Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baked French Toast

The weekend before Thanksgiving was 'girls weekend in the mountains". We've talked about renting a house in the Poconos for a while but never did anything about it...until Melissa booked the trip for us! I'm so happy she did. It was a really great weekend. How could it be a bad weekend when basically all I did was drink wine all weekend.

Over the weekend we all took turns making meals. I signed up for breakfast...OK that's a lie....Nadya signed me up for Sunday breakfast. She was really hoping I'd make a strata because she likes it so much. Well I pulled the wool over here eyes when I decided to make a french toast bake! Yep, that's right a french toast bake. I got the idea while reading one of my many magazines and then I came across this Paula Dean recipe! I think Paula recipes are only legal when you're on vacation...man does that woman like her butter! 

The recipe didn't turn out how I thought it would. In my opinion, it was good but not great. You can find the recipe here

Let me know if you have any french toast bake luck. I'm willing to try another recipe! 

Hopefully we'll be going back to the Poconos in the Summer and hopefully Joelle & Gina (I guess) can join us next time! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

 I had some of this in the freezer and came up with......

Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

There's a pizza place near my house that makes a great buffalo chicken pizza; instead of ordering it in one night I decided to try it out at home. I'm happy I did because it actually came out pretty darn good and was really easy to do. 

I'm a huge fan of hot, spicy foods which is probably why I enjoy this pizza so much. I believe this was one of those nights that I didn't have anything planned. So I started looking through the kitchen to see what I can mix up...I had chicken, pizza dough, hot sauce, and blue cheese. The stars were aligned! 

You can make this pizza as spicy as you wish.  If you're not a fan of blue cheese, try Gorgonzola.  I always find the pizza dough bakes up nicely when I pre bake it. 

Pizza dough (see recipe here) 
1 cup Hot sauce, plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 lb grilled chicken breast, chopped
1/2 cup blue cheese grumbles 

Bake pizza dough for 12 minutes at 375. While pizza dough is baking, combine hot sauce and 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.  (Add more hot sauce if you wish.) Layer chicken, hot sauce, and cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

Another thing about the fall that I love is butternut squash. There are so many things you can do with butternut squash. You can make ravioli, a butternut squash sauce for pasta, roasted butternut squash, soup...the list goes on and on. I decided to make risotto with it. Risotto can be your main meal or a side dish depending on how hungry you are.

I feel like a lot of people are scared to make risotto. It's really nothing to be scared about.Once you get the process down you can be really creative with it and make all different types of risotto.

This recipe comes from the one and only...Martha! 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth, mixed with 1/2 cup water and heated
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  1. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until edges soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add rice; stir to coat. Add wine; cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, 35 to 40 minutes total.
  4. Stir in Parmesan, sage, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve immediately, garnished with more Parmesan and sage, if desired.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies...I promise you can't just have one!

I warned you I was getting plenty of use out of that new mixer! (thanks again, mom & dad!) Here is one of the many sweets I made since I got the mixer. Let me just start off by telling you how much I love the fall! I'm sure you've heard it from me before but seriously, it's by far the best season out there. The flavors, the colors, the weather, the clothes....OK you get what I'm saying now back to the cookies. 

These cookies are more like pumpkin cake bites. I've made pumpkin cookies before, yep even blogged about them, but these aren't even comparable to them. I promise if you like pumpkin you'll love these cookies!
I used the following recipe for the cookies but used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. I used Martha's brown butter icing recipe which is a perfect match for these cookies! 

For the Cookies: 
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour ( I used 1 cup all purpose / 1 cup whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into butter mixture until well blended. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool. 

For the Icing:  
( I cut the recipe in half. This amount is enough for 6 dozen)
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter 
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.

THANK YOU, Mame & Bill!

That's right, Mame and Bill (my parents)  spoiled me with this beautiful KitchenAid Stand Mixer! I've always wanted one...even saved up for one! Now I can use my saved up money for attachments for this puppy! I got plenty of use out of it already and I'm so excited to see what else I'll make with it! 

Thanks again, Mom & Dad! 

It's DONE...that's right it's DONE!!!

...and it was well worth it! I never thought that additional counter space, new cabinets, etc would make me as happy as I am! I truly love spending time in the new kitchen! Seriously, I spend ALL my time in there! Hopefully, the kitchen renovation will help me keep up on the blog more often! Let's keep our fingers crossed!

If you want to see it in person (the pictures don't do it justice) please come over! I'll cook up a meal for you! Consider this your invitation!!!