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Zucchini Parmesan Crisps




Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

original recipe: http://bakehouse.squarespace.com/home/2011/7/20/zucchini-parmesan-crisps.html

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking -- they crisp up on both sides as is.)

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Cheesy Shrimp Dip...

 photo credit: http://www.pauladeen.com



Cheesy Shrimp Dip


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cracked black pepper
  • Assorted crackers, for serving

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and green onions and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, cheeses, and mayonnaise. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers.

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Stuffed Cheesy Sourdough Loaf


 photo credit: http://nancycreative.com



Stuffed Cheesy Sourdough Loaf

original recipe: http://nancycreative.com/2012/02/08/cheesy-stuffed-sourdough-loaf/

Ingredients:
  • 1 (1 lb. 8 oz.) round sourdough bread loaf (or substitute another type of bread if you don’t like sourdough)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 to 1/2 lb. (or about 5 to 8 ounces) thinly sliced roasted chicken, turkey, ham, or salami
  • 10 to 12 ounces sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese, or 5 to 6 ounces of each (about 14 slices total)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, well-drained (I drained mine on a paper towel; if you don’t drain them, they’ll make the bread soggy)
  • Optional: 1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced olives or any of the following–chopped marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, sliced mushrooms

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your loaf on the sheet.

Slice your round loaf of bread vertically into 3/4″ to 1″ thick slices–but do not slice all the way through to the bottom! (You should end up with about 10 or 11 “slices,” giving you 9 or 10 “slits” to stuff with cheese, meat, and roasted peppers).

In medium bowl, combine olive oil, oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, stirring to mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of all the bread “slices” generously with this olive oil mixture.

In assembly-line fashion, make 14 “piles” with each slice of cheese, topped with a thin slice of deli meat, then topped with a roasted red pepper slice or two (you could also add or substitute some chopped olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, etc. with or in place of the red pepper).

Bend each cheese slice “pile” as if you were going to fold it in half, and fit down in between your bread slices. Because several of the end slices are narrower, one “pile” is enough to fill them up. The wider middle slices will require two “piles” stuffed in between them. For the other slices, I stuffed one-and-a-half of the cheese “piles” in between them. If this sounds confusing, all you really need to remember is to stuff the bread slices with your piles of cheese and other goodies till your loaf is well-stuffed!

Bake your stuffed loaf on the baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, and serve while warm! You can just pull the slices apart as you’re eating it, or cut them with a knife.

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Homemade English Toffee




Homemade English Toffee

original recipe: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/12/english-toffee-recipe.html

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbl. water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (omit if you use salted butter)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. chocolate chips
  • chopped nuts, opt.

Instructions:

Melt butter in a heavy-bottom sauce pan, over medium-low heat. Add the sugar, water and salt; stir well to incorporate. Bring to a boil and add the corn syrup. While stirring, use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to dissolve any undissolved sugar crystals. Continue boiling and stirring until mixture reaches 280-285 degrees (this is at high altitude, so if you are not at high altitude, then you will probably need to cook it longer - 290-295 degrees). Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir to combine and pour into a well-buttered cookie sheet or an 8x8 casserole dish. Do not scrape the sides of the pan. Use a rubber scraper and spread out to desired thickness. You can either drop the chocolate chips onto the hot toffee and spread out when melted or you can melt the chocolate in the microwave and spread over the toffee. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if adding. Allow to set up completely, then break into chunks. Store in an air-tight container.

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Summer Peach and Balsamic Pizza





Summer Peach and Balsamic Pizza

original recipe: http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2011/09/summer-peach-and-balsamic-pizza.html

Ingredients:
  • 1 batch pizza dough (use your favorite recipe, or use mine here)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or grated
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil

Instructions:

To prepare the balsamic reduction, pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F or as high as your oven will go. If you have a pizza stone, preheat the stone in the oven for at least 30 minutes to allow it to get thoroughly hot.

Divide dough into tennis-ball sized pieces. Take one piece of dough and punch it down on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a circle approximately 1/4-inch thin. Place the pizza on a pizza peel or pan that has been generously coated with corn meal. Lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with mozzarella, goat cheese, and peach slices. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic reduction. Repeat for remaining pizzas.

