Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lemon-Raspberry Coffeecake

Lemon-Raspberry Coffeecake

Serves 10.

A great coffeecake recipe!  Fresh, spring-y, and anything BUT dry.  I will definitely make this one again.
Slightly updated from: The Salsky Update blog

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 egg
2-3 T. lemon juice1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. buttermilk
2-3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cream Cheese layer:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg
1 c. fresh raspberries
powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease bottom of 9"-round cake pan.  Grease and lightly flour pan; set aside. For cake, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the butter with mixer on medium to high until combined. Add 1 egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat on low to medium 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition; set aside.

For cheesecake filling, in small mixing bowl beat cream cheese and remaining 1/4 c. granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon juice and 1 egg. Beat until combined.

Spoon half the cake batter into prepared pan, spreading to edges. Pour cream cheese mixture on cake batter, spreading to edges. Dollop remaining batter on cream cheese layer, carefully spreading to edges of pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until puffed. Gently press raspberries into cake. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.  Bake for an additional 25-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen edges of cake from pan; remove from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Monday, April 23, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Avocado

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Avocado

Serves 3.

1 Boboli pizza crust
1/3 c. pizza sauce
1/3 c. BBQ sauce
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1/3 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 to 1-1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine pizza sauce and BBQ sauce; spread on top of pizza crust.  Top with chicken, corn, and red onion.  Sprinkle with cheese. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  After removing from oven, top with sliced avocado and serve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Crustless Quiche

Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Crustless Quiche

Serves 6.

I loved this.  And, after being in a breakfast rut, it was just what I needed to remind myself that, yes, breakfast is good.  :)
Inspired by: Budget Bytes blog

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 t. fresh minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 eggs
3 egg whites
1 c. 2% milk
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 c. grated Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place the sliced mushrooms in a skillet coated with non-stick spray, add the minced garlic, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-high and saute the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and no more water remains on the bottom of the skillet (5-7 minutes).

Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray. Squeeze any remaining water out of the spinach and spread it out on the bottom of the pie dish. Next add the cooked mushrooms and crumbled goat cheese.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of that.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and milk until fairly smooth.  Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms, and cheeses.

Top with additional Parmesan if desired.  Place the quiche into the preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown on top and the center is solid. Every oven is different but this should take between 45 minutes and an hour. Slice and serve!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I really wanted to like this book, but it moved a little too slow for me.  I wish it had been written in half the number of pages.  Similar to The Hunger Games, it follows a competition between two teens (I think they're teens?) in a science-fiction world.  In The Night Circus, though, the setting is a whimsical circus that travels the world, popping up without warning, occurring only at night, and alluring patrons with some of the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring acts.  It gets great reviews, so I'm in the minority for losing interest.
Amazon book description:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Honey and Granola Muffins

Honey and Granola Muffins

Makes about 3 dozen mini muffins or 15 regular muffins.

This is not typically a muffin recipe that would jump out at me.  But it seemed like a good muffin to try for my weekly breakfast group.  The cookbook actually calls it a cupcake, and suggests frosting it with a cream cheese icing, but I thought it was perfect plain, as a muffin.  Something about the way it tasted actually reminded me of a cake donut.  The sweetness of the honey, and the light crunch of the granola made for a perfect match.   Don't avoid this one if it "doesn't sound like something you would like."  You might be surprised.
Source: Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery cookbook

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. mild honey
2 large eggs
1-2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. 2% reduced fat milk
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. low-fat plain yogurt
2 1/2 c. granola (pick out any large whole nuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey until the mixture is light an fluffy, which should take about 2-3 minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a separate bowl. Mix the milk, vanilla, and yogurt together. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added. Fold in the granola carefully to incorporate evenly.

Carefully spoon the mixture into cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 24 minutes until golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a wooden skewer in the center of one of the cupcakes – it should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave the cupcakes in their pans for about 10 minutes. Serve warm with butter and honey.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cocktail Party

Cocktail Party

Everyone loves a party.  Some people like hosting, some only like attending, and others, like myself, love both.  Here's a sample party to help give you ideas when you're planning your next party.

It's not a cocktail party without some cocktails:

Tequila-Thyme Lemonade:

Fireside Martini:

Or any other cocktail off my drinks section.

