Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best Hot Chocolate

You know how I always re-blog recipes I see and make because I'm paranoid that something I love will suddenly go off the internet? WELL that happened this morning for Hot Chocolate and the recipe was nowhere to be found elsewhere. What a shame.  I decided to just guess and the results were delicious.  Here are my approximations:

.74 oz Chocolate appeals 65% chocolate (Can be found at Sprouts)
1/4 C chopped 85% chocolate
4 C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
1 t vanilla
2/3 C milk powder

1. Pour milk and cream into a pot and bring to a boil. Watch closely so it doesn't boil over.
2. Add chocolates and vanilla and let melt, stirring
3. Add vanilla and milk powder and bring to a boil a second time.
4. Stir and serve
A skin might form but it doesn't impede the flavor

Yield 10 Cups (But our mugs are bigger so this served 4 + 2 refills)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Crispy Roasted Chicken Thighs

Last night we had to make some chicken that we had been defrosting for a few days. Joey decided to opt out of chicken and eat leftovers. I decided to make all the chicken for myself! And it was wonderful!  The skin was crispy, the flavor was spot on and while I made three large thighs I was having trouble not eating all of them!

bone-in chicken thighs (1-2 thighs per person)
olive oil
lemon pepper
potato (1 medium red or yellow potato per person)

1. Preheat the oven to 425
2. On a rimmed backing sheet rub olive oil onto the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle with salt, lemon pepper and rosemary.
3. IMPORTANT: Wipe all excess olive oil off the tray. Don't be like me and boil the oil in the oven and then set off the smoke alarm and wake the baby.
4. Slice the potato into thin slices, toss with olive oil, salt and lemon pepper and place on one side of the tray
5. Bake for 25-35 minutes until juices run clear when chicken is pierced
6. Eat the skin first.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Have you ever had sticky toffee pudding? You can order it at Claim Jumper and in my opinion it is the best thing on the menu. This year, I decided to make sticky toffee pudding for our Smith Christmas celebration...and as you can see from the photo it was a HUGE hit! This is really not difficult to make but it does take a little time. It is so delicious you could eat it any day or you could save it for a big event but don't skip it. Do you hate dates? Yeah I mean who eats dates? I've never had them before but they make this cake absolutely amazing.

I did not vary from Smitten Kitchen's recipe at all but I am forever worried that someone's blog will be taken down and then I will no longer have the recipe and then...I just might cry.  

Okay, well actually I varied it a tiny bit - I used Muscavado dark brown sugar for the sauce and we served this also with whipped cream AND ice cream and in my opinion the ice cream was the best.  Seriously, make this tomorrow. And also you can find already pitted dried dates at Sprouts in a 3/4 lb package which, incidentally is EXACTLY what you need!

3/4 pound dried dates - get them pre pitted to save time
2 1/4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Butterscotch Sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To serve
Unsweetened whipped cream
Vanilla Ice Cream

Make the cake: Roughly chop dates and place them in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over them and stir in the baking soda. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes. (I covered it with a towel and it was fine)
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugars. Whisk in eggs, then salt. lend date-water mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the flour, then date puree. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make the sauce: Combine butter, cream, sugar and vanilla in a larger saucepan than you think you’ll need over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. If you have to reheat the sauce, the butter will be all separated. Bring it back up to a simmer and whisk for about 5 minutes until combined. Then, if you're serving buffet style, consider putting the sauce in a fondue pot or something because it hardens really fast. Also, this is a great chance to use really hard brown sugar because it melts!

To serve: Cut the cake into squares warm or cold. Drizzle each slice with toffee sauce and top with a dollop of whipped cream and/or ice cream. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gemma Stafford's No-Churn Ice Cream

We make ice cream all the time and it is really delicious. However, this time, I decided that instead of using the regular churn method with cream, milk, sugar and eggs I would use Gemma Stafford's recipe. Gemma has a cooking show on youtube that I watch. You can check her out here. Her no churn ice cream recipe looked so easy I knew I had to try it and see how close it was to the real thing.

Have you ever had marshmallow ice cream? I have, we made s'mores ice cream once and it was great BUT it had a weird texture...not weird bad, just silky and marshmallowy. This no-churn ice cream has the same texture but it's still great. I brought it to my Mommy & Me class potluck and it was well liked so I think you will like it too. The best part? You can make whatever flavor you can think of  all with the same base AND you can do it in the 15 minutes your baby is occupied in a bouncy chair.