Place the pizza in the oven-directly on the pizza stone, if using one, or on the oven rack. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Cut into slices and serve.

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Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chanterelle Mushrooms




Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chanterelle Mushrooms

original recipe: http://www.nlrockrecipes.com/2007/10/dijon-chicken-linguine-with-chanterelle.html

Ingredients:
  • 350 gram package fresh linguine, cooked
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over medium low heat. Add chicken breasts, garlic, season with salt and pepper and continue to fry the chicken until completely cooked.
Remove chicken from pan and hold in a warm oven.

Add to the pan:

4 oz white wine

Simmer until volume is reduced by half. Then add:

2 cups whipping cream
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to season.

Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat a metal spoon. Return Chicken to the sauce, add the chanterelle mushrooms and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Serve over cooked linguine. Sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds.

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New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp


 

New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp

original recipe: http://www.mrbsbistro.com/recipes_shrimp.php

Ingredients:
  • 16 jumbo shrimp (12 per pound, about 1 1/2 pounds), with heads and unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • French bread as accompaniment

Instructions:

In a large skillet combine shrimp, Worcestershire, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.

Yield: 4 appetizers or 2 entrees

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Mocha-Walnut Brownies




Mocha-Walnut Brownies

original recipe: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/mocha-walnut-brownies-00000000025802/index.html

Ingredients:
  • nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions:


    Heat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with the nonstick spray. Line the pan with a piece of parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides; spray the parchment with the nonstick spray.

    In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chopped chocolate with the espresso powder, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.

    With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate mixture, then the flour and salt just until incorporated. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

    Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 minutes.

    Cool completely in the pan. Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares.

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    Garlic Cheese Twists




    Garlic Cheese Twists

    original recipe: http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/2008/10/03/a-non-sweet-for-my-sweetie/

    Ingredients:
    • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided use
    • 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
    • 1 TBSP granulated sugar
    • 1 ½ tsp salt
    • 1 ¼ cups warm water (110F)
    • 1 TBSP canola oil
    • 1 cup freshly shredded Tillamook Cheddar Cheese
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • olive oil for brushing


    Instructions:

    Butter (or spray) a baking sheet; set aside.
    Combine half of the flour with yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl; add warm water (110F) and oil; beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Stir in garlic and as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a stiff dough.
    Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into fourths; shape each portion into a ball then divide each ball into 10 portions. Shape each portion into an 6-inch stick. Brush 1 stick with water and twist it with another stick, pressing at the top and the bottom. Arrange the twists on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sticks.

    Place twists 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Brush the twists with olive oil and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 50 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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    Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread





    Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

    original recipe: http://jessicainsd.blogspot.com/2011/09/pull-apart-cinnamon-sugar-pumpkin-bread.html

    Ingredients:

    Bread
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
    • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 1/2 cups bread flour

    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

    Buttered Rum Glaze
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/8 cup brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 Tbsp rum *

    *The recipe I used called for just a 1/4 tsp of rum but I really wanted to be able to taste the rum, so I upped it to a full tablespoon. It was just right for my taste, adding a nice warmth to the glaze. If you're not into rum you can sub a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

    Instructions:

    In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through.**** Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

    Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

    While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.** Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.

    When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle.*** Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

    In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes (mine took 37 exactly) or until top is a very deep golden brown.

    To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

    **Of course I didn't properly read this section of the directions... I was supposed to melt the butter and brush the dough with the butter then adding the sugar on top of the butter (instead of mixing it all together and sprinkling) but it worked my way so that's how I am listing it. It's really your call!

    *** If dough is difficult to roll out, cover with a towel and allow to relax for a few minutes then try again.

    **** My milk was room temperature. Adding it cold to the butter can result in clumping. Willow Bird Baking called for removing the butter from the pan, then heating the milk, then adding the butter back to the milk. I was lazy which is why I skipped that step. You can also heat the milk separately in the microwave if you'd like.

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    Turkey Wrap with Cucumber Cream Cheese



    Turkey Wrap with Cucumber Cream Cheese

    original recipe: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/fast-recipes/turkey-wrap-with-cucumber-cream-cheese

    Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
    • 4 tablespoons softened cream cheese
    • 3 large flour tortillas
    • 1/4 pound sliced smoked turkey breast

    Directions

    Stir cucumber into cream cheese, spread on tortillas, layer with turkey slices and roll up.

