Thursday, March 27, 2014

Peanut Sauce Using Almond Milk

-1 C almond milk
-3TB PB2
-1 TB chili paste
-1 small garlic clove
-Salt and pepper to taste

This is super simple, and all you have to do is throw everything together in a food processor and let it work its magic.  I did not cook mine down, I actually used it as a raw sauce.

I served mine on chicken and vegetables that I put on cauliflower rice with a little soy sauce!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

-2 C plus 2 TB AP Flour
-6 TB butter softened, plus extra for melting, I use salted
-1 C milk or almond milk
-1 TB baking powder (I prefer Clabber Girl)
-cinnamon sugar mix

Preheat your oven to 400F.  Using the dough hook of your mixer, mix all the ingredients except the cinnamon sugar together and extra butter.  Add more flour as needed to get the dough to a point where it is still very moist and soft, but can be handled and is not too sticky. You want to be able to roll it out.

Dust your work surface with ample flour and turn your dough out on to it.  Roll it out fairly thin and brush with butter.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the surface.  Fold the dough over as shown in the top left picture, rolling it over about four times or so.  Flatten the rolled dough and take a rolling pin to it again.  Brush with butter again and repeat the cinnamon sugar.

Fold the sides in to form a square, overlapping them like a brochure.  Roll or press out so that the dough is about a half inch to an inch thick.  You should be able to get approximately 12 square biscuits out of it.  I have made mine bigger and gotten 9 and cut some of these quite small and got 16, so adjust your recipe according to the size and number of biscuits you want.

I just cut mine with a big knife into squares because it means I don't have to reroll anything and no dough is wasted.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 18 minutes.  As an optional addition, mix 1/2 C powdered sugar and a dash of milk or two together to form a glaze and coat when the biscuits come out of the oven.

You can use the buttering and folding method for any roll out biscuit recipe to turn it in to a flaky layer type biscuit.  I think it makes them a little more crispy and buttery tasting, so I am a pretty big fan of it.  You could use this same idea for savory biscuits too, with any compound butter or garlic butter brushed between the layers.  It is a really simple way to make biscuits look a little more pizzazzy.

Not to mention, I have a real issue with waiting for dough to proof...and that is still the reason I have never made my own cinnamon rolls.  It also could have something to do with the fact that I am always starving right when I wake up and have no patience.  A biscuit dough can be thrown together really quickly, and that is more along the lines of what I like in the mornings.

In other news, my thesis is almost written, which hopefully means I can get back to more exciting recipes soon.  It is a sad fact of life that sometimes you have to prioritize what you have to get done over what you want to do.  The last semester of graduate school has gotten the better of my schedule, but I am just over a month away from being finished, and I am quite excited.

And with a tasty breakfast item like this...who can complain!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Zucchini Pasta and Red Pepper Marinara

For a batch of sauce (approximately 8 1/4th cup servings):
-6 red bell peppers
-1 C onions, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1.5 TB italian seasoning
-1 TB balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste

Per person on zucchini pasta:
-2 small zucchini or equivalent

-Meat or mushrooms as desired

First, cut the peppers up and remove the seeds, and puree them in a food processor or blender. Sautee the onions and garlic in a little EVOO until the onions start to turn clear.  Add in the pepper blend and seasonings, and balsamic, and cook on low for about an hour.  If you want a smooth sauce (my preference) allow it to cool a little and return it to the food processor or blender.

Afterward, cook your meat or mushrooms or whatever else you will be serving this with.  I used a quarter pound of ground beef.  Season it as desired and cook until almost done.

I cut some of my zucchini with a potato peeler and some I just cut with my knife, or you can buy a fancy spiralizer online.  Regardless, cut up the veggies as you see fit and add them to the beef skillet with 1/4C of roasted red pepper sauce, more as desired.  Allow that all to cook together for 3-5 minutes, remove, and enjoy!

I actually really like zucchini as pasta, it is already one of my favorite vegetables and a great substitute for something that I have always loved.  I look forward to experimenting more with this.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Peanut Butter Bacon Rice Krispy Treats

-1/2 stick butter
-1/2 C peanut butter
-5 3/4 cups of rice krispies
-5 cups of mini marshmallows
-1 C peanut butter and chocolate mixed baking chips
-8-10 strips of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled

You will need a big kettle and a sturdy wooden spoon.  Set your burner to low heat and add the butter. Have a greased 9x13 baking pan ready as well.

