Recipe Swap: Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burger

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I was so excited for this recipe swap because the category was burgers. In the warmer months, I go a bit burger crazy making them practically once a week. I can't help it, there is just something about a burger that screams "summertime!"

When I received my recipe from Tasty Treats by Tina, my first thought was "what in the world is a Mar-A-Lago turkey burger?" Apparently, Donald Trump owns a ginormous mansion in Palm Beach, FL and this burger is served in the Club's dining area. Oprah stumbled across this burger, declared it a new favorite, and well, you know how things go when Oprah says they are good/worthwhile/neat/something she has.

I won't lie, I was a bit perplexed at the ingredients in this burger and I just could not imagine what in the world the finished result would taste like. But since this burger needs to be refrigerated for two hours after forming into patties, I had to exercise my patience. It got quite the workout. :-)



Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burger
Source: Tasty Treats by Tina, from Oprah
Servings: 4-5 burgers
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Mar-A-Largo Pear Chutney Ingredients:
    • 1/2 Anjou pear, peeled and sliced
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney

    Burger Ingredients:
    • 2 green onion stalks, minced
    • 1 celery stalk, minced
    • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and minced
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 2 tbsp. Major Grey's Chutney
    • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1 lb. ground turkey
    • bread, pita or burger roll
Chutney Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss the pear slices in the cinnamon and salt and spread out in an even layer on the parchment paper.
3. Bake for 8 minutes then let cool to room temperature. Stir in the Major Grey's Chutney. Set aside.

Burger Directions:
1. Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the green onions, celery and apple until soft. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Once cool, transfer to a large bowl. Add the other burger ingredients to the bowl and form into patties. Place the patties on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Preheat a grill or broiler. Cook burgers for 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
4. While the burgers are resting, toast bread, pitas or burger rolls. Divide the pear chutney amongst the bread/pita/burger roll. Top with a burger and serve immediately.

I didn't realize until I was halfway through cooking the burgers that I didn't have burger rolls, but we did  have a loaf of potato bread and a couple slices of apple-oat bread in the pantry. I ate my burger on the apple-oat bread hoping it would go well with the apples in the burger. I wasn't able to distinguish between them at all though. I thought the burger had nice flavor but I wasn't sold on the chutney. 


Healthier Dill Dip

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Back when I made the lamb burgers I only used about a quarter of the package of fresh dill that I purchased. Its not an herb that I use very often and I knew I'd need to find a recipe for it right away before it went bad. That weekend, I had plans to go to my mom's house to hang out by the pool. Since we moved so much closer, its a pretty frequent occurrence to hear from my mom on a Wednesday or Thursday about the weather and to make plans to show up on Saturday morning.

My aunt and cousin also live nearby so usually we're all at my mom's house at the same time and everyone pitches in to bring something. I try to vary it up for what I bring each time and I just happened to be adding more recipes to my to-make binder when the recipe I printed out for dill dip caught my eye. A perfect way to use up that extra dill and something I hadn't made yet!



Healthier Dill Dip
Adapted from: All Recipes 
Servings: 2-2 1/2 cups
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Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature (Philadelphia)
    • 4 oz. plain non-fat Greek Yogurt (Fage)
    • 2 tbsp. green onions, minced
    • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
    • 1 small garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp. non-fat milk, optional 
    • rye, pumpernickel or sourdough bread bowl, optional 
    • crackers or bite-sized vegetables, optional

Directions:
1. Stir together the cream cheese and Greek Yogurt in a medium-sized bowl with a lid. Fold in the green onions, dill, garlic and salt. Stir until combined.
2. Place the lid on the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to overnight.
3. Stir the dill dip and if too thick, whisk in the milk.
Optional: Spoon the dill dip in a bread bowl and serve with bread, crackers and bite-sized veggies.

Usually I'd have no problems making my own bread bowl for a recipe like this, but I was short on time. I initially intended to put it in pumpernickel or rye bread, but the grocery store was out of both so I went with sourdough.

Everyone gobbled this up at my mom's house. What was left, my aunt took home to enjoy as her evening snack. Its a relatively quick and easy recipe to make for a party or some last minute guests that may just show up unexpected. 


Spicy Basil Chicken

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Do you know how a recipe must be really good? When you star it in your Google Reader three times because three separate bloggers that you follow all made the recipe. I have a bad habit of doing that. Sometimes when I search through my starred recipes I realize I have quite a few duplicates. Oops.


But I just took it as a sign that I really, really needed to make this recipe. Plus, how could I pass up purchasing a delicious looking basil plant at our last visit to the wonderful world of Wegman's. That night, Tom asked me what was for dinner and then asked what created the spicy. I said that it was the chile garlic sauce, which I described as Sriracha's sister. I knew if I told him about the fish sauce and oyster sauce he'd have no idea what the flavor would be like so I described it as "add Sriracha with a bit of garlic flavor to the sauce from the Bourbon chicken recipe I make". His response "Oh wow, that sounds good."



Spicy Basil Chicken
Adapted from: Taste of Home Cooking, as seen on Elly Says Opa and in Cooking Light 
Servings: 3-4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tsp. canola oil
    • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
    • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, sliced
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 shallots, minced
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp. chile garlic sauce
    • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
    • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
    • 4 tsp. sugar
    • 2 tsp. water
    • 2 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups rice

Directions:
1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Add canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, green pepper, carrots, garlic and shallots to the skillet and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned and vegetables are soft.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, chile garlic sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch. Pour into the skillet and stir, coating  the chicken for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture slightly thickens.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve over rice.

