8 Flavors of Rice

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Coconut rice, Indian spice rice, pineapple lime rice, chicken rice, spicy green rice, Mexican  rice, soy ginger rice, lemon dill rice

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I rarely make plain white rice, it never was a staple in my household. I have very much trying simple add-ins to make basic rice more flavorful as well as coming up with different options for vegetables to load up the rice with and make it more healthy/nutritious. Most of the recipes below show 2 options for each rice flavor, 1 for the simple rice, and 1 that includes add-ins to mix in with the rice or cook with the rice.

 

Coconut Rice

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This has long been one of my favorite side dishes. It is sweet and absolutely delicious. I love how easy it is to make!

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white or Jasmine rice
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • Splash of white vinegar
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • Handful of chopped green onions for garnish
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Combine rice, coconut milk, water, salt, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Allow to stand 5 minutes.
  • Add green onions, black pepper (if desired), and additional salt if necessary.

Add-in version

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  • For add-ins I sauteed 2 small yellow squash and 1/2 cauliflower head (both chopped) until tender, then threw in some snap peas (~1 cup) at the end (since they take less time to cook).
  • After the rice was cooked, I mixed these vegetables into the rice

 

Indian Spice Rice

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I make this dish frequently. It is such a delicious way to pack in lots of veggies and makes the house smell amazing. This is just a very simple set of spices to try out that turns out well, it is very easy to try adding different quantities of other spices.

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tbs cumin seeds (if you don’t have these just add extra ground cumin)
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbs salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (change the amount of cayenne to suit your spiciness preference)
  • 4 cups water

Directions:

  •  Heat olive oil and cumin seeds in a large pot until cumin is fragrant
  • Add uncooked rice and all the spices. Stir rice to coat with spices and toast ~2 minutes.
  • Add water, bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook ~20 minutes until rice soaks up all the water. Stir occasionally to keep bottom from burning. If rice is still slightly hard, add more water 1/4 cup at a time to reach desired consistency.

Add-in version

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I never make this dish without veggie add-ins! As opposed to some of these rice dishes, I add the veggies during the cooking process instead of at the end.

  • When I add lots of veggies I double the spices added (so 2 tbs curry powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tbs salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne)
  • Veggies I used – 1 onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 small head broccoli, 1/2 head cauliflower, handful green beans, handful peas
  • Heat olive oil, onion, and cumin seeds in a large pot until cumin is fragrant
  • Add chopped veggies (except peas) and all spices. Stir for ~5 minutes to begin cooking the vegetables.
  • Add the rice and peas. Stir to coat rice with spice and toast for ~2 minutes.
  • Add the water, bring to a simmer, cover, simmer about 20 minutes until rice is cooked through. Add more water as needed 1/4 cup water at a time.

Pineapple Lime Rice

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This sweet and citrusy rice dish is a great accompaniment to all kinds of different different grilled meat or you can add meat in directly to make this a main dish. The flavors here are great, and again this rice is so easy to make!

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups long grain rice
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 tbs butter
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 3 chopped green onions

Directions:

  • Combine rice, pineapple, water, butter, lime zest, and salt into a pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is soft. Stir occasionally to make sure the rice on bottom doesn’t burn. Add more water if needed (the rice starts to burn or you run out of liquid before the rice is soft).
  • To cooked rice, add chopped cilantro, lime juice, and green onions, stir to mix.

Add-in version

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  • I added some veggies to this dish by sauteing 1 orange bell pepper and a handful of green beans (both chopped) with a bit of olive oil and salt ahead of time and mixing them in after the rice was cooked.

 

Chicken Rice

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Using stock (chicken, beef, vegetable) instead of just water to cook rice is an extremely easy way to add some flavor to plain old rice. For the add-ins I used classic soup vegetables that pair well with the chicken stock flavor. Depending on the flavor strength of the bouillon you use you may want to do 1.5x or 2x the needed amount for the water in this recipe to give it extra flavor, especially if you’re adding vegetables. You can also certainly use actual chicken stock instead of bouillon!

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • chicken bouillon (optional: double the amount needed for 4 cups water)

Directions:

  •  Add rice, water, and bouillon to a pot. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for ~20 minutes until rice is cooked. Add more water if needed, stir occasionally.

Add-in version

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  • I used carrots, onions, celery (chopped somewhat small to help with cooking time), and sliced mushrooms.
  • Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add water and bouillon, bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add rice and another 1/2 cup water. Simmer for ~20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

Spicy Green Rice

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This is the only recipe where I did mix in any add-ins because I included the peppers and zucchini in the base recipe. This turned out delicious! I enjoy this method of blending up vegetables to add to the rice and might play around with this even more.

