Monday, January 30, 2012


1 round bread loaf
16 ounces mozzarella or Provolone cheese slices, cut into 1-inch squares
1 (3.5 ounce) package pepperoni, halved
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Being careful not to go through the bottom crust, horizontal then vertical cuts in the bread, about one inch apart. Place the cut loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet and insert cheese slices and pepperoni between the cuts. Combine butter, salt, and oregano. Drizzle or brush over bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle bread with Parmesan cheese. Wrap bread completely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is golden and crusty. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crockpot Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos

[taco seasoning adapted from allrecipes]

serves 4+

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup beer (I used an amber ale)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons pepper

3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese + more for topping

taco shells

your favorite toppings: greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, salsa, chopped onion, black beans, shredded lettuce, etc.

In a bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Measure out 3/4 cup of your favorite beer, and whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning into the beer.

Place chicken in the crockpot and dump in beer with seasoning. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

When you first remove the lid, it will seem as though there is a lot of liquid and the chicken is just sitting in it, but take two forks or kitchen tongs and shred, shred, shred until it all comes together. Taste and season with additional taco seasoning if desired, then let sit in the crockpot for another 15 minutes or so. Turn the crockpot completely off, and right before serving toss in cheddar cheese. Once combined, immediately transfer the chicken to a large bowl so the cheese does not stick to the crockpot. Make your tacos!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee (aka Crack Bark)

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee (aka Crack Bark)

Adapted from Legume Loyalist and Flower Patch Farmgirl
  • Mini pretzels, broken into smaller pieces (as many as it takes to cover your pan)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups (one 12-ounce bag) chocolate chips
  • Sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 11″ x 17″ jelly roll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Cover the pan in a layer of broken mini pretzels.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and brown sugar. When the mixture starts to gently simmer and bubble, let it cook that way for 3 minutes. (Don’t stir.)
  4. Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the pretzels.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the pan on a cooling rack, and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Wait for about 2 minutes, until the chocolate melts. Grab a spatula, and spread the chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  7. Let the toffee cool completely, and break it into pieces. (To speed up the cooling process, you can place the pan of toffee in the refrigerator or freezer.)

Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Gradually add evaporated milk and powdered sugar. Blend well and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Rice Bite
Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
Recipe type: Side Dish
Author: Reeni
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 8
Rice and broccoli florets swimming in a cheesy sauce and baked to a bubbly, golden brown. Made with good-for-you broccoli, brown rice, real cheese and milk.
Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
Recipe type: Side Dish
Author: Reeni
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 8
Rice and broccoli florets swimming in a cheesy sauce and baked to a bubbly, golden brown. Made with good-for-you broccoli, brown rice, real cheese and milk.
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a few cracks fresh black pepper
  • 2 + 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups cooked rice ( I used brown)
  • 2 -3 cups cooked broccoli florets
  1. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter over low heat; add garlic and saute until fragrant. Whisk in flour and cook 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in milk, mustard and season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer 4 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese and parmesan; stir until mostly melted; remove from heat.
  3. Stir in rice and broccoli florets, pour into casserole pan, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top. Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden on top. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter-Pretzel Truffles (a.k.a. Chubby Hubby Truffles)

Peanut Butter-Pretzel Truffles (a.k.a. Chubby Hubby Truffles)
Yield: About 18 truffles
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Chill Time: 1 hour, total
1½ cups pretzel pieces
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1. Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).
2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.
3. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently shape into a ball with your fingertips. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.
5. Working one at a time, dip one peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, ensuring that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls.
6. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of melted peanut butter and crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(Recipe adapted from make happy)

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa
Yield: About 6 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
28-ounce can whole tomatoes (peeled) with juice
2 10-ounce cans Rotel
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalepeño, quartered and sliced thin
½ cup cilantro
Juice from ½ a fresh lime
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until you get desired consistency (was about 10 pulses for me). Refrigerate for at least one hour, and then serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

 If you prefer a milder salsa, remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno before adding it to the food processor.
(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Comfort Food - Beef Brisket

