Thursday, September 30, 2010

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

I realize my last three posts have been sweets. I will try for something out of that category for next time. But for today, there is this yummy-ness. I found this recipe at Real Mom Kitchen. I don't know who needs to go out to breakfast when you can make this at home. Although, we had it for dinner and it was great for that, too. While its a few more steps than plain french toast, it is still very easy and SUPER delicious! I should have taken a picture of my little boy and his friend with their cheeks stuffed. They totally loved it.
What You Need:
1 (8 oz package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 slices bread {Texas toast works or a good sourdough}
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 eggs, beaten
2-3 tablespoon milk
4 tablespoons butter, oil, cooking spray for pan
2 tablespoon powdered sugar {extra}

Combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat until smooth, and then spread 1/2 the mixture on one side of five slices of bread. Top with the sliced strawberries. You will have some extra for topping the toast later. Spread more of the remaining mixture on the remaining five pieces of bread and place on to pressing them together gently to enclose strawberries inside.

Beat the eggs and milk together and set aside.

Coat your pan with butter, oil or spray. Take the sandwiches, one by one, and place in the egg and milk mixture, turning so that the mixture covers both sides. Transfer the sandwich to the pan and cook until the first side is  brown. Flip over and cook the other side. Before serving, top with the extra sliced strawberries and 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup or the Strawberry Syrup recipe below.

What You Need:
Strawberry Syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup pureed strawberries

Combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Stirring constantly, heat mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken (approximately 5 minutes). While still warm, pour over French Toast and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Creamy Maple Frosting

I think that this cake needs a name that really describes how wonderful it is, but I wasn't creative enough to come up with one. This recipe is so fall-perfect {in spite of our temperatures not being very fall-like}. It is super moist, has just the right amount of spice and the frosting is perfect. When I read that the frosting had maple syrup in it, I was sure I wouldn't like that and was going to skip it but didn't and I am so glad. Trust me- it is awesome just the way it is. I found this recipe at My Baking Addiction and only made one slight change. I will warn you- this recipe calls for one ingredient that is expensive- cardamom. While I decided to splurge and use it, the source says you can omit it if you reallly need to. You can add it to your spice rack and find some other yummy uses for it.

What You Need:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon minced crystallized ginger { I used regular ground ginger}
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt {I use regular salt}
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup shredded zucchini

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups confectioners’ sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg,  ginger, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. Combine oil, applesauce, eggs and sugars; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini; stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared 8×8 inch baking pan. 

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

5. For the icing: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix well. Frost cake with icing. Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

So I was going full force into fall recipes and had some great ones lined up but then, just like that, I had a craving for something gooey and chocolatey and peanut butter fit in there somewhere. It was a toss up between this recipe and another dessert that goes in the slow cooker. Well, these turned out just plain delicious and they were really easy and quick. They are not layered like your typical pb brownie but they are swirled together which is fabulous. These are so good, in fact, that even though chocolate makes my newly pregnant self pretty sick, I have been eating them anyway. Its a sad confession, but true. If that doesn't convince you then nothing will. Oh and my family is loving them too!

What You Need: {For the batter}
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped {I like to mix semi sweet and milk choco}
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

{For the filling}
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square or 8 x 11 baking dish.

Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.

Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My {Fail-Proof} Slow Cooker Roast

I have been a terrible blogger in recent weeks and I apologize. I swear I have a lot of legitimate reasons and I know for sure that as the weather gets colder and my life slows down a bit, I'll be back. In the meantime, I thought I would share a recipe that I use all the time. It is truly impossible to mess up, cooks while you go about your day, and leaves leftovers for mexican dishes, bbq sandwiches, stew, or whatever else you can think of that I haven't. You can have this in the slow cooker in less than ten minutes and not think about it again until dinner, which is my favorite part. Your house will smell great and you'll have a tender flavorful roast at the end, promise. Note: This recipe is set for my 6 quart slow cooker.

What You Need:
1 chuck roast
3-4 celery stalks
3-4 carrots
1 small onion
3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Turn your slow cooker to low or high to get it warming up. Low if you are cooking for more than 4 hours, high if less. {Adjust for your slow cooker temps}. Using a large fry pan or skillet to brown, coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil and turn to medium high.

 I leave the roast right in the package to season, just exposing the top. Generously season the roast with seasoned salt, then coat in flour, shaking off the excess. Turn the roast over and do the same to the other side. Once your fry pan is hot, place the roast in the pan to sear. The trick to getting a nice brown crust on the roast is that your pan must be hot when you place the roast. You can test this by putting a drop of water in the pan and it sizzles.

While one side is browning, cut your washed celery, carrots and onion into large chunks. Place them into the bottom of the slow cooker. You are creating a "shelf" for your roast. Once the roast has a nice crust, turn it to the other side. {3-4 minutes}.

Place the browned roast into the slow cooker. Pour the beef broth around the sides of the roast, not over the top. The liquid should not come more than halfway up the sides of the roast or you will be boiling the meat.