Scatter some fresh flowers throughout the party area:

Keep coasters available for guests' drinks and have some playing cards out in case anyone wants to start a game:

To me, a meat and cheese tray is a classic go-to party staple.  It's easy to put together for the host, and just as easy to grab and eat for the guests.  Plus, I think they look pretty:

Every party needs a dip, right?  Here's a hot spinach and artichoke dip, but any of your favorites will work just fine.

See that small bowl hiding behind the spinach and artichoke dip?  That's snack mix.  Make your own or buy it at the store.  However you get it, just do it, because it's another easy snack to have on hand.  And people will eat it.

Bacon-wrapped dates!  Yum:

Some chocolate chip cookies for the guests with sweet teeth:

And some reused candle jars as candy jars, because, let's be honest, most people will usually go for at least a bite of something sweet:

Enjoy the night and have a blast with friends!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Serves 6.

This is something I should always have in the freezer. It's such a great meal to have on hand, can feed a crowd, and is usually something everyone loves.  Plus, the only things you need to make it a complete meal are garlic bread and salad.
Source: Giada De Laurentiis

4 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-oz. pkg.) manicotti
1 (15-oz.) container whole-milk ricotta
3 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. grated Parmesan
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. marinara sauce
2 T. butter, cut into pieces

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 t. of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.

Brush 1 t. of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1-1/2 to 2 c. mozzarella cheese, 1/2 c. Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the remaining 2 t. of oil over a 13"x9" glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 c. of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 c. of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 c. of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30-35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Serves 4-6.

Here's an EASY way to eat and like your veggies.  I don't love raw cauliflower, but I loved this!  Plus, I think it's trending now... all the cool kids are making it.
Source: Bake, Eat, Repeat blog

1 large head broccoli
1 large head cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Juice and zest of one lemon
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Wash broccoli and cauliflower and then dry THOROUGHLY. Trim into mini trees.

Spread broccoli and cauliflower over baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil (probably about 4-5 Tablespoons). Stir to coat. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper, stir again.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown on the outside.
Remove from oven and immediately mix in lemon juice, lemon zest, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Serves 2-4.

A good friend of mine and I are recipe swapping today from each other's blogs.  Not only do I get to tell you about this fantastic lettuce wraps recipe, but I also get to introduce you to a pretty awesome blog.  Now, before you get all critical and tell me that her photography is better than mine, and that her writing shows much more thought and humor, please know that I already know that.  And I agree with you.  :)  So check out this recipe below, and then head on over to her blog to see which one of mine she chose. 
Source: Bake, Eat, Repeat blog

2 tsp. canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 lb. ground turkey
About 8 small mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup carrots, thinly shredded
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced (or 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 heads leaf lettuce (iceberg, Boston, or butter would work)

Dipping sauce:
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
Heat a very large skillet to medium high heat. Once hot, add canola oil, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds, then add ground turkey, mushrooms, carrots, and salt. Cook until turkey is heated through, about 5 minutes. If you get too much extra liquid in the pan, tilt the pan and use a spoon to get most excess liquid out. Add green onions.  Add soy sauce, canola oil, the zest and juice from the lemon, and Sriracha sauce to taste (we ended up using more Sriracha and soy sauce then called for).
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

For dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together.

To serve spread lettuce leaves on plate. Place turkey mixture in the leaves, drizzle with sauce, and devour!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4 as a side dish.

This may be one of my new favorite sides. 

12 oz. package brussel sprouts, halved
3 slices bacon, chopped
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Toss brussel sprouts in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Spread on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in chopped bacon.

Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until brussel sprouts and bacon are roasted crispy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 4.

My sauce wasn't as thick as I expected it to be.  Not sure if I did something wrong or if it was supposed to be like that, but this recipe did not offer the thick, creamy sauce of traditional pot pie.  But it's a convenient new option of making chicken pot pie in the crock pot.
Source: Real Simple

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved if large
carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
sprigs fresh thyme
bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
kosher salt and black pepper
package refrigerated biscuits
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen green beans
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ cup water. Place the chicken on top; season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

Before serving, bake biscuits according to package directions.

Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, green beans, cream, and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high or low until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. To serve, place the chicken mixture in bowls and top with the biscuits.