Friday, December 19, 2014

Giada's Fried Ravioli

I love appetizer foods. I've been known to order nothing but appetizers when we've gone out to eat. I mean, mozzarella sticks and stuffed potato skins are totally considered a well balanced meal. One of the things I love most about the holidays is all the parties with all their fabulous party foods where I can nibble and sample to my little heart's content. They don't really do holiday parties here (or maybe we're just not cool enough to get invited to them?), but I was craving all my favorite appetizers so instead we threw our own little party on the last day of school to celebrate summer/Christmas (homemade hot chocolate just isn't the same in summer, in case you were wondering). This right here is one of my all time favorite appetizers both to eat and to bring. Giada De Laurentiis was demonstrating it on a talk show during the holidays years ago and I knew right then and there that this dish would be accompanying me to our next party. I mean, cheese ravioli covered in breadcrumbs, deep fried then dipped in a savory marinara? Poke me with a fork, I'm done. It was a huge hit and the rest of this love story is history...

Olive oil, for frying
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 package refrigerated cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce, heated, for dipping

Put the buttermilk and the breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip the ravioli in the buttermilk to coat completely, allowing the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge the ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, while you coat the remaining ravioli. Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown and puffed up, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan cheese and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping

*Source: Food Network


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Truffles

Forget the food pyramid, I think I could easily survive the entire holiday season on these truffles and this toffee alone. Which is probably why it's a good thing that Christmas only comes once a year.  But really, they taste like Reese's peanut butter cups and are pretty much fail proof, which is reason enough to come back to them year after year after year. The truffles have been made, Christmas season can now commence.

½ cup butter, room temp
¼ c light corn syrup
 2 c peanut butter
2 c powdered sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)

In a large bowl combine butter, corn syrup, peanut butter and powdered sugar. Beat together until smooth and whipped, about 3-4 minutes. Roll into balls (about 1 rounded tablespoon) and refrigerate for about an hour. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one, until smooth and glossy (about 1 ½ minutes). Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Dip each ball in chocolate, use a spoon to lift it out then gently tap the spoon on the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Use a butter knife to slide the truffle off the spoon and onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (if desired) and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. (Any excess chocolate that pooled at the bottom can be snapped off)

*Source: unknown


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Potluck Pasta Salad

I've never had much luck when it comes to pasta salads. It's like I show up with my bowl at a potluck and then do the walk of shame as I take it home almost untouched. Until now. When my friend first made this it was love at first taste. This pasta salad is in a league of its own. The dressing ingredients may seem a little odd, but trust me on this one, they all come together just beautifully. I've made this on multiple occasions and every time I come home with an empty bowl and a few requests for the recipe. So glad I can finally redeem myself in the potluck circuit, phew, check that off my bucket list.

1 package pasta (like tri-colored rotini)
1 bell pepper, chopped (green, yellow, orange or red)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 small fully cooked smoked sausages, sliced (or if you used uncooked sausages, just fry them up beforehand)

1/4 cup white vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain then rinse with cold water. Prepare tomatoes, pepper and sausages then mix together in a large bowl with pasta noodles. Mix dressing ingredients in a blender, or whisk vigorously until sugar is dissolved. Pour over pasta salad and toss until evenly coated. Add feta cheese and gently toss. Cover and refrigerate about an hour before serving. .

*Source: Julie Tovey


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sticky Asian Style Drumsticks

You know on the Fruit Loop commercials where Toucan Sam follows his nose? That is exactly what happened when I was making these. My daughter was in her room on the other side of the house and followed the scent of these drumsticks into the kitchen. And trust me, they taste just as amazing as they smell. These right here are finger licking good!

12-15 chicken drumsticks (fresh, not frozen)
1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 Tbs honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a saucepan add 1/2 cup soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, pepper, lemon juice and zest. Stir over medium heat. In a small bowl whisk together 1 Tbs soy sauce and cornstarch then add to the saucepan and whisk continually for a few minutes until thickened then set aside. Pat the drumsticks dry then brush each drumstick with marinade and arrange on baking sheet. Reserve remaining marinade. Bake for 40 minutes, basting a couple more times with the reserved marinade and turning the drumsticks over half way through. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, or until just starting to turn golden. Sprinkle cooked drumsticks with sesame seeds and fresh chives.

