Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bacon Jalapeno Pineapple Burgers

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to make it right away. Jalapenos, bacon and pineapple are some of my favorite ingredients. Put those three on top of a cheesy burger and you're really making me one happy girl.

I had intended to follow the actual recipe but ended up spacing out and not writing down any of the actual ingredients on the grocery list. So at the store all I knew what I wanted to make, but not what was necessary to do it. So I winged it.


Bacon Jalapeno Pineapple Burgers
Inspired by: How Sweet Eats
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. lean ground beef
    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • salt and pepper 
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked
    • 4 slices white cheddar cheese
    • 4 pineapple rings
    • 2 tbsp. jarred jalapenos
    • 1/2 cup mayo
    • 1/4 cup Sriracha
    • 4 burger buns 
    • optional: lettuce, tomato 
Directions:
1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Form into 4 patties.
3. Grill the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked to your desired doneness. Add cheese to burgers and allow to melt.
4. Meanwhile combine mayo and Sriracha together in a bowl and whisk until combined.
5. Remove the burgers from the grill and add the pineapple rings. Grill for 1-2 minutes each.
6. Top the burger with bacon, pineapple and jalapeno slices.



It turned out pretty damn tasty if I do say so myself. The pineapple provides just enough sweetness to even out the heat from the jalapenos and Sriracha-mayo. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes

Aside from butterbeer and the occasional hard candy that reminds me of my grandfather, I am not a big fan of butterscotch flavored items. Calvin, however loves them, and when we decided to have a going away party for him, I knew that I needed to find a butterscotch dessert to make.

I had recently bought Sally's Baking Addiction and easily got mesmerized at all the pretty colors in the book. (You have too, right?) She has a lot of tasty looking cupcake recipes so I headed on over to her blog to see if she had something that could work.

Of course she did!  She's apparently as much of avid butterscotch lover as Calvin is, so it only made sense to use her recipe.


Brown Sugar Butterscotch Cupcakes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
for the brown sugar cupcakes:
    • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 egg, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
    • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used plain Greek)
    • 1 tbsp. vanilla 
for the butterscotch sauce:
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
for the vanilla frosting:
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners. 
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. 
3. Melt the stick of butter in a medium bowl, then whisk in the brown sugar until no lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, milk, yogurt and vanilla until combined. 
4. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. The batter will be thick. Divide evenly into the prepared cupcake pan.
5. Bake for 20 minutes then allow to cook completely before adding the butterscotch sauce. 
6. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the butterscotch sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cream and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken for 5 minutes. Do not stir. 
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Allow to cool until you can transfer it into a squeeze bottle or pastry bag with a small tip. 
8. Once the butterscotch sauce and cupcakes have cooled, fill the cupcakes with the butterscotch. Press gently into the top of the cupcake and squeeze lightly until the butterscotch flows through the cupcake. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. 
9. Prepare the frosting by beating the butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until fully combined. 
10. Add more cream if the frosting is too thick. Add more powdered sugar if it is too thin. If the frosting is too sweet add 1/4 tsp. salt and increase from there until it reaches your desired tastes. 
11. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag affixed with a tip and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Drizzle some of the remaining butterscotch sauce on top of the cupcakes. 



These can be made a day in advance. I waited until a few hours before the party to drizzle the additional butterscotch on top but otherwise they held up just fine. 

They were a bit too sweet for my tastes, but everyone else who is a butterscotch fan really enjoyed them! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

White Cheddar and Dijon Baked Eggs

I doubt you're going to believe me, but I don't really like eggs. I like them hard-boiled around Easter but I won't voluntarily make them throughout the year. I like deviled eggs, but I prefer for my aunt to make them since I just don't have the patience. And even then, I only want them at holidays.

Dippy eggs are okay on occasion, but since I don't eat bread anymore, they're kind of pointless. A fried egg with a slightly wet center is okay sometimes. Scrambled eggs are a no-go, always.

However, baked eggs; they are a completely different story. For some reason they just taste different to me and I like them so much better. My favorite breakfast is the prosciutto egg cups. Now that I've cut back on grain and carbs and all that good stuff, there aren't a lot of filling breakfast options out there that don't include eggs.

I was starting to get bored of the prosciutto egg cups, and while I do love them, I had ate them for something like 4 weeks in a row and needed a bit of a change. I was browsing through my Pinterest to see if there were any recipes I could adapt to a more Paleo variety and I found these.


