Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Croissant Carrots
with Egg Salad

This year is flying by (or should I say hoppin' by). I decided to have some fun for Easter this year by making these adorable croissant carrots filled with egg salad. I originally saw them on Pintrest and couldn't resist. Here's how to make these for your next Easter brunch or get together. They're a big hit!

Makes 12 carrots
2        packages seamless croissant dough
8        hard boiled eggs, chopped to 1/2" pieces
1        large stalk celery, diced small
1        scallion (green onion), diced small
1/2 c  light mayonnaise (or regular if you prefer)
1 Tbs  yellow mustard
1 Tbs  sweet relish
1 tsp.  paprika
1         bunch flat leaf parsley (for the carrot tops)
           salt and pepper to taste

* You also need 12 cream horn cones available online from several merchants at $5 to $7 per pkg. of 6. I've seen cone forms made from aluminum foil if you can't get cones.

Egg Salad
1. Add chopped eggs, celery, scallion,
mayonnaise, mustard, sweet relish, paprika,
salt and pepper in a bowl and stir until combined.

2. Refrigerate until needed.

Croissant Carrots
1. Using very cold dough, unwrap one
package and lay out on a flat surface.

2. Using a sharp knife, cut into 6 equal
strips longways.

3. Take one strip and roll into a "snake"
about 1/4" in diameter. Tip: work quickly
to keep the dough cold. Overworking will
make the croissants dense.

4. Starting at the point end of the cone form,
carefully wrap the dough around until you
reach the top, stopping just before the edge.

5. Place on a cold non-stick baking sheet.

6. Repeat steps 3 – 5 for all dough strips,
then repeat the process with the 2nd
package of croissant dough.

7. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes or
until golden brown.

8. Allow to cool and carefully remove
the cone forms from the croissants.

9. Fill each croissant with egg salad. Tip: Piping the filling is the easiest method, either with a piping bag with no tip, or a baggie with the corner cut to release the filling.

10. Top each carrot with a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley to finish.

Note: Although I prefer the "natural" look, I've seen these painted orange using food dye.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's a New Year and time to try a new diet plan. I've been following the basics of the Omni diet which is: no dairy, wheat/gluten, sugar, complex carbs. (potato, rice, pasta, corn, soy), coffee or alcohol. So far, so good! I can have all the vegetables, fruit, raw nuts and proteins (including eggs) that I want.

Since I started this diet on Jan. 1, I've been getting creative with the approved ingredients and wish to share them with you over several posts.

Pumpkin Banana Crepes gluten free sugar freeRECIPE ONE: Pumpkin Banana Crepes

These fluffy, semi-sweet delights are made using almond meal instead of flour. Excellent for breakfast, brunch or dessert! Here's the recipe:

Ingredients (makes three crepes)
2 eggs
2 Tbs. almond meal
2 Tbs. unsweetened pumpkin filling
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning
dash cinnamon
1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or more to get thin pancake batter consistency)

2 Tbs. unsweetened pumpkin filling
1/2 banana, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
dash pumpkin pie seasoning
dash cinnamon

1. For the crepe batter, mix first 6 ingredients until well combined.
2. Begin adding almond milk. Keep adding by tablespoon if necessary to get thin pancake better consistency. Set aside.
3. For the filling, mix filling ingredients (except bananas) until well combined. Set aside.
4. Heat crepe pan (or nonstick skillet) to medium low. Spray with a very light coating of vegetable oil.
5. Pour appx. 1/4 cup batter into the center of the pan and begin rotating the pan until the batter coats the bottom in a thin layer. Keep rotating until the batter stops running and return pan to the burner.
6. Cook for 1-2 minutes, loosening the edges very gently with a flexible spatula as to not tear. *These tend to be quite a bit more delicate than regular crepes. Though, it does make for lighter, fluffier crepes - delicious!
7. After 2 minutes, put 1 Tbs. of the pumpkin filling and 1/3 of the chopped bananas in a line near one edge of the crepe.
8. Carefully begin lifting the edge to start the crepe rolling over the filling and keep gently rolling with the spatula until completely rolled up.
9. Let set an additional 30 sec. in the pan to warm the filling through. Remove to plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling to make 3 filled crepes.

Variations: Add your favorite chopped nuts to the filling.

These are amazingly filling and satisfying for only a few ingredients. Hope you enjoy this healthier, gluten free, sugar free version of pumpkin banana crepes. Share with your friends! I did ;-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I hosted a BBQ/pool party for the 4th of July and wanted to serve a festive looking and tasty dessert. The whoopie pie craze is on so I decided to try making red velvet with cream cheese filling. I could top them with red, white and blue sprinkles. 
I found this recipe online posted by Brown Eyed Baker that seemed perfect:
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Makes about 2 dozen whoopie pies

For the pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

For the cream cheese filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and both sugars on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended.

4. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining ½ cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

5. Using a spoon (or a cookie scoop, which is what I used), drop a tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

6. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the filling. In the bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high; beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.

7. To assemble: Spread or pipe the filling onto the flat side of one cake. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

Storing: Whoopie pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Because these are moist, you may leave the container top slightly open. If you need to stack layers, place a piece of wax paper between layers.

They looked AMAZING! However, mine didn't taste very good. The filling was great, but the cakes didn't taste sweet enough. I determined that I had a blonde moment, and forgot to add the 1 c. of granulated sugar! ALL THAT WORK! We ate most of them anyway but, this is a lesson in checking, and double-checking your ingredients for accuracy. I'll surely try them again soon. ;-) Whoopie!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ravio ... sagna?

Makin' Ravioli? Or not?

I've been wanting to make homemade ravioli ever since it was a challenge on Master Chef. Can't beat the texture and taste of fresh pasta.

I don't have a pasta maker, but my Sis told me I could by fresh pasta sheets at a DeFalco's Italian Deli & Market. Great! I bought the pasta sheets and laid them out to start assembling the ravioli. Just as I turned my back to prep the filling, my "assistant" cut the pasta sheets into individual little squares! OMG! Breathe, OK, we'll make it work. Since I had leftover ground turkey and mushroom bolognese sauce I decided to do a spinach and cheese filling with ricotta and Italian 6-cheese blend, seasoned with garlic and a little cayenne pepper. Yum!

Here's where it all goes to heck: the pasta sheets were already cooked to al dente! I noticed they seemed rigid so I soaked them in warm water first and they did soften up, so I thought all was well. Far from it! As I attempted to crimp the edges, egg wash and all, the pasta just crumbled! It was horrifying. Now what?

To save this dish, I put 1 layer of pasta squares (lol) in the bottom of a baking dish then proceeded to dolop filling on each. I repeated until the pasta and filling were gone; got about 5 layers. I poured the bolognese over it all and baked it covered at 350º for 30 mins. Then covered the top with cheese and put it in at 425º until it was melted.

I gotta' say, this was quite definitely the best lasagna I've had! Mistakes WILL happen. Just roll with it and make it something spectacular!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dad's Blueberry Refrigerator Cheesecake

Who doesn't LOVE Cheesecake? Our Dad used to make the best no-bake cheesecake on the planet! I have never seen the recipe written down, but do remember peeking over the counter every time he made it. (I loved to lick the sweetened condensed milk can!)

I recently attempted to reproduce Dad's recipe from what I could remember as a little girl and it brought tears to my eyes! It had the same wonderful lemony-cheesecake flavor and brought back so many great memories. This is the stuff!

Dad's Blueberry Refrigerator Cheesecake
1 1/2 packages honey graham crackers (35 squares)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 blocks cream cheese*
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 sm. envelope lemