Chocolate Pinwheels

Chocolate Pinwheels

For the third year in a row, I took part in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay and Julie. I really enjoy trying new cookie recipes and sharing them with people. This year, those people were Lisa from Blogghetti, Sara from Confectionary Tales of a Bakeaholic, and Lynna from Hearts in my Oven. I hope you enjoyed these pinwheel cookies as much as I did, ladies! These cookies were relatively easy to make, and produced an impressive looking cookie in the end. I enjoyed the taste of these cookies as well, especially along with a cup of tea. One batch of these cookies made enough for me to send each of the ladies a dozen, plus left us with almost a dozen for ourselves, which didn’t last too long! I will most definitely be making them again!

1 cup + 2 tablespoons Butter, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 tablespoons Milk, divided
3 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
6 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

To make the chocolate swirl, start by melting 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of milk in the microwave. Add the cocoa powder and mix well; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 cup of butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and remaining 2 tablespoons of milk, beating until well mixed. At low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough until it leaves the side of the bowl. Remove 3/4 of the dough and set aside. That portion will become the vanilla swirl. To the dough remaining in the bowl, add the chocolate mixture and beat until fully incorporated. This portion will become the chocolate dough. Form the two doughs into balls and slice each ball into two equal halves. On a sheet of wax paper, roll the vanilla dough out into a rectangle that is about 7 inches wide and 8 inches long. Repeat with the chocolate dough. Flop the rolled chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and peel off the wax paper. Lightly press the surface with a rolling pin to adhere the chocolate and vanilla doughs. With the short end facing you, roll the dough into a tight log, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge. Repeat with the other half of the vanilla and chocolate doughs. After about 30 minutes in the fridge, take the logs out of the fridge and roll on the counter to retain the circular shape. Wrap tightly again in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about an hour (or store in a freezer-safe container and bake as needed). When ready to bake, thaw the cookie dough log slightly and slice 1/4-inch thick rounds with a sharp knife. Place the cookie slices on a parchment-paper lined sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container. 

SOURCE: Sugary Winzy

Wookie Cookies

Wookie cookies

Usually, the Secret Recipe Club takes a break in December for the holidays. But this year, we did a cookie swap instead! We were paired with other members from all four groups who opted in to this fun exchange. This month, I was assigned to Debbi Does Dinner Healthy, written by Debbi of course. Debbi is a group C SRC member who just as her blog title says, is determined to make healthy, low-calorie meals without compromising any taste. I chose to make these Wookie cookies, because how can you pass on a name like that?! They are like an amped up chocolate chip cookie, with two different types of chocolate, plus a dash of cinnamon to give it a whole new dimension of flavor. I loved these cookies! In fact, I only baked up a few, and the rest of the dough is in my freezer for whenever the urge strikes! While this month was all about cookies, I did take a peek around some other recipes on Debbi’s blog too. She has quite the arsenal of delicious sounding recipes, such as Summer Squash Casserole, Sweet and Spicy Chicken with Broccoli, and French Onion Risotto! We may have had to make cookies this time, but I will most definitely be back to make some of your delicious recipes, Debbi! 

2 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Butter, at room temperature
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in both types of chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen. 

SOURCE: Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Sunburst Muffins

Sunburst muffins

Every month, I participate in a fun recipe swap event called the Secret Recipe Club. Each member is secretly assigned to another member’s blog, and they have the month to peruse the recipes and decide what to make. It is one of my favorite things about blogging. Each month, as soon as I get my assignment, I go through the entire blog that I am assigned to and put recipes that sound good into a folder for a second look. This month, my assigned blog was Feed Me Seymour, written by Kim. Kim’s life seems to be surrounded around food, and I’m pretty jealous! Not only does she write an amazing blog filled with so many delicious recipes, but her mom is a pastry chef, so she grew up around sweet treats, and she works as a food editor, which sounds like a perfect job for a person who loves food! When searching through Kim’s blog this month, I set aside about 20 recipes for a second look. I mean, with recipes like Arancini DiRiso, Caramel Apple Walnut Handpies, Homemade Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows, Pickled Watermelon Rinds, Tijuana Taxi Margarita….I wanted to make them all! In the end, however, I chose these sunburst muffins, if for nothing else, their name. You see, I live in Buffalo, and if you’ve seen the news lately, you know we’ve been getting hit hard with some crazy winter weather, so a little “sunburst” is exactly what we need right now! So, while the weather outside might be frightful, these muffins were absolutely delightful! Thanks for bringing a little sunburst into my otherwise snowy life, Kim! 

