Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

It's another lonely night at the apartment for me, since Clayton had to work all day today :( I guess it's a good thing because I was actually semi-productive and studied all day for my test on Monday. But I took a study break to make some Homemade Twix Bars. They have a nice shortbread layer that's just the perfect texture, a salty-sweet caramel layer, and smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate layer. If you like Twix Bars, then you will definitely like these! Well, enjoy :)
Homemade Twix Bars
For the Shortbread:
1 Stick + 3T Unsalted Butter, Softened
¼C Sugar
1 ¾C AP Flour
¼t Salt
2T Ground Rice, Sifted

For the Caramel:
2C Sugar
¾C Light Corn Syrup
½C Water
1t Lemon Juice
1C Heavy Cream
1C Sweetened, Condensed Milk
¼t Salt
Salt, For Sprinkling Over Caramel Layer

For the Chocolate Topping:
1 ½C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
4T Butter

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with Pam.
2. To make the Shortbread: in a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Gradually add the flour, salt, and ground rice. To make the ground rice flour, blend any rice that you have in your kitchen until it is a fine powder. Sift this rice power, so that there are no large rice pieces. After the dough is incorporated, press it into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 10 minutes until the shortbread is lightly golden. Let this cool while you make the caramel layer.
3. To make the Caramel: Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil (do not whisk). Once this mixture begins to turn caramel brown, insert a candy thermometer and when the mixture reaches 300 degrees F, remove from heat and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk in the heavy cream, then the condensed milk, then salt until smooth. Return the pan back to the heat, and cook until the caramel reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour over the shortbread. Let it set at room temperature for 2 hours.
4. For the Chocolate Topping: Heat the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is just melted, then whisk until incorporated. Spread this chocolate mixture over the caramel layer until an even, thick layer of chocolate covers the caramel. Cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to cut.
5. Cut the Twix Bars into small rectangles. When I’m giving these Twix Bars to friends, I like to wrap them in wax paper, so they look like individual candies. But you can easily just cut them and keep them in your refrigerator for easy snacking.
6. Enjoy!

Classic Sugar Cookies

Hello everyone! I hope y'all are having a great weekend! I got a request from my friend, Heather, for a sugar cookie recipe, so I went ahead and made some. I'm not a big fan of sugar cookies, I figure if they don't have chocolate, then it's not worth my time. Anyway, I really like these sugar cookies though, especially with some icing! Enjoy :)
Classic Sugar Cookies 
For the Cookies:
1 ¼C Sugar
2 Sticks of Butter, Unsalted
3 Egg Yolks
2t Vanilla
2 ½C AP Flour
1t Baking Soda
½t Cream of Tartar
½t Salt
Colored Sugar Crystals

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in one egg at a time, and then the vanilla. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Make sure the scrape down the sides and beat until incorporated.
3. Using an ice cream scoop, make cookie dough balls and then roll them into the colored sugar crystals. Do not push the cookie dough balls down, so they won’t spread too much.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies look crackled. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then place them on a cooling rack and cool another 10 minutes.
5. Serve and enjoy!


source: sugar cookies

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Layered Lemon Curd Cake

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I have some super busy school weeks coming before my midterm, so I'm going to be swamped with studying (Ugh!). But I managed to make the most delicious cake this weekend. A couple weekends ago, Clayton, Peej (my mom), and I made a daily trip to Charleston for some food, shopping, and well, just some exploring. That's what is so nice about Savannah, its just a short drive to Charleston, St. Simons, Atlanta, and Jacksonville. But, every time we go to Charleston, we always have to stop by Peninsula Grill for their Famous Coconut Layer Cake. The cake is 12 layers and each piece weighs about a pound (Ya, I know... So ridiculous), and unfortunately, each piece is like $20, but it's worth the money. Well after we got back from Charleston, we went to the Gryphon Tea Room for lunch the next day. If you ever come to visit Savannah and want to go to a cute cafe with great salads, sandwiches, tea, and desserts, you should definitely try it! Anyway, we got a slice of their lemon creme cake, which was a small layered cake with vanilla cake, lemon curd, and cream cheese frosting. So I decided to put Peninsula Grill's Coconut cake and Gryphon's Lemon Creme cake together and make a large Layered Lemon Curd Cake. It's wonderful. The cake is moist, the lemon curd is tart, but still sweet, and the cream cheese frosting just mellows out all of the lemon flavors. I know it's a lot of work and a lot of steps because of the 12 layers and 4 different components, but trust me, it's oh-so-worth-it! Well, enjoy :)
Layered Lemon Curd Cake 
For the Lemon Curd:
6 Lemons, Zested
2C Sugar
2 Sticks of Butter, Room Temperature
10 Extra-Large Egg Yolks
1C Lemon Juice, Strained
1/4t Salt