Comfort Food - Beef Brisket

2-3 pounds brisket roast, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
8 ounces baby bella or crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pat the brisket dry with paper twoels and prick the roast all over with a fork. Cut the brisket in half crosswise into two roasts (just like you’d cut a sandwich or apple in half). Season each roast with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Brown the brisket on both sides (working with one roast at a time), about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer fat-side up to a 9X13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining roast.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet. Add the mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onions and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the flour, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broths and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 6-7 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the roasts in the 9X13-inch pan and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the roasts in the preheated oven until very tender, 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, flipping the roasts and recovering the dish halfway through cooling.
Transfer the roasts to a cutting board and trim any extra fat off, if the roasts are excessively fatty. Strain the sauce from the pan through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator; reserving the mushrooms. Let the liquid settle and then pour into a microwave-safe bowl, leaving the fat behind. Stir in the vinegar and microwave the sauce for about a minute. If the sauce is too thick, thin with chicken or beef broth. Slice or shred the brisket roasts and place on a serving platter with the reserved mushrooms. Pour the warmed sauce over the meat. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country, Dec/Jan 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Crumb Crust:
1 1/2 cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers or chocolate Teddy Grahams
5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) butter, melted
1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) granulated sugar
1/8 (1/4 teaspoon to double) teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups chilled brownie cubes (from recipe above)
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (can use 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
For the brownies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with the ends of foil extending over the two short sides of the pan. Lightly grease foil. In a large microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter on high for one minute. Stir. Repeat the process at 50% power until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sugar. Blend in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and salt, stirring to mix well. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, use the foil handles to remove the brownies. Refrigerate the brownies until chilled (1-2 hours) and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Refrigerate the cubes until ready to fold into the cheesecake. You’ll have more brownie cubes than needed in the cheesecake recipe so use your best judgment about what to do with those leftover brownie babies.
For the crust, stir together the crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 10-inch springform pan. Fill right away with cheesecake or chill up to 2 hours.
For the cheesecake filling, preheat the oven to 350°F.
With an electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down the bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the filled springform pan on a larger baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cake is set 3 inches from the edge but still slightly jiggly in the center (watch the time carefully, you may need more or less baking time based on your exact oven temperature).
Cool the cheesecake completely in the springform pan on a wire rack. When completely cool, top with the ganache glaze.
For the ganache glaze, scald (heat just below boiling) the butter and cream in a saucepan (or in a Pyrex cup in the microwave). Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream/butter mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Stir the mixture together until completely smooth and silky (it might look grainy at first but it will come together if the cream is sufficiently warm and the chocolate is chopped finely). Add the vanilla and sugar and whisk until smooth. Spread over the cheesecake. Chill until ready to serve.
To serve, unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan, cut the cheesecake into slices and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken Milano

Chicken Milano
olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total)
Cajun seasoning, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1 cup (about half a can) full-fat coconut milk (or you can use heavy cream)
5 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp.chopped fresh basil
1/4 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) Fettucine pasta

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and a bit of Cajun seasoning on both sides. In a large, deep skillet or grill pan, heat olive oil over medium and saute chicken until cooked through. (Alternately, you could grill the chicken on an outdoor grill.) Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and cover to keep warm. Drain the fat from the juices left in the pan.

Once water in stock pot is boiling, drop pasta and cook to al dente, according to package directions.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat; add a drizzle of olive oil with it. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until dark in color and tender. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet (or more olive oil if you prefer), as well as the garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and white wine; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Add the coconut milk/heavy cream and mushrooms and bring to a boil, stirring often. Simmer over medium heat just another minute or so; sauce will be thin. Stir in basil, Parmesan cheese and more salt, pepper and/or Cajun seasoning, if desired.

Drain pasta and pour into large casserole dish. Pour sauce over pasta and let sit about 5 minutes.

Slice chicken and serve on top of the pasta and sauce. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese and more basil, if desired

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta easy dinner mexican

Taco PastaSource: adapted slightly from Fake Ginger

1 pound ground beef or turkey
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained (if making this for kids you might want to use just plain diced tomatoes)
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.

Toss in the cilantro right before serving for some fresh color and flavor. Serve with a green salad.

Roy’s Chocolate Soufflé

Roy’s Chocolate SouffléSource: Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's

4 squares of parchment paper (3x3 inches)
4 strips of parchment paper (2x12 inches)
4 metal soufflé ring molds (3 inches in diameter x 2 inches tall) or parchment lined ramekins (see Note)

Soufflé Batter:
8 oz. good quality semi-sweet dark chocolate (i.e. Guittard, Vahlrona, Callebeaut - I used a Ghirardelli
baking bar)
12 Tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks

To make the soufflé batter, combine sugar and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and yolks. Bring butter to a simmer in a saucepan. Add chocolate and mix until smooth. Continue to mix until chocolate begins to simmer along the edges. Transfer the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add eggs and mix at low speed until mixture is smooth and sugar dissolved. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line each soufflé ring with a strip of parchment paper and spray with pan release such as Pam. Place parchment paper squares on a baking sheet and set molds on top. Note: If you don't have a souffle ring you can use ramekins. Line the bottom of each ramekin with a circle of parchment paper and line the sides with parchment paper as shown above. Spray with cooking spray. You can also just eat them straight out of the ramekins or use cupcake liners with reduced cooking time because they will be smaller.

Fill each ring mold or ramekin with soufflé batter ¾ of the way full. Bake on top oven rack for 26-28 minutes. My ramekins were a little smaller so I baked them for 21-23 minutes. You just want to make sure the tops are set but the middle is still gooey. Remove baking sheet from oven. Slide a metal spatula under each mold, and carefully transfer to individual serving plates using a pair of tongs. Gently lift off the mold and remove the parchment paper. If using ramekins, use a knife to and run it around the edge then carefully invert and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve immediately. Left over batter can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.