Cook until the roast is cooked through and tender. {4 hours on high in my 6 quart cooker}. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chicken Pesto Muffin Bites

I found this yummy little appetizer over at Multiply Delicious a few months ago and am just getting around to sharing. Now you could just use the crescent dough and same directions, but change to any kind of filling you prefer. This one is really good if you are a pesto fan but I was thinking for kids that pizza fillings would be great and fun for them to help assemble. You could also use cream cheese and veggies like spinach and broccoli. Very tasty and easy!

What You Need:
1 can (8oz) Pillsbury Crescent refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1/4 cup homemade pesto or store bought
3 Tbsp sundried tomatoes, diced {I did not use}
1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
OR make up your own filling!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 6 cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Unroll dough sheet on a cutting board. Spread dough evenly with pesto. Top with shredded chicken, sundried tomatoes, and cheeses.

Using a pizza cutter, cut dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into thirds to make 6 equal pieces. Starting at the short side, roll up each piece; place seam side down in muffin cup so center of dough piece is on bottom and ends of dough are facing up.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let the muffins cool for about 5 minutes and remove from pan. Best served warm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

I don't know about you, but fall is in full swing at our house. It is already jacket weather, I've broken out my stash of canned pumpkin {it gets hard to find in the upcoming months!} and I've been wanting comfort foods more often. I am so excited to start sharing soup recipes, everything pumpkin, butternut squash and casseroles. I have a recipe for sweet potato casserole that is going to blow your mind, seriously. But I think I'll hang onto that one for a bit because it is perfect for Thanksgiving.

For now, though,  I actually came across this recipe by accident and had forgotten all about it. It comes from an issue of Real Simple magazine. I found a new love in sweet potatoes. Last year I replaced them with white in a beef stew and it added this amazing creamy, rich, slightly sweet flavor that was awesome paired with the beef. This dish is the same way. You'll find the sweet potatoes add a depth of flavor and texture that is sort of addicting. This side would be great with really anything!

What You Need:
2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound peeled)
2 medium russet potatoes (1 pound peeled)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
2 ½ cups heavy cream
Butter for the foil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes either by hand or in a food processor fitted with the thinnest (2 millimeter) slicing disk.

In a shallow 1 ½ quart baking dish, toss the potatoes, garlic, thyme, ¾ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Add the cream and press gently to submerge the potatoes.

Cover the dish with buttered foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes more. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peanut Noodle Salad

This recipe comes from the June/July issue of Cook's Country. Since I am always looking for new lunch ideas {don't love sandwiches} I decided to try this. I have been a fan of peanut sauce for a long time but have never attempted making my own. I enjoyed eating this all week when I made it, but did forget to reserve the pasta water for thinning and you do need it. This has just a little spicy kick to it, which I like, but if you don't, just omit the hot sauce. I have had some peanut pastas that are too spicy to even eat and this amount won't do that to you. Yummy!

What You Need:
1 pound spaghetti noodles {I used whole wheat}
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter {use natural if you prefer}
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro {optional ~ I did not use}

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water. Drain, rinse with cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Add sesame oil and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, hot sauce and 6 tablespoons of pasta water in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the mixture, cucumber, bell pepper, and cilantro to pasta and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed to adjust consistency. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pretzel & Strawberry Chocolate Fluff Pie

I decided to try this after seeing it on Food Network with Sunny Anderson. She always puts such an interesting twist on everything she makes. I did change the name, though. She called it "jiggle fluff pie" and I just don't think its appetizing to have the word "jiggle" in the title of your dessert, you know?

 I have heard of other versions of this, often called "pretzel salad". I have to say there is a whole lot going on in this one dish so I can't really call it simple. I'll be honest, my hubby didn't care for it but I thought it was good. It would be an ideal dish to take to a get-together and a HUGE hit with kids. A few thoughts I could omit the cocoa powder and not have the chocolate flavor, as well as cutting back on the butter in the pretzel mixture. I thought it was too much.

What You Need:
2 cups salted pretzels, lightly broken
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 cups heavy cream, chilled, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pineapple juice
1 (6-ounce) box strawberry-flavored powdered gelatin mix
2 cups frozen chopped strawberries, thawed
1-ounce piece semisweet chocolate bar, for shaving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a 13 by 9-inch pan, add the pretzels, butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir to combine. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes. Mine needed longer but you can check after 10. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Add the pineapple juice to a small pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin powder and stir to dissolve. Add the strawberries and let mixture come to room temperature or quick chill it over a bowl filled with ice water while whisking.

In a stand mixer or a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and beat until well blended. In a clean bowl, combine 2 cups of the heavy cream, vanilla, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a pinch of salt and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and spread it evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. Pour the gelatin mixture over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

Whip the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. When the strawberry gelatin layer is set, smooth the whipped cream over the top and sprinkle evenly with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!