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    Hummus Vegetable Sandwich




    Hummus Vegetable Sandwich

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/326601/hummus-vegetable-sandwich

    Ingredients:
    • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
    • 1/4 cup store-bought hummus
    • 1 tablespoon store-bought tapenade (olive spread)
    • 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 1 coarsely grated carrot


    Instructions:

    Spread 1 slice bread with hummus; spread remaining slice of bread with tapenade. Top hummus with cucumber slices and carrot. Place bread with tapenade on top to form a sandwich.

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    California Veggie Sandwich




    California Veggie Sandwich

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/342380/california-veggie-sandwich

    Ingredients:
    • 1/4 red onion
    • Red-wine vinegar
    • 2 slices multigrain bread
    • Fresh goat cheese
    • Thinly sliced cucumber
    • Alfalfa sprouts
    • Sliced avocado
    • Carrot, grated
    • Radish, grated

    Instructions:

    Sprinkle onion slices with a few dashes red-wine vinegar; let sit 10 minutes. Lightly toast bread. Spread 1 slice with goat cheese and layer with cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, onions, avocado, and grated carrot and radish. Top with other slice bread.

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    Greek Salad Sandwich




    Greek Salad Sandwich

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/340684/greek-salad-sandwich

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
    • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 3 ounces crumbled feta
    • 8 slices rustic bread or olive bread
    • 1/2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

    Instructions:

    In a food processor, pulse chickpeas, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and parsley until finely chopped. In a small bowl, stir together onion, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In another small bowl, mash feta with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread chickpea mixture on
    4 slices bread. Top with cucumber, tomato, and onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Spread feta mixture on 4 more bread slices and place on top of sandwiches.

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    Pressed Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich




    Pressed Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/315629/pressed-mozzarella-and-tomato-sandwich?center=856055&gallery=853635&slide=284866

    Ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, reserving 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (about 5 ounces), split horizontally and hollowed out
    • Romaine lettuce leaves
    • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
    • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper

    Instructions:
    In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and oil until thick; spread on bread. Layer bottom half of bread with some of the lettuce, then cheese, tomatoes, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining lettuce and bread.

    Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic; place on a baking sheet. Top with another sheet, and weight down with canned goods or a heavy skillet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight to meld flavors. Cut in half, and serve.

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    Kahlua-Pecan-Brown Sugar Baked Brie

     photo credit: http://noblepig.com




    Kahlua-Pecan-Brown Sugar Baked Brie

    original recipe: http://noblepig.com/2009/12/kahluapecanbrown-sugar-baked-brie/

    Ingredients:
    • 1 whole wheel of Brie (Costco sells a 19 ounce Brie wheel which is perfect for this recipe)
    • 1 cup Kahlua
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 cup chopped pecans (I left mine whole because I like they way they look)
    • Accompaniment: crackers

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by carefully slicing the rind off the top of the Brie wheel, but do not remove completely. Bake for 15 minutes. When the Brie is done baking, the top can be easily removed to expose the creamy cheese.

    While the Brie is baking, in a medium saucepan, bring Kahlua and brown sugar to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until a syrupy consistency is made. Throw the pecans in for 2 minutes at the end to warm them through and completely cover with the sauce.

    Remove the Brie from the oven (removing top rind) and pour Kahlua sauce over the Brie.

    Serve warm with crackers.

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    Nutella Waffle Sandwich Cookies




    Nutella Waffle Sandwich Cookies

    original recipe: http://www.justataste.com/2012/04/nutella-waffle-sandwich-cookies/

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups powdered sugar
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • Nutella

    Instructions:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the vanilla extract on medium-high speed until mousse-like, about 5 minutes.

    Sift together the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon and cornstarch in a separate bowl then gently fold the dry mixture into the wet until it is fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Heat the panini press to medium-high heat (or 375°F).

    Place a heaping tablespoon of batter in the center of the panini press, close the lid and cook the waffle for about 90 seconds.

    Quickly remove the waffle from the press and use a circular 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Set the waffle cone cookies aside to cool.

    Once the waffle cone cookies have cooled, spread one side of a cookie with Nutella and top with a second waffle cone cookie to form sandwiches.

