Friday, May 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

If you're going to be having a gathering for Memorial Day, you should really make this! It is a definite crowd-pleaser and someone might go as far as to lick the bowl clean! It's that good. I made it for a family gathering, not thinking all of it would get eaten. However, once the first serving was dished, it was a mad dash to get it before it was gone. This makes a whole trifle bowl full, perfect for a few more than usual for dessert.

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle
1 (9x13) pan of baked brownies, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container thawed Cool Whip, divided
20 peanut butter cups, crumbled (or more if you're using minis)
6-8 peanut butter cups to garnish.

Mix pudding according to package directions. With a whisk or beaters, beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Fold in 2 cups cool whip.

Layer in trifle dish 1/2 the brownies, 1/2 the crumbled peanut butter cups, ½ the pudding mixture. Repeat. Top with cool whip and peanut butter cups. Chill at least four hours before serving.

SOURCE:The Girl Who Ate Everything

Linked to...
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
These Chicks Cooked @ This Chicks Cooks

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bread

Wow, if you're a fan of blueberries and cheesecake, you're definitely going to love this bread. I spied this recipe months ago and have been waiting to try it. With the weather warming up, I have started to find blueberries at a more affordable price so I decided to grab some at the store last week. The original recipe called for a box muffin mix for the bread but I prefer to make my own so I used a homemade version.

This bread is an absolutely delicious treat. The lemon glaze on top keeps it moist and gives it a little something special, then when you bite into the cheesecake middle you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. If you can't find blueberries at an affordable price, frozen work well too.

For the bread:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/2 milk (or buttermilk)
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg

For the glaze:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla and lemon zest and mix together. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in the blueberries.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the filling and whisk together.

Prepare a loaf pan by coating with cooking spray. Spoon about half of the batter into the pan, then spread the filling over the top. Spoon the remaining batter on top of the filling; you may want to drop by spoonfulls to get an even distribution as it will be hard to spread over the filling.

Bake bread for about 55-65 minutes, checking for doneness after 55 minutes. While bread is cooking, prepare lemon glaze. In a small saucepan, bring to a boil lemon juice and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat. When bread is done, remove to a cooling rack and spoon on warm glaze. Let cool 10-15 minutes in the pan then remove the loaf to a cooling rack to cool completely. Resist the urge to cut into the loaf while it is hot, it needs time to set up.

SOURCE: Adapted from And Baby Makes Five and The Joy of Cooking

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Woo! Fire and ice baby. These cupcakes pack a punch. About two years ago I first visited Bakerella's blog. I saw this post for cupcakes using chipotles and a chocolate chili bar for the ganache. I was intrigued and wanted to try it. Time passed and I never found a chance to make them. Several weeks ago when I decided to have a little Mexican party for my birthday, I knew I was finally going to get to try these out.

If you like chipotles and little bit of heat, you'll enjoy these cupcakes. The cake itself is really moist and the toppings just take it up another notch. To balance out the heat, I served it with Cinnamon Honey Ice Cream. YUM!

For the cupcakes:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp chipotle powder*
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 Tbsp canned chipotles in adobe sauce, pureed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with baking cups (36). Puree canned chipotles and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, mix boiling water and cocoa until the cocoa is dissolved (it will be thick). Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, mix sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating after each addition. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three additions, alternating with chocolate mixture in two additions, ending with flour mixture. Beat until combined with each addition. Add pureed chipotles and beat until combined.

Scoop batter into prepared cupcake tins and bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool completely.

*If you cannot find chipotle powder, just use dried chipotles and pulverize them either with a mortar and pestal or a spice blender. It takes about 2 for this recipe.

Chili Chocolate Ganache:
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3 oz. chocolate with chili pepper
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Combine chocolates in a bowl. Heat cream and sugar until it just begins to bubble. Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Stir until milk and chocolate are completely incorporated and they are silky and smooth.

Let cool.

Additional ingredients:
Cinnamon Ice Cream -store bought or homemade
Dulce de Leche, warmed and slightly thinned with milk

To assemble cupcakes, first remove wrapper from cupcake. Cut cupcake in half and place a small scoop of ice cream on the bottom half. Replace the top half and put another small scoop of ice cream on top of that. Drizzle with chili chocolate ganache and dulce de leche. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

SOURCE:Adapted from Bakerella

Linked to...
It's A Keeper Thursday @ It's A Keeper
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Crockpot Tamales

WOW! They worked. Let me back up. I think I had my first tamale months ago when I went out on a limb and got one at my favorite restaurant. Since then I get them every time we go there. I love them. I kept craving tamales and really wanted to make them at home but I knew you had to have a large pot and a steamer, which I didn't have.

In my search for a tamale recipe I came across The Crockpot Lady who had made them in the crockpot with success. My search ended and it was only a matter of time before I could make them. I originally wanted to make them for Cinco de Mayo but we were still unpacking from our move so I decided to have a little Mexican party for my birthday last weekend and made them. We invited guests and the party was great. I served the tamales, with my Spanish rice, black beans a little pico de gallo and some virgin pina coladas. For dessert I made Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon-Honey Ice Cream. Everything was delicious!

The tamales were surprisingly easy to make, despite all the comments I had read and heard that they were so labor intensive. I takes minutes to get the dough ready and it only took me about a half hour to fill the tamales (and that was with 2 little helpers too). I guess if you were making double or triple the batch for a big gathering it would take a bit more time. I do suggest making the pork the day before since it takes several hours to cook and it also uses the crockpot.

Crockpot Tamales
For the tamale dough:
2 cups Maseca or masa harina for tamales
2 cups warm water or chicken broth
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
a few dashes of chipotle tabasco sauce
2/3 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or coconut oil

For the tamales:
1/2 recipe Cafe Rio Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
tamale dough
1 (6-oz.) package dried corn husks (I found mine in the Mexican section of Walmart)

Soak the "ojas," or corn husks, in hot water while you prepare the masa.

Combine maseca, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Remove wrapper from the chipotle seasoning cube and crumble it in with the dry ingredients. work broth or water with your fingers to make a soft moist dough.

In a small bowl, beat lard or shortening until fluffy. Add it to the masa
and beat until dough has a spongy texture.

Prepare tamales with filling. First spread out an oja on a work surface.

Next, with a paddle or a small putty knife, spread the masa evenly on the lower, wider half of the oja. Make sure it is thick enough that you don't see the oja through the dough.

Put about a tablespoon or so of the shredded pork
in the middle of the dough,

roll it up,

then fold the bottom half up

Place the tamales in a dish with a lid while you finish assembling the remaining tamales.

When you've finished assembling the rest of the tamales, place them in the crockpot facing upwards. Cover and cook on high for about 2-3 hours. (Note:The crockpot recipe I used said they were done in about 6 hours. On my first batch, I just happened to check at about 2 1/2 hours and they were a little more done that I would have liked, some around the edges were even a little crispy. My second batch, I cooked them closer to 2 hours and they came out fine. 2-6 hours is a very wide range to work with. I suggest you aim closer to 2 hours and check often after that. Use the same tester tamale each time. The ones around the edges will probably be done a little sooner than the others.)

To serve, unwrap 1 or 2 warm tamales, place them on a plate and top with the extra sauce from the pork. (I added an extra can of tomato sauce after the pork was done and shredded so I would have enough to put on top of the tamales.)

Makes enough dough for about 16 small tamales.

**Update 5/16/2013- I no longer use vegetable shortening in my cooking. Use coconut oil in it's place; it whips up similarly.

SOURCE: Maseca and A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pecan Apple Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

Woohoo, I finally got to make this salad. I think I have put it on my monthly menu for the past 3 months and just have not gotten to it. It was totally making my mouth water when I saw it on Tasty Kitchen, featuring The Noshery. This was a total hit. My husband usually likes most everything I make, and even if he doesn't he eats it and even finished the leftovers. He doesn't say much about it most of the time but when he bit into this salad he said it was delicious! I was so thrilled. I think I'll be working this into our spring and summer menus often.

This would also be delicious as a meatless salad. You could beef it up with more veggies and add whole, or roughly chopped, pecans.

For the chicken:
6 chicken tenderloins
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg, whisked
salt & pepper

For the salad:
1 red apple, thinly sliced (I used Gala, it was perfect)
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
green leaf lettuce, about 2 bunches (enough for 6 people)
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded

For the sauce:
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce, a couple splashes

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with a silpat. Sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper.

Combine chopped pecans and breadcrumbs together with cinnamon and nutmeg. Lay out on a pie tin or a large plate. Use another tin or large plate for the egg.

Set up a breading station by setting the egg tin first, the pecan mixture next to it and the baking sheet right next to that. Dredge chicken tenders in the egg, then the pecan mixture and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is baking prepare the sauce and salad. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl until smooth. (You can also use a whisk in a bowl if you don't have a blender.)

Make sure all the vegetables are washed. Chop everything and mix it together in a large salad bowl.

To serve, place the salad on a large plate, top with chicken tender and drizzle with sauce.

Serves 6

SOURCE:Adapted from The Noshery

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Homemade Burger Buns

I always have these good intentions to make bread to go with some of my meals, but somehow time always gets away from me and by the time I remember, it's too late to start making it. Today I was proactive. I made a batch of bread AND the burger buns for these basil chicken burgers for dinner all in good time.

While I love the warm weather of the spring and summer for grilling anything and everything, I just cannot stand store bought burger buns. Once and for all I finally decided to make my own and hello! it's so easy. The dough is quick to whip up and you can be doing other things while they rise. These are light and tasty and will compliment even your best burger!

3 tbsp. warm milk
1 cup hot tap water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours salt, sugar and yeast. Pulse to combine. Next add the milk egg,and butter. Pulse again to combine. Last, add the hot tap water. Pour the water a little at a time, mixing a second or two in between. Only add enough water so that the dough is slightly sticky; you may need more or less than a cup depending on where you live and the climate. Knead dough on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will be a little sticky, but do not add any extra flour at this point.

Spray your hands with cooking spray to get the dough out of the mixing bowl and transfer it to another bowl that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover loosely with a light towel or lid and let rise in a warm place until doubled; time will vary depending on climate so watch closely.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Cover and let rise again until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

SOURCE:Adapted from Annie's Eats

This post linked to Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bean Curry

Wow! I was not planning on making this curry or even curry from scratch but I found this recipe from my sister. They are huge Thai and curry fans. To be honest, I chose it more because it had some of the ingredients I needed to use up in my fridge and I knew the box of Golden Curry would last in my cupboard. I started getting excited about making the curry when I realized it had dairy in it. That meant a dairy dinner two nights in a row (corn chowder from Sunday) that my husband couldn't eat and that he may have to scrounge for something from the freezer again!

Then, a light went on and I remembered my love for coconut and that it paired perfectly with curry. So, I swapped the dairy for coconut milk and let me tell you, this curry was divine. Even if you think you don't like curry, you'll like this. The flavors are mild enough for those not so inclined to spicy food (me) but still showcase a fantastic curry flavor.

I served the curry with this Thai Coconut Rice that I discovered recently and Naan, an Indian flat bread. You can buy Naan pretty readily at your local market (I found mine at Walmart), or, if you're ambitious, you can make your own. Other flat bread or pita bread would also go great with this curry.

Oh, and I just have to mention the cilantro. At first I just sprinkled a little bit on, but after I took a bite, I added a lot more. I loved the freshness the cilantro brings.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (you could really add a whole onion, but I'm not a huge fan)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger*
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Garam Masala
3/4-1 cup coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken broth
2 cups white beans (I cooked from dry beans, but you can certainly substitute a can of beans.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned. Add in garlic and grated ginger root, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn; about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes then the turmeric, salt, paprika, and garam masala. Stir to combine. Add coconut milk, stock, and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in some cilantro and then use a little more for garnish. Serve with jasmine or Thai Coconut Rice.

*I like to freeze my ginger if I don't use it often enough, then when it's time to use it, I can just grate it frozen over my microplane and it works great!

SOURCE:Adapted from my sister who got it from My Kitchen Cafe.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes

Sunday Soup

Even though it's getting warmer, I still love to make soup. Today was actually a perfect day to make soup because, although it was sunny, the wind gave us quite the chill coming home from church! This soup warmed me right up.

My sister gave me this recipe last year and I wasn't sure how I'd like it. I was definitely surprised how much I liked it. I love sweet potatoes to begin with, but they were great paired with the corn. I also loved using the corn muffin mix to thicken it up, it's very tasty!

3 cups milk
1 cup yellow corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 quarts chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese
3 cup frozen corn (not thawed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Mix muffin mix in a bowl until well combined; set aside. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, chicken and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are just tender.

Stir in milk and muffin mixture and simmer until soup thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add cheese and corn and cook until cheese begins to melt. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Monthly Menu

Because we've been in transition the past couple of weeks, trying to move, I completely spaced making a menu and didn't even think of it until today. Usually I think about it the month before and write it down as I go so I pretty much know what to plan when the next month rolls around. This time I had to cram and do it all in one day.

We have a lot of celebrating this month, I'm so excited. I've been waiting for Cinco de Mayo to get here so I can have a little party and kind of a house warming. I'm going to attempt making tamales. I'd never really eaten them in my life until recently. Whenever they're the special at Cafe Rio I always get them, but I wanted the challenge of making them myself. If you don't see a recipe pop up for tamales this month then you'll know it was a flop.

I was so excited about making tamales that I forgot it was also my birthday this month. I haven't decided on a cake yet but I'm leaning towards this Cherry Chocolate Cake. I think it's my all-time favorite and I haven't made it in a while.

Last, but certainly not least, we, as I'm sure many of you, will be celebrating Mother's Day. My husband was very thoughtful last year and gave me a wonderful book on Mothering. This year I want to make a point to be thoughtful about the special women in my life and do something for them. Not sure what yet...any ideas? I also don't know what we'll be having for dessert. I'm leaning towards something light and springy and maybe fruity.

Corn chowder with Sweet Potatoes
Beef and Broccoli with Rice
Basil Chicken Burgers with coleslaw
Pecan Chicken with Apple Salad and Peanut Butter Dressing (Maybe I'll actually get to make it this time; it's been on my menu for 3 months!)
Golden Curry with Thai Coconut Rice

Roast Turkey Breast with Whipped Sweet Potatoes & Corn
Crockpot Tamales with Cafe Rio Pork, rice and beans
Bourbon Steak with Steak Fries and Peas
Coconut Chicken with Rice and Broccoli

Poblano Chicken Chowder
Pizza Rolls and Salad
Cranberry Pork with Mashed Potatoes and Peas
Spaghetti & Green Beans

Meatloaf(recipe to be determined)
Taco Pasta
Stuffed Poblanos
Stir Fry

Other goodies:
S'mores Brownies
Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes
Homemade Hamburger Buns
French Bread
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