And it definitely was "good". My description was pretty accurate and boy was I happy that there were enough leftovers that I could have it for lunch the next day! I took Sarah's advice and added in a bunch of veggies to make it more filling. And I agree, it definitely needs more than just the basil to make it an all-star dish.

Quinoa-Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders & Giveaway Winner!

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Happy Monday morning! I thought about making you wait until the end of this post to find out who the winner of my first giveaway is, but then I decided that was just mean to do on a Monday morning. :-)

So the winner is..... (drum roll))
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Angie of Cooking with Copper! Angie, please send me an email at cookaholicwife@gmail.com with your address and I'll send you out your prize. Congratulations!!!



 I like our new apartment. I really do. It's near work, tons of restaurants, great grocery stores, incredible amounts of shopping, my family, friends... There is a park is walking distance. We're practically on the water. But there is just one tiny thing I can't adjust to.

The damn gas stove. I'm sure I'm part of the minority, but I absolutely hate cooking on a gas stove. I feel like I have no control over the amount of heat, plus I'm incredibly paranoid to cook with any type of oil in case it were to splash over and hit the flame. Maybe I just have an odd stove, but even with the heat as low as it can possibly go, I can't keep something on the burner for more than 5 minutes before it boiling. There is also no slow-boil or rolling-boil on this stove. You're either full on boiling or there's nada going on in your pot.

So while I was cooking the quinoa for this recipe, I was really diligent to watch the stove the entire time because I knew I needed to reduce the heat after the quinoa boiled for a few minutes. No lie, I checked the quinoa and it was just barely beginning to boil. Just a few tiny little bubbles in the center of the pot. I turned around and pulled a spoon out of the drawer and that fast...

HISS! SPLAT! HISS. SIZZLE.

Quinoa all down the sides of the pot, over the stove and into the flame. Son of a... Do you have any idea how difficult it is to clean up all of those itty-bitty tiny little quinoa bits from a hot stove and from down the side of a pot? I have a feeling I'm going to find little bits of quinoa all over my kitchen until we move out of this place. To make matters worse, my seal-able bag of quinoa was actually a liar and didn't come with a seal, resulting in more of it spilling over the kitchen when I hastily grabbed the bag. I have a bone to pick with you Target and my seal-less bag of seal-able quinoa!

To be honest with you, at this point I didn't even want to make this recipe anymore. I was completely content with just making a bag of popcorn and calling it a night. But I thought of you, my lovely readers and decided I'd forge on so I could provide you with new recipes. See how much I love ya!?



Quinoa-Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders
Adapted from: The Eat-Clean Diet
Servings: 3-4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 package chicken tenders
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled slightly
    • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
    • salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Spray with rack with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs with a little bit of water. In another shallow dish, combine the quinoa, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
3. Dip each chicken tender into the eggs and then into the quinoa-panko mixture. Coat on both sides and then place on the prepared wire rack. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with your desired dipping sauce.

Quinoa and Panko go really nicely together in this recipe. The quinoa gives a slightly nutty flavor to the chicken and provides it with some extra crunch that Panko can't seem to accomplish on its on unless directly fried. Despite all of the mishaps in the preparation of this meal, we both enjoyed it enough that I'm willing to risk a kitchen full of quinoa pieces to make it again!

Weekly Menu 6/20 - 6/28

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Did you miss me last week?We went to the beach and visited Tom's family and I spent Friday evening getting this:


on the inside of my left ankle. See, now you have proof that I really do have an obsession with flip flops and I love the beach. You can also see that I'm incredibly pale, but I'm not sure that tells you anything. I've wanted another tattoo for a while now and wanted something beachy but I didn't know what. One day Tom suggested that I get flip flops leaning up against a palm tree. Its been quite some time since he made that suggestion, but it finally came to life last weekend.

I absolutely love it. Its 100 times better than I could have ever imagined when I pictured flip flops against a palm tree. I could easily stare at my ankle all day if it wouldn't get uncomfortable to sit/stand/lay in a position to do so. Dana at Bewitched Tattoo is incredibly talented. There are no other words for it. Disclaimer: Bewitched Tattoo has no idea I'm writing this. Its solely my opinion on my super awesome tattoo and I'm not receiving anything (financial or otherwise) for telling you how awesome they are.

Now that we have that out of the way, what do you think? Do you have any tattoos? I'm having a hard time deciding on whether I want my next one to be beach-related or possibly something cooking related. Such a tough call.

So anyway, the point in showing you the new tattoo was to explain that we didn't get home from the beach until 5 or so on Sunday and I had no idea grocery list much less no idea what I was making for the week, so I skipped the menu and just decided to do a little bit of back tracking this week to cover it all.

Wednesday 6/20 - Spicy Basil Chicken 

Thursday 6/21 - Beef Burrito Bowls

Friday 6/22 - Prosciutto Paninis

Saturday 6/23 - Smokey Pork Fajitas

Sunday 6/24 - Recipe Swap Meal 

Monday 6/25 - Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Tuesday  6/26 - Chicken Cheese Enchiladas with Mexican Street Corn

Wednesday 6/27 - Sriracha Mac and Cheese

Thursday 6/28 - either Shrimp Skewers or Shrimp Tacos

You may also notice something else unusual...

That there are recipes planned for Friday and Saturday. My designated no-cook days. Well, I tend to go overboard if I haven't cooked for a while and I also have the slight issue that I refuse to wait another week or so to make these recipes so I'm cooking on my non-cook days. I can't help it.

Baked Zucchini Fries

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If there was one vegetable I wish I could get Tom to eat, it would definitely be zucchini. I'm still not even sure why he doesn't like it. It's not like it has a strong flavor or something. I think its one of the most versatile vegetables out there. I could eat it daily without complaint. He, however, refuses to touch it.

