Posts tagged ‘Recipe’

September 1, 2014

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Labor Day! I have been on a healthy kick of late, but everyone needs a treat now and again, especially on a holiday! If you have a cheat day coming up (or just want an amazing treat!), put these on your list. (BF and I actually ended up just splitting one cookie and sharing the rest with our co-workers just to satisfy the craving). I think it is hard to beat the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe but these take chocolate chip cookies to a whole new level! Start with disks of Valrhona Dark Chocolate, add it to perfect dough, then use a unique technique to get a cookie soft in the middle and crunchy on the edges…can you say YUM?! These cookies are generous in size, so you may only get a dozen or so out of a batch. We have been searching for this recipe for over a year. The idea came from a mix that has now been discontinued. Be prepared to be patient and prep the dough ahead to allow to cool. These really are worth the wait!

Kelly

 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons of cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt (we used kosher)

2 ½ sticks softened butter

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch of pink salt

~2 cups dark chocolate disks (we found ours at Whole Foods and used 60% dark and 64% Valrhona disks)

 

  1. Sift together both kinds of flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a small bowl. Stir in coarse salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and both kinds of sugar until fluffy.
  3. Blend in eggs, cream and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Break up some of the chips in a food processor. You will end up with a variety of sizes with lots of whole disks. Think about what you like, but those disks will give you pockets of chocolate and some pretty decoration on the top! It will look like A LOT of chocolate, but ends up being just right.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours. Yes, 24 hours! We actually rushed it by putting this in the freezer for half an hour, but I think it is worth waiting the full 24.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.

  7. Scoop dough and form into disks (about 2-3″ in diameter). Stack a smaller disk on top of the bottom disk like you are building a snowman…the yummiest snowman ever! This is what really gives you the soft, gooey center with a crispy edge.
  8. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with pink salt. Chill another 10 minutes on the pan before baking.

  9. Bake one sheet at a time on the lowest rack for 13 minutes rotate 180° after 6 minutes.

  10. Look for a light blonde center with brown edges. (See the salt? That might be the biggest key to these!)

Grab a cold glass of milk and enjoy!

August 25, 2014

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

If you are like me, you are always looking for a healthy option you can make ahead for lunch. Quinoa always seems like a good healthy choice, but I haven’t really found a way I liked it…until now! This is light and fresh with lots of healthy additions. Bonus, it holds up really well all week! I like to make this on Sunday and it is just as good on Friday as it is on Monday. I love that I can eat it cold at my desk which makes life so easy. Let me know what you think!

Kelly

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

Juice and zest of 4-5 limes

2 Tablespoons honey

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Kosher or sea salt

Pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 grilled chicken breasts, chopped

Rinse quinoa 3 times to remove the bitter outside layer. Cook the quinoa with chicken stock and water (I add a little extra liquid because we are at high altitude). Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 seconds, bring back to a boil for another 30 seconds then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked through and tender. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the zest, honey, a pinch or two of salt & pepper, and olive oil, until the dressing comes together. Add the cilantro and mix.

Add the chopped scallions, peppers, carrots, black beans, chicken, and quinoa and gently toss in the dressing.

Garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest, if desired. Eat immediately or pack up for lunches for the week. Great hot or cold!

July 13, 2014

Tangerine Beef

I am a huge fan of stir fry; you can prep ahead of time (or even freeze in the marinade), it is a great way to clean out the fridge, it is usually healthy and everything goes in one pot! This is one that BF has been loving lately. This is a take-out-at-home kind of meal that will leave you satisfied for Chinese without all the extra fat. I usually add peppers to this, but it would be a great beef and broccoli substitute also. The sauce is sweet and salty and the cornstarch help to reduce everything to nicely cover the beef. I have not tried it with other types of meat, but I am sure that would be great too. As a freezer meal, I usually freeze it with the soy and cornstarch and freeze the sauce in a separate bag to be added at the right point. Flank steak is a great cut of meat that tends to be relatively inexpensive. It can be tough, so marinading it really helps. I have also found that the cornstarch really gives this a bit of extra help making it super tender. I like to cook the meat on pretty high heat (even though it can cause a bit of smoke and splatter) but I think it helps to sear the meat and keep it juicy on the inside. I did find a great tip last week: if you cut the steak when it is partially frozen, you can get super thin slices. A really good knife is on my wish list, but that is how I make due with what I have! This originally came from Guy’s Big Bite on the food network and I have tweaked it a bit over time. Try it out for an easy week night meal!

