Thursday, April 21, 2011

chocolate easter nests

i love holidays!! for me they are a time filled with tradition, family, friends, and food...what could be better! in celebration of Easter i made chocolate easter nests. if you like muddy buddies, puppy chow, trash, or whatever you grew up calling it, then you will love these. when i saw this recipe on the blog, The Curvy Carrot, i just couldn't resist.

try this recipe in replacement of, OR in addition to, decorating eggs. they are REALLY easy and require no baking or cooking skills whatsoever. plus they are super cute and festive!!

Ingredients (Makes 12 Nests):
3/4 large bag of chow mein noodles
2 C. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. peanut butter
1 bag of cadbury eggs (36 eggs total)
Cooking spray or butter to grease the muffin tin

Grease muffin tin to prevent nests from sticking when you remove them.
Put chocolate chips and peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl. 

Microwave for approximately a minute and a half. Stir the mixture until smooth. 

Add the chow mein noodles to the chocolate mixture.

Gently fold the chow mein noodles into the chocolate mixture until the noodles are completely coated. 
With a spoon, mold the mixture into the greased muffin tin. Use the back of the spoon to create the walls of the nest. 

Chill in the freezer for approximately 1 hour or until set. 

Remove from freezer and wait 5 minutes before attempting to remove the nests from the tin. I used a knife to loosen the sides and pop them out.

Place 3 eggs on top of each nest. 

My little sister Molly (L) and her friend Rachel (R) helped make the nests


Warning: the chocolate melts in your hand as you eat it so have a napkin handy. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

cupcake camp

thanks to an invitation from a longtime friend, i attended Seattle’s 2nd annual cupcake camp yesterday. the fundraising event was hosted by Bella Cupcake Couture to raise money for Hope Heart Institute. for all the cupcake lovers in town, they had a cupcake eating competition, a cupcake baking contest, and of course cupcake tastings!! and although i wouldn’t proclaim myself a cupcake lover, the event was a blast.  soaking up the sun, eating cupcakes, catching up with good friends, and watching the boat traffic in and out of the ballard locks was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

we sampled a variety of different flavors, but my favorite was the peanut butter and jelly cupcake. i love anything with peanut butter! the combination of creamy peanut butter frosting and jelly filled cake was awesome. who would have thought the lunch-box-staple i hated as a kid would make such a great dessert!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Mini Cupcake (Left)
Cupcake Baking Competition (Center & Right) the midst of my fun filled weekend i still managed to do some cooking. i have two delicious recipes to share with you this week. hope you all had a great weekend. happy monday!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

mediterranean chickpea burger

with only a couple months before my title changes from "college student" to "young professional" i have decided its about time i get in the habit of skimming the daily paper to keep up-to-date with what is going on in the world. and as much as i hate to admit it, i have read all sorts of interesting articles, used news stories as conversation starters, and even come across recipes! this week i tried a recipe from the newspaper that incorporated all sorts of nutritious ingredients. 

if you haven't already figured it out, its like a game for me to make my meals healthy. whether its by substituting greek yogurt for sour cream or wheat flour for white flour. this recipe cuts out some of the red meat thats in your average burger and replaces it with filling, flavorful ingredients. mixing chickpeas and bulgar into the ground beef adds fiber and protein. this mediterranean burger is a great way to mix things up. don't forget to top it off with a side of sweet potato fries(click for my recipe).

with Easter just around the corner i have a couple fun recipes on my list to try...stay tuned!

Ingredients (Serves 4):
2 ounces (approx. 1/4 C.) feta cheese
1/4 C. low-fat plain yogurt (i used greek yogurt and 1/4 C. water)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 C. bulgar (could use breadcrumbs if you want)
1 can chickpeas
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
4 burger buns
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
*next time i would add an egg to the meat mixture

In a small bowl, mash the feta with the back of a fork until smooth. Stir in yogurt and season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

In another small heatproof bowl, combine bulgar and 1/2 C. boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse chickpeas until coarsely chopped. 


Transfer to a large bowl and add beef and mint. Drain bulgar and add to chickpea mixture. 

With your hands, mix until mixture is evenly combined and holds together when pressed into a ball. Divide into 4, 1-inch patties and season with salt and pepper.
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until browned and crispy on the outside, approximately 4 minutes on each side. 

Serve on a bun with sliced cucumbers, tomato, and feta-yogurt sauce.

Monday, April 4, 2011

no-cream crab chowder

this week while babysitting i started flipping through the February edition of Coastal Living. the featured food section was guilt-free beach eats.there were several great recipes, but with winter still lingering in seattle the chowder became first on my list to try. yesterday i came home to the aroma of soup simmering in the crock-pot- a smell i never get sick of!  

i adapted the recipe slightly to accommodate my taste buds and prevent a trip to the grocery store. i used crab rather than clams and prosciutto instead of bacon. this simple, healthy chowder is delicious. the starch from the potatoes makes the soup extra creamy even though you substitute reduced-fat milk for heavy cream. and the exciting part...a 2 cup serving is only 330 calories!

