Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies

Somebody help. The cookies are eating each other again.

On second thought... nevermind. I think I can handle it.

Don't get me wrong now, I thought the Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies were amazing. Fantastic. But despite all their ridiculous awesomeness, it got me thinking. What if we did this with one of the best flavor combinations out there? Peanut butter and chocolate of course! And this has nothing to do with the fact I might be slightly obsessed addicted in love with Peanut Butter Oreos. Okay, maybe a little.

It's a good thing I made these when I did. I was out of stuff to eat for breakfast. Well, unless you count things such as cereal, or oatmeal, or fruit. You know, the food you should be eating instead. Eh, I'll get to those after I take care of these first. Which will take me all of one day. Maybe.

Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies

Adapted from: & Picky Palate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar , packed
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
28 Peanut Butter Oreos (1 package)

In the large work bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each is fully mixed in.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Slowly stir in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time until completely incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place 1 tablespoon of cooking dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place a second tablespoon underneath. Gently press the dough down around the Oreo, sealing the cookie dough edges together so that no Oreo shows through. Transfer the cookie to a prepared baking sheet and repeat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies have just started to brown around the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Serves: 28 Peanut Butter Oreo cookies + 6 peanut butter cookies

These might be even more ridiculous than the previous ones, if that's possible. Although they are definitely for the die-hard peanut butter chocolate fans. You really shouldn't waste these on people who are on the fence or fair-weather friends of peanut butter. It's just not right. (That means you hubby). Excuse me while I go off to hide these now.

I highly recommend tossing them in the microwave for about 5 seconds or so, just enough to give them that fresh out of the oven taste again. Unless you already ate them all when they came out of the oven -- I wouldn't blame you.

Nutrition Facts - PB Oreo Cookies
Amount per serving
Calories 335Calories from fat 149
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.6g26%
Saturated Fat 6.3g32%
Cholesterol 25mg8%
Sodium 358mg15%
Total Carbs 45.0g15%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g7%
Sugars 24.8g
Protein 5.4g
Vitamin A 4%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%Iron 14%

Monday, March 28, 2011

Three-Cheese Chicken Florentine

I keep thinking sometime last fall was when my "a-ha!" moment came about mushrooms. But the more I think about it, it may have been over the summer -- or at least the thought that I could actually like mushrooms occurred to me. We were out to dinner at a winery-owned restaurant down in Cincinnati one weekend, and I was having a hard time deciding what to order. That is until they listed out the specials; one of which included a rather delicious sounding smothered and covered Florentine ravioli dish. I knew there were mushrooms in the dish but I figured they'd either be so small I wouldn't notice, or big enough I could pick them out.

Lucky for me they were so small and mixed in that I totally forgot they were there. Not to mention I was far too busy trying to eat as much of that fabulous ravioli as possible, as there would be no doggie-bags since we were out of town. There had to be something wrong with me, obviously, because I just couldn't get enough of something full of spinach and mushrooms. I blame the sauce, and the cheese. They get me every time.

Needless to say, when I ran across a recipe for a cheesy chicken Florentine, I jumped at the chance to try it, hoping it would taste oh-so-close to that dish I had months ago.

Three-Cheese Chicken Florentine

Adapted from: Cooking Light, March 2006

8 ounces penne (or other medium-sized pasta)
2 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup diced onion
3 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16 ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 (10.75 ounce) can reduced-sodium, reduced-fat cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large non-stick skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until no longer pink, and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add mushrooms and onion to skillet, sautéing 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper and sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach starts to wilt.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. In a large bowl, toss the spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup. Pour mixture into the baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 8

Well, while this dish was good, it definitely didn't live up to my expectations. It was creamy and noodle-y and full of spinach, but there was just that one certain thing missing which I just can't put my finger on. Maybe more cheese?

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 322Calories from fat 108
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.0g18%
Saturated Fat 5.9g30%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 602mg25%
Total Carbs 25.2g8%
Dietary Fiber 1.2g5%
Sugars 2.9g
Protein 27.6g
Vitamin A 30%Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 26%Iron 12%

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pasta with Feta, Tomatoes, & White Beans

So continuing on with my easy-peasy dinner week...

Right now I am in love with goat cheese and feta. Mix it with tomatoes, red peppers, basil and/or spinach, and it sounds golden to me. Pair it with some pasta (because, well, pasta is awesome) and add in some beans for that extra filling power and you've got yourself a solid meal. Not to mention fast. And low in dishes. A pot, a skillet, and a cutting board, that's it. About twenty dishes less than I normal use, which makes for a very happy dishwasher -- aka Adam.