Watch the video!

Ingredients for the base:
2 Cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk, cold (place it in the refrigerator overnight)

1. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. I did this in the stand mixer but if you want to get some exercise do it by hand!
2. Once stiff peaks form, turn down the mixer speed and add the condensed milk and combine together.
Yields 3 1/2 pints of ice cream with flavoring/mix-ins added

And now make it fun! I made two flavors, Blueberry Pie and Chocolate Candied Orange.  Both were good but the chocolate one was AMAZING.  This is what I did:

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream
2 slices blueberry pie
4 cups ice cream base

1. Put the 4 cups of base in a large bowl.
2. Add pie and break up with a fork or potato masher
3. Stir together until well combined
4. Put in containers and freeze for a few hours or overnight before eating

Chocolate Candied Orange Ice Cream
2 T chopped candied orange peel (we made our own...)
1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
scant teaspoon butter
zest of one orange
remaining ice cream base

1. In a microwave proof bowl place chocolate and butter. Melt on half power for 30 second increments until mostly melted. Then stir to melt completely.
2. pour chocolate into the base
3. Add the zest of one orange and the orange peels
4. Stir together until combined. Put in containers and freeze for a few hours or overnight - if you can wait!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Autumn Panzanella

Last week was my week to bring treats to Mommy & Me. I decided I wanted to bring some kind of autumn thing but nothing that was hard, too much like Thanksgiving the next day or contained meat. So, I decided to make a panzanella! I used two different recipes as inspiration and then came up with my own twist. The dressing I made for the class was dull but the one I had later was awesome. I recommend this recipe whole-heartedly. Also, these sweet potatoes are awesome and I recommend them on their own.  This would also be great with nuts but our classroom is listed as nut free. Add pecans if you don't have that trouble. I also don't really have measurements for this but anything will work.

Except for cutting the apple, you make make this whole thing 24 hours ahead. This made enough salad for about 10 people.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Two large packages spinach or one spinach + one mixed greens
One loaf of bread or one bag of 'bread for stuffing' cubes of dry day old bread (this was a variety pack and it was perfect)
dried cherries
dried cranberries
parmesan cheese, shaved or use a long zester to make strips, or just shred.
cayenne pepper
ground cloves
olive oil
balsamic or lingonberry balsamic vinegar
1 large apple, diced just before serving
lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Toss bread in olive oil and salt and put on a rimmed baking sheet. On a separate sheet, toss sweet potato, olive oil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cloves and salt.  Roast bread 10-15 minutes until hard. Roast potato for 30 minutes or until tender, tossing in the middle if you remember.

2. Meanwhile, combine lettuces, cherries, cranberries, cheese, bread and a dash of salt in a bowl.
3. Make the dressing. In a lidded container add 1/2 C olive oil, 1/3 C vinegar, dash of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Shake and set aside
4. Remove potato from oven and toss into salad. Dice the apple and add.
5. You can either serve the dressing on the side or tossed. If you toss it, the bread gets a little soft and it is true panzanella.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Pies

Every Thanksgiving we spend in San Diego we make the pies. The required pies at the Smith Thanksgiving are pumpkin and apple. However, Joey likes to experiment and make other pies too. This year, we decided to make mini pies so we could make a lot of different things. And as an added bonus, Joey's Aunt & Cousin made the pumpkin and chocolate pies.

We didn't really deviate too much from the recipes so in this post, I am going to review the recipes, note the pie types and leave the picture awkwardly sideways.

Dutch Apple Pie - I secretly think Joey makes up this recipe but he says he uses Betty Crocker. This year, he messed up the crumb topping so that there was less crumb and it didn't cover the pie completely. Although the pie didn't look super appetizing it was delicious.

Cranberry Ribbon Apple Pie - This was my favorite. It is a traditional apple pie with a layer of cranberry sauce in the bottom.  The cranberry sauce by itself is also very delicious and would've been great on our Thanksgiving table. These little pies looked pretty adorable. We used some leftover maple glaze on the top to make them brown but you could use an egg wash.