1 1/2 cups Old-fashioned Oats
1 cup Flour
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
8 ounces Greek Yogurt
2 Bananas, mashed
2 Egg Whites
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Zest of 1 orange

Line a muffin tin with paper liners and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the yogurt, banana, egg whites, oil, and half of the orange zest. Add the yogurt mixture to the oat mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the muffin mixture into the muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Sprinkle the remaining orange zest on top of the muffins and serve. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

SOURCE: Feed Me Seymour

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt

My college girlfriends and I like to get together every few months to catch up. While I am lucky enough to have a job where I work with one of them, we all don’t see each other as often as we would like. Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. But, we were able to carve out a little time last night to meet up at my friend Jessica’s house for dinner. She has 2 little kids and it was fun to see them running around and having a good time. Of course, my friend Jenelle brought her 4 month old baby too, who we enjoyed passing around between all of us. Jess made lasagna, and we all brought the rest of the food to make a full meal. I volunteered to bring dessert. Chocolate is a safe bet so I started searching for a cake to make. I found one on my friend Amy’s Pinterest board, which was perfect because I knew she’d be there craving something chocolatey. While this bundt cake had several steps to it, and took quite a while to bake (I killed the time by listening to the Serial podcast, which I am obsessed with), the results were outstanding! The cake took a little longer than planned to cook, so it came out of the oven just as I had to leave. I inverted the pan onto my travel carrier and the cake plopped right out. I whipped up the ganache, but waited to pour it until after I got to her house, so that it wouldn’t leak out of the carrier onto my car floor mats. After dinner, we cut into the cake, which was still slightly warm. We all loved it, especially Jessica’s husband, who said that most chocolate cakes he’s had have been dry and this one was the complete opposite. Must have been the sour cream! Anyway, next time I’m in need of a slightly fancier chocolate cake, I’ll turn to this recipe because it certainly is a winner!

For the Cake
1 cup Cocoa Powder, plus more for dusting the pan
7 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup Boiling Water
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
20 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature (2 1/2 sticks)
2 1/2 cups Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
5 Eggs
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth; set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the brown sugar until blended. Increase the speed back to medium and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, then add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. When the mixture is well blended and no lumps remain, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 60-65 minutes (mine took almost 75). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool before inverting it onto a serving tray and removing the pan. 

For the Ganache
6 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Place the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down he sides. Let the cake stand for about 15 minutes, until the ganache has set. *Ganache can be made ahead of time and reheated to regain a pourable consistency. I nuked it for about 20 seconds in the microwave. 

SOURCE: Lick The Bowl Good

 

 

Lemon Sage Chicken

Lemon sage chicken

It’s my favorite time of the month…time for the Secret Recipe Club reveal day! This month, I was assigned to Tara’s Multicultural Table. Tara is a stay at home mom to her adorable son, and as the name suggests, her blog is a place where she writes about food from all over the globe. Tara was born in Japan and moved to Germany as a young child, before moving to the US. Her husband’s family is Filipino. With all of those cultures deeply rooted in both of their families, I would say that Tara is an expert at multicultural cooking! Flipping through the recipes in her blog prove that. She highlights recipes from every square inch of the world, which as you could imagine, made it very difficult to choose just one. While I had my eye on Galatke (Serbian Semolina Baklava), Colcannon, and Yachae Kalguksu (Korean Knife Noodle & Vegetable Soup), I chose this chicken dish because we still have plenty of sage left in the garden that I wanted to use up before winter comes. While I’m sure that we would have loved those other dishes, this lemon sage chicken was absolutely delicious! Joel declared it one of the best meals he has had in a long time. While chicken isn’t usually one of his favorites, and we are not usually ones for seconds, when he finished his plate, he said that he wished he had another! This chicken was incredibly flavorful, and quick cooking, which is perfect for weeknight meals. I’m so glad that I have plenty more sage in my garden. I foresee this meal gracing our table quite a bit more before the snow starts to fly. Thanks for the delicious meal, Tara! 