It's meals like this that are so simple and so fast that really make me wonder why people go out to eat all the time. (Side note: I am totally not against eating out, there are certain days it's a necessity. I'm referring to never setting foot inside the kitchen because going out to eat is just "so much faster" and they "don't have time" to cook.) Really? This meal takes maybe 20 minutes, tops -- which includes the time it takes to bring the water to a boil. Which is pretty much twice as fast as it takes us to figure out where we're going, get our shoes on, drive to the restaurant, order... you get the idea. And I know what just went into my meal, no substitutions and finger crossing to hope they didn't forget to leave the *insert ingredient I don't like here* off. Alright, and off the soapbox now...

Pasta with Feta, Tomatoes, and White Beans

Adapted from:

8 ounces penne (or other medium-sized pasta)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon crumbled ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach and pasta, tossing for about 2 minutes until spinach starts to wilt. Serve sprinkled with 2 tablespoons feta and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Serves: 4

Adam and I both really enjoyed this dish. The only thing I might add in the next go-around is some hot Italian sausage, but it's really still a great dish without it. I'm kind of sad I've already eaten my leftovers.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 363Calories from fat 49
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5.4g8%
Saturated Fat 3.0g15%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 1010mg42%
Total Carbs 62.4g21%
Dietary Fiber 7.4g30%
Sugars 11.4g
Protein 17.5g
Vitamin A 66%Vitamin C 48%
Calcium 26%Iron 35%

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Peas & Ricotta

I think I finally calmed my sweet tooth down. For now anyways. Do you see all this lovely green? Green = veggies and lovely herbs.

Whenever I think of pasta (or gnocchi), pesto isn't usually the first sauce that jumps to mind. Instead, it's usually some variation of a red or white sauce. Yet every time I have pesto, I can't believe I don't eat it more often. It's so good. (Although it might have to do with the fact that it's close to $6 for a container of pre-made pesto, or $3 for maybe 1/2 a cup of basil. Kind of pricey.)

This week I was going for quick and easy in the kitchen. For some reason I just wasn't in the mood to spend lots of time in the kitchen loving on some dinner. This meal was just the ticket. It pretty much involves boiling water, cooking the gnocchi, then stirring in the remaining ingredients. Pretty dang simple. It easily took me less than 10 minutes to get this on the table after the water came to a boil. That's a win-win recipe for me. Delicious and fast.

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Peas and Ricotta

Adapted from: Real Simple, September 2008

16 ounces frozen gnocchi
1/2 pound frozen peas
8 ounces (1 cup) pesto
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the frozen peas in a small bowl with two tablespoons water. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes or until completely thawed and warm.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over hight heat. Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Drain. Return to pot. Lower heat to medium, and add the pesto and cream and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in peas. Serve topped with 1 tablespoon ricotta and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Makes: 4

Seeing as this dish had pesto and gnocchi, I was one happy camper. The trick with the peas for this dish (when heating them from frozen) is to simply thaw them, then cook until warm. I'm pretty sure the packaging mentioned cooking for 4 minutes, stirring, then cooking for another 3. Um, no. A quick 3 or so minutes on high leaves the peas still crisp and fresh. Not some soggy old looking things. I'm not a huge fan of mushy overcooked peas -- or any veggie for that matter, really. But maybe that's just me. :)

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 527Calories from fat 341
% Daily Value
Total Fat 37.9g58%
Saturated Fat 12.1g61%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 876mg37%
Total Carbs 34.4g11%
Dietary Fiber 6.2g26%
Sugars 8.2g
Protein 13.6g
Vitamin A 54%Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 20%Iron 15%

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cake Batter Pancakes

I'm pretty sure my sweet tooth took over this past weekend in a mean way. First there were the Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, which apparently were not enough. I've been seeing cake batter this, that, and the other everywhere it seems. Fantastic news, just typically not for dinner. Until I ran across these pancakes on How Sweet It is. I vote if it can be eaten for breakfast, it can be eaten for dinner.

Well, maybe except these. Which might qualify more as dessert than anything else. Nah. There's such a thing as glazed doughnuts with sprinkles. I rest my case.

