Sunday, January 30, 2011

CSN Winner and Easy Cheesy Bread

Thanks to everyone who entered my latest CSN giveaway! I used Random to pick a winner and here are the results:

True Random Number Generator  17Powered by RANDOM.ORG
The seventeenth comment was Debbie!

Debbie said...

That fondue looks incredible!
Thanks for the chance to win the giveaway.

Debbie, thanks for your comment! Check your email for your $35 CSN Stores gift card! :)


Now for the easiest cheese bread in the world. I made these the same night I made Baked Spaghetti Pizza. This garlic cheesy bread was a great way to dig up the pasta and toppings left over on the plate. I don't know what I don't make garlic cheese bread more often. It's fantastic.
Easy Cheesy Bread
An Ashley's Cooking Adventures Original

1/2 French Baguette 
3 tablespoons softened butter (I used yogurt butter, my favorite)
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

Cut baguette into 1 1/2 to 2 inch slices. In a small bowl combine olive oil and garlic. You can also used garlic infused olive oil, which I used, but I realize most people don't have on hand. Brush olive oil on one side of the bread and place oil side down on baking or broiling pan. Use a knife to spread butter on the other side of bread. Top with grated cheese. Broil in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baked Spaghetti Pizza

Hubby and I are sticking to cooking vegetarian for the month of January but let me tell you, I was running out of ideas! I asked my Aunt Chris, who is a fabulous home chef, if she had any good recipes for vegetarian dishes and she suggested Spaghetti Pizza. My Mom is actually the one who had the recipe and I faintly remember eating it as a kid, but not very often since my Dad is a diabetic and needs to limit his carbs. This dish is so much fun! The "crust" is baked spaghetti and then you top your spaghetti with tomato sauce and whatever toppings you like. Since we're going veggie, I added in a variety of fresh mushrooms, black olives, diced tomatoes, and sliced white onions. But any of your favorite pizza toppings works great -- green peppers, pepperoni, sausage, etc. This is a dish that kids would love and also be able to help you make! I served this with quick and easy cheesy garlic bread, which I will post next. 
Baked Spaghetti Pizza
From My Momma
Printable Version
1 cup of milk
2 eggs
1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
Toppings of your choice for the "pizza"part (mushrooms, olives, diced tomatoes, onions, green peppers, pepperoni, sausage, etc.) Note: if you use  meat make sure it's cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 jar of pizza sauce or Ragu sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together eggs and milk. Toss with the cooked spaghetti. Spread the mixture in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Top with sauce, toppings, and then cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on edges. Let stand for5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with a spatula. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black and White Chocolate Fondue and a CSN Giveaway!

CSN Stores has offered to sponsor another $35 giveaway for you, my lovely readers! If you've never checked out CSN Stores, you are missing out! Their site has everything you need for your home, from modern dining room furniture to dog bowls! If you would like to be entered in this giveaway, leave me a comment on this post. If you are a follower on my blog, you get a second chance to enter, so leave a second comment. For a third chance to win, post about this giveaway and my blog on facebook or your blog by midnight (Eastern time) on Saturday, the 29th. I will announce the winner on Sunday, the 30th. Good luck and thanks to CSN Stores!

This weekend we went over to our fabulous friends Jon & Cheryl's house for a fondue night. I was in charge of the chocolate fondue, and Cheryl did the cheese and  coq au vin meat fondue. Cheryl's fondues were both excellent, and if you are interested in the recipes, you can pop over to her blog to get them.

I found this chocolate fondue recipe from Rocco DiSpirito on Good Morning America's site. I wanted a dessert fondue that incorporated white and milk chocolate  because that is the kind my hubby and I always get when we go out to dinner at The Melting Pot. Side note: The Melting Pot is my absolute favorite restaurant and my hubby hates chain restaurants, so the only time I get my fondue fix is on my birthday when I get to pick the restaurant with no input from the hubs. I like this recipe because it was super easy and tasted great. We dipped an array of yummy desserts and fruits in the chocolate: pound cake, brownies, rice krispie treats, marshmallows, apples, and bananas. Unfortunately I could not find any strawberries at the store, but they are phenomenal in chocolate fondue too!
Black and White Chocolate
From Rocco DiSpirito
Printable Version

1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons cognac
6 ounces premium semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces premium white chocolate, chopped
Pinch of salt
Your favorite things to dip in the fondue
Combine all ingredients in fondue pot and stir until combined. If mixture becomes too thick, add more milk to thin it out.

