Friday, May 28, 2010

Andouille Burgers with a Creole Remoulade Sauce



Please allow me to introduce you to my new favorite burger! I’m not sure why I never thought of including andouille in my burgers before, but it is genius! This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network. I have seen many of his recipes that looked good, but never bothered with because the ingredient list looked too long. For those that might feel the same about this burger, please don’t be discouraged, it is worth the effort! The recipe calls for two additional ingredients, Essence seasoning and a Creole remoulade sauce. I’m quite certain that if you had a Creole seasoning on hand, you could substitute it with the Essence seasoning, but absolutely no substitutions should be made for the remoulade sauce! The sauce is what helps make this burger! With that said, the recipe calls for a lot of sauce. If you only plan on making the burgers once, I would half the recipe. If you are like myself, you will make the burger, realize that you have to make this recipe again, and use the remaining sauce for the following weeks round two of Andouille burgers!  For those that haven’t decided what to grill this weekend, consider this burger, especially if you are a lover of andouille sausage!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Andouille Burgers with a Creole Remoulade Sauce

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6 oz andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1 1/2 teaspoons Essence Creole seasoning, recipe below

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 Kaiser onion rolls or French bread, split in 1/2 crosswise

6 slices Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar

Creole Remoulade Sauce, recipe below

To make the Burgers:

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Take casing off the andouille sausage and transfer to a large bowl. Add the beef, garlic, Worcestershire, 1 teaspoon of Essence, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Blend together being careful not to overwork the mixture. Form mixture into 6 patties.

Grill the Kaiser rolls just until golden, turning about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plates. Brush the onion slices on both sides with the oil and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Essence, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill until golden, turning, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill.

Place the hamburgers on the grill and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the cheese over the tops of the burgers and cook until melted.

Spread the insides of the buns with the Creole remoulade sauce. Place the hamburgers on the bottoms and top with the sliced onions. Serve immediately.

To Make the Essence Creole Seasoning:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

To make the Creole Remoulade Sauce:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped yellow onions

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons Creole or other whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and process until fairly smooth, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. (The sauce will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blueberry-Lemon Bundt Cake



I’m always looking for an occasion worthy of cake! I have so many recipes in mind that I want to try out, but no reason to actually bake a cake. Mother’s Day was a couple of weeks ago and I felt it was the perfect time to try out this particular recipe.  If you can’t tell, lemon is still on my mind and blueberries were the perfect companion. The cake was nice and light, with hints of lemon and blueberry flavor. I am never one to shy away from a cream cheese topping, but it can be left off the cake and substituted for a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar if you desire. I thought the cream cheese icing took the cake up a notch, making it more of a dessert than possible breakfast!

Blueberry-Lemon Bundt Cake

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For the Cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

2 cups blueberries

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

juice of one lemon

Nonstick cooking spray, for pan

For the Glaze:

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

To make Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.

In a small bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon of flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake cake on bottom rack  of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cook in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving or drizzle with cream cheese glaze (instructions below).

To make Glaze:

Mix the cream cheese with the butter, confectioners’ sugar vanilla extract, and milk in a bowl. Heat in a microwave oven for 10 to 15 seconds. Drizzle spoonfuls over the cooled cake.

Source: My Baking Addiction, originally from Everyday Food

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups



I’m not quite sure why I waited so long to try out this recipe, but it was so much fun to make and so good to eat! The only thing missing from this breakfast was grits! Making eggs for multiple people can sometimes be a pain, everyone prefers their eggs cooked a certain way, but not to worry as the cooking time can be controlled to each persons preference. My hubby likes his yolk runny, while I scream at any yolk that is not cooked all the way through. The solution with this recipe is to pull the cups out at each stage, ensuring a variety of cooked eggs.

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups

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6 slices of bacon

6 slices of bread

Shredded cheese

6 eggs

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 6 wells of a muffin pan with butter.

