Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten page paper? Umm... lets cook instead!

All summer I thought that once school started I'd be able to keep up on cooking, maybe not a new recipe every week, but at least one every couple of weeks... then school came, and work came.... and I realized how busy life could be. It's definitely been a learning experience, trying to manage my time so I can find time to still cook and enjoy life.
One of the things I have learned is that cooking is an amazing stress reliever. Hence the fact that I made: Mini pumpkin cheesecakes, apple crisp muffins, empanadas and pumpkin gingerbread all in one weekend. All while I should have been working on my ten page persuasive essay. Yeah... I have a problem.
But hey, the essay is done and I handed it in today! And it is now thanksgiving break... More time to cook! YAY! Best. Holiday. Ever.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes


My amazing roommate Mandy found this recipe for me off of a Betty Crocker website. It was my favorite of the weekend!
Here is the URL for the recipe:
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/mini-pumpkin-cheesecakes/a4cad8b2-37d8-4c36-9ff5-c8562fa978cc?WT.dcsvid=MzYyOTQ5NTMxNQS2&rvrin=4520AC9D-23B8-4E25-B04A-18F822B7EF91&WT.mc_id=Newsletter_BC_11_17_2011


Apple Crisp Muffins
Sadly I never got a picture of these guys, but they were delish. Great for a breakfast snack :)
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Apple-Crisp-Muffins?pmcode=ILKDV03T&_mid=2310996&_rid=2310996.558202.191766


Chicken Empanadas

Oh man I am so blessed :) I don't know how I got so lucky to be surrounded by all of these amazing people! I got to share the empanadas with them. I would put the recipe on here... But we used a mix of about five recipes, kinda just made it our own. They were a lot easier to make than I expected!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

The best part about this recipe is the wonderful scent that filled the apartment! :) I had some leftover pumpkin from the cheesecakes, so I looked up pumpkin recipes on allrecipes.com. And I found this guy! It has a lot of sugar... but hey it's the holidays so we can splurge a little right? :)
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-gingerbread/detail.aspx

Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies




Red velvet has always been a favorite of mine, so I was really excited to try this recipe! If I make it again I will definitely leave out the cheesecake part, the red velvet brownie is much better by itself. I loved getting to make red velvet from scratch, who'da thought it'd take an entire little bottle of food coloring?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter

4-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 - 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate together. Stir until combined and very smooth.
    Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and food coloring.
  4. Add chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
  5. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  7. To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter.
  9. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set.
  11. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
  12. Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
    Enjoy!

I was lucky enough to get to share this experiment with my roommates from last year at our roommate reunion. I just love these girls! :)



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Energy Bars

What better way to start a new school year then some homemade energy bars? If it wasn't for one of these guys I would have never made it through statistics this morning... well after my mid-class nap that is... oops!

They are a lot yummier than I expected, and way easy to make! But there is one downfall... they have corn syrup... dang it. But I did read somewhere that you can substitute Agave Syrup, someday when I am not a poor college student I will be able to do that :)

This is another one of the recipes I got from Taste Of Home, I love them!

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (since I didn't have any regular oats I used four packets of my "hot cereal" oats, with brown sugar and maple flavoring, mmmmm)
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, mmm mmm good!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the cereal, oats and wheat germ. In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal mixture; mix well.
  • Transfer to a greased 9x13in. square pan. Gently press cereal mixture evenly into pan. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.




Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers


I recieve emails from Taste Of Home on a daily basis, each one with a new daily recipe. I usually will look at them, 'ooh' and 'ahh' a bit then delete them. But the other day I received a stuffed pepper recipe. In my past two jobs (rehab center and nursing home) stuffed peppers were served regularly but I was always to chicken to even try them. So I decided this was a recipe that I had to try.
It turned out to be way easy! They aren't my favorite food, but it's something different :)
I have to admit though I didn't follow the recipe at all... it called for poblano peppers and adobo sauce. I've never even heard of those! So after walking up and down basically every isle of smiths I decided on adding my own ingredients and taking out some of theirs.

Here is the recipe they sent me but with my additions/subtractions to it:
Poblanos Stuffed with Chipotle Turkey Chili Recip 45
  • 8 poblano peppers (I used green bell)
  • 1 package (20 ounces) lean ground turkey (I used 2 lbs. ground beef... it's cheaper)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Crisco® Olive Oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8-3/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I just left this part out, never even heard of it)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (left this out too... I'm sure it'd taste great with it. But it sounds kinda spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (left this out too, because my spice cabinet isn't quite stocked with all these spices yet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Directions

  • Broil peppers 4 in. from the heat until skins blister, about 5 minutes. With tongs, rotate peppers a quarter turn. Broil and rotate until all sides are blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a large bowl; cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey, onion and garlic in oil until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, corn, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, salt, cumin, chili powder and pepper; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro. Set aside.
  • Peel off and discard charred skins from poblanos. Cut a lengthwise slit down each pepper, leaving the stem intact; remove membranes and seeds. Fill each pepper with 1/2 cup turkey mixture.
  • Place peppers in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with sour cream. Yield: 4 servings.

If I make this again- I will probably add more seasonings, and also rice to the stuffing.