White Cheddar and Dijon Baked Eggs
Source: Averie Cooks
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:

    • cooking spray
    • 8 large eggs 
    • 1 small roma tomato, diced
    • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
    • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 4 small ramekins (4 oz. is good) with cooking spray.
2. Crack two eggs into each ramekin. Divide the diced tomato between the ramekins.
3. Mix the cheese and mustard together in a small bowl with a fork. Divide the mixture between the ramekins.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until eggs reach your desired cooking level. On average, 15 minutes is a runny yolk, 16-17 minutes is soft boiled and 18-19 minutes is hard boiled.
5. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*To serve later: spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and bake the eggs in there. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate. To reheat: microwave for 1 minute. Depending on your oven and microwave you'll either have a soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg.*


I don't like my eggs to be too runny so I went with 16 minutes for the ones I made in ramekins. For the ones I made in a muffin pan to take to work each morning, I baked those for 14 minutes. They were still runny then, but after microwaving them they reached the soft-boiled variety. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Menu 8/24 - 8/28

So hey, I never posted a menu last week. It somehow completely slipped my mind (I'm gonna blame it on the vanilla bean and bacon smores) until like Thursday and figured by that point you wouldn't really care what I had to eat.

This has been a fun and productive weekend. Friday night we went to pick up Gidget's cat food and then went to dinner at the restaurant next to it, Taco Love Grill. Which is like the absolute best tacos you will ever have. I also tried some authentic Mexican corn and damn if that wasn't good as well. And the best part, I didn't even realize they had a Twitter, I just tagged them in case and they re-tweeted me!



If you haven't noticed, I get rather excited when people re-tweet me.

In case you are curious, here are the pics of the Mexican corn and the tacos I had. You can choose from like 10 different meats. I went with the chicken, marinated pork and steak. The marinated pork is by far the most delicious thing you will ever taste.




In other, very attractive news, all of the guys from Once Upon A Time have participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I'd suggest going to Youtube and Instagram to see all their videos. Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parilla have also done it. Emilie de Ravin and Georgina Haig have been nominated (as of Saturday).

So now that I've sufficiently distracted you with tacos and Mexican corn, here's what I'm making for the week.

Sunday: bacon cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries

Monday: cherry balsamic pork, baked sweet potato, garlic-rosemary roasted mushrooms 

Tuesday: pan-seared chicken breast, mashed sweet potatoes and green beans 

Wednesday: thai curry shrimp

Thursday: turkey picatta, baked sweet potatoes and cucumber salad

Breakfast will be the ever popular prosciutto egg cups and for lunch I'm having orange-balsamic pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes and bacon and vinegar kale.

I haven't come upon a sudden obsession with sweet potatoes, it's just that I'm doing another Whole 30 this month. Well, it's going to be a weird Whole 30 because I refuse not to have crab cakes on my anniversary (9.17) and I wasn't able to start this early enough to end it before then. So I'll have a whole 20+ with a day off then complete the rest.




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Improv Challenge: Vanilla Bean and Bacon S'mores

As you know, I've been slacking lately in the blogging department. I haven't felt like there is anywhere near enough time in the day, even on the weekends, to get anything accomplished around here.

As you also probably have noticed, I don't create a ton of my own recipes. This is for two reasons. 1. I usually think of a great ingredient pairing then forget about it by the time menu planning/grocery list writing comes around. Or 2. I end up finding almost the exact same thing on the internet already. And I know everyone has their own version of apple pie or beef stew but sometimes I just feel like what is the point in sharing another version.

I debated on not participating in this Improv Challenge because I couldn't think of a single recipe involving bacon and beans that wasn't so obvious. But I also occasionally go through spurts of "go big or go home", meaning my brain will continue to challenge itself until it finds something worthy. Hence, this recipe.

My thought process was as follows: bacon and beans. Baked beans are waaay to obvious. Beans. Black beans? Navy beans? Kidney beans? I don't really like beans... Green beans! Green beans and bacon...too overdone. Beans. Jelly beans? Vanilla bean! Vanilla bean caramels topped with bacon! ...Do you really think you temperamental stove is going to allow to caramel? Vanilla bean ice cream with candied bacon? ... Vanilla bean marshmallows with bacon. Noooooo. Vanilla bean and bacon s'mores! That's it! I'm a genius! It's going to be delicious!

