Thursday, December 7, 2017

Elephant Ear Cookies

1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt Flour, for dusting work surface 1 lb. puff pastry (or 1 17.3-oz. package), thawed 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is very finely chopped and resembles coarse sand.

On lightly floured parchment paper, roll the puff pastry out into an 11 x 20-inch rectangle (or two smaller separate rectangle if pastry doesn't easily seal together). Transfer the rolled out pastry on the parchment to a baking sheet, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Brush the dough evenly with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the pecan-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing gently into the dough. Starting with the short side of the dough (or long side if two separate sheets), roll up into a spiraled log to enclose the filling. Roll the log tightly in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes (stays well overnight in fridge as well).

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dough into slices about 3/4-inch thick. Generously sprinkle a work surface with sugar (or cinnamon sugar – your call). Use a rolling pin to roll each slice to a diameter of about 6 or 7 inches (about 4 inches if two separate rolls), adding more sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Place the rolled cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, 3-4 per sheet (or more if smaller cookies). Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are light golden, about 18 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets slightly. Carefully transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.

12 large cookies or 2-3 dozen smaller cookies

Quick & Easy Recipes

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 cups crisp rice cereal
1 lb milk chocolate chips or bar

In a large kettle, combine the peanut butter and butter and heat over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, sifted powdered sugar and cereal. Stir to combine. Roll into 1" balls or use Pampered Chef Small Scoop, and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. If they are sticking to your hands, run your hands under cold water—it helps! Freeze or refrigerate until firm. Note: For nicely shaped balls, freeze for about 10-15 minutes, then remove from freezer and roll again into smooth balls. Return to freezer until firm.

Using a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over a kettle of boiling water, melt the chocolate and wax (if using). Wax helps make a traditional glossy, thin, easy coating. Just chocolate will be thicker. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and dip each ball into the chocolate until coated. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



Servings 30; Serving Size 2 peanut butter balls (38g); Calories 200; Calories from fat 110; Total fat 13g; Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 80mg; Carbohydrate 20g; Dietary Fiber <1g; Sugars 15g; Protein 4g

Monday, December 4, 2017

Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate cookies rolled in powered sugar and baked until perfectly chewy, what’s not to love about that?

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls (or I use Pampered Chef small scoop) into powdered sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

5 dozen

Betty Crocker

Calories 70, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 35mg, Potassium 20mg, Total Carbohydrate 10g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 1g

Monday, November 27, 2017

Chicken Tikka Masala

For the chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons oil, separated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 large clove garlic, minced

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 large white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Penzey’s New Curry
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger or ginger paste
1 1/2 cups canned tomato purée
1/2 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Use a fork to prick the chicken breasts all over on both sides. Arrange the chicken breasts on a large sheet of plastic wrap, spacing them apart from one another, then cover with a second large sheet of plastic wrap. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet or a rolling pin, beat the chicken until the breasts are an even 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 tablespoon oil, lime juice, and garlic. Place chicken and marinade in a plastic bag, rubbing the marinade over the meat. Set the chicken aside while you make the sauce.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium then stir in the curry spice and ginger. Add the tomato purée, water, half-and-half, salt, and pepper, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

While the sauce simmers, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the chicken in two rounds, turning them to brown gently until chicken is cooked through, roughly 6 to 8 minutes. Chop into bite sized pieces and add the chicken to the sauce and heat through, stirring occasionally until desired consistency.

Serve over naan or with Indian rice.

4 servings

Modified from Epicurious.

Calories 551, Carbohydrates 16g, Fat 36g, Protein 43g, Sodium 727mg, Fiber 4g,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Less fat AND less calories. Except taste and flavor is not compromised AT ALL! So cheesy, comforting and irresistible! We added a bacon sprinkle for a little guilty pleasure.

3 cups cavatappi pasta
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup half and half, or more, as needed
2 oz cream cheese
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or mix of cheeses)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bacon, optional
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Within the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add cauliflower; drain well.
  3. Melt butter in a 9-inch oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half and half, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, Dijon and garlic powder until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 cup cheese until melted, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more half and half as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir in pasta and cauliflower; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  6. Sprinkle with cooked bacon pieces, if desired.
  7. Place into oven and bake until bubbly, about 12-15 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.

6 servings

Damn Delicious


4 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

6-8 servings

Food Network (Alton Brown)

Mexican Corn Dip

The traditional Mexican street corn is turned into the best dip ever. It was a huge hit at our neighborhood game night.