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 14 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 poblano peppers, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 3 serrano peppers, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped (the amount of serranos can be adjusted depending on spiciness preference, using 3 made it fairly spicy. You can also substitute jalapeno peppers if you prefer)
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice

Directions:

  •  Add peppers and zucchini to vegetable stock in a pot, bring to a simmer, simmer for 15 min
  • Pour peppers, zucchini, and stock into a blender. Add cilantro, garlic, and salt and blend together until not chunky.
  • Heat oil over medium-high  heat, add onions and cook until tender, add rice and toast for ~2 minutes. Pour pepper mixture into the pan, bring to a boil then simmer for ~20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through.  (add more water if needed)

Add-in version

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  • I ended up not adding any additional vegetables to this dish since I blended the zucchini up with the peppers, but it would be easy to saute some bell pepper, more zucchini or squash, or a variety of other veggies and stir them into the mix.

 

Mexican Rice

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The simple version is a take on classic Mexican rice you get at restaurants. Tomatoes and spices add a great flavor to the rice.

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  •  Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 min until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through. Add more water if needed, stir occasionally to make sure the bottom rice doesn’t burn.

Add-in version

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This recipe makes a great base for adding in all kinds of veggies.

  • Cooked with the rice – 1 chopped onion, 3 minced cloves garlic, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 cup frozen corn kernals, 1 cup diced carrots
  • Added into the rice after cooking – 2 chopped Roma tomatoes, chopped cilantro
  • I doubled the spices from the recipe above
  • Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat in a pot. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato sauce, vegetable broth, corn, carrots, peas, and spices. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer ~20 minutes until rice is cooked through
  • Stir in chopped tomatoes and garnish with cilantro

Soy Ginger Rice

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Delicious Asian flavors make this rice awesome. This is an alternative to making fried rice where you add already cooked rice in with the stir-fry.

Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbs sherry
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs Sriracha
  • 1 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup uncooked rice

Directions:

  •  Mix all ingredients into a pot. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for ~20 minutes until rice is cooked. Add more water if needed, stir occasionally.

Add-in version

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  • You can load this recipe up with tons of veggies and they taste great! I added: 2 cloves garlic, 1 red bell pepper, 1 head cauliflower, 1 head broccoli, 1 carrot, a handful of snap peas, 1 can of cut baby corn.
  • Double the sauce ingredients if you are adding several vegetables. (double soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, ginger, and sherry).
  • Option 1: cook plain rice and mix into stir-fried veggies with more sauce to make fried rice
  • Option 2: Cook rice alone in the sauce as in the simple version, stir-fry the veggies in more of the sauce and add them into the rice after they are cooked
  • Option 3: Stir-fry veggies in pot with sauce, add rice and water and simmer until rice is cooked. Directions: heat 1 tbs sesame oil in pot. Add garlic and cook till fragrant. Add all veggies and the soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, sriracha, and ginger. Stir fry until veggies almost cooked. Add the rice and water, simmer 20 minutes until the rice is cooked through.

Lemon Dill Rice

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Simple version

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • chopped fresh dill
  • chopped green onions

 

Directions:

  •  heat olive oil in a pot, add lemon zest, rice, and turmeric, stir to coat.
  • Add vegetable stock, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes until rice is cooked through.
  • Mix in dill and green onions.

Add-in version

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  • For this rice I added some garlic and onions in while cooking and then afterwards stirred in some dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, and pine nuts.
  • Before adding lemon zest, rice, and turmeric, add onions and garlic to the oil and cook for a few minutes, then proceed with the rest of the recipe
  • Add in other components after rice is cooked.

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Cornbread Stuffing

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This stuffing has so few ingredients but it is so delicious! The brown butter and sage flavors come through very strongly. You can use store-bought cornbread, make it from scratch, or use a box mix. I used a box mix this time and it turned out great!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cornbread (cubed and crumbled)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 12 large fresh sage leaves, stems removed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or water to make it vegetarian)
  • salt and pepper
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • In a large skillet melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned about 8 minutes.
  • Put cornbread in a large bowl. Melt 6 tbs butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook until it starts to brown. As soon as the butter starts to brown add the sage leaves and fry in the butter for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour the butter and sage mixture over the cornbread.
  • Add the cooked onions to the cornbread. Add the eggs and mix. Season further with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken stock or water until mixture is evenly moistened but not soggy.
  • Pour the dressing into an 8″x8″ pan and bake for ~30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the dressing is set in the middle.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

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This sweet potato casserole always goes over well with everyone! We usually serve it as a side dish but it’s pretty much as sweet as dessert. It has a delicious sugary pecan crust on top of the mashed sweet potato layer.

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Ingredients:

  • ~5 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbs butter, softened
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Put sweet potatoes in a pan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender. Drain and mash (I mash potatoes in my stand mixer)
  • Mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk, vanilla extract, and spices. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13″ baking dish.
  • Mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  • Bake in the preheated over for 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

You can prepare this the day before or earlier in the day and bake right before serving. This also reheats well as a leftover.

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Cranberry, Apple, Turkey Sausage Stuffing

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We had a Thanksgiving potluck at work so I wanted to try out a few side dishes. They all turned out great! You can use this stuffing to actually stuff a turkey or bake it on its own. It’s extremely flavorful and delicious! I will for sure be making this again next year. You can mix and match different kinds of bread.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 cups cubed bread (white or wheat or sourdough)
  • 1.2 lbs ground turkey sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 6 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem
  • 5 springs fresh thyme, leave stripped from stem
  • 2 apples, chopped 1/2″ or smaller chunks (I used granny smith)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 tbs melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Spread cubed bread on large baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Cook sausage and onions over medium heat in a skillet, stirring until onions are browned and sausage is cooked through.
  • Add celery and fresh herbs to skillet with onions and sausage and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour sausage mixture over the bread. Mix in the apples and dried cranberries. Drizzle the melted butter and chicken stock over the bread mixture and stir to mix everything.
  • Pour mixture into a 9″x13″ pan and bake for 30 minutes until heated through and top layer starts to brown.

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Pumpkin Bars

dsc_0409It’s finally time to post something again! I have some free time now that the wedding is over😀 These pumpkin bars are something my family have made ever since I was little. I believe the recipe was passed down from my Grandpa.

The pumpkin bars turn out like a dense moist pumpkin cake texture. They are sooo delicious and soft. They would be good even without the cream cheese frosting on top. These are my favorite thing to make with pumpkin and they are super easy!

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This recipe makes 1 standard 9×13 pan’s worth of pumpkin bars but I usually double it which works nicely if you buy one of the large cans of pumpkin (~29 oz) and a full 8oz cream cheese package. I usually store the leftovers in the refrigerator so the cream cheese icing holds up better.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 15-16oz canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon (can add other spices if you want, e.g. nutmeg, cloves)

Frosting

  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  • In mixer, beat together eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to pumpkin mix and mix well.
  • Spread batter into 9″ x 13″ pan (can adjust cooking time if you want to use a bigger or smaller pan)
  • Bake in 350 F oven for 25-35 min (check doneness with knife or fork after 25 min and add time until it comes out clean)
  • Let Cool
  • Mix together frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost the bars

 

 

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Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere Feast

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Since we’re away for so many of the coming weekends and we just moved recently, we wanted to have a feast for the Game of Thrones premiere and have some friends over to enjoy it with us.🙂 It was great! So many tasty dishes. I only tried a little bit of everything and was stuffed. We washed it down with mead and wine and cider that our friends brought. The timing worked out well and we had the last dish set out at 8:12 with people supposed to show up at 8:15.

My favorites: The lamb shank is a recipe we’ve made a few times recently and it is soooo freaking delicious. It’s insanely flavorful (not subtle) and makes the most killer leftovers. The sauce you get from cooking the lamb that goes over the top and on the orzo is SO good. We want to try out this recipe with another type of meat some time soon. My other favorite was the onion, cheddar, potato tart. Cheesy onion, potato pie? Can’t go wrong, super delicious. The cream puff filling is delicious, the lamb pie was excellent, it all turned out really well actually! There wasn’t anything I didn’t like.

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Here is the whole spread. This food wasn’t from any particular region in the show and wasn’t from the cookbook I’ve used before, it was just food that seemed appropriate for feasting and like things that might get eaten at a royal feast. We’ve got:

Roast goose with rosemary and grapes

Mushroom gruyere thyme tart

Pan fried whole trout

Beet, spinach, goat cheese tart

Roast spiced honey lemon game hens with potatoes

Moroccan spiced lamb pie

Carmelized onion, cheddar, potato tart

Blackberry apple cake

Roasted pear tarts with brandy blue cheese topping

Braised lamb shanks over orzo

Sugared almonds

Brown butter pecan asparagus

Roasted carrots with thyme

Vanilla custard filled croquembouche drizzled with caramel (didn’t hold up because the puffs got too soft after thawing them, I made them the night before and froze them and they should have been cooked a bit longer)

 

People have occasionally asked about my timing for preparing a meal like this. Here was my rough schedule for this feast:

3 days before: prepare menu

2 days before: grocery shop (butcher shop for meats, regular grocery store for everything else)

Day before:

made sugared almonds

made blackberry apple cake

made croquembouche puffs and filling

chopped vegetables and put in baggies for different recipes

shredded cheeses

roasted and sliced beets

Day of feast:

Morning – made lamb shanks (reheated shanks in the sauce right before serving). Mixed together all tart fillings, stored in bowls in fridge

~3 – put goose in oven, assembled croquembouche, made lamb pie filling, made orzo (also reheated right before serving)

~6 – put game hens in oven then started nonstop rotation of other dishes in oven, always had 3 things in oven and 1 assembled ready to go in (carrots, lamb pie, 3 tarts, pears)

~7:30 – stovetop cooking of asparagus and fish, reheating lamb shank components

Everything gets plated and covered with foil. The stuff that retains heat the longest like the goose and game hens came out first. Everything was still actually warm (to varying extents) when people got there😀

Preparing where everything will sit

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Recipes and more pictures of everything here!