My husband raised his eyebrows at me when I told him of the combination but I assured him it was going to be delicious, he just needed to wait and see.

So, here we are. That is how this recipe came about and why I shared the vanilla bean marshmallows with you yesterday.



Vanilla Bean and Bacon S'mores
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Marshmallows from Annie's Eats
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 2 graham crackers, broken in half 
    • 1 Hershey's candy bar, broken into 4 pieces
    • 4 vanilla bean marshmallows
    • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to broil.
2. Place the chocolate bars on top of each graham cracker and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until just softened.
3. Place the marshmallows on top of the chocolate bars and return under the broiler for 1-2 minutes more or until marshmallows are just browned.
4. Sprinkle the top of marshmallow with the crumbled bacon.



Patience is not my strong suit, so I immediately dove into this taking a huge bite. Which is how I ended up with marshmallow and chocolate running down my fingers and all over my lips as I hovered over the sink, laughing at the mess I was making while this incredible flavor combination danced among my tastebuds. Fair warning, you're gonna need a wet napkin after this.

But.

IT. IS. SO. WORTH IT!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

I'd love to tell you why I made these marshmallows but then it would ruin tomorrow's recipe. Let's just say it's insane. Delicious. But insane.

And it will all make sense tomorrow morning at 9 am when I share Thursday's recipe with you.

But, if you're just in the market for some homemade marshmallows, I highly recommend this recipe. Marshmallows are much easier to make than you would expect. You just need a candy thermometer and some patience.



Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
Source: Annie's Eats
Servings: 3-4 dozen
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 1 1/2 packets unflavored gelatin
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 
    • pinch of kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/8 cup cornstarch 
Directions:
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment affixed, add 1/4 cup of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside.
2. Using the tip of your knife to scoop out the vanilla bean.
2. Combine the remaining water along with the sugar, light corn syrup, vanilla bean and salt together in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees or the soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat immediately.
3. Start your stand mixer on low speed and slowly pour the vanilla mixture from the saucepan in. Increase to high and mix for 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is lukewarm and very thick. Stir in the vanilla at the last minute.
4. Spray a 9x13 baking dish and a spatula with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Dust the baking dish with the mixture.
5. Spoon the marshmallow mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle another layer of the powdered sugar mixture on top. Allow to sit for 4 hours but up to overnight.
6. Turn out the marshmallows onto a cutting board and cut into shapes or squares. Roll the sides in the remaining powdered sugar mixture to stop them from sticking together. Store all leftovers in an airtight container.



Just so you know, homemade marshmallows are about a thousand times better than their store-bought counter part. These will last quite a while in an airtight container, so I really think you should make them ASAP.

Especially after you see tomorrow's recipe! I'm so excited to share it with you! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cookbook Review: Prevention RD's Almond Butter Swirl Brownies

Last year I asked for Prevention RD's Everyday Healthy Cooking cookbook for Christmas. Santa brought it, and after we were all stuffed with too many tasty treats, my aunt was lying on the floor, flipping through the cookbook.

She stopped on quite a few recipes and remarked about how good they looked. Then she asked what made me choose this particular cookbook. "I know her. Well, I internet-know her. The cooking message board I'm on, she's on there." My aunt was impressed. 

So when Nicole asked on the board if anyone was interested in reviewing her new book, Prevention RD's Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour, I immediately said yes. Almond flour and coconut flour are now staples in my pantry after the Whole 30 experience. Of course I wanted more recipes to make using almond flour! And of course I wanted to review a recipe! 

I opted for these brownies because I also had a jar of almond butter hanging out in my pantry from the Whole 30. 



Almond Butter Swirl Brownies
Servings: 16

Ingredients:
    • 5 oz. 80% cacao chocolate, broken into pieces
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 5 eggs
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup almond flour
    • 1/3 cup almond butter
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. 
2. Add chocolate and coconut oil to a saucepan and melt over medium heat until smooth. Once smooth, stir in the honey and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. 
3. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time until fully combined, then whisk in the salt and almond flour. The mixture will be thick. 
4. Spray a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray (or grease with butter) and pour the brownie batter in. Smooth out with a spatula and then drop spoonfuls of the almond butter on top. Use the tip of a knife to swirl the almond butter into the batter. 
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 



Yum! Healthy brownies! These are dense and rich and I probably skimped on the almond butter and shouldn't have. I definitely don't need these lying around the house so I'm going to take these into work. 

