уторак, 26. јун 2012.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves


Ingredients
  • 6 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • other seasonings (to personal preference)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping.


Super Simple Shrimp Tacos


Super Simple Shrimp Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled, & deveined
  • 6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ a head of cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat tortillas over medium heat in a dry skillet until warm and starting to form small brown spots. Set aside on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel.
Mix yogurt, cayenne, lime juice, cilantro, & salt in a small bowl, set aside.
Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and add cabbage.  Cook for about four minutes or until the cabbage is just barely wilted.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cut shrimp into thirds, so you have little bite size pieces.  Sauté in two teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper over medium heat just until done.  They cook up in just a few minutes… so be sure to watch them!
Build your taco!  Place a scoop of cabbage on the warmed tortillas taco, then top with shrimp, and cilantro sauce… enjoy!
Serves 4.


Baked Potato Salad


Baked Potato Salad      
4 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
1/4 cup chopped chives, divided (I used 2 tablespoons dried chives)
8 strips thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream until well mixed.  Add 3/4 of the chopped chives along with some salt and pepper.  Whisk to mix. Fold in the cheese and bacon.  Cover and chill for thirty minutes.
 Peel and cube the potatoes into 1/2″ pieces.  Cook the potatoes in salted water until fork tender.  Drain and cool slightly.  Fold the cooked potatoes into the chilled dressing.  Garnish with the remaining chives.  I recommend serving this warm or at room temperature because it’s not as good cold. 
Serves 6-8


Roasted Garlic-Thyme Butter


Ingredients

Serves: Makes 1-1/4 cups
1 large or 2 small heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
Extra-virgin olive oil to cover
1 cup (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
Sea salt, preferably gray salt

Directions

Put the garlic cloves in a saucepan with just enough olive oil to cover them. Place over low heat and simmer until the cloves are soft and golden, 30 to 40 minutes. With a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic into a bowl, then mash to a puree. Immediately strain the oil through a coffee filter and reserve.
Process the butter in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add 1/4 cup of the garlic puree (save any extra for spreading on bread), 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil, the thyme, and a pinch of salt. Process until well blended. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Refrigerate until firm enough to shape into a log. Put an 18-inch sheet of aluminum foil on your work surface. Spoon the butter down the center of the foil into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Enclose in foil and twist the ends to make a sealed log, like a Tootsie Roll. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.


понедељак, 25. јун 2012.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese


Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
adapted from Buffalo Chicken Pizza

White Sauce
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch of sugar
pinch of garlic powder

Buffalo Sauce 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup cooked and shredded chicken (from about 1 small chicken breast)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
4 1/2-inch thick slices Italian bread
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

To make the white sauce: Stir the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic powder and a pinch each of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. (The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated.)

To make the buffalo sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the hot sauce, brown sugar and vinegar and stir until combined. Add the shredded chicken, red onion, and celery and toss to coat. If the chicken was cold, keep the pan over low heat and let it warm through a bit.

Lightly butter one side of two slices of the bread. Flip the slices over and lay them butter side down on your work surface. Spread half of the white sauce on the side of those two slices that is now facing up (the unbuttered side). Distribute half of the cheese among the two slices. Top each slice with half of the chicken mixture and then distribute the remaining cheese over the chicken. Lightly butter one side of the two remaining slices of bread, then flip them over and use the other half of the white sauce to coat the unbuttered side. Top each sandwich with a slice of this bread to finish it (buttered side facing out). 

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches butter side down in the pan and cook on the first side until the bread is golden brown and toasted. Flip the sandwiches using a spatula and continue to cook on the other side until the bread is golden brown. You can use the spatula to compress the sandwich as it cooks on the second side. Remove the sandwiches from the pan and let them rest for a minute or two, then slice in half (if desired) and serve.

Makes 2 sandwiches



Sirloin Tip Roast




























INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2.5 lb boneless eye-round roast, tied
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon plus one tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped to a paste

METHOD

  1. The day before you plan to cook the roast, sprinkle the salt evenly over the meat, rolling it on your board to pick up excess salt that has failed to stick.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refridgerate overnight.
  2. Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 250°.  Remove the roast from the refrigerator and use paper towels to dry excess moisture from the meat.  Rub all over with the teaspoon of oil before evenly sprinkling on the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, pepper and garlic.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer and slightly smoke.  Add the roast and sear until richly browned on all sides (including ends), 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the roast to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast the meat for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the meat reaches 115° on a meat thermometer.
  5. Turn the oven off, leaving the roast in the oven for another 30-40 minutes, or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 130° for medium-rare or 140° for medium. Do not cook the roast past medium or the meat will be too dry.
  6. Remove the roast from the oven to a carving board and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Slice the meat as thinly as possible and serve.



Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Brie Grilled Cheese


Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Brie Grilled Cheese

  • 2 Slices French Bread
  • Brie Cheese
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 5 Mushrooms
  • 50-100ml Concentrated Beef Broth
  • Thyme
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
BEWARE!  The following grilled cheese takes time and patience, so grab a book, your tablet or a computer, sit back and relax while you watch your onions turn into caramelized gold!

First things first, get a pan going on medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of butter. While your pan is heating, evenly slice your onion (if you are impatient, thinner slices will cook faster), then place them in the pan once the butter is bubbling. Stir the onions, coating them with the butter and only stirring periodically after that, allowing them to brown, but not burn. After a few minutes, turn the heat to  medium-low and start slicing up your mushrooms and garlic.


After about twenty minutes, add in your mushrooms, garlic and more butter. Stir everything around and add a few pinches of thyme (not necessary if you don’t have any on hand) and a generous amount of salt and pepper (the brie will tone down the salt and pepper once everything is combined). Let everything cook for about five more minutes, then sprinkle a pinch or two of flour over everything and begin adding in the beef broth. I poked a hole in the can and slowly added the broth a little at a time, letting it reduce and then adding more. This allows the onions to continue caramelizing instead of steaming from too much liquid. As you pour in the broth, you will get a nice gravy forming around the onions; taste it as you’re going, and stop once you’re satisfied with the “beefiness” of your onions and mushrooms!


Cut two slices of bread and spread butter on both sides of each slice. Place brie cheese on one slice, then top with your onions, mushrooms and more brie! Put the sandwich together, and grill it in the same pan you used for the onions and mushrooms (you’ll get some nice flavour on your bread this way!). Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned, then slice in half and enjoy this gloriously gooey mess!


The time spent caramelizing the onions is definitely worth it, and adding the beef stock gives this sandwich a flavour similar to a roast beef dip almost tricking you into thinking there actually is meat in it! Overall, you can’t really go wrong with a sandwich loaded with caramelized onions and mushrooms, and tons of creamy brie. Just thinking about it makes me want another!!




Chocolate Mint Oreo Cookies


Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, mint green chips, and chopped up Cool Mint Oreos. These cookies are rich and decadent with a refreshing mint twist.

ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mint green chips (I used Guitard)
1 cup chopped Cool Mint Oreo cookies

directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
3. With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until flour disappears. Stir in chocolate chips, mint green chips, and chopped Cool Mint Oreos. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the center. Don't over bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.




субота, 16. јун 2012.

Taco Roll-Ups


These flavorful roll-ups will become a family favorite that grows with your kids' tastes -- teenagers might choose to spice theirs with jalapenos.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 to 1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
  • 6 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese blend
Instructions
  1. Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet and brown over medium-high heat. When the meat is cooked (about 10 minutes), drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and water, then stir and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the refried beans.
  2. To give the filling a smooth consistency, pour the beef mixture into a blender. With 4 or 5 short pulses, eliminate any large chunks from the mix.
  3. For each wrap, heat a tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds. Spread about 1/2 cup of the beef mixture evenly over it, then top with a layer of salsa and cheese. Roll it up and tuck in the ends.
  4. Tightly cover each sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Cut in half at serving time. Makes 6 roll-ups.


понедељак, 04. јун 2012.

Reese's cheesecake brownies


A few weeks ago we celebrated a friend's life, which sadly ended far too soon. Our celebration of his time on earth was bittersweet. It was great fun, but we missed our friend. The celebration involved food and martinis. Food because, well, everyone needs food, and martinis because our friend loved martinis. I decided to contribute a "dish" to the potluck that was totally indulgent. I didn't feel like being healthy that day and based on all of the martinis consumed, nobody else did either. These delicious treats were supremely indulgent and I only needed a teeny tiny square to be satisfied. If you have a reason to be indulgent, you must give these a try. We don't always need a reason, though, do we?


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Prepare a 19.5-oz. box of chocolate fudge brownie mix according to package directions. Spread the batter in the pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese with a hand-held mixer until fluffy.

Add:

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Beat until smooth.

Stir in a 12-ounce package of Reese's Pieces candies.


Spoon the mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly.


Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set and the edges are golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the following ingredients to a small microwaveable bowl:

One 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

3 tablespoons whipping cream

Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until the chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle 12 large Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (chopped) over the top. Store covered in the refrigerator.  








Peanut Butter Cup Brownies



Makes 40 brownies as adapted

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.


среда, 09. мај 2012.

Honey Walnut Power Salad


Honey Walnut Power Salad

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 15 mins Total time: 30 mins Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups seedless red grapes, washed and cut in half
2 cups edamame (I did a quick steam-in-the-bag variety)
1 cup uncooked bulgur or other grain
3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
fresh baby spinach
crumbled blue cheese
salt to taste

Instructions

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onions and saute on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, golden brown, and almost sweet tasting.
While onions are still cooking, pour bulgur and 2 cups water into a saucepan; bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until most of the moisture has absorbed and the grains are soft enough to eat. Let cool for 15 minutes.
When onions are done, stir into the bulgur so the butter is absorbed by the grains. Season with salt.
Combine grapes and edamame in a large mixing bowl. Add cooled bulgur and walnuts. Whisk water and honey; pour over mixture and stir well. Add fresh baby spinach and crumbled blue cheese just before serving.

Notes

Makes about 8 cups, so each serving is 1 heaping cup.


























Roast pork loin with bacon and brown sugar glaze





Roast Pork Loin with Bacon and Brown Sugar Glaze
Serves 3


Ingredients
1 boneless pork loin, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds 
2 slices bacon 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoons salt 
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1 tablespoons flour 
1 tablespoons cider vinegar 
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Directions
Heat oven to 350° F. Place pork loin in a roasting pan or deep casserole dish lined with aluminum foil. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub over the pork. Cut each strip of bacon in half and lay strips over the pork loin. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Combine the brown sugar, flour, cider vinegar, and dry mustard in a saucepan. Simmer for 1 minute. Spoon over the pork and return to the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes longer, or until pork registers 160°. Let sit for 2 minutes after removing from oven. Slice and serve.

Enjoy!


Salted Caramel & Vanilla Cheesecake


It was 'drool' at first sight for me and this recipe. As soon as I spied its glorious butterscotch-coloured center with its cloudlike topping and ooozy caramel dripping on the cover of the latest Donna Hay magazine I knew I had to make it. In fact I ended up making this a day early as I just couldn't wait another moment to dive into it with a side -turned spoon. A gigantic dessert side-turned spoon. 

I had two slices (well, slice is putting it lightly, more like slabs) straight after each other and had to practically bind my wrists not to have a third before dinner. After hearing my moans of gastronomic pleasure, my husband, who has never liked cheesecake, was so curious as to what could elicit such happiness from me asked to have a try. Alas, he still doesn't like cheesecake, although he did say it was the nicest cheesecake he didn't like...

If you like cheesecake then I have three words for you; GET. ON. IT.




Salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake 


 500g plain sweet shortbread biscuits
 ½ cup (60g) almond meal (ground almonds)
 150g butter, melted
 350g ricotta
 500g cream cheese
 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
 4 eggs
 2 tablespoons golden syrup
 ¼ teaspoon table salt
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
 1 cup (240g) sour cream
 1 tablespoon icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
 sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
caramel sauce
 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
 60g butter, chopped
 1 cup (175g) brown sugar

To make the caramel sauce, place the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for 5–7 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the biscuits and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the butter and process to combine. Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm springform cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the golden syrup, table salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the biscuit shell. Place the tin in a baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove cheesecake from the baking dish and allow to cool in the tin. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Place the cream, sour cream, icing sugar and remaining vanilla in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Top the cheesecake with the cream, drizzle with the caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to serve. Serves 8–10.

Strawberry Bruschetta


Strawberry Bruschetta

Ingredients:
1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
1 tbsp. sugar
1 French baguette, sliced on a bias
4 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup minced basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine the  strawberries and sugar in a small bowl; toss to combine.  Let the berries macerate for about 30 minutes so that they begin to release their juices.  Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each baguette slice.  Top each slice with spoonfuls of the strawberry mixture.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top each slice with the basil leaves and cracked pepper, to taste.


Fruit Pizza with White Chocolate




































Fruit Pizza with White Chocolate
30 Minutes to Cook

Ingredients:


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions:


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).  Lightly grease a large (13×15 inch) baking sheet.
2.  Cream together butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in eggs.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Beat flour mixture into butter mixture to form a stiff dough.  Press dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle on prepared baking sheet.
3.  Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes or until light brown.  Let cool on a wire rack.
4.  Meanwhile, in medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave white chocolate and whipping cream on high for 1 minute or until chips are melted and smooth after stirring.  Beat in cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy.  Spread on cookie crust.
5.  Arrange fruit over filling.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, pineapple juice and lemon juice.  Stir and cook until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens.  Pour over fruit.  Refrigerate until serving.  Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Yield:  15 servings

Nutritional information:  579 calories, 7g protein, 71g carbohydrates, 30g fat, 1g fiber, 68mg cholesterol, 314mg sodium

Notes from Culinary Covers:
*This is a recipe that so many people have already made (with the pre-made sugar cookie dough that you buy in the store).  I was happy to see that this one called for making your own sugar cookie dough.
*When I spread out my dough, it was too sticky.  The recipe doesn’t call for it, but I had to dip my hands in flour a few times to manage spreading it out on the baking sheet.  I ended up spreading it out to the edges on a quarter sheet pan.
*My cookie dough only took about 10 minutes to get to golden brown- perhaps because it may have been spread a bit thinner than 1/2-inch.
*I made the cookie dough the night before, let it cool, then wrapped it well in plastic wrap.  I completed the recipe in the morning to be used for a luncheon that day.
*Be generous with the fruit.  Kiwi would be a pretty addition.
*I bought a large can of pineapple chunks and used the juice from the can- it turned out to be exactly one cup.  I didn’t have any lemons so I left out the lemon juice, which I don’t think made a difference.
*This is best the day it’s made.  The next day, the cookie crust became a bit moist.
*The recipe turned out to be very good.  Much better than using store-bought tube sugar cookies.  And the sugar cookie part was very easy to mix up.  It was very pretty and summery-looking too.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?  I suppose so.  Though if I were publishing the cookbook, I might have chosen something that wasn’t quite so ordinary… maybe something with a fresh twist to it?

Grilled Pineapple Kebabs


























Grilled Pineapple Kebabs


Directions:
1 fresh Pineapple
1/4 t. Honey
3 T. Butter, melted
1 dash Hot Pepper Sauce

Instructions:
Soak kebab sticks in water until they no longer float.  Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple and hack lengthwise into eighths.  Trim off the middle core and outside prickly side from each eighth.

Mix honey, butter, hot pepper sauce, and salt and place pineapple into marinade.  Marinate for however long you think is appropriate.

Skewer pineapple eighths with kebab sticks and preheat grill pan.  Grill pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear.

Healthy Sweet Potato Skins


Healthy Sweet Potato Skins

Time: 20 mins Cook time: 60 mins Total time: 1 hour 20 mins Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

2 medium or large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 bag fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 ounces light cream cheese
1 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender.
Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While sweet potatoes are cooling, saute the shallots with the butter over medium heat until translucent. Add fresh spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes, until spinach has cooked down. Set aside.
Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a thin layer inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own. Mash the sweet potato with the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir in chickpeas, spinach, and salt and pepper.
Coat potato skins with a drizzle of oil and bake for about 5 minutes to get a crispier outside. Remove from oven and fill each skin with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Notes

I’ve also topped these with bacon!





Adorable Banana Split Bites


When was the last time you had a banana split? It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in such a decadent dessert. So when I saw these tiny banana split bites on Bakers Royale, I knew I had to make them. More banana than anything, they’re fun little bites that are perfect for a party or just an afternoon surprise. And, they’re a great way to get your banana split fix in a tiny bite!

Scoop a hollow in the center


Add the ice cream

Dip in chocolate, add sprinkles

Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry


Banana Split Bites 
makes 12 bites

4 large, firm bananas
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, rough chopped
1 cup vanilla ice cream (or your ice cream of choice)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
cherries
multi-color sprinkles
cherry garnish

Cut bananas into 2 1/2” tall segments (roughly 3 per banana), trim the narrow ends, and leave the skin on. Quickly hollow out a 1/2” circle in the center of the banana. Add a tiny scoop of ice cream into each hole and put the bananas in the freezer to set for 30 minutes. Note that it’s best to leave the skins on until just before dipping in chocolate. I removed them before adding the ice cream and the bananas browned slightly.

Either in your microwave, or in a double boiler, heat the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Whip the cream to soft peaks, add the sugar, and then whip to stiff peaks. Set out your sprinkles.

Remove the banana peel, dip the bottom of the banana in the melted chocolate and quickly coat with sprinkles. Set bananas back in the freezer for 5 minutes until the chocolate sets.

Top with whipped cream (I piped mine on using a plastic bag with a small hole in the corner) and a cherry. Serve immediately.


Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake!!



INGREDIENTS:

One box of strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid Lemonade
Yellow food coloring gel (as desired for color)
2cups Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
Fresh strawberries to garnish.

DIRECTIONS:

Make cake according to box and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans as directed.  Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.
Cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth.
Mix marshmallow creme in and then mix in Cool Whip until completely smooth.  Refrigerate until cake is cooled and cut.
Cut each cake layer in half.
Alternating layers of cake with layers of filling, assemble cake.  End with layer of filling.
Top with sliced strawberries.
Refrigerate and serve chilled.


























My thoughts: YUM!!!!!  I’m a little obsessed with the filling I used in those confetti cups a few weeks back.  This lemonade filling is similar- but has more Cool Whip to make it light and fluffy.  I’ve never made a strawberry cake mix before– it is SO GOOD!  I love that this recipe uses a cake mix- it makes it a VERY easy and quick recipe that looks so fancy and fun!  I think you could drizzle some white chocolate over this and make it over-the-top fancy.  I really hope you enjoy this recipe— I’ve gotta have a piece –ready….set….GO!


субота, 05. мај 2012.

Mini Oreo Cheescakes




MINI OREO CHEESECAKES


16 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
15.5 oz package regular size Oreo cookies (3 dozen cookies)
8 oz. package mini Oreo cookies (36 for garnish, 1 cup chopped to put in batter)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place one full size Oreo cookie in the bottom of every mini cheesecake cup. This will serve as the "crust" of the cookie. I find that using the entire Oreo cookie (as opposed to just half) makes it easier to remove the cheesecakes from the pan after baking.

Beat the cream cheese for several minutes until it is smooth and creamy.

Add the sugar and salt. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Fold in the sour cream and chopped Oreo cookies and mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cups (2/3 full) and bake for 25 minutes (the tops should spring back slightly when touched).

WHIPPING CREAM TOPPING
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
3 tsp. corn starch
3 tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix

Combine all ingredients and beat for several minutes until the cream thickens and soft peaks form. Pipe onto tops of cheesecakes and garnish with a mini Oreo.

Yields 3 dozen mini cheesecakes.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler


We are having a heat wave & it definitely feels like summer here in South Norwalk.  Yesterday, toward the end of the day we whipped up Strawberry Watermelon Coolers and they totally did the trick in helping us beat the heat.   This recipe (a Teroforma original) is quite simple and easy to throw together for a group, in our case 4.

Strawberry Watermelon Cooler (serves 4)
4 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Strawberry Liquor (any berry or pomegranate works)
juice of 1 lime plus slices for garnish
1 pound watermelon chunks
2 cups ice plus more for glasses
strawberries for garnish

Blend ingredients until frothy.  Pour over ice, garnish & sip until cool.






Mini Mexican Wedding Fruit Pizza




























Cookie Base:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 T vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the pecans and vanilla until fully incorporated.  Add in the flour and mix until just combined - don't overmix!  Spray each well with cooking spray (if using a silicone baking mold, this is unnecessary).  Using a small cookie scoop, drop one scoop into each well of the pan.  Press the dough down so it covers the bottom of each well evenly.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.

Sweetened Cream Cheese:
1-8oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 T vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

Assembling:
sweetened cream cheese
cookie bases
2 peeled, sliced kiwis (halved)
6-8 sliced strawberries
blueberries (about 2 or 3 per cookie base)

Once the cookies are cool, spread with the sweetened cream cheese so it is fully coated.  Top each with a slice of strawberry, kiwi slice and a few blueberries.  Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

All components can be prepared a day ahead of time, but don't assemble all of the ingredients until at least a few hours before the party so they do not get soggy.  The cookie bases are able to be frozen weeks ahead of time in an airtight container; allow to thaw out in the fridge overnight the day before you need them.

Disclaimer:  While these have fruit on them, they are by NO MEANS healthy.  While they seem like a lighter option, and they do have some healthy fats and protein from the nuts (and the fruit helps, too), they are chock full of butter and sugar, so if you're looking for a healthy option, this is not it.  I've been seeing my post cropping up on fitness and health sites, and I don't want any of you to be mislead!  They're delicious either way, and I think they're worth the few extra calories.




недеља, 29. април 2012.

Avocado Fries


Recipe Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Canola oil for frying
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Grated parmesan for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/2 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates.

3. Sprinkle the avocado slices with the remaining ½ tsp salt.  Dip each slice in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.

3. Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt and a little grated parmesan.