In a frying pan, cook bacon about 3 to 5 minutes, until partially cooked but not completely crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cut out rounds of bread, using a cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass. Press the bread rounds into the greased muffin wells. Curl a piece of bacon around the periphery of each piece of bread, positioning it between the bread and the muffin tin to help keep in position. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese in the center of each piece of bread. One at a time, crack an egg, removing about half of the white, and dropping the remaining white and yolk over each piece of bread, being careful not to break the yolks.

Bake until eggs are cooked through to your liking (about 6 to 10 minutes) and bacon is crispy. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin well and pop the egg cups out. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Noshery

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fruit Bruschetta



I have been trying out some new breakfast/brunch dishes lately and wanted to share a couple of new favorites! This could not be any simpler to make, as long as you don’t burn the bread! I love cinnamon  toast. I am also a big fan of bananas, strawberries, and kiwi together in a fruit salad. I had never thought to combine the two into one dish, but what a crowd pleaser! The dish is good enough to eat every morning for breakfast and is pretty healthy too.

Fruit Bruschetta

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1/4 pineapple, diced

6 oz strawberries, hulled and diced

2 kiwis, peeled and diced

1 banana, diced

Sliced bread rounds (I used challah)


Cinnamon Sugar (Combine 1/4 cup sugar with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon)

Yogurt (I used strawberry, but vanilla would also work)

Combined diced pineapple, strawberries, kiwi, and banana in a small mixing bowl. Toss and set aside. Butter top side of thinly sliced toast. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place toast under a broiler to crisp. Spoon the fruit mixture on top of each round. Drizzle lightly with yogurt.

Source adapted from: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Friday, May 21, 2010

Greek Salad



Happy Friday!

I am currently consumed with homework and papers so this post will be brief. This salad was made to accompany the Chicken Gyros I posted about earlier this week. I love the idea of making homemade salad dressings. They are extremely simple to make and allow you to control the amount of sodium and other ingredients placed in the recipe. This is also the perfect side for gyros! The dressing itself is very light. Top the salad with the ingredients listed below or add in other elements that sound good to you and your taste buds!

Greek Salad

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For the Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

Romaine lettuce

Red onions, sliced

Sliced black olives (I omitted this)

Grape tomatoes, halved

Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

Feta cheese

To Make the Dressing:

In a small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients. Whisk together until well combined. (Store any left over dressing in refrigerator. Shake well before using.)

To Make the Salad:

Add lettuce to a salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss well to coat. Top as desired with onions, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from William Sonama

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicken Gyros



How could I forget this dish! I thought I had already shared this recipe with you, but to my surprise I hadn’t. I made these as soon as I came across the recipe last summer and they are still a favorite of mine. For the longest time I wouldn’t go near gyros, I don’t know if it was the mysterious meat or what, but I love them now. This is a simplified way to enjoy gyros from the comfort of your home and it is quite a refreshing spin on a gyro with chicken being the main ingredient. The tzatziki sauce is a must so don’t skip out!

Chicken Gyros

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For the Tzatziki Sauce:

16 oz of greek yogurt (if you can’t find greek yogurt you can use plain yogurt)

1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded or 1/2 hothouse cucumber

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper, to taste

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Extra virgin olive oil

For the Chicken:

4 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 heaping tablespoons yogurt (Greek or plain)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast


Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

Red onion, sliced

Pita bread

To make the Tzatziki sauce:

If using plain yogurt, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible to remove as much moisture as possible. If using Greek yogurt, skip this step.

Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 3o minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To Prepare the Chicken:

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add chicken to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

To Assemble:

Heat pitas ( either using a dry pan on stove or in oven). Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes, and sliced onions. Serve immediately.

Source: Elly Says Opa!, also seen on Annie’s Eats

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Tequila Burgers



Since trying Chicken Parmesan Burgers, I have been wanting to try many more burger recipes using ground chicken. This recipe caught my eye and I was anxious to try it out. Last summer I made Ina Garten's recipe for Tequila Lime Chicken, which was very flavorful so I was excited to see if those flavors could be captured in burger form. I also added in a condiment of mayonnaise mixed in with some lime zest to add even more citrus flavor to the burger. I chose to cook the burgers using a grill pan, but they could also be cooked under a broiler. Also, for those that aren't keen on using alcohol in the recipe, you can always use chicken broth as a substitute. Overall, I was pleased with the taste of the burger, although I will say that the Chicken Parmesan Burger is still my favorite chicken burger!