Kelly

 

Tangerine Beef

 

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias

1 bell pepper cleaned and sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chili sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (sometimes I cheat and use tangerine juice from Whole Foods)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

3 scallions, chopped

1/4 tangerine, zested

 

In a plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mix the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce, and tangerine juice in a container and shake until combined.

In large pan or wok, heat oil on high. Add the ginger and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. I like to do this in batches to get a really good sear, but you can do it all together if you have a great big pan!

Then add the veggies followed by the sauce mixture.

 

…and cook for another 2-5 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. See the bubbles?? J

Serve over brown rice and garnish with scallions and tangerine zest. Enjoy!

February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Party!

Here in Colorado, people have gone Super Bowl crazy! We have some die-hard fans in our state and they have been decked out in their orange and blue for weeks now. From the TV news anchors to my office, everyone has Bronco fever. If you are planning your own Super Celebration, here are some of our best ideas to impress your guests!

First, get the grill warmed up and get a smokey twist on Chicken Wings to start things off! While you have that grill all ready, fancy up some Burgers starting with homemade buns. The perfect side for burgers is potato salad, in our family we do it German Style. For an easy main dish that will keep all day, just throw some Chili
together and let guests eat at their leisure. What is a Super Bowl party without Guacamole? Try it Traditional or with a Sweet Twist! Try BBQ in wontons for something different. If you are looking to lighten things up a bit make a colorful Veggie Display or some Baked Chicken Fingers with tons of flavor sure to be a hit. Or bring stadium food home with Soft Pretzels.

 

GO BRONCOS!

January 29, 2014

Cooking Staples

We started talking earlier this week about healthy eating and how to make it easier. When you live with someone who eats roughly 4,000 calories a day…all clean…you have to do some prep work to make things practical. On the weekend, we sit down together and make a menu for the week for dinner, but that doesn’t always help with breakfast and lunch. I am getting better at planning leftovers in for lunches, but it is much easier to just pack everything at the beginning of the week and be able to grab and go. I start by cooking about egg muffins, 2 cups of brown rice, 6 organic chicken breasts, 4 sweet potatoes and steaming a bunch of veggies. With these staples always in the fridge, you can make a lot of things happen. Sometimes chicken becomes Chicken Tinga, or enchiladas. Often it gets chopped and sent in lunches. By having a bit of an assembly line with the food scale, I can get through things pretty quickly with already cooked foods. Bonus, whatever we don’t get to, I just freeze and use that in meals down the road. Shredded chicken is awesome to have in the freezer…a great time saver! I try to mix in something I haven’t tried before once a week. It doesn’t always happen (read: the lentils I meant to make still in my pantry) but I try for variety. We usually mix in one fish meal and one lean red meat meal each week. I swear all of this is much easier than it sounds! It really does make the rest of the week go much smoother. Here is an example of a dinner I made from our staples in the fridge. You can see our fully stocked fridge is how we make it without take out for every meal! Chicken and Brussels sprouts with brown rice. MMMM. This was great too because it saved well and became the perfect lunch later in the week. Gotta love multitasking!

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

2 Chicken breasts cooked and cubed

12-15 Brussels Sprouts, shredded

3 T Dried Cranberries

2 T Sliced Almonds

2 T Honey

2 T Butter

Crushed red peppers

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat add Brussels sprouts and sauté about 2 minutes. Add chicken, cranberries, and almonds. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and drizzle with honey. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

January 26, 2014

Healthy Beginnings

I don’t know about you, but for us 2014 has come in like a wave; it seems like we are busy all the time the last few weeks! That can make a healthy beginning to the year a challenge. BF is on a new meal plan where he has to eat clean but huge volume. The only way I know how to make that happen is to prep ahead. We got ourselves a food scale and I spend a few hours on Sundays making rice, chicken, veggies and lean meat and measuring for the week. I know I have talked before about our menu planning and our favorite easy lunch food, chicken muffins, as well as my own fitness tracking. We try our best to plan ahead and it is the only thing that keeps me on track in the middle of a busy week! Bonus, planning ahead really helps us to manage our budget as well. When I know we can use the same ingredients for multiple things, we waste less and really maximize our dollars. In the next few weeks, I will share with you a few of our staple meals and how we handle long work weeks while trying to be healthy.

