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.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hungarian Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

We've been in a dinner rut lately.  Can't lie.  I've had a lack of ambition.  In fact, I've been sooooooo lazy - that I've even been watching tv lately.  I know, I know.  That's so not me.  But something good came out of it:  Hungarian Pork Chops.  
I was watching PBS and Sara Moulton was on.  She made these Hungarian Pork Cutlets and they looked amazing.   Delicious breaded pork, creamy sauce . . .and I love, love, love paprika!  

Dinner rut be gone!  The next night I made my own version of her recipe.  I used what I had on hand, which was pork chops.  I skipped the shallot and used white onion instead (likely a little bolder in flavor) and also added in mushrooms (because we are crazy like that with the shrooms).  Viola!  Yum. Yum. Yum.

Hungarian Pork Chops with Pan Sauce
Serves 4

4 Pork Chops
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Small White Onion, Diced Fine
8 oz Sliced Mushrooms
1 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds
1 and 1/2 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Sour Cream

Step 1:  Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  
Step 2:  Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat.  
Step 3:  Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl or pie plate, add the flour.  Dredge the pork chops in the flour and place in the fry pan.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.  Remove from the fry pan and set aside.
Step 4:  Add the onion and mushrooms to the saucepan and cook until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.  
Step 5:  Add the paprika and caraway seeds to the onion and stir to combine. 
Step 6:  Add the chicken broth to the pan and stir to combine.  Be sure to scrape up all the bits and pieces of flour and pork that are stuck to the pan.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes so the flavors can combine.
Step 7:  Return the pork chops to the pan, cover and let cook until the chops are cooked through.**
Step 8:  Remove the chops and place on platter.  Add sour cream to the pan and stir thoroughly to combine and form a sauce.  Pour the sauce over the chops to serve.

What should you serve it with?  Well, we served ours with spaetzle and steamed broccoli.  It would also be yummy served over egg noodles instead of spaetzle.

**Pork should be cooked until the internal temp reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then let it rest for 3 minutes before serving.  For more information, click here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lemon Dill Rice

Who needs a new rice recipe?  I did! I did!  Lemon Dill Rice - bright lemon + tangy dill = yum!  I came across this recipe and gave it a whirl.  I tweaked the recipe a bit  because I thought that adding salt + bullion would make it way too salty.  So, I've accounted for that in my recipe below.  Remember, you can always add salt! I've served this with grilled pork chops and it was fantastic.  I imagine it would also go great with fish.  If I had green onion or chives on hand, I would have added those before serving.  This turned out super yummy.

Lemon Dill Rice
Yield:  Approx. 3 Cups

1 Cup White Rice
1.5 Teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoons Dill 
2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1TB Butter

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan except butter.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Be sure to stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan.  Add butter, stir and fluff with fork before serving.  This also turns out great using a rice cooker.

FYI - you can easily double this recipe and freeze half to serve at a later date.  Just let it thaw out and then heat in the microwave.