Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Churn Peanut Butter Ripple Ice Cream

Oh my heavens this is good..... and easy. I found this recipe here and had to give it a try. I have been wanting to make a rich creamy homemade ice cream for a while. I borrowed my parents ice cream make this summer and made a root beer ice cream but man after getting the ice, the ingredients and then letting in churn and churn and then still having to freeze for a couple of hours before eating, this recipe seemed like heaven. AND it was!! So rich and creamy and perfect. I did have to top mine with chopped dry roasted peanuts.... I love ice cream and nuts.... but that's optional. Go ahead... give this one a try. You won't be sorry.

No Churn Peanut Butter Ripple Ice Cream
6 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons peanut butter chips
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 In a medium size saucepan, combine 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the creamy peanut butter and peanut butter chips. Heat over low heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
2 In a large bowl using a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of the peanut butter on high speed until smooth and thick (about 3-4 minutes).

3 Spoon ⅓ of the ice cream into the bottom of a freezer-safe container or bowl (I prefer a loaf pan). Layer half of the melted peanut butter chips evenly over the ice cream, using a spatula to spread it around. Spoon another ⅓ of the ice cream on top of the peanut butter layer, and repeat layering with remaining melted peanut butter chips and ⅓ of the ice cream. Submerge a butter knife into the container and run it up and down the length of the container to "swirl" the peanut butter. Cover tightly and freeze overnight, or at least 8 hours. Ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Puff Pastry Tarts

I love baking... I love autumn time and the fruits that are available at the grocery stores and farmers markets. I especially LOVE the smell of fall baking... Yum!! I haven't baked with puff pastry much but Alton Brown had a Good Eats episode on puff pastry and showed this recipe. I tweaked it a little but the original recipe is here. Enjoy!!

Puff Pastry Tarts
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Sugar, for dusting (I used cinnamon sugar)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into wedges

1 ripe peach, peeled, and thinly sliced into wedges
1 ripe plum, thinly sliced into wedges
Apricot or peach  jam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. After puff pastry has thawed, place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unfold, and cut into 3 even strips. Move so they are a couple of inches apart.
I used a mandolin to cut my apple slices, just have them thin as possible. The peaches and plums I had slightly thicker. 
Poke pastry sheets with a fork down the center but leave about a 1/2 inch on the sides un-poked to provide an outlet for steam. Sprinkle pastry with sugar (or cinnamon sugar) and arrange apple slices an plum / peach slices on top.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Poke the crust; if it feels soft it needs more time in the oven.
Microwave some apricot jam for 30 seconds. When the tarts come out of the oven dab (don't brush) the jam on the tarts. Cool tarts at least 4 hours and seal in a resealable plastic bag. Serve at room temperature or heat in the microwave and top with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Best Bacon Jam ever!

 I first got introduced to Bacon Jam at a cute little cafe in Dayton, Washington. I ordered a smoked turkey panini that had bacon jam on it and was hooked! I found this recipe while searching for a good one on line and it's amazing! I made panini's on focaccia bread with smoked turkey, provolone cheese, thin sliced tomatoes, lettuce and the bread was spread with a garlic aioli, and of course this bacon jam--see the picture at the bottom.  You gotta try it! The next day I made grilled hamburgers and we put this on those too! So delicious! This reminds me of a good baked bean taste... only without the beans. Enjoy!

Best Bacon Jam
original recipe found here
Makes: 2 cups
1 lb. thick cut bacon
2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cut the bacon into half inch slices and add to a large frying pan. Don't worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bit are ok.
Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use.
Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the coffee, ½ cup of water and the reserved bacon and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes.
 Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
LOVE this stuff!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder

I love soup and chowders in the Fall... when the air starts to get that chilliness to it, Soup just hits the spot. I saw this on a cooking show on PBS and had to give it try. 

Smoky Shrimp and Corn Chowder

I bought frozen shrimp which I let thaw out in the refrigerator. Then I washed and shelled it. I husked 3 ears of corn. This I put on my Traeger smoker, which I had set to 275 degrees. I set my shrimp on a vegetable grill tray that I sprayed with a non stick cooking spray. I put the tray in the smoker along with my husked and rinsed corn on the cob. I let this smoke for 30 minutes.
1 pound smoked large shrimp (smoked for 30 to 60 minutes at 300 degrees F)
        •       2 ears corn,  smoked with shrimp
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed, thoroughly washed, shaken dry, and thinly sliced
4 red new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
                1 Tablespoon flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken or fish stock, preferably homemade
1 cup heavy cream
After the corn and shrimp are smoked; set aside to cool.
Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the shallots and leeks and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, 3 minutes, stirring often.
 Increase the heat to high and add the potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook until the potatoes are browned and crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Cook another minute. 
 Stir in the chicken stock and simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. 
While the potatoes are cooking, chop the smoked shrimp into bite size pieces and cut the corn off the cob. Add to the chowder along with the cream and simmer until the soup is richly flavored, 5 to 10 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. 

 Ladle the chowder into bowls and serve with crusty french bread.

Tips: I boiled by shrimp shells in the chicken broth while the shrimp and corn were smoking. Then I strained it and used that broth in my soup instead of regular chicken broth. 
I also made a white sauce with the heavy cream, like you do for macaroni and cheese only without the cheese. Then I added to the soup when it says to add the cream. This just makes a thicker chowder like soup. Feel free to just use cream if you like. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Grilled Mushroom and Zucchini Carbonara

I love pasta.... most anything made with pasta is delicious! I saw this recipe on the internet, on Facebook maybe? or pinterest? It was made with Asparagus and mushrooms, but since asparagus season was mostly over and my garden was springing forth with zucchini... I substituted.  Love a good Carbonara pasta and this was yummy for sure! Enjoy with a side salad and Crusty french bread or bread sticks!

Grilled Mushroom and Zucchini CarbonaraServes 6 to 8Total Time: 50 minute

2 Zucchini, sliced into bite size pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound dry spaghetti
4 large eggs
6 slices bacon,  cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat  your outdoor grill and turn to medium heat
Place the zucchini and mushrooms into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss gently to evenly coat. Spray a grill tray for veggies with a non stick cooking spray. Place tray on the grill and spread your prepped zucchini and mushrooms over it. Close grill lid and let cook for 10 - 15 minutes until crunchy tender. Stir every 5 minutes so they cook evenly.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring 6 quarts of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, add the bacon to a large sauté pan and cook over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and crispy, and most of the fat has rendered off. Turn off the heat and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan and a generous amount of the pepper until well-combined, set aside.
Return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauté pan. Toss in the spaghetti and heat for a few minutes until the bubbling has subsided and much of the water has evaporated.

Temper the egg mixture by whisking about 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water into it. 
Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture to the pasta while quickly stirring. Continue stirring until the egg mixture has thickened, adding additional cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick.
Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Gently toss the spaghetti with the grilled zucchini and mushrooms, and serve immediately. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.  

Stirring while mixing the eggs and pasta is very important! If the pasta and eggs are not mixed quickly enough, the eggs will scramble and the sauce won’t be creamy. It helps to temper the egg mixture with the pasta water before stirring into your pasta.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Veggie Saute

I love a good stir fry kind of dish. I have been trying to eat healthier lately and love putting quinoa in with my rice ... I make 1 cup rice cooked according to package directions and 1 cup quinoa cooked according to package directions them stir them together before serving. Love the little pop quinoa gives each  bite. I watched a "good eats" episode one day and they were cooking with oils... one kind Alton Brown used was sesame oil! LOVE the stuff but a little goes a long way, so when he did this recipe on his show I had to give it a try. BUT I tweaked it just a titch and paired it with my asian meatball recipe (click here for the meatball recipe) and served over my rice and quinoa mixture. Delicious!

Veggie Saute
adapted from Alton Brown's Vegetable Saute recipe

4 teaspoons sesame oil (found with the other asian foods on the asian aisle)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced ginger (love the stuff you can get already minced in a tube)
8 to 10 baby carrots,  julienned (or you can cheat and buy the already julienned carrots and use 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground Black pepper
2 cups sugar snap peas
half of a bag of Cabbage / cole slaw mix (I like the tri-colored kind, it had carrots and purple cabbage too)
2  or 3 green onions, chopped (both the white and green parts)
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar (found in the asian aisle)
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro (*or you can use the chopped in the tube if you like--see note below)

Place the Sesame oil in a large skillet and heat on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger and julienned carrots and sauce for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper while they cook. Next add the sugar snap peas and cook for another minute. Next comes the cabbage / cole slaw mix and the green onions, continue to sauce for another minute or two.
Remove the skillet from the heat and drizzle the rice vinegar over the mixture. Toss to combine.
Now you can garnish with chopped Cilantro.
I served mine on a mixture of Rice and quinoa and topped with my hoisin meatballs and sauce.

**If you are using the Cilantro in the tube, add with the cabbage and green onions so it gets mixed around with everything.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chicken and Artichoke Parmesan Casserole

I always love trying out new recipes, I got my latest food network magazine and this recipe was in it and of course I had to try it. I tweaked it here and there for my tastes and with what I had on hand.  You can find the original recipe here I also am trying to eat healthier since losing 25 pounds so I served this on spaghetti squash. To do that preheat your oven to 350 and cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or so until tender when poked with a fork. Turn over and cook a couple of minutes longer. Remove from oven and shred with a fork.  Yummy! 
Chicken and Artichoke Parmesan Casserole
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 10 -ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced roasted red bell peppers (that you buy in the jar)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 -ounce can crushed tomatoes, 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped, (I used 1 heaping Tablespoon of the minced Basil in the tube you can find in the produce section at Walmart)
1 small container Ricotta cheese 
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash for serving.

Preheat the broiler.
 Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red bell pepper slices, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and basil; season with salt.
Dollop the ricotta cheese over the chicken artichoke mixture in the skillet by teaspoons full. Use as much as you like. I used about 1/2 of a small container.
Combine the two breadcrumbs together with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs over the chicken mixture and top with the grated parmesan.
Transfer the skillet to the broiler and cook until the breadcrumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool, 5 minutes. Served over Cooked Spaghetti or if you like cooked Spaghetti Squash. Enjoy!