If you do not have a fondue pot, you can still make this on the stovetop over medium high heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fried Smashed Red Potatoes with Lemon Herb Dressing

Any time I watch the lovely Giada De Laurentiis' cooking show, Cooking at Home, I immediately want to make whatever beautiful dish she is featuring. I love just watching her cook and listening to her describe the flavors. Her food is accessible but elegant. I will readily admit I have a ginormous cooking crush on her! :)

The other day she did a show on lemons and these Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon Dressing looked so delicious, I made them a few days later. I love how cute the potatoes are after you smash them. The herbs, lemon, and garlic make these potatoes burst with flavor.  Even though we're in the dead of winter, this recipe will make you think spring has arrived. I served them with scrambled eggs for breakfast but Giada served them with Roasted Branzino.

Fried Smashed Red Potatoes with Lemon Herb Dressing
From Giada De Laurentiis on Food
Printable Version
2 pounds red potatoes (fingerling will work as well)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 lemons, zested
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil on medium heat for 20 - 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and cool. Use the palm of your hand to gently press the potatoes until they are smashed.
In a large nonstick skillet heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and light brown. Remove the garlic and discard.  Add the potatoes in batches and cook without stirring until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use a spatula to turn and cook until golden brown on the other side, adding more olive oil if needed, about 5 to 8 minutes again.
In a small bowl whisk the 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the dressing over the potatoes. Toss to coat and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos

In keeping with the vegetarian theme this month I decided to make vegetarian burritos and black beans seemed to be the most filling option. I searched online for recipes and decided on this one from All because it incorporates red peppers, onions, and cilantro, all flavors that hubby and I really like. 

These burritos were really creamy and had great southwestern flavor. They were even good leftover the next day at lunch. If you are trying to to eat less meat or like black beans then you should definitely give these burritos a try.

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos
Adapted from All
Makes 6 servings
Printable Version
6 (1o inch) tortillas
Olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon jalapeno peppers, minced
8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour beans into the skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture.
Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla and garnish as desired. We used salsa verde, avocado, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Homemade Marshmallows

I don't think I've ever drank as much hot chocolate as I have in the past few days.  And that's all because of these babies.

For some reason this recipe was one of the more daunting on my 30 Things to Make Before 30 List. I'm not used to using gelatin, which is one of the main ingredients in this recipe, and I was really worried about the sugar and corn starch mixture reaching the correct temperature. I tried to make homemade caramels last month and they totally bombed - they never set up because they didn't get up to the right temperature. Thankfully these marshmallows were very kind to me. My fab new KitchenAid is undoubtedly the main reason these marshmallows were a success.  It whipped the marshmallows until until they were fluffy and perfect. 

I brought these marshmallows to school so my class and our fourth grade buddies could get together and enjoy them with hot chocolate. They were a big hit and I'm officially hooked on homemade marshmallows. Even my husband, who normally does not like marshmallows could not stop eating these. I cannot wait to make them in the summer to use on 'smores!

Homemade Marshmallows
Makes about 96 1-inch marshmallows
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons + 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (OR 1/2 of a scraped vanilla or 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract) 
**I used my Homemade Vanilla Extract, as pictured above in the Smirnoff Vodka Bottle!)
Optional: food coloring for tinting

Oil bottom and sides of a 13X9X2 inch rectangular pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners' sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and let stand to soften.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees, about 12 minutes. 
Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. With standing or hand held mixer beat the mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using a stand mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixture. 
In a separate medium bowl with cleaned beater, beat egg whites until they just hold off stiff peaks. Beat egg whites and vanilla (or flavoring of choice) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan and don't worry if you don't get every little bit out. 
Sift 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar evenly over top. Chill, uncovered until firm, at least 3 hours and up to one day. Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. Trip the edges of the marshmallows and cut into roughly one-inch cubes. Sift the remaining confectioners' sugar back into the baking pan and roll all of the marshmallows through it, so that each side is coated. Shake off the excess sugar.
Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for one week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

After I realized how easy hummus was to make last year, I decided I needed to try to make red pepper hummus because it's my favorite flavor of hummus. When my sister in law was visiting last week it was the perfect time to give it a whirl because she is a veggie lover like me. We ate this hummus with pretzels, pita chips, and on top of our salads. Super yummy and healthy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Adapted from All
Makes 4 cups
Printable Version
4 cloves garlic
1 (15) ounce cans garbanzo beans
2/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup roasted red peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
In an electric food processor combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add in red peppers and olive oil and process until the peppers are finely chopped. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stoplight Corn Chowder

To mix things up a bit in the new year, my husband and I decided to eat only vegetarian meals at home for the month of January. This decision was actually hubby's idea. I was telling him that while he was gone for six weeks this fall I didn't buy any meat to cook at home. So he suggested cooking vegetarian at home for a month. I was all for it and am having a lot of fun looking up yummy vegetarian recipes to try. If you have a favorite vegetarian dish, please share it with me! 
I saw this recipe for Stoplight Corn Chowder on Food and Whine. The name comes from the red pepper, green pepper, and corn. Cute, huh? I love corn chowder but the ones I've had always incorporate chicken, so I was interested in seeing how the soup would taste without it. I took Megan's advice and added in Navy Beans for extra protein. I made this soup last week when my sister in law was visiting. All three of us really liked it. It was filling, comforting, and had great flavor. Give this soup a try, you won't miss the meat at all!
Stoplight Corn Chowder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cups corn
1 cup navy beans
2 vegetable boullon squares
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Optional for garnish: crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and/or sliced green onions

In the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pepper and onions and saute until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in Navy Beans.
Crumble bouillon over pepper and corn mixture. 
Sprinkle flour atop peppers. Whisk in milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Stir over medium heat until chowder begins to thicken. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. 
Garnish if desired before serving.

Monday, January 10, 2011

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Chicken Braised in Red Wine

This recipe was on my 30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30 list because it was one of the best looking recipes in my Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, a wedding gift that I have not used enough.

 I'm always drawn to really beautiful food pictures and the picture of this dish is really delicious looking in the cookbook. Also since it uses bacon and wine, I knew it would make hubby happy! :) This is a very labor intensive and time consuming dish, but it's hearty dish with a lot of wonderful flavors and it makes a ton. Thankfully the hubs doesn't mind taking leftovers for lunch. The book recommended serving this dish with caramelized Brussels sprouts, which I did and absolutely loved. I actually liked the Brussels sprouts MORE than the chicken, but hubby strongly disagrees. 

Chicken Braised in Red Wine
From Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook
Printable Version
1 bottle (24 fl oz/750 ml) fruity red wine (I used Zinfandel but you could also use Pinot Noir)
8 chicken drumsticks and thighs, with the skin
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound button mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean, and quartered
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup brandy (I didn't have any on hand, so omitted)
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Pour the wine into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half and set aside. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Spread the 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. In a large saute pan or cast-iron frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. In batches as necessary to avoid crowding, brown each piece of chicken on all sides. 
Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan, melt, and add the onion, bacon, and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir often and lower the heat to avoid browning the onion. 
Add in the mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a little pepper. Raise the heat to medium and saute until the mushrooms release their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the brandy and continue cooking for another minute.
Transfer the onion and mushroom mixture to another large saucepan or Dutch oven. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the onion and mushroom mixture, then add the stock, browned chicken pieces, and reduced brandy. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to low, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the chicken is opaque throughout and fork-tender, and the flavors have married, about 15-20 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or the chicken will toughen.

To serve, remove and discard the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Return the pan with the sauce to medium-high heat and whisk until the sauce combines and thickens. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle the sauce over the chicken pieces and garnish with the parsley. Serve at once. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom's Turkey Chili

Everyone has their favorite chili recipe and this is mine. I love my Mom's chili and am perfectly contented using this chili as my one and only chili recipe for all time. It's not at all spicy (I'm a wimp when it comes to heat) and it's more on the sweeter side because you add in a tablespoon of sugar. You can play around with the beans and I like to make it with only black beans because they are my favorite. It's best served on a loaded baked potato with cheese and sour cream. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm!

Mom's Chili
Printable Version
Makes 12 servings (1 1/3 cups each)
2 pounds ground turkey
4 medium onions, chopped
2 cans (1 pound, 12 ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 cans beans (I used 1 can of black beans and 1 can of kidney beans), drained (reserve liquid)
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt

Cook and stir ground turkey and onions in a Dutch oven or large roasting pan until meat is brown and onions are tender.
Stir in tomatoes, reserved bean liquid, tomato sauce, sugar, chili powder, and salt. Heat to boiling. 
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer.
Stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the chili reaches your desired consistency. 



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