Cranberry Maple Pecan Pie - This is a pecan pie that has a little maple kick and then a bit of tartness from the cranberries. It calls for walnuts but we were using pecans so we stuck to one nut. I think this is a really good pie too. It tones down the sweetness of traditional pecan.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie - Last time we made this pie I loved the combination of chocolate and pecan, but this time, I didn't notice it as much. The chocolate has the same effect as the cranberry in the previous pie, toning down the sweet-sweet of pecan pie.

We didn't make the chocolate pie (but a whipped cream topping is added and it is delicious). We also didn't make the pumpkin pie but it was your standard pumpkin and the perfect one time per year treat!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Braised Chicken Thighs with Red Wine and Cherries

Joey and I went to Costco this weekend and bought one of those 6 packs of chicken to put in the freezer. We left one pack out and I was immediately craving braised chicken thighs. We had some red wine we've been wanting to use up and finally had the opportunity!  I revised this recipe from this similar one I posted back in 2008. This new recipe, however was MUCH more flavorful and loved by the whole family!  It also doesn't take too long to make. 30 minutes total and it would be less if all your chicken was comparable size.

Serves 4 or 2 really hungry people

4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (you can always remove the skin yourself)
2 C red wine
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C dried cherries
salt & pepper
Mashed Potatoes for serving (I used Fresh & Easy heat and serve)
1 T olive oil
1/2 T flour

1. Salt & Pepper chicken and remove skin if necessary.
2. In a large pan with a lid (such as a dutch oven), heat olive oil. Add chicken and brown for 6-8 minutes a side.
3. Once chicken is brown, remove to a plate. Add onion to the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes until brown.
4. Add flour and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring 30 seconds.
5. Add wine to the pot and place chicken thighs in the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook 6-8 minutes until chicken is opaque. Stir in cherries and simmer 1 minute.
6. Serve chicken and sauce over mashed potatoes (or polenta is probably good too)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

10 minute prep Roast Beef

Some days I really want to cook but Hazel wants to be held the whole time. Thursday was one of those days. However, I decided to put her down for 5 minutes and get a roast in the oven WITH vegetables! Once you prep it and get it in the oven, roast beef takes a little bit to cook but it's completely hands off so you can go back to holding the baby. This dish also makes plenty for leftovers and I highly recommend beef dip sandwiches which are super simple as long as you have fresh bread and that au jus mix from the store.

I prepped this in 5 minutes total but I am giving you 10 minutes in case you want to be a bit more exact.

2 1/2 lb rump roast, rib roast or other roast, boneless
1/2 large onion
3-4 yukon gold or other thin-skinned potato
6 carrots
seasoning of your choice (I used English Prime Rib Rub but you can just do S&P)
1 T olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 325, prepare a thermometer
2. Slice the onion in four thick slices
3. Roughly chop the carrots and potatoes so they are like-sized
4. On a rimmed backing sheet toss the carrots and potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan in a single layer
5. Place the onion slices in the middle of the pan
6. Rub the roast all over with salt, pepper and spices and place on the onions fat side down if there is a fat side
7. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer reads 130-135 for medium rare. If you cook your meat medium rare tonight it will be a little bit more well done tomorrow when you have your beef dips.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

Last weekend we did some grocery shopping intending to make three meals at home. We made two. However, this meal that we saved for later has all the kind of ingredients that have a great shelf life. The main reason I didn't make this earlier is that it includes cooked bacon which would mean it takes longer. So last week we had breakfast for dinner, made the bacon and saved some slices for this meal so that it would be fast. This meal really took a total of 15 minutes. I only made one change and it probably wasn't necessary. This dish is delicious! Even though I ate a full portion and am not really hungry this 'eat more' food makes my mouth water for more! I plan to eat the rest tomorrow!!


1 pound red potatoes, cubed

3 T water
3/4 pound Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 T brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar1 T apple cider
1 T spicy brown mustard
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t pepper
salt to taste
4 cups fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
optional: One apple, chopped (we didn't use this but I think it would be a great addition)

1. Place the cubed potatoes in a microwaveable dish and add 3 T of water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 4 minutes in the microwave
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and sausage and cook 3-5 minutes until browned. Add potatoes and apples if using and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir together the sugar, vinegar, apple cider, mustard, thyme, pepper and salt with a fork. Add this mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil (this was immediate for me). Simmer 2 minutes.
4. Add bacon and spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Serve warm.

You know what would be good with this? Cheddar Biscuits!