Once the butter melts, add the peanut butter and marshmallows.  Stir constantly until they are melted.  Add in the remaining ingredients, saving a bit of bacon for topping the treats.  Stir to combine.  I have seen wooden spoons break in marshmallow treats before, so bring one that means business.

Before I did all this, I got my ingredients prepped in two bowls: cereal, baking chips, and bacon pieces in one and marshmallows and peanut butter in the other.  This made it easy to dump it all in and go.  If you are really wise and get the PB all on the marshmallows in a glob, you may not even have to do very tough cleanup.  That is my kind of party.

Once it is all well combined, turn the mix out into the baking pan.  Spray your hands with cooking spray and press the treats down to compact.  Allow them to cool a bit then top with extra chocolate and bacon pieces.

I think adding in the baking chips is a really great idea BECAUSE I think it essentially makes these foolproof.  I could be wrong.  But baking chips typically return to their solid state, meaning that the inclusion of them should essentially help these firm up.  Regardless, they are AMAZING.

Seriously these are going to be a massive hit at work and I am insanely excited to take them in.  If you aren't a fan of bacon in treats, feel free to leave it out.  But this is my favorite food fad to date!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Amazing Oven Baked Ribs

You will need:
-Onion Powder
-Chili powder
-garlic powder
-brown sugar
-salt and pepper to taste
BBQ sauce of choice

First, put the ribs on some aluminum foil on a baking sheet and give a light dusting of all of the herbs and
spices.  Pack on a thin layer of brown sugar.  Flip the rack over and do the same to the other side

Wrap the ribs up in foil and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Unwrap carefully upon removal and coat with BBQ sauce. Return the ribs to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

Devour! This was an awesome idea sent my way by my sister, who made these and made me quite jealous that I was not there to taste them.  This is a really simple way to make a special dinner, and sometimes ribs are on sale for a pretty good price! The brown sugar is what makes these fantastic, so don't skimp!

Happy crafting!
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Simple, Healthy Red Pepper Sauce

You will need (makes 2 cups):
-6 red bell peppers, rough chopped for food processor
-1 C onion, chopped
-2 tsp garlic
-Heat (so you like cayenne, maybe chipotle, maybe ancho, use your favorite spice or hot sauce to bring it to the level you prefer)
-Fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste
-4 to 5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 TB minced onion
-Optional pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Put a little olive oil in the bottom of a pan and add the chopped onions. Cook on medium while you puree the peppers.

Add the pepper puree and the spices and remaining ingredients to the onions and cook at medium for about 15 minutes before reducing to a simmer.  I let mine go about an hour total.  It is perfectly fine to still have some liquid left, as it needs to be a sauce, but you want it to be pretty thick.

I allowed mine to cool before I put it back in my food processor to blend in the onions.  It ended up the consistency of a marinara you might get with mozzarella sticks...

In fact, I could really use some mozz sticks right now.  I really should have had the foresight to get all of the ingredients to make that happen!

But alas, I will eat my yummy veggie sauce on healthy things.  I am thinking of using it either on zucchini boats or in place of tomato sauce in a veggie lasagna.

Nothing against tomato sauce.  This is just more interesting!

You very likely could add tomato sauce type herbs like basil and oregano and come up with a pretty good spin on it, if for some reason you were looking to switch off tomato things or perhaps just wanted to try something new.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Breakfast Stuffed Pepper

Ingredients (per person):
-1 cubanelle or poblano pepper (I typically buy ones 3-4 inches long)
-1.5 C kale or kale and spinach blend (measured before cooking)
-1/2 C onion
-2-3 strips of bacon
-Pinch of garlic or seasoning blend as desired
-Salt and pepper
-1 egg (I use jumbo, you may want to use 2 if you use smaller ones)

First, preheat your oven to 400F and roast your pepper of choice for 15-20 minutes, turning multiple times throughout.

Meanwhile, fry up your bacon and remove to drain on a paper towel or similar.  I suggest frying it just shy of where you like it, because it will cook a little more in the oven.  I like to sautee my kale and onion in the bacon grease that is left in the skillet, but you can use EVOO if you prefer.  Season your veggies with desired herbs, salt, and pepper.  Go easy on the pepper, especially if using mostly kale.

When the pepper is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.  Reduce your oven heat to 350F.  Split the pepper down the front and remove the seeds.