1 1/4 pounds Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
Salt and Pepper
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/3 cup Flour
2 Eggs
1 Lemon, juiced
4 Sage Leaves
1/2 cup Dry White Wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons Butter
Additional Lemon Wedges, for garnish 

Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound out the chicken with a mallet until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. In a rimmed plate, mix the flour with a pinch of salt. In another rimmed plate, whisk the egg and lemon juice. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dip in the egg mixture to coat the entire surface. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the chicken to cook the other side and add the sage leaves. Once the chicken has cooked through, remove and set on a paper towel lined plate. Add the wine and chicken broth to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is reduced by half, add the butter. and cook until sightly thickened. Serve the chicken topped with the sage leaves, sauce, and lemon wedges. 

SOURCE: Tara’s Multicultural Table

Stovetop Applesauce

Applesauce

Sorry for my absence. The fall is always the busiest time of year for me, and to top it all off, our family just grew by 4 feet. We got a puppy! When I’m not in the classroom or on the pool deck, I’ve been home snuggling with my pooch, not even giving cooking a second thought! But I’m back. With the swim season winding down, I’m starting to gain back some of my energy and finding my way back into the kitchen. A great recipe to start with was this stovetop applesauce. It was a great way to use up apples leftover from a recent day we spent apple picking, and the perfect way to capture the fall in my kitchen. 

15 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Apple Cider
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Once softened, mash the apples with a potato masher or puree with a blender/immersion blender if you like a smoother applesauce. Refrigerate for about 4 hours before serving. Makes about 6 cups.

SOURCE: Prevention RD

Applesauce Oatmeal Bars

Applesauce oatmeal bars

It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This month, I was assigned to Christie’s blog, A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. Throughout the month, I’ve enjoyed looking through all 7 years of Christie’s archives! There were several recipes that I wanted to try, such as Coq au Vin, Blistered Tomato Salad with Scallops, Panna Cotta, and a slew of Macaron cookies. I will most definitely be revisiting those recipes soon, but ultimately baked oatmeal won this month. Now that fall is here, I need to switch up my cold overnight oats breakfast routine and this baked oatmeal recipe is the perfect way to do just that. Reheating a square of these bars each morning makes for a quick, easy, and filling breakfast that keeps me full until lunch. The flavors of fall are an added bonus, too. Thanks for the great recipe Christie!

3 cups Applesauce, drained
2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped (I used pecans because that is what I had)

Line a strainer with paper towels or cheesecloth. Pour the applesauce into the strainer and drain for 20 minutes (Don’t skip this step like I almost did. It’s amazing how much liquid drains out of the applesauce). In a large bowl, combine the oats, both flours, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press 2/3 of the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the nuts over the oats and spread the applesauce over the top. Top with the remaining oat mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 

SOURCE: A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Greek Cucumber Noodles

Cucumber noodles

I don’t have a spiralizer. While I think they are cool, I also feel like they are a fad. Plus, I don’t need another unitasker to clutter my already full cabinets. Besides, my mandoline slicer has attachments that will julienne any vegetable, which gives just about the same result that a spiralizer would. A quick pass through the mandoline produced the perfect bed of cucumber “noodles” for this summer salad, which made for a delicious dinner and a quick lunch, too. Do yourself a favor and make this before the bounty of fresh summer produce withers away. You will not be disappointed! 

2 Seedless Cucumbers
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced (I omitted)
4 tablespoons Hummus
1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Julienne the cucumbers using a mandoline slicer or a spiralizer. Divide the cucumber onto plates and top with the tomatoes, olives, and onion. Spoon hummus onto the center of the noodles and sprinkle the top with feta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

SOURCE: Two Peas & Their Pod

Funfetti Pudding Mix Cookies

Funfetti cookies

When it comes to cookies, I typically prefer them to be of the chocolate chip variety. However, I had some pudding mix in the cabinet that I wanted to use and when I searched for recipes, I loved with how colorful these funfetti cookies were and couldn’t wait to give them a try. Sprinkles or jimmies? Which do you prefer? I’ve always grown up calling them jimmies, but just last week, somehow that word was brought up and Joel said he had never heard of them being referred to as that before. I found it odd, because that is just what I’ve always called them. So I’m curious, what do you call them? Whatever it is, give these cookies a try. With school starting up next week, they will be sure to brighten up any lunch box!