    Notes:

    It's important to work quickly with the waffle cookies when they're hot off the panini press. They'll harden and break into pieces if you wait too long to cut out the rounds.

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    Southwestern Turkey Club




    Southwestern Turkey Club

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/341750/southwestern-turkey-club?center=856055&gallery=853635&slide=260523

    Ingredients:
    • 8 slices bacon (8 ounces)
    • 4 turkey cutlets
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno chiles
    • 12 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread, lightly toasted
    • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

    Instructions:

    Working in two batches if necessary, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons rendered fat from skillet.

    Season turkey generously with salt and pepper. Add to skillet, and cook over medium heat until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

    In a small bowl, mash avocado, lime juice, and chiles with a fork; season with salt and pepper.

    Spread avocado mixture on one side of each slice of toast. Layer turkey, bacon, tomato, and toast to form four triple-decker sandwiches. To serve, skewer with toothpicks; slice in half with a serrated knife.

    Note:

    Chicken cutlets are a good substitute for the turkey. You can even use sliced cooked turkey or chicken from the deli counter; in that case, skip step 2. After halving avocado and removing the pit, slide a large spoon between skin and flesh to remove peel in one piece.

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    Gingerbread Cupcakes

    Gingerbread Cupcakes


    Ingredients:

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    Ice Cream Sundae Brownies

     photo credit: http://picky-palate.com




    Ice Cream Sundae Brownies

    original recipe: http://picky-palate.com/2010/06/14/ice-cream-sundae-brownies-2/

    Ingredients:
    • 1 box Brownie Mix
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 Cup canola or vegetable oil
    • Heaping 1/2 Cup of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food)
    • 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips
    • 1/4 Cup hot fudge topping (chilled)

    Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl mix the brownie mix, 2 eggs and oil until combined…and thick. I did NOT add the water. Scoop in ice cream, chocolate chips and hot fudge; mix until combined. Pour into a foil lined 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been GENEROUSLY sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center.

    2. Let cool completely. Remove foil from baking dish, cut into squares and serve.

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    Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes




    Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

    original recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/313371/baked-penne-with-chicken-and-sun-dried-t

    Ingredients:
    • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound penne rigate
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 cups whole milk
    • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
    • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

    Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.

    Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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    Spiced Raspberry Cottage Cheese Smoothie

     photo credit: http://www.realage.com



    Spiced Raspberry Cottage Cheese Smoothie


    • 1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
    • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
    • 2 pitted dates
    • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • Pinch ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup ice cubes

    Combine all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth.

    Serves 2

    Nutrition :
    Calories: 134; Fat: 1g (0g sat fat); Protein: 8.4g; Carb: 25g; Fiber: 6.4g; Chol: 3mg; Sodium: 216mg; Calcium: 55mg

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    Simple Shrimp and Guacamole Tostadas

     photo credit: http://bevcooks.com



    Simple Shrimp and Guacamole Tostadas


    Ingredients:
    • 6 corn tortillas
    • cooking spray
    • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
    • 2 avocados
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
    • juice from 1 lime
    • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 Tbs ground cumin
    • 2 Tbs chili powder
    • 1 tsp crushed red or green pepper
    • 1 tsp garlic salt
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small slices

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350.

    Lightly coat both sides of the corn tortillas with cooking spray. Bake for 4 minutes on each side. Switch oven to broil. Evenly divide the cheese over the tortillas and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2-ish minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

    In a small bowl, combine the avocados, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt. Mash up with a fork until you get guacamole. Go ahead and eat a few bites for your well being.

    Toss the shrimp with the cumin, chili powder, crushed pepper flakes and garlic salt.

    Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Sear the shrimp on one side for 2 minutes; flip and sear 30 more seconds. Remove from pan.

    To the pan, add the sliced red bell pepper. Saute for 2 minutes, scraping the browned bits from the pan, seasoning the peppers. Sprinkle in a leetle salt.

    Spoon the guacamole over each cheesy tostada, followed by shrimp and red bell pepper. Garnish each tostado with cilantro and give another good squeeze of lime juice over each one.

