Saturday, January 31, 2015

Italian Cannellini Bean Dip

If you are looking for a quick and tasty dip to make for the Super Bowl...this is it.  You can make it in 15 minutes and impress everyone.  Most of that time was baking the pita chips.  I was even able to use my small food processor and everything fit in just fine.

Italian Cannellini Bean Dip

1 - 19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place the cannellini beans in the food processor.  Process for 1 minute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.  

Pita Chips

4 - whole wheat pitas
2 tbsp garlic olive oil

Cut each pita into 9 wedges.  Brush with the garlic olive oil and bake for 10 minutes at 350°.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Banana Toffee Bars

Ever crave a taste from your childhood?  I've been having a craving for either banana cake or bars with cream cheese icing.  I've also had an open bag of toffee chips on my counter ever since I used some of them to make a cake for someone.  I thought about dredging the chips in flour to see if they wouldn't sink in the batter but decided to sprinkle them on top and they melted enough to adhere to the top of the cake so they did not wiggle around too much when icing.  Win-win right?  Banana bars with a little crunch.

Banana Toffee Bars

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp lemon juice

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, salt and baking soda.  Alternate mixing in milk and flour.  Fold in mashed bananas and lemon juice.  Spread out in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/3 cup of toffee bits on top and allow to cool completely.  When cool, top with this cream cheese recipe ~

Cream Cheese Icing 

1 stick butter softened
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all together and frost the banana toffee bars.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mascarpone Pancakes

You may want to start bringing 1/4 cup of Mascarpone in your refrigerator to bring to room temperature now, if you have it.  If not, buy some and make these as a start to Superbowl Sunday next week.  They're super tender with a hint of cinnamon.  It's a perfect match to whichever kind of syrup you want to serve them with.

Mascarpone Pancakes

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a large bowl.

Add in ~

1 cup milk
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir together and let sit for 15 minutes.  Heat your griddle.  Melt a little butter on it before starting your pancakes.  When the pancakes are bubbling and turning golden on the first side, flip carefully and cook the second side.

Makes 10 pancakes.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Honey Butter Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

I was in crafting mode and the first football playoff game was starting, so that meant I wanted an easy meal with easier clean up.  And what could be easier than pulling a piece of non-stick aluminum foil off a pan and throwing it away?  I've made a hot honey chicken in the past but wanted to expand it to use a sweet potato and a couple russet potatoes I had on hand that should be used up.  If you think it doesn't look like it would have any heat...tell it to my lips that are still tingling and might need ice cream to chill them out.  :-)  I wished I had a purple potato to make it really colorful.

Honey Butter Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced

In a small saucepan, combine and melt together ~

1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp thyme, rub in your hand to release the oils

Line a sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  Scatter the potatoes and chicken cubes over the foil.  Drizzle the butter mixture on top and place in a 350° oven for 50 minutes.  Remove the pan and stir the potatoes and chicken once or twice while baking.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kinky Peach Tart

I bet that title got your attention.  And it's almost innocent on how it relates to this dessert.  I had gotten some miniatures for Christmas and one was a bottle of Kinky liqueur.  I like fun tasting miniatures to use in cooking and baking so I wanted to pair this with a fruit dessert and here we are ~

Kinky Peach Tart

Thaw a 10 oz bag of frozen peach slices

Add in ~
2 tbsp instant tapioca
1 miniature of Kinky liqueur

Allow to set for 15 minutes while you make the tart mixture

Tart ~

In a food processor or mixer, combine 

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar

Pulse until creamed together.  Then add in the rest of the dry ingredients.

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Pulse until crumbly and add in 1 tbsp cold water.  Give a couple quick pulses until it comes together in large crumbs.  Set aside 2/3 cup of crumbs.  Press remainder into a buttered and floured 9" springform pan.  Make sure the edges are about 1" high to hold the peach mixture.  Arrange the peaches in a circle pattern and then pour the juice on top.  Sprinkle the reserved 2/3 cup of crumbs on top.  Bake for 55 minutes at 350°  Allow to cool for 15 minutes before releasing from the pan.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crock Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops & Gravy

If you like pork chops so tender that you do not need a knife...this is the recipe for you.  Lots of flavor and oh, so tender.  I found a sale on sirloin pork chops but any kind will do.  The gravy is just as good as the pork chops. 