For the Lemon Simple Syrup:
¾C Water
¾C Sugar
1 Lemon, Zested

For the Cake:
4 Sticks of Butter, Room temperature
3C Sugar
6 Large Eggs
4 ½C AP Flour
1 ½T Baking Powder
½t Salt
1 ½C Heavy Cream
1 ½T Vanilla
1t Lemon Extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 Blocks of Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Stick of Butter, Softened
2C Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1t Vanilla

Directions:
1. To make the lemon curd, zest 6 lemons and place the zest into a blender or food processor along with the sugar. Blend these together until you have a lemon sugar mixture. Put this sugar mixture into a mixing bowl and beat in the butter until it is light and fluffy. While still beating, mix in one egg at time a time, and then slowly drizzle in the lemon juice and salt. Once incorporated, pour this mixture into a deep sauté pan and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until it thickens (it should thicken at 170 degrees), while also making sure that you constantly whisk, so that the eggs don't curdle. Once cooked, let the mixture completely cool in the refrigerator before you use it on the cake, preferably overnight. 
2. To make the lemon simple syrup, constantly whisk the sugar, water, and lemon zest in a pot and bring it a to a boil, then down to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Let this syrup cool in the refrigerator completely before using it on the cake, preferably overnight. 
3. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325 and line three 10-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam, and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Next, add the eggs one at a time and beat until creamy, while also scraping down the sides. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, mix together the heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon extract. With the mixer on low speed, alternate the flour mixture and cream mixture into the butter (make sure you begin and end with the flour mixture). Beat until just combined. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before you remove them. Then take them out of the pans and let them cool on the cooling rack for another 1-2 hours before you cut (or the cake will crumble). Next, lightly trim off the tops, bottoms, and sides of the cakes. Then, thinly slice each cake into 2 thinner slices of cake (you should now have 6 thin slices of cake).
4. To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Next, slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar and finally the vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside for assembly.
5. Now, start layering the cake. Place one slice of cake on your cake stand and brush on some of the lemon simple syrup. Next, spread on about ½C of the lemon curd, and then repeat with cake, syrup, and curd until there are no remaining components.  Finally, spread the cream cheese frosting all over the cake until a thick layer surrounds it. 
6. Place the cake in the refrigerator and let it firm up for about 2-3 hours (this will help for slicing). Once the cake has cooled, slice the cake into 12 slices (very big, but amazing) and let your slice of cake come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. The cake tastes better at room temperature, but make sure to refrigerate your cake for storage.
7. Serve & enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Homemade Watermelon Lemonade

It was a gorgeous day in Savannah today (about 80 outside)! 
So we decided to go to the beach, yay!! 
It was a blast :)
Me and the boyfriend :)
The Pier at Tybee Island
JYS + CDF
Anyways, while we were there I had a real craving for some lemonade, and my friend mentioned to me how she wanted some watermelon. So then I just had to make some freshly-squeezed, homemade watermelon lemonade. I mean how beachy/summery is that?! Well it turned out delicious... we've actually almost finished it all. I need to seriously like quadruple this recipe so it will last me all week! And maybe so I can spike it with some watermelon vodka later, yes? I think so! Well, I hope you enjoy!!
Homemade Watermelon Lemonade 
For the Lemonade:
2C Watermelon Puree, Sifted & Strained
1C Lemon Juice, Sifted & Strained
1 Batch of Simple Syrup, Cooled
3C Water
Ice, For Serving