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Roast goose with rosemary and grapes

  • Goose
  • 4-8 Tbs butter (depending on how big a bird you’re making). I would normally not use quite as much as I did, but this was for a royal feast.
  • 4 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lbs red seedless grapes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine butter, chopped rosemary, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Food process or stir together until fully mixed. With your hands, spread the butter mixture all over the entire goose. Place the extra rosemary inside the cavity along with some grapes.

Drizzle the grapes with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place around the goose in the pan.

Roast for about 20min per lb of goose until the internal temperature is 165F.

Serve with pan juices from burst grapes.

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Mushroom Gruyere thyme tart

  • Puff pastry sheet
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1-2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 4 tbs sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • mushrooms for topping
  • fresh thyme

Roll puff pastry out and use flat on a baking sheet with edges folded up, or use a tart pan. Brush dough with beaten egg and bake at 400F for 10 min.

Stir together grated cheese, sour cream, and eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Cut mushrooms into slices or small pieces.

Spread cheese mixture over the pastry and then place mushrooms on top. (If the mushrooms are big you can cook them in a bit of butter to soften them first).

Bake tart for another 10-15 minutes until puff pastry gets golden and crisp.

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Pan fried whole trout

  • 4 full trout, boned, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • olive oil

Sprinkle inside and outside of fish with salt and pepper. Combine flour and cornmeal. Dredge both sides of fish in the flour mixture.

Fill skillet about 1/4 inch full of olive oil and heat medium-high. Add fish to the pan skin side down and cook 6-7 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook the other side till the fish is brown and crispy, another 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Fill inside with lemon slices and serve hot.

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Beet, spinach, goat cheese tart

  • 2 cups spinach
  • sheet puff pastry
  • Roasted beets, sliced
  • large log goat cheese at room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400F. Put spinach in colander in the sink. Pour boiling water over the spinach to wilt it slightly. Squeeze out the water and add the spinach to a food processor. Add in the goat cheese and process till mixed together.

Roll out the pastry sheet and put into a tart pan or just put on a baking tray, brush with egg. Bake for 10 minutes. Spread goat cheese mixture over the pastry and top with slices of beets. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until pastry is golden and crisp.

 

 

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Roast spiced honey lemon game hens with potatoes

  • 2 cornish game hens
  • 4 tbs honey
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix together honey, oil, cinnamon, and paprika.

Season the outside and the cavity of the hens with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges. Brush the outside of the hens with 1/3rd of the honey glaze (reserving the rest)

Roast the hens, brushing with glaze twice more during cooking, until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 F.

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Moroccan spiced lamb pie

  • 2 large lamb chops (can also use other cuts like lamb shoulder meat, the chops were just on sale and looked good), cubed
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cumin seeds to sprinkle on top
  • heat oil on high, saute onion and garlic with the spices for 2-3 minutes until the onion is tender. Add the lamb pieces and cook 5-6 minutes until browned on all sides.

Stir in the stock, reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the lid and simmer another 30 min until the lamb is tender and the sauce thickens. You can use flour or cornstarch mixed with a small amount of water to thicken the sauce further if needed.

Preheat oven to 400F. Bake pie crust for 10 min. Pour lamb filling into the crust and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Cut circle in puff pastry so it is large enough to cover the pie filling. Put on top of pie and press edges to seal. brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with cumin seeds. Make air vents with a knife. Bake for 20 min or until pastry on top is puffed and golden.

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Caramelized onion, cheddar, potato tart

  • 1 round pie crust dough
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 lb potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large pan or pot over medium-high heat, add onions and cook until caramelized. Reduce heat as needed to prevent burning. Set aside to cool.

In a pot, add sliced potatoes and cover with enough cold water to cover by 1″. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes. Drain potatoes running cold water over them to cool.

Mix together sour cream, egg, cheese, sage, salt, and pepper, stir in cooled onions.

Heat oven to 400F. Roll out pie crust. Place potatoes on top a few layers thick, leaving a 1″ border uncovered. Spread onion mixture on top of the potatoes and fold the crust over/around the filling. Brush edges with beaten egg and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. This makes a delicious hot or cold leftover as well. 

Recipe adapted from here

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Blackberry apple cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 11 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 apple, sliced

Grease a springform pan and line the base with parchment paper.

Heat oven to 350F. Place four and cold butter in food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and milk, pulse for a few seconds until just combined.

