Monthly Archives: March 2012

Banana, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Granola

Yes, this is as good as it looks. And no, you will not be able to stop eating it. I made this granola a while ago and it was gone in about a day and a half, so I had to make it again. It is a great snack, and is so irresistible. I made my own applesauce for this recipe, which you can choose to do or not. I got so used to making it for Gwenny to eat, that I can’t really see myself buying it in a jar knowing how easy it is. The original recipe says that the chocolate is optional, but…come on.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oat
  • 2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, warmed slightly
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried banana chips
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

To make your own applesauce:

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and core 2 apples, or more if you’d like extra. Cut the apples into large chunks and place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until apples are very tender. Transfer apples and any juices into a food processor and blend until smooth.

For the granola:

Preheat the oven to 325.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats and puffed rice cereal.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, mashed banana, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet in a thick even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes, then pull out of the oven and carefully turn the granola over in segments.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried.  If necessary, remove the edges of cooked granola and bake the remaining granola for 10-15 minutes more or until done, being careful not to over-bake. Cool on a wire rack.

Once the granola has cooled slightly, crumble it into a large bowl.  Add in the dried banana chips, honey roasted peanuts and bittersweet chocolate. Mix well to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Strawberry Pie Cakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I just couldn’t resist. What’s not to love? It’s pie, it’s cake, it’s Pie Cake! I also have a special place in my heart for all things mini and these are the perfect individual size treats. Creating the lattice topping was a bit tedious so I did it on half of the pie cakes and created a typical pie type topping for the rest. If you wanted to cut down on some of the prep time you could use pre-made dough but this dough recipe uses more sugar than a typical pie dough to sweeten it up a bit.

The original recipe was for a Vanilla Peach Pie Cake but peaches are definitely not in season and the strawberries I’ve been finding have been super yummy so I decided to shake it up a bit. I also just picked up my free Penzey’s cinnamon sugar with a catalogue coupon so I added it to the whipped cream.

Strawberry Pie Cakes 
Makes 24 standard sized pie cakes

Ingredients

FOR THE PIE CRUST
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening, cold
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
6-8 tablespoons cold water

FOR THE CAKE
2 egg whites, at room temperature (save the yolks to use in an egg wash, if desired)
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon1 baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING
1 quart strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced thin
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch

To make the crust: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Process until the mixture looks like wet sand. Evenly distribute the butter on top and pulse until the mixture has pea sized chunks in it. If mixing by hand, cut the cold shortening in with a fork or dough blender, again until it resembles wet sand. Then cut the butter in until you have pea sized pieces.

If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Add about 6 tablespoons cold water and begin mixing with a spatula. Using a spatula, mix the dough by ‘folding’ from bottom to top and pressing down with each fold, adding more water if the dough is too dry.

Once the mixture has just formed a dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. As quickly as possible, finish bringing the dough together by hand, kneading as little as possible.

Divide the dough in half evenly and shape into two disks, roughly 4 inches across. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.

Once chilled, make cake filling: Lightly coat muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk together; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about three minutes. Add the egg mixture in two small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 15 seconds. Set aside while you prepare the pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove your one of your disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut several 4 to 5-inch circles out of the dough, re-rolling the remaining dough, as needed. Place each circle into the cup of the prepared muffin pan, pressing gently into the corners and trimming any excess dough away. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, make the pie filling: Combine the strawberries, sugars, and spices in a medium bowl, tossing to coat the strawberries thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice and corn starch until well combined. Spread in a glass baking dish; set aside to bake with the piecakes.

Remove the pie crusts from oven and immediately fill each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon of the cake batter.

Bake the filled pie crusts and the pie filling for 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom, halfway through baking.

Remove the piecakes and filling from the oven and place about 2 tablespoons of the pie filling on top of each piecake. Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips and weave the pieces into lattice tops on each of the piecakes. Return to the oven and bake until lattices are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the cream on medium high speed until it begins to thicken and form very soft peaks. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Chill until ready to serve.

