Saturday, April 12, 2014

Parmesan Breadsticks

We had pizza for dinner tonight. 
And I wanted some breadsticks to go along with it. 

Parmesan Breadsticks 

Puff pastry
Softened butter, 1 tablespoon
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, for an egg wash

I took some puff pastry out of the freezer and left in on the counter to thaw for a few hours. 
I pre-heated my oven to 425 degrees. 
I lightly floured a cutting board. 
I lightly floured a rolling pin. 
I rolled out the puff pastry until it covered my entire cutting board. 
So easy!
I then took some softened butter (which is always out on my kitchen counter) and, using my fingers, spread a thin layer over the rolled out puff pastry. 
I then grated some Parmesan cheese onto the dough. 
Then sprinkled on some kosher salt and black pepper.

I then cut the dough into 8 strips. 

Fold each strip over, encasing all of the cheesy, buttery goodness. 

Transfer to a parchment (or Silpat!) lined baking sheet. 
Crack 1 egg and add a teaspoon of water. 
Lightly beat and brush onto breadsticks. 
Grate more Parmesan cheese over them. 
So cheesy!

Bake for 10 minutes. 

Look at these!
So light!
So airy!
So crisp!
So cheesy!

Serve with that pizza you picked up from your local wherever (my hubs got this cheesy beauty from Casey's General Store) and get some marinara sauce from the fridge or pantry to dip these beautiful breadsticks in!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I found this on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit. 
It's become a favorite around here!

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened 
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, instant coffee, and cocoa powder in small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the softened butter and sugar. Mix until combined and mixture is light and fluffy. 
Add egg, mashed bananas, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until combined. 

With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients slowly. Everything should be moistened thoroughly. I find that at this point it helps to remove the bowl from the mixer and I give it a good stir myself with a large spoon.  -This step helps to incorporate anything that's hiding at the the bottom of the bowl!-

Add the chocolate chips, stirring until just combined. 

Spread batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. 
Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. 
Transfer loaf pan to cooling rack for 10 minutes. 
Remove bread from pan to allow further cooling.

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Pinterest Favorites

Are you using Pinterest for recipes?
I am! 
And I'm loving it. 
I don't think I've had too many downers from the recipes I've tried so far. 
Last night I made these delicious beyond words cilantro/lime chicken tacos. 
You MUST try this recipe. 

I make dinner selections as well as sweets. 
I enjoy cookbooks and food blogs. 
There are so many of both out there and Pinterest is a great way to find new food marvels such as...

Coconut Cookies

Breakfast Cookies

A Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Firecracker Cookies

Cheesy Bacon Potato Thins

These S'Mores Brownies

Chicken and Dumplings

Smashed Yukon Golds

Nutella Wrapped in a Crescent Roll

Ham and Beans in the Slow Cooker

Salmon With Brown Sugar & Dijon 

My final products don't always look like the pictures that I find on Pinterest. 
But that's okay. 
It's the flavor and the find of a new family favorite that I enjoy. 
Follow me on Pinterest and check out what I've pinned under my "Food and Drink" and "Sweets" boards. 
I even have a handy link over there on the right so you can follow my boards.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coconut Cookies

I'm not a fan of coconut really.
But with that being said, I do enjoy toasted coconut as opposed to raw coconut. 
And I like coconut milk and coconut scented products. 
So I saw these cookies and they looked delish so I thought I would give them a go. 
So good!
Don't worry if you don't have fleur de sel. 
It's fancy French sea salt. 
And of course mine look nothing like the cookies on the food blog where I found them. 
But they are chewy and sweet with a hint of salty. 

Coconut Cookies:
from the blog semiswede*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large eggs
2/3 cup  sugar
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. 
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add the coconut. Mix well so the coconut is well-coated with the butter.
3. Beat the eggs with a mixer on medium speed just until blended. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high until the mixture is light-colored and fluffy. Combine the butter-covered coconut gently with the egg mixture and mix well.

4. Drop the batter onto the parchment-covered baking sheets and press down gently on the mound until it is relatively flat. A teaspoon of batter works well but you can make them smaller or larger adjusting the baking time accordingly. Keep about an inch (2.5cm) of space between each cookie, more if you aren’t flattening them. Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the tops of each cookie with a pinch of the fleur de sel. If the cookies sit and cool too much the fleur de sel won’t stick. Slide the entire sheet of parchment with the cookies intact onto a wire cooling rack. As soon as they are cool, put them in an air-tight container.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lemon Pasta

This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. 
It's quick and refreshing and you can use any type of pasta that you have on hand. 
I've used bow tie (farfalle) before and today I used spaghetti noodles. 
My kids love this. 
And for my kids to say they love something these days is a huge deal at our house because they seem to dislike everything anymore. 

Lemon Pasta:
Everyday Italian
Giada De Laurentiis 

1 pound dried pasta of your choice
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Zest of two lemons
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large bowl (I start with the bowl I'm going to serve the pasta in!) combine the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. 

Boil a large pot of salted water. 
Add pasta and cook until it's al dente. 
Al dente is tender but firm to the bite. 
Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid when pasta is done cooking. 
Drain pasta and add to lemon sauce. 
Toss with the freshly chopped basil and lemon zest. 

Toss pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten.  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?
Everyone does!
But, it's hard to find a good recipe that delivers good results.
This is the recipe that I have found works best for us.
It's a chewy cookie with a crisp edge.
There are certain things that I always do before mixing the ingredients together, though.
I think these are crucial steps in getting the best cookie in the end.

1. leave the eggs and butter out for a least 30 minutes before temperature ingredients mix better.
2. do not melt the butter, but rather cream the softened butter into the sugars.
3. use real vanilla extract, not imitation extract.
4. have everything prepped and ready to go before you start mixing.
5. use GOOD chips, cheaper isn't better. 
I have found that I like Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet chocolate chips or chunks the best.     
6. use a Silpat baking sheet

Now let's get baking!

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
12 oz bag of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a whisk, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Beat the sugar, brown sugar, and softened sticks of butter at medium speed until creamy and smooth.
You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.

Add the eggs at low speed, one at a time.

Then add the vanilla.
Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Do another scrape down the sides if you need to.

Add the chips and mix on low until all swirled in.

Lay a Silpat (or parchment paper) on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Using a medium ice cream scoop, drop onto sheet with plenty of space between cookies.  

These yummies need room to spread out!

Bake for 8 minutes.
Always check the cookies during the baking process because no two ovens bake the same.

You want a nice gooey center with a crisp edge.

Total cookie heaven!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Lemon Chicken Thighs with a Side of Caramelized Carrots

I saw this recipe, for lemon chicken thighs, a few weeks back when I was watching the Today show and thought I would try it. I have since tried it twice and it's really good.
I added a batch of caramelized carrots to the meal.
Give it a try yourself!

Lemon Chicken Thighs:

1 lemon
about 8 small skinless, boneless chicken thighs
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine (can omit if you don't have any)
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Very thinly slice half of a lemon, discard any seeds.
Cut remaining lemon half into two wedges.
Season chicken thighs with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.
Cook chicken, keeping thighs folded, until halfway cooked. About 10 minutes.

Scatter half of the lemon slices over the chicken and the other half on bottom of the skillet.
The slices on the chicken will soften, the slices in the skillet will caramelize.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a platter.
Leave the softened lemons that were on the chicken in the skillet.
Return skillet to medium heat.
Add the shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up bit of chicken on bottom of skillet until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat and add the wine.
Return to heat and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken stock/broth.
Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Squeeze one lemon wedge over sauce in skillet.

Spoon warmed sauce over chicken thighs and top with the caramelized lemon slices.

While the chicken is cooking in the oven you can start the caramelized carrots.

Caramelized Carrots:

1 can of Le Sueur tender baby carrots, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
dash of kosher salt

Add butter, brown sugar, and kosher salt to pan and combine over medium heat.

Once the mixture is warmed and golden, add the carrots and stir to envelop in the sweet glazy goodness.

Transfer the chicken, carrots, and a green salad (if you fancy one) to a dinner plate and enjoy!
Bon Appetit!