About Me

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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Buckeye Bark

I think I like this preparation better than traditional buck eyes, mainly because of its ease.  This is so much easier than rolling buckeyes in chocolate!  The results are equally delicious, perhaps more so.

Follow my recipe for buckeye filling.  Heat 12 oz of bittersweet chocolate, then spread on parchment within a 9 x 13" pan.  Freeze until hard.  Spread buckeye filling over this.  Then take another 12 oz of chocolate that you have heated and spread on top.  Chill until firm.  Cut into rectangles or triangles.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chicken Mole

The first time I made this sauce, I grossly underestimated the amount the recipe called for.  We since have had this sauce 4 more times from the same batch!  Yowzer!

It really has nice, complex flavor with a lot of layers.  The chocolate is savory, not sweet, and the whole sauce is spiced but not spicy.  I have reduced the recipe by 1/2 for you.

Chicken with Mole Sauce
Adapted from Create (Hugh Carpenter)

3 dried ancho chiles
2 tablespoons raisins (17.5gm)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar (55 gm)
2 cups red wine
2 oz bittersweet chocolate

Blend all ingredients BUT CHOCOLATE in a blender til smooth.  Place into a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer until thick, about 1 hour.  Add chocolate off heat, and cool to room temperature.
Serve with grilled chicken, or pork.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Black Eyed Pea Salsa

I always have a hard time with incorporating black eyed peas into our new year's day meals.   Not this year!  This salsa comes to me from my sister in law, and it's a real winner.  It could also serve as a side dish or salad at a party but really shines on tortilla chips (what doesn't?).  Anyway, I'm thrilled she shared the recipe with me.

Black Eyed Pea Salsa
Adapted from my Sister in Law, Keri

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 4 oz can green chiles
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 ear corn, boiled for 2-3 minutes and cut off the ear (or 1 cup frozen)
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
2-3 green onions, diced.

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve in day 2 if possible.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies

I whipped these up for a work party.  I saw them on Pinterest and just had to make them!  Even with making your own caramel, they are very easy to do.  They also look impressive, especially if you pipe the filling onto the cookie!

Brownie Cookies with Salted Caramel Creme Filling

Brownie Cookie (adapted from Donna Hay), via Bakers Royale

12 oz. chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Homemade Caramel

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
2 tablespoons sour cream

Salted Caramel Creme Filling
1 cup butter
2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 teaspoon salted
1/4 cup caramel (Make sure caramel is cooled if making homemade)

To make brownie cookies:

Place 7oz. of the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 5 oz. of chocolate and mix to combine. Set aside to to stand for 10 minutes. Spoon 2 tablespoonful of the mixture, onto parchment lined bake sheet. Bake for about 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on trays.

To Make Caramel:

Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together cream and salt. Bring cream to a boil and cook until salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the caramel mixture has reached 320 degrees, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Whisk in sour cream. Cool, and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

To make caramel creme filling:
Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamed. Add in confectioner sugar and salt and beat until light combined. Add in caramel and beat until combined.

Place filling into a bag fitted with a 1M tip.  Pipe in a swirl on underside of one brownie cookie and place a second brownie cookie bottom side down on top frosting.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baked Coconut Shrimp

I love coconut shrimp.  I especially love it with the sweetened coconut and deep fried.  But who can cook like that, never mind eat like that on a regular basis?

This version is healthy but satisfying.  We just used frozen shrimp that we thawed, and they were yummy.   I have no doubt the dish would be improved by using fresh, but you take what you can get!

Baked Coconut Shrimp
Adapted from Not my Mama's Meals

1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
6 tablespoons plain panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
1 pound large (21/25 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dipping Sauce:
Equal parts dijon mustard and apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

To make the dipping sauce: Whisk together.  Warm in your preferred fashion.

To make the shrimp: Combine the coconut, panko and flour in a bowl or baking dish. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until slightly frothy. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the egg whites and toss to coat. Lift each shrimp from the egg whites, letting the excess drip off the shrimp, and then coat in the crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until the shrimp are golden on the outside and opaque in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cake Batter Sprinkle Pancakes

I have to admit that I was completely out of baking powder when I made this recipe.  So my pancakes were flat, but the flavor was delicious!  My daughter has been asking for these pretty much every morning since I made them.

