

It always seems that when you make a turkey that you end up looking for lots of ways how to use it afterwards.  This is a delicious way to solve that problem.  

Turkey & Wild Rice Hotdish

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1 cup wild & long grain rice
2 cups turkey, diced
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup peas
1 tbsp celery flakes
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth, water and butter to a boil.  Add in the rice, stir, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a half hour or until the water/broth has been absorbed.  Stir in the milk and sour cream.  Mix in the remainder of the ingredients and placed in a greased casserole.  Bake for a half hour at 350°.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Crock Pot Cranberry Beans

I recently bought a pound of Cranberry beans. They area a very pretty bean variety with their red streaks.  They sat on my counter for a couple of weeks until I decided just how I wanted to prepare them. My first thought was soup but the weather has turned warmer so the soup season has passed.  It was still crockpot weather though so here is what I came up with ~

Crock Pot Cranberry Beans

1 # cranberry beans, soaked overnight in water and drained
1 - 11.5 oz can of Low Sodium V8 juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 pieces bacon, diced, cooked and drained
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp Ancho chili pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put everything together in the crock pot and mix well over medium heat.  Cook for 8 hours. Stir frequently.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Apple Honey Brined Turkey Breast

You have to plan a day in advance to make this but it's well worth it.  I'm not sure that you would call this an official brine or a marinade since I did not go crazy on the salt but the apple flavor came through in the meat and it was very moist. You can use either oven bags to brine or a large pot.  I used my pasta pot and it worked well.

Apple Honey Brined Turkey Breast

3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 turkey breast, preferably an all natural raised turkey

In a large saucepan or pot that you plan to use, combine the apple cider, honey, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon juice.  Stir well and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.  Place the turkey breast in the pan or in the oven bag (I would use two because it's better than cleaning up a mess if one decides to leak).  If using oven bags,  place the turkey breast in their first and add the brine after. Cover the pot or seal the bags.  Place in refrigerator overnight.  Remove turkey breast from brine and place in a greased pan.  Bake covered at 325° until almost 170°.  Uncover, baste with 1 tbsp of softened butter and return to oven until it reaches 170°.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blackberry Waffles

Berry bursting flavor and aromas.  That's how my morning started.  Well, to be completely honest that was how it was after my daily 1/2 can of Coca-Cola was consumed and my eyes completely open.  Blackberries are on sale this week so I picked up a container with no plans for in mind.  Now with a container of blackberries and strawberries in my refrigerator it was time to make a decision on what to do and making a jam was very tempting but I'm glad that I chose to make these.  The berries bake into the waffle and add a little burst with every bite.

Blackberry Waffles

1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 tea sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 pint fresh blackberries, rinsed and quartered

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  Gradually mix milk, egg yolks, and butter into the dry ingredients.  Gentle fold in egg whites first and then the blackberries.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 8 waffles.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mint M & M Chocolate Cookies

Just in time for St. Patrick's day ~ a touch o' green in these soft chocolate cookies.  

Mint M & M Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup double-dutch dark cocoa
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup Mint M & M's, have another 1/4 cup to add to top of cookie dough

In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugars.  Add in egg and vanilla.  Stir in cocoa.  Gradually add in flour, soda, powder and salt.  Fold in 3/4 cup of M & M's.  Scoop out cookie dough on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Moisten fingers with water and gently press down.  Add 2-3 additional candies to the top of the dough.  Bake at 325° for 12 minutes.  Makes 30 cookies.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

Bursting with flavor and you can make these potatoes in the oven or on the grill.

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

8 baby red potatoes, rinsed and quartered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Line a baking sheet or pan with no-stick aluminum foil.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of olive oil on top.  Layer with potatoes, garlic, Parmesan and spices.  Sprinkle the second tbsp of olive oil on top.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Stir in pan every 15 minutes to all sides get golden brown.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

German Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel

Quick and easy plus you get to use your rolling pin and take out some midweek frustrations.  You know, dealing with the time change, winter isn't leaving....those chicken breasts will be nice and flat in no time at all.  

German Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp mustard powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the flour, beaten egg and Panko, Parmesan and mustard powder mixed together in separate bowls.

Lightly season the chicken breasts before dipping in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the Panko mixture.  Fry in a heated frying pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until golden brown on both sides.  Place on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle a little salt on it while still hot.  Add more oil in before cooking the second breast.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ham & Four Cheese Hotdish

Nothing says comfort food like cheese and pasta.  Adding in ham, peas and green chilies just adds more warmth for your soul and taste buds.

Ham & Four Cheese Hotdish

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup smoked Gouda, shredded
1/2 cup Queso Quesadilla cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Fontina, shredded
1 1/2 cups ham, diced
1 1/2 cups medium pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 tbsp green chilies
1 cup peas (I used frozen)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
dash of sea salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
dash of paprika
dash of garlic powder

Melt 3 tbsp butter and stir in flour.  Gradually add in milk, stirring constantly.  When thickened, remove from heat and add in cheeses.  When cheese has melted, stir in cooked and drained pasta with the remainder of the ingredients.

