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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nutella Brownies

When I saw this recipe I just had to make them! I love nutella!! The recipe is so simple,only requiring four ingredents. Since nutella is a hazelnut spread it only makes since that the recipe would call for chopped hazelnuts, but my Wal-Mart doesn't sell them so I used slivered almonds. The recipe also says it makes 12 mini brownies, but I went a little light filling the cups and ended up with 15, which was a good thing since we had company for dinner. I found the recipe here.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup nutella
1 egg
5 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (or almonds)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 mini muffin tins. Mix first three ingredients and fill each cup 3/4 full. Top with chopped nuts and bake for 11 - 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.  Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days... Yeah, they would never last that long!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mint Brownies

Oh, chocolate mint, how I love thee!! No really, I do!!

This is another Mark Bittman recipe to submit to IHCC. At the bottom of his recipes he always includes several "add in" suggestions and so to his basic brownie recipe I chose to add peppermint extract and mini chocolate chips. Brownies are so simple to make and the addition of peppermint and chocolate chips made these irresistible, so irresistible in fact that they just disappeared!!  I wish I would have made more, because I just keep thinking about how good they were… Hmmm, maybe tonight I'll make another batch and add a little almond extract and almonds.
Ingredients:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus a little softened butter for the pan
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pepperment
Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with butter or line it with aluminumfoil and grease the foil.
2. Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is just about melted, remove from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gently stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake until just barely set in the middle, 20 to 25 minutes. It's better to underbake brownies than to overbake them. Cool on a rack before cutting. Store, covered, at room temperature, for no more than a day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake

With Brown Sugar Glaze
So I mentioned previously that I came across this web site called Cake Slice Bakers from one of my favorite blogs to visit Lick the Bowl Good. After seeing several of the cakes… I went out and bought the cookbook they are currently cooking from, Southern Cakes.  It is well written with a little history from each of the recipes. This is the recipe posted for the month of September and since it got such rave reviews, I really wanted to try it!
Ingredients:
Fresh Apple Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking sodaa
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups finely chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
Brown Sugar Glaze
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Directions:
Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 cake pan (I floured mine too). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and wisk everything together.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a wooden spoon until pale yellow and foamy. Add the oil and vanilla, and beat well. Stir in flour mixture with wooden spoon and continue stirring just until the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Place cake on a wire rack.
Make the glaze while the cake is hot. Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a gentle boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Spoon the glaze over the hot cake and let cake cool completely.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

My husband is totally a Velveeta guy. He will choose processed american melty cheese over anything else. And I do mean anything… in addition to macaroni and cheese, he wants it on nachos, melted in scrambled eggs, and even Philly Cheese Steak! (Personally, Velveeta mac & cheese is my favorite too, but it's not the only cheese out there right!?!?) So… I knew he wasn’t going to be thrilled about this recipe, but I really wanted to give baked Macaroni and Cheese another shot. When I've tried to make it in the past it has been dry and not very flavorful and well…. dry.
And the results were…     
not bad!
I dont think it will replace our beloved velveeta but it is a nice change. This is a Mark Bittman recipe and I am submitting this to IHCC Pot Luck.
Ingredients:
21/2 cups milk
2 bay leaves
1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
11/2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or more bread crumbs, preferably fresh

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
2. Cook the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand.
3. Cook the pasta to the point where it is almost done but you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.
4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar and stir.
5. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch or similar-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, about 15 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pizza Puffs

After School Snack
I made the perfect after school snack for my boys first day back. To make them a little healthier I used turkey pepperoni, low fat mozzarella and skim milk. I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs. She is a neighbor living in Texas which is kinda funny since Texas is HUGE! So she probably doesn’t live anywhere close to here but that's ok :o)
I also discovered The Cake Slice Bakers from her site (More on that later though). So, back to the Pizza Puffs. My kids loved these!! They are simple to throw together and freeze wonderfully.

Ingredients:
3/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1Tbsp Italian seasoning
pinch of salt
3/4 c milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1 c mini pepperoni

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, seasoning and salt. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Fill pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce.
**Note: I've also made these replacing the pepperoni with Italian Sausage, yum!!

Freezer Cooking

Have I ever mentioned how overwhelmingly, hecticly busy my life is? With three kids, a full time job (with an hour commute each way), household chores, horses and homework, baths, boo boo's, sharing, it's not fair, I had it first, what's for diner, I dont want to eat that, can I have a cookie... I could go on and on. My stress level it close to 10 most of the time, and the one thing I really want to do, I mean REALLY, REALLY enjoy doing is making goodies. But I rarely find time to do that. There is something about making something from scratch. Reading recipes, trying new things, buying groceries, mixing ingredients, cooking, baking and the best part... the oohs and aahs. The imense pleasure of knowing that someone is enjoying what I made!!
So...

to create a little "me time" I'm going to stock my freezer with lots of home cooked meals. Instead of worring about whats for dinner, I can throw something in the oven and then...
MAKE A SWEET, TRY A NEW RECIPE, or BLOG!!!

Have you ever heard of OAMC? Once a month cooking. I came across it last year, and liked the idea. I did it for several months and it was really a time saver. There was always something available. There are several reasons for this type of cooking. To save money or in my case, to save time.

Happy Cooking!
Sweetie