Saturday, January 28, 2017

Super Chocolatey Frosted Brownies

Just a warning: you might go into a sugar coma if you make these, because they are VERY hard to stop eating, even though they are really rich!

Ingredients

BROWNIES:
1 cup plus 3 tbs. butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips
 FROSTING:
8 tbs butter, softened
2 & 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs to 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 F.  In a saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in sugar and cocoa, then remove from heat and allow to cool.  In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Once chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, crack eggs into chocolate mixture and quickly mix in with fork or whisk (don't let the eggs cook on the warm mixture!)
2. Add vanilla to chocolate mixture, then combine flour mixture with chocolate mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips and then pour into a GREASED 9x13 baking dish.  Bake 25-28 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.  Cool on a wire rack.
3. For frosting, cream butter, sugar, and 2 tbs. milk in a large bowl or mixer.  Melt chocolate in microwave and allow to cool slightly.  Beat in cocoa and vanilla.  Pour in melted chocolate and mix well.  If needed, add more milk to reach desired consistency.  Spread over cooled brownies.  Yields apporoximately 2 dozen squares.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Clam Chowder

I just went looking for a good clam chowder recipe because I was craving it, and I found this one that was really easy and yummy.  I added 2 ribs of chopped celery in at the same time as the onion, but that was the only change from the original recipe.  It was a big hit with the family!

Recipe from damndelicious.net

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, juices reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the stockpot. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, vegetable stock, clam juice and bay leaf, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes.*
  5. Stir in half and half and clams until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley, if desired.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Six Minute Salad

This is a tasty, quick, easy, and super healthy meal.  It can be the main dish, or it can be a filler for pita bread or a topping for salad greens.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15 oz. can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 6 oz. can tuna, drained
1 scallion, or 1/4 cup red onion diced
6 or 7 grape tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. capers
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs. fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
salt & pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1) In medium bowl, shred drained tuna.
2) To the tuna, add the beans, scallion/onion, tomatoes, capers, garlic & basil.
3) Whisk together olive oil and vinegar until well-mixed.  Add to tuna mixture.
4) Salt and pepper to taste

Serve room temperature or chilled.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Quick & Easy Ham & Bean Soup

Total time: 20 minutes
INGREDIENTS:
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2-3 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and bell pepper in butter until tender. 
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat; cook for 15 minutes or until heated through. Discard bay leaf.                                Yield: 7 servings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Red Lentil Curry

Total time: 30 min.
INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbs. Olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 scallions sliced, green parts separated from white parts
1 Tbs. sweet curry powder
1/2 tsp. hot curry powder
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 russet potato, peeled & cubed into bite-size pieces
1 cup red lentils (or any color is fine)
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (or cubed into small pieces)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2/3 cup pumpkin (canned is fine)
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt & pepper
naan bread, peanuts, & lime wedges for serving
coconut milk (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add garlic, ginger, and scallion whites, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until softened.

Stir in curry powders.

Add carrots, potatoes, lentils, chicken broth, 1 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. pepper, pumpkin, soy sauce, & tomato sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils and veggies are tender.

You can add in coconut milk to taste here (it will tone down the heat and the curry flavor a bit, if your family likes a little less of those things), or you could serve it on the side for those who want it.

Sprinkle green scallions over soup (or serve on the side).  Serve with fresh naan bread, lime wedges, and a sprinkling of peanuts (or cashews are yummy too).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

These cookies are so good!  I don't usually like no-bake that much, but these are way yummy.  And not overly sweet.  The recipe I adapted to fit what I wanted called for 2 cups of sugar.  These have half of that and more chocolate flavor because there is twice as much cocoa powder (hence the dark chocolate).  Rich and tasty, without making you sick! (always a bonus in my book)  Plus there's protein from the milk and peanut butter, lots of fiber from the oats, and healthy fats from the coconut oil.  They're practically not even a dessert once you add all those things together, so bon appetit ;) 

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar (could try honey or agave!)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup peanut butter (I prefer Adam's crunchy peanut butter)
1 Tbs vanilla extract
Large pinch of salt
semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Prepare a baking sheet or cutting board with wax or parchment paper.
Bring sugar, milk, coconut oil, and cocoa powder to a boil in medium sauce pan, over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Let boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, stirring to incorporate everything.
Drop tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  If you want them, sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of each cookie, making sure they stick to the cookie.
Let cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  If I'm in a rush to eat them, I'll stick them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  

Friday, October 30, 2015

5 Minute Artisan Bread

I think this is called 5 minute bread because it literally takes about 5 minutes to mix it up.  However, rising time and "curing" time can be anywhere from 2 1/2 hours to 14 days.  Just a heads up


Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois
Ingredients
3 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbs yeast
1 1/2 tbs kosher salt
6 1/2 c. unsifted flour (white or wheat)

Directions:
Add all ingredients to mixer or regular mixing bowl (add flour all at once, measuring it into your measuring cup by gently scooping it with a spoon and leveling off--do not press flour down, it throws off measurements).  

Mix with a wooden spoon or in your mixer until everything is well incorporated.  Don't knead the dough, it isn't necessary.  Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to bowl.

Cover with a lid or plastic wrap (but not airtight, because the pressure will become to great, and the lid could explode off) and allow to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (about 2 hrs). 

You can use any of the dough now, or you can store the dough in your fridge, covered, up to 14 days.  The longer it's stored, the more the flavour and texture improves, becoming more like sourdough.

When you are ready to use the dough, prepare your baking pan or tray.  Sprinkle dough with flour.  Pull up and cut off a grapefruit-size piece of dough, using a serrated knife.  

Hold dough in your hands, adding more flour as needed so it doesn't stick to your hands.  Gently stretch surface of dough around to bottom on all 4 sides, rotating dough as you go.  The end product will be smooth and cohesive on top, though the bottom may seem bunched (that's fine!).  It should only take about a minute to form the dough. 

Rest loaf for about 40 minutes.  Depending on the age of the dough, it may not appear to rise much, which is fine.  20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place an empty broiler tray that can hold water on a shelf in the oven that won't interfere with where you place your bread.

Dust top of bread with flour.  Slash a quarter inch deep cross across the top using a serrated knife.

After a 20 minute preheat, you're ready to bake.  Put your loaf in the oven.  Then pour about 1 cup of HOT water (from tap) into the tray you placed in the oven when you turned it on, and close the oven quickly to trap the steam (this gives the bread a nice, chewy, artisan crust).  

 Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is browned and firm to the touch.  

*This is a basic recipe.  You can add any number of things to the dough to create a sweet bread (e.g. raisins & cinnamon) or a savory bread (e.g. chopped garlic and a couple Tbs of rosemary & thyme, kalamata olives).