When your veggies are done (onions starting to turn clear) add in your egg and cook until just set, as it will cook the rest of the way in the pepper.  Stuff your pepper with your filling and top with crumbles of bacon.

Return the pepper to the oven and bake at 350F for another 20 minutes or so, until your egg is completely done.

Cubanelles are more of a sweet pepper, they are definitely not spicy, and I find that I like poblanos better for basically everything.  But I don't dislike the cubanelle, and it is a good pepper to start your day with if you don't like to have any levels of spice that early in the morning.  You could also add cheese to this, but I am using that very sparingly these days.

This would also be tasty to do with sausage, but I never have it on hand.  And I love bacon.  I mean I really love it.  Probably as much as I love desserts.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Elvis Cookies: No Flour, added sugar, or butter! Peanut butter, banana, almond flour, egg, BACON

You will need:
-3-4 strips of bacon, fried to just under crispy and crumbled
-3/4 C peanut butter
-1 large, extremely overripe banana
-3/4 C almond meal
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
-Optional 2 TB locally sourced honey

Now, let me start off by saying that depending on what you buy in these ingredients you may need to adjust a few things.  I typically just have Jiff peanut butter, which is fairly stiff and not very oily.  You may buy a more natural peanut butter that is more oily, and may want to up the almond meal in turn.

I buy jumbo eggs, you may buy smaller ones.  I did not add honey, you may want to. All of this could change the amount of almond flour that you use.

However, you want a cookie dough/batter that is fairly stiff, basically like any drop cookie recipe would be or just a bit thicker.

I mixed my banana, peanut butter, and egg together first.  I cannot stress enough how overripe that banana needs to be.  You know when banana peels turn completely black? That is the kind of banana I am talking.  The further gone it is, the sweeter the banana will be.  That is why I did not feel the need to add honey to mine.  However, you may want a sweeter cookie, which is perfectly understandable.

Anyway mix all the rest of the ingredients and adjust your almond meal as needed to get a good consistency. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and bake at 350F for about 12-15 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

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Mickey Mouse Birthday Cupcakes and Cookies

I would like to start off by saying that I am a big fan of desserts.  A big fan.  I love them.  So any time that a dessert can be a topping for another dessert, I am pretty much sold.

These are cupcakes with Mickey Mouse themed cookies as toppers.  Talk about my kind of party! A few simple polka dots on some red, white, or black iced cookies really gives this whole box an adorable (and delicious) theme.

The sugar cookies are iced with royal icing, which as always I suggest doing the outline first before filling in the center.  It makes it a lot easier to keep everything in place.  Also, you might consider for this making a stiffer batch and a less stiff batch and using the former for lining and dots and the latter for fast filling of the center.  However, your normal consistency will likely do just fine for all of the above as long as you are willing to be patient and let the outline dry.

In the center of this fun filled box is a cake, also containing a cookie.  It just keeps getting better! I would like nothing more than to eat this entire box myself.  A small round or square cake with the birthday number cookie on top is also perfectly sufficient if you do not have access to number pans and are not comfortable with free form cutting.

If you do want to try freehanding it, I suggest making a cardboard or posterboard template to lay on top the cake and cut around.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken stuffed with Kale and Onions, on Cauliflower Rice

You will need:
-1.5 cups of Kale (measured before cooking)
-3/4 C onion, chopped
-pinch of garlic and parsley to taste
-1 chicken tenderloin
-2 strips of bacon
-1.25 C cauliflower

Sautee the kale and half of the onions in a little EVOO, adding in garlic, salt, and parsley as desired.  Cook the rest of the onions with the cauliflower in boiling water until tender. You should be able to wait to drop the cauliflower in until you start the chicken, as it does not take too long to cook (I was using frozen).

When the kale has shrunk down and the onions are starting to turn a bit clear, make a slit in the side of your chicken tenderloin.  You want it to be a deep slit most of the way through the chicken.

Stuff the kale/onion mix in it.  Wrap strips of bacon around the chicken and secure with toothpicks.  The great thing is, the bacon really helps keep the filling in place.  I had a little extra filling, so I just tossed it in with my cauliflower once I had broken it up.

Return the wrapped chicken to the skillet where you sauteed your veggies and cook until crispy on all sides.  you will have to get creative sometimes on how you turn it, I ended up holding mine with a big set of tongs to make sure the sides crisped up. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

There are probably more graceful ways to do this via baking...but you know how I am.  Graceful is really not a good word to describe me.