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    Healthy Nutty Blackberry Smoothie

     photo credit: http://www.realage.com



    Healthy Nutty Blackberry Smoothie


    • 1 (6-ounce) container fresh blackberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
    • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons almond butter
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 1 cup ice cubes

    Combine all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth.

    Serves 2

    Nutrition :
    Calories: 175; Fat: 9.3g (1g sat fat); Protein: 9.6g; Carb: 16g; Fiber: 6 g; Chol: 0mg; Sodium: 57mg; Calcium: 118mg

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    Grilled Halibut, Eggplant, and Baby Bok Choy with Korean Barbecue Sauce





    Grilled Halibut, Eggplant, and Baby Bok Choy with Korean Barbecue Sauce


    Ingredients:
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced serrano chile with seeds
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

    • 8 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
    • 4 medium-size Japanese eggplants, trimmed, halved lengthwise
    • 4 6- to 7-ounce halibut fillets (each about 1 inch thick)
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

    Instructions:

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and chile; sauté until fragrant and light golden, about 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons water and bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes (sauce will be thin). Remove barbecue sauce from heat; whisk in sesame oil. Transfer 1/4 cup barbecue sauce to small bowl and reserve for serving.

    Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Combine bok choy and eggplant halves in large bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush fish with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables and fish until vegetables are tender and slightly charred and fish is just opaque in center, turning occasionally and brushing with sauce, about 10 minutes total for vegetables and 7 minutes total for fish. Transfer vegetables and fish to plates; sprinkle with green onions. Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve.

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    Spinach-and-Brie Chicken with Tomato Orzo





    Spinach-and-Brie Chicken with Tomato Orzo


    Ingredients:
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 8 thin chicken cutlets (1 1/2 pounds total)
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    • 4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 8 slices
    • 1 cup orzo
    • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    Instructions:

    Set a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Dividing evenly, spread one side of each cutlet with mustard; top with spinach, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Starting at short end, roll chicken up tightly, and arrange, seam side down, on sheet.

    Season rolled chicken with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until tops are lightly browned and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling water until al dente. Drain well; return to pot. Add tomatoes, parsley, butter, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve stuffed chicken with orzo.

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    Lighter General Tso's Chicken




    Lighter General Tso's Chicken


    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
    • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
    • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
    • 2 large egg whites
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower


    Instructions:

    Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

    In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).

    Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

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    Chicken Parmigiana




    Chicken Parmigiana


    Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 8 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total), or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups jarred tomato sauce or Easy Chunky Tomato Sauce
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices

    Instructions:

    Heat broiler. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a shallow bowl. Season both sides of chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dip chicken in the beaten egg, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat both sides.

    Spread tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 4 chicken cutlets in skillet; cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Using a spatula, transfer browned cutlets to baking dish, placing them on top of sauce. Repeat with remaining oil and cutlets.

    Top each cutlet with a slice of mozzarella. Broil about 4 inches from heat source until sauce is hot and cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

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    Chicken Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce




    Chicken Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce


    Ingredients:
    • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 pound fettuccine
    • 4 cubes (1/2 cup) frozen Basil Pesto
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream


    Instructions:

    Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. With a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound chicken to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet; cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Slice each piece across the grain into 4 or 5 strips; cover to keep warm.

    Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot.

    In a small saucepan, heat pesto over low until liquefied. Stir in cream; heat until warm. Toss pasta with reserved cooking water and half the sauce. Divide among shallow bowls; top with chicken. Drizzle with remaining sauce.

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    Thai Green Curry





    Thai Green Curry


    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups (500 ml) canned Thai coconut milk*
    • 1/4 cup (70 g) green curry paste
    • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) chicken stock
    • 2 cups (265 g) peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
    • 4 slices galangal
    • 1 teaspoon dried Thai shrimp paste, roasted** (kapi), or Asian fish sauce
    • 3 stalks lemongrass
    • 3/4 cup (85 g) pea eggplants
    • 8 Thai eggplants, quartered
    • 2 skinless chicken breast filets, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 3 red chiles, slivered, plus additional for garnish
    • 2 cups (300 g) diced pineapple
    • 1 cup (15 g) loosely packed basil leaves


    Instructions:

    1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat half of the coconut milk and reduce it by about half. Add the curry paste and cook it another minute, stirring constantly to meld the flavors.

