Sunday, July 31, 2016

Best Brownies


This is the first from scratch brownie recipe that came out correctly for me. I've had an, unfortunately, poor track record with this particular dish for some reason. I think I've tried at least 4 different recipes that just came out all wrong for one reason or another. But, as usual, AllRecipes came through for me!


These are VERY rich, especially with that thick frosting on top. Make sure you cut them small - and enjoy with a big glass of milk. They came out so fudgy, full of chocolate flavor, tender, and moist. They did not last long in my house.


Best Brownies from Angie on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Frosting:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Buttery Nipple Gourmet Pudding Shots


This is pudding for the grown ups. Seriously. I'd never heard of pudding shots before - but we've discovered jello shots for parties recently so when I saw this recipe pop up when browsing AllRecipes I knew I needed to give it a try. This combination of flavors is one of my favorites!


This recipe is very potent - a little goes a long way! The small disposable "shot cups" are a great way to serve these, but if it's not for a party situation you can just prep it in a small tupperware container. Just a spoonful at a time though! Yumm!!


Buttery Nipple Gourmet Pudding Shots adapted from TheBritishBaker on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups cold milk
2 fluid ounces butterscotch schnapps
2 fluid ounces Irish cream liqueur (such as Bailey's)
1 fluid ounce vanilla vodka
1 fluid ounce coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua)
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix

Directions

  1. Stir milk, schnapps, Irish cream liqueur, vodka, and coffee-flavored liqueur together in a bowl. Add pudding mix and blend thoroughly. Spoon into disposable shot cups (if desired) and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.



Friday, July 29, 2016

Blistered Tomatoes with Herbs


This is an incredibly versatile dish. You can use it as a vegetable side dish, as it is, or mix and match it into so many different recipes. I served these as a side dish, and they went SO well with tater tots. We had a very eclectic dinner (Asian flavored chicken wings, shared yesterday, along with these tomatoes and some tater tots). We've been trying to work on clearing out the pantry and freezer before restocking again, so we used up the bag of tater tots in the freezer for a "carb". Then I was surprised at how yummy these tomatoes went with them! It was like gourmet ketchup or something.


The texture of these is wonderful, so tender! Roasting brings out their sweetness, and the herbs work so well with the flavor. These would be amazing spread on some crostini with pieces of fresh mozzarella, or just tossed with some cooked pasta and Parmesan. The options are pretty much endless! Or just eat them out of the bowl... they're delicious.


Blistered Tomatoes with Herbs adapted from Reynolds on AllRecipes

Ingredients
10-oz grape tomatoes
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp Gourmet Garden oregano paste
appx. 1 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine olive oil with herbs, stir to combine.
  3. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Place tomatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Pour olive oil with herbs over tomatoes and gently toss to combine. Add additional oil if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake 20 - 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are blistered. 
  6. Pour tomatoes and all juices collected in the foil into a bowl.
  7. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Peanut Sesame Chicken Wings


Easy, delicious, and very little mess (thanks to the nonstick foil). What more can you ask for in a recipe! I managed to whip these up on a weeknight, and they cook quickly so it was very doable for a busy work night dinner. I was testing out a couple different Reynolds recipes from AllRecipes, so we served these Asian flavored chicken wings alongside some Italian flavored blistered tomatoes. Both recipes were definitely keepers - but the flavor combinations we end up with in this house some nights when I'm recipe testing are... interesting?? Thankfully I have very cooperative "test subjects" who go along with it. :)


I didn't cut my wings into two separate pieces as recommended in the recipe, and they took a little extra time to cook (about 15 minutes total) - so I would probably make sure to cut them all down next time. Also, because these are cooking on foil, in the sauce they don't get all that crisped (though they brown nicely). If you want crispier skin, you can add a small rack below them on the pan so they're not cooking in the sauce / juices.


I loved the flavor of the sauce these cooked in - it was fairly mild, so you could definitely up the "add-ins" depending on which direction you want to take the sauce. I liked the mildness though, I thought it complemented the chicken without being overpowering.