Cheddar Biscuits

A few weeks ago, I made a turkey chili one-pot dinner. The turkey chili portion was so-so. The cheddar biscuits on top were delicious! Ever since we've been wanting to make more cheddar biscuits. What I love about these is that they are drop biscuits--aka no rolling out and cutting dough. You just make rounds of dough like cookies and it works fine! They were still fluffy if not misshapen.

I didn't have buttermilk so I did that thing where you make it with vinegar. You take 1 scant cup milk and add 1 T white vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes until it curdles. This makes too much buttermilk for this recipe but then I just took 1/3 of it.

Next time you're hankering for a biscuit, this is your recipe! And, definitely consider doubling it.


1 C Flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 C buttermilk (I used whole milk with vinegar)
3 T cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 C grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Stir together flour, powder, soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives
3. Add cheese and buttermilk and stir until just combined
4. Drop 1/4 cup balls of batter on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes until golden brown and enjoy warm!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bison Chili

We went to Costco the other day and decided to buy some Bison. It weirdly comes in a quantity of 1 1/3 lb in each pack. After buying said bison we had absolutely no time to cook it. I froze half the pack and kept the other 1 1/3lb out. Eventually, we decided to make chili. We got the ingredients and then proceeded to have no time to make the chili.  Finally, Joey made it one day after work. This chili only simmered for about 40 minutes but we have plenty of leftovers. We think there are about 10 servings in this batch of chili and bonus, just 310 calories!  You can totally layer on the cheese & fritos with those numbers!

1 1/3lb bison
1 14.5oz can pinto beans
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
1 28oz can whole peeled or crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, 1 inch dice
1 bell pepper, 1 inch dice
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed and diced or pressed
1/2 t salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ancho chili powder
1 1/2 t chipotle chili powder
1 T oil

1. In a large pot, heat oil. Add peppers, onion and bison. Let soften and become fragrant. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
2. If you used whole tomatoes, crush them.
3. Add all ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially and then cook for at least an hour.
4. Serve with cheddar cheese on top!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homemade Chicken Stock turned Chicken Soup

AA couple of weeks ago my friends from work came over bearing roast chicken and pasta.  We froze the carcasses for stock assuming we would never consider making such a thing. Then all of a sudden we decided to actually try it! We have been spending lots of time at home so it kind of made sense. The soup was good so I think that is all due to the great stock, however, it's a lot of time for not too much output. If you go down this path...well you can still make soup with canned broth.

Chicken Stock:
Did not make enough for soup but, then again I didn't add more water when it burned off because honestly I wasn't anywhere near the pot of stock while it was simmering for the entire 4 hours.

2 chicken carcasses
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 T peppercorns
3 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T olive oil
Enough water to cover the chickens

1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the carrots, celery onion and garlic and cook about 8 minutes until softened and fragrant
2. Add chicken carcasses, peppercorns and thyme. Add water to cover the chickens.
3. Bring to a boil, skim off foam (may be gray), reduce heat to a simmer, cover. Simmer 4 hours+.
Supposedly you should stir every so often and also add more water when it boils off. I didn't do that so the output was small.
4. Strain stock into another pan or containers. Use right away or freeze for 3 months.

Chicken and Barley Soup:
This soup was pretty good, these quantities served 4 people along with salad and biscuits with a tiny bit leftover that could be boosted with some chicken broth for another serving.

6 carrots, chopped in bite-sized pieces
6 celery ribs, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1/2 large onion, ""
6 sprigs thyme + 3 sprigs fresh oregano tied in a bundle
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 can chicken broth + all the stock you made
1 C barley (before preparation, this was actually a lot of barley so you could make less)

1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the barley. Don't worry, the chicken WILl cook.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover partially, simmer for one hour
3. In another small pot make barely according to package directions
4. Just before serving, add the barley to the soup. If you make the barley in the soup it will soak up all your hard work liquid.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Pancake Bars

For over a week I have been wanting to make these pancake bars I saw on the Kitchn website. I thought it would be quite handy to have a grab and go breakfast. And yet all week the time to make these morsels alluded me.

Finally, today as I was whipping up some homemade chicken stock and found myself with a baby-holder I was able to make these. These take no time at all to pull together but they do take a while to bake.  The recipe said 12-15 minutes but this took 25 for me. Perhaps it was the dark pan or my overly runny batter but it was sort of a long wait when we were hungry and waiting--so plan ahead!