    2. Add the rest of the coconut milk, the chicken stock, sweet potatoes, galangal, and shrimp paste. Trim off the top one-third of the lemongrass (the very white part can be discarded) and cut the lower parts crosswise into two batons, then crush them under the side of a cleaver or with a rolling pin and add them.

    3. Bring the mixture to a low boil and simmer for five minutes. Add the eggplants and cook for another three minutes.

    4. Stir in the pieces of chicken breast, and chiles, and simmer until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Add the pineapple and simmer another minute, then stir in the basil leaves and serve.
    Serving: Curry is best served with rice, to balance the heat. Be sure to advise guests not to eat the pieces of galangal or lemongrass, which remain resolutely firm.

    Garnishes could include additional sliced chiles, lime wedges, or a few wisps of cilantro leaves.

    Variation: To make pork curry, simmer 1 3/4 pounds (800 g) of cubed pork shoulder in salted water with a small onion halved and a few cloves or star anise, until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then add the pork instead of the chicken to the curry and use the braising liquid in lieu of the stock called for in the recipe.

    *Thai coconut milk comes in various sizes depending on where you live and by brand. You can use one can or carton, which weighs in at 13-16 ounces.

    **Some Thai cooks roast the dried shrimp paste in a 400ºF (200ºC) oven, wrapped in foil, for about ten minutes. I did that the subsequent times I’ve made this and don’t know if it made all that much of a difference, but I now do it as a rule.

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    Sauteed Chicken with Herbed Soba




    Sauteed Chicken with Herbed Soba


    Ingredients:
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
    • 1 cup fresh parsley
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 12 ounces chicken cutlets
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 package (8.8 ounces) soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)


    Instructions:

    In a food processor, finely chop scallions, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and ginger with vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer to a bowl.

    In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season chicken with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Working in batches, cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; let cool 5 minutes, and thinly slice.

    Cook soba according to package instructions. Drain; toss with herb mixture. Serve chicken with soba; garnish with cilantro.

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    Spicy Grilled Calamari

     photo credit: http://www.crumbblog.com



    Spicy Grilled Calamari


    Ingredients:
    • 1 lb cleaned baby squid (tubes and tentacles)
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
    • Pinch cayenne
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 lemon
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Bamboo skewers
    • Lemon wedges, for garnish

    Instructions:

    In a large bowl or zip-top bag, stir together the smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic, along with the zest from the lemon. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, stirring until you have a smooth, runny paste.

    Juice the lemon into a separate bowl. Spoon in 2 tbsp of the paprika mixture and stir until combined. Set aside.

    Add the squid to the remaining paprika mixture, and toss to coat evenly with marinade. Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or seal the bag, if using) and refrigerate for at least half an hour to marinate.

    While the squid is marinating, soak the skewers in cold water to prevent them from charring, and get the grill started so that it has time to preheat.
    When ready to cook, gently thread the squid bodies and tentacles onto skewers (I like to use two skewers to prevent the food from spinning around, but it’s not totally necessary).

    Place the skewers directly onto the preheated grill, and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or just until the squid turn opaque. Remove from heat right away, and drizzle with the reserved marinade. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve piping hot with a loaf of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

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    Chicken Tetrazzini




    Chicken Tetrazzini


    Ingredients:
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine
    • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1 pound linguine, broken in half
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
    • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and drained

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

    Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

    Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Divide between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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    Light Chicken and Squash Lasagna





    Light Chicken and Squash Lasagna


    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 pounds yellow squash or zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound ground white-meat chicken
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
    • 5 cups prepared pasta sauce
    • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
    • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan (3 1/4 ounces)

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in middle and upper third. Divide squash between two rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, 20 minutes, stirring squash and rotating sheets halfway through. Let sheets cool on wire racks.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 4 minutes. Add cayenne, basil, and marjoram and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl.

    Spread 1 cup sauce in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with half the chicken, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Top with 2 more noodles, half the squash, 1 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and bake on top rack until sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

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    Millionaire Shortbread Tartelette




    Millionaire Shortbread Tartelette


    For the shortbread crust:
    • 150g all purpose flour / 1.5 cups
    • 100g brown sugar / 0.5cup
    • 125g butter, melted / 1 stick plus 1 Tb

    Mix the flour, sugar and melted butter. Spoon (or use your fingertips) the mixture into the bottom of the mini muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 F. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.

    Caramel Filling:
    • 130 gr. golden syrup / 1.5 cups (I used grade B maple syrup)
    • 125 gr butter / 1 stick plus 1 Tb.
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 0z)

    Combine the golden syrup, butter and condensed milkin a large saucepan and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens and takes on a golden color. Remove from the heat, let cool for a minute and divide among the tart shells. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

    Chocolate Ganache:
    • 185 gr dark chocolate / 6.5 oz
    • 1 Tb. vegetable oil

    Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on top of a double boiler. Add the oil and mix well to combine. Spoon some over each tart shells and allow to set in the fridge.
    Verdict: I doubled up on the quantities to make sure I had some for us and the girls at work tomorrow and I am glad I did. These disappeared while the host was pouring coffee. I am looking forward to making them again.

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    Shrimp Quesadillas


     photo credit: http://allrecipes.com


    Shrimp Quesadillas


    Ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
    • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed
    • 6 large flour tortillas
    • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

    Instructions:

    • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper in the hot oil, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and peppers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
    • Stir salt, cumin, and chili powder into onion and bell peppers.
    • Stir shrimp into onion and bell peppers and cook until shrimp are opaque and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Remove skillet from heat; stir jalapeno pepper and lime juice into shrimp mixture.
    • Heat a skillet over medium heat and brush with about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
    • Place a tortilla in the hot oil. Spoon about 1/6 shrimp filling and 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend on one side of tortilla. Fold tortilla in half.
    • Cook until bottom of tortilla is lightly browned, about 5 minutes; flip and cook other side until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

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    Chunky Pecan Pie Bars




    Chunky Pecan Pie Bars


    Ingredients:

    For the Crust:
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    • ¼ cup packed brown sugar

    Filling:
    • 3 large eggs
    • ¾ cup corn syrup
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1¾ cups coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chunks in a bag!)
    • 1½ cups chopped pecans

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

    2. For the crust, mix together the flour, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Press into the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

    3. For the filling, beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla extract with a wire whisk. Stir in the chunks and pecans. Pour evenly over the baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.

    4. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cool completely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if you live in a warm/humid area with no air conditioning).

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    Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream





    Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream


    Ingredients:
    • 1 box devils food cake mix
    • 1 small box instant chocolate pudding
    • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 15 ounce can pumpkin (reserving 2 Tablespoons for buttercream)
    • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • Pumpkin Spice Buttercream
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 tablespoons reserved pumpkin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray two 9×5 inch bread pans with non-stick cooking spray.

    2. In a stand or electric mixer, place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, buttermilk, eggs, sour cream and can of pumpkin, and chocolate chips–mix all ingredients until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide cake batter evenly into prepared bread pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through.

    3. While cakes are baking prepare the buttercream. Place butter, reserved 2 tablespoons pumpkin and cinnamon into stand or electric mixer. Mix on high until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Slowly add the milk until buttercream is a nice consistency. Frost over cooled cakes, slice and serve.

    Makes 16 servings

    Note: This recipe can be used to make 24 cupcakes as well. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, until baked through.

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    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake




    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake


    Ingredients:

    For the crust:
    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers: 1 bag)
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:
    • 32 ounces (4 blocks) low fat cream cheese at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sour cream, low fat
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

    For the ganache:
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet)


    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    To make the crust, combine the graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

    Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

    To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the cooled crust.

    Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes (DO NOT open the oven door when you lower the temperature. Trust you oven, and KNOW that your cheesecake is not burning after 15 minutes). Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
    *Lowering the temperature and letting it cook for a little longer allows it to cook all the way through without browning it or making too many cracks in the top. Turning off the oven and letting the cake sit inside with the door cracked is a great trick to continue cooking it, but it won’t brown or burn.

    Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

    To make the topping, heat the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat. Once the chocolate has melted and is stirred in, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool. Allow it too cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools. But you will still be able to pour it onto the cheesecake. Carefully pour the ganache into the middle of the cheesecake and spread it to the outside, leaving about 1/4 of an inch space from the edge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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