Crock Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops & Gravy

4 sirloin cut pork chops
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegeta (if you have, if not a pinch of garlic powder)

Heat up a frying pan to brown the pork chops with olive oil.  Season the pork chops on both sides and place in the hot pan.  Brown on both sides before placing in the crock pot with 2 cups of chicken stock.  Allow to cook over medium heat for 4 hours.  Remove the pork chops and strain the drippings into a medium saucepan.  

Mix together -

2 tbsp flour
1 cup sour cream

Gradually stir the sour cream mixture into the chicken/pork stock over medium heat.  Heat until thickened, stirring frequently.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Enchilada Meatballs

I've been fighting a sinus cold for awhile.  I'm slowly getting over it but I wanted to give it a little kick to get it completely out of my system and what better way then with some spicy food.  I lucked out and found a cup of  homemade enchilada sauce that I had frozen so that part was easy, kind of like my recipe for Mexican rice is also, for the meatballs to rest on.

Enchilada Meatballs

1# extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  I've found that hand mixing works the best.  Shape into meatballs and place in a heated frying pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Cook completely.  Pour in 1 cup of enchilada sauce and turn the meatballs frequently so they absorb some of the flavor.  I melted cheese on mine before serving.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

It's still bitterly cold and my neighborhood seems to be in hibernation.  With the football wild card games on the tv and a hot cup of green tea in my hand, I ventured into the kitchen to make something cheerful.  I had made a grocery impulse buy - a pomegranate (better than a bag of Doritos, right?)  I wanted to do something special with at least part of it so I went with a cranberry sauce since I had a bag of those on hand.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup cranberry juice
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Put cranberries, juice, sugars and salt in a medium saucepan.  Set at a medium heat and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally and wait until the berries pop, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds and cinnamon.  Gently pour into a serving dish and allow to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dr Pepper Beef Stew

The temperature is 30 degrees colder than when I got up this morning.  I watched snow dance back and forth across the street as the thermostat kept dropping.  It was a good day to make something in the crock pot, craft and watch old movies.  Or read and nap.  All of which happened in my household.  I don't generally drink Dr Pepper on it's own but I do like cooking with it and how it flavors meat and sauces.  I think next time I'll tackle using it in chili...

Dr Pepper Beef Stew

2 # beef stew meat
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Dr Pepper
2 cups beef broth
2 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup peas

Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika.  Dredge beef stew meal pieces in it and place in a heated frying pan with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in it.  Brown meat and both sides and place in your crock pot.  You will have to do this a few times so be sure to add more olive oil each time.  Just before the last batch is done, add in onions and garlic and cook for a couple minutes before adding everything into the crock pot.  Add in Dr Pepper and beef broth.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 4 hours.  After that time, add in carrots and potatoes.  Cook until fork tender and then add in peas and cook for another 15 minutes.  Taste and you might want to season a little bit more.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Here's the recipe that I was talking about this morning.  I've tried making some bundt cakes with a filling only to have them fall apart in the center when trying to remove them from the pan.  Thankfully, this held together beautifully.  There's four steps to it but they are all easy to make and add flavor to the cake.  I thought about adding a half cup of chopped nuts into the layer that goes in the pan first but opted not to this time.

Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Top layer ~

3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Stir in brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Fold in nuts if adding.  Place at the bottom of a greased bundt pan.

Cake  ~

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour

Cream together softened butter and sugar.  Mix in eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  Gradually add in baking powder, soda and flour.  Place half of mixture on top of topping in the bundt pan.  Add in the filling (below) and then carefully top with the remaining cake batter.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°.  Test to make sure it's done since all ovens heat differently.  Invert on your serving plate and allow to cool fully before adding icing.

Filling ~

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mix together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the bottom half of batter.

Icing ~

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk

Stir together in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Happy New Year!

It's still an early start to the day but I've already been up cleaning and organizing.  The kitchen is calling and eventually I'll be in there and might have a recipe to share or all depends on how it turns out.

For the New Year ~ I promise this blog will remain ad-free.  There's some links at the bottom where I share my blog but no distracting ads will appear.  I'm not here to make money.  I'm here to share my love of cooking.  I may do an e-book or two in the future.  Time will tell.

I will continue to keep my posts a quick read (with the exception of this one).  I've taken many journalism courses in the past and it was drilled into me starting in high school to keep it short and to the point.  You are here for the recipes or instructions on how to make a craft project and that's what you'll get. 

I promise to work on changing my background.  Purple and food doesn't go together very often so it will be different soon.