2 1/4 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter, softened
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon Almond Extract 
1 package (3.4 ounces) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
2/3 cup Rainbow Jimmies/Sprinkles

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and yolk and both extracts, then add the pudding mix. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the jimmies/sprinkles. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough out and drop them onto parchment paper lined baking sheets 2-inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Cool on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2.5 dozen.

SOURCE: Cooking Classy

Chicken Orzo Artichoke Salad

Chicken orzo salad

Summer is just about done, which makes me sad. But today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day, and that makes me happy. This month, I was assigned to Dorothy’s blog, Shockingly Delicious. Dorothy has a great philosophy when it comes to cooking. She likes to keep her meals on the cost conscious side, which is a plus in my book too! But no matter what, it always has to be “crazy good” or “shockingly delicious”, which is how she came up with her blog name. As per usual, I had a difficult time choosing a recipe, because so many of Dorothy’s recipes look amazing! I had it pared down to a handful, and I was sure that cheesecake would be the winner, but after a week of vacation eating, I thought it would be best to put the cheesecake on the back burner and have something a little more healthy. This pasta salad was absolutely perfect! We ate it warm, but it was even better cold the next day for lunch. Dorothy, it was so nice to get to know you this month. Thanks for the great recipe!!

For the Salad
3 cups Diced Cooked Chicken
1/2 cup Orzo Pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3 Scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 jar (6 ounces) Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped

For the Dressing
6 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For Serving (Optional)
Fresh Spinach (I used arugula, because that is what I had)
Kalamata Olives, halved
Grated Parmesan Cheese (I used feta)
Fresh Basil, shredded 

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, orzo, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and artichokes. Toss with the dressing to combine. Serve salad over a bed of spinach, and add the olives, cheese, and basil to garnish, if desired.

SOURCE: Shockingly Delicious

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa

Cauliflower tacos

Here’s another Mexican meal for you. We’ve had tacos with all kinds of meat, fish, lentils, and beans as the main filling, but one thing I never would have thought to replace those fillings with is cauliflower. I came across this recipe and was intrigued enough to give it a try. When I told Joel what we were having, he was a little apprehensive and asked if it was going to be good, which is usually what he asks when a meal sounds questionable and ends up being relatively inedible, forcing us to get take out (it unfortunately happens more than I’d like to admit). But, despite his skepticism, I went ahead and made these tacos for dinner last night. Imagine my surprise when Joel ate them up and declared them delicious! Sometimes, you just have to give those odd sounding recipes a try. They might end up surprising you in the best, and most delicious, way possible! 

For the Mango Salsa
1 Mango, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 Red Onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Lime, juiced
1/2 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped (I omitted because my plant died)
 Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine the mango, onion, jalapeño, and garlic in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and fold in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.

For the Crispy Cauliflower
1/3 cup Olive Oil, divided
1 head Cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 tablespoons Panko Breadcrumbs, divided
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Working in batches, heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes. Toss with half of the panko and cook until the breadcrumbs have become golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the cauliflower from the skillet into a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil, cauliflower, and panko.

For the Tacos
8-10 Small Tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s Corn & Wheat)
1 Avocado
1/2 Lime, juiced
1 cup Shredded Cabbage (I used green but red would be great too)
Sour Cream

To assemble tacos, mash the avocado with the lime juice. Spread some avocado onto a tortilla and top with cabbage, cauliflower, salsa, and sour cream. This recipe makes enough for 4 servings of 2 tacos each.

SOURCE: Love and Olive Oil

Creamy Corn and Pepper Taquitos

Corn taquitos

 

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day! This month, I was assigned to Lindsay’s blog, Life and Kitchen. Lindsay hails from Pittsburgh and is the mom of a sweet little girl. Her blog has a great mix of sweet and savory recipes, all with amazing photos, so you can imagine that it made it very difficult to choose just one! Head over to Lindsay’s blog to see all the amazing recipes she has!

Mexican food is my favorite kind of food. Enchiladas are my typical go-to Mexican meal, with burritos being a close second. Taquitos, however, are something I’ve never had. To be honest, this recipe reminded me of mini enchiladas, minus the sauce and cheese on top. Something about the size of these taquitos made them so fun to eat! They would be a perfect party snack, but also make for a delicious dinner. Dunk them in your favorite salsa and enjoy! 