Peanut Sesame Chicken Wings adapted from Reynolds on AllRecipes

Ingredients
Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil
12 chicken wings
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden lightly dried ginger
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden lightly dried cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 TBS chopped honey roasted peanuts
1/2 TBS parsley, for serving (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to lo. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. Set pan aside.
  2. Cut off and discard tips of chicken wings. Cut wings at joints to form 24 pieces (I skipped this step, but would probably do it next time). Set pieces atop the prepped baking sheet.
  3. Combine the peanut butter, water, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Remove 1/3 cup of the sauce and set aside. Pour remaining sauce over the chicken wings and coat all pieces with sauce.
  4. Broil wings 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 10 minutes. Turn wings. Broil an additional 10 minutes more or until tender and brown. Drain off fat. Check for doneness, if additional time is needed return to oven and cook in 5 minute increments until cooked through. 
  5. Sprinkle wings with sesame seeds and chopped peanuts and broil for 4 - 5 more minutes.
  6. Place wings on a platter and serve with the reserved peanut sauce.




Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Triple Cheese Chicken Parmesan


This was a deliciously cheesy (I believe I described it as "ridiculously cheesy") Chicken Parmesan recipe we enjoyed recently. Mine was actually a "quadruple cheese" because I used up a little bit of smoked gouda I also had in the refrigerator in it. It's flexible in terms of the seasonings you add to both the breadcrumbs and the flavor of the pasta sauce you use. You can play with the cheeses you use as well if you want to try different combinations to find what works best for you.


Lightly breaded chicken gets browned and then coated in pasta sauce and tucked in with a heavy bed of cheese and baked until cooked through. For me that is about as good as it gets. And this was doable on a weeknight which is also high on my "that's a good recipe" list! You can even premix the breadcrumbs the night or day before to speed the process a little if you're working on a tight schedule on a work night. I used large chicken breasts, and next time would probably cut them in half horizontally, to speed the cooking time and allow for more surface area to be coated with the bread crumbs. If I were to have cut them, I would have needed a larger baking dish to accommodate 6 pieces.


Triple Cheese Chicken Parmesan adapted from My Latina Table

Ingredients
2 - 3 chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
1 - 2 cups of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese separated
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 16-oz jar of pasta sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
3 - 4 Provolone cheese slices
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
Pasta (to serve)

Directions

  1. Create an egg wash station by filling a bowl with the milk and whisking in the egg.
  2. In a separate bowl combine 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan to the breadcrumbs along with the salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Stir to combine. (You can start with 1 cup of breadcrumbs, and if you need more as you get to the end of the chicken, add a little more to the dish, as needed).
  3. Submerge the chicken breasts in the egg wash and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat, and coat lightly with oil. In batches, if needed, cook each piece of chicken on both sides until browned, then set aside.
  5. Add about half of the pasta sauce to the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish and then lay the pieces of chicken atop.
  6. Top each piece with remaining sauce (if you don't want the chicken parmesan quite so "saucy", reduce the amount of sauce placed below and atop the chicken to your desired preference).
  7. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of provolone and then divide remaining Parmesan cheese and the mozzarella over the top and sprinkle with Italian seasonings.
  8. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes (or until cooked through) and serve with pasta that is tossed with butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning.



Monday, July 25, 2016

#MuffinMonday ~ Lemon Meringue Muffins



#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 lemon meringue muffins have been dubbed "cupkins" in our house - the texture is somewhere between a muffin and a cupcake. They were very well received by those who've tried them. The texture is somewhat fluffy, but somewhat dense and it has a subtle lemon flavor. The meringue is a wonderful and special addition to this recipe, setting it apart from your more traditional lemon flavored muffin recipes. I stuffed some lemon curd in a few of these for an extra lemony treat! They are delicious, and worth revisiting.


See all the Muffin Monday offerings today!

Lemon Meringue Muffins from Taste of Home

Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large egg whites

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yogurt, lemon juice, peel and extract.
  2. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture; stir just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Increase oven setting to 400°.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form.
  4. Spread or pipe meringue onto muffins (it will start spreading quickly atop the warm muffins, so pipe / spread quickly). Bake 6-8 minutes longer or until meringue is golden brown.
  5. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

#BundtBakers ~ Spiced Zucchini Bundt Cake


BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page. For July we were invited by Sue of Palatable Pastime to make a "Secret Garden" themed bundt cake: "cakes with flowers, herbs or summer vegetables as an ingredient or theme".

Just to be sure I did a quick "summer vegetables" search and "What's In Season" gave me a TON of ideas; including zucchini! I love zucchini in baked goods, and have used it in quick bread and muffins many times (even in brownies) but not yet in a cake. So that seemed like a good ingredient for me to work with for today's reveal.


This cake is dense, moist, lightly spiced, a touch sweet from the glaze and a wonderful snacking cake. It would work for just about any time of day and is packed with 2 cups of zucchini, just to take a little bit of guilt away when you say you're enjoying cake. :) This summery cake is a keeper, and I will definitely be using it again. You can opt for milk instead of apple juice in the glaze, but I liked the touch of additional flavor the apple juice provided. You could even sub a grated apple in place of one of the zucchini in your cake for something different. I might have to give that a try next time!


Take a look at all the beautiful garden inspired cakes being shared today!


Spiced Zucchini Bundt Cake from Dishes and Dust Bunnies

Ingredients
2 cups zucchini (equal to about 2 small zucchinis), finely grated and some of the moisture squeezed out
¾ cup  butter, melted
¼ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 TBS + ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground ginger
1 ⅓ cups sugar

For the Glaze:
1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 TBS apple juice

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Generously grease a 10" bundt pan with baker's joy spray or butter. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the zucchini by grating into a mixing bowl.
  4. Dump the zucchini into a strainer and press to squeeze out some of the moisture; you don't have to get all of the liquid out, just some. Once drained, return the zucchini back into the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the melted butter, milk, vanilla and eggs to the zucchini and mix to combine.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and spices. 
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix only until combined - do not over mix.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth if necessary, so batter is evenly distributed.
  9. Place the cake in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and beginning to pull away from the edges. Use a toothpick to confirm it is no longer wet in the center.
  10. Leave in the pan and allow to cool completely.
  11. Once ready to serve, place a plate on top of the bundt pan and flip over. The cake should easily come out of the pan (mine stuck a little, but with one good "thump" it released in 1-piece).
  12. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Microwave for about 20 seconds and whisk again (will help with any small pieces of powdered sugar that don't combine easily). Pour glaze over the top of the cake. Allow to soak in. Slice, serve, and enjoy!



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies


Good morning and happy Sunday! I have so many recipes I've made and photographed and not managed to get onto the blog over the past few months and when I made this recipe last night I was determined not to let this be another casualty! So, it was whipped up last night, baked, set to cool in the refrigerator and this morning. First thing. I cut it, and photographed it. And here we are! That has to be about the quickest turnaround for me on picking, making, and sharing something... it doesn't usually work out quite like that around here.


This one is just too good not to share, now, though. Amazing creamy and smooth layers of peanut butter layered over perfectly rich, fudgy, chocolatey brownie... this is an amazing dessert and it's beautiful and certainly company worthy! The best part is it's really not that difficult either. A little bit time consuming, and you get 2 bowls and one pan dirty (ok and a bunch of measuring cups and spoons) and then voila! You have a sinfully rich, and decadent treat that is sure to impress.


It's looking to be another beautiful morning here and Georgia and I think I'm going to run my daughter over to Stone Mountain for a little while before it gets to warm to enjoy the day. Have to cram a little sunshine and fresh air in over the weekend while I can! Enjoy your day!


Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies from Crazy for Crust

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter
11-oz bittersweet/dark and / or semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate baking chocolate
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
5 large eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep a 9x9” square pan with a generous coating of nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the brownie batter: place butter and chocolate in a a medium nonstick pot, stirring with a spatula over low heat until chocolate and butter is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Stir in 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, then mix in 3/4 cup flour, cocoa powder, and salt and combine until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Make the cheesecake batter: beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (scrape down sides at least a few times) until smooth and creamy. Add in the peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and sour cream. Blend again until smooth.  Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon flour, and remaining 2 eggs. Beat until smooth without lumps, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl at least a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Spread half the brownie batter in the prepared pan using a spatula. Next, place half the cheesecake mixture over the top and spread carefully. Top with remaining brownie batter and then the remaining cheesecake to create 4 total layers.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are golden and the center is set. Cool completely at room temperature. 
  6. Chill to set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Cut into small bars and serve. These are very rich treats, so cut into small 3 - 4 bite pieces. 
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

#GuacSquad12 ~ Grilled Corn and Bacon Guacamole


Some very amazing guacamole recipes are being shared with you as part of #GuacSquad12 to introduce Casabella's new Guac-Lock (and give you some fantastic ideas on ways to spruce up your next batch of guacamole)!


