12/6/18

Easy AF Dessert: Fudge With Walnuts & Flaked Sea Salt


Easy AF Dessert: Fudge With Walnuts & Flaked Sea Salt

This fudge is totally ridiculously easy to make but will have everyone so impressed! Plus, it's a great no-bake dessert that can be made days ahead, is easy to transport, and can be easily customized with different add ins: nuts, peanut butter cups, m&ms, etc!

1. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat melt together 3 cups of semi sweet chocolate and 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk by stirring constantly. 
2. Turn the heat off and add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts. Mix to combine. 
3. Immediately spread the mixture into a parchment lined 8×8 baking dish and smooth with an offset spatula. 
4. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt and carefully press into the surface. 
5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
6. Cut into small pieces and share. 

12/3/18

No Soggy Bottom Apple Crostata Recipe


No Soggy Bottom Apple Crostata is a great recipe to make to bring to a friend's house or to have for a casual but impressive dessert. I bet it'd be even great for breakfast with coffee, but I didn't end up with any leftovers to test out this hypothesis.

Last week I saw a gorgeous photo of a pear crostata and decided to make one with apples using leftover pie dough from mini chicken pot pies

My biggest concern was WILL THERE BE A SOGGY BOTTOM? You see, I was planning on bringing this dessert to a friend's party and would not know about its success or failure until the actual party.

Luckily, the dessert was a complete success, and there was no soggy bottom!

No Soggy Bottom Apple Crostata Recipe
Ingredients
1 pie crust dough (I bought mine)
1 large Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 egg, whisked
sugar in a raw
2-4 tablespoons apricot jam
powdered sugar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Roll out your pie crust dough.
3. Arrange apple slices on the dough in a pretty design overlapping slightly and leaving about 1/2" edge. 
4. Fold over the edge and brush with the egg wash.
5. Sprinkle the entire crostata with sugar in a raw.
6. Bake crostata for 30 minutes.
7. Remove crostata from the oven and brush the apples gently with the jam. Bake for 10 more minutes.
8. Allow the crostata to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).


The crostata tasted great at room temperature. The bottom was cooked through and held up well! 

11/29/18

Individual Chicken Pot Pies Adapted From SkinnyTaste One And Done


I've been wanting to make a chicken pot pie for months and finally decided to just do it last weekend. Did you know I used to work at KFC when I was in high school!?

I used a recipe from Gina, aka skinnytaste, as my inspiration, but changed a few things as always ;) Gina's new cookbook Skinnytaste One and Done has a recipe for her Mom's Skillet Chicken Pot Pie, but I thought for easier portion control I would make individual ones. 

I used fresh carrots and only rotisserie chicken breasts instead of the entire chicken and added parsley at the very end. I wish I also would have added potatoes, because I love potatoes!

Be careful about how much salt you use because I slightly oversalted mine not taking into an account the salt level in the chicken and chicken broth. Overall, this was a super easy recipe to make, good to freeze, and to have on a cold day like today.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies Adapted From SkinnyTaste
Makes 6

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 large rotisserie chicken breasts, diced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 3/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 egg

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add onions, carrots and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes.
3. Add frozen peas and corn, chicken, parsley and 2 cups of chicken broth. Cover and bring to a rapid boil.
4. Whisk together the remaining broth with the cornstarch and add to the chicken mixture. Simmer for 6 minutes stirring occasionally as the filling thickens.
5. Divide the filling into 6 ramekins (mine were about 1 1/4 cups capacity) and cover with cut out circles of pie dough. Crimp the edges. DO NOT MAKE SUPER FANCY POLKA DOT DESIGNS BECAUSE THE FILLING WILL BUBBLE OVER! JUST MAKE A FEW SLITS IN EACH TOP INSTEAD. SOMETIMES BEING FANCY DOESN'T PAY OFF.
6. Whisk an egg and brush each crust.
7. Bake the pot pies on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes and allow to set for at least 10 minutes before digging in.




11/26/18

Meatless Monday: Green Beans With Pomegranate & Smoked Almonds



If you are looking for what to do with green beans, look no further! Green Beans With Pomegranate & Smoked Almonds is a gorgeous side to serve with your meal and is a great contender for your Christmas meal if you celebrate that holiday because of the vibrant green and red colors.

If you don't celebrate Christmas and just love pomegranate seeds and smoked almonds, make this immediately!!

Green Beans With Pomegranate & Smoked Almonds

Ingredients
water
salt
green beans
olive oil
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes
pomegranate molasses
pomegranate seeds
smoked almonds, chopped
parsley, chopped

Directions
1. Cook the beans in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Drain and dry on a paper towel.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the beans and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute until the beans are browned.
3. Serve the beans drizzled with pomegranate molasses and topped with pomegranate seeds, smoked almonds and parsley.

What are YOU cooking?

11/21/18

What To Do With Leftover Fresh Cranberries: Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins


What To Do With Leftover Fresh Cranberries: Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I'm so thankful to my friend Erica for inviting me to join her family for Thanksgiving tomorrow. She asked me to bring flowers, but I also wanted to bake something for her and her husband and daughters to have for the day after Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe from Dessert for Two and two things stood out: fresh cranberries and sour cream!