2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 cup Corn (I cut it off of 2 cobs, but you can use frozen)
5 ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
8 Small Tortillas (I used 11)
Cooking Spray

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until soft.  Add the corn, chili powder, and cumin and sauté for an additional minute. Add the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Spread some of the mixture into the center of a tortilla and roll tightly. Place the tortilla seam side down onto a baking sheet and continue with remaining tortillas and mixture. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly brown and crispy. **Taquitos freeze well, too! 

SOURCE: Life and Kitchen

No-Knead Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon buns

When I was a kid, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the tube were a special breakfast treat. Never did I have a real homemade cinnamon roll. Even in my adult life, the extent of my cinnamon roll making has been whacking a tube against a counter and popping pre-rolled dough into the oven. Not anymore. The other night, in between watching a movie (Kill Bill…Joel's pick), I whipped together a sticky dough (seriously, some of the stickiest dough I’ve ever made) and let it rest on the counter. Before going to bed, I rolled the dough, cut it into rounds, and popped it in the fridge to rest until morning. The next day, when I woke up, I pulled the rolls out of the fridge to come to room temperature as the oven pre-heated. A half hour later, I was devouring one of the most delicious cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. While the tube kind were delicious when I was a kid, now that I’ve had the real deal, I’ll never go back!

For the Buns
1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Milk
1 teaspoon Yeast
2 1/4 cups Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Butter
1 Egg, at room temperature and lightly beaten

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish and allow to cool. In a large bowl, mix the milk and yeast, then set aside. In another large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the cooled butter to the milk mixture and whisk, then add the beaten egg to the milk mixture, making sure that everything has been mixed thoroughly. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated as a fairly wet dough. Cover and proof for 2 hours. 

For the Filling
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Flour
1/4 cup Butter, at room temperature

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Generously flour your work surface (or even a sheet of parchment paper) and scrape the dough onto the surface. Dust the dough and rolling pin with flour and roll it out into a rectangle of about 14”x20”. Spread the butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture evenly over the dough. Roll, starting at the short edge. Cut into 9 equal rounds and place them into the prepared pan. Cover and proof for 1 hour. At this point, you can put the buns in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, allowing the buns to come to room temperature if they had been refrigerated. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. 

For the Frosting
4 ounces Whipped Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Sugar 

In a small bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the cream cheese until smooth. When the cinnamon buns come out of the oven, frost them right away while they are still hot. Cool slightly, then enjoy. Refrigerate remaining buns, reheating them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to reheat. 

SOURCE: i am a food blog

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and Green Beans

Sweet spicy shrimp

When looking for recipes, I often bypass my cookbook shelf and go straight to food blogs. While that usually proves to be a great option, I still have so many great, under-utilized cookbooks sitting on a shelf in the dining room, collecting dust. So, last night I cracked the spine on one and cooked an outstanding meal in all of about 10 minutes. Considering the source is a cookbook from a brewery, this meal perfectly pairs with a strong Belgian ale, but I bet a cold glass of white wine or rosé would be great, too. I hope you enjoy this perfectly quick summer meal as much as we did!

For the Green Beans
8 ounces Fresh Green Beans
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Set a seamer basket into a small saucepan and fill with water to just below the level of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil, add the green beans, and steam for about 6 minutes, or until the green beans are tender to your liking. Remove from the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

For the Shrimp
1 tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
1/4 cup Yellow Onion, small dice
1/2 cup Peppadew Peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Peppadew Liquid (from the jar)
12 ounces Shrimp (26/30 size), peeled and deveined (I used 10 31-40 size, which shrunk)
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped

Add the grape seed oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute, then add the peppers and sauté for another minute. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes per side, then add the peppadew liquid and bring to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, until the shrimp have finished cooking. Turn off the heat and toss with chopped thyme and parsley. Place a handful of green beans on a plate and top with the shrimp mixture. 


SOURCE: Allagash: The Cookbook

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Peach fro yo

Happy Fourth! If it’s hot where you live, why don’t you cool down with some of this homemade frozen yogurt?! I don’t have an ice cream maker, but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying an ice cold treat on a hot summer day. If you have 5 minutes and a blender, whip up a batch to enjoy while you watch the fireworks light up the night sky!