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 cups (28 oz) corn kernels, frozen, slightly thawed
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
4-1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
4-1/2 Tbsp crumbled cotija cheese
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)
1 large clove garlic, pressed
Juice of 1 large lime

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add corn kernels and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes.

Cool corn slightly, then stir in mayonnaise, cotija, cilantro, chili powder, garlic and lime juice.

Serve immediately.

8-10 servings

Damn Delicious

Costco BBQ Ribs

After several attempts to cook the pre-rubbed St. Louis ribs from Costco, I think we finally figured out the magic cooking combination to get moist and not-too-charred BBQ ribs.

1 pkg Costco St. Louis ribs
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Wrap each slab of ribs in heavy-duty foil and seal. Place both packets on large cookie sheet or baking dish. Place in oven on center rack and bake for 3 hours.

Preheat grill to medium. Remove ribs from foil and place on grill meat side up. Baste top with BBQ sauce and grill for 5 min. Flip, baste again and grill for about 5 min. until nice grill marks appear. Flip and grill for 2-3 min. just to caramelize sauce on bottom.

6-8 servings

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Tokyo Kaikan Gimlet

2 oz gin
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp simple syrup
1/2 tsp Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice

Pour into a shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover; shake vigorously until outside of shaker is frosty. Strain into a coupe glass; add 1 large ice cube from shaker.

1 serving

Marvel Bar in Minneapolis, MN. Recipe published by bon appétit.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cilantro Lime Honey Garlic Shrimp Skillet

A quick shrimp skillet for those looking for a healthy weeknight meal. It’s zesty, full of life, dee-licious!

Café Sid Notes: OUR NOTES

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced (or ginger paste)
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Pepper to taste

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients and divide it into half.
  2. Marinate the shrimp in half the sauce for 15-30 minutes. Discard marinade.
  3. Over medium high heat in a 10" cast iron skillet, pan sear the shrimp in some oil. Sear them on both sides in batches until browned, about 1 minute per side.
  4. Using tongs, rub the shrimp into caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Remove from skillet and place in serving bowl.
  5. Cook remaining sauce in hot skillet. Sauté about 1 minute until thickening and bubbly. Drizzle sauce over shrimp and serve.

2-4 servings

The Cooking Jar

Tory Burch's South Side

Tory’s favorite cocktail to serve during the summer is the classic Southside, which seems to work with any occasion.

4 mint leaves, plus mint sprig for serving
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Club soda (for serving)

Muddle mint leaves with simple syrup in a shaker. Add gin and lemon juice; fill shaker with ice. Shake until frosty. Strain into an ice-filled glass; top off with a splash of club soda and a mint sprig.

1 serving

bon appétit

Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix

This is a substitute for Pampered Chef's Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix.

1/4 cup dried rosemary, crushed
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried lemon zest/peel
1 Tbsp dried granulated garlic

Crush dried rosemary so that it doesn't seem so "twiggy". Just toss into a blender or spice grinder and pulse a few times. Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container.

About 1/2 cup

Recipe Roundup

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Vegetables

Have the family over for a sensational one-dish meal complete with roasted potatoes and vegetables.

2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 Tbsp Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix*
1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 lbs unpeeled small red potatoes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4"-thick wedges
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the tenderloins side by side, but not touching, on the Large Bar Pan. Rub the surface of the pork with garlic pressed with the Garlic Press. In a small bowl, combine the seasoning mix and salt. Rub the mixture over the entire surface of the pork.
  2. Use the Forged Chef’s Knife to cut the potatoes in half or in quarters, depending on their size, and to cut the bell pepper into 1" pieces. Then slice the onion into ¼"-thick wedges. In a large Bamboo Fiber Mixing Bowl, combine the oil, pressed garlic, seasoning mix, salt, and black pepper; mix well. Add the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Place the vegetables on the bar pan, surrounding the pork. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the Pocket Thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) for medium doneness; 165°F (74°C) for well done (see Cook’s Tips). Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Carve the pork into thin slices. Arrange the tenderloin slices and vegetables on a serving platter.

8 servings

Pampered Chef

Calories 240 (29% from fat), Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Carbohydrate 18 g, Protein 25 g, Sodium 340 mg, Fiber 2 g

The tenderloin is the leanest pork cut available and one of the easiest to prepare. Roasting the meat at a high temperature for a short period of time ensures the meat will remain tender and juicy.