I'm so lucky to have such great neighbors who will try my experiments :)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Crepe Cake


The name says it all- a cake made out of crepes, with eclair filling, topped with chocolate syrup goodness. Yum!
This was one of those recipes that in the picture looks amazing, but mine didn't really come out like the picture... it looked pretty bad. But hey I thought it still tasted pretty good. And it wasn't too hard either! :)

Chocolate Eclair Crepe Cake:

2 2/3 C. Flour

3 ¼ C. Milk

6 Large Eggs

1 ½ t. Vanilla

1 C. Heavy Cream

1 C. Sugar

1 T. Dark Rum (I used rum substitute J)

2 T. Butter

3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used semisweet)

1 T. Corn syrup

1. Using a blender, mix 2 cups flour, 2 cups milk, 4 eggs, ½ t. vanilla and ½ salt, until smooth; refrigerate.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, remaining 1 ¼ cups milk, ½ cup sugar and 1 pinch salt. Cook over medium heat until steaming. (about 2 minutes) In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and ½ sugar, then whisk in remaining 2/3 cup flour until smooth. Gradually combine the hot cream mixture with the flour mixture. Cook- whisking over medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes; stir in the rum and the remaining 1 t. vanilla. Scrape pastry cream into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

3. In an 8-inch crepe pan or non-stick skillet, melt about a teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 C/ chilled crepe batter and swirl to coat the pan. Cook until set on the bottom, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter. (make ten crepes)

4. Place crepe on a cake stand or flat plate coat with pastry cream. Repeat with remaining crepes. Refrigerate.

5. In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, 3 T. water, corn syrup, and 2 t. of butter over medium-low heat until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes, then spread on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before slicing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mountainside Iron Chef

This past week I was able to drive down to Park City for a family/extended family vacation. It was SO fun! There is so much to do in that city! I can't wait to go back next summer!

The highlight of this trip was most definitely the Iron Chef competition held by the resort we were staying in.

We were given our secret ingredient............ drum roll.............. Green chillies!
What?? I've never even eaten green chillies let alone cooked with them. Luckily I was on an amazing team!

We had one hour to be back with our dish, so we ran up to our condo brain storming on our way.
Once we got there we raided the fridge and cupboards. One of the cooks I worked with during high school would always tell me if you don't know what to cook then just start sauteing onions and it will come to you. So that's what I did, I diced up some onions and threw them in the pan of butter, while my amazing teammate/cousin diced up some chicken. Luckily we had my Aunt and my mom there to give us their input and ideas. After throwing together some seasonings with the chicken, chillies, and onions we finally decided on a Nacho plate. But not just your typical nacho plate.

We layered the chips with a cream cheese/salsa dip, then topped that with our chicken/chillies/onions/black beans/yummy seasonings. Topped off with some cheese and more green chillies.

We were done with fifteen minutes to spare!
As we waited, watching the other nine dishes come in, some of them looked just amazing. At this point, I knew we couldn't win with a plate of nachos, but I didn't care because I had fun and I get to taste test all of the other dishes!

Finally the hour was up, we each introduced our plates and the time for everyone to taste test was up. One of the plates that I was very pleasantly surprised with was made by a boy who looked about 13- while he was listing off his ingredients I wasn't sure I even wanted to try it! It was a french bread with potato chips, cheese, guacamole, and a whole lot of other random stuff. It was SO good, it won my vote.

After everyone put in their vote, the announced the winner..... We won!! :) :) It took both my cousin and I by surprise. We got our pictures taken in the goofy hats- as shown below. Then we also won a spoon and five dollars each to spend at their little shop. I sure hope I can find other small Iron Chef competitions because they are just too fun.




Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poutines à Trou

During high school I had the great opportunity to work at Alpine Transitional Rehabilitation Center in the kitchen, while I worked there I was lucky enough to have a co-worker who actually went through culinary school! So she recommended this awesome recipe to me. When I heard the name of the recipe I looked up the translation (since it's in French) and I found out the "a trou" means a hole, hence the hole on the dumpling. But then I looked up the translation for Poutines and it is a plate of fries with cheese curds... ? Not quite sure how that worked out. But I really enjoyed this recipe, it was easy and a nice snack :)

Poutines à trou

Crust
2½ cups (625 ml) flour
4 tsp. (20 ml) baking powder
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) fat (butter or lard)
¾ cup (175 ml) milk

Filling
4 apples
½ cup (125 ml) seedless raisins
½ cup (125 ml) cranberries

Syrup
1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
¾ cup (175 ml) water

Preparation:
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Blend in the lard to form a coarse mixture.
3. Add the milk and mix the dough well.
4. Divide the dough into twelve pieces.
5. Roll each piece until it is 5 - 6 inches (12 - 15 cm) in diameter.
6. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces.
7. Place the apple pieces, raisins and cranberries in the centre of each circle of dough.
8. Moisten the edge of the dough with milk or water, and roll the dough around the ingredients so as to form a ball.
9. Carefully close the opening and place the poutine upside down on a pan.
10. Make a hole about ½ inch (15 mm) in diameter on the top of each poutine. Bake at 375?F (190?C) for 30 minutes.
11. Prepare the syrup by mixing the sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes.
12. When the poutines are ready, remove them from the oven and pour the syrup into the hole on the top of each poutine.

Serve cold or hot. Makes 12 poutines.