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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caribbean Creams

I love all things tropical. This is simple to throw together and delicious!



INGREDIENTS
6oz coconut yogurt
6oz double cream
1 tablespoon coconut rum, Pariot Bay is my favorite
1 banana
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Toasted Coconut

Directions 
Stir together the yogurt and cream with the rum, and whisk until slightly thickened.
Slice the banana and then divide the slices between four 125ml-ramekins to form a layer at the bottom of each one.
Spoon in the thickened yogurt and cream mixture, filling the ramekins equally.
Sprinkle about 11/2 teaspoons of sugar over each ramekin, then wrap them in clingfilm, and place in the fridge overnight or for the day.
Sprinkle with toasted coconut and enjoy!!

ADDITIONAL INFO
You need to make these the morning of the evening you want to eat them (or the day before, if that’s easier for you), but they take no more than 5 minutes to prepare.
 
Original Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lasagna Rolls


Can you ever have too much of a good thing? I love Italian food and this is a good thing!! This is a pretty simple recipe of lasagna noodles filled with prosciutto, spinach and cheese tucked in a creamy béchamel sauce then covered with marinara and more cheese... I had you at béchamel didn't I!! I love to say béchamel, it sounds so sophisticated... So foodie! This recipe is sophisticated in flavor yet simple to make and requested quite often.

Ingredients
Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

Lasagna:
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

Directions
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamelsauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

Original recipe by Giada De Laurenttiis found here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crab Cakes

Several years ago a local restaurant advertised crab cakes. They advertised, I asked to go, he said no. They'd advertise more, I'd ask again to go, and he'd say no. This went on for weeks until, finally, I wore him down. We went and I was very disappointed. Perhaps it was because of all the anticipation that I had built up, I'm not really sure but that disappointment prompted me to create my own. My first and most important adjustment would be to omit the red bell pepper. I played around with the recipe and what I came up with and received rave reviews from my toughest critics!!

Ingredients:
2 cans crab meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs (may need more if batter is too wet)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tbsp helmans mayonnaise
2 egg whites
 
Directions:
Drain crab meat. Mix all ingredients together and pan fry until golden brown.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cowboy Beans

I don't know about you but, growing up, beans were a weekly occurrence around our house (I wasn't a fan), and if you asked my husband he might exaggerate and say that they had to eat them every day! (though I'd guess he's not exaggerating much) As a child, there's nothing fun about a bowl full of stupid little beans... boring, blah, yuck! But, beans have great nutritional value, they are inexpensive and easy to make, and now that I am grown up I can appreciate them.


I've had many opportunities to eat beans at his parent's house. One version my mother in law makes is cowboy beans. She cooks onion and ground beef and then adds it to the pot of beans along with a can of rotel. I've taken that idea and doctored it up into something not only palatable but delicious and oh so easy! Of course if you're feeling particularly productive that day you could fry up some cabbage and potatoes to round out the perfect comfort meal!!

Cowboy Beans

Ingredients:
1lb bag dried pinto beans
1lb meat (See choices below)
1/2 can rotel (again, see below)
1 tbsp salt (plus more to taste)
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8-12 cups water
Directions:
Rinse and sort beans (yep, I've found rocks in there before). Then put everything in a crock pot, give it a stir and turn on low for 8-10 hours. When you get home dinner is magically ready and you can spend more time on the stuff you love... like blogging!!
Meat choices: Steak, brisket, sausage, ground beef w/onions, etc.

Note: Any time we eat steak, brisket, or BBQ... you can pretty much guess what we're having for dinner the next night. Also, when I find hamburger on sale I'll buy at least 10lbs, pre cook it (some with onions, some without) and separate it into 1lb bags to freeze. Perfect for meals like this!

Rotel: a whole can of rotel is a little too spicy for the kids so I use half and put the other half in a small freezer bag for future use... such as chicken spaghetti.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baked Hot Chocolate

Happy Birthday to me! I saw this recipe a while back and knew I wanted to make it. Chocolate is the best stuff on earth what better day to try this rich decadent dessert.


Baked Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

9 ounces 60% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Whipped cream

Directions:

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange ovenproof coffee cups or mugs or 8-ounce ramekins in a baking or roasting pan.

2. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water, and whisk occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Stir the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer then set over the simmering water and stir until warm to the touch. Place the bowl on the stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, beat for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Remove from the mixer, and fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture until it is light and smooth.

4. Spoon the batter into the cups. Add enough very hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The baked hot chocolates will be done when the tops lose their glossy finish. A wooden skewer inserted in the top will emerge clean, but batter toward the bottom of the cup will still be very moist.

5. Carefully remove the cups from the pan. The cakes can be served warm, at room temperature, or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, bring to room temperature and place in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 5 minutes, or until warm.

6. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream. (as you can see from the picture... I couldn't wait that long, but I'm sure it would be really good)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Day Chili

Crap! I forgot the chili seasoning packet. I wanted something to warm us up when we came back in from the snow. Thats right, I said SNOW!! We are in Texas and we got a snow day! That never happens... ok, rarely happens.
But I have never seen this much snow... EVER! You see we broke a record getting 12 inches in one day. The previous record was like 7 inches set back in 1964 or something... but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that its here for a very limited amount of time and my sweeties will be playing out in it all day so they are going to need something warm.
 Now back to my problem... I've always used one of those packets to make chili and I was not about to chance driving in this weather to go get it so I googled chili recipes. I serched allrecipes, as well as some of my favorite blogs and didnt see anything that stood out so I just picked out the things I liked and this is what I came up with. This isn't the perfect chili recipe, but it is good and easy.

Snow Day Chili

Ingredients:
2 tbsp oil
1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
dash of louisiana hot sauce
1 53oz can of pinto beans, drained
1  6oz can tomato paste
1 28oz can tomato sauce

Directions:
Saute onions in oil until they are translucent or until your kids and hubby can't see them in the finished dish (yep, I have to do this all the time). Next add garlic and ground beef. Once meat is brown add all seasonings and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over low heat for at least an hour stirring occationally.  I serve my chili over rice with cheddar cheese and a little sour cream, because lets face it... everythings better with sour cream! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Irish Cream Tiramisu

How do you say love in Italian because this recipe deserves that kind of description. The smooth creamy texture of the mascarpone cheese flavored with a good espresso and Irish Cream... and then topped with a decadent dark cocoa powder. It is good! I love Tiramisu. Let me confess my love for Tiramisu. (Gasp) oh I can't find the words. I love it so much; I order it every chance I get. But I can tell you that Nigella got it right!! Her recipe for Irish Cream Tiramisu is absolutely heavenly, and it is as good as any I've had. But, how can you go wrong with Irish Cream, right? I'm rather impatient so I made this a little earlier in the day and them enjoyed it after dinner rather than waiting overnight per the instructions... and then I enjoyed it the next day... and I think I'll finish it up tonight. Yes people, it's that good!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups espresso coffee
1 cup Baileys cream liqueur, separated
2 x 200g packets Savoiardi (Italian lady finger) biscuits
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
16 oz mascarpone
2 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder


1. Mix the coffee with 3/4 cup of the Baileys in a shallow bowl.

2. Dip the biscuits into this liquid; let them soak on each side enough to become damp but not soggy. Line the bottom of a 22cm square glass dish with a layer of biscuits.

3. Separate the eggs, but keep only one of the whites. Whisk the two yolks and the sugar together until thick and a paler yellow, then fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of Baileys, and the mascarpone to make a moussy mixture.

4. Whisk the single egg white until thick and frothy; you can do this by hand with such a little amount. Fold the egg white into the yolky mascarpone, and then spread half of this mixture on top of the layer of biscuits.

5. Repeat with another layer of soaked Savoiardi, and then top with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

6. Cover the dish with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to serve, push the cocoa powder through a small tea strainer to dust the top of the tiramisu.

Original Recipe by Nigella Lawson