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 can lump crab meat
2 slices of prosciutto, chopped (bacon works too)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 C. chicken stock
1 C. frozen whole kernel corn
6-8 red potatoes, quartered
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
3 C. 1% milk
3 T. flour
1 bay leaf

Chop carrots, onion, and celery. 
Cook prosciutto in a pan until crisp. Reserve any of the grease from the prosciutto.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat and add the carrot, onion, and celery for approximately 5 minutes, or until tender. 

Add chicken stock, quartered red potatoes, corn, and seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes or until potatoes become tender.

While you are waiting for the potatoes to turn tender whisk together the milk and flour in a small bowl. 

Transfer everything from the saucepan into a crock-pot (optional) and add lump crab meat, prosciutto, and milk mixture. Leave on low until you are ready to eat or if you are still using your saucepan, until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

pasta with prosciutto

this meal is one of my "go-to" weeknight dinners. it varies slightly depending on the ingredients i have on hand, but it always hits the spot. it is really easy and rich with italian flavor. the sweetness of the red bell pepper and caramelized onions with the salty flavor of the prosciutto make an awesome combination. i have also used the white sauce to make homemade chicken alfredo. 

Ingredients (Serves 3-5):
angel hair pasta
1/2 caramelized onion
1 red bell pepper
4 slices of prosciutto (cut into pieces)
1/4 C. white wine
1/4 t. salt
pepper to taste
2 T. flour
1 cup milk
2 T. butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 C. grated parmesan 

Boil water and cook pasta for approximately 7 minutes.
Drain and drizzle with olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Heat 1-2 T. of olive oil in a frying pan. Saute sliced red bell pepper, minced garlic, caramelized onions and prosciutto. I already had caramelized onions in the refrigerator but if you want to know how to make them you can google search a recipe. Cook over low-medium heat until the red bell pepper is tender and the prosciutto is brown around the edges. 
While cooking make the sauce.

Basic White Sauce Directions:
Melt 2 T. butter
Stir in flour one T. at a time.
Add 1/4 t. salt, cook on low for approximately 4 minutes.
Slowly add the milk so that the consistency stays smooth. If you add the milk all at once the sauce will be lumpy. 
Once the milk is added stir in parmesan cheese.
Finally add the white wine and pepper.

Toss the pasta with the white sauce and top with the prosciutto caramelized onions, and bell pepper.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

dutch baby pancakes

last night i had my 11 year old sister and two of her friends over for a slumber party. we went to arena sports kids zone, made personal pizzas, went to menchies frozen yogurt in our pajamas, and rented a movie. for breakfast i made the girls one of my childhood favorites...dutch baby pancakes. my mom used to make them for breakfast when we had slumber parties and for our birthday. the german pancake is a mix between a souffle and an omelette- it is a light, airy pancake with sides. they are a great breakfast or brunch dish that can be paired with a variety of toppings!!

6 eggs
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
1/4 t. vanilla extract
5 T. butter

Directions (Serves 4-6):
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Place skillet or baking dish in oven to preheat.While the pan is heating prepare the batter.
Blend the eggs until light and frothy.
Add the milk, flour, and vanilla.
Blend for 3-5 minutes. The batter will be thin but smooth and creamy.

Using a pot holder remove the skillet from the oven. Add the butter; tilting until the butter melts and coats the skillet.

Place the prepared batter into the skillet with butter and immediately return to the oven. 
Bake 20-25 minutes.

Once the pancake is removed from the oven it will deflate. Either slide the pancake to a serving plate or cut and serve onto individual plates. I recommend topping it will freshly squeezed lemon, powdered sugar, and a little syrup. It is also good with strawberries and whipped cream. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

chocolate cake with peanut butter icing

my roommate amanda celebrated her 22nd birthday this week. so in celebration i decided to bring out a family recipe.i made my grandfather's famous chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. this cake lasts no more than a day or two in my house. the cake is moist and the icing is creamy. it works great as both a sheet cake and as cupcakes. enjoy our family favorite! 

Cake Ingredients:
3/4 C. cocoa
2 C. sugar
2 C. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 C. milk
1/2 C. oil
2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together and beat for 2 minutes on medium. Stir in 1 cup of boiling water. 
Pour into a greased and floured 9X13 pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or 18-20 minutes for cupcakes.

Icing Ingredients:
16 oz. confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 T. crisco
1/2 C. milk
1 T. butter
1/2 cup peanut butter

mix until creamy- enjoy!