The temperature of the pork will rise approximately 5 degrees during standing to reach the desired temperatures of 160°F/71°C for medium doneness and 170°F/77°C for well done. Check the internal temperature of the meat after 25 minutes of roasting to be sure it doesn’t become overcooked.

Crushed dried rosemary can be substituted for the seasoning mix, if desired. We also use our own version of Pampered Chef's Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tater Tot Hotdish

This was another successful recipe that America's Test Kitchen sent to us to try and provide feedback. It totally brought back the hot lunch/potluck meals of day's gone by, but it was tasty so figured we could have it occasionally during the fall/winter.

1-1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
1 lb white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas*
1 cup frozen corn*
2 lb bag frozen tater tots*

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 25 to 28 minutes, breaking up beef with spoon.
  2. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Transfer to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.**
  3. Sprinkle peas and corn evenly over beef mixture. Lightly place tater tots in even layer over top, but do not press into mixture (you may have extra). Bake until tater tots are deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 38 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with ketchup, if desired.

6-8 servings

America's Test Kitchen for publication in Cook's Country.

*Be sure to buy the cylinder-shaped frozen tater tots (not crispy crowns or coins). Do not thaw the tots or the vegetables; they go into the hotdish frozen. Depending on the dish, you may have about 1 cup of tater tots leftover.

**For the best browned and crunchy tater tots, bake in a 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish (deeper dishes inhibit browning). Don’t be tempted to turn on your broiler; Pyrex cannot withstand the broiler’s direct heat.

To Make Ahead: Hotdish can be prepared through step 2: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil, stir, sprinkle evenly with peas and corn, place tater tots on top, and bake as directed in step 3.

Guinness Pulled Chicken

2-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, sliced
1 bottle (12 oz) Guinness beer
1-1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

  1. Slice onions. Toss onions into slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker on top of onions. Mix Guinness, bbq sauce, and spices together in a small mixing bowl and pour over chicken.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  4. Shred chicken with forks. Remove onions from sauce if you prefer to not include them with the shredded meat. (Note: the onions hold all the spices ... YUM!) Toss chicken back into crock pot to soak up the juices. Serve on a bun, on top of salad, or by itself with some sides.

?? servings

Alley's Recipe Book

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chocolate Bouchons

These small, brownie-like cakes from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery are named for their shape, which resembles a cork, or bouchon in French; they are very rich and chocolaty, baked with the chocolate chips in the batter and dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Butter and flour for the timbale molds
3-1/2 oz (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
24 Tbsp (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
6 oz semisweet chocolate (55%), chopped into pieces or use chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Butter and flour 12 timbale molds* (Bouchon Bakery uses 2-ounce Fleximolds and serves smaller bouchons. You can also use 3-ounce [2- to 2 1/2-inch diameter] timbale molds for larger cakes.) Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
  4. Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a toothpick: It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate). Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds; then lift off the molds.
  5. To serve, invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners' sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired. (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.)

36 servings (with my bouchon mold)

Bouchon Bakery via Delish

chef notes
*I purchased my bouchon mold from Williams Sonoma.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Slow Cooker Barbecued Spareribs

We signed up to be a recipe tester for America's Test Kitchen, and this was our first recipe we received and tested. It was a success!

3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 racks (2 1/2- to 3-pound each) St. Louis-style spareribs, trimmed, cut in half crosswise*
1/2 cup ketchup
6 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

  1. Combine paprika, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, pepper, salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, and cayenne in bowl. Pat spareribs dry with paper towels and rub with spice mixture.
  2. Arrange ribs vertically** in slow cooker with thick ends pointing down and meaty side against interior wall (ribs will overlap). Cover and cook until ribs are just tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. Adjust oven rack 3 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set wire rack in aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and coat with vegetable oil spray. Transfer ribs meaty side up to prepared rack. Let ribs sit for 10 minutes to allow surface to dry out.
  4. Whisk ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke, and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar in bowl until sugar has dissolved. Brush ribs with half of sauce and broil until sauce is bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove ribs from broiler and brush with remaining sauce. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones to separate. Serve.
*We don't have a cleaver, so we are going to ask the butcher to cut them for us next time. First time out, we just laid the ribs in diagonally.

**Standing arrangement image below:

4-6 servings

America's Test Kitchen