Friday, September 26, 2014

Oysters Rockefeller

Talk about a real treat!  This past weekend we made Oysters Rockefeller.  And OMG.  They were amazing.  And let me tell you, oysters are far easier to open/shuck than clams.  If you love seafood, this is a very easy one to prepare at home.  Fresh, succulent oysters topped with a warm, garlicky, gooey yet slightly crunchy topping.  Oh my gosh . . . now I want them right now!  The original recipe I used is here.  However, I just had to make it my own . .. and here it is:

Oysters Rockefeller
Creates 12 Oysters 

1 dozen oysters, shucked
2 TB Butter
1 Large Teaspoon of Chopped Garlic
1/3 Cup Breadcrumbs
1/4  Cup Spinach (frozen, crumbled - not the kind frozen in a block)
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
1-2 Dashes of Tabasco
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Tarragon
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 1:  Shuck the oysters keep the oyster on the half shell. You can discard the other half of the shell.  Place shells with oysters on them on a large baking sheet.

Step 2:  In a saucepan, melt the butter over low.  Add in the garlic, spinach, green onion and tarragon.  Saute until the spinach is hot.

Step 3:  Next, add the parsley, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to the spinach mixture.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Step 4:  Top each oyster with a heaping spoonful of the mixture.  Be sure to use up all the mixture.

Step 5:  Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made these recently as I was craving chocolate chip cookies.   Every time we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, you could count on there being chocolate chip cookies to be eaten.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield:  6-7 dozen cookies

1 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Cup White Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 and 1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Step 1:  Cream together the sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.
Step 2:  Spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Level off and pour measured flour onto waxed paper.  
Step 3:  To the flour, add the baking soda and salt.  Stir thoroughly.
Step 4:  Add the dry ingredients mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Step 5:  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Step 6:  Drop by teaspoon fulls onto greased baking sheet.
Step 7:  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Please note, adjust the bake time as necessary for your oven.  15 minutes was a little long for me.  I ended up baking them for about 10 minutes per sheet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SOS: Cheeseburger Edition

Desperation meals . . .fueling creativity since the beginning of time.  I especially love SOS.  Not familiar?  Let's just say I'm not going to define the acronym here . . but you can look it up sometime.  Comfort food at it's finest!

SOS:  Cheeseburger Edition
Serves 6-8

1 lb Ground Beef (cooked and drained)
6-8 Slices of Bread
6-8 Slices of Cheese
Chopped Onions

Step 1:  Toast your bread.
Step 2:  Preheat your broiler.
Step 3:  Place toast in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Step 4:  Divide the cooked (and still warm) ground beef evenly among the slices of toast.
Step 5:  Drizzle each SOS with ketchup and mustard.
Step 6:  Top them with some chopped onion.
Step 7:  Finally, lay a slice of cheese on top of each SOS.
Step 8:  Put into oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately with a side of pickles.

Note:  I often brown/cook large amounts of ground beef at one time.  Once cooled, I split into 1 pound portions, place in a freezer bag, and then freeze for later.  It can be used for spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, SOS etc.  For this recipe, I just pulled out a frozen bag and defrosted the contents in a fry pan and reheated.  Super simple time saving tip.

Friday, September 5, 2014

White Russian Cake

Check out this yummy recipe . . which packs a small punch.  It's made with Kahula, but please note - it's kid friendly.  The booze will actually bake out of it.  This is a sweet, moist cake with a coffee flavor that will knock your socks off.  Top with a nice vanilla glaze and viola!  Gives new meaning to coffeecake.

Originally, I googled 'white russian cake'.  Google came back to me with all these chocolate cake recipes with Kahlua in them.  I thought to myself, "Self, White Russian's do not have chocolate in them."

Then I googled 'black russian cake'.  Silly me, I forgot that White Russian's contain cream and Black Russian's do not.  Still, neither contain chocolate.  True story.  Check out the links below in case you don't believe me.

Now, granted, all those recipes I googled did look delicious . . .but not kid friendly.  I'm all about drenching cakes with booze - but I wanted a simple family-friendly cake.  So here it is, my version of a White Russian Cake.