The source recipe called for a vanilla glaze, which looks so decadent, but I think it's too much sugar for my little ones in the morning!  This is treat enough.

Cake Batter Pancakes
Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup assorted sprinkles

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. With using betty crocker's cake mix, I needed about 1 1/2 cups of milk.  Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Fold sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with syrup or plain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raw Brownies

I must begrudgingly admit that I like these brownies.  I must warn you that to call them brownies is a loose interpretation of the term.  They are not cooked.  They have no sugar, per se.  They have no flour.

Yet this is why you will love them.  Kids want a brownie before dinner?? Sure!  Cooking for a Vegan?  No problem.

Cooking for Gale Gand?  Uh, not so much.  But they satisfy the chocolate urge in a healthy way.

Raw Brownies
Adapted from A Couple Cooks

1 cup raw walnuts (unsalted)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher
1 1/4 cups Medjool dates (about 12)
1/4 cup raw almonds (unsalted)

Remove the pits from the dates. If the 1/4 cup almonds are not already chopped, place them in a bag and hit them with the back of a spoon or a mallet to break them into pieces.

In the bowl of a food processor, place 1 cup walnuts. Process on high until the nuts are finely ground.

Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt. Pulse to combine.

Turn on the food processor. As the processor is running, add the dates one at a time. Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable (it may form into a ball depending on how long you process it). Throw in the almonds and pulse a couple times to combine (if a ball has formed, you can also mix in the almonds in a bowl).

Form the brownies: Line a small square dish with wax paper and press into the desired thickness (don’t worry if it does not fill the entire pan; the brownies are easy to shape). Alternatively, press the brownies into a mini-muffin tin or other mold. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up; they can easily be cut when cold.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

In my house, you can never have too many salad dressing recipes.  We eat salad pretty much every night.   Tim McGraw would be so proud.

This dressing is just a hint of spice, without being overwhelming, although if you leave the seeds and ribs on, watch out!  It's equally good on salad as it is as a dip.  You could also drizzle it over black bean patties.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride

3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 small bunch of chives (about 2 Tbsp chopped)
Small handful cilantro
1-2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and then blend for 10-20 seconds. Check consistency and blend in buttermilk to thin as needed. If it's dressing, more.  If it's dip, less.
Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Summer is ebbing away.  I know we'd barely know it, but it is.

We ate this when we visited the farm.  It was really yummy, but tragically, I forgot to stick it back in the freezer and it was lost!  Ah well, who needs the calories?

Ice Cream sandwich Cake
adapted from my sister in law

19 ice cream sandwiches
1 jar (16 ounces) hot fudge or caramel topping
3 Heath candy bars, or chopped reese's peanut butter cups, or m and m's, or reese pieces
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Cut one ice cream sandwich in half. Place one whole and one half sandwich along a short side of an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Arrange eight sandwiches in opposite direction in the dish. Remove lid from fudge/caramel topping. Microwave 15-30 seconds to warm; stir. Spread one-half of fudge topping/caramel over ice cream sandwiches.

In a food processor, chop candy bars. Cover and pulse until chopped. Sprinkle one-half of mixture over fudge layer. Repeat layer of ice cream sandwiches and fudge/caramel topping. Spread whipped topping over top of cake. Sprinkle with remaining peanut mixture.

Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Salad

This salad was so delicious!  It is a great light meal.  Even my father, who is not exactly adventuresome, pretended to enjoy it.  The dressing is not spicy, and I love the avocado in this salad.  It is absolutely awesome!  I ate it for lunch the second day, and it was still wonderful.

Chipotle Chicken Salad
adapted from Nutmeg Notebook

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 whole chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, with 1 tsp of sauce added
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce (2 heads)

1 1/2 lbs chicken (I marinated in 3 tablespoons canola oil, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt for a minimum of 6 hours)
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1 cup yellow tomatoes, sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 diced peeled avocadoes
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
2 ears corn, boiled for 2 minutes and then cut off the cob.

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor until well combined.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.