These are good cold but I bet they'd be great heated up too.

I revised the recipe so that the main batter had some more flavor but don't skip the streusel topping, it makes it.

For the Bars:
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
dash of ginger
3 T sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 3/4 cups whole milk (this seemed like too much)
1 t vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 apple, diced into 1/2" pieces (or bigger depending on how chunky you want)
2 C granola (I used Bare Naked Maple Pecan, you can't really taste it though)

For the Topping: (consider making a double recipe of the topping!)
1/4 C flour
1/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed
3 T butter, melted
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

1. Mix all the dry ingredients through sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk and butter and mix until just combined. Add apple and granola and mix until just covered.  The batter for me was really runny with chunks in it but it still worked out!
2. Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray. Add a layer of parchment, spray again. Pour prepared batter into the pan. Then heat the oven to 400 degrees and let the batter rest.
3. Make the topping by stirring it all together, it will be thick. Spatter the topping all over the bars. Bale 20-25 minutes until the bars are cooked through and are springy to touch.  Remove from pan, let rest on a wire rack and serve.  I cut these into small bars.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deconstructed Grilled Cheese

The other day I got this Martha Stewart newsletter that featured this little beauty of a recipe  Grilled cheese wheel. I left this open on my browser for two days. And by the end of the day today I knew I had to have it.  A whole cheese wheel for one person is a little I had half but it was SO WORTH IT.  I recommend this for your next party appetizer!

1 baguette
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 round of brie cheese (pick a round that fits the size of your party)

1. Heat the grill to 400 and then turn off one burner.
2. Diagonally slice bread. Brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. If you are using less than the entire round of cheese, take the cut piece of cheese and wrap in foil. If you are using the whole cheese, brush lightly with olive oil.
4. Grill bread 1-2 minutes per side over the flame.
5. Grill cheese over indirect heat or on the grill rack for about 2 minutes per side
6. Serve cheese and bread slices immediately and warm

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rainbow Cake Cups

 This weekend was my niece's 2nd birthday. I have been wanting to make this tie-dye cake for months and I just haven't had a good opportunity. So when this birthday came up I knew I had the opportunity!

Spoiler alert - this is a box mix! I used a box mix and boxed frosting and later we partially made whipped cream but then we ran out so we got canned whipped cream too. Of course you could make this all by scratch but why would you?

I found Duff's cake mix (you know Duff right?) at Target and was immediately interested. I bought the mix and one of his chocolate frosting tubs as well. Then as noted, I didn't use it for months. Still before the expiration date I finally had a chance.
 The cake mixing, color dying and baking is on issue. It's just white cake that you separate into six bowls and then add food coloring (some food coloring comes with the cake but I needed extra). If you can't find Duff's tie-dye mix you can just buy white cake mix and then add food coloring.

Red - 15 drops
Orange - 5 drops yellow, 2 drops red
Yellow - 8 drops yellow
Green - 9 drops yellow, 2 drops blue
Blue - 14 drops blue
Purple - 7 drops red, 2 drops blue

You are then supposed to take 6 MORE bowls and separate out the cake again. But that seemed like a lot of dirty bowls so I decided to just eyeball it. The result was that one cake was way smaller than the other, however, this really wasn't an issue. If you smartly weighed out the batter in the first place, this could've been way easy.  Anyway, pour about 1/4 C of the red batter into the center of a WELL GREASED and FLOURED and PARCHMENT PAPER LINED baking pan. Pour 1/4 C of the orange batter on top of that and let it spread out. Add the rest of the colors in rainbow order ending with purple.  Bake as directed.

In case you were wondering, our problem was that the pans were not well greased even though I seriously felt that I had well greased them. My cake got stuck to the bottom of the pan. The results were a very mangled cake. We first tried to frost it together but it just crumbled, it didn't work and we were frustrated. So I looked online to find out ways to fix a destroyed cake.  This is when I came up with Cake Cups. That's right, it's not cupcakes. It's cups filled with cake pieces and frosting and topped with either frosting or whipped cream.

These cake cups were actually pretty delicious. People thought they were fun and different. Even if you didn't accidentally ruin your cake, you could make these.

