Monday, June 16, 2014

Chocolate Mousse

I made this mousse for Father's Day. I liked that I had all the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. One should always have bittersweet chocolate- you just never know when it will come in handy!


I'd never made mousse before but my sister Ana had success with a recipe and when I looked it up I had all the ingredients, the steps seemed easy enough and I had the four hours to chill it before we'd eat it.

The mousse is incredibly rich and delicious. It had a deep chocolate and coffee taste, and even the splash of dark rum could be tasted. My little one said that it tasted like chocolate frosting. I agreed but thought of the chocolate Swiss meringue frosting that I've made before- whipped, shiny, and delicious.

So I would definitely make this again but I would give smaller portions. None of us finished our small cups of mousse. It was a lot of chocolate!

Ahhhh! I just went to look for the recipe link and just realized that the suggested servings for this recipe is 6-8 portions. No wonder it seemd like so much- I portioned it for four! Also, the recipe is Julia Child's Perfect Chocolate Mousse! I found it on David Lebovitz's website and since he's one of my favorite chefs/bloggers I trusted the recipe.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Julia Child's Perfect Chocolate Mousse.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

I pretended it was really spring and almost summer as I made this flavor combo. My Jim loves his strawberry rhubarb pies in the summer, so I hoped these bars would hit the spot.

I made a few small mistakes with the first try.


The first try I didn't press the crumb mixture firmly into the pan. I dumped it in and scooted it to the edges, pressing slightly. This made for crumbly bars. They tasted great and we ate most of them but they sure weren't neat. The bottom crust never really came together.

My other mistake was that I used foil to line the pan. The foil stuck horribly to the bars. I may have ingested tiny bits of the foil that just didn't come off. Oh well.

So this second try I hope the bars are much better. They are headed to my work for a friend's 40th birthday surprise!

So I did firmly press the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan. I also used parchment paper to line the pan, and I can tell already that they will cut much easier.

Yay! Great for breakfast or dessert!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Hotdish" and Blackberry Chèvre Salad

Actually, I don't like the word hotdish. I prefer casserole. It's kind of like my inner struggle with "supper" versus dinner. I prefer dinner. I think I'm resistant to being completely Minnesotan. I have California roots!


I'm done with the Pioneer Woman. I still follow her blog and I bookmarked this recipe. I bought all the ingredients but didn't end up making it last week. My broccoli was on the verge of expiring so I pulled out the recipe for tonight's dinner. I read through the reviews and saw many people proclaim this casserole bland and fussy. I proceeded knowing I should add salt and love to make it right.

I say I'm done because I haven't had much luck with her recipes lately.

So this Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole was okay. Just okay. It happens. It was a lot of chopping and prep, so it's not worth a repeat performance.


There is a layer of wild rice, blanched broccoli, cooked chicken (my addition), and then a homemade cream of mushroom type sauce (with a pound of diced mushrooms, some carrots and celery). Oh, and then a layer of panko crumbs tossed with butter.


OMG. We have TONS left. I was going to half the recipe, I really was, but I had so much broccoli to use. I did add chicken so I did reduce the amount of rice and broccoli, just slightly. I worried about another ingredient soaking up the sauce so that was my adjustment.


Truly, the star of the meal was the Blackberry Chèvre Salad. I am in love with goat cheese. I couldn't find honey chèvre at my local grocery store so I used plain goat cheese drizzled with honey. I toasted the pecans in butter and spices, and I blended some fresh blackberries with red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, and S&P.


F@$% yeah! I'm really glad I liked this because this is the start of our week of salads. Side salads and main dish salads. It just feels right.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Wild Rice Broccoli Casserole.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Blackberry Chèvre Salad.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cranberry Margaritas

On our way home today my dear husband asked about these margaritas- do we have everything at home to make them? No. So we stopped for limes and cranberry juice.

So glad! We made these first at New Year's, just our usual at-home celebration. I didn't blog about them bit obviously Jimmy didn't forget about them.

Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry juice, a bit of simple syrup. You'll love them too!


New Years--


Click here for the stolen recipe for Cranberry Margaritas.


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche filling and Dulce de Leche Buttercream

I volunteered to bring a dessert for our neighborhood Spanish Immersion family potluck. My neighbor friend Kiri throws a mean party. There were about 6-8 families with 18 children running around. Yikes! We all brought foods for the feast.

Dulce de Leche translates to sweetened milk, I think. I made the dulce de leche from evaporated milk- a few hours in the oven and it was caramel goodness! You can buy canned dulce de leche from the Hispanic aisle in the grocery store but that's no fun! I do admit that I bought a can just in case. I did end up using a bit when I ran out of my homemade stuff.

The third recipe I have linked below used canned dulce de leche and a different cake recipe. Like I said, I wanted to make my own dulce de leche, and then I found the cake recipe to be too fussy. I didn't have the opportunity to make vanilla sugar (this takes days/weeks) so I found an alternate cake recipe. It turned out well! The cake was moist, fluffy, and so beautiful with its vanilla bean specks.


I scopped a small amount of cake from the tops of each cupcake and filled them with the dulce de leche. My little guy had lots of fun stealing cake bits when I wasn't looking. (Really, I saw. I ignored!)

The buttercream was piped prettily on top of each cupcake. I'm getting pretty good with that pastry bag!


It was nice to try some new recipes! I think sometimes that I have lost my baking mojo. Let's hope it comes back in full force in summer, when I have much more time to experiment!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Vanilla Bean cupcakes.

Click here for the stolen recipe for the Dulce de Leche.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Dulce de Leche buttercream frosting.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PW's Sunday Frittata and Buttermilk Pancake Balls

Breakfast for dinner!


PW says that frittatas are good for using up any veggies you have in the fridge. True! I had some leftover spinach, mushrooms, and (jarred) roasted bell peppers that I threw in. I also baked a potato the night before so I could chop it up easily for a quick dinner. It's all in the planning.

Cooking up veggies...

Gosh, I love potatoes.


And making pancake balls at the same time. It's a Tuesday tradition. I always have buttermilk in the fridge just for these.


After cooking up the veggies a bit I threw the eggs and cheese on top and transferred it to the oven. It took quite a bit longer than PW said it would. I give the woman some slack since she is NOT a professional cook.


It slid out of the pan, not so easily. But it turned out!


And it was delicious! Just a nice eggy treat. I realized afterward that it would have been nicer with hot sauce. Leftovers.


Click here for the stolen recipe for Sunday Frittata.

Click here for my past post about the buttermilk pancake balls.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Turkey "Pozole" (Rojo)

Pozole is usually made with pork. I have never made a pozole recipe so I'm not sure how authentic this is, but I am not complaining about how this turned out. This is a Martha recipe and commenters posted this is not a true pozole. So yes, this is probably a quick/cheater recipe. Don't judge me. Martha even gets the spelling wrong they said! (Posole)

We are serious believers in good soup garnishes. When I make my white chicken chili (with hominy), I break out even MORE garnish ingredients.

Not pictured- baked corn tortilla chips.


The turkey was leftover from that huge ass turkey I roasted during the Vortex. 7 cups of chopped turkey in this stew. Yay for leftovers!

It was also my pleasure to tear into two HUGE cans of hominy. I love hominy. So much!

It came together quickly but it needed to simmer for 30 minutes. I needed that time to bake the tortilla chips. My boys can't get enough of chips.

Funny little boy quote: "Mom, when I have kids will you show me the recipe for these chips. These are really good."

Tortillas, oil, salt. Oven. There you go, kid.


Don't make fun of my Chococat bowl! It gets me through rough times.


We like! I think it will taste even better tomorrow. And plenty to freeze for future lunches.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Martha's Chicken (or turkey) Posole.


Rigatoni Pasta Pie

The finished pie.


No, it's not really a pie.

Yes, it was a bit of work arranging all these rigatoni noodles upright like this. Slippery little suckers.



And then the meat sauce got pushed down through all the holes, the best that I could.



That plain bit of real estate is for James. I knew he'd like his piece with no cheese. Semi-picky seven year old, but that was an easy fix so I didn't mind.



I wasn't patient enough to let the "pie" set up for 10 minutes. We dug right in. (P.S. It sliced up very nicely the next day!)


The verdict- very kid friendly, nice idea for presentation, but the meat sauce was nothing to write home about. I could use a jarred pasta sauce and save a bit of work. And yeah, I could save a bit of work and just make a lasagna or regular spaghetti if I just want pasta, sauce, and cheese. I just like to try new things!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Rigatoni Pasta Pie.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oven Fried Chicken

Update 1/2/14

This chicken has become popular in my household once again. This time it is young James that loves it. He is CRAZY about this chicken. He calls it "Crispy Chicken".

I have made a few changes to this recipe. I use panko crumbs instead of whole wheat sometimes, and other times I use a mixture of both. So I guess it is not completely South Beach with that change but it is still healthy and delicious. Oh, and sometimes I use dried parsley instead of the fresh. Slight change that makes it even easier to premix.

I still try and have this mixture prepped in the freezer for easy weekday meals. If I have chicken defrosted, I cut it up, dip it in olive oil, roll in the crumbs and then bake for 20 minutes! Easy enough.