Which makes me a bit cranky because when I choose to eat something healthier, I prefer to do it with other people. There's nothing like eating zucchini fries while watching someone else much on Doritos...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy zucchini as much as I do or are at least willing to try a few different preparations of it so you can try out this recipe and tell me what you think!



Baked Zucchini Fries
Source: Our Best Bites, adapted from Aggie's Kitchen
Servings: 2-3
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Ingredients:
    • 1 large zucchini
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup Italian-seasoning Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • ranch dressing optional 


Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with a few drops of water in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine the Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.
3. Cut off the ends of the zucchini, then cut it in half so you have two short zucchini pieces. Then cut each half in half length-wise until you have "fries" of your size choice. Repeat with the other zucchini half.
4. Dip the zucchini in the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all zucchini fries are coated.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip over and bake another 10-12 minutes or until zucchini fries are lightly golden on both sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with ranch dressing if desired.

You'll want to gobble these up quickly. Not only are they crisipy-crunchy-delicious but they're even better when they're really hot and right out of the oven. I really wish Tom would have tried these. I cut them small enough that there wasn't a strong zucchini flavor (like there ever really is). Granted, they don't taste like french fries but they're a great quick and healthy alternative.

Improv Challenge: Cherry Filled Almond Cupcakes

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Its Story Time with the Cookaholic Wife! Come grab a comfy piece of carpet or computer chair and let me share this one with you.

We need to go back almost three decades to the year 1987. For those of you youngin's, this is back when MTV actually played music videos and side pony tails, slouchy socks and neon colors were in style the FIRST time. Now I didn't participate in many of these trends, seeing as I was only 2 years old. But apparently, I already had developed my sweet tooth. 

Like any cranky two-year old requires, my mom put me down for a nap and then ended up taking one herself. No, no, I'm not going to tell you the story of the iced tea and smoke alarm, I'll save that for another time. Anyway,  I wake up and find my mom still asleep. And like any good two-year old, I decide a snack is in order. 

Some time later, my mom wakes up to find me sitting in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open. My hands and fingers and face are stained pink and there is an empty jar of maraschino cherries next to me. I'm also sporting quite the stomachache. 

Years later, when I was a teenager, my mom and I were somewhere that happened to have the cherries and I commented on how they grossed me out a bit. Which prompted my mom to tell me the story. It also explains why, sometimes, even to this day, the though of eating a maraschino cherry just makes me cringe.

I've never had a problem with regular cherries though, which is what I intended to use for this months Improv Challenge where we had to make something with cherries and almonds. But the cherries at the grocery store just didn't look good enough so I had to use the maraschino kind.



Cherry Filled Almond Cupcakes
Source: All Recipes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients:
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 2 tsp. almond extract
    • 16 oz. maraschino cherries with stems

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.
3. Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the whole milk into the mixer until fully combined. Then add in the almond extract.
4. Fill each portion 2/3 of the way full with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool for 20-30 minutes.
6. Drain the maraschino cherry juice, reserving 3-4 tbsp. for the frosting. Set 12 cherries with stems aside to top the cupcakes with. Remove the stems from the remaining cherries and chop.
7. Use a pairing knife to cut a circle out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with 1/2 - 1 tsp. of the chopped maraschino cherries. Press the removed piece of cupcake on top of the cherries.

Cherry-Almond Butter Frosting
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: 2 cups
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Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
1-2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. almond extract

Directions:
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer until smooth. Slowly add in 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. of cherry juice and continue beating until smooth.
2. Repeat until all of the sugar and cherry juice are combined. Add the almond extract and then if the frosting is too thick, add in the milk, a little at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
3. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large tip shape of your choice. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. Top with the reserved maraschino cherry from the cupcake ingredients.
4. Serve immediately or transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.



Aren't they adorable!?!?

I rarely have any luck with homemade frosting. I can just never get them to the consistency that I want. This frosting ended up too thin and ran a bit when I piped the cupcakes, but its by far the best job I've done yet. The stemmed cherry on top of these cupcakes just really, pardon the expression, takes the cake for me. I am SO happy with how these turned out.

They also taste amazing! The almond flavor is subtle but comes through and compliments really nicely with the sweetness of the cherries. The frosting is obviously super sweet since its made with 4 cups of powdered sugar, but honestly, I can't imagine a less sweet frosting really working as well with this cupcake. I think it would get lost among the other flavors.

While I may not be cured of my permanent maraschino cherry hangover, I was definitely able to enjoy these cupcakes and I can't wait for an excuse to make them again!



Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

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Forever and ever and ever ago I printed out this recipe to make. I printed it so long ago that it was before I divided my cooking binders into to-make and have-made. While going through the binder trying to choose dinners for the next week, I must have stopped on this recipe a ton of times but something always stopped me from adding it to the list.

We already had two chicken meals planned for that week. I couldn't find cilantro at the store. We just had tacos for dinner.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. A few weeks ago I needed a large bunch of cilantro and a few limes for a recipe. I ended up picking up too many of both and needed to find recipes for the following week to use them up. So I flipped through my binder and voila! This recipe would finally switch over from to-make to have-made.



Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
Source: What's Cooking Chicago, pesto adapted from Food Network
Servings: 4
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Cilantro Lime Pesto Ingredients:
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup chicken broth
    • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 1 tsp. salt

    Taco Ingredients:
    • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 8-10 flour tortillas
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • cilantro lime pesto
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • lettuce, shredded
    • tomato, diced
    • cheese, sour cream, salsa
Directions:
1. Combine all of the pesto ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and set aside.
2. Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat the skillet over medium heat.
3. Season the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Toss to coat in the pesto sauce.
4. Divide the pesto chicken between the tortillas and top with desired taco fillings.