For the Simple Syrup:
1C Sugar
1C Water

Directions:
1. First, start off by making the simple syrup. In a pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil on high heat. After it has come to a boil, reduce the heat down to medium-low and simmer the syrup for about 5 minutes. Set this mixture aside and let it cool down. 
2. Next, make the watermelon puree. Cut the watermelon into cubes and place into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Sift & strain the mixture into a measuring glass. I used about a quarter of a large watermelon and it was exactly 2 cups. But it will really depend on the watermelon you buy. Pour this watermelon puree into a serving pitcher. 
3. Squeeze about 5-6 lemons until you get 1 cup of lemon juice. I think that it's really important that you use freshly squeezed lemon juice, not that crappy store bought kind, it just tastes so much fresher! Make sure to sift and strain this juice as well because you don't want any pulp or seeds in your lemonade. Pour this mixture into the pitcher.
4. Add the simple syrup and water to that same pitcher, and stir until combined. If you can stand it, put the lemonade in the refrigerator to let it become cool. But of course we couldn't wait, so we just served ours over ice. 
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Cake Truffles

Hello all! I decided to bake something for a girl in my nursing class because it's her 21st birthday this weekend! I wanted to make some kind of birthday cake, but with a twist. I ended up making Birthday Cake Truffles. They are super moist and just so cute! Hopefully you can make these for somebody's birthday soon! Enjoy :)
Birthday Cake Truffles
For the Truffles:
1 Box of Confetti Cake Mix
1 ¼C Water
1/3C Oil
3 Eggs
1 Can of Rainbow Chip Frosting
1 Bag of White Chocolate Chips, Melted
Assorted Color Dyes
Sprinkles, For Decoration

Directions:
1. Start off by baking the cake. Preheat the oven to 325 and spray a 13x9 baking dish.
2. Beat together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs until well incorporated. Pour this batter into the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
3. Once done baking, let this cake cool and then crumble. Add the cake crumbles to a mixing bowl and mix together with the rainbow chip icing. Once this is completely mixed, roll them into balls and place on a baking sheet. Put them in the refrigerator (or freezer to speed up the process) until they are cooled and set up.
4. Melt the white chocolate (either in the microwave or in a double boiler), pour half of the chocolate into a bowl for dipping. The other half of the chocolate should be split into different small bowls, designating each bowl for a different color dye.
5. Dip the cooled cake balls into the plain melted white chocolate (or colored) and then place on a baking dish (or plate could work) to cool and harden. Once they have hardened, dip the tops of the covered cakes into more white chocolate and then dip into the sprinkles. But, use your creativity and decorate however you want!
6. Place the finished balls in the refrigerator to keep hard. Then serve when you are ready!
Ready to Eat!
source: cake truffles

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Part 1)

Hi, my name is Juliana... and I'm a stressful baker. Yes, I admit it. I need some sort of rehab or something. But the first step is to admit that you have a problem, and I did that, so that's a step in the right direction, right? Anyway, I've had a couple stressful weeks (mainly because of nursing school) and any time that I am stressed I have to bake something. I know it's weird, but it works. Clayton of course hates it because he has a huge sweet tooth, and will eat an entire batch of what I made, which is just no good. But I'm a little lonely because Clayton is having to work tonight :( So, we have to do our Valentine's Day dinner tomorrow night. Well, to keep myself company, I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I mean what's more comforting than some freshly-baked, crispy-on-the-outside, but melty and gooey on the inside, chocolate chip cookies.  There really isn't anything better! And I sort of have this obsession with developing the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Like seriously, I am always tinkering and tweaking my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I have a feeling that I probably will never satisfy my taste buds. I feel like there are some very important components that every chocolate chip cookie needs:

1. Chocolate Chunks. Not chocolate chips, I feel like they do not give the cookies the melty-gooey-chocolately essence that it needs.
2. Chocolate. I can't quite decide if I like bittersweet, dark, semisweet... so many choices, and I'm still trying to decide what is the best route to go, but I do think that a gourmet chocolate is very important, so stay tuned.
3. Sugars. I feel like you need granulated and brown sugar, but in the right proportions, but definitely more brown sugar.
4. Butter. I think that there needs to be different types of temperatures. Maybe some chilled, some softened, to build the texture. 
5. Salt. This could be the one of the most important components to me. Salt is just a natural enhancer of chocolate. Sea salt is my favorite choice because of it's depth. I especially have to have salt sprinkled on top for that extra special touch.