Chicken Tequila Burgers

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2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 Red bell pepper

1 onion

Romaine lettuce

3 to 4 tablespoons cilantro

zest of 1 lime, divided

1 oz tequila

dash of soy sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup mayonnaise (optional)

Hamburger buns

Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with olive oil. Combine the garlic, jalapeño, ground chicken, cilantro, zest of 1/2 lime, tequila, soy sauce, panko, and salt and pepper to taste using a food processor or by hand.

Form the mixture into 4 to 5 patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Broil the burgers for about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, cooking to brown both sides. Check for doneness before serving.

While patties are cooking, sauté bell pepper and onion in olive oil until tender.  Optional: Combine mayonnaise and the remaining 1/2 of lime zest, stir to combine.

Serve on buns with red bell pepper, onion, lettuce and mayonnaise mixture, as desired.

Source adapted from: Annie’s Eats, originally from Cara’s Cravings

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crab Cakes with Orange-Butter Sauce



I've had many a crab cake in my lifetime. Every recipe is a little different. At restaurants there is usually a specialty sauce lightly drizzled over the crab cakes, making for a pretty presentation and for enhancing the flavor of the crab, but never before have I seen anything like the recipe I'm sharing with you today. Leave it to my Mother-in-law to find the one recipe that defies the normal...crab cakes lying in a pool of  orange butter sauce, simply AMAZING!!! This really was the best crab cake combo I've had, and on special occasions can be a wonderful appetizer or meal. Speaking of special occasions…

Me and Michael1

…today marks five years with my wonderful husband Michael. I won't bore you with the details, but I am so happy he picked me and I am blessed to have such wonderful memories and moments with him. I can only hope the next 5 years are just as good!

Crab Cakes with Orange-Butter Sauce

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For Crab Cakes:

1/4 cup milk

2 slices white bread

1 pound fresh crabmeat

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups panko

1/2 cup vegetable oil

For Orange-Butter Sauce:

1/2 cup orange zest (about 3 oranges)

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch pieces

To make the Crab Cakes:

Pour milk over bread in a small bowl.

Stir together crabmeat, mayonnaise, egg, red bell pepper, green onion, ginger, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Squeeze milk from bread, discarding excess milk. Add bread to crabmeat mixture and toss gently.

Shape mixture into 8 patties; dredge in breadcrumbs. Press additional breadcrumbs onto each cake. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot; add 4 patties and fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and patties. Place crab cakes on a large baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.

To make the Orange-Butter Sauce:

Stir together orange zest, juice, salt, and pepper in a nonaluminum saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat 25 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk butter into orange sauce. Serve immediately.

To Plate:

Spoon Orange-Butter Sauce evenly onto serving plates. Place crab cakes over sauce.

Source: The Coastal Living Cookbook, Oxmoor House, 2004

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lemon Ginger Drop Cookies



You may remember the Ginger scones I posted about last month. I still had some crystallized ginger in the pantry to use up so I decided to try a new cookie recipe. I made the cookies the same night as the Lemon Chicken Pasta and they didn't stay in the cookie jar for long! I baked the cookies a little longer than I like (unintentionally), but it actually worked out better. The crunch of the cookie along with the amount of ginger was perfect. The ginger was present in each bite and worked well with the lemon. I'm always excited for a new cookie recipe and this one will definitely be making future appearances!

Lemon Ginger Drop Cookies

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1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and more for sprinkling

1 large egg

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place 3/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Add zest and rub with sugar until fragrant and damp. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl. Add egg; mix on high speed to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt and crystallized ginger; add to butter mixture; mix on medium-low speed to combine, about 20 seconds.

Drop about 2 teaspoons of batter on baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes. Pull out trays, sprinkle cookies with sugar, rotate sheets between oven shelves, and bake until just golden, about 7 minutes more. Slide parchment with cookies onto a wire rack, let cool for 15 minutes.

Source: Food Librarian, originally from Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1995/1996

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lemon Chicken Pasta



First, let me start by saying, I love this pasta! Lemon has been on my mind ever since the weather turned warmer. The lemon flavor is both refreshing and light, the perfect dinner on a warm day! This was my second attempt at this dish. The first time I made it, it called for grilled chicken seasoned with some salt and pepper, which there is nothing wrong with, but I thought the chicken had more taste potential with a marinade. My mind immediately thought of a lemon poppy seed dressing. I had trouble finding a similar dressing in the store, so I ended up purchasing a poppy seed dressing and adding the zest of a lemon to create the marinade I was looking for.  What a difference the marinade made. The chicken was moist and flavorful and the fresh lemon juice added to the pasta made this meal so light and tasty!

Lemon Chicken Pasta

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1 pound dried penne

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Poppy seed dressing

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

2 lemons

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Place about 1/2 cup of poppy seed dressing into a plastic zip-top bag. Add the zest of one lemon. Place chicken in bag and marinate for 2 to 4 hours.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain well.

Remove chicken and discard marinade. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large grill pan over medium high and add chicken. Grill until golden and completely cooked. Remove to a plate and allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to a sauté pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté until fragrant. Add the cooked pasta and turn heat off. Mix all together.

Remove pasta to a large bowl. Add chicken to the warm pasta and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in chopped parsley. Add the juice of 2 lemons and mix. Before serving top with parmesan.

Source adapted from:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peppered Flank Steak with Onion Marmalade



I have been in a sandwich/burger mood lately, so we have been trying lots of new different types. This particular sandwich is one that I made for the men in my family. Most men can’t say no to steak, add in the onion marmalade and the sandwich becomes gender neutral! The marmalade was seriously delicious. I almost wished that I had doubled the marmalade recipe, I couldn’t get enough piled on my sandwich. If you have steak lovers in the family, I’m positive this will be a great new spin on steak sandwiches.

Peppered Flank Steak Sandwich with Onion Marmalade

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1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3 cups finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

5 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 pound flank steak

1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely ground blank pepper

6 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Cook sugar in oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until golden.

Add chopped onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook 20 minutes or until golden, stirring often.

Stir in orange juice and, if desired, bourbon; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine Dijon mustard, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and garlic; spread mixture over both sides of steak. Sprinkle steak with pepper, and press gently into mustard mixture.

Grill steak over medium, direct heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

Spoon steak onto bottom halves of buns; top evenly with onion mixture, and cover with bun tops.

Source: Everyday Grilling, Oxmoor House, 2006

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day


I usually talk about food, but since this is my blog I also get to be mushy about the wonderful women in my life! Tomorrow we will celebrate Mother’s Day, the one day out of the each year Motherly love, wisdom, and guidance is appreciated and shown with cards, gifts, and family fellowship. Meet the women of my life…

My beautiful Mom, my best friend and biggest supporter.


My Granny, a woman of great wisdom and strength.

Wedd Shower6

My Mother-in-Law, I think I might be the only daughter-in-law that truly enjoys her in-law’s.


and my Aunt Sissy, who can always make me laugh and have a good time!

Adin and Sissy

Each one of these women holds a very special place in my heart. I miss them dearly when we are miles apart and enjoy each minute we spend together. God has truly blessed me with great role models. Each one has so much wisdom and life experience to empower me with. I love you all and wish I could give you each a big hug and kiss on this Mother’s Day! I send you all my love and pray that God will continue to shower you with His richest blessings.

For those that haven’t finalized their Mother’s Day plans, here are some ideas for a Brunch menu.

Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

French Toast Casserole

Sausage and Grits Casserole

Almond Coffee Cakes

Bananas-n-Cream Cake

Lemon Blossoms

Friday, May 7, 2010

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies



I'm always up for making something new so when we recently had a few students over for dinner I asked for desserts ideas. Red Velvet cake was the first request and while I could have made a cake or cupcakes, I couldn't resist trying something a little different. I first made Whoopie pies back in March and while I must admit the chocolate and peanut butter combination is still my favorite, the red velvet was pretty good too. The pies have everything you know and love about red velvet, nestled between a cream cheese filling, it’s too tempting to resist!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

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For the pies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp

1 oz red food coloring

For the Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make pies:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of  a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a regular hand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the Filling:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip.

To assemble Whoopie Pies:

Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats, cookies originally from Better Homes and Gardens, December 2008; frosting originally adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Braised Chicken



My husband loves to eat curry chicken so I'm always searching for recipes that include the use of curry. When I first saw this recipe I knew our family would love it. The chicken is braised in an array of spices and olive oil and hidden beneath some of our favorite vegetables, red peppers, onions, and tomatoes, then garnished with another favorite, cilantro.  This recipe also has an added bonus, once in the oven you can relax while it bakes, which is always on my agenda after a long day at work!

Braised Chicken

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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and Pepper

3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cumin

4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips

1 onion, sliced

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

Cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, cumin and olive oil. Whisk together until well combined. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook until just golden brown on both sides, a few minutes per side. Once browned, remove the chicken to a plate.

Toss about a third of the sliced peppers and onions onto the bottom of your baking dish. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. Brush the tops of the chicken pieces with the spice-olive oil mixture. Distribute the remaining peppers and onions around and on top of the chicken pieces, and top with the chopped tomatoes. Brush the remaining spice-oil mixture on top of the veggies. Pour the chicken broth into your baking dish around the edges. Transfer the baking dish to the preheated oven to bake for 1 hour. After 30 minutes of baking, remove from the oven, flip the chicken pieces over, toss the vegetables, and spoon some of the cooking juices from the bottom of the dish over the top of the chicken. Return the dish to the oven to bake for 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garlic Fried Rice



I absolutely love rice. Usually when my husband wants to pick up some Chinese food, I make a meal out of just the fried rice. Since we have been making some of our favorite take-out dishes from home, I knew I needed to find a good fried rice recipe that we could add to our menu. This rice is loaded with flavor without being over powered with garlic flavor. My husband and I could not stop eating it….so much for leftovers! On the particular night I made this, we made a meal out of it, but it could also be made as a side to accompany the orange chicken I told you about yesterday or the sweet and sour chicken I previously posted about.

Garlic Fried Rice

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6 tablespoons butter, divided

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 lb ground pork, cooked

4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked

3 whole eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups cooked rice, chilled

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 green onions, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave. Add the minced garlic and lemon juice to the melted butter and stir to combine. Set aside to allow the flavors to mingle.

In a large, non-stick skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pork. Cook for 1 minute. Push all the contents of the skillet to one side to keep them from cooking too much. On the empty side of the skillet, add the beaten eggs. Season with a little salt and pepper and scramble until just set. Integrate the eggs with the veggies and move everything back to the edge of the skillet.

Quickly add the garlic mixture to the pan and use a spatula to break it up. Cook for about 1 minute or so. Add the cold, cooked rice and mix it in with the other ingredients. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine. Stir every 30 seconds for about 2 minutes. Add the green onions and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and/or additional soy sauce, if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Source adapted from: Cooking Ventures

Monday, May 3, 2010

Orange Chicken



In March I posted about a Sweet and Sour chicken dish that was so delicious. It was so successful I had to try another favorite Chinese take out dish, Orange chicken. Wow was this chicken tasty! Lots of orange flavor with tender pieces of chicken, all glazed with a sweet orange sauce. Toss in some rice to soak up all the extras and it was an overall hit.  Next time you have the urge to order Chinese food, consider making this homemade dish instead….it’s so much better!

Orange Chicken

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For the Chicken:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1 1/2 cubes)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 egg (beaten)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Oil (for frying)

For the Sauce:

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

For the Chicken:

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat. Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees, using a cast iron skillet or deep fryer, until completely cooked.

For the Sauce:

In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, and green onion. Bring to a boil.

Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.