Wow were these tasty! Tom who doesn't like citrus with anything dinner related even enjoyed these. I had to omit the almonds from the pesto ingredients because what I thought were almonds in the pantry were actually pecans. Not exactly a good replacement. I'd also suggest to use a higher quality olive oil for this if you have some. I was kind of surprised at how strongly I tasted each flavor in the pesto, but the olive oil was definitely pronounced. 

The only thing I can think of to make these better would be to serve them on a deck with your closest friends and family and a huge pitcher of margaritas or sangria.

Corn Bisque with Avocado and Crab

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I absolutely love the taste of fresh corn on the cob in the summer. There's something about that taste that just makes me smile. The corn at the farmers market has been delicious, crab meat happened to be on sale, the basil plants were gorgeous at Wegman's and I was able to find a ripe avocado so I realized it was the perfect time to try out this recipe.

I intended to serve it chilled, but once I made some changes to the recipe, I realized it would be much better served warm.



Corn Bisque with Avocado and Crab
Slightly Adapted from: Cooking Light, May 2004
Servings: 4
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Crab Cake Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. lump crab meat
    • 1 slice white bread, broken into small pieces
    • 1 tbsp. mayo
    • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. mustard
    Bisque Ingredients:
    • 5 ears corn on the cob
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup fat free half-and-half
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • pinch of crushed red pepper
    • 1/2 avocado, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Directions:
1. Pick through the crab meat to remove any shells or cartilage.
2. Combine all of the crab cake ingredients together in a medium bowl and form into 4 patties. Set aside.
3. Slice the kernels off each corn cob and set aside.
4. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to broil. Place the crab cakes on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Whisk together the vegetable broth and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour into the pot and add the corn kernels. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-7 minutes.
7. Transfer the corn mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Reduce to the pot and stir in the half-and-half, milk, salt and crushed red pepper. Warm through over very low heat.
8. To serve, place a crab cake in the center of a bowl. Pour corn bisque around the crab cake and garnish with chopped avocado and basil.

The corn flavor really came through nicely in this. I really liked making it a crab cake instead of just adding pieces of crab meat. I think it was more filling that way, plus the crab cake added additional flavors.

Cinnamon-Sugar & Fruit French Toast Bakes

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Today is the LAST day you can enter the giveaway! 
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Two weeks ago Tom's parents came to visit us and see our new place. Since they always make breakfast for us when we go to visit them, I wanted to return the favor even though we're all not big breakfast people on the weekends. I'm much more of a breakfast for dinner type of person, just don't call it "brinner" please. Words like that annoy me.

Anyway, I wanted something quick and easy that I could make for everyone. When I was going through my Taste of Home magazine this recipe caught my eye as something quick I could make before going to work. I decided to try it out on some new guinea pigs. :-)



Cinnamon-Sugar & Fruit French Toast Bake 
Source: Taste of Home, June/July 2012
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:
    • 6 slices honey wheat bread, cut into 1" cubes
    • 4 tbsp. melted butter
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
    • syrup or powdered sugar, optional for topping

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two large ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the bread and toss to coat.
3. In a small bowl, toss the berries with the brown sugar.
4. Place half of the bread mixture into the ramekins. Top each with fruit and then add the remaining bread pieces.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly crisp. Serve immediately.

Everyone really enjoyed this quick breakfast! The original recipes uses blueberries which I think would be just as delicious! You could easily adjust this recipe to be a single serving or even triple it for a crowd of people. Adding a splash of vanilla extract to the mixture or topping it with some fresh whipped cream and oh boy do you definitely have a breakfast winning dish right here!

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Last chance! Last chance!

What you can win:
  • a cupcake printed kitchen towel
  • a 60 minute cupcake shaped timer
  • 1 spatula
  • a 4-piece cupcake shaped measuring cup set
  • a pack of 75 Wilton cupcake liners
 To Enter:
1. What is your favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Leave me a comment with your answer. Make sure to include your email (it won't be published) so I can contact you if you are the winner.
2. Like Cookaholic Wife on Facebook, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.
3. Follow Cookaholic Wife on Twitter, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.

So there are three possible entries you can make to be entered in the giveaway!

The Rules:
1. This giveaway ends on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at midnight EST.
2. Winner will be generated by random.org
3. Your email address must be left for me to contact you.
4. There will only be one (1) winner.
5. If the winner does not respond to my email, a new winner will be chosen after 7 days.
6. Duplicate entries will be discarded.

Good luck!

Recipe Swap: Croque Monsieur Sandwiches

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Why are sandwiches so difficult to photograph? I took about 20 pictures of this one trying to get a semi-decent shot and unfortunately this is the best I could come up with. I think I need to re-read Food Blogging for Dummies to see if Kelly provides any tips.

So while this picture does absolutely no justice to this sandwich, you'll just have to take my word for it, that it was SO GOOD! It was Blogger's Choice for this recipe swap and I was assigned Does Not Cook Well With Others. If that sounds familiar, it because I also made her incredible Chicken Cheese Enchiladas. When I found this recipe on her blog, I knew I had to make it.

See, a week before I was planning the menu and somehow the idea for Croque Monsieur sandwiches popped into my head. I even put them on the menu for the week but then wasn't able to make them. How perfect is it that they worked out for the swap?