1. Break up cooked cake into bite sized pieces
2. Layer cake pieces and globs of frosting (this is white cake & chocolate frosting) in a small cup (if you aren't using rainbow cake feel free to use a non-see through cup)
3. Top cake pieces with whipped cream (or more frosting if you can pipe it on)
4. Use the tiny crumb crumbles as topping on your whipped cream or use sprinkles
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you want to be really wild, you can top the whole thing with ice cream!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Best Caramel Sauce

Today for Jerry's birthday dessert we had brownie sundaes.  Joey and I made the brownies and hot fudge from scratch and got some ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop.  One of the brownie recipes called for a layer of caramel inside which required us to make our own caramel.  Honestly, I think we didn't put enough caramel inside the brownies because I didn't notice it at all. However, we had a lot of leftover caramel so we served it as a sundae topping.  Delicious! What I liked most about this caramel was the slightly salty flavor and the fact that it was pourable for the entire day! It tasted great on the sundaes!

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 C sugar
1/4 C water
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C sour cream
1 tsp maldon sea salt

1. In a medium saucepan combine water, sugar and corn syrup over high heat. Stir but don't splatter the mixture on the sides. Cook 6-8 minutes until the sauce is a dark amber color and measures 350 degrees with a candy thermometer.

2. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream while stirring. It may splatter.  Add the salt.

3. Whisk in the sour cream and set aside to cool.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chicken Chorizo Chili

 In order to incorporate the ingredients we bought for our stuffed peppers, we decided to make chili on Monday night. It turned out to be easy, cheap and delicious.  We also tried out some different peppers in the chili from our usual mix. This chili is probably too spicy for the average bird, but it was delicious to us. We both ate a little ice cream after dinner to settle our stomachs.  To make it less spicy, just don't use all the seeds from the jalepeno or reduce the amount of chili powder.

Makes 4 servings
1/2 lb chicken chorizo
1 jalepeno pepper, chopped with seeds
1 Anahiem chili pepper, chopped
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3/4 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chipotle chili powder
1 T ancho chili powder
1 T oregano
1 t garlic salt
1 t salt
1 t cayenne pepper
6 grinds of black pepper
1 bottle beer, we used Pyramid
cilantro, for serving
cheese, for serving

1. Saute onion, garlic, jalepeno and anahiem chili in a frying pan.  Add chorizo after onions are partially softened because it won't take as long to cook.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. When the onion is soft and translucent add the entire mixture to the large pot
4. Once the large pot of chili has come to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer about 2 hours or until you are hungry. Serve with cheese & cilantro and any other toppings you like.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chicken Chorizo & Cheese Stuffed Chilis

We went to the store at dinner time today with no idea about what to make. Joey thought the chili peppers looked good so I took a look for some recipes we could use them in other than chili. I saw a recipe for cheese and chorizo stuffed pasilla peppers and we decided to try it!

This recipe was delicious and easy! It took about 20 minutes or so to make and was packed with flavor! Joey loved it, I loved it, we are going to add it to our repertoire!  We omitted  the sour cream sauce from the recipe and added a fried egg on top. I think you could have it without the egg but I liked the creamy sauce the yolk added.  Of course, you could just make a sour cream sauce for that!  The recipe called for 2 peppers per person but we made just one per person and had a little extra filling that we put on top. I think it was plenty of food especially with the egg and corn. You could serve it with a nice salad to fill up some more.

As an added bonus, we found this red corn at the store and had that on the side. What a fun compliment to a fun dinner!

2 large pasilla chili peppers
8 oz chicken chorizo, casings removed if necessary
1/4 red onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1/8 C cotija cheese, crumbled
1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
2 eggs, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 325
2. Char peppers directly over gas burners 2 minutes per side turning with tongs
3. Meanwhile, saute onion, garlic, chorizo and olive oil in a small frying pan, be sure to break up the chorizo as you cook it. Saute until onions are translucent and chicken is cooked.  Mix in the crumbled cheese and cilantro.
4. Remove peppers from the burner and place in a bowl covered in plastic wrap, let sit and then rub the charred skin off with a paper towel
5. Stem & seed the peppers and try not to make too many holes along the rest of the pepper
6. Stuff the chorizo mixture into the peppers. Use toothpicks to close up any holes. Bake for 10 minutes until warm.
7. With two minutes left, fry eggs in the same pan you used to make the chorizo mixture.
8. Remove the toothpicks before serving and place the eggs on top of the pepper. Try to break the yolks right into the pepper.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yogurt Drink Waffles

Last week I wanted to use some old fruit to make a smoothie. Joey suggested we buy some Siggi's Drinkable yogurt for this because he likes that brand, it was on sale, and it seemed like it might make a good smoothie.

After tasting the drink though, I thought it was a little too bitter for a smoothie plus, making a smoothie didn't sound fun anymore--it sounded like a lot of work! When tasting the drink, however, I thought it smelled a lot like buttermilk. I suggested to Joey that we use it to make pancakes or waffles and then freeze them to eat whenever. He agreed to try it but it was risky.

We tested it out today changing Brown Eyed Baker's recipe slightly to use the yogurt drink instead of buttermilk.  The results? The batter was super thick and looked a little blue. But the results were a delicious waffle! It was maybe a little bit denser but the flavors were great, the blueberry was super subtle if there at all and the addition of the raspberries was of course fantastic.  So next time you don't know what to do with your extra yogurt drink--make waffles!

Yogurt Drink Waffles
Minorly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 3/4 C flour
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 3/4 C yogurt drink, any flavor
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 C butter, melted and cooled
raspberries (optional)

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until combined
3. Make a well in the dry ingredient bowl and add the wet ingredients
4. Mix until combined but don't over mix!
5. Preheat the waffle maker and spray with cooking spray. Add 1C or so of batter or according to your waffle maker instructions. Drop in raspberries. Cook according to instructions

Monday, January 6, 2014

Garlic Blistered Green Beans

Today for lunch I went to Shophouse. It's like a an Asian Chipotle (and also owned by Chipotle).  While I was eating the spicy blistered green beans, I thought, I have green beans in the fridge, maybe I can make them like this!  So tonight, along with our grilled lamb and final duchess potatoes, I blistered some green beans. They were delicious!  Luckily, they are also fast and rather healthy!  Yay green beans. These were a hit with Joey too.

8 oz green beans
1/2 t olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt & pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat
2. Add green beans when oil is fragrant, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, tossing for 8-15 minutes or until blistered on some sides.
3. At the very end, add 1 clove garlic, crushed and cook 30 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and pan and place in a serving dish

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Green Eggs and Beef

When we got our first dog when I was in second grade, my mom was told she had to cook a special breakfast for this dog. She did. It combined ground beef and onions maybe and eggs and it smelled really delicious in the morning. We ate cereal. This week, we had leftover lean ground beef. We decided to to use it to make dinner but to make slightly different dinners for each of us. I decided on green eggs and beef, Joey made a sandwich.

I highly recommend that you make green eggs and beef. It's delicious! You can also use whatever is in your fridge. I recommend adding more vegetables such as tomatoes, extra peppers, lots of greens. Anything you want really and you could make this without the beef if you really wanted.

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 1/2 handfuls of greens (I used a mix of kale, spinach and two other greens)
1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
3 T chopped bell pepper
2 T finely diced onion
hot sauce or hot peppers

1. Over medium heat, saute onion and green pepper briefly until fragrant, season with salt and pepper
2. Add beef and break up with spoon, add a dash more salt
3. Once beef is brown, add greens and let wilt
4. Add egg and break the yolk, stir together quickly and remove from heat, sprinkle with hot sauce or mix in peppers
5. Serve with fruit

Friday, January 3, 2014

Roasted Turkey Legs

Just after Thanksgiving, I saw this fantastic sale for Turkey Legs for only $2 for 2! I bought them and threw them in the freezer for a rainy day.

Well it wasn't rainy, but it was sunny and warm and I decided to roast the legs. I looked up recipes online but I didn't want to do anything crazy. We like our meat to have flavor but not to be covered in oils and brines. Dry rubs or BBQ sauce are the main favorites.

I was interested in the Pioneer Woman's recipe and cooking method but I didn't like the brine part, so I skipped it. The results were delicious! I kind of eyeballed the cooking time because I was sure my legs were bigger than PW's and also because chicken thighs usually take 45-50 minutes so bigger turkey legs had to take longer.

2 turkey legs
1 T spice rub
1 t salt
1 t paprika
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1 t chili powder (I used chipotle)

Preheat the oven to 400
1. Mix spice rub in a small bowl
2. Pat turkey legs dry with a paper towel
3. Rub spices all over legs and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Bake 30 minutes at 400, turning once. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Check out PW's recipe if you're interested in brining or have small legs.