Spoon half the mixture into the pan and cover with half the blackberries. Spread the rest of the mixture into the pan and lay the apples slices and remaining blackberries on top.

Bake for 45-50 min until risen, golden, and inserting a fork in the center comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from here

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Roasted pear tarts with brandy blue cheese topping

  • 3 pears
  • puff pastry
  • half lemon
  • 3 tbs blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tbs brandy
  • 2 tbs chopped walnuts

Cut the pears in half and scoop out the seeds and some of the interior. Brush pears with lemon juice. Arrange pears facing down on lined baking sheet. Place puff pastry over the pears and form into rough pear shape with stem and leaves.

Bake in oven at 400F for 15-20 min until pastry is golden. Mix together cheese, brandy, and walnuts, spoon into hot pears.

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Braised lamb shanks over orzo

  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 small lamb shanks or 1 large lamb shank
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 cups port
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 heads roasted garlic (chop off tops, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 1.5 hours at 200F til soft, let cool before squeezing pulp out)
  • 1 lb orzo
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs cold butter
  • 8 cups chicken stock

Heat oven to 350 F. Heat 3 tbs olive oil in dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Liberally season lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper. Sear the shanks on all sides until golden brown, remove and set aside. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook 5 minutes. Add the port and red wine, cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken stock, the pulp from the roasted garlic, and the lamb shanks. Brink to a boil on the stove, then cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until tender (add 30 min for large shanks).

Remove the shanks, strain the sauce into a medium saucepan. Cook the sauce over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Serve shanks with the sauce drizzled over the top of the shanks and orzo.

For the orzo:

heat the 2 tbs butter and 2 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add half the orzo and toast till golden brown. Add the remaining orzo to the pan. Add chicken stock 1 cup at a time and cook until water is incorporated and orzo is al dente. Remove from heat and add 2 tbs cold butter, stirring to incorporate.

Recipe adapted from here

Sugared almonds

1 1/2 cup whole almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs pure cane sugar

1/4 tsp maple syrup

1 egg white

dash of salt

bean egg white with maple syrup till frothy. Add almonds and stir to coat. Mix together cinnamon, sugars, and salt and pour over the almonds, stirring again to coat. Spread over a lined baking tray and bake for 30 min at 300 F, stirring occasionally.

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Brown butter pecan asparagus

  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cup chopped pecans

Roast pecans in a skillet, stirring frequently until fragrant but not burnt.

Brown butter in the same skillet (brown specs form and a nutty aroma is produced).

Reduce heat to low, add asparagus and sprinkle with salt. Cover pan and continue to cook until desired tenderness of asparagus.

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Roasted carrots with thyme

  • 1 bunch carrots
  • fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt

clean carrots and chop off stems/ends. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and chopped fresh thyme.

Roast for 45 minutes at 400F (time will vary depending on thickness of carrots and desired tenderness)

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Croquembouche

 

Followed recipe exactly here from the Food Network

My croquembouche fell for a few reasons, 1. the puffs needed to cook a bit longer and probably could have been crisped up once I thawed them out from making them the day before. Since I had so many things to do I tried to make it too early which gave it time to heat up. A few of the puffs fell apart in the middle causing it to start sagging so we just dissembled it and put it on a plate instead.

 

 

 

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Sweet Quick-Breads 2

Last fall I made several sweet quick bread recipes. This year I wanted to try out some new recipes and they turned out great!

This time the types were: Pumpkin Nutella, Chocolate Cherry, Cinnamon Raisin Zucchini, Lemon Raspberry Poppy Seed, Pistachio, Bacon Onion Gouda, Beer Cheese, Cranberry Pecan, Sweet Potato Bourbon, Coconut Lime Blueberry, Rosemary Chocolate, Banana Cream.

The recipes below are for full size loaves (9×5″ pan) which will make 2 mini loaves or 4 super mini loaves (like I made below). Adjust the cooking time down from ~60 min to ~30 min or less for the super mini loaves.

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Sweet Potato Bourbon Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

Directions:

  • Beat together butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time and beat till mixed in.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir four mixture into butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternately with bourbon.
  • Mix in sweet potatoes
  • Pour batter into 9×5” loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour

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Cranberry Pecan Bread

Delicious if you love tart cranberries. If you don’t like the tartness you can heat the cranberries with some sugar before adding them in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 cups cranberries

Topping:

  • 1 cup cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or grease 9×5 loaf pan.
  • Cream together butter and sugar. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda
  • Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice. Stir to mix. Fold in Cranberries. Pour into loaf pan
  • Mix together brown sugar, butter, pecans and cranberries and sprinkle over the top of the batter in the pan
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
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Cherry Chocolate Bread