I followed the recipe exactly, but doubled it. I made the mistake of not reading the directions clearly and ended up putting all the topping on top of the muffins instead of layering it...it still turned out great! The combination of tart cranberries and sweet streusel is stellar. I'm keeping a few for myself and bringing the rest to Erica. These would be so good with coffee! Or champagne ;)

Hope you have a very delicious day!

11/14/18

What To Cook When You Are Sick: Matzo Ball Soup With Broccoli Rabe, Carrots & Chicken


Good thing about being single and childless when you are sick is that you don't have to take care of anyone other than yourself. Ok, I do have to take care of my plants...

Not so good thing about being single and sick: you are the only one who will take care of you.

I've been with a cold (oy) for about a week and was SO happy that I had a mix of maztzo ball soup in my pantry (aka a kitchen cabinet).  I supplemented the mix with a few extra ingredients and had soup for days!

1) Add a healthy amount of turmeric to the broth and a sliced jalapeno
2) In the last 10 minutes of the cooking process add sliced carrots and broccoli rabe and defrosted (or fresh) rotisserie chicken
3) Garnish with parsley

This was so good, I even had leftovers for breakfast.

Here's to feeling healthy soon!

11/8/18

Easy Entertainment: Chili & Cornbread


Cooking for a crowd? Chili and Cornbread is your answer for easy entertainment. I had a few friends come over last Sunday for an arts & crafts lesson and wanted to serve something filling, delicious, but without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

Chili and cornbread is a great idea because you can make chili a day in advance and use a cornbread mix!

Easy Entertainment: Chili & Cornbread

for the chili

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 celery ribs, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 pounds ground beef
to taste: chili powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, smoked bourbon paprika, salt & pepper
4 cups pinto beans {I cooked mine in a pressure cooker, but you can use 2 cans of beans}
4 cups black beans {I cooked mine in a pressure cooker, but you can use 2 cans of beans}
2 cups chickpeas {I cooked mine in a pressure cooker, but you can use 1 can of beans}
1 can corn
2 cans diced tomatoes

for the cornbread
1 tablespoon butter
1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup corn (defrosted or fresh or canned)
1 jalapeno, sliced

1) Heat a large heavy bottomed Le Creuset or an equivalent on medium heat. Add oil and allow to heat.
2) Add onion, celery, and peppers and saute for about 10 minutes.
3) Add the spices and saute for another few minutes.
4) Add ground beef and saute until the meat is no longer pink.
5) Add all the beans, corn, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for a few hours.
6) Make the cornbread as you normally would, but add corn into the mixture and top with jalapenos before baking. I made mine in a cast iron skillet that I preheated in the oven and then let the butter melt inside before adding the batter.

Now let's talk about toppings: I provided cheese, scallions, and sour cream. My friend Sarah brought avocados and salsa. Colleen and Allison brought wine and dessert, and Ming brought canvases and paints for us to use for the art project.

What's your idea of easy entertainment? 

11/6/18

Radicchio & Roasted Squash Salad from Now & Again Cookbook from Julia Turshen


Thanksgiving is a few weeks away and maybe you've already started planning your menu, or maybe just like me you have a few butternut squashes sitting around and are looking for a fun recipe to make with them.

Either way, the Radicchio & Roasted Squash Salad from Julia Turshen's Now & Again Cookbook is a great way to use your butternut squash. My friends at OXO sent me a copy of Julia's book and a few kitchen tools. 

The book is divided into seasons and presents menus and recipes based on special occasions for each. If you, like me, love leftovers, Julia provides plenty of ideas for those too. 

If you've read my blog, you know I love oxo tools. One of my favorites is the angled measuring cup. I had the 2 cup capacity cup and am happy to add the mini one to my collection (see the photo below). I used the cup to measure 4 tablespoons of vinegar for the dressing in the recipe, which equals 1/4 cup.

I have many peelers, but this new one from oxo has a great grip, is light weight, has a swivel blade, and had no trouble peeling the tough skin of the butternut squash. I gave my old peeler to a friend!

Finally, I added fresh parsley to the salad and used oxo's Greensaver Herb Keeper to store the leftover parsley in my fridge. I love that the container is tall and doesn't take up too much space and allows the air to circulate around the herbs which makes them live longer: less money in the garbage!


And now the recipe!


Reprinted  from  Now  &  Again  by  Julia  Turshen  with  permission  by  Chronicle  Books,  2018 
Radicchio  +  Roasted  Squash  Salad 

SERVES  12 

This  salad  is  especially  great  for  the  holiday  not  only  for  its  wonderful  fall  flavors  but  also  because  it’s  hearty  and  can  sit  on  a  buffet  table  for  hours  without  losing  any  integrity  or  flavor.  In  fact,  you  can  mix  the  whole  thing  up  to  a  day  before,  refrigerate  it,  and  then  bring  it  to  room  temperature  before  serving. 