I was impressed that Tom wanted to try them. He said the only difference he could taste is they were a bit drier than a non-gluten free brownie, but it wasn't anything that couldn't be cured with a glass of milk. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

What's Baking: Irish Trifle

* You know how for the most part, I mainly just talk about food? Of course there are stories related to the recipes but other than a quick update on what is going on in my life during the weekly menu post, I really don't share all that much about me, personally. 

Well, this post is going be the one that starts the change of that. You'll probably even think I'm weird after reading all of this. My husband already does. :) *

For at least a year now, I've said that I was going to join What's Baking, a group formed by some of the ladies on the cooking board I frequent. There is a host who selects the baking theme for the month they are assigned and everyone makes a recipe within those guidelines. At the end of the month, the host does a round-up post of all the recipes that were shared. There is no due date and all recipes do not need to be shared on the same day. I had never joined before because, well I didn't know who to ask, and then when someone would post their recipe, I would say "Once I get home tonight I'll ask them how to join" and then never did. Anyway, I've obviously joined seeing as the first two words in the title of this post are "What's Baking." Ali, from Sparks in the Kitchen is the host this month. Check back on her blog to see a round up of all the recipes.



The theme for this month is heritage recipes. I'm Irish first, Polish second and then who knows what else is mixed in there. Traditional Polish recipes are much easier to find than Irish ones. So, being the logical person I am, I chose to find an Irish recipe to bake.

Let me just say that Google is damn useless when it comes to "Irish dessert recipes". I'm fairly certain the people of Ireland actually make desserts that don't include Jameson whiskey, Bailey's Irish cream or Guinness. I tried "traditional Irish dessert recipes" and "non-alcoholic dessert recipes" and still ended up with terrible search results. I feel like it's kind of insulting, like Google had to Americanize the results for me. Or maybe the people of Ireland just don't share their recipes? I dunno. Disgruntled, I thought "Wouldn't it be great if I could just ask someone IN Ireland?" then I realized that was actually a possibility.

Here's where the weird comes in. Or just the part where you find out more about me. Be warned.

So, if you've ever watched ABC's Once Upon A Time, you may know that Captain Hook is played by Colin O'Donoghue. Who is Irish (if you couldn't tell by his name) and also happens to be my only celebrity/tv crush, but that's an entirely different post (and probably equally as long). Like a good fan, I follow him on Twitter. I forget the specifics, but one day I saw a tweet from Colin to his brother, Allen. I then found that many of Colin's fans have also followed Allen and like to ask him questions, most relating to Colin. He actually answers them and is quite nice about it, which I thought was cool, because on some level, that's gotta get annoying. Anyway, before I get too far off topic, I told him his responses to the questions were funny and improved my bad day or something along those lines and then he favorite'd it. I was not expected any reaction at all, so I was thrilled.

And now something actually related to this recipe. I asked (tweeted? twittered? Wtf is the correct word for this?) Allen if he had any suggestions for a non-alcoholic common/traditional Irish dessert. I woke up the next morning to the alarm on my phone beeping incessantly. Once I shut that up, my phone flooded me with email notifications. And in my bleary-eyed half awake state, I dropped my phone on the cat when I saw that he had responded. (The cat is fine by the way, she was lying on the bed next to me and the phone dropped on her from maybe 2 inches above her fur.)

He said I could make trifle without the alcohol. And I won't lie, my first thought was "trifle has alcohol?" I'd only made the angel food cake/whipped cream/fruit variety. Off to Google I went, which proved to be a bit more helpful in telling me what went into a trifle with alcohol, however it wasn't until I found a post about a traditional English trifle did it all start to click. (It was also 5:30 am) To confirm, I was on the right path I decided to bother him again and ask "custard, sponge cake, fruit and whipped cream, right?" And a bit later he confirmed this was correct.

I also found that the alcohol is either sherry or maderia and you soak the cake in it, kind of like how you soak the lady fingers in rum to make tiramisu. Of all the things to fascinate me, it was this. And since it wasn't the overly Americanized "Guinness/whiskey/Irish cream" alcohol, I debated on picking up some sherry and making this the proper way. Then I felt kinda bad for asking the poor man to give me a non-alcoholic recipe and completely ignoring that. I forgot to pick up the sherry so it all worked out in the end.