Cake Batter Pancakes

Adapted from: How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sprinkles

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add 1 cup milk, egg and vanilla extract and whisk until all ingredients are hydrated and the batter is smooth. If the batter is too thick add the remaining 1/2 cup milk, a little at a time until the consistency desired is achieved (should look like regular pancake batter). Gently fold sprinkles into batter.

Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, pour 1/4 cup batter onto skillet (can make 2-3 pancakes at a time). Let cook until the top of the pancake starts to bubble, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute or two.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and half of the 1/4 cup milk. Slowly add more milk until a nice pour-able consistency is reached. Serve pancakes drizzled with vanilla glaze.

Makes: about 12 pancakes

The whole time I was eating these, I couldn't help but think how absolutely perfect they would be for a morning birthday party for little kids, or a pajama sleepover type party. This is one of those dishes that makes you happy to be an adult, feeding yourself, making yourself a super sweet breakfast for dinner I'm pretty sure my mom is shaking her head, yet not the least bit surprised that I would eat this -- for dinner.

While these were delicious, I probably wouldn't try eating them for dinner again, and maybe only for a very special occasion have them for breakfast. Although I think part of it is due to knowing there is cake batter in it and I probably "shouldn't" be eating them... wanting to is a whole other story.

Nutrition Facts - per pancake
Amount per serving
Calories 184Calories from fat 27
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.0g5%
Saturated Fat 0.9g5%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 159mg7%
Total Carbs 34.7g12%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g2%
Sugars 18.3g
Protein 4.3g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 8%Iron 6%

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ridiculous. Decadent. Insane. Gargantuan.


You just have to trust me on this one. It's a cookie inside of a cookie. How can it not be amazing?

There's not really a whole lot else to say. Except maybe - Wow. Combining two of my favorite cookies into one? Ingenious!

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from: Picky Palate

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
27 Double Stuf Oreo cookies (about 1 package)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In the large work bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, making sure flour is incorporated before adding more. Mix in chocolate chips.

Place 1 tablespoon of cooking dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place a second tablespoon underneath. Gently press the dough down around the Oreo, sealing the cookie dough edges together so that no Oreo shows through. Transfer the cookie to a prepared baking sheet and repeat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until cookies are a pale golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes: about 27 cookies

Adam and I were having company over for dinner on Friday, and I wasn't really in the mood to make anything too crazy or fancy for dessert. I had a few suggestions for either stuffed cookies or a trifle, both of which sounded tasty and easy. So I called Adam and asked if he had a preference. The Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip cookie was the first option... we didn't even get to option B. "Oh my. That sounds so good. Make that." was all I heard. So cookies it was.

These actually came together and were much easier than I had anticipated. And yes, there is definitely a reason these are popping up all over the web, they are really just that good. You really need to get on board and try these -- now.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 264Calories from fat 106
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11.8g18%
Saturated Fat 5.6g28%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 269mg11%
Total Carbs 37.2g12%
Dietary Fiber 1.1g4%
Sugars 19.5g
Protein 3.1g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1%Iron 8%

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Beef & Beer Stew

This is what I get for letting Adam pick what's for dinner. I was struggling trying to come up dinner for the week, again, so I tossed my recipe binder to Adam and told him to pick something. Of course, he finds a recipe not marked but has both beer and beef in the title. Why am I not surprised?

If you haven't noticed by now, I don't really do a lot of beef. I very rarely, if ever, have steak-craving, and surprisingly, Adam never really asks for just a big chunk of red meat. If and when red meat shows up here, it's usually in the form of ground beef/round/sirloin. That I can handle. When I was still in high school, trimming meat, especially chicken, grossed me out. I literally could not do it. After having to actually feed myself, I finally got past my trimming chicken aversion, but not so much for other meat (i.e. beef).

So there I was last night. Standing in the kitchen looking at a huge slab of chuck roast wondering what in the heck I was supposed to trim, and what was I supposed to leave, and oh gross why is that hard? I'm sure my face was priceless at times. But I somehow managed to slice and dice my beef and get it in the pot. I had such reservations about it though. I just couldn't imagine that cut of beef becoming tender in just two hours. I was oh-so-wrong, and glad of it. Instead of being tough and chewy, the beef was tender -- almost to the falling apart stage. Win. Now go throw some Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes in the oven. Surely you'll want the beer-laced food festivities to continue after you finish this stew, right?

Irish Beef & Beer Stew
Adapted from: Cooking Light, December 2009

3 bacon slices
2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups onion, diced
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness beer
2 cups carrot, sliced in 1/2-inch thickness
1 3/4 cups parsnip, sliced in 1/2-inch thickness
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons stone-ground Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dried bay leaf

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until done. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Add half of beef to drippings in pan, cook 5 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add onion to dutch oven; sauté 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté an additional 4 minutes or until starting to turn tender. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add bacon, beef, carrots, parsnips, broth, mustard and seasonings to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Serves: 8

Not being a huge beef stew lover, I have to admit this was pretty good. The caraway seeds are fairly potent, however, so if you're a typical eyeballer when it comes to measuring things out, I'd err on the side of caution with those. The only thing that I didn't really care for in this dish was the mushrooms. Wait, mushrooms? I though I had changed my mind on those. For the most part yes, but for some reason, the way they are treated in this recipe reminds me of why I didn't like them in the first place. Although Adam was more than happy to take them off my hands.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 598Calories from fat 335
% Daily Value
Total Fat 37.2g57%
Saturated Fat 14.3g72%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 148mg49%
Sodium 668mg28%
Total Carbs 16.9g6%
Dietary Fiber 3.2g13%
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 44.1g
Vitamin A 92%Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 6%Iron 30%

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

White Chocolate Pistachio Butter

Lately, it seems as though I've seen nut butters popping up everywhere. Almond butter, peanut butter, and every type of variation in between. Of course, I get that itch to try it out. And why not? It's no secret I'm a peanut butter-holic, although it's not my favorite nut. No, that title is a toss up between cashews and pistachios. If peanut butter is so good, what if I made a nut butter out of my favorite nut? It would have to be awesome, right?

The nut butter-making process seemed simple enough: 1) Choose your nuts (unsalted and not roasted); 2) Blanch and roast nuts (if desired); and 3) Toss nuts in food processor and let 'er go. I should know better by now. Things that seem so simple I tend to make much more difficult. This was more my process:
1) Purchase nuts. The wrong ones (i.e. salted and roasted).
2) Pick some of the most difficult nuts to work with. Spend 30+ minutes and two sore fingers later shelling pistachios.
3) Blanch pistachios.
4) Rub pistachios with towel, then go through and de-skin each one.
5) Skip the roasting part since they've already been roasted once.
6) Put in food processor and turn on. Let go for 5 minutes, 10 minutes... give the food processor a break as it's getting kind of hot. Still lumpy.
7) Keep processing nuts on and off for another 10 minutes. Still lumpy. Give up for the day.
8) Put nuts in blender and attempt to process nuts that way for about 5-10 minutes. Better, but still not silky smooth butter.
9) Add a bit of oil. Doesn't really work.
10) Add more oil. Still doesn't really work.
11) Get the bright idea that white chocolate would help smooth it out and taste good. Taste good, yes, help smooth it out, only a bit.
12) Give up and eat it anyways.

Don't be jealous now, it takes massive skills to add all those additional steps to what was supposed to be a three-step process -- and still get lumpy nut butter.

Eh, I'm not giving up though. Despite it not being a lusciously smooth butter, I've still got plans for this stuff. Unless my spoon gets to it first.

White Chocolate Pistachio Butter
Original Recipe

2 cups shelled Pistachios, unsalted & non-roasted
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 ounces white chocolate, melted

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add the shelled pistachios and boil for 2 minutes. Drain.

Pour the pistachios out onto a towel, and rub back and forth (to help loosen skins). Peel the remaining skins off each nut.

Transfer pistachios to a food processor, and process for 10 minutes. Add oil if necessary then process for an additional 5 minutes.

Pour the white chocolate into the food processor and process until fully incorporated and the butter is as smooth as possible.

Store in the refrigerator.

Makes: 1 1/2 cups nut butter (serving size: 2 tablespoons)

Even though I ended up with lumpy butter (after much more than 15 minutes of processing), the flavor of this nut butter was delicious. White chocolate and pistachios play oh-so-nice together. I really wish this had turned out how I wanted, but, it's a learning process I guess. Now I just want to move on to the next kind. That's right, I'm looking at you lonely jar of peanuts sitting on the counter...