If  you  can  find  delicata  squash,  try  it  (just  seed  it,  no  need  to  peel it).  Note  that  if  you  can’t  find  squash  (or  if  you  dislike  it),  sweet  potatoes  make  an  excellent  substitute. 

3  lb  [1.3  kg]  butternut  squash,  halved  lengthwise,  tough  skin  peeled  and  ends  trimmed  and  discarded,  seeded,  and  cut  into  1-in  [2.5-cm]  pieces 
¾  cup  [180  ml]  olive  oil 
Kosher  salt 
Freshly  ground  black  pepper 
2  Tbsp  Dijon  mustard 
1  Tbsp  honey  or  maple  syrup 
¼  cup  [60  ml]  apple  cider  vinegar 
1  garlic  clove,  minced 
3  heads  radicchio,  each  about  ½  lb  [230  g],  cored  and  thinly  sliced 

Position  one  rack  in  the  center  of  your  oven  and  a  second  rack  in  the  top  third  and  preheat  to  400°F  [200°C].  Line  two  sheet  pans  with  parchment  paper. 

Divide  the  squash  evenly  between  the  prepared  pans,  then  drizzle  each  pan  with  2  Tbsp  of  the  olive  oil  and  season  generously  with  salt  and  pepper.  Use  your  hands  to  toss  everything. 

Roast  the  squash,  stirring  once  or  twice  along  the  way  and  switching  the  pans  between  the  racks  and  rotating  them  back  to  front  halfway  through  the  roasting,  until  softened  and  browned,  about  30  minutes. 

Set  the  squash  aside  to  cool  down  a  bit. 

In  a  large  bowl,  whisk  together  the  mustard,  honey,  vinegar,  and  garlic.  While  whisking  constantly,  slowly  drizzle  in  the  remaining  ½  cup  [120  ml]  olive  oil  to  make  a  dressing.  

Season  to  taste  with  salt  and  pepper.  Add  the  reserved  squash  and  the  radicchio  to  the  bowl  and  use  your  hands  to  combine  everything  gently  (messy,  but  fun). 

Transfer  the  salad  to  a  serving  platter  and  serve  immediately  (or  within  a  few  hours;  it  holds  well  at  room  temperature). 

It’s  Me  Again 
SQUASH  GRILLED  CHEESE 

Make  delicious  vegetarian  sandwiches  by  spreading  mayonnaise  on  both  sides  of  two  slices  of  bread,  top  with  your  favorite  melting  cheese  (such  as  Cheddar  or  Muenster),  and  add  a  large  handful  of  leftover  radicchio  and  squash  salad.  

Close  the  sandwich  and  cook  in  a  skillet until  browned  on  both  sides  and  the  cheese  is  melted,  about  1½  minutes  per  side  (the  mayonnaise  will  help  the  exterior  brown). 


Serve  with  mustard  and  pickles.  See  the  cover  of  the  book  if  you  need  any  convincing!  


This was such an easy recipe to make. I poured the dressing into the oxo squeeze bottle and drizzled it over the salad. That way you can easily store extra dressing in the refrigerator.

I had this salad for breakfast a few days and as part of dinner another night. I added fresh cucumbers and dried cherries to my leftovers!

Thanks oxo for sending me the book and the tools! As always, opinions are my own. I was not paid for this post. 

10/30/18

Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a great dish to make and freeze to have for meals after you come back from a vacation. That's exactly what I did before I flew out to Charleston to meet my twin and our two friends.

Of course you can make regular enchiladas by rolling the tortillas, but layering them in a casserole saves time. I used a rotisserie chicken breast, but you can use ground beef or even crumbled tofu. This dish turned out pretty well, but lacked in texture. I think adding corn and/or sauteed onions and peppers would have improved it.

Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This is not an exact recipe ;)

19 ounce can enchilada sauce
8-10 corn tortillas
14.5 ounce can of refried beans
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breasts
2-3 cups shredded cheese
fresh parsley, chopped
pickled banana peppers

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) In a small baking dish pour a bit of the sauce. Then layer tortillas/refried beans/chicken/cheese/sauce.
3) Repeat to make 3 layers ending with the cheese and enchilada sauce.
4) Bake the casserole for 30 to 40 minutes and serve topped with parsley and banana peppers.

Not pictured: sour cream is a great topping as is salsa, guacamole and a bit of lime juice.

To freeze, allow the casserole to cool down completely, cut into pieces and freeze.

Thanks Kate and Anna for suggesting this :)

10/24/18

Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley


Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley takes minutes to make and can be vegan if that's your preference.

A few days ago I turned steamed cauliflower and chicken broth into a super quick soup right in my blender. What made this soup extra special were the toppings!


Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley

Ingredients
steamed cauliflower
chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
chili oil
za'atar
chopped parsley

Directions
1. Puree cauliflower and chicken broth in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. You want to start with two parts cauliflower and 1 part chicken broth and then add more liquid as needed.
2. Heat the soup in a small saucepan and pour into bowls.
3. Drizzle the soup with chili oil and top with za'atar and parsley.