889 words later, here I am ready to share the recipe with you.                                                                                                                                                           x

Irish Trifle
Source: Ragamuffin Recipes
Servings: 6
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
for the trifle:
    • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 20 ladyfingers
for the custard:
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
for the whipped cream:
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
Directions:
1. Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl and toss to coat. Allow to sit until strawberries release their juices. Refrigerate for one hour.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the custard by whisking the milk, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a mixing bowl until combined.
3. Transfer to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly but 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat immediately and stir in the butter and vanilla until butter has melted.
4. Transfer back to the mixing bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This can be done a day in advance.
5. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add heavy cream and sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Careful not to overmix or it will turn into butter.
6. Assemble the trifle by arranging lady fingers on the bottom of a trifle dish/bowl/etc. Add a layer of the strawberries, followed by a layer of the custard. Top with whipped cream and then repeat making a second layer. Garnish the top with the remaining strawberries.
7. Cover and refrigerate for another hour.



I really had intended to make this with raspberries as it calls for in the original recipe but they were just not to be found at the store and I didn't think the frozen route would go over very well. So that and the lack of the sherry meant I changed the name of this recipe from Traditional Irish Sherry Trifle to just an Irish Trifle because I have no idea if I'm still even close to having made something acceptable.



I think that just means I should plan a trip to Ireland (not as thought I haven't always wanted to go) and go seek out some desserts for myself.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheesy Jalapeno Bacon Bombs

Many moons ago my friend shared an image of these delightful little creations with me on Facebook and asked that I make them soon. I quickly looked up the recipe and saw that these little bombs of goodness are right up my alley.

Bacon.

Cream Cheese.

Jalapeno.

Really, what more in life does one need?

Unfortunately, it took much longer than expected to actually get a chance to make this recipe and I am said to say, my friend couldn't even attend the party to try them out. Never fear, these disappeared so quickly that I know they must remain on my "party standards" list of appetizers to serve.



Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Bombs
Source: Buns in my Oven
Servings: 8
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1 package crescent roll dough 
    • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 3 tbsp. pickled jalapenos (the jarred kind)
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Roll out the crescent roll dough slightly and separate into 8 pieces.
3. Stir together the cream cheese, bacon, jalapenos and shredded cheddar in a medium bowl until fully combined.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the 8 pieces of dough, placing the mixture in the center. Fold up the edges of each and pinch at the top to close.
5. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crescents are lightly golden. Transfer to a plate or platter and serve immediately.


If you are ever in need of a really quick appetizer to pull together for some unexpected guests, I highly recommend this one. I made this while multitasking through a ton of other recipes before a party. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blueberry Oven Pancake

Another dish I had made called for only half a pint of blueberries. Not having any immediate plans for the remaining berries, I started looking for a recipe. 

This is not something I'd usually pick. Blueberries in a skillet sounds like a recipe for disaster in my head, although I know many people who cook with their cast iron skillets all of the time. I guess because I've never watched anyone else cook in one (Food Network aside) I'm still slightly hesitant to use mine. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this turned out and how easy using the cast iron was! 



Blueberry Oven Pancake
Source: Pink Parsley
Servings: 4-6 

Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • 2 tbsp. melted butter 
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar, divided
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 cup fresh blueberries
    • powdered sugar and maple syrup for serving 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. 
2. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and butter in a measuring cup.
3. Whisk together the flours, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. 
4. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10 or 12 inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet. 
5. Sprinkle the blueberries on top along with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
6. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar. Slice into portions and serve with maple syrup. 


This was delicious! I don't think I ever want to make pancakes the regular way again. And it was so much easier! You don't need to stand there constantly waiting for the air bubbles to form, then worry about flipping them over, then trying to keep the first ones you made warm while you work your way through the batter...yeah oven pancakes are totally the way to go! 

I'm sure this would be equally as delicious with other fruits as well. Diced apples, peaches, pears, plums, other berries...I'm sure the possibilities are endless. I just know I want one of these pancakes again! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Menu 8/10 - 8/14

Hello lovelies! Sorry for posting this so late today, I opted to go to the pool and relax instead of dealing with the monumental pile of work to do in front of me.

I was supposed to start another Whole 30 last week but didn't have time to plan out a menu like I had before. This week, yesterday while at the pool actually, I managed to finally do it. Of course, that was only after planning the grocery list for this week, which is another attempt and getting rid of the more unhealthy items we have floating around in the fridge and pantry.