Very moist from all the cherry juice. I love cherries and chocolate together. I topped these with cream cheese frosting and added some dried cherries on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag (10 oz) frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 1 bag (10 oz) frozen pitted cherries, thawed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbs butter, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • In medium saucepan, combine cherries and sugar. Crush cherries. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Transfer to separate bowl and let cool. Add sour cream and eggs. Combine with the flour mixture.
  • Fold chopped cherries into batter. Gradually stir in butter. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Tablespoon

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Cinnamon Raisin Zucchini Bread

Tasty take on zucchini bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  • Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder
  • Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Mix in flour mixture alternately with zucchini.
  • Fold in raisins and walnuts.
  • Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes

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Banana Cream Bread

As if banana bread needs to be any more delicious. This bread is VERY good, one of the stand outs for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 mashed, ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream Topping:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350, grease two loaf pans and set aside.
  • Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs, mix well. In a separate bowl mix the sour cream and baking soda, then add to sugar mixture. Add the salt, bananas, flour and cinnamon, mix until just blended. Add the nuts and stir.
  • Mix all cream ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Spread batter into the bottom of the pans. Alternate spreading batter and cream topping.
  • Bake for ~60min, check for doneness.

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Blueberry Coconut Lime Bread

This was a great combination of flavors! Very tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter (could also use coconut oil)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F and grease 9×5 bread pan.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder
  • Mix together butter and sugar. Mix in egg and coconut milk. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Fold in coconut and blueberries. Pour into pan, sprinkle with more shredded coconut.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes

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Pumpkin Nutella Bread

This was a nice way to make pumpkin bread more exciting (similar to the pumpkin cream bread from the first post which is AMAZING!). This was great!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and beat after adding each egg.
  • Add pumpkin and mix well.
  • Alternate adding dry ingredients with water.
  • Remove 1⅔ cup pumpkin batter and pour into a medium bowl. Stir in Nutella until evenly combined.
  • Spray 2 9x5inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
  • Spoon Nutella batter alternately with plain pumpkin bread batter into the prepared pans. Swirl batters together with a knife.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Bacon Onion Gouda Bread

I wanted to make a few savory breads this time as well. This bread is really tasty with the sweet onions and salty bacon. You can modify this recipe to add or take away ingredients as desired.

Ingredients:

  • 10 pcs bacon
  • 1 onion, 2 tbs butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups cheese (I used Gouda)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with butter. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes; set aside to let cool. Meanwhile, in a second large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, let cool, and then chop.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil, and egg. Slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Gently fold in cheese and reserved onions and bacon just until combined, and then transfer to prepared pan.
  • Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool 15 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

    Recipe from Oprah 

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Beer Cheese Bread

I’ve made this recipe before with different types of beer and cheese and it’s always delicious. This time I used Gruyere, I’ve also used mexican cheese blends and cheddar before.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz beer
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Mix together beer, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir in cheese. Pour into greased 9×5 loaf pan. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top.
  • Cool 50-60 min till done.

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Pistachio Bread

This one uses a lot of pre-boxed ingredients but sometimes that’s easier for people to do! This bread is very cakey and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 18.25 oz package yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 (3oz) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 9×5” loaf pans
  • Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, water, pudding mix, and sour cream. Pour into prepared pans
  • Bake for 45 minutes

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Rosemary Chocolate Bread

I wasn’t sure how the rosemary chocolate combo would be, but they pair very nicely! This bread is less sweet than the others. It has great flavor!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Lightly coat one regular loaf pan with olive oil.
  • Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and coriander in a large bowl. Use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Add the milk and rosemary and mix again just to blend.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, stirring gently to combine. Stir in the chocolate until evenly distributed.
  • Divide the batter among the pans and smooth the top. Sprinkle tops evenly with some Rosemary Sugar, about 2 teaspoons each, or regular sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  • Bake for 45- 50 minutes for standard loaf or until the tops are domed and a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack before slicing either warm or cool.

From FamilyStyleFood

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Lemon Raspberry Poppy Seed Bread

I love anything lemon! This bread was great and, like many of these recipes, would translate well to muffins as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs poppyseeds
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Lemon Glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon milk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease the sides and bottom of one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl combine 1½ cups flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, vegetable oil, and poppyseeds. Whisk to combine and pour into the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Toss the fresh raspberries lightly in the 1 Tablespoon of flour to coat. Gently fold them into the batter. Pour into the greased loaf pan.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • To make the lemon glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk. Drizzle over the top of the cooled bread

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Sweet Quick Breads Original Post

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Frosting

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I have wanted for a while to do a post featuring some of my favorite frosting recipes I have tried out over the past few years. I tried out a few new ones as well.

For most of the recipes, the directions are to beat together the butter and sugar, then add other flavoring ingredients, then add milk/cream/half&half or more sugar as needed to get your desired consistency. For example, you may want the frosting stiffer for piping or smoother for spreading by hand. For softer frostings sometimes refrigerating for a while before spreading can help the texture.

