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Sour Cream Swirl Brownies

March 27, 2015

20150301 Sour Cream SwirlI made these the other weekend during an ice storm. Some of D’s friends were in town, so we decided to make something yummy to warm up our afternoon.

You will need:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 T honey
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with tinfoil and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the better.
  3. Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and baking powder until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.
  5. Whisk the vanilla into the eggs.
  6. Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Be sure to do this slowly and whisk continuously to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  7. Mix in the flour until well combined.
  8. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread in the prepared baking pan.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream together with the honey and nutmeg.
  11. Drop the sour cream mixture on top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the sour cream into the brownie batter.
  12. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until set in the middle.
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Paprika Spinach Chicken

March 21, 2015

This is a fragrant, juicy chicken dish perfect for an upcoming date night or night in with friends. It is made from a few simple ingredients that turn magical in the pan.

20150223 Paprika Chicken 02

You will need:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper, divided
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 fresh sage, washed and dried and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 4 oz fresh baby spinach

Then you will…

  1. Season the chicken with the paprika, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, spreading it out on all sides.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken and cook 3-5 minutes until the first side is golden.
  4. Flip the chicken over and cook another 3-5 minutes until the second side is golden.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil, the butter, sage, and garlic to the pan.
  6. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is melted and the seasoning fragrant.
  7. Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.
  8. Stir in the spinach and allow to just wilt. Remove from heat.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
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Simple Lime Cake

March 15, 2015

20150127 Lime Cake 01

I noticed a can of sweetened condensed milk hiding in my pantry the other night. Then, I spotted a stray lime in the fridge. This was the result! It would be great with a cup of fresh tea.

You will need:

  • 1 can (14 oz) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt or 8-inch cake pan liberally.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake 35-50 minutes or until golden and set in the middle. A tester should come out clean.
  5. Allow to cool 10 minutes before inverting to cool the rest of the way.
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Chili Queso Dip

March 6, 2015

20150201 Queso 02

I’m not sure I could go without cheese in life. When it’s melty, I love it even more. This is a fun version of queso dip that will be a big hit at your next party. If you have a crockpot, use it to keep the dip warm when serving.

You will need:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c ale of your choice
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 c sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend of cheese, shredded
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chili peppers, drained
  • 1/4 c scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Then you will…

  1. In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the beer and allow to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix in 1 cup of the milk. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile whisk together the remaining half cup of milk with the cornstarch.
  6. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the onion-milk pot. Stir constantly as the sauce thickens.
  7. Stir in the spices and mix well.
  8. Stir in the cheese until melted and smooth.
  9. Stir in the lime juice and tomatoes. Stir occasionally until heated through and bubbly.
  10. Just before serving, add the scallion and cilantro. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
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Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

February 28, 2015

I love my book club. We rotate around to people’s houses and get together every few weeks to talk about a new book over food and laughter. It is always a most excellent way to spend an evening. Our latest hosts cooked up an Indian feast, so I decided to try my hand at some chai-inspired cupcakes. These spicy little cakes are balanced out by a delicious cream cheese frosting (plus a surprise filling)!

20150130 Chai Cupcake 04

You will need:

  • 2 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 8 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • OPTIONAL: caramel sauce (I picked up a 10 oz Fleur de Sel version from Trader Joe’s)

20150130 Chai Cupcake 02

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add paper liners to a tray for 12 cupcakes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon with the ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream 1/2 of the butter into the granulated sugar.
  4. Mix in the egg and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla until well combined and fluffy.
  5. Mix in the salt, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture.
  6. Mix in the flour and the milk, alternating between the two. Stir just until combined.
  7. Fill each cupcake cup 2/3s full of batter.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden. A toothpick or tester in the middle should come out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the cupcake tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. In a stand mixer or using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese with the remaining 1/2 cup of butter.
  12. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 t of the chai mixture and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  13. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Then increase the speed to medium until fluffy and smooth.
  14. OPTIONAL: Use a cupcake or apple corer to remove a small part of the top of the cupcake. Fill with the caramel sauce.
  15. Frost the cupcakes as liberally as desired.
  16. Share with friends (and there will be no leftovers)!
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Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Ramen

February 21, 2015

20150209 Ramen

D and I decided to make this for a cool night. We love using our slow cooker, because then you have dinner ready when you come home from work. This is fun and spicy and delicious!

You will need:

  • 2-3 lb pork butt
  • 2 T Chinese five spice seasoning
  • 1 t black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 t salt, divided
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 4 T sesame oil, divided
  • 2 T chili paste (sambal oelek or sriracha)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 6 T rice vinegar, divided
  • 5 T brown sugar, divided
  • 4 c broth of your choice (recommend low or no salt)
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 12-16 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb butternut squash, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 T plus 1 t curry powder
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • ~6-10 oz fresh ramen noodles

Then you will…

  1. In a small bowl, combine the Chinese five spice seasoning with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper.
  2. Spread the spice mixture on the pork.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.
  4. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Turn off the heat.
  5. Place the pork in your slow cooker.
  6. In the same skillet, heat two tablespoons of the sesame oil with the chili paste until fragrant.
  7. Add the onion, tomato, ginger and garlic. Saute until the onions are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  8. Put the onion-tomato mixture into a food processor and pulse until blended.
  9. Add the water, lime juice, three tablespoons of the rice vinegar, and a tablespoon of the brown sugar to the food processor and pulse a few more times.
  10. Pour the mixture over the pork.
  11. Pour the broth over the pork.
  12. Add the carrots to the slow cooker and give it a quick stir.
  13. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.
  14. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and set aside.
  15. Stir the mushrooms into the broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour.
  16. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  17. Pour the squash in a 9×13 baking dish.
  18. Top with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
  19. Stir to mix and place in the preheated oven.
  20. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until roasted and tender.
  21. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of sesame oil over medium heat.
  22. Add the shredded pork to the skillet.
  23. In a small bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar with the soy sauce, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
  24. Pour over the pork and stir to coat.
  25. Allow the pork to crisp up on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Stir and allow the pork to continue to crisp, another 3-5 minutes.
  26. Remove from heat, but keep the pork warm.
  27. Add the ramen noodles to the slow cooker and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes.
  28. Stir half of the pork into the slow cooker broth.
  29. Put some of the butternut squash in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the mushroom broth and noodles.
  30. Add more crispy pork, scallions and any other topics you desire (we like a fried egg!).
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Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

February 15, 2015

This is based on ingredients that I have in my pantry on most days. It is easy to mix together and goes great with your favorite ice cream (or on its own)!

You will need:

  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 c old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c dark chocolate chunks

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, oats and flour.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  6. Spread in the prepared dish.
  7. Bake 18-23 minutes or until just turning golden and set in the middle.
  8. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from baking dish and allow to cool at least another 5 minutes before eating.

20150127 Chocolate Chunk Bars

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