1 (16-oz) bag Frozen Peaches OR 4 cups Fresh Peaches (I used 5 peaches)
3 tablespoons Honey
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (I used Greek)
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice 

If using fresh peaches, cut them into slices and put them in the freezer until frozen solid. Add the frozen peaches, honey, yogurt, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor (I used a blender and it worked well on the ice crushing mode) and process until creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. 

SOURCE: Just a Taste

Almond Biscotti

Almond biscotti

Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting by the window with a cup of tea, soaking up the summer breeze. Sometimes, the only thing that makes that moment better is a biscotti to dip into that cup of tea. These, my friends, are the perfect biscotti for just that moment. They also pair well with some frozen yogurt, and they may or may not have served as my breakfast for the past few days too…

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Eggs
2 3/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough into 2 equal halves and shape each half into a loaf that is about 16x2 inches. Place the loaves onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes, then slice each loaf into 3/4-inch pieces. Place the pieces cut-side down back on the prepared baking sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool and store in an airtight container. 

SOURCE: One Sweet Appetite

Pickled Beet Salad

Pickled beet salad

It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day again. This month, I was assigned to Susan’s blog, The Wimpy Vegetarian. Susan has so many delicious and healthy recipes on her blog, which made it so hard to narrow it down to just one. While I was searching through her archives, I had to make a folder on my desktop for all of the recipes that I wanted to make! When it came down to it, I decided to make this beet salad because I am completely obsessed with beets and anything pickled! There is a local company that makes pickled beets and on a rare occasion, I will buy a jar, but at over $7 per jar, it is a rare treat. For way less than that, I was able to make this delicious pickled beet salad, which yielded so much more than I would have gotten in that jar. I’m so glad to have this recipe in my repertoire now. If the beets I planted in my garden do well, I know what I want to use them for! Thanks for the excellent recipe, Susan. I look forward to trying the other recipes I’ve saved from your blog!!

For the Salad
4 medium-sized Beets
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 medium-sized Shallot, minced
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Feta Cheese
2 tablespoons Chive Oil, see below
2 tablespoons Spicy Pepitas, see below

Scrub the beets and cut off the root and tail ends. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets with a paring knife, then dice the beets and place them in a large jar/bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the beets, cover the jar/bowl, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours as the beets marinate. When ready to assemble the salad, drain the pickling liquid. Toss in the feta cheese and the chive oil, and top with the pepitas. 

For the Chive Oil
Large handful of Chives, chopped fine (~1/4 cup)
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Combine the ingredients and allow the flavors to mix for about 24 hours. Use within one week.

For the Spicy Pepitas
1 cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Ground Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Ground Paprika

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mixture to the skillet, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Cool and store in an air-tight container.

SOURCE: The Wimpy Vegetarian

S'mores Scones

Smores Scones

Do you like camping? We used to camp when I was a kid, but to be completely honest, the only part I really liked was sitting by the fire and making s’mores! Even now, whenever I have the chance to make s’mores, I get excited. The melty chocolate, crunchy cracker, and creamy marshmallow with the slightly burnt flavor is the perfect summertime treat. My cousin Bridgette is getting married this summer, so my aunt hosted a shower and asked us all to bring a sweet treat to share. I immediately turned to my favorite summertime treat and made mini scones. I even tried to make them cute by using a flower shaped cookie cutter, but the shape got a little lost once they were topped with the marshmallow. They sure were a hit, though! There are only a couple left and if you’ll excuse me, I think it may be snack time for me...

For the Scones
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Chocolate Chunks

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter cubes and rub them into the dry ingredients until they are the size of peas or oat flakes. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate chunks and continue to stir until incorporated. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Use a biscuit cutter and place the cut out scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the baking sheet into the fridge while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake the scones for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

For the Topping
2 Egg Whites
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Fill a sauce pot with 2-inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk as it heats. The sugar will dissolve within about 5 minutes. Don’t let the bowl get hot enough to cook the egg. Transfer the sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla. Once the mixture is smooth and glossy, generously spread it on the top of the scones. Place the scones under the broiler for a few minutes until the marshmallow topping has become browned. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably the day that they are made.