I mashed my cauliflower a bit with my potato masher and it made it look like yummy fluffy rice.  Therefore, I will not be investing in a ricer.  Even BETTER!

I would just like to say that this was awesome! I was really proud of myself, it looked a lot fancier than some of the stuff I usually make.  I will definitely be serving up cauliflower more often, it was really fun to eat with this and would be a good rice substitute for stir fry and similar.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Mickey Mouse Themed Dipped Oreos

You will need:
-Triple Double Stuffed Oreos (don't skimp, get the good stuff!)
-Chocolate of choice (candiquick or other)
-Wilton Red Candy Melts
-White round sprinkles or unconventional alternative like the cookies and cream ones I had to use
-Optional other sprinkles, like cookies and cream ones from Wilton

I really could not find any sprinkle packs at Meijer that had round white sprinkles in them the day I made these.  Super frustrating! Any other day I would have found a million.  Regardless, I did my best to separate out some white ones on most of them.

Anyway, melt your candiquick or whatever you are using according to package directions.  I keep mine in the tray it comes in, plop the oreo in and turn it with a fork. Transfer the oreo out of the chocolate and let it dry on aluminum foil or wax paper. Do this for all the oreos.

When dry, melt the red chocolate.  I highly suggest being careful when opening the bag because I most certainly sent mine flying EVERYWHERE.  Luckily enough landed on the counter that I could get what I needed!

Anyway dip the bottom half of the oreo in red chocolate and add your sprinkles.

My best friend loves Disney things, and she really loves oreos that are dipped.  We have all agreed that triple double oreos are by far and away the best oreo when dipped in chocolate.  White or regular, it does not matter, dip those babies and it takes you to a whole new level of super simple desserts.  I mean, I think it is ridiculous the number of flavors of oreos that are out there.  But these are a gem.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Healthy Breakfast On The Go: Egg Muffins

For these I used:
-3 eggs
-1 C milk
-2 ounces of cooked and chopped bacon
-2 red peppers, chopped
-1/2 of a smaller yellow onion, chopped (baseball size)
-1/4 C black beans, cooked as directed
-1/2 C salsa
-1 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers (would definitely increase)
-Salt and pepper

Fry up your bacon and remove from the skillet to drain on paper towels.  Add in your chopped peppers and onions and get them to cooking.

You will want your oven preheated to 350F and a muffin pan greased.

Sautee the veggies until the onions start to turn clear and then remove from heat.  Add in your cooked black beans and salsa and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whip your eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and the milk, plus adobo or hot sauce if desired.

Divide the veggie mix evenly between 12 muffin tins.  Pour in the egg batter evenly, it should be about 2 TB of batter per cup.  Top with a little hit of pepper or extra salt if desired.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are darker yellow and the eggs are set.  I am really paranoid about runny eggs so I like to err on the side of extra done.

Run a knife around the edge of the muffins, you may need to get under them with a fork to get them out.

I really wish I had zucchini.  Zucchini is my complete favorite vegetable right now and I absolutely cannot get enough of it.  I would love a shredded zucchini-filled muffin cup.

But these are very tasty on their own and I am really happy I ventured out of my norm and got black beans.  They are really yummy!  However, one correction I would make would be adding fresh cilantro to this.  Mine was dead when I returned to my apartment, so I had to just do without as I somehow still don't have a dried version on hand.  You however will plan much better and will add cilantro into these.

I am working on making a couple different healthy muffin versions that I like because I have been hitting up the Golden Arches way too much lately.  I have been on a crazy schedule with a lot of stress and I have eaten out just way too much.  But under no circumstance should it be a consistent start to anyone's day, so I am working on kicking the habit before it gets too ingrained.  Plus, I am a breakfast lover and I hate the thought that I would continue sacrificing good flavor combinations for a relatively one-note breakfast burrito...

The least I can do is making amazing breakfast burritos....

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Monster Truck Birthday Cake

Over the weekend, my mom did a monster truck cake for a birthday party.

The center image is an edible image, which as usual you may be able to find at a local cake shop.

We put some simple rings around the image and some rope-like details around the piping and edge of the image.  Some jaunty flags topped off the cake.

This is a simple cake that anyone could do, or it is an easy cake to get from a bakery.

Hopefully, I will get back into the swing of crafting and coming up with new recipes and fun things.

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