Sunday, February 27, 2011

Molten Chocolate-Nutella Pudding Cakes

This is decadent and definitely celebration-worthy. It was completely delicious without being too rich. This was the dessert follow-up for my "most perfect meal ever!" ...and what a perfect accompaniment it was. The taste is great the next day, but as a word of caution: the center will collapse it you let it sit. (I.E.: molten) This is best served hot out of the oven. Bon appetit!

Molten Chocolate-Nutella Pudding Cakes via Noble Pig:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

World Peace Cookies

I've been hearing about these cookies for a minute. They have a reputation. The story goes: if everyone was to eat one of these cookies each day, we would achieve world peace. I'm all for supporting world peace through baking. Whatever works! Maybe if everyone in the world was a chocolate lover, this theory might suffice... nice try though. I've been trying to bake something to take to work each weekend I work. This was last weekends entry. They seem to appreciate it. Nothing like a little sugar to propel your adrenaline through twelve and half hours. Maybe I can just bring peace to the halls of the pediatric intensive care unit... is that even possible?!

World Peace Cookies via Smitten Kitchen:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bacon Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't judge! Open your food mind! Another effort into my quest for the perfect salty-sweet! I made these for Superbowl and they were quite the hit. The bag of cookies got passed all around the bar. I think I've decided I'm going to attach a business card of this blog to treat bags with my baked goods. *Shameless self-promotion.* These were equally as good as the Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies I had previously made... but these had an added texture and heartiness due to the addition of the oatmeal. Take your pick. Salty/Sweet for the win!

Bacon Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies via Jules Food:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

I don't think I've ever really mentioned on here about my undying love for the perfect vegetable ever... the POTATO. I might be fibbing if I told you that I did not have a childhood nickname of the Potato Princess. But really... I've never had a bad potato. It's just not possible. A potato can do no wrong. Ranch Mashed Potatoes are no exception. And thank you again to the always trustworthy Noble Pig for aiding in my quest to make a perfect roast chicken dinner. Ranch mashed potatoes were an ideal accompaniment. If you're finding yourself in a mashed potato rut, test these puppies out. The flavor is off the charts. I love you, Potato!  

Ranch Mashed Potatoes via Noble Pig:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Most Perfect Meal EVER

This is the ULTIMATE surf & turf. If you are planning on any kind of celebration feast, this is your meal! Pick your favorite dessert & wine and you are set for the ultimate feast. The flavors in this combination are undeniable. Each component is completely unique, but at the same time pairs together elegantly. Try this out for your next celebration and let me know about your response. Mine was a true crowd pleaser! Happy Valentines Day!

Lemon Risotto via Smitten Kitchen:

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic & Red Pepper via Epicurious:

Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp via Food Network:

Porcini Crusted Filet Mignon with Fresh Herb Butter via Epicurious (& my previous blog entry)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Perfect Roast Chicken

The cutest little naked chicken! Everybody always has their different ideas about the perfect roast chicken. This recipe came as a recommendation from two separate sources so I thought I should try it out. Roast chicken is really versatile. There are so many different ways you can dress it up. You can usually find it at the grocery story for fairly cheap, so it can be very budget-friendly as well. This was about a 6 lb. young chicken, for like $3.50. That sounds like a bargain to me. This was really easy, pretty quick, and stayed succulently moist. I do think I might have accidentally used anise instead of fennel... Stater Brothers tricked me! It was great either way. Stay tuned for the perfect side dish: Ranch Mashed Potatoes!

Perfect Roast Chicken via Ina Garten:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

I know, I know. I'm just going to apologize now... but I had to! How can you resist?! Yes... they are as good as they look, probably a little better. I'm such a sucker for red velvet, even though a perfect red velvet is a difficult task. These did not disappoint one bit. Just enough of that subtle chocolate flavor perfectly balanced out by the smooth, creamy cheesecake topping. My swirls even turned out this time! Let these cool completely before cutting. I found I liked them better the second day (morning). You know I didn't wait a whole day!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies via Sweet Pea's Kitchen:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Simple, Hearty White Chili & Cheddar, Scallion Corn Muffins

It was so cold & windy yesterday. Cold = chili & cornbread in my book! I've been wanting to try out a white chili for awhile now, and this recipe sounded delicious. Delicious it was, AMAZE! This was so tasty and hearty. The batch was huge, so I'll probably be eating this for the next 4 days, and I do not mind. This is the type of dish that actually tastes better after it sits. The next day is really the ideal time to eat it, though I doubt you'll be able to resist it once it's done. This type of dish also freezes well if you wanted to save any for a later time. I fall more and more in love with my dutch oven every time I make something like this. If you haven't made the investment to purchase one, you won't regret it. It has some kind of magical power that causes everything cooked in it to become instantly delicious. Enjoy.