*Source: Everyday Delicious Chelsea Winters

Monday, December 15, 2014

{Guest Post} Molasses Sugar Cookies

I have loved having my sister contribute on here as a guest. She really is such an amazing cook and such an inspiration to me in so many ways. After a little coaxing and encouraging, I convinced her to start up a recipe blog of her own. I'm excited to take a sneak peak into her daily kitchen, it somehow makes me feel more connected to her on the other side of the world. So be sure to check out her site Six Little Chefs, I promise you won't be disappointed! Thank you, Janessa, for sharing your recipes with us, these cookies look amazing and I can't wait to try them!

I think a good cookie has three factors. The chewy inside factor, the crisp outside factor and the crackle factor. I don't know why the crackle factor is important, but that visual image makes the cookie taste better. It just does. This molasses sugar cookie nails all three factors perfectly! Pour up a glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate and dunk away!

1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt

 Melt the shortening. Add sugar, eggs, and molasses, beat well. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together and add to the liquid ingridents. Mix well and chill 3 hours or overnight. Form into walnut-size balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container to keep from getting overly crisp. If they do lose their softness, an easy way to restore it is to place one slice of fresh bread in the container with the cookies for a couple of hours or overnight and they will be soft again!

*Source: Allrecipes

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

Okay, you have to promise me one thing. You will make this pie at least once in your life. But I have to warn you, once you do it will consume your thoughts and leave you craving it for at least a week. It is so silky smooth and creamy and your natural reaction will be to close your eyes and savor every bite with a half smile on your face, just like they do in those cheesy commercials. I know it's too late for Thanksgiving, but I can guarantee you'll reach rock star status if this shows up on your Christmas dinner menu!

2 cups crushed graham crackers (or malt biscuits if you're a kiwi cook)
⅓ C melted butter

Preheat oven to 400. Mix together then press into a 9 inch pie pan and bake for 10 minutes.

2 C milk (2%)
1 C heavy cream
¾ cup white sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla
 2-3 bananas

When the crust is cooled, slice bananas in a single layer on the bottom. Then for the filling, pour the milk into a microwave safe bowl and scald by microwaving it for 3 1/2 minutes, place a wooden spoon in the bowl to prevent boiling. In a large pot on medium heat, combine the scalded milk, sugar, flour and salt and whisk together over medium heat until well combined. Continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken up to create a pudding like texture then reduce heat to low. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and add in a tablespoon of pudding mixture and stir in order to temper the eggs and avoid any curdling. Add in a few more tablespoons, stir then add it into the pudding. Continue stirring over low heat for a few more minutes then remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla and mix until well combined. Pour the pudding over the sliced bananas then cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours.

2 cups heavy cream
¼-1/2 C powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
shaved chocolate

Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form, add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Spread on top cooled pie and garnish with shaved chocolate, then slice and serve.

*Source: bsinthekitchen

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lime Chicken Burrito Bowl

Burrito bowls have sorta taken the world by storm lately, or at least pinterest. My husband first got hooked on the burrito bowls at Chipotle, but I just couldn't fathom a meal there without those delicious tortillas. I finally gave it a try and I've never looked back. So filling, so flavorful and so much healthier too. This is one version I've come up with using my favorite lime chicken and cilantro lime rice, I may be a little partial, but I think it's pretty dang tasty.

For the chicken:
2 boneless chicken breast
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
 Juice from 1 large lime
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 Tbs chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 4-5 hrs, shred meat then cook an additional hour.

For the rice:
1 ½ C rice
2 C chicken broth
1 Tbs butter
2 small limes
Lime zest from one lime
½ C chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp salt
*As an healthier option you can substitute the lime rice with cooked brown rice

Sauté rice in butter for 2-3 min, add broth, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min. Fluff cooked rice with fork. Add lime juice, zest, cilantro and salt and stir well.

Sour cream mixed with a little taco seasoning (about 1 Tbs taco seasoning per 1/2 cup of sour cream)
Black beans
Shredded lettuce
Tomatoes, diced
Shredded cheese

Put rice in individual serving bowls then add toppings.