Croque Monsieur Sandwiches
Source: DNCWWO, adapted from The Jey of Cooking, originally from Ina Garten
Serving: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups hot milk (microwaved)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • pinch of nutmeg
    • 5 cups grated Gruyere cheese
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 8 slices bread (I used potato)
    • 1 lb. Black Forest ham
    • Dijon mustard

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Then slowly stir in the milk, stirring until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, Parmesan and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere cheese. Set aside.
4. Place the pieces of bread on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Flip over and bake another 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.
5. Spread Dijon mustard on four of the slices. Divide the ham among those four slices, then use half of the remaining Gruyere cheese to put on top of the ham.
6. Top with the remaining bread slices to create a sandwich. Pour the cheese sauce over the sandwiches and top with the remaining Gruyere. Bake for 5 minutes then broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.  

I'm a fan of much more bubbly and browned cheese, but I found out that we possess the world's most sensitive fire alarm so I've become incredibly cautious while using the broiler. However, even with less browned cheese, this sandwich was still great. Its rich and filling and everything you want out of a calorie-laden sandwich.  

Chocolate Banana BonBons

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I've spent a lot of time recently going through the recipes that I still need to make. My desserts binder is completely overflowing. This is not a good thing for my waistline. I'm just really glad that the fitness center is literally right outside my window. Ironically its outside my kitchen window. So, you know, I can stare at it while I'm making rather unhealthy items.

I picked up a few bananas at the grocery store to add to my breakfast granola. I swear I only put 3 bananas in the cart, but when I got home, there were 5 bananas in the bag. I have no idea where these two mysterious bananas came from but I knew there was no way I'd be able to use 5 bananas before they went bad and then I remembered this simple recipe.

Bonbons is a word that makes me laugh. Mostly because I picture a 1950's housewife perched on her new couch wearing a full face of make up and heels at 8 in the morning impatiently waiting for her husband to leave for work so she can kick off her heels and curl up on the couch with a romance novel and a box of chocolate bonbons. I have no idea where this mental image came from, but it amuses me.



Chocolate Banana Bonbons
Source: Clean Eating, April/May 2012
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly 

Ingredients:
    • 2 medium bananas
    • 2 oz. dark chocolate

Directions:
1. Cut the bananas into 1" pieces. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.
2. Dip one end of the banana into the chocolate and swirl to coat. Place chocolate side up on a sheet of wax paper.
3. Place the wax paper onto a plate and freeze for at least one hour. Transfer to an airtight container if not serving immediately.

This is the perfect little bite sized dessert! I don't even chew them, I just let the banana soften as the chocolate melts in my mouth. Just don't try that and then attempt to have a conversation. It doesn't go so well. Especially if you have sensitive teeth.

-----------
Time is winding down to enter my first Giveaway! 

Here's what you can win: 
  • a cupcake printed kitchen towel
  • a 60 minute cupcake shaped timer
  • 1 spatula
  • a 4-piece cupcake shaped measuring cup set
  • a pack of 75 Wilton cupcake liners
 To Enter:
1. What is your favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Leave me a comment with your answer. Make sure to include your email (it won't be published) so I can contact you if you are the winner.
2. Like Cookaholic Wife on Facebook, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.
3. Follow Cookaholic Wife on Twitter, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.

So there are three possible entries you can make to be entered in the giveaway!

The Rules:
1. This giveaway ends on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at midnight EST.
2. Winner will be generated by random.org
3. Your email address must be left for me to contact you.
4. There will only be one (1) winner.
5. If the winner does not respond to my email, a new winner will be chosen after 7 days.
6. Duplicate entries will be discarded.

Good luck!

Lamb Burgers

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Remember when I said that lamb is one of the foods that I just can't eat because that little voice in my head starts singing "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb..."? And I mentioned that I thought I could try the lamb in burger form?

Well, I finally managed to make lamb burgers. A few months ago I happened to turn the television on and caught an episode of Anne Burrell's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. She was making lamb burgers with pickled feta cheese and whole wheat pitas. They looked so tasty and reminded me of Tom saying that he wanted me to cook lamb, duck and various other proteins at some point that I decided I would need to make them. But first, I needed to find somewhere that sold ground lamb.

Even living in civilization again, its not a very popular ingredients around here. I was very impressed last week when I found that the nearest grocery store to me now sells multiple varieties of ground turkey and ground chicken. I did end up finding the ground lamb at the farmers market but they were out when I actually went to make the recipe. The story of my life, I tell ya. Anyway, its part of the reason I was so insistent on going to Wegman's that weekend. If Wegman's didn't have ground lamb I knew I wouldn't find it anywhere.

Of course, they did. Or you wouldn't be reading this recipe.



Lamb Burgers
Source: Anne Burrell
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. ground lamb
    • 3 stems green onions, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
    • 1 tsp. lemon zest
    • pinch of red pepper flakes
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 4 whole-wheat pitas

Directions:
1. Preheat a grill or broiler.
2. Combine all of the ingredients except for the pitas into a medium-sized bowl. Form into 4 patties.
3. Grill burgers to desired doneness and serve on whole-wheat pitas.

We had these burgers with a slice of mozzarella cheese and I ate mine with lettuce, tomato, and a tiny bit of ranch dressing. Tom had his with just mayo. We were both really surprised to find that the lamb taste is incredibly mild and almost non-existent yet all of the other flavors combined into the patty come through really strongly.

I did manage to put any childhood songs out of my head long enough to really enjoy this burger. Neither of us are big feta fans so I decided to skip out on pickling that for the recipe. I did intent to make the pitas myself (and I'm still planning to) if we made the burgers on the weekend, but we had them during the week.

Tom asked that when I make them next time I find more of a savory recipe since he's not a fan of any citrus in dinners. Or, you know, I could just leave out the lemon zest...

