Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This recipe is from Everyday with Racheal Ray magazine.Ryan kept saying "this has such a great flavor" over and over so I thought it worthy of my blog. My nectarines went bad before I used them so I substituted white peaches and I also didn't have whole wheat penne so I used regular rigatoni, I am all about making a recipe work with things I have on hand.

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 ribs celery, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 nectarines, 3 coarsely chopped and 1 sliced
1 bunch chives, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted, roasted pecans

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, cumin and 1/4 cup water. Add the pasta nd toss to coat; let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the celery, bacon, chopped nectarines, half of the chives and half of the pecans.
To serve, top the pasta with the remaining chives, pecans and the sliced nectarine.
Tip: Substitute pears for the nectarines in the fall.

Psst, I forgot to add the 1/4 cup of water so mine is probably a little creamier than the recipe intended.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strawberry Layer Cake

Recipe from Cooking Light

This cake is so deliciously moist and sweet!

1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
Cooking spray
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 fresh orange juice
3 cups powdered sugar
12 whole strawberries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, place sliced strawberries in a food processor; process until smooth.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in egg whites. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add pureed strawberries and food coloring; beat just until blended.
4. Divide batter between 2 (8-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
5. To prepare frosting, place cream cheese, 1/3 cup butter, and orange juice in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat just until blended.
6. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Cut 1 whole strawberry into thin slices, cutting to, but not through, the stem end. Fan strawberry on top of cake just before serving, if desired. Cut remaining 11 strawberries in half. Garnish cake with strawberry halves, if desired.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake

Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson
Warning: for chocolate lovers only
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon good-quality vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1-ounce dark chocolate (from a thick bar if possible), cut into splinters of varying thickness, for garnish

Special equipment: 2-pound loaf tin (approximately 9 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 3 inches deep), lined with greased foil, pressed into the corners and with some overhang at the top.

Take whatever you need out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, putting in a baking sheet as you do so.
Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into the processor and blitz until a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off, then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.
Scrape and pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and put into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester will pretty well come out clean.
Not long before the cake is due out of the oven (when it has had about 45 to 50 minutes), put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes, to give a thick syrup.
Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack, still in the tin, and pierce here and there with a cake tester. Pour the syrup over the cake.
Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Sprinkle the chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake

Power balls

Yeah, I don't like the name of this treat, either...we'll have to come up with our own new name for them I guess. Send your ideas my way!1 c. peanut butter
1 c. honey
3 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. raisins or other dried fruit
1/2 c. nuts or sunflower seeds, I prefer cashews
1/2c. flax seed meal
I also added in some rice krispies for crunch, these are really a free-for-all

For some reason I badly wanted to roll these in sesame seeds but I didn't have any...maybe next time!

Mix honey and peanut butter. Stir in oats, add in everything else and roll into balls. Put in fridge to firm.
Warning: Be careful if using your KitchenAid mixer, I bent my whisk attachment trying to incorporate all the ingredients! Then I broke my wooden spoon in half trying to stir the rest of the way. Maybe I'll just get in their with my hands next time...

Enchilada Casserole

Recipe from 'Pampered Chef'
This is a really fast meal to throw together and it warms in the microwave for those days you don't want to turn the oven on.

1 lb 95% lean ground beef
1 tbsp taco seasoning (no sodium)
¼ tsp salt (omit if using full sodium taco seasoning)
1 can enchilada sauce
¼ cup water
½ cup medium thick and chunky salsa
12 yellow corn tortillas
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro, divided
1 cup shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese blend, divided
Sour Cream and lime wedges (optional)

I like to stir about a half cup black beans in with the meat mixture for extra fiber and to make it more filling.

1. Combine beef, seasoning mix and salt in 10 inch skillet. Cook over medium – high heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles. Add enchilada sauce, water and salsa to skillet. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
2. As beef mixture cooks, place tortillas in a stack and cut into 1 inch pieces. Snip cilantro easily using Kitchen Shears.
3. Arrange half of the tortillas evenly over bottom of deep casserole dish; top with half of the beef mixture and half of the cheese. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the cilantro over cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, beef mixture and cheese.
4. Microwave dish on HIGH 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with remaining 2 tbsp cilantro. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.Yield 6 servings

For a variation, swap ground turkey for the beef and a green enchilada sauce for the red.

Father's Day scones

I made these when we were living in Provo quite a bit but I haven't made them since. Ryan has asked for them from time to time so I surprised him by making them on Father's Day for breakfast. Oh, and bacon too, of course.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Mix in the orange juice to form a dough.
Turn out the dough on a floured surface. Pat or roll into a 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. With a 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 12 scones, pushing the dough scraps together for the last few, if necessary. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Move to wire racks to cool.