Monday, April 30, 2012

Chantilly Potatoes

The picture doesn't capture the deliciousness of this dish.  I've made these twice in the past month (which is saying a lot).  These cheesy baked mashed potatoes are a perfect side to any fancy meal, and they only require 4 ingredients!

Chantilly Potatoes
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3 lbs. Red or Gold Potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 c. heavy cream, chilled
3/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cube potatoes into 2" pieces and place in a large microwave safe bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 13 minutes, or until tender, stirring halfway through.
Once cooked, mash with a fork or potato masher - you're going for a chunky consistency.
Microwave mashed potatoes for an additional 3 minutes, or until heated through.

Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Grate cheeses and mix together in a small bowl.

Reserve 1/4 c. of the cheese.
Fold 1/3 of the cream mixture into the remaining cheese mixture.

Salt and pepper potatoes, and stir to incorporate.
Gently fold in remaining 2/3 of the cream mixture into the potatoes, until the cream is mostly absorbed.
Carefully spoon potatoes into a greased 2-quart baking dish (9x11").
Do not smooth out tops of potatoes.
Spread the cream/cheese mixture over potatoes and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. cheese.

Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until potatoes are hot and top is golden brown.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Caramel Sauce

Oh sweet deliciousness, how I love me some caramel sauce...

This is the perfect recipe for dipping apples,

pouring on ice cream,

or heat it up and use as a syrup.

The possibilities are pretty much endless...
 Not to mention it is the perfect consistency.  Perfectly pourable and dippable straight from the fridge.
Caramel Sauce

3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients into a large saucepan and stir constantly as you bring it to a boil.
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate leftovers.

**Be sure to use a tall saucepan, this gets very frothy when heating up and you don't want it to overflow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

This is just about the easiest recipe ever - and it always tastes fabulous!
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Skewers
1 lb. chicken breasts
vegetables of choice:
bell peppers
zucchini/summer squash
plum tomatoes
etc., etc.

Chop chicken and marinate in Zesty Italian Dressing (store bought, or make your own), for 4 hours.
Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.
Chop vegetables into equal sized pieces.
Skewer chicken and veggies onto skewers.
Grill over medium heat, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender, basting with additional dressing as they cook.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wheat Puree Bread

This recipe is perfect for those who want to incorporate wheat into their bread, but don't have a grinder to make wheat flour.  Whole wheat berries are pureed in a blender and added to the remaining ingredients to make an easy and delicious wheat bread.
Wheat Puree Bread

2 1/4 c. cooked wheat berries (1 c. uncooked)
1 1/4 c. cooking water
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. flour (white or whole wheat)

Combine warm cooked wheat with 1 1/4 c. water (used for cooking the wheat) in a blender.
Run until mostly smooth (if too thick, add additional cooking water 1 Tbsp. at a time).
Combine with the yeast, salt, oil, sugar, and half of the flour in a mixing bowl.
Mix for 2 minutes, until dough starts to get slightly elastic.
Add remaining flour and knead or mix for 8-10 minutes.
Dough should be smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.
Shape into two smooth logs and place in 2 greased medium loaf pans (8x4").
Cover and le rise until nearly double, another 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until sides are browned inside pan.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mississippi Mud Brownies

A delicious brownie with a chewy layer of marshmallow right in the middle.  What's not to love?
Mississippi Mud Brownies
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 c. melted butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 c. mini marshmallows

1/2 c. melted butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. evaporated milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
Add melted butter, eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
Add chocolate chips and spread in a greased 9x13" pan.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

When done, arrange marshmallows over the top and return to oven for 2-3 minutes, or until puffed and slightly golden.
Cool completely.

For the frosting, beat together all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy.
Spread over cooled brownies.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Churro Popcorn

I love popcorn.
That is a bit of an understatement.  I might have a mild addiction.
This is completely easy to make and perfectly delicious.  I like it because it isn't as time consuming as some of those gourmet popcorn recipes can be (although totally worth it).
And who doesn't love that classic cinnamon sugar combination?

Churro Popcorn
Recipe and photo from Sweet Treats and More

heaping 1/2 c. unpopped popcorn
1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring often.
Pour cinnamon mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
Pour onto a large baking sheet.
Cook in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Turn oven off, but leave popcorn in for an additional 20.
Cool (or not), and serve.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chicken Salad Sandwich

The only good thing about the husband going out of town? The food. On weeks like this one, when there is just me, the kids, and 4 days to ourselves, I fill it with deliciously wonderful dishes that he hates. This is one of those, and I love every bite of his absence.
The best part? This comes together in about 5 minutes (hence the ALONE with the kids part).
There are about a gazillion chicken salad recipes wandering about out there, and I'll pretty much eat all of them, but this is my favorite. No nuts, no celery, and no onions (even for me!). This version is from the sister in law. And like most of them, the measurements are never 'exact', but I've attempted to get it close for those who need it. 
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Recipe from Charisse Moore

1 pint canned chicken (about 2 cups)
1 small bunch red, seedless grapes, halved (1 heaping cup)
1 large apple, chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
mayo to desierd consistency (1/2 - 3/4 c.)

Drain chicken and dump into a large bowl.
Top with halved grapes and chopped apple.
Sprinkle lemon juice, salt and pepper over everything.
Dump the mayo on there and stir everything together.
Season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Serve on croissants.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Zesty Italian Dressing and Marinade

One of our favorite (and easiest) ways to marinate chicken is to simply use some Zesty Italian Dressing.  It is also great for mixed vegetables, and happens to be the only dressing my husband will eat on a green salad.  This recipe is incredibly easy and tastes fantastic.

Zesty Italian Dressing and Marinade
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 c. canola oil
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Combine first 9 ingredients in a blender and blend.
Stream in oil while mixing.
Add parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and pulse 3 or 4 times.

If marinating: place in ziplock bag with meat/veggies for at least 2 hours.
Refrigerate leftovers.