Monday, February 18, 2013

Pecan Coffee Cake

I had a little too much fun last night, so I was extremely happy when this amazing Pecan Coffee Cake came out of the oven this morning. You can pull warm, sticky pieces right off of the cake and put them directly into your mouth. Minimal effort and high reward - I love these.

Note: This coffee cake does require some advanced planning, because you put it together the night before you bake it.

Recipe - Paula Deen's Ultimate Coffee Cake

16 to 18 unbaked frozen dinner rolls
1 (3-ounce) package regular butterscotch pudding mix, not instant
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

The night before place frozen rolls in well greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar over pudding mix. Sprinkle chopped pecans over brown sugar. Pour melted butter over all. To prevent the dough from forming a hard crust while its rising overnight, cover with a damp towel or tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Let rise overnight at room temperature, about 8 to 10 hours.
The next morning - preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn pan over onto a serving platter to remove. Serve by pulling apart chunks with forks or fingers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Scallops with Brussels Sprouts

Valentine's Day - Even though I know it is a commercial holiday, I still like to celebrate it. It is the perfect excuse to pop open the bubbly and have a nice quiet dinner with your special someone. I wanted to find a recipe that was quick, because we were not going to start cooking until the kids were down and this only took 10 minutes!!! The salty pancetta paired with the sea scallops and bitter sprouts made a balanced and delicious dish. YUM.

Scallops with Brussels Sprouts - Recipe from Food & Wine

1/4 cup crème fraîche (I forgot this, so I used greek 
yogurt and it tasted great!!)
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon snipped chives
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 jumbo scallops (about 3/4 pound)
6 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces)
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced

In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the finely grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, snipped chives and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the lemon-chive crème fraîche with salt and pepper.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Generously season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook the scallops over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are golden and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a plate; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and shallot and cook, stirring, until the brussels sprouts are softened but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper; transfer to plates and top with the scallops. Serve with the lemon-chive crème fraîche.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Everyday Food is one of my magazines that I can't wait to get every month. The recipes are creative but simple and they usually throw a new twist on a great classic.  Chris is always asking for me to make chicken parmesan so when I saw this recipe I had to give it a try. These meatballs have a ton of flavor and you can spice them up by adding a different marinara. It is amazingly good!

Serves 4 - Time 40 min

Coarse salt and pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 3/4 cups plain dried breadcrumbs, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pound ground white-meat chicken
2 cups vegetable oil
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 pieces
3 cups marinara, warmed
chopped fresh parsley for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. In a medium straight sided skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium until it registers 350 degrees.

2. Combine  1/2 cup breadcrumbs, milk, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.  Add chicken and mix until just combined. Divide chicken mixture into 4 portions and flatten into a disk. Place 4 mozzarella pieces in center of each, then form disk into a ball around cheese.

3. In a shallow dish with remaining breadcrumbs, coat balls in breadcrumbs. Fry in oil until golden brown, 5 minutes turning once. With a slotted spoon transfer to a paper-towel-liend baking sheet and let drain for one minute.

4. Discard paper town and transfer sheet to the oven. Bake meatballs until cooked, approximately 14 minutes. Head marinara on stove. Divide pasta among four bowls and top each with marinara and a meatball. Sprinkle with parsley.

Here is a video for more of a visual!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Energy Bites - No Bake

These little energy treats are a new favorite of mine. During ski season, I find that I go through boxes of Cliff/energy bars too quickly and never get back to the store for more. While searching for a DIY version on Pinterest, I found the perfect recipe on Gimmesomeoven . These little sweet treats taste similar to cookie dough and they are incredibly quick to make. I now have a never ending supply in my fridge and I grab them for a quick snack on the ski hill or for some extra energy in the morning before my work out.  Enjoy!

1 cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped dates or raisins
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. After they are chilled roll into little balls and store in the refrigerator! (see that simple!)

  • I purchase whole flax seed and then use a coffee bean grinder, when I need ground flaxseed.  This way it is always fresh. 
  • The original recipe called for 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but you can add a 1/2 cup of anything. I like to use Dates, raisins and craisins!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has snowed almost every day for the past week.  Not just fluffy, pretty snow, but a wet, slippery and heavy "wintry mix".  Gross.  Traveling around town with 2 toddlers in that junk is not worth the effort, so we have been keeping ourselves busy inside.  Thankfully, the three of us enjoy baking together.  We put on our aprons, allocate some extra chocolate chips to grabby hands and bake our mid-west blues away.
I saw a version of these cookies on the blog "Siriously Delicious" and I was intrigued.  Cake batter cookies - sounds strange but so amazing at the same time. Plus the addition of sprinkles into cookies really gets my girls excited.

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cup yellow boxed cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips 
1/2 cup sprinkles

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed.  Scrape down sides and in the egg and vanilla.  Mix until combined  
Add the flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips and sprinkles.
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a large cookie scoop, scoop cold dough onto parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet.   Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned.  The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black and White Banana Loaf

You'd think with a family of four, we would be able to eat a bunch of bananas before they start to turn brown.....  Our problem is, that we all like them at varying ripeness. My husband likes them a little green, the girls like them perfect and yellow and I like them when they are just starting to get a few brown spots.  So inevitably, I buy bunch after bunch of bananas, hoping to maximize the optimal ripeness for every single one of us, and it doesn't work.  I always have left-over brown bananas, which I guess I shouldn't complain about since there is an aftermarket for the mushy, squishy, brown fruit.  Dorie Greenspan's recipe below yields a dense and very delicious loaf.  It is cake-like in texture and taste and you would be wise to serve it with ice cream or a tall glass of chocolate milk.

Recipe Source: Dorie Greenspan Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ ripe bananas
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum.
4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.
5. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. 
6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Cut and serve with your favorite treat - ice cream or chocolate milk :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

Nutella = awesome.  I love it.  My girls eat it on their waffles (please reserve judgement), I put it on apples, pretzels, graham crackers, anything/everything.  So, when I was craving rice krispies, and the Nutella was in the pantry right next to the krispies, I didn't think twice - these treats turned out fab!

1 10oz bag of marshmallows
6 Tbs of unsalted butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1/3 cup of Nutella
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup of your favorite m&ms (I used dark chocolate)

1. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray

2. Put the 10oz bag of marshmallows, butter and nutella in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Heat for one minute and stir.  Heat for another 30 seconds and stir, ensuring that the butter and marshmallows have melted. 

3. Pour in rice Krispie treats and stir until mixture is difficult to stir.  Add in mini marshmallows and m&ms.  Spread  mixture into the pan and let the treats cool. Cut and enjoy!!