Thursday, December 22, 2016

Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Swiss Roll

I saw this recipe on last
year and decided to give it a try this year. I don't have a really deep jelly roll pan and was worried I wouldn't have enough baking room but I did. My edges of my baking sheet went up about 1/2 inch which was plenty of room for the sponge. Don't worry if your cake comes out a little broken. It will be covered up at the end. The bake time is 15 minutes but I should have gone about 12 minutes. Practice makes perfect though. I put tin foil on my baking sheet and then buttered and floured it. I used the foil to help me roll but you could also use parchment paper. This is what I had on hand. I used a bag of mini peanut butter cups. A handful went into the filling and the rest on the ganache.

Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Swiss Roll

3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. espresso powder

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped Reece's Peanut Butter cups.

1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and grease with butter and flour. Shake the pan until the excess flour is removed. Mix the eggs vanilla and sugar until blended. Add the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and espresso powder until blended. Pour batter onto the cookie sheet and use an offset spatula to smooth out evenly. Tap the pan to get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 12-15 minutes. While warm use a metal spatula to ease the cake from the tin foil. cut off any hard edges. Begin to roll at one end trying not to crack it. If you do it's OK. You can cover it up later. Put in the fridge for a hour to cool.

Remove the roll from the fridge and carefully unwrap. Mix the filling ingredients except for the Peanut Butter Cups with an electric mixer. Hand fold in the Reece's Cup pieces. Spread the filling with a butter knife or offset spatula. Carefully roll the roll from one end to the other. Place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath.

In a small sauce pan add 2/3 c. whipping cream. Bring to just before a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Let sit without stirring for 5 minutes. Then use a whisk to mix the ganache. It will look like it won't come together but keep on stirring. Once thoroughly mixed, refrigerate for 10 minutes until thickened. Pour over the roll and smooth out and cover any imperfections if necessary. Top with the remaining Reece's. Back into the fridge til set. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hot Chocolate Cookies

I have the standard list of cookies I am required to bake out of tradition. I try to do something new  every year. This one I made for my work cookie exchange, Hot Chocolate Cookies. It combines the chocolate flavor of hot chocolate with a dash of Espresso powder for little added kick. You could also add a bit of Cayenne for a added kick.

Hot Chocolate Cookies Yield 30 cookies 350 degrees

1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. Espresso powder
3/4 cup hot chocolate or 3 packets with marshmallows
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1 cup mini  chocolate chips
mini marshmallows
1/2  cup reserved choco chips for drizzle

Cream the butter with an electric mixer and add the brown sugar and eggs. Beat until incorporated. Add the Espresso powder through the baking soda. Add the vanilla and lastly the chocolate chips. Beat until flour is completely nixed in. I used a large Tablespoon for this. You can get 15 cookies per pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Use the bottom of a shot glass to make an indent on each cookie. Place 4 mini marshmallows per cookie and return to the oven for 2 minutes to melt the marshmallows. Microwave the 1/2 cup or chips for 30 seconds until melted mixing each time. Add a few drops of oil to make the cholate glisten and easier to apply. Use a spoon to drizzle on each cookie. Let cool and package.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Greek Style Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs and Rice In the Oven

One of my youngest favorite dishes is Arroz con Pollo or Chicken and Rice. I am a big fan of Greek Style chicken. If you make the Arroz con Pollo stove top, the skin looses it's crispiness in the broth. This way, the chicken still has a crunchy skin with a little time in the oven. The marinade leaves the chicken with an added zing. You can marinate for as little as 30 minutes or up to two hours.
This will be a favorite of your family too! Chicken thighs are very economical. You can get a bag of frozen under $3.00 or wait for thighs to go on sale fresh at the grocery store. I used a cast iron skillet. I don't have a lid for it so I covered it with tin foil. Any oven ready pot will do.

Greek Style Chicken Thighs
4 TBSP lemon juice
1 whole lemon zested, sliced, and juice reserve
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp salt

4-6 bone in chicken thighs
2 TBSP oil
1 medium onion
2 cups rice (long grain)
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups water
10-12 Kalamata olives
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
a pinch of pepper

Firstly clean your thighs under some cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice, zest, lemon slices. Italian seasoning, and salt to a zip loc bag. Add the chicken thighs and let marinade for 30 minutes to two hours.

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade reserving the lemons and marinade. Place chicken skin side down in the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Let brown for 10 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and add the reserved marinade. Add the onion and brown for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and brown for another 2 minutes.
Next add the chicken broth  Return the chicken to the skillet and bring up to a boil. Cover the chicken with the reserved lemon slices Add the olives and cover the pan with foil. Carefully put in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes. The chicken should be done but always check that the juices run clear and the temperature is 160 degrees.
Season rice with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Denver Omelet Devilled Eggs

I saw the Denver Omelet Devilled Eggs on the internet and they seemed like they'd be delicious! I
was right! They are a bit more work than the standard devilled egg but can be prepared ahead of time.

Denver Omelet Devilled Eggs

1 dozen eggs hard boiled, peeled, and cooled
1/4-1/2 cup Mayo
1-2 tsp mustard
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

The Breading
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 egg beaten
1/4 c. milk
salt for seasoning
2 inches Canola oil for frying

The Topping
1/2 finely diced green bell pepper
2 pieces finely diced ham or pancetta

Cut the eggs down the middle and separate the yolks from the whites. Use a fork to mash the yolks. Add the mustard powder, mustard, and gradually add the Mayo. Lastly add the salt and pepper if desired along with the cayenne. Let cool in the refrigerator.

Heat the oil. Remember FEB. That's how you will dip the egg whites. Flour, Egg (beaten with the milk) , and Breading. A few at a time, place the breaded egg whites in the oil. Fry until golden which is 1-2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and cool. Season with salt. Once completely cooled, add the filling in with a spoon.

In a frying pan crisp the pancetta or ham. Drain on a paper towel. Top each egg with the ham and green pepper.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Crock Pot Chunky Beef Chimichangas

I only have one weekday off. The crock pot is a vital source to get dinner out on time. This recipe
requires a little prep work that can be the morning of or the night before. Then the crock pot does the rest. When you come home all to do is shred some of the meat, assemble, and fry into the best thing you have ever tasted! The meat would also work well in enchiladas.

Look for a chuck roast that has a pretty low fat content. I found mine at Meijer's. Also I am using a chili seasoning from my local Hispanic grocery store. The chili's in adobo can be portioned out into two per bag and frozen. They go great in tortilla soup or in other Mexican dishes.

Crock Pot Chunky Beef Chimichangas

3lbs chuck roast trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch thick cubes.
2 chilies in Adobo cut into pieces
2 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
flour for dusting
2 TBSP oil
15 oz  can tomato sauce
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic minced

For the Assembly
1 can refried beans
1 cup shredded taco cheese
12 tortillas

For the Frying

1 block Crisco Shortening or enough oil to go halfway up a skillet 2"

Dust the cut chuck roast and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the roast on all sides. Add to the crock pot. Saute the onion in the frying pan for a few minutes. Move to the crock pot. Add the tomato sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, Cumin, and seasonings. Add the chilies and the crock pot a mix. Cook on low for 8 hours. Taste for seasoning. You may add more salt or chili powder if you wish.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon to a glass bowl.  Reserve the liquid for a sauce. Shread some of the meat with a fork. Leave some of the pieces chunky.  To each tortilla add two tablespoons of beans and two table spoons of meat. To each add one pinch of cheese. Fold in each side and then roll until it looks like a burrito. Melt the shortening until hot and fry the chimi's on each side unitl brown. Serve with sour cream, the remaining sauce, and avocado's.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Crock Pot Beef Burgandy

The traditional beef burgundy can be time consuming and does not have potatoes or carrots. I adapted the traditional recipe for the crock pot. You still get all of the delicious flavor without slaving over the stove. Perfect for those work night winter meals when you don't feel like cooking! Have this dish waiting for you when you get home.  With minimal prep work, you can set it and forget it!  My store has these restaurant quality mushrooms that are a variety of mixed mushrooms. If you cannot find them, use one pound of portobellas.

Crock Pot Beef Burgandy

1 chuck roast divided (freeze the other half) about 1.5lbs
2 potatoes cut into fourths
2 carrots coined
1 clove garlic
1/2 large onion diced
1/2 cup flour
2 TBSP oil
1 pkg pre-sliced restaurant quality mushrooms
4 portabella mushrooms quartered
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup catchup
2 TBSPS. brown sugar
2 TBSP Worchestishire sauce
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut the chuck roast into 2 inch cubes. Toss in the flour and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown the cubes on all sides in a frying pan coated with the 2 TBSP oil. Once browned, remove and add to the crock pot. To the frying pan add the onions. Sautee for a few minutes more and add the wine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. This burns the alcohol out. Pour over the beef in the crock pot. Next sautee the mushrooms for another few minutes. Add those to the crock pot along with the beef stock and all of the rest of the ingredients. Stir so the potatoes aren't exposed on the top. They will discolor. Let cook on low for 8 hours. Enjoy with a glass of Burgandy and your favorite French bread.
To thicken the gravy, add two tablespoons of flour and butter to a sauce pan. Brown for a minute or so and then add the liquid. Stir until the gravy thickens. If there are lumps you may use a siv. Season to taste.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Cup Cakes

Who doesn't love Cinna-bon with their piped in cinnamon smell! My figure doesn't!  Just looking through the partition, I gain 5 lbs! These cinnamon buns are a compromise. I made the cupcake batter from scratch and used reduced fat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. To cut down on sugar, you can use a sugar substitute.These are a great morning treat for the whole family. It doesn't take a lot of time to make the batter either! Save the frosting that comes in the package for the topping.

Cinnamon Roll Cup Cakes (16 cup cakes)

2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter melted
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 pkg. reduced fat Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls

Pre heat the oven to 350.  If you don't have buttermilk, make your own. Mix the milk with one tablespoon of vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes. In a bowl add all of the dry ingredients and give a mix. Add the wet and mix for 2 minutes more until combined. Use an ice cream scooper to get uniform muffins. (See I did learn something from Mrs. Fields!)
Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, take the cinnamon rolls and cut down the middle! Take the cup cakes out of the oven and place one of the halved muffins over each of the cup cakes. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for one to two minutes. Spread the frosting from the frosting packet over each cup cake. Eat hot!