--------------
 Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

What you can win:
  • a cupcake printed kitchen towel
  • a 60 minute cupcake shaped timer
  • 1 spatula
  • a 4-piece cupcake shaped measuring cup set
  • a pack of 75 Wilton cupcake liners
 To Enter:
1. What is your favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Leave me a comment with your answer. Make sure to include your email (it won't be published) so I can contact you if you are the winner.
2. Like Cookaholic Wife on Facebook, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.
3. Follow Cookaholic Wife on Twitter, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.

So there are three possible entries you can make to be entered in the giveaway!

The Rules:
1. This giveaway ends on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at midnight EST.
2. Winner will be generated by random.org
3. Your email address must be left for me to contact you.
4. There will only be one (1) winner.
5. If the winner does not respond to my email, a new winner will be chosen after 7 days.
6. Duplicate entries will be discarded.

Good luck!

Margarita Chicken Quesadillas

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I finally found it: a quesadilla made at home that tastes like one from a restaurant. I don't know whether its the bell peppers, the cheese or the butter brushed on the tortilla shell before baking, or even the fact that its baked that makes this taste just like a restaurant quesadilla, but I'm not complaining. I'm also not willing to admit the number of these that I ate in one sitting.

This is just another recipe that almost didn't get made because of that one little direction...

Marinade.

Yep, I did it again. But in my defense, when I choose my recipes for the week, its on Wednesday or Thursday of the week prior so remembering what does and doesn't need to be marinated a couple of days later isn't really something my brain feels necessary to keep track of. I'm working on it though. Promise. :-)



Margarita Chicken Quesadillas
Source: Taste of Home Magazine, April/May 2012
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 package chicken tenders
    • 1 can frozen limeade, thawed
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 yellow pepper, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 4 flour tortillas
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1 tbsp. lime juice
    • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
    • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
    • sour cream, salsa optional
Directions:
1. Slice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Place in a large seal-able bag. Pour in the limeade mixture. Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil.
3. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a plate to keep warm. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spray the skillet with non-stick cooking spray and add the chicken, discarding the marinade. Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning over frequently until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
5. Combine the chicken, peppers and onions and cheese together in a bowl.
6. Place the tortillas on the prepared baking sheet. Fill each half of the tortilla with the chicken/peppers/cheese mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over.
7. Whisk the lime juice and cilantro into the melted butter. Brush over the tops of the tortillas.
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese has melted. If tortillas are not dark enough, place under broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching to make sure they don't burn.
9. Remove from the oven, slice each tortilla into four wedges and serve immediately with sour cream and/or salsa.   

So, so, so, so, so, so tasty! The lime juice and cilantro provide a really nice kick to the quesadilla. The cheese melted perfectly in the oven and the peppers gave it just the right hint of sweetness. I could eat this every week. Actually, I might just keep some chicken marinated in the limeade on hand in the freeze just in case...
-------------------
And don't forget to enter my first GIVEAWAY! 

What you can win:
  • a cupcake printed kitchen towel
  • a 60 minute cupcake shaped timer
  • 1 spatula
  • a 4-piece cupcake shaped measuring cup set
  • a pack of 75 Wilton cupcake liners
 To Enter:
1. What is your favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Leave me a comment with your answer. Make sure to include your email (it won't be published) so I can contact you if you are the winner.
2. Like Cookaholic Wife on Facebook, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.
3. Follow Cookaholic Wife on Twitter, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.

So there are three possible entries you can make to be entered in the giveaway!

The Rules:
1. This giveaway ends on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at midnight EST.
2. Winner will be generated by random.org
3. Your email address must be left for me to contact you.
4. There will only be one (1) winner.
5. If the winner does not respond to my email, a new winner will be chosen after 7 days.
6. Duplicate entries will be discarded.


 

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats & A GIVEAWAY!

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Alright, we have a lot of things going on here this fine Monday morning. First, the Cookaholic Wife reached just over 500 posts this weekend! When I look at my binder of recipes to make, its completely baffling to me how I could have already managed to post anywhere near 500 recipes and meal plans. There's still so much to make!

So in celebration of 500 posts, I thought Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats were in order. I made Cake Batter Pudding Cookies and Cake Batter Doughnuts for no particular reason and I celebrated my 27th birthday with Cake Batter Milkshakes, so Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats were only fitting for today, yes?



Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats
Source: Gimme Some Oven from How Sweet Eats
Yield: ~30 treats
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 10.5 oz. bag mini marshmallows
    • 1/3 cup yellow cake mix
    • 1/2 of a 12.9 oz box of Rice Krispies Cereal
    • sprinkles

Directions:
1. Spray a 9x13 baking dish and a spatula with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Melt butter in a large pot over low heat. Add in the marshmallows and stir until partially melted.
3. Add the cake batter one spoonful at a time, stirring until its completely incorporated.
4. Then pour in the rice krispies cereal and toss until coated with the marshmallows. Pour in the sprinkles and mix until combined.
5. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish and use the spatula to press down the treats into an even layer. Top with more sprinkles and let sit 30 minutes before spraying a knife with non-stick cooking spray and cutting them into 30 squares.  

Don't these just remind you of being a kid? The cake batter flavor comes through really well and the sprinkles just make them so pretty. Aren't they perfect for my 500th post? I think so.

------------------------

So now we're getting to the good part. The Giveaway! I figured it was fitting that my first giveaway would correlate with 500 posts and a recipe that calls for sprinkles. It's just so very...me. 

Okay, so here is what you can win:

  • a cupcake printed kitchen towel
  • a 60 minute cupcake shaped timer
  • 1 spatula
  • a 4-piece cupcake shaped measuring cup set
  • a pack of 75 Wilton cupcake liners
 To Enter:
1. What is your favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Leave me a comment with your answer. Make sure to include your email (it won't be published) so I can contact you if you are the winner.
2. Like Cookaholic Wife on Facebook, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.
3. Follow Cookaholic Wife on Twitter, leave another comment on here and you'll receive another entry.

So there are three possible entries you can make to be entered in the giveaway!

The Rules:
1. This giveaway ends on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at midnight EST.
2. Winner will be generated by random.org
3. Your email address must be left for me to contact you.
4. There will only be one (1) winner.
5. If the winner does not respond to my email, a new winner will be chosen after 7 days.
6. Duplicate entries will be discarded.

Good luck!

Weekly Menu 6/10 - 6/14

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Why is it Sunday already? I'd really like to find the person who instituted 5 day workweeks and 2 day weekends and ask them what in the world they were thinking I spent most of yesterday sitting out by my moms pool and found that sunblock and I don't really get along. I'm closer to translucent than tan 95% of the year so I covered myself in sunblock. That's the smart thing to do, right? So how come the areas where I only applied sunblock once are still pale and the areas where I kept reapplying it are pretty red? It makes absolutely no sense. But my redness allows me to provide you with a random tip I may not have otherwise shared:

Spray yourself with white vinegar to pull the sting out of a sunburn.

There's also nothing like finding out when your sunburn subsides that you were a large buffet table for mosquitoes and now have bites just about everywhere. I think next time I go to my mom's I'll have a combination of bug spray and sunblock on! 

Sunday - Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Corn Salad

Monday - Chilled Corn Bisque with Avocado and Crab

Tuesday - My Recipe Swap choice 

Wednesday - Rajas Poblanos

Thursday - Wonton Pot Stickers

I've decided not to include Friday on the menu anymore because we typically just end up grabbing something while out or eating some form of leftovers. This week will be different though, because we're going to the beach! I'm rather excited. Tom and I both managed to get off on Friday and that morning we'll head on downey o'shun, hun! Translated out of Baltimorese: down the ocean, hon!  

Pasta alle Erbe {Pasta with Herbs}

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Before we moved I went through all of my magazines and pulled out the recipes that interested me. I knew I wouldn't have enough time to actually organize them and put them in my to-make binder so I just stuck a paperclip on the large stack of them and packed them away with my books, hoping I'd get to organize them soon.

That day came not too long ago and this recipe just called to me from the page. Don't I look delicious? Since trying kale, I've decided to make a determined effort to try all of the different leafy greens in the produce area and this would allow me to cross chard off the list. I was a bit confused after looking at the ingredient list though. While I'm no linguist, I know that erbe = herb and I don't consider chard an herb by any means. So I decided to make some modifications and then just kept adding ingredients. When Tom asked me what was for dinner I responded with "a pasta recipe that I kept adding stuff to." I can't say there are too many people who would just say okay and go grab a bowl, but luckily I ended up with one of the few who will.



Pasta alle Erbe {Pasta with Herbs}
Adapted from: Eating Well, March/April 2012
Servings: 4
Printer Friendly 

Ingredients:
    • 1/2 box whole wheat fettuccine
    • 4 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 large bunch chard; rinsed, patted dry and chopped
    • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 
    • 1/2 cup combination of fresh basil, parsley and oregano, chopped
    • 1 cup hot water
    • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook whole wheat fettuccine according to pasta directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the chard in handfuls, stirring frequently until it has cooked down, 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Whisk the tomato paste into the hot water and pour into the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the liquid reduces slightly.
5. Add the pasta into the skillet and toss to combine. Heat through, 1-2 minutes.
6. Divide the pasta and herb mixture into four bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

We really enjoyed this! It's a quick and relatively cheap meal you can easily throw together mainly with ingredients that most of us keep around. And I learned that I definitely like cooked chard much better than I like cooked spinach.


Caprese Burgers

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Guess what I found out today! That directly behind my apartment there are 4 grills and picnic tables for the residents to use! I couldn't see it from any of our windows so I had no idea it was there until I decided to take a walk around our buildings while waiting for the fitness center to open one morning.I can actually have real GRILLED food again! I can't tell you how excited this makes me!

So I'd love to tell you that these burgers were actually grilled, but unfortunately that is not the case. I planned on making something else for dinner tonight and to pick up some charcoal and lighter fluid later in the week. But when I got home, I realized the intended dinner was supposed to have marinaded for 6 hours. I hate when I do that! Instead of running back out to pick up the charcoal and lighter fluid, I decided that we'd just have to have burgers again in the immediate future so we could grill them. Hardly a difficult decision!



Caprese Burgers
Source: Taste of Home Cooking, adapted from Does Not Cook Well With Others
Yield: 6 burgers
Printer Friendly 

Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef
    • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 6 hamburger rolls, toasted
    • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
    • 6 slices tomato
    • 3-4 tbsp. mayo
    • fresh basil leaves
    • salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Heat your grill or grill pan to high heat.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, basil and garlic powder. Form into 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to cook.
3. Grill each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Add a slice of cheese to each burger and cook until melted.
4. Spread the mayo on the hamburger roll. Place the burger on the bottom roll and top with a tomato slice, fresh basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

 
I know caprese salad is a pretty mild salad but for some reason I wasn't expecting the burger to be the same way. I think I needed to use more basil. And my tomato was a little bit too ripe.  Even with the mild flavors I did still enjoy the burger, especially the chewiness of the melted mozzarella cheese.

SRC: Homemade Snickers Bars

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Happy one year of participating in the Secret Recipe Club to me!

I wasn't sure if I would be able to participate for June because my recipe was due so soon after our move date and I was concerned I wouldn't have the kitchen put together well enough to make anything other than quick dinners. But when I realized that I would miss my 12th post and year anniversary of participating, I knew that I'd have to make do with my kitchen.

I was assigned Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Camilla has started a segment on her blog where she makes a dish from a different country in the world. She's going through them alphabetically and as of April 21st, she's left off in China. Off the top of my head I don't know how many countries there are in the world, but I'm pretty impressed with her efforts and think its a neat thing to do!

As I was going through Camilla's recipes I was thinking about my first time participating in the Secret Recipe Club and how I chose something I probably would have never made otherwise, Croquembouche. That's when I found Camilla's Snickers bar recipe and knew I that's what I needed to make.



Homemade Snickers Bars
Source: Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Servings:
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
Layer One:
    • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
    Layer Two:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 jar (7.5 oz) marshmallow fluff
    • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Layer Three:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    Layer Four:
    • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
Directions:
1. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Reduce the heat to a simmer then add the chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch chips to the top pan of the double boiler. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Spread the chocolate mixture as evenly as possible into the prepared baking dish. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes.
4. After the chocolate layer has hardened, combine the sugar, evaporated milk and butter together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
5. Let boil for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract. Remove the baking dish from the freezer and pour the mixture on top of the harden chocolate. Spread the peanuts over the mixture and return to the freezer for another 45 minutes.
6. Combine all of the ingredients from the third layer into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and heat, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches 240 degrees.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into the baking dish. Freeze for 4-8 hours.
8. Slice the frozen mixture into bars. Place on a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
9. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch chips to the top pan of the double boiler. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
10. Use tongs to dip each bar into the chocolate mixture, making sure to coat all sides. Place on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the final layer of chocolate mixture has set and hardened. Serve chilled.



While not exactly like a Snickers bar, these are pretty darn close. These were way too dangerous to keep in the house so I had to bring them into work and pass along to coworkers.

Weekly Menu 6/3 - 6/7

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Have you been to a Wegmans yet? After wanting to go to the newest and closest one they built for months, Tom and I finally decided to go yesterday. WOW is that a neat grocery store. I spent the first 20 minutes there completely overwhelmed at the sheer volume of items. We entered a sea of produce first where I found containers of strawberries bigger than my head a pile of bananas taller than me. I could have spent hours there but then we moved on to the wonderful world of cheese.

I honestly couldn't even comprehend the amount of cheeses they had. I'm pretty sure there happened to be a good 10 different varieties of gouda alone! It was pretty overwhelming but of course, the first place we got suckered into buying something not on the list. See, it started with the smoked gouda with bacon and then the lovely sample lady had me dry an applewood smoked cheddar which was incredible. So both of those went in the cart when we only went into that section for gruyere.

We wandered around the rest of the store in awe and I continually needed to pick my chin up from the floor as I started in amazement at the incredible variety of every item imaginable. Real soba noodles! Funky Japanese sodas! 10 different variety of cream soda! Hundreds of different candies! I'm pretty positive that I could spend my entire paycheck in that store just buying unusual ingredients. I absolutely can't wait to go back and explore so more.

Tom also decided that Wegmans will be the store we visit when we decide to start our own Chopped dinner series. For months now, Tom has said that he wants to purchase 4 random ingredients for me and have me create dinner. Well, there definitely is no better store with an insane assortment of ingredients as Wegmans.

Are you as amused as I am at a grocery store with that kind of variety or do you think I'm kinda silly like Tom does?

Sunday - Grilled Lamb Burgers with Grilled Potato Packets and Corn, Onion and Tomato Salad

Monday - Quinoa Crusted Chicken with Zucchini Fries

Tuesday - Asian Flank Steak Skewers with Edamame Fried Rice

Wednesday - Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

Thursday - Croque Monsieur Sandwiches with Texas Cheese Fries

I'm also planning to make granola for breakfast, some cake batter rice krispie treats and some popsicles. 

Recipe Swap: Tuna Noodle Casserole

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The category for this recipe swap was noodles. I was pretty excited to participate in this swap because pasta is so easy and versatile to use that I was incredibly curious to see what recipe I would be assigned.

 I was given Tuna Noodle Casserole from The Jey of Cooking. I've never had tuna noodle casserole before, mostly because my mom wasn't a casserole maker but also because I was an extremely picky eater as a child and combining canned tuna fish and spaghetti noodles was like the grossest combination my childhood brain could imagine. So I was slightly hesitant about this recipe. Individually all of the ingredients sounded good, but I just couldn't picture how they would taste together.



Tuna Noodle Casserole
Source: The Jey of Cooking, adapted from Sing For Your Supper
Servings: 4-6
Printer Friendly 

Ingredients:
    • 6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into small pieces
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
    • 1 celery stalk, diced
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 4 oz. mushrooms, diced
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    • 2 1/2 tbsp. flour
    • 3/4 cup chicken stock
    • 1/2 fat-free half and half
    • 2 (5 oz.) cans tuna in water, drained
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened.
4. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes, then whisk in the flour until combine.
5. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and half and half. Add the peas and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a slow boil then reduce the heat once the mixture has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Add the tuna, Parmesan cheese and noodles to the skillet. Stir until well combined and then transfer into the prepared baking dish.
7. Sprinkle the top with the Panko bread crumbs and the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure if I was going to try this or not. While preparing it, I maintained a highly skeptical look the entire time. But in the end I did decide to try it. It wasn't good or bad and it definitely wasn't anything like I was expecting. So, it's just not my thing, but I'm glad I decided to finally try it. Tom, however, was reminded of just how much he thoroughly enjoys tuna noodle casserole because he ate ALL of the leftovers. 
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