To kick off the series: Healthy Egg Muffins. I am not a huge egg fan, so I spend a lot of time trying to make eggs that don’t taste like, well, eggs. I am fairly accomplished at this task, especially when it comes to scrambles. I subscribe to Jacques Pepin’s scrambled egg method which makes for perfect and fluffy eggs every time. The single biggest purchase we have made to help us in healthy eating quest is our VitaMix. WE LOVE IT…seriously, we use it at least once a day. (More on that to come.) It is such a quick easy way to make a quick green smoothie, or soup for dinner (it comes out steaming hot!), or mix some eggs for scrambles. We use it for so many things! In this case, I have been making egg muffins to have for an easy protein-filled breakfast during the week. It is an easy and healthy thing to grab and go. BF seems to like them anyway! Look out for more ideas to come!

Healthy Egg Muffins

12 eggs

3 egg whites

½ bell pepper chopped

2 cups spinach chopped

4 T finely chopped leeks

1 T your favorite seasoning (I mix it up between Adobo or fresh herbs, whatever is on hand)

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spills. Crack 12 eggs into blender. Add egg whites, milk and seasonings to taste and blend until combined.

In each muffin cup, add chopped veggies.

Pour eggs into each cup until completely divided. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and puffy. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge and use as needed.

You can certainly put whatever fillings you like into these and it is a great way to clean out the fridge! I do highly recommend a good nonstick muffin pan for this, they pop right out of mine, but I can see it being a big mess in the wrong pan!

December 22, 2013

Salmon with Champagne Citrus Beurre Blanc

Cooking is a creative outlet for me and I probably make much fancier at home meals than most people, but not usually this fancy. This dish is special. It all started with me trying to find a way to use up the last bit of champagne in our fridge from a spontaneous celebration. After a night of sitting in the fridge, champagne is not particularly drinkable, but it is perfect for cooking! We still had some Alaskan salmon in the freezer brought home to us straight from the source…the gift that keeps on giving. That with some salad and bread to sop up the wonderful sauce made for the perfect date night in. This is my riff on beurre blanc but certainly not typical. By replacing the vinegar with extra citrus you get a bright sauce. Most of the time you would strain this sauce, but I left the shallots which added some texture. I also cut down the butter by about 75%. You still have a rich sauce, but without 3 sticks of butter. I am sure French cooking purists would not call it beurre blanc, but this is my show! This would be a perfect holiday meal and may be repeated in our house for New Years. Put this sauce on anything and enjoy!

 

Salmon with Champagne Citrus Beurre Blanc

1 + pounds of salmon (about ½ pound per person)

2 finely chopped shallots

1 clove finely chopped garlic

2 cups dry Champagne or white wine

Juice of 1 lemon, 2 tangerines, and 1 orange

1/2 stick of butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Kosher salt

 

Preheat oven to 400°. Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper place in a baking dish. Cook for 12 minutes then turn off the heat and allow to stand in the hot oven for an additional 3 minutes.

Prepare the sauce while the salmon cooks. Add 1 T butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallots and garlic cook until soft and fragrant.

Add the wine and bring to a boil allow to reduce by half, stirring frequently. See the pretty bubbles from the champagne?? Add the citrus juice and simmer about 10 minutes until reduced by about half and it begins to thicken.

Reduce heat to low; gradually add butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring after each addition, until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place sauce on the plate and top with salmon. Garnish with more sauce. Serves 4.

October 25, 2013

Zucchini, Carrot and Cranberry Spice Muffins

Fall is in full swing here in Colorado and it has been making me search for ways to incorporate yummy fall flavors. When I came across this recipe I knew it was the perfect way to satisfy my cravings. It comes from SoNo Baking Company, my very favorite bakery of all time. If you like to bake, just buy the book, every recipe is just right. These are even better than I imagined, soft and moist with some texture from the veggies. The cranberries added bursts of tartness and beautiful color. I did make one change right off the bat and replaced half of the oil with natural applesauce. It worked out perfectly! The only thing I would add is some kind of nuts…maybe walnuts on top? Mmm Mmm Mmmmm.

Kelly


Zucchini, Carrot and Cranberry Spice Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ t baking powder

¾ t coarse salt

¾ t ground cinnamon

½ t baking soda

1 cup sugar

½ cup canola oil

½ cup natural applesauce (bonus points if you make your own!)

2 eggs

¾ cup grated carrot (about 2 medium)

¾ cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

1 ½ t pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole fresh (or frozen, unthawed) cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin pan or insert muffin cups. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, grated carrot and zucchini, and vanilla. I used a coarser grate to keep some of the color and texture of the vegetables, but you could use a fine grate to hide those healthy veggies. J

Add the dry ingredients and fold until the flour has been absorbed. Fold in the cranberries. Use a 2 inch ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through, about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan. Use a knife to gently lift the muffins and turn them on their sides in the pan. Enjoy!

October 21, 2013

Chicken and Sausage Bites

Do you ever rediscover a former love of a recipe? Last weekend we decided to have a freezer cooking day with each of us picking something we wanted to make. I chose an old favorite from Lidia Bastianich. I am sure I have said before how much I love Lidia. Her recipes are unique and always wonderful. I think they always turn out (though I do tend to modify things as I go). This time we made this to be eaten later and miraculously it actually made it to the freezer! I am looking forward to enjoying it some night we have nothing in the house. It is full of flavor both robust and tangy. Served with veggies and bread or brown rice and you have a great fall meal!

Kelly

 

Chicken and Sausage Bites in Vinegar Sauce

¼ c Olive Oil

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces

2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Salt

4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

2 T Honey

2 T Butter

¼ c Red Wine Vinegar

½ c Aromatic White Wine

½ c Chicken Stock

Chopped Italian Parsley (for garnish)

 

In a large skillet heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly brown on all sides. Pour off the fat if necessary. Add remaining 2 T of olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and add to the pan. Cook until brown on all sides. When close to done, make a space to brown the garlic. Once golden and aromatic, stir into the chicken and sausage.

Drizzle the honey over the top and cook, stirring often until chicken is a rich mahogany color. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the vinegar has almost completely evaporated. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add the chicken stock. Boil until thick and there is just enough to coat the chicken and sausage.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. YUMMY!

A Few Notes: This is a recipe where it helps to have all the ingredients laid out and prepped before you start cooking. Everything goes from not ready to done quickly! I like to use sausage out of the casing to save myself some time. I also find that it helps to remove the sausage while you cook the chicken. It helps free up the pan to encourage browning. I almost always use extra honey to get to the right color. Be a little flexible on the liquid amounts. Do what you like!

October 1, 2013

Lemon Dream Cake

Some recipes come and go from your repertoire and others become staples, go-tos, still others grab you and become yours…they become part of your traditions. One such recipe for us is what we have come to call Lemon Dream Cake (or Morphine cake or in this case, Kelly’s birthday cake)! I honestly don’t care that much about cake…put a chocolate chip cookie in front of me and I will be hard pressed to say no, but cake often disappoints. This changed my entire view of what cake can be; it is super lemony and not too sweet, moist and just perfect…every time! A little story about this cake: my grandmother was kind enough to let me live with her for a time and I really wanted to do something nice for her. I decided on this cake and I had none of the right equipment. We had to borrow pans from her friend (in exchange for some cake, of course), I had to do it all by hand and Grandma kept looking at all the work I was putting in thinking it couldn’t possibly be worth it. “Just go and get one!” she would tell me multiple times. I just kept at it, knowing it would be worth it, and it was. Shortly after I made it (luckily with some still safely stored in the fridge) she had surgery and when she woke up the first thing she asked for was a cup of coffee and a slice of my cake. Hence, Morphine Cake. It is still one of my fondest memories of living with her.

The first time we made this cake, we kept looking at it thinking there couldn’t possibly be a recipe with more steps (turns out we were wrong, we just hadn’t gotten that brave yet). But after investing the time and energy once, you get the hang of things and try it again, and again, and again. In fact, we have made it for more of my birthdays than I can count. Though having made it by hand on two occasions, I can tell you this recipe taught me to love the Kitchenaid! It is one of those multi-step, multi-day labors of love that really is worth it in the end. Plan 2-3 days ahead to spread out the steps and make it feel a bit less like a production and really try to follow the directions (which we are notoriously bad at), especially for the curd and the cake. If you are looking for a show stopper, try it out!

Kelly

 

Lemon Dream (Morphine) Cake

From Bon Appétit via Epicurious

Makes 10 to 12 servings

*You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip to create the decorative rosettes. Though we have decorated it lots of ways…Be Creative!! You will notice, ours is not perfect, but it does look homemade!

Ingredients:

Lemon curd

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cake

6 large eggs, separated

14 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup sugar

3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*

 

For lemon curd:

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Make extra to use on everything!!)

 

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper, do not grease pans or parchment. (Try this method). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.

Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin, you will think they are too thin, have faith). Peel off parchment.

For syrup:

Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice. (Can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated).

For filling and frosting:

Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Decorate for the occasion as Ali did here…

And remember to Enjoy!!!!!

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