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 90Calories from fat 61
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.8g11%
Saturated Fat 1.5g8%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 4mg0%
Total Carbs 5.8g2%
Dietary Fiber 1.1g4%
Sugars 3.6g
Protein 2.5g
Vitamin A 1%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2%Iron 3%

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mini Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread -- a recipe with rules and about 50 million ways to break them. Traditionally, Irish soda bread is made with 4 ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. That's it. Anything else added and it is no longer a "traditional" Irish Soda Bread. Not only does this bread only involve four ingredients, but there is also no kneading or rise time involved. You can't get much easier than that.

Of course, over the years, a whole host of things have been added from eggs to whiskey to yogurt to raisins and the list goes on. So... feel free to add whatever you'd like. Since St. Patty's Day is just around the corner, I opted to go for the "almost traditional" route by including just a bit of sugar. I can't follow all the rules, now can I?

Mini Irish Soda Breads
Adapted from: CaffeIna

3 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose or cake flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8+ ounces buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well.

Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the buttermilk into the well and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough will be soft but lumpy. If all the flour mixture is not hydrated, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Knead the dough 15-30 seconds, then shape into a large disk. You can slice a cross in the dough and bake at this point, or you can divide the dough evenly into 6 balls. Flatten the tops of the balls, then cut a cross halfway deep into the top of each one. Transfer the balls to the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer the breads to a cooling rack for several minutes before serving them.

Makes: 6 mini breads

Right out of the oven (okay, after cooling for a few minutes), these little bread balls somewhat reminded me of those flaky Pillsbury biscuits. You know the ones, with the layers you can peel, only with a much crunchier outside and without the buttery factor. Not so bad for only 5 ingredients.

Then I tried to reheat these wrapped in foil in the oven right before dinner. Not so great. These had lost their crispy crunch outside and fluffy inside, and were instead just tough on the outside and super dense on the inside. Even the ones that didn't go in the oven were the same way. Sad face.

If you plan on serving these right out of the oven, I say go for it. They're tasty then. However, I wouldn't make this ahead of time or plan on keeping it around, it just doesn't hold up for later use.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 283Calories from fat 9
% Daily Value
Total Fat 1.0g2%
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 639mg27%
Total Carbs 58.2g19%
Dietary Fiber 2.0g8%
Sugars 2.7g
Protein 8.8g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 6%Iron 19%

Monday, March 14, 2011

A World of Cake Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the World of Cake giveaway is...

Entry #46: Jennifer!*

Congratulations Jennifer! Please email your address to by 12:40pm eastern time Wednesday March 16, so I can have Storey Publishing send you a copy of this awesome cookbook!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

*The giveaway winner has changed as the original winner did not respond.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Dear Cooking Light,

I am glad you published a fast and easy cookbook, but let's be honest -- this meal didn't take 8 minutes to make. Just because you write up in the ingredient list for chopped onions and quartered mushrooms, does not make that actual prep work time go away. Let's not forget that you have to clean the mushrooms first... which adds another, oh 10 minutes or so? While we're at it, what's with this prechopped onion mix you keep talking about? I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist. At least not in my grocery store. How about we stick to things that are readily available (and practical)?

I like that you're trying, I really do. But please, for future reference, be realistic. Factor in the prep time, especially when you have ingredients that aren't quite as good when prepped far ahead of time.

K thanks,
The one who is glad they weren't really going for a super quick meal on this one

Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Adapted from: Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast

20 ounces cheese ravioli
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (8-ounce) package baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion, sautéing 5 minutes, or until onions are tender and the mushrooms have browned.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, half-and-half, pesto, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add to the mushroom mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Add the pasta to the skillet and gently toss until all the ravioli is coated. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

Serves: 4

For the record, this probably took me closer to 30 minutes to pull together rather than the 8 claimed by the recipe. But I have to admit, it was definitely worth those extra few minutes. Adam really really enjoyed this dish, although I felt it could have used just a teeny bit of a flavor boost. Or maybe I should have let the sauce thicken just a bit more to stick to the pasta better.

I was surprised though that we were both satisfied with the actual serving amount rather than going back for seconds like we normally do. I think the heaviness of the ravioli and the extra "meatiness" from the mushrooms really helped on that account. For as much as I roll my eyes on the cooking times laid out in Fresh Food Fast, I have to admit, they do have some wonderful, yet simple meals.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 384Calories from fat 145
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.2g25%
Saturated Fat 6.9g35%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 610mg25%
Total Carbs 43.9g15%
Dietary Fiber 3.4g32%
Sugars 4.2g
Protein 15.4g
Vitamin A 12%Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 22%Iron 19%


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover