Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

When I look at this picture I see 3 things that have one thing in common: they've saved my life. Ok, maybe they haven't literally saved my life, but pretty darn close.

1. New York City guide book - we'd have been lost, hungry, and vacation-poor w/out it.

2. Baking From My Home To Yours - a.k.a. the Tuesdays With Dorie club cookbook. I'm not bored, & I'm pushing my baking limits at least twice a month.

3. A plate of Chockablock Cookies - tasty enough to give as a "thank you" to my dear friend Joni for lending me the NYC guide book, and just what I needed to make me feel better after a good cry on Sunday. There is so much chunky goodness in these cookies that it was impossible for me not to feel like the world had been set right again.

My version of this cookie was "chock" full of dried cranberries, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, & oats. It was my first time ever using molasses as an ingredient...it had a weird taste as cookie dough (that's right, I eat just about as much dough as I do cookies!), but I'm pretty sure I'm now addicted. For the complete recipe, visit Popsicles & Sandy Feet. You'll find many wonderful variations here, as well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

I didn't even have to think twice when I was flipping through this month's Food Network Magazine...I knew right away that I'd be making this recipe. Spicy buffalo? Love it. Blue cheese? Gotta have it. Mac & cheese? At the top of my "guilty pleasures to indulge in" list. There are only two of us, and this recipe makes A LOT of food! We had leftovers for days, and some of it is still in the freezer. Think you're not one for the leftover scene? Think again. This is one dish that is even better a day or two after you make it! No joke.
Ok. Before I share this fantastic recipe, I have to make one request. Please only make this dish, and any others including meat of any kind with locally raised, grass or seed-fed chicken or beef (or whatever kind of meat you're using). I watched the documentary Food Inc. the other night, and I've been having serious guilt issues ever since. I'm making the switch to this better kind of meat from here on out, and I hope you'll join me.
Now, here you go:

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
From the Food Network Magazine, April 2010
beautiful melty crumbles of blue cheese...

7 Tbsp unsalted butter
kosher salt
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 c. shredded chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. hot sauce
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 1/2 c. half & half
1 lb. yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
2/3 c. sour cream
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1. preheat the oven to 350 & butter a 9x13 baking dish. bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta & cook until al dente, about 7 min. drain.
2. meanwhile, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over med. heat. add the onion & cook until soft, ~5 min. stir in the chicken & garlic & cook 2 min, then add 1/2 c. hot sauce & simmer until slightly thickened, ~1 more min.
3. melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan over med. heat. stir in the flour & mustard w/ a wooden spoon until smooth. whisk in the half & half, then add the remaining 1/4 c. hot sauce and stir until thick, ~ 2 min. whisk in the sour cream until smooth.
4. spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top w/ the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top.
5. Mix the panko, blue cheese & parsley, and sprinkle over the macaroni. bake until bubbly, 30-40 min. Let rest 10 min. before serving.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD's Sweet Cream Biscuits = Dick's FINAL Breakfast

I don't know what you'll be doing this Friday at 8 o'clock in the morning, but I'll be watching Dick GRADUATE!!! That's right folks, he'll be coming to the end of the long road that has been his Bachelor's degree. I don't think its any mistake that it's a B.S....just teasing, sweetie! I couldn't be more thrilled - because we'll finally get to see each other and hang out again! Imagine that. Anyway, you know what graduation means (or the close of any college semester, for that matter)...finals!!! DUN DUN DUN He's been studying non-stop in preparation for these dang tests, so I thought I'd make him a nice big breakfast of champions for his first day of exams. Plus, it's time again for my Tuesdays With Dorie Baking club so I kinda had to. The planets aligned for me.
These biscuits were phenomenal! In fact, Dick requested that I make them for his whole fam-damily that will be here to give him his props this weekend. Now, that's a good sign. They are light and flaky and sweet and perfect. For the whole recipe visit Melissa at Love at First Bite.

I don't remember where I learned this trick, but it sure throws my clean-up nightmares right out the window! Roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment paper (dusted w/ flour, of course) and you can forget about scraping dough off of your workspace, or even needing to wash your rolling pin. Excellent.
I followed Dorie's advice and froze the biscuits the night before so that we could eat them right out of the oven in the morning. I wrapped half of them and left them in the freezer so we now have another scrumptious breakfast to look forward to. Please ignore the frozen pizza (I'm mortified!), they're Dick's fave fast-eat, and so far I haven't been able to think of anything to help him shake the addiction! Any suggestions?
One with honey. One with cherry preserves. One patiently waiting to be gobbled by an academic-crazed husband.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The perfect beginning and ending to the day...

Does the first picture look a little familiar? Like you maybe saw it on the cover of Food Network Magazine last month? Ok, theirs was much more professional looking, but don't let that fool you into thinking that they invented this egg-cellent dish. Oh, no they sure didn't. I'm not claiming that I invented it, either...not even close. We call it the egg baskets (I don't remember what they called it), and Dick first introduced them to me while we were dating. It's definitely not the fanciest breakfast, but one of champions nevertheless. Ever seen the movie Moonstruck with Cher & Nicolas Cage (before his terrible hair/awful movie lifestyle choice - don't argue...you know you can't with Ghost Rider in your back pocket!)? Well, if you haven't you should Netflix it this weekend. You'll love it! Cher's mother in the movie makes egg baskets! So, I have yet to learn who the founder of the Egg Basket is, but let's all take a moment to give thanks anyway.

Egg Baskets
1 egg
1 piece of whole wheat toast
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 Tbsp shredded cheese
Salt & pepper
1. Using a cookie cutter or small drinking cup, cut a hole out of the middle of your bread.
2. butter both sides of your bread.
3. place your bread in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
4. crack your egg into the hole in the bread, season w/ salt & pepper, & cook it to just under your liking.
5. use a spatula to turn the bread/egg over for 45-60 seconds.
6. sprinkle with cheese and place on a plate.

What is the perfect ending to the perfect day? Or even the worst day? My answer to that question will probably always include chocolate, and on most days it will specifically be a chocolate eclair. I've always loved them, but only if they're filled with custard. You can just forget it if it's filled with that whipped cream garbage. No thanks. Tell me, what is the point of that? It's just a tease, and totally unsatisfying. When we got home from NYC, I was craving pastries...which makes complete sense when I remember that we had some every single day we were there! I'd try to defend myself, but really there's not a lot I can say. So, of course I turned to FoodNetwork.com and found exactly what I was looking for. Shout out to Paula Deen - because of her you're all getting this sensational chocolate eclair recipe! And might I also add that this was so much easier than I'd imagined it would be?! I made my sister some for her birthday, and then I made more the very next day. We took some to friends, but we saved two big ones for ourselves. Like I would make and then not partake...come on, you know me better than that by now. There was icing that went with the pastry itself, but I didn't like it very much, so I ended up going with a can of chocolate frosting. If you have a great chocolate icing recipe use it, if not, just swing by the grocery store. Have fun indulging, my friends. I know I did!

Chocolate Eclairs
Paula Deen of the Food Network
1 c. water
1 stick margarine or butter
1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
4 eggs
3 c. milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1. preheat oven to 400.
2. heat water & margarine to boiling point. add flour & stir constantly until mixture is smooth & forms a ball when tested in cold water. remove from heat & let cool.
3. beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. for small eclairs, drop dough from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. for larger eclairs, spoon dough into a pastry bag and pipe onto the cookie sheet. bake for ~30 minutes or until light brown. set aside to cool.
4. prepare filling by combining milk, sugar, salt & flour; cook slowly until thickens.
5. add 3 beaten eggs & continue to cook until mixture is even thicker. remove from heat, cool & add vanilla.
6. with a serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise, but not all the way through.
7. pipe custard mixture into the center.
8. frost the eclairs & serve.

Monday, April 12, 2010

a little bite of the BIG APPLE

I know, I know, I've been a serious slacker on the blogging/cooking front! There are a few reasons: we went on vacation, I'm easily distracted, I hate doing dishes so I haven't been cooking all that much lately (we don't have a dishwasher!), and the list could go on and on. But rather than try to justify myself, I'm just going to put a smile back on your faces by showing you our trip to NYC. It was the first time either of us had ever been, and we loooooooved it! We went over Dick's Spring Break as a graduation trip for both of us - I graduated last spring, and Dick graduates in 11 days (but who's counting?!). And this trip definitely qualifies for the foodie blog because we did a heck of a lot of eating while we were there! Prepare yourselves for lots of pictures....
We took the red-eye thinking we'd sleep on the plane...yeah right.
Wide awake. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for our first day in the big city...
It was raining cats & dogs the first two days we were there, but we still had a blast!

Did I mention the wind?

The Met = my very favorite museum of all.
We saw West Side Story on Broadway...Dick thinks he's a Jet.

HAD to go to Serendipity for some frozen hot chocolate. P.S. we sat at the table that John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale sat at in the movie!!!!

Dick wanted a pretzel so bad, but he took about 2 bites before chucking it in the garbage...he said it tasted like cardboard. I didn't have to taste it to believe him. Look at that thing!

Our view from Liberty Island.


Our new fave restaurant: Sal's in Little Italy. Have the Manicotti - it's to die for!

Heaven. Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight?

I tried to get Dick to go up separate and meet me at the top, but he refused. I was still running through countless movies in my head. I was Meg Ryan & he was Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle. Don't judge me...

We had hot dogs from Gray's Papaya...they were ok.

Best breakfast of the trip: a HUGE apple fritter from Dean & Deluca.

Here I am with Lenny - he's at the Today Show every single morning!

Finally some sun! Dick's favorite part of the vacation was soaking it up in Central Park.

Bow Bridge.

The Imagine Mosaic in Strawberry Fields at Central Park.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Our view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

The first hamburger (made of beef) I've eaten in about 2 years from the Shake Shack. Delicious!!!

We went back for more! You would, too. Trust me.

Dick was a fool for the pizza in NYC! This is the last piece he had...for breakfast the day we left for home.

Coming Soon:
Egg Baskets
Chocolate Eclairs (I was inspired!)
Kickin' Chicken Dip

Related Posts with Thumbnails