P.S. On the chili: I substituted 1 cup of buttermilk for the whole milk. I also added a whole can of drained corn for some bite, sweetness, & fiber!

Simple, Hearty White Chili via the Pioneer Woman:

Cheddar, Scallion Corn Muffins via the Flick of my Wrist:

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
4 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup grated cheddar

Mix corn muffin mix, milk, and egg until combined. Stir in scallions & cheese until evenly mixed. Divide evenly among 6 greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

I didn't think I was a fan of pineapple upside-down cake... not because I tried it and didn't like it, meerly because I had NEVER tried it before because the looks of it remind me of fruit cake, which I have had some traumatizing experiences with in my childhood. So when I had a special request to make pineapple upside-down cake, I thought why not test it out, maybe it's not so bad. Turns out it's pretty tasty! Anything in cupcake form is always a favorite of mine, I like to trick myself into thinking it helps with portion control. :-) These turned out moist & just sweet enough. I am starting to learn that anything with sour cream in the batter really is great in maintaining its moisture. So cute with a cherry on top!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes via Taste of Home:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Veggie Fried Rice

This little dish of heaven was actually just an attempt to not waste any food in my fridge. I had a bunch of leftover veggies that needed to be eaten along with some steamed rice from thai takeout the night before. Voila, fried rice! You could really use any veggies you like. I had carrots, celery, green onions, shallots, garlic, & cilantro on hand... so that's what I used! This turned out delicious & it was very satisfying to not waste any fridge items. Add a little Sriracha sauce for some extra spice. Try it out!

Veggie Fried Rice via The Flick of my Wrist:

1 1/2 cups cooked, steamed white rice
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tbsp. chopped shallots
1 tbsp. olive oil
soy sauce to taste (1-2 tbsp.)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
2 eggs, scrambled
cilantro, chopped for garnish
Sriracha (optional, for some kick!)

Saute the garlic and shallots in olive oil just until fragrant in a medium sized frying pan. About 2 minutes. Add all other veggies and cook until tender, a few minutes. Add rice & soy sauce to taste. Let rice & soy sauce caramelize on the bottom of the pan a bit to make the rice nice and crunchy. Scoot the rice to one side of the frying pan to make a little room to cook your scrambled eggs. Scramble eggs by themselves, and then mix into rice once they are cooked to desired doneness. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro & Sriracha if you like spicy. Makes 2 main dish servings.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Linguine with Leeks, Shrimp, & Arugula

I saw this cookbook at Barnes & Noble awhile ago and had to pick it up. Trader Joe's is the best, so what better than a cookbook all inclusive of ONLY TJ's items! This recipe was simple, quick to put together, light, but still filling. I've been on a pasta kick lately, I don't know what's going on with that. I try to make myself feel better by using whole wheat pasta. I'm not sure that really makes much of a difference. On a side note: the frozen, crushed garlic cubes at TJ's are probably one of the greatest, most recent kitchen inventions I've discovered. I'm hooked. I used TONS of extra arugula in this one. I even served the pasta with the arugula mixed in over a whole bed of arugula. LOVE the pasta/arugula combo. This will be a great weeknight meal!

Linguine with Leeks, Shrimp, & Arugula via the I <3 Trader Joe's Cookbook:

1 16 oz. bag linguine, cooked & drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 leeks, cleaned & thinly sliced
2 cubes frozen, crushed garlic
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
handful of arugula
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute leeks over medium-high heat until tender. (About 5 minutes.) Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer 5 minutes, until sauce is slightly reduced. Add shrimp & cook 3-4 minutes until pink. Toss the leek-shrimp mixture with the cooked pasta. Add arugula & toss. Add grated parmesan & toss. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt & pepper.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

I had a hankering for a classic fav and this what I came up with. It always turns out I like the cookie dough way better than the cookies, my stomach however, doesn't agree so much. These stayed pretty chewy, I HATE crispy cookies! I added one cup of chopped pecans and used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. These made a HUGE batch and didn't even last the morning at work this weekend!

Chocolate Chip Cookies via Epicurious: