Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolate Frosting

A few weeks ago, we saw an episode of Bobby Flay's throwdown that featured German Chocolate Cake. After seeing that, we had to make the challenger's recipe. Since her chocolate frosting was a secret recipe, I had to find one on the internet. This is the one I decided to use, and it turned out great....except it made a ton. I cut the original recipe in half and had enough frosting to cover the top of my german chocolate cake and 12 cupcakes with a lot left over. I vacuum-sealed the leftovers and stuck it in the freezer. I just pulled it out today to use on the chocolate cupcakes I made. It tasted just as good as when it was fresh, and the texture was still smooth and creamy. My cupcakes were just a chocolate cake mix that I needed to use up (from now on, I hope to bake solely from scratch). After icing the cupcakes, I sprinkled coconut and chopped pecans on top. The below amounts represent a quarter of the original recipe and should be enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a 3-layer cake (I think).

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 c butter, softened
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c and 2 T baking cocoa
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c milk, plus a few extra tablespoons, as needed

1) Cream butter in a large mixing bowl.
2) Gradually beat in powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla.
3) Add milk, gradually, until the consistency is very smooth and spreadable.

Birdie Bread

I make this every few weeks for Morris, our CAG. It's a good way to trick her into eating veggies that she normally wouldn't touch (except to throw out of her bowl). I just use whatever fruits and veggies I have on hand, so each batch is a little different. This week I used kale and broccoli, but I've used carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, peas, blueberries and corn. I keep a week's supply in the fridge and freeze the rest in a ziploc bag.

Birdie Bread

1 c oatmeal, processed into a flour
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 T baking powder
2 eggs, whipped in food processor (shells included)
1 c no-sugar added applesauce
1 jalapeno, chopped
approx. 2 c veggies, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In an 8x8 pan, mix oatmeal, flour and baking powder.
3) Add eggs and applesauce; mix thoroughly.
4) Mix in jalapeno and veggies.
5) Bake for 25 mins.

Jason's (Almost) World Famous Lasagna

Jason made his lasagna today for us to take in our lunches all week. He would normally use ground beef, but because I'm going to be eating it too, he used ground turkey instead. He prepared 2 - 32 oz jars of Mid's sauce, and we had enough left over to freeze for a pasta dinner down the road.


2 jars of high-quality tomato sauce
1 lb ground turkey
2 T garlic, chopped
5 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt & pepper
italian seasoning
garlic powder
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped (opt)
hot sauce (opt)
1 box lasagna noodles
8 oz package of pre-sliced provolone
8 oz package of pre-sliced mozzarella
15 oz ricotta

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Warm sauce over low heat; bring to a simmer.
3) Brown ground turkey with garlic, mushrooms, onion and spices, to taste.

4) Drain excess liquid, if necessary.
5) Mix meat and veggies into the sauce.
Add basil and a dash of hot sauce.
7) In the meantime, boil 9 lasagna noodles, per the package directions.
8) In a 9x13 pan, spread a thin layer of sauce.
9) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
10) Spread a thin layer of sauce.
11) Layer in half of the provolone, mozzarella and ricotta.
12) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
13) Spread a thin layer of sauce.
14) Layer in the remaining cheeses.
15) Add a layer of 3 noodles.
16) Spread the remaining sauce.
17) Bake for 45 mins - 1 hour, until bubbly.

Baked Oatmeal

We make this recipe all. the. time. J likes to eat his breakfast at work, and since this reheats well, it fits the bill. The first time I made this I followed the recipe to a tee. It was very good but a bit too sweet for my tastes. I've reduced the brown sugar and usually just add a handful of the various mix-ins. I've also experimented with different proportions of milk/applesauce, depending on what I had on hand. It's always turned out fine. I even supplemented with water one time.

Baked Oatmeal

2 c rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c applesauce
1 egg, beaten
walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Combine oats, baking powder and brown sugar in a baking dish (roughly 8x8).
3) Stir in a handful of each of the mix-ins.
4) Add the milk, applesauce and egg; mix well.
5) Bake for 25 mins or until golden brown.

Hush Puppies

J has been dying to make hush puppies, so we gave it a shot last night. They went great with our roast chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes :-) We used a Rachael Ray recipe I found in a magazine. They are very corny and quite light, almost cake-like in the middle; not as dense and heavy as some hush puppies I've eaten.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c canned creamed corn
1/3 c milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
black pepper
cayenne pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

1) Mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2) Add creamed corn, milk, egg and onion; stir until combined.
3) Fill a medium-sized pot with at least 2 inches of oil; heat to 350 degrees.
4) Use a cookie scoop to drop small balls of batter into the oil.
5) Fry each batch until browned, turning occasionally, for about 5 mins.
6) Drain on paper towels.

Roast Chicken

Last night was my first attempt at making a whole chicken, and I'm pleased to say it turned out great. I read a bunch of recipes over at All Recipes and took those ideas and made my own. I put some carrots in with the chicken with about 45 mins remaining. They were a bit dry and a little too al-dente. I'll have to figure something else out for next time.

Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, approx. 3-4 lbs
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
garlic powder
olive oil
string or wire
1 c chicken broth

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Rinse chicken and liberally season inside and out.
3) Quarter onion and celery stalk; stuff inside the cavity.
4) Place 2-3 T butter inside the cavity.
5) Slide 2-3 T butter under the skin of the breast.
6) Tie chicken legs closed
7) Mist the entire bird with olive oil.
8) Bake on a roasting pan for about 1.5 hours or until the chicken is 180 degrees.
9) Baste every 30 mins with chicken broth.

Chicken Gravy

chicken drippings
remaining chicken broth
1/4 c flour

1) Combine chicken broth and water in a small sauce pan to create about 1 c of liquid.
2) Whisk in flour.
3) Whisk in drippings.
4) Heat until thickened.
5) Season with salt and pepper.
6) If the gravy becomes too thick, add more broth or water to thin.

Crockpot Yogurt

So I made yogurt for the second time today, and I'm sad that it didn't work out. The first time I used a quart of whole, regular (non-organic) milk from Wegmans because I couldn't find organic in that size. This time I used Homestead Creamery milk from Whole Foods. I bought it because it comes in a glass bottle which really appealed to me. Even though the milk is labeled "pasteurized" (vs. "ultra-pasteurized"), I found through subsequent research that they heat their milk to higher than required temperatures (170 deg vs 145 deg). I'm thinking that's why my yogurt didn't turn out this time. It makes me mad because it was a waste of expensive milk. Anyways, I will try again in a few weeks with a different brand.

The first time I made this, I didn't plan properly, and I let the yogurt sit for 12.5 hours (instead of 8). It turned out fine. I saved about 1/4 c from my first batch and froze it to use in my next batch. I read here that freezing does not destroy the cultures.

Here's a way to make yogurt without the crockpot. I think I'll give it a try next time. This crockpot recipe turned out great the first time, but I haven't been able to replicate that success for some reason.

Crockpot Yogurt

1 qt (4 c) milk (not ultra-pasteurized!)
2-3 T plain yogurt with live active cultures

1) Put milk in the crockpot and heat on low for 2.5 hours.
2) Turn crockpot off, wrap the crockpot in a few towels and let sit for 3 hours.
3) Ladle 1-2 scoops of milk from the crockpot into a bowl and whisk in the yogurt.
4) Stir the mixture back into the milk in the crockpot.
5) Wrap the crockpot in towels and let sit for 8 hours.
6) For greek-style yogurt, strain the finished yogurt through cheese cloth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

I've found a lot of great recipes in the Everday Food magazine, and this is one of them.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

2 T honey mustard
2 T ketchup
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
1 c cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Brush rimmed baking sheet with oil.
3) Mix together honey mustard and ketchup; set aside.
4) Combine turkey, egg, panko, 1/2 c cheddar, salt and pepper.
5) Form four 2x4 inch loaves.
6) Brush the loaves with mustard mixture and top with remaining cheese.
7) Bake for 15-20 mins. until cooked through.

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is my Mom's recipe, and we love love love these. This makes plenty of stuffing, so you really have to cram it in the mushroom caps. Tonight I used fresh cilantro instead of parsley because that is what I had on hand.

Stuffed Mushrooms

16 mushrooms
1 stick butter
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 T parsley
1 T onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Remove mushroom stems and finely chop.
3) Melt butter in skillet and saute mushroom stems, bread crumbs, parsley and onion.
4) Add salt and pepper.
5) Remove skillet from heat; mix in egg.
6) Place mushroom caps in lightly greased pan; stuff with filling.
7) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
8) Bake for 15 mins.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheese and Broccoli Baked Potatoes

This is definitely a more sophisticated cheese and broccoli baked potato than I'm used to (no cheez whiz!). It was very tasty and this recipe made enough topping for probably four potatoes instead of two (although we loaded it on two anyways). We weren't sure this would be enough for dinner, so we made BLTs and a couple ears of corn. Way too much food....

Baked Potatoes

2 baking potatoes
olive oil
kosher salt

1) Preheat over to 400 degrees.
2) Pierce potatos skins with fork.
3) Spritz with olive oil.
4) Sprinkle on kosher salt.
5) Bake for one hour.

Cheese and Broccoli Topping

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/4 c milk
salt & pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 c Jarlsberg or other swiss cheese, grated
1 small head of broccoli, steamed

1) Melt butter over medium heat.
2) Whisk in flour and simmer for 2-3 minutes; do not brown.
3) Stir in milk and bring just to a boil.
4) Add salt, pepper, cayenne and simmer 2-3 minutes.
5) Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.
6) Chop steamed broccoli and add to sauce.
7) Spoon over baked potatoes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

This is one of our favorite cakes. It creates a hot fudge sauce inside the cake as it bakes. It tastes best with vanilla ice cream!

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
2 T cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
2 T oil (olive or coconut)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa
1 3/4 c hot water

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix flour, sugar, 2 T cocoa, baking powder and salt in ungreased 8x8 pan.
3) Mix in milk, oil and vanilla.
4) Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 c cocoa over batter.
5) Pour water over batter; do not stir.
6) Bake about 40 mins. or until top is dry.
7) Serve warm.

Spinach Balls

We really enjoyed these... I made a few minor changes, of course.

Spinach Balls

serves 4 (approx. 15 pieces)

1 - 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and chopped
3/4c seasoned bread crumbs
3/4c grated parmesan cheese
1/4c butter, melted
3-4 T onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
3) Shape the mixture into 1" balls.
4) Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 25 mins.

Chicken Piccata

We loved the corn chowder we found on this blog, so I thought we would try another recipe. Neither of us are wild about lemony sauces, so I reduced the amount of lemon juice by half and added more wine. This was good, but next time I would replace all the lemon juice (approx. 1/2c) with chicken broth and maybe add some mushrooms to the sauce. I served this with jasmine rice and spinach balls.

Chicken Piccata

Serves 4

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2c all-purpose flour
salt & pepper, to taste
2T olive oil or coconut oil (organic, extra-virgin coconut oil)
2T butter, melted
3T all-purpose flour
slightly less than 1c chardonnay or other dry white wine
1/4c fresh lemon juice
1/2c chicken broth
1/4c capers, drained
2T butter
salt & pepper, to taste

1) Cut chicken crossways to create thin slices & pound chicken (if necessary) to 1/4" thickness.
2) In shallow bowl, mix together 1/2c flour; season with salt & pepper.
3) Coat chicken in flour mixture.
4) In large heavy skillet, sauté chicken breasts in oil over medium-high heat until golden and no longer pink inside, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.
5) In a small bowl, mix 2T melted butter with 3T flour until smooth. Set aside.
6) In same skillet, bring wine, lemon juice, & broth to boil. Whisk in butter-flour mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
7) Stir in capers & 2T butter. Add chicken to skillet; cover & simmer for 2-3 minutes.
8) Season with salt & pepper, as desired.
9)Serve immediately.