I've wanted a crab cake like no one's business for the past couple of weeks now. I finally decided to just pick up some crab meat and make my own. They're whats planned for dinner tonight, assuming I get enough of a break to actually pick through the meat for shells.

Sunday: crab cakes, corn on the cob, salad

Monday: citrus mustard chicken, fries, squash vinaigrette

Tuesday: bacon cheeseburgers, fries, bell pepper and tomato salad

Wednesday: spicy lime chicken, baked potatoes, bell pepper and tomato salad

Thursday: turkey taco pizza braid 

For breakfast this week I'm having breakfast pizzas and lunch will be a balsamic chicken with swiss chard and corn.

I really miss baking and even chose a recipe to make this week, but I simply didn't have enough time. I'm hoping to make it next week.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Zucchini, Mozzarella and Bell Pepper Frittata

For someone who doesn't really like eggs, I eat an awful lot of them for breakfast. I've still tried to avoid grains and bread since they just do not do well with my body anymore. I am one of those people that can eat anything for breakfast. I have never cared about whether something was a typical breakfast food or not. 

As a kid my mom used to tell me that I had the stomach of a pregnant woman because I'd be completely content to have a few slices of deli ham and a pickle for breakfast. That really still hasn't changed because you'll find me eating that or something very similar for breakfast on the weekends. I'm not sure why I feel as though I should have more breakfast-like foods during the week; it's not as though my coworker would judge me; she is the same way. 

Anywhoodle, I like frittatas not just because Google does not accept them as a word and gives me the red squiggly, but because you can pretty much throw any ingredients you have on hand into one and come up with something tasty to eat. 


Zucchini, Mozzarella and Bell Pepper Frittata
Source: Eating Well Magazine, July/August 2014 
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 3/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 large zucchini, diced
    • 7 eggs
    • salt and pepper 
    • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or pearl-sized balls 
    • 1 jar roasted red tomatoes, drained and chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to broil. 
2. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and zucchini and cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes or until softened. 
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs with the salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and once the edges begin to set, lift up with a spatula to allow the uncooked eggs to run underneath. 
4. Arrange the mozzarella and roasted red peppers on top. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let stand for 3 minutes before topping with basil. 
5. Run a knife around the edges of the skillet to loosen. Cut into sections and use a spatula to remove from the skillet. 


According to Eating Well, this is actually a Mozzarella, Basil and Zucchini Frittata where you use sun-dried tomatoes instead of bell peppers but I decided to change it up just a little bit. I've tried them many times but I just don't like sun-dried tomatoes and pretty much any recipe that calls for them, I substitute the jarred roasted bell peppers instead. 

I never remember how filling eggs are until I have a slice of this and expect to still be hungry but find quite the opposite has happened. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Against the advice of the ladies on my cooking board who said it would be a lot of prep work, I opted to have a meatball bar for the going away party we had for Calvin. I narrowed it down to four different types of meatballs, all using a different ground meat.

I was most excited for these buffalo chicken ones because I had never tried anything similar. The fact that they could be served in the crock pot was another huge selling point for me since the least amount of work I can do on the day of a party, I am all for.



Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Source: Damn Delicious
Servings: 20 meatballs
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. ground chicken 
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • salt and pepper
    • 3/4 cup buffalo sauce (mild or hot)
    • 3/4 cup chunky blue cheese dressing 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, egg, Panko, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper together. Form into 20 evenly sized meatballs.
3. Place the meatballs on the prepared racks and bake for 5 minutes or until the meatballs are lightly golden.
4. Transfer meatballs to a crock pot and pour buffalo sauce on top. Cook on low heat for 2 hours.
5. Serve with the chunky blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.



Everyone loved these! I will definitely make them again for the next party I have because they are such a simple and easy appetizer. You could easily form the meatballs in advance and freeze them until the day of. I opted to go with the hot variety of the buffalo sauce. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

SRC: Individual Peach Upside Down Cakes

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Searching for Dessert, which is right up my alley. Who isn't searching for dessert? And if you aren't, why haven't you started? I will say, one of the best things about being an adult is getting to make choices like having dessert before dinner, or just as dinner with no one telling you no or that you shouldn't do that.

Ironically, the morning that I made my recipe, I opted to have a root beer float for breakfast. Why? Because the root beer was going to go flat. Which is a perfectly acceptable reason to me. Just saying! 

Since August is the month of peaches and our reveals are at the beginning of the month, I immediately knew I wanted to find a peach recipe to share with you, even though I was strongly distracted by the Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Brownies hanging out on the first page. 

When I saw the recipe for plum upside down cakes, I knew right away I wanted to substitute the plums for peaches. I've never made an upside down cake before, even of the pineapple variety and though that a peach one was definitely the way to go! Plus, I am all for individually sized portions of dessert.



Individual Peach Upside Down Cakes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
for the peaches: 
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced 
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. brown sugar 
    for the cake: 
    • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
    • pinch of salt 
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup sugar 
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. lowfat milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the peaches, sugar and brown sugar. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the peaches are soft. (3-5 minutes if the peaches are really ripe)
2. Spray four 4-inch ramekins with cooking spray. Transfer the peaches to the ramekins with a slotted spoon. Allow the juices from the peaches to continue cooking until the consistency is very thick, similar to jam. 
3. Pour the juices over the peaches in the ramekins. Let cool slightly. 
4. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add in the egg. Mix until fully combined. 
6. Alternate between adding in the flour mixture and the milk until both are combined. The mixture will still be slightly runny. Divide the batter into the four ramekins. 
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
8. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen the cake. Invert cakes onto a plate and serve immediately. 



I wasn't even thinking that I grabbed white skin peaches, which meant that you can't even tell the difference between the peaches and the cake in the picture, but I assure you they are there and they are quite tasty! I opted to change up the recipe just a little bit by replacing cinnamon for brown sugar. I thought the cinnamon would be to powerful with the light flavor of the peaches. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spicy Thai Curry Mussels

 I usually go grocery shopping on Friday's after work because the store isn't super busy and I can usually get in and out pretty easily. Plus, I have a bit of OCD that makes me want to come home to a cleaned house (thank you cousin) with arms full of groceries to put away because then I know my "chores" for the weekend are complete.

Not like that ever actually happens though. I come home and find a load of clothes to do, or I empty out the litter boxes or I randomly decide to reorganize something that most likely does not need reorganizing, but I do it anyway and then wonder where my weekend went.

A couple of weeks ago we had plans on Friday night and I had to go grocery shopping in the morning. My OCD also prefers to go first thing in the morning when there aren't nearly as many people there, because if you've ever been in a Wegman's on a Saturday late morning, you know it can be complete chaos. For whatever reason, Tom wasn't able to go with me and I didn't get to the store until 10 am. I won't lie, I was scared walking in, but I found it not as scary as it was the previous time I was there on a Saturday morning.

The one cool thing about shopping on a Saturday morning as opposed to a Friday night, is that they have all the sample people out. Having a short list and no other plans for the day, I took my time wandering around the store and was encouraged to try grouper by the seafood counter employee. I've had grouper before, it's something my aunt and uncle eat pretty frequently, but I've never been able to make it taste right myself. I explained this and the employee told me he completely understood, but if I liked mussels he had a recipe that was fool-proof.

I do like mussels, which I still find amusing since I was never a very adventurous eater. He had me try a Thai curry mussel. It was really full of flavor and not at all what I expected from a Thai curry sauce. Two pounds of mussels are only $6 at Wegman's, which is much cheaper than all their other seafood and they were even providing a printed copy o the recipe for you. I couldn't pass it up.



Spicy Thai Curry Mussels
Source: Wegman's
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
    • 1 cup leek, chopped
    • 1 cup celery, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 lbs. mussels 
    • 8 oz. Spicy Thai Curry Sauce 
    • 1 loaf Italian bread, toasted and broken into large pieces 
Directions:
1. In a Dutch Oven or other braising pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
2. Add the onion, leeks and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
3. Add the mussels and Thai sauce to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is simmering and the mussels have opened.
4. Remove any mussels that did not open. Ladle mussels and sauce into bowls and serve with crusty bread.



I had more mussels than expected not open, but we still really enjoyed this dish. I plan on making it again but picking up the mussels the day of, just in case having them in the fridge on ice for a day had something to do with the fact that they didn't all open.

If you aren't a fan of curry sauce, I still highly recommend that you try this recipe. I am not a fan of curry either, but this tasted nothing like it.