White Russian Cake
1 Box White Cake Mix + Ingredients to Prepare It
1 Cup Kahlua
Vanilla Glaze (1.5 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1/4 Cup Half and Half, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla)

To prepare the cake, follow the box instructions except omit the water and substitute Kahlua.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Mix together thoroughly and then pour over the cake.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

This one.  Yes.  This one.  This is the one that whispers to you late at night while everyone else is sleeping.  Did you hear that?  That soft, dark velvety voice . . ."Pssssst.  I'm in the fridge waiting.....  no one will mind if you have just one little nibble."  And then BAM!  A whole piece is gone.  True Story.

Who doesn't love another great brownie recipe?  Peanut butter and chocolate unite in this decadent treat!  Don't be shy . . .it is super simps and very impressive.  Don't let the voices get to you.

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

1 Box Brownie Mix + Ingredients to Make It
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 pkg Vanilla Pudding
1 and 1/4 Cup Milk
4 oz Cool Whip

Prepare brownies as directed on the box.  I made mine in an 8x8 pan, which resulted in a thick and decadent brownie.  Let Cool.

While brownies are cooling, prepare the mousse!  In a mixing bowl, add the pudding powder and the milk. I used the whip attachment on my mixer and whipped it on medium for 1 minute.  Add the peanut butter to the bowl and continue to whip for 3-4 minutes, until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.   Now, fold in the Cool Whip (by hand with a spatula or spoon) until just combined.  Gently spread the mixture over the cooled brownies.  To store, cover them and keep them in the fridge.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weeknight Tostadas

Every Sunday morning routine seems to reign.  Retrieve paper from the neighbor's driveway, separate the sections, look at the advertisement circulars, complain that nothing good is on sale, and then ask hubby what he wants for dinner this week.  He almost inevitably responds, "Tacos".  Or maybe, just maybe - he'll say "something Mexican".  If you are like me and get tired of the same-old, same-old tacos . . .try this out.  They are fabulous.  These can also be made without meat for a yummy meatless meal.

Weeknight Tostadas

1/2 Can Red Enchilada Sauce (10 oz can - save or freeze the rest)
1 Can Refried Beans (same size can as above, but use the whole thing, please note the weight will be different)
1 - 2 lbs Taco Meat Prepared (I used ground beef)
Shredded Cheese of Choice (I used taco blend)
Taco Fixin's of Choice (lettuce, guacamole, etc)

Step 1:  Open up the refried beans and place in skillet.  Slowly mix in the enchilada sauce. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Step 2:  Heat up your taco meat if it's not already heated.
Step 3:  Assemble.  Place a tostada on a plate, spread with the bean/sauce mixture and sprinkle with cheese.  Garnish with all your favorite taco fixin's!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Loaded Chocolate Zucchini Bars

In the spirit of summer and for the love of zucchini, I fell prey to a recipe I found on Pinterest for a low-fat brownie that uses zucchini, banana and applesauce.  No egg, no oil.  Original recipe can be found here.

Well, I had all the ingredients laying around, so I thought "what the heck" and gave them a try.  They are delicious, but not a substitute for a real brownie (unless you are seeking dietary substitutes of sorts).  The texture is very fudgy - which is awesome.  My recommendations:  
  • Let cool completely and/or let sit a day before eating.   The first one I ate, I thought was just okay.  The second one I ate (after they had sat a day) was border line phenomenal.  
  • Alter them however you would like.  I added unsweetened coconut and grated milk chocolate to mine.

I think the reason I loved this recipe though, is mostly because I was able to sneak in some veggies and use some of my favorite kitchen tools (I cannot lie:  I love my KitchenAid shredder attachment;  I used it to shred the zucchini as well as shred the frozen banana that I used).   Furthermore, these would be really great for a breakfast on the go.

Loaded Chocolate Zucchini Bars 

1/4 Cup Applesauce
1 Small or Medium Banana, mashed
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Cocoa 
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Zucchini, shredded
1 Cup Flour
2 oz Mini Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Coconut, shredded and unsweetened

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9x9 baking dish.  

Step 2:  In medium sized bowl, mix together the applesauce, banana, sugar, vanilla and zucchini.  Next, stir in the baking soda, salt, cocoa and flour.  Once all is incorporate well, stir in the coconut and chocolate chips.

Step 3:  Pour the batter into the greased pan.  Bake at for 25-35 minutes.  When it begins to pull away from the edges and the middle is set, it is done baking.  As well, you can do the toothpick test (insert clean toothpick into the middle and if it comes out clean, they are done).

Cool completely before eating.  Serves 9.