When I was brainstorming ideas for which recipe to make and share today I stumbled across a roasted corn and bacon recipe and was hooked. I grilled two juicy ears on the grill over high heat for about 20 minutes, rotating once. I baked my bacon in the oven, and when everything was cooked and cooled, combined the ingredients and voila! This recipe comes together very quickly and is incredibly tasty! I love the addition (and the convenience) of the lightly dried herbs from Gourmet Garden. Their products are seriously incredible. I've been lucky enough to work with them a few times over the years, and love having their products in my refrigerator and freezer at all times!


The Guac-Lock allows you to keep your batch of delicious fresh guacamole... well, fresh! It has a unique system that allows you to push the guac up and flush to the lid, pressing all the air out, then sealing it shut to keep nothing but freshness in. It's a fantastic product, and makes a good serving dish as well!

Melissa's Produce provided some amazingly delicious and ripe avocados for our event as well - they were devoured pretty much immediately in my house.


I am envisioning a healthy spread of this guac on a piece of toast - soon, very soon. It only seems right... maybe with a fried egg on top... oh the fun you can have with this yummy and versatile dish!


Grilled Corn and Bacon Guacamole adapted from Garnish with Lemon

Ingredients
3 medium ripe avocados, mashed
2 ears corn, grilled and cut off cob
4 thick cut pieces of bacon, cooked crisp and diced into small pieces
2 TBS Gourmet Garden lightly dried cilantro
1 1/2 TBS lime juice (more / less to taste)
Salt (to taste - I used about 1/8 tsp)

Directions
  1. Mix avocado, corn, bacon, and cilantro in Guac-Lock. Squeeze lime juice over the top and stir to combine. Salt to taste and adjust lime juice as necessary. 
  2. Serve with chips (or just eat with a spoon).
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Friday, July 15, 2016

#FishFridayFoodies ~ Maple Bacon Wrapped Shrimp






Welcome to our "Seafood on a Stick" reveal day! This month our hostess is Sue from Palatable Pastime. Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517@gmail.com. 


This is a quick, easy, and easily adaptable recipe that combines two flavors I love together. Shrimp and bacon. Then you add a sticky sweet sauce? Lovely! I used medium sized shrimp and thick cut bacon and would definitely recommend using extra large and thin cut bacon if you give this dish a try - the ratio will be better and you'll be more likely to get nicely crisped bacon.


I loved the addition of the maple with the sweet chili sauce as a glaze on these delicious bites of shrimp. Smoky, sweet, shrimpy, and baconey... yes. Those are words. I think. These make wonderful appetizers, or could be an entree served with something like a pineapple rice (or add chunks of pineapple to the skewers and grill... mmm...) Thanks for joining us today and make sure to take a look at all the amazing recipes shared below!


Maple Bacon Wrapped Shrimp adapted from Inspired Taste

Ingredients
10 pieces thinly sliced bacon (if using thick cut, increase cook time to 15 or 20 minutes in step 3)
20 extra large (16/20) shrimp (about 1 pound - peeled and deveined)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
* for a little heat add a dash of cayenne pepper or small sprinkle of red pepper flakes if desired

Directions

  1. Add skewers to a baking sheet with enough water to cover and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with Reynold's nonstick aluminum foil.
  3. Place bacon slices, in one layer, onto the lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until the bacon has rendered some of its fat, is starting to brown on the edges, but is still soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain excess fat. Remove foil sheet and wipe the baking sheet clean if necessary to remove any excess grease.
  4. Season the shrimp with the salt.
  5. Combine maple syrup and chili sauce in a small bowl along with a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes if desired.
  6. Once cool to the touch, remove bacon from paper towels then use a brush to coat both sides with the maple-chili glaze. Cut the bacon in half, crosswise.
  7. Wrap each shrimp with a half slice of bacon
  8. Skewer and place on baking sheet - coat with any remaining maple / chili sauce.
  9. Bake 5-8 minutes (or until cooked through, if bacon has not crisped to your desired amount, set broil to hi and cook for an additional minute or two, be careful to watch the shrimp so they don't overcook). Remove from oven and serve immediately.