So like I said, James loves this. He loves it so much that he wants "all kids to have this chicken". We had a whole conversation about it before I asked him to repeat everything for a video. So now we're hoping to go viral :)

The recipe link is below, as usual. It still works. I tested it. But like I said, we use panko crumbs mostly for the extra crunch.

Here is James' video. Please share so it goes viral! Haha!





2/2010---Oven-fried chicken for dinner. We've enjoyed this chicken for a few years now, since discovering them in our South Beach Diet cookbook. It is an easy meal to prepare if you have the ingredients prepped- I usually have whole wheat breadcrumbs and ground almonds in the freezer, just for this! Also, I've made the breading ahead of time and had that in the freezer too. It is then so easy to dip each piece of chicken in olive oil and some frozen breading, and bake.

It's just so good! The thyme, garlic, and almonds I think really make this great.

Click here for the stolen recipe. I originally found this recipe in my SBD cookbook but it is also online.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I'd forgotten how good it feels to make a recipe for no good reason but to enjoy it and relax. I had all the ingredients for this one so instead of going out and spending money (my original plan was to browse at the new Trader Joe's in Shoreview) I stayed home to make this many-step recipe and then a nice dinner.



These bars started with a cookie crust that needed to bake for 15 minutes. While that baked I whipped up the streusel topping, the apple mixture, and then the cream cheese filling. All of these layers went on top of the warm cookie crust and then baked for another 30 minutes.


And then I made the caramel sauce, which was a trial. The first sauce attempt was too pale. The second sauce attempt burned. The third was a charm. It is muy gooey and almost candy-like. I had to re-melt it a bit to spoon it on top of the finished bars.

It's just plain cruel torture to let something cool completely. And then I finally decided that I should refrigerate the bars because of the cheesecake layer. So just a little while ago I cut into the bars. Yum. My dear husband said it tastes like apple pie but better because of the caramel and the cookie bottom.

So my taste tester gives this a thumbs up. I'm glad because we have a lot of bars to eat up! Or share :)

Click here for the stolen recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.


Monday, September 9, 2013

UPDATE: 9/9/13 Pesto & Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Update- Pesto Chicken Salad sandwiches: I think my proportions have been all wrong. I now use 1 full cup of pesto to 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, and the rest of the recipe as usual. (The recipe link is way on the bottom of this post.)

And this pesto is a bit different. I think the recipe is the same BUT the garlic AND the pine nuts are both toasted. Yum.


6/5/10Last summer was the Summer of Pesto. I discovered pesto and then tried growing my own basil. Ithink I did pretty well! I started supplementing my meager harvests with cheap bundles of basil from farmer's markets. I couldn't keep up my demand though :) I had a few 1/2 cup bags frozen for a bit but I did use it up quickly.

This first pesto picture is from last summer. It's a very good basic pesto recipe. No fuss.

Click here for the stolen recipe for last summer's Pesto.

I made this next pesto yesterday with a new recipe. I already mentioned it but here is the recipe again. I can't say if this will be my new recipe yet but it was just as simple. It's a neat shade of green! Very fresh looking.

Click here for the stolen recipe for this Pesto.

And ooooh here's my picture of the Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches from last summer. We've usually served them in pita bread with some fresh greens. I follow the recipe kinda but I use about 1/2 cup of my pesto and about 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt with all of the other ingredients. It's a wonderful sandwich!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

I can't say that I'll be making a lot of pesto this summer. Pine nut prices are a bit much. I think I heard a mention of a shortage? Bummer.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

S'mores Fudge Bars

This was probably the fastest turnaround time from Pinterest to kitchen.


When I find a recipe online I always read the comments. I read a few comments that said the marshmallow and graham layers were too thick. I should have adjusted for that. I totally agree that this is too much marshmallow, as good as it was.


The bars lifted right out of the pan, thanks to foil. And a few minutes under the broiler and they were nicely toasted!


The slicing was not so easy due to the stickiness of the marshmallow.


Transporting them was going to be sticky too so I decided to put them in cupcake liners. And then the partygoers won't have to touch them either. Best eaten with a fork!


So they are very good! Just so messy. It would be ideal to pour it all in cupcake liners, when assembling, but the layers really were so sticky pouring out. I don't think it would be any neater. I had to work fast especially with the marshmallow mixture.

Click here for the stolen recipe for S'mores Fudge Bars.


Repeat- Pork Medallions in Mustard Tarragon Sauce

I made a few improvements since the last time I made this.


My searing technique was much improved- the pork had a lovely brown sear and stayed very moist.

I whisked the heavy cream with the mustard so that it was thickened slightly when I added it to the leeks, wine, and broth. The sauce was much smoother and thicker than last time.

I used fresh tarragon instead of dried.

And this was served over mashed potatoes instead of roasted potatoes on the side.

"Better than a restaurant," said the hubby.