Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baked Creamy Spaghetti Casserole


This is one of the first dinners in a LONG time that I can happily say was toddler approved. I've come to the conclusion my 2 1/2 year old is a vegetarian and also Italian. Or her food choices would indicate she is. She seems to consistently like pasta dishes with a marinara sauce, and otherwise almost always skips meat in every shape or form. She will eat Burger King's chicken fries, and sometimes a few pieces of hot dogs. And shrimp, she does like shrimp. Other than that, she's probably not going to even try it if it looks like meat, or she'll spit it back out if she does get curious enough to taste test. Such is the joy of feeding a 2 year old! We always offer her whatever we're eating, and give her lots of fruits and vegetables to choose from, but she is definitely picky and her choices vary from one day to the next depending on her mood, and the way the sun is hanging in the sky. (This is why I'm very grateful she still sucks down her homemade "juice" that is packed with fruits and veggies!)


In any event, I was pretty excited when she ate a good sized helping of this dish which is loaded with vegetables, and I used whole wheat pasta. Not only was the toddler happy, but the rest of us were too! The cream cheese gives this dish a wonderfully creamy and smooth texture and there was lots of great flavor in the sauce, and the cheese tied it all together. I think you could even add more veggies to this one - grate in a zucchini or add in a good handful of fresh diced mushrooms. Lots of mix and match options for your personal taste and preferences.


Baked Creamy Spaghetti Casserole adapted from Just A Pinch

Ingredients
12 oz spaghetti
36 oz jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground lean beef
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tsp Italian seasoning (more to taste)
1 TBS minced garlic
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 - 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook spaghetti noodles to al dente, per package instructions. When noodles are cooked, drain, return to pot and add in the brick of cream cheese and gently stir it into the hot noodles.
  3. Meanwhile combine ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and carrots in a large nonstick skillet and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until vegetables are tender, meat is cooked through, and most of the grease has cooked off. Season meet with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic (I also added about 1/4 tsp garlic powder). 
  4. Stir in the spaghetti sauce to the meat mixture (taste test, adjust if needed).
  5. Spread the cream cheese noodles in the baking dish and pour meat sauce over top. Gently stir until it's fairly well and evenly combined. Level out and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and top with the mozzarella.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through, cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.  
  7. Serve hot with garlic cheese bread and green beans if desired.



Monday, April 25, 2016

#MuffinMonday ~ Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins


And the logo and blurb



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


These muffins are pretty fantastic. I really loved the flavor of the batter - it's moist, tender, lightly sweet and lightly spiced and the tartness and brightness of the cranberries complement the flavor very well. However, I felt the white chocolate chips were unnecessary. The chips all settled at the bottom of the muffins, and I thought they were just "extra" without really adding anything to the muffin. The cranberries are the star of these simple and tasty muffins. I found they definitely needed to cool pretty completely before removing them from the muffin tin as they are fairly soft and the sides wanted to rip a little when still warm even after loosening with a butter knife.


Here are all the tasty muffins to take a peak at today:

Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins adapted from Averie Cooks

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous pinch salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Generously spray 14 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the butter, sugars, and cream together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, sour cream, half and half, vanilla, and beat on medium high speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and blend on low speed just until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Add in the white chocolate chips and cranberries and fold in by hand with a spatula.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tin openings.
  7. Bake at 425F for 5 minutes and then, without opening oven door, turn oven temp down to 350F and bake for another 18 to 20 minutes (total baking time is about 23 to 25 minutes), or until muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow muffins to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. Remove from muffin tins and allow to finish cooling on wire rack. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container. 


#SecretRecipeClub ~ Winger’s Grilled Sticky Finger Salad


Welcome to the April 2016 Group D reveal day for Secret Recipe Club! I hope you will take a moment to visit the Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of food bloggers who are given a secret assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day.


For April I received Traci's blog Burnt Apple and had a wonderful time scrolling through her blog and recipes. Traci has had to learn to adapt many ingredients to make healthy, tasty food and accommodate sensitivities and dietary restrictions for the eaters in her home. 


As I started browsing I was having a hard time getting very far without tagging everything: Bacon Cheddar Fries, Baked Pizza Crackers, Baked Mac 'N Cheese Balls, 5 Can Queso, Honey Garlic Meatballs and Rice, Little Caesar Italian Cheese Bread, Wingers Sticky Fingers, White Bean Dip with Parmesan Crisps, Baked Churros, Red Velvet Loaf, Cinnamon Roll Quick Bread, Crusty Hard Rolls, French Style Rolls, Under an Hour Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Biscoff Overnight French Toast Casserole, Crockpot Breakfast Casserole, Crockpot Creme Brulee French Toast, PBandJ Muffins, White Chocolate Peach Coffee Cake, BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken and Biscuit Pizza, Crockpot Creamy Chicken Quesadillas, Honey Lime Chicken, KFC Fried Chicken, Wingers Sticky Finger Salad, Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies, Marshmallow Biscoff No Bake, Chocolate Toffee No Bakes, Pumpkin Toffee Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cookie Brittle, Biscoff Butterscotch Bars, Blended Root Beer Float, Lightened Up Texas Sheet Cake, Lemon Curd Bars, Oreo Dessert Pie, Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas, Baked Biscoff Donuts, or Crockpot Ranch Chicken... Well hmm... where to start! It became quickly apparent to me that I could be very comfortable cooking just off of Traci's blog for the month of April. I settled on the salad pretty quickly though - I LOVE any excuse to enjoy an entree dinner salad this time of year with the warmer weather, and the combination of spicy and sweet sounded wonderful!


This salad was fantastic. What a lovely combination of sweet, spicy, sticky, and cool and creamy. The cheeses blended wonderfully with the tomatoes and tangy chewy cranberries. I really loved this salad and will absolutely make it again and again! It is a quick and easy work night meal if you throw the chicken in marinade before you leave in the AM, then just cook the chicken while you prep the rest of the ingredients, throw together on a plate and dig in (Traci's recipe suggests using cooked chicken which is a great quick option, but I liked cooking the chicken in the sauce and using a little more of the reduced sauce as "dressing" drizzled over the chicken). Yumm!!


Winger’s Grilled Sticky Finger Salad from Burnt Apple

Ingredients
Makes 4 Salads

Winger's Sauce
1/3 cup Frank's original hot sauce
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 TBS water

Dressing
1/4 cup ranch dressing
4-5 TBS Winger's sauce

Salad
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used slices of fresh since that's what I had)
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used an Irish white cheddar)
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 - 1 cup diced tomatoes
8 cups lettuce, washed, and torn into bite sized pieces

Directions

Make the Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan mix together the Frank's Hot Sauce, brown sugar and water. Heat on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
Make the Dressing
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ranch dressing and 4-5 tablespoons of Winger's sauce to taste. Set aside for later use.
Make the Salad
  1. In a tupperware combine remaining sauce with sliced raw chicken and return to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour. 
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 TBS olive oil. When the oil is heated, add chicken with the sauce it was marinating in and cook for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced and fairly sticky. Set aside while you prep the greens.
  3. Arrange lettuce on plates. Arrange desired amount of cheeses, dried cranberries, and tomatoes over the lettuce. Divide the warm cooked chicken with a drizzle of the sticky sauce it was cooked in and drizzle with dressing.
 



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Improv Cooking Challenge ~ Ham and Cheese Macaroni Salad


 The April 2016 Improv Cooking Challenge is Ham and Cheese and I had a fair amount of ham leftover after Easter and had been searching various recipes for good ways to use it besides just along side some macaroni and cheese or stuffed between two pieces of bread as a sandwich! I love pasta salads, and was happy to give this one a try. Since the sauce was primarily mayonnaise based, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use some of my Spicy Mayo for extra flavor. I did like the extra "oomph" the spicy mayonnaise gave the dish, but still thought it needed "something" more but couldn't really put my finger on it. You could do more add ins and play with the flavor until you get it to your personal preference. It's a great canvas to work with.




Use your favorite small pasta in this dish - I like macaroni because I keep it stocked in my pantry, but I think seashell pasta would be nice as well, or rotini (another favorite of mine for pasta salad).


Creamy pasta blended with a mildly spicy mayo based sauce and loaded up with your favorite cheese, veggies (I wanted to use a mix of peas and carrots, but didn't have any left in my freezer, so stuck with just the peas), and some diced ham and you have an easy meal for any time of day that is easily portable for a work lunch, or a quick dinner. 


Ham and Cheese Macaroni Salad adapted from Fake Ginger

Ingredients

1 pound uncooked small pasta (macaroni, shells, rotini, etc.)


1/4 cup sour cream

2 TBS apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (if desired)
1 1/2 cups ham, cut into small cubes
1 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used a white Irish cheddar)
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed

Directions
  1. Prepare macaroni to al dente according to package directions. After macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Once macaroni has cooled down, drain well.
  2. Combine cooled pasta with the spicy mayo, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, if desired (I didn't use salt and pepper). Gently stir in the ham, cheese, and peas until combined.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight.
  4. If the salad seems a little dry after setting up overnight add a little bit of milk and stir it in until the pasta reaches the creamy consistency you're looking for before serving.





#BundtBakers ~ Root Beer Float Bundt Cake


Welcome to April's #BundtBakers reveal day! This month we were challenged by our hostess Felice of All That's Left Are The Crumbs to take a retro dessert and turn it into a bundt cake - I debated a few possibilities and then saw some Root Beer Float Cakes and settled in.

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.



Unfortunately this didn't come out quite like I'd hoped - but that doesn't mean it wasn't delicious and a fantastic cake - it was just very much a super rich, fudgy, chocolate cake, not so much a root beer cake. I used bottled IBC root beer and would suggest picking a stronger flavored root beer next time, and adding some of the root beer flavoring as well if you really want to notice the root beer in the cake. I could taste it on the back of my tongue if I thought about it, but if I didn't KNOW it was in there I wouldn't have been able to put my finger on it. I will be giving this one another try, and will opt for a white cake base and skip the chocolate which seems to overpower the root beer flavoring. That said, this is a delicious tender, moist, rich chocolate cake that would go fantastic with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream for that "float" flavor! :)


And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month ~

Root Beer Float Bundt Cake adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

Bundt Cake:
2 cups root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (4-oz) butter
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup (4-oz) butter, softened
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan generously with nonstick cooking spray, or butter the pan and dust with cocoa powder, shaking out the excess powder and then set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently blend the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture - do not over mix but make sure all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.
Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
  1. Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium-low until well combined.
  2. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the cake in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving. Store leftovers wrapped well or in an airtight container at room temperature.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole


This was a deliciously different dinner we enjoyed recently that I'm excited to share! I was really happy with how this came out, and will definitely make it again. You can change up the vegetable add ins, maybe add some spicy sausage along with the ground beef, and change up the cheese to your personal preference. It is hearty, comforting, filling, and packed full of some good stuff.


I think you could get away with adding a couple grated carrots and maybe a bell pepper to the meat mixture if you want to pump up the veggie content. I was sent some amazing cheeses from Cabot's and their Tomato Basil Cheddar is perfection in this recipe, so if you can get your hands on it I highly recommend it, otherwise use your favorite blend of cheeses - cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, etc.


Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced small
1 TBS minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper)
1 large head green cabbage, coarsely chopped and core discarded
2 cans (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (just enough to rinse out each of the cans)
2 cups uncooked rice
3-4 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups shredded cheese (a mix of Cabot's Tomato Basil Cheddar and Mozzarella)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook the rice with the 3-4 cups of water and 2 bouillon cubes (amount of water per package instructions / personal preference). 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a very large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and add ground beef and onions; cook until browned. Stir in the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika. Season meat mixture with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (with juice) and tomato sauce. Rinse each of the cans out with a little water (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup total) and add to the pan.  Add in the diced cabbage and stir gently to try to coat as much of the cabbage as possible with liquid. Let mixture simmer until it's hot and slightly thickened and cabbage is about half cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to rotate the cabbage. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  5. In your prepped casserole dish spread the cooked rice and cover with the cabbage and meat mixture. Stir gently to combine if desired, or leave layered. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vanilla Meringue Cookies


I have now crossed another item off my "someday I will make that" list. I was so excited to give these a try. My lovely friend Devon told me about a dessert her family calls Utter Chaos that has different flavors of whipped cream, meringues, and fruit (like these vanilla meringues, whipped cream, and strawberries). So yeah, I had to pretty much go straight home and get to baking! Meringues are so easy, so pretty, and so unique! The texture is fascinating. So light, airy, sweet, and dry. Almost styrofoam like! I cannot wait to crumble these up tonight with some homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I might even share! :)


Aren't they just lovely?? They are a fun easy cookie that you can make in many different flavors and shapes. A friend of mine posted that she had made some larger ones and put fresh strawberries in between them. They would make perfect "ends" to smoosh something yummy in the middle of - like lemon curd. Mmmm...


Vanilla Meringue Cookies from Taste of Home

Ingredients
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Dash salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions
  1. Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
  3. Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; insert a #32 star tip. Transfer meringue to bag. Pipe 1-1/4-in.-diameter cookies 2 in. apart onto silpat lined baking sheets (I piped mine much closer together so I could fit them all onto 2 cookie sheets and bake together in 1 batch and they came out fine).
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Turn off oven (leaving the oven door shut); leave meringues in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven and finish cooling on baking sheets. Remove meringues from baking sheets and store in an airtight container at room temperature.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Pizza Cupcakes



Happy 32nd birthday to my amazing younger sister! Kylie opted for a fun snacky food Avengers Movie Theme Night for her birthday party on Friday, and we had so many yummy things. Among those choices were these portable handheld pizza cupcakes.


We used a mix of pepperoni, olives, and fresh mushrooms for the filling and you can mix and match the filling ingredients however you want. The wonton wrappers make a fun and unique "pizza crust". They get very crispy on the exposed upper edges, and nice and soft and tender where the filling ingredients touch.


These are easy to customize, they look super cute, and are perfect finger party food! The tray of pizza cupcakes didn't last long at our party.


Pizza Cupcakes from The Recipe Rebel

Ingredients
18 small wonton wrappers (about 3-4" in width)
~ 2 cups of your favorite pizza filling ingredients (pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, pepper, onion, bacon, ham, etc.)
¾ cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or mix cheddar and mozzarella if desired)

Instructions
  1. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay one wonton wrapper in the bottom of 9 cupcake holes. Press the wrapper in right to the edges so that it sticks to the non-stick spray.
  3. Divide half of the pizza sauce between the prepared cupcakes, divide half of your filling ingredients over the sauce. 
  4. Place another wonton wrapper on top of your filling (on all 9 cupcakes), staggering the edges so that they don't overlap your first wonton. Press the second wonton wrapper down onto the filling gently and up the sides of the pan.
  5. Divide remaining sauce and filling ingredients among cupcakes.
  6. Top with cheese and bake about 15 minutes until edges are golden and cheese is bubbly. Let cool slightly before eating.





Sunday, April 17, 2016

Strawberry Dumplings


If you like warm, rich, sweet, cinnamony sauces, soft buttery crescents, and delicious strawberries you really can't beat this dessert. A traditional apple dumpling gets a "face lift" by swapping the apples for diced strawberries yielding a whole new dessert and delicious way to serve strawberries in a dessert. This was a very easy dessert to throw together after dinner one night, and went wonderfully fresh from the oven in a bowl with vanilla ice cream melting over it. It was very rich, and sweet so a little goes a long way.

I look forward to trying this recipe with apples, peaches, and pears at a later date. It's a great base to play with! The sauce is wonderful. 



Strawberry Dumplings adapted from OMG Chocolate Desserts

Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) can honey flavored crescent rolls
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon soda
2/3 cup fresh strawberries - diced small

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F; spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Divide the strawberries between the crescents and place a small amount of the strawberries at the wide / top part of the crescent roll, and proceed to roll as you typically would and shape like a crescent roll with the ends slightly turned in (if desired). Place prepared crescents into the baking dish.
  3. In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and vanilla. Remove from heat and pour over the dumplings so that all surfaces are coated.
  4. Pour the soda in the middle and along the edges of the pan (not over the tops of the rolls).
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.





Saturday, April 16, 2016

Strawberry Pretzel Pie


This is a fantastic summery fruit pie with a jello base to hold it together. You can mix and match the jello flavors and fruit add-ins to your personal preferences. Serve this with some more fresh berries and homemade whipped cream for the perfect ending to any summery meal!


I did find this recipe to be very, very sweet with the added sugar to the water / jello mixture. I actually might try cutting it back by 1/2 to even a full cup next time I try this one. The pretzel crust gives a nice savory touch to this otherwise very sweet dish.


Strawberry Pretzel Pie adapted from Lemon Tree Filling

Ingredients

Crust
3 cups Snack Factory Pretzel crisps
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar

Filling
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
6 TBS cornstarch
1 (6-oz.) package strawberry jell-o (I subbed 2 small boxes - 1 rasberry and 1 cherry)
4 cups strawberries, cleaned, de-stemmed and chopped into large pieces (I halved or quartered depending on size)

Instructions

For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blitz pretzels in a good blender until they are finely ground.
  3. In a deep dish pie plate, combine the pretzel crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir to combine evenly with a fork and press onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
  4. Bake crust in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For filling:
  1. Combine the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium pot. Whisk to combine to blend in cornstarch, then turn heat on to medium-high and bring to a low boil, stirring regularly, until mixture is clear and thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the jello, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature (this can take up to an hour, so you can do this part done first and then proceed with the crust and prepping your strawberries).
  2. Fold in strawberries.
  3. Pour into prepared and cooled pie shell.
  4. Store in refrigerator until set; serve with whipped cream.


Friday, April 15, 2016

#FishFoodieFridays ~ Sautéed Whole Trout with Sage and White Wine


This month for Fish Foodie Fridays, Cam from Culinary Adventures with Camilla asked us to step out of our comfort zones a little and cook seafood in it's whole form.




Kylie and I took Lindsey for a trip to the International Farmer's Market near our house and had a fantastic time browsing all the gorgeous fish options.


We brought home two big beautiful trout. I adore trout. I had actually eaten trout at a restaurant not long before we did this shopping trip and was woefully disappointed to be served very overcooked fish. I was determined to enjoy these lovely fish and cook them with care.


I was very happy with the way this dish turned out. The sage and wine went together very nicely and brought freshness and richness to the dish. The fish was cooked perfectly and though it's always a challenge to eat around bones when you eat a whole fish, the dining experience was fun and unique and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone a little and try something new!


Sautéed Whole Trout with Sage and White Wine from Food and Wine

Ingredients
3 - 4 lbs trout, cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons cold butter
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
About 36 fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine 

Directions
  1. Rinse the fish and dry the surface and the cavity of each thoroughly with paper towels. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the trout with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Put the trout in the pan and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn, gently, and cook until golden on the second side and just done, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove; wipe out the pan.
  2. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp, about 1 minute. Pour the oil and sage over the fish. 
  3. Add the wine to the pan. Boil until reduced to approximately 3 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in any accumulated juices and oil from the trout. Pour the sauce around the fish and serve.