I am completely in love with the strawberry mascarpone and peanut butter flavors but these all turned out well!

Most of these would do well with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes but I’ll also suggest some other good pairings for these frostings as well!

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Cinnamon Marshmallow

(good with apple or other spiced cupcakes)

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  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 13 oz marshmallow crème
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Lemon Blackberry

(good with lemon cupcakes and any other fruity cupcakes)

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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup blackberry puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 5-6 cups confectioner’s sugar

Maple

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  • 2.25 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 0.50 cup brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 0.13 tsp. salt
  • 0.50 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

(good with pumpkin or other spiced cupcakes)

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  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

Mix sugar with butter and cream cheese till smooth. Add in spices and pumpkin

Vanilla Chai

(good on chai or vanilla cupcakes and other lightly spiced or lightly flavored cupcakes)

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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp. cold milk, if needed to thin out the buttercream
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  •  tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Brown Butter

(good on vanilla, pumpkin, brown sugar, hazelnut, almond and many other flavor cupcakes)

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  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream (see note above)

Brown butter in sauce pan (heat over medium and stir constantly until starts to brown). Remove from heat and immediately mix in sugar and other ingredients.

Nutella

(chocolate so it pairs well with many flavors, good on banana, pumpkin, walnut spice, to name a few)

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  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup (222g) Nutella
  • 3-4 tbsp (45-60ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • salt to taste

Strawberry Mascarpone

(best on vanilla, strawberry, or other fruity cupcakes) (for pretty colors, save half the frosting before adding the strawberry and swirl together)

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  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 8-ounce container mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, pureed
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar

Cookie Dough

(good on basic flavors like chocolate/vanilla)

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  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Jello

You can flavor/color frosting with jello packages! Just mix in a small amount and your frosting will take on that flavor. These are mostly fruity flavors so they’d pair best with vanilla or fruity cupcakes (lime, raspberry, lemon, strawberry, etc.)

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  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups, powdered sugar (1 pound)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1-3 tbsp Jello mix

Fudge

(thick fudgy frosting, goes well with many things, including banana, pumpkin, strawberry, chocolate, etc.)

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  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions: Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler then add in the milk and powdered sugar, stirring till it’s smooth.

 Pink Lemonade

(this has a very strong lemonade flavor! Best paired with vanilla or other fruit flavors like strawberry, raspberry, lemon, lime, etc. cupcakes.)

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  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • Pinch of salt
  • yellow food coloring (optional)

Oreo

(best on chocolate, vanilla, or mint cupcakes)

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  • 8 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb)
  • 1⁄2 tsp butter flavoring or 1⁄2 teaspoonvanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp Oreo cookies, finely crushed (plus extra as needed for garnish)

White chocolate

(similar to the fudge frosting but for white chocolate instead. Goes well on chocolate/vanilla, nutty, and cookie flavored cupcakes)

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  • 1 cup butter, softened (no subs)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces white chocolateor 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled
  • 3 -5 tbsp whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half

Salted Caramel

(best on basic cupcake flavors)

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  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Mix butter, sat, and sugar until smooth and fluffy and then stir in the caramel mixture. Top cupcakes with a bit of sea salt.

Mint Chip Frosting

(best on chocolate or vanilla cupcakes)

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  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 4 tbs milk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Red Wine

(good on chocolate, red velvet, vanilla cupcakes)

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  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter

(good on chocolate, banana, apple, and nutty or spiced cupcakes)

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  • 1 cup room temp. butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 2/3 tsp vanilla

mix all ingredients together

Chocolate

(this is a good basic chocolate frosting recipe)

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  • 1 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 4.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

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Dessert Bars

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It has been a sadly long time since I posted anything. A a crazy work schedule has left me with very little free time for hobbies but I’ve still been having fun cooking and making new things when I have time🙂 A couple weeks ago it was my birthday so I made a bunch of dessert bars to bring into work. Bars are so easy and quick to make and quite forgiving on changing and varying ingredients. These were all so delicious! I think my favorites were the lemon bars (I love lemon!) but the nanaimo bars, maple bars, and raspberry bars were close behind.

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Peach Bars

I took advantage of peaches being in season to make these delicious bars. They taste like little bites of peach pie. Yum!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 10 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides for easy removal. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
  • Make the crust/topping: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until combined. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender or two forks until it reaches coarse, pea-sized crumbs. (I personally mixed the dry ingredients in my blender and then added the cold butter and pulsed till the butter mixed in)
  • Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture to be used for topping and mix with pecans. Evenly press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Make the filling: Whisk the egg and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the flour, salt, and spices. Whisk until combined. Fold in the peaches. Remove crust from the oven after 15 minutes and pour the filling over hot crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat/pecan mixture. Bake for ~35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for 2 hours before cutting into squares.

Adapted from SallysBakingAddiction

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts! These are nice and tangy with a flaky crust and you don’t need to add any food coloring for them to have a nice yellow color. These have a thicker crust than some recipes.

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Ingredients:

  • ›3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ›1 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ›1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • ›6 eggs
  • ›1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • ›6 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ›1 cup lemon (or lime) juice
  • ›zest of 2 lemons or limes
  • ›Confectioners’ sugar for decoration

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and butter. Pat dough into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, until slightly golden. While the crust is baking, whisk together eggs, white sugar, flour, and lemon juice until frothy. Pour this lemon mixture over the hot crust.
  • Return to the preheated oven for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into squares.

Nanaimo Bars

These are a treat from Canada. They have a chocolatey coconut crust with a creamy filling and hard chocolate top. They are AMAZING! Everyone always loves them and they disappear right away.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 5 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • 2 tbs custard powder (or vanilla pudding mix if you can’t find custard powder, custard power can sometimes be found in international foods section with food from Europe or in baking aisle)
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 (1 oz) squares semisweet baking chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Directions:

  • In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Slowly pour half of the mixture into a bowl with the egg, stirring continuously then pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the chocolate mix. Stir until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs and coconut. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8×8 inch pan.
  • For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.
  • While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Maple Walnut Shortbread Bars

These are very simple and delicious. It’s best to use good quality maple syrup so the flavor comes through.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbs pure maple syrup (plus more to drizzle)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Combine the flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar in a mixer. Mix in the softened butter until a dough has formed. Press into an 8×8-inch baking dish lined with foil, and prick with a fork.
  3. Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. While the shortbread is baking, beat the egg in a mixing bowl along with 1/3 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, and walnuts. Pour the walnut mixture over the hot crust, and return to the oven. Continue baking until firmed, 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with a small amount of maple syrup. Cool completely, then cut into 1-inch squares to serve.

Funfetti Bars

These are very gooey cakey treats! They’re great if you like white chocolate.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup sprinkles, divided
  • 1/2 cup (from a 14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8” pan with foil and spray liberally with cooking spray.
  • Mix together cake mix, butter, and egg until a thick dough forms. Add 1/3 cup sprinkles and stir until incorporated.
  • Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and remaining 1/3 cup sprinkles. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Separate remaining dough into small balls and evenly space over the top of the bars. Press down to flatten.
  • Bake bars for about 30 minutes, or until they just begin to brown. Cool completely before slicing, otherwise the mixture will be too gooey to cut.

Recipe from CrazyForCrust

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cornflake Bars

These are great alternative to rice krispie treats with a peanut butter base on corn flakes instead.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 10 cups cornflakes cereal
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:

  • Cook syrup and sugar until mixture comes to a boil. Stir constantly; do not overcook.
  • Remove from heat, add peanut butter, and stir until smooth. Pour mixture over cornflakes in a large bowl. Mix until cereal is thoroughly coated. Stir in marshmallows. 
  • Spread in a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan and press down lightly with buttered hands. When cool, cut into squares.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

These are very simple and absurdly good. You can easily substitute out other kinds of preserves to get other flavors.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.
  • Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Chocolate Toffee Filled Brownies

These brownies are so gooey and delicious. You can use different kinds of candy bars in the middle to get different flavors. They are great with the toffee bars in the center. You can cook the brownies to different levels of doneness depending on preference.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package brownie mix (ingredients to make the mix: egg, vegetable oil, water)
  • Candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (I used Symphony bars, you can use other kinds of chocolate bars to make other variations)

Directions:

  • Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.
  • Line a 13″x9″ cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray (for thicker brownies use an 8″x8″ pan instead).
  • Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.
  • Bake according to package directions (if making thicker brownies then cook for longer). Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

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Personal Feast for GoT Watching

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Crown of bacon wrapped chicken legs with cranberry, walnut, sausage, cornbread stuffing and a side of roasted thyme carrots with wine and ale and wash it down🙂

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Chicken Ring

  • Pat dry chicken legs and sprinkle with salt
  • Wrap 1 piece of raw bacon around the leg and place it into pan, continue to make rest of ring
  • To make the circle, you can use the stuffing on the inside and then veggies like potatoes or carrots on the edge of the pan to wedge the legs into place. If needed you can use kitchen string to hold the legs up in the circle as well.

Carrots

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare carrots.

Rub carrots with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fresh thyme leaves.

Roast in oven at 400 F for 40 minutes

Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 ribs celery, small dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound spicy sausage, casing removed, broken into bite-size chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 5 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 5 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and celery and saute over to medium heat. Season with salt and cook until the vegetables start to become soft and are very aromatic. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, sage and rosemary and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, cranberries, and the sausage mixture. Add chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet. Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed and transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  • Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 30 to 35 minutes. (Or for the dish shown here, add to the center of the ring of chicken legs and then cook the whole dish till the chicken is cooked through.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

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