SOURCE: Joy the Baker

Shower

Happy Shower, Bridgette!! 

Banana Bread Granola

Banana bread granola

Two years ago, both of my sister-in-laws had babies within a few months of each other. This year, it's happening again! My brother and his wife are having baby #3 in less than a month, but while we wait for that little one, Joel’s sister and her husband had baby #2 this past Tuesday! So, once they were home from the hospital on Thursday, Joel and I gathered a few things and walked over to meet our adorable new nephew, Lucas. Since time isn’t something that parents of newborns (and young children) have, I whipped up some mac and cheese, as well as some granola, so that they didn’t have to think when it came to meals for the first few days. As soon as Kim saw the bag of granola, she got excited and asked if it was her favorite (a recipe she had given me years ago that I had made for her when our first nephew was born). While this isn’t the same recipe, I thought it sounded delicious and knew they would all like it. Hopefully, I’ve introduced her to a new favorite granola. In all honesty, who couldn’t love a granola that tastes exactly like banana bread! It might just be my new favorite…in fact, as soon as we came home from meeting the baby, I mixed up a second batch for us to enjoy at home, too! 

3 cups Rolled Oats
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Pecans
3 tablespoons Raw Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Flax Seed
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
13 cup + 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup, Agave, or Honey (I used maple syrup)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Ripe Banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)

In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts, pecans, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and flax seed. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla until the oil has liquified. Remove from heat and whisk in the banana puree until well combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Dump the mixture out onto a large baking sheet and spread it out into a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes, or until the granola is visibly browned, tossing once during baking. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheet before breaking it up and storing in a jar. Granola should keep for a few weeks, but I guarantee it won’t last that long!

SOURCE: Minimalist Baker

Homemade Shake Shack Burgers - Guest Post

I surprised Melissa with a trip to New York for her birthday. It was mostly a foodie trip, taking in the sights and smells of Lower Manhattan with notable visits to some of the Momofuku-family: Ssam Bar, Booker and Dax, and Milk Bar, the beautiful West Village restaurant August, taking a pilgrimage of sorts to Sullivan Street Bakery (whose pizza recipes we've featured on this very site), Bouchon Bakery, and a couple very good old fashioneds at the famous jazz club The Village Vanguard. One of the highlights of course was the Madison Square Park mainstay Shake Shack. After all the food we ate over the long weekend, the thought that we couldn't shake (cough cough) were the fries and burgers we ate under a clear blue sky in the shade of a tree. I'm sure the specially-brewed Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister Ale helped.

With the help of this article on Serious Eats I was able to recreate the burger with great results. While the author of the article calls for a specific blend of meat to be ground for the patty, I just grabbed a pound of 90% Lean Ground Sirloin instead of the custom mix. Most of the Shake Shack flavor is in the sauce anyway, so I don't think you'll really notice, but feel free to comment and convince me otherwise.



Ingredients

Burger

1 pound 90% lean ground beef sirloin
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 Burger Rolls
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese


Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle (I used on whole pickle quarter)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper


Recipe 

Sauce

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend thoroughly. Set aside.

Burgers

Roll the ground sirloin into two inch thick pucks. Place the four pucks on a plate and season the top side with salt and pepper. Put the oil on the pan by rubbing it in with a paper towel (The key to a good brown crust is to use only as little oil as needed). On medium-high heat, place the one of the pucks on the pan, seasoning side down. Salt and pepper the other side of the patty, the one facing you now.

Take a spatula and place it on the puck and firmly push down (You can use another spatula or spoon for leverage) so that the puck spreads out into a proper burger size. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook in batches.

Brown the patty on one side, cooking about two to three minutes, and flip it over, cooking an additional two to three minutes. Melt one cheese slice on each burger patty.

Buns and Assembly

Slice the buns in half but not all the way through. Brush melted butter on each side, and toast or broil so that they have a nice browned surface. 

Apply ample amounts of the Shake Sauce to the roll's toasted surface. Place the lettuce, tomatoes and cooked patties on the roll. Serve with french fries, preferably crinkle cut for that authentic Shake Shack Feeling. I even covered a small Amazon box in wax paper to serve them outside in our yard.