In a small pan, melt butter.  Add in Panko bread crumbs and spices and lightly toast.  Sprinkle over the pasta mixture.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Apple Butter Cupcakes & Frosting

I've had a jar of apple butter that I canned late last Fall sitting on my counter waiting for a home and I found the perfect one for it.  These have just the right amount of apple and cinnamon flavor and it carries on into the frosting.  If you do not have cake flour on hand (I was surprised that I did) you can substitute in 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour sifted together with 1/4 cup corn starch.  Sift them together a few times to make sure the corn starch is spread evenly throughout the flour.  

Apple Butter Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup apple butter
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup milk

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Mix in eggs, vanilla and apple butter.  Stir in baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Alternate adding in the cake flour and milk.

Scoop and fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake at 325° for 20 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.

Apple Butter Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp apple butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese, butter, apple butter and vanilla.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mexican Chicken Fingers & Sauce

Spicy chicken fingers and a creamy dipping sauce that compliment each other.  These chicken fingers are a great meal in a hurry or for a snack.  

Mexican Chicken Fingers & Sauce

1 pound of chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp taco seasoning (I used my homemade recipe)
1 large egg
1 tbsp water

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa

In a small bowl, mix together flour and taco seasoning.  Whisk together the egg and water in another small bowl.  Dip the chicken fingers one by one in the egg mixture and then the flour mixture.  Place in a greased or non-stick aluminum foil pan.  Spray the top with a light coating of spray cooking oil.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.  In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and salsa for dipping.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Italian Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Who says healthy snacks can't have lots of flavor?  These are made within 45 minutes and 40 of those are baking time so they are quick and tasty treats.

Italian Roasted Garbanzo Beans

1 19 oz can chick peas aka garbanzo beans
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
crushed red pepper flakes

Rinse, drain and dry the garbanzo beans on layered paper towels.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Drizzle the garlic olive oil on the pan.  Add dried garbanzo beans and roll around so they are all evenly coated.  Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes on top of the beans.  Bake for 40 minutes at 400°.  Shake the pan every 10 minutes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sweet Potatoes & Apples

The smell of cinnamon, sweet potatoes and apples baking is absolutely wonderful and it fills your entire home while it's in the oven.  The bonus is that it tastes as good as it smells.

Sweet Potatoes & Apples

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 chunks
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Cook the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan until tender but not too soft.  Drain and cool.  When cool, slice half in a greased casserole dish.  Top with sliced apples.  Cover with the other half of slice sweet potatoes.  In a small bowl, mix together dark brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.  Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350°.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dr Pepper Brisket

I think one of my favorite inventions is the crock pot.  What better than to do a minimal amount of work, place it in a crock pot and let it do all the cooking.  This brisket was tasty with a hint of chili powder on the top and tenderness and a slight flavor of Dr Pepper on the bottom.

Dr Pepper Brisket

1 brisket, butcher trimmed (mine was 2 pounds)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups Dr Pepper

In a small bowl, combine the dark brown sugar and spices.  Rub on both sides of the brisket.  Place in the crock pot and pour in the Dr Pepper along the side.  Cook on medium high for 1 hour and then turn down to medium for 7 hours.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mexican Meatloaf

It's brutally cold in the valley so what better way to warm up than with some Mexican flavors.  I decided on trying a meatloaf this time and it worked out fantastic.  Or would that be "fant├ístico"?  Either way it was tasty.

Mexican Meatloaf

1 # extra lean ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp taco seasoning (Recipe below)

2 tbsp salsa
1/4 cup Queso Quesadilla cheese, shredded

In a medium bowl, add in all of the ingredients.  My method for combining is getting both hands in and mixing until it's all combined evenly.  Bake at 325° until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 155°.  Add shredded cheese on top and return to oven for 2 minutes.  Remove from oven and pan.  Cover and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Double PB Krispie Treats

I had no idea it was national peanut butter lover's day when I grabbed a teaspoon full of natural peanut butter and called it breakfast this morning but it was a good start for the day.  When I discovered what day it was, I went to my downstairs pantry and started grabbing a bunch of ingredients to make this fun bars.

Double Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
5 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup peanut butter chips
6 - 1.5 oz Hershey's chocolate bars

In a large saucepan, melt butter and peanut butter.  Add in mini marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies.  Finally stir in peanut butter chips before placing mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Pat down mixture using a piece of wax paper until it's relatively level.  Place Hershey bars side by side on top and place in a warm oven for a few minutes until melted but still holding their shape.  Spread out with a spatula.  Place pan in the refrigerator or a cold place until the chocolate hardens.