Anyway, this is part one of a long journey into discovering the best chocolate chip cookie. I feel like I'm channeling Monica from Friends (my favorite show ever & another obsession of mine). In an episode, she is determined to have the best chocolate chip cookies out of all the moms, and I hope maybe I'll be that mom... maybe? I hope. Well, stay tuned my friends. I hope all you lovers out there are having a splendid, romantic night and all you single ladies are doing something fabulous with the girls because honestly it's all about havin' some fun! Enjoy :)
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
For the Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 Stick of Butter, Softened
½ Stick of Butter, Chilled & Grated
½C Sugar
1C Brown Sugar
1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
2 ½t Vanilla
1t Salt
2C + 2T AP Flour
¾t Baking Powder
½t Baking Soda
1 ½C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
Salt, For Sprinkling 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with Pam.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, chilled butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat again. Slowly add in the flour mixture, while mixing on low until all of the flour mixture is added in. Then, mix in the chocolate chips until well incorporated.
4. With an ice cream scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. This should make roughly 12 large cookies (and I mean large). Flatten and create some peaks (this will help them look a little more classically homemade). Sprinkle with a little salt on each cookie (this helps enhance the chocolate flavor).
5. Bake each cookie sheet for 14-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the time (around 7 minutes).
6. Once done baking, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes. And then move them to a cooling rack.
7. Serve immediately with some milk!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Goat Cheese Brownies

So, this week we were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay and he had challenged the Vermont Brownie Company to a brownie throwdown. He did a brownie with peanut butter caramel sauce and they did goat cheese brownies. So I was inspired to make my own recipe of Goat Cheese Brownies. They are very similar to cream cheese brownies, but much more complex and very tangy. I like them a lot surprisingly, hopefully you will too!
Goat Cheese Brownies
For the Brownies:
1 ¼C AP Flour
1t Salt
2T Dark Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
11oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Stick of Butter, Cut into Cubes
1t Instant Espresso Powder
1 ½C Sugar
½C Brown Sugar
5 Eggs, Room Temperature
2t Vanilla
Salt, For Sprinkling
1oz Chocolate Chips, For Sprinkling

For the Goat Cheese Layer:
10oz Goat Cheese, Softened & Room Temperature
1 Egg, Room Temperature
1t Vanilla
1/3C Sugar

Directions:
1. First, make a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the hot water. Put the chocolate chips, butter, and espresso power and melt together. Once the mixture is melted, take the bowl off the heat and mix in both sugars. Let this mixture come to room temperature before adding the eggs. Add 3 eggs at first and blend together. Then add the other 2 eggs, as well as the vanilla and blend until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, but do not over mix.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 13x9 baking dish with tin foil and spray with Pam.  Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.
3. To make the goat cheese layer, whip together the goat cheese and sugar, until it starts to soften. Then add the egg and vanilla, beat until creamy and fluffy. Spread this layer over the first layer of brownie batter. Add the remaining half of the brownie mixture over the goat cheese layer and spread. Top the brownies by sprinkling some chocolate chips and salt.
4. Bake for 35 minutes and then let the brownies come to room temperature before you cut them.
5. Enjoy!

source: brownie

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Cheesy Mustard Béchamel

For dinner tonight, I decided to make Chicken Cordon Bleu with a Cheesy Mustard Béchamel. Clayton has never had Chicken Cordon Bleu, even though it has everything that he loves. He ended up loving it! I served it with some balsamic broccoli and caramelized onion-roasted mushroom cous cous. But you can chose other sides. Enjoy :)
Chicken Cordon Bleu with Cheesy Mustard Bechamel
For the Chicken:
2 Chicken Breasts, Butterflied & Pounded
4 Slices Ham, Cut into Strips
2 Slices Swiss Cheese, Cut into Strips
¼C Honey Mustard
1T Dijon Mustard
½C Italian Bread Crumbs
 Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Cheesy Mustard Béchamel:
2T Butter
2T Flour, Sifted
1 ¼C Milk, Heated
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
¼t Ground Mustard
1T Honey Mustard
1T Dijon Mustard  
½C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded 

Directions:
1. After you have butterflied and pounded your chicken, lay them out flat on a cutting board, so that you can stuff them. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey mustard and Dijon mustard. With a brush, spread the mustard mixture on the top surface of the chicken breast. Now, start to layer your strips of cheese and ham. I like to do a layer of cheese, a layer of ham, and then another layer of cheese. Once you have layered, roll the chicken breasts, so that the cheese and ham are securely rolled inside the chicken. Brush a little more mustard mixture on the outside of the stuffed chicken breasts and then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking dish with tin foil and spray with Pam. Place the stuffed chicken breasts on the baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the breasts and the heat of your oven. The chicken should no longer be pink, the cheese melted, and the breadcrumbs browned.
3. While the chicken breasts are baking, make the cheesy mustard béchamel sauce. Start off by warming the milk in a small pot. In a separate pot, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes (do not let it brown). Next, whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, then lower down to simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. During this cooking period, add the shredded cheese, honey mustard, Dijon mustard, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Make sure you constantly whisk. Set this sauce aside until you are ready to serve.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, cut them into slices and spoon some of the béchamel over.
5. Serve immediately with the balsamic broccoli and caramelized onion-roasted mushroom cous cous. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Bombs

Okay, so for my second recipe, I decided to make some Jalapeno Popper Bombs. They are practically my Loaded Jalapeno Poppers, rolled into a ball, and deep-fried. I mean how can you turn that down? You can't. They are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. And they are very similar to what a fried jalapeno popper would taste like, but kicked up a notch! Hope you enjoy :)
Jalapeno Popper Bombs
For the Bombs:
5 Jalapenos, Roasted & Chopped
1 Block Cream Cheese, Softened
½C Rotel Tomatoes, Drained
½C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
½C Spicy Ground Sausage, Cooked
4 Slices Bacon, Crumbled
1Q Peanut Oil
1T Paprika
1T Chili Powder
1T Cajun Seasoning
1T Salt
2 Eggs
¼C Buttermilk
1T Hot Sauce
2C Panko Bread Crumbs
Salt, For Sprinkling

Directions:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the roasted peppers, cream cheese, rotel tomatoes, mozzarella, bacon and ground sausage. Roll this mixture into balls and refrigerate until hard, or about 30 minutes.
2. Heat your deep fryer to 375 with the peanut oil.  Next you have to set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins for all of my stations. For the first station, I mix the flour & the seasonings. For the second station, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce. For the third station, pour 2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs.
3. Get the balls from the refrigerator and roll them in the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally bread them with the Panko.
4. Drop them into the hot oil and fry them for 5 minutes or until golden brown, making sure that no cheese is oozing out. Drain them on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt immediately. Your Jalapeno Popper balls have officially become Jalapeno Popper Bombs (so deadly).
5. Serve immediately, but watch out because they're hot!

Loaded Jalapeno Poppers

As most of you know, the Superbowl was last night. Although my beloved Falcons were not in the big game, we still used it as an excuse to make some tailgate food. We actually made Jalapeno Poppers, two ways. The first recipe are my Loaded Jalapeno Poppers. I call them "loaded" because they remind me of a loaded baked potato in that they have tomatoes, sausage, cheese, and bacon, where as a typical jalapeno popper has just cream cheese and maybe some parmesan. What can I say, I like a lot of stuff in my stuff, ya know? Anyway, I hope you enjoy them enough to make them for your next tailgate party :)
Loaded Jalapeno Poppers
For the Filling:
1 Block Cream Cheese, Softened
½C Rotel Tomatoes, Drained
½C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
½C Spicy Ground Sausage, Cooked  

For the Poppers:
6 Jalapenos, Sliced in Half & Seeded
12 Slices Bacon, Partly Cooked
¼C Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded 
1C Jalapeno Popper Filling 

Directions:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, rotel tomatoes, mozzarella, and ground sausage. Set this mixture aside.
2. Preheat an oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with Pam. Lay the slices of bacon on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, so they are about half way done. This is an important step because this will make sure the bacon is fully cooked when the poppers are done. Once the bacon is slightly cooked, set these aside to cool, so you won’t burn your fingers.
3. Next, start to load your jalapeno halves with the filling. Spoon about 2 spoonfuls of the filling into the hollowed out halves until they are full and rounded. Sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and press in a little to make sure it adheres. Then, wrap the partially cooked bacon around the filled jalapenos. Some of the bacon will adhere naturally, but for those that don't, you can use a toothpick while they bake.
4. Place the jalapeno poppers back on the same baking sheet. Bake these for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown and the bacon is crisp.
5. Serve immediately!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blue Cheese Burgers

Clayton is obsessed with burgers. He would eat a different burger everyday of the week if he could. So I try to make at least one burger a week for him to enjoy. We had some blue cheese in the refrigerator, so a blue cheese burger was the final decision. I added Bourbon Caramelized Onions, Peppered Bacon, and Dijonnaise. It was super hearty with strong flavors, but not over-powering. He loved it, and hopefully you will too! Enjoy :)
Blue Cheese Burgers with Boubon Caramelized Onions, Peppered Bacon,  & Dijonnaise
For the Burgers:
1 Burger Bun, Toasted
¼C Blue Cheese, Crumbled
¼C Bourbon Caramelized Onions
3 Strips Peppered Bacon
2T Dijonnaise
1 Ground Chuck Burger Patty  (80/20)
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil

For the Bourbon Caramelized Onions:
2 Vidalia Onions, Thick Sliced
2T Butter
2T Olive Oil
1T Salt
1T Brown Sugar
1 Shot Bourbon

For the Dijonnaise:
2T Mayo
2T Dijon Mustard

Directions:
1. To make the Bourbon Caramelized Onions, bring a pan up to high heat and melt the butter, olive oil, and brown sugar. Also, Salt heavily in order to draw the moisture out of the onions. Cook the onions down until they are soft and caramelized. Add the shot of bourbon and let the alcohol cook out (this will also help the onions caramelize). Set these onions aside until you assemble the burger.
2. To make the Dijonnaise, combine equal parts mayo and Dijon mustard and whisk together until smooth. Set aside to let the flavors meld together.
3. With the ground beef, form a burger patty big enough for your burger bun. Once formed, sprinkle each side with salt and pepper and cook on high heat in a sauté pan with a little bit of oil. Brown each side for about 2 minutes and put on a baking sheet. Spoon some blue cheese on top of the burger and broil for 2 minutes, until melted.
4. Get your toasted bun and spread each side with the Dijonnaise. Next stack the burger with the melted blue cheese, then the bourbon onions, and peppered bacon.
5. Serve immediately with chips or fries!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Healthy Teriyaki Chicken with Asian-Style Brown Fried Rice

If you didn't know already, I have a mild obsession with Teriyaki Chicken. Okay, maybe not mild, maybe a major obsession with it. So I came across a recipe, and I altered it some so it would be a little more figure friendly. I like to use chicken thighs because they stay so moist. This is one of our favorite easy and cheap meals we like to eat! Enjoy :)
Healthy Teriyaki Chicken with Asian-Style Brown Fried Rice & Sauteed Broccoli
For the Chicken:
6 Chicken Thighs, Boneless & Skinless
¼C Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
2T Splenda Brown Sugar (or regular brown sugar)
1T Honey, Optional
2T Low-Sodium, Fat-Free Chicken Stock
2T Rice Wine Vinegar
½t Sesame Oil
1T Garlic, Chopped
1t Ginger, Grated
¼t Red Pepper Flakes
Sesame Seeds, For Garnish
Salt, To Taste 

Directions:
1.  The day before: Wash and dry the chicken thighs and place them in a gallon freezer bag. In a mixing bowl, mix together soy sauce, Splenda, honey, chicken stock, vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pour this mixture over the chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours; however, overnight would be preferable.
2. The day of: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about an hour. This will help the chicken grill and not steam.
3. To cook the chicken: Heat a grill pan (I use my George Foreman) to medium-high heat and spray with Pam. Dry the marinated chicken thighs, so that there is no excess sauce. Grill each thigh for 2-3 minutes on each side, just so that they are starting to caramelize. Remove the grilled thighs and place on tin foil in a baking dish and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.
4. If you would like your teriyaki chicken to be a little saucier, make another batch of the marinade, and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes (making sure you whisk constantly) until it is thick and syrupy. With 10 minutes left of the baking process, glaze the thighs with the sauce. Also, glaze once again when the thighs are done.
5. Sprinkle the thighs with sesame seeds for garnish.
6. Serve immediately with the Asian-Style Brown Fried Rice and sauteed broccoli.

Asian-Style Brown Fried Rice

The first recipe for tonight is brown fried rice that we served with teriyaki chicken as a side. We've been trying to eat healthier (although it hasn't been very successful), so instead of making fried rice with white rice, I decided to use brown rice. It's a pretty good alternative when you're really craving some carbs. Enjoy!



Asian-Style Brown Fried Rice
For the Fried Rice:
2C Brown Rice, Cooked & Cold
2T Vegetable Oil
1 Egg, Scrambled
½C Frozen Peas & Carrots
¼ Sweet Onion, Chopped
2 Green Onions, Chopped
1t Garlic, Chopped
1T Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

Directions:
1. Heat a sauté pan to medium high heat and spray with Pam. Beat an egg and scramble until cooked, and set aside. Drizzle the vegetable oil in the pan and cook the sweet onions until tender. Next add the garlic, peas, and carrots. Simmer for about 5 minutes. After this mixture has cooked, add the cold, cooked brown rice, slowly heat the rice with the soy sauce until the rice is heated and soft. At the last minute, add the chopped green onion, cooked egg, salt, and pepper.
2. Serve with the Healthy Teriyaki Chicken & sauteed broccoli. 

Chunky Guacamole

I really don't like avocados, but I love me some guacamole. So when my mom came to visit me last weekend, she bought a couple avocados and then left them here. We decided to use them for some chunky guacamole. It also fit the theme of Superbowl Weekend and all the yummy appetizers I love to make! Although, while I was making the guacamole, I realized I didn't have any fresh cilantro, but I still had some of my Cilantro-Jalapeno Pesto-Mayo. I figured it's creamy, and it has cilantro, jalapeno, and lime in it, so it couldn't be that bad in the guacamole, right? It turned out just as good as if I used fresh, chopped cilantro. So feel free to substitute the mayo with some fresh cilantro, and just add as much as you like. I hope you enjoy!
Chunky Guacamole 
For the Guacamole:
2 Avocados, Cut into Cubes
1C Sweet Onion, Chopped
2 Tomatoes, Cored & Diced
2T Garlic, Chopped
10 Dashes Hot Sauce
¼t Cumin
1t Salt
½t Garlic Powder
½ Lime, Zest & Juice
1T Cilantro-Jalapeno Pesto-Mayo

Directions:
1. First, you need to cut the avocados in half and cut them into to small cubes (this will make mashing easier). Place the cubes into a bowl and mash with a fork, but leaving it somewhat chunky because it will smooth out once you add other ingredients and mix.
2. Core and de-seed the tomatoes, so there is no excess moisture or tomato juice. Cut the tomatoes into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to the avocados. Next, add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well incorporated, but chunky.
3.Serve immediately with tortilla chips!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

I feel like it's been so long since I last cooked. School has been super hectic, so I've pretty much been living  off Lean Cuisines, and that's no fun. So I'm finally done with most of my schoolwork this week, and we decided to make some Banana Pudding Cupcakes. I've never had one before, but I love banana pudding and I love cupcakes, so it was a winning combination. They're super good and would be perfect for a summertime cookout! I hope you enjoy :)
Vanilla Wafer Cookie Cupcakes with a Pudding Filling & Banana Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Vanilla Wafer Cookie Cupcake:
½C Butter, Softened
1C Sugar
3 Eggs, Room Temperature
1C Milk
1C Flour
1 ½C Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crumbs
1t Baking Soda
1t Baking Powder
1/8t Salt

For the Pudding Filling:
1 5oz French Vanilla Pudding
2C Milk
1 8oz Package Cream Cheese, Softened
1 14oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 6oz Whipped Cream

For the Banana-Cream Cheese Icing:
2 8oz Packages Cream Cheese, Softened
½C Butter, Softened
2C Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1t Vanilla
2 Bananas, Mashed
1t Banana Extract

Directions:
1. To make the Pudding Filling: In one bowl, beat together the pudding and milk and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese. Then pour the cream cheese mixture into the pudding mixture, beat these together. Next, slowly fold in the whipped cream until incorporated and set aside.
2. To make the Vanilla Wafer Cookie Cupcake: In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in one egg at a time, blending each egg into the mixture for 30 seconds each until they are well incorporated. Next, sift together flour, cookie crumbs, salt, powder, and soda. While beating the butter mixture, beat in ¼ of the flour mixture, then ¼ cup of milk, and repeat until there isn’t any left. Line a cupcake sheet with liners and fill each cupcake ¾ of the way full and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack until you are ready to fill and dress with icing.
3. To make the Banana-Cream Cheese Frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add in the vanilla and slowly incorporate the sifted powdered sugar until the icing is light and fluffy. Lastly, fold in the mashed banana and banana extract to finish the icing.
4. To assemble the Cupcakes: Once the cupcakes have completely cooled (this is very important because you do not want your filling or icing to melt), hollow out a small hole in the center of the cupcake (and eat the center as a little snack). Pour a spoonful of the pudding filling into the hollowed-out center. Next, pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake and garnish with a vanilla wafer or slice of banana.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Ready to Eat!!