Source: Bakingdom.com via Pinterest

Open Faced Egg Sandwich

Clearly Lindsay and I both really enjoy using eggs in our cooking, but they are so versatile and delicious that you can’t really be surprised that they pop up on here so often. This recipe is actually a way of using the left over spring pesto that I made and used for a pasta dish earlier in the week. I love when food magazines give you a creative way to use up the surplus of sauce that you will have, especially since I am sometimes cooking for one when Dan is traveling for work.

This is a pretty simple sandwich to make and is one of those things that is just so good you wonder why you didn’t ever think to make it before…or why Martha Stewart was keeping the recipe all to herself. She really is so selfish sometimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 thick slices of country-style bread, toasted (I used sourdough, twas delish)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto (optional, but recommended)
  • ~1/3 cup of shaved Parmesan
  • pepper

For the Pesto:

  • 1 bunch of parsley, large stems removed
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

*You won’t need all of this pesto for the sandwich. It is great tossed with pasta and shrimp. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Make the pesto by blending all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the pesto on each slice of toasted bread, depending on how large your slice is, and top with prosciutto. Place the sliced egg and shaved Parmesan on the sandwich and drizzle with olive oil and pepper.

Source: Everyday Food Magazine: April 2012

Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs

Spring is here, which means there are a lot of yummy things now in season. Gwenny and I were strolling through Stew Leonard’s working on overcoming her fear of the mooing cow head when we passed a very inviting mound of artichokes. I have had this recipe in the back of my mind ever since I originally bought the cookbook years ago, so I picked out the best looking artichokes and we were on our way.

Don’t be afraid of trimming the artichokes. It is very easy, and if you are like me and like to have a visual, I have attached a link to the Food Network video where Giada makes this recipe at the bottom of this post. I made these while Dan was traveling, so I cut the recipe in half and put one of the boiled artichokes in the fridge for another day.

Ingredients

  • 4 artichokes
  • 3 lemons
  • 10 ounces of mild Gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the artichokes by cutting off the top inch or so. Cut the stem close to the base of the artichoke so the artichoke can stand upright, and remove some of the tough outer leaves. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp points off of any remaining outer leaves. Drop the artichokes into the boiling water. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling water, then toss in the lemons. Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the artichokes upside down on a clean kitchen towel and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the Gorgonzola cheese, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons of the parsley, the garlic, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and the remaining tablespoon of parsley.

Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the artichokes open with your fingers and use a small spoon to scrape out the center choke. You want to get out all of the hairy looking part as well. Don’t be afraid. Stuff the cheese mixture into the artichokes and arrange them in a baking dish. Sprinkle the artichokes with the bread-crumb mixture, then drizzle them with the olive oil. Bake until the artichokes are heated through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and serve.

Source: Giada’s Kitchen

Video from Foodnetwork.com

 

Crispy Breakfast Pita

If you asked me to eat runny eggs about a year ago I would have sooner eaten my right shoe. But recently I have become fond of them. In fact, when I saw this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine cover adorned with a bacon and egg breakfast tart with a runny egg I couldn’t help but buy it. When I read through the magazine I found this crispy breakfast pita recipe as well and I couldn’t resist. It was part of a feature on Giada’s Weeknights with Giada book.*

Sure this recipe would be great for breakfast or lunch but I’m always on the lookout for yummy and quick food to make on weeknights for dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner, right?! This was perfect. It didn’t take too much time, was delicious, and not too heavy. I think my husbands words after eating this meal were “this is definitely a recipe to make again!”

Crispy Breakfast Pita

Ingredients:

6 6-inch pita breads
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 ounces) mascarpone cheese
Grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 packed cups (3 ounces) arugula or baby spinach
8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Directions:

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush each side of the pita breads with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs directly into the pan and cook until the egg whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Add the arugula and toss until coated.

Spread each pita with 2 tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture. Divide the prosciutto on top. Divide the arugula and mound on top of the prosciutto. Carefully place a fried egg on top of each pita. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, and serve.

*Also featured was her Breakfast Tart which I make regularly for girls brunches or as a make ahead for breakfast for overnight guests. I’ll definitely post it next time I make it. It’s a favorite and I love to play with the fillings.

Source: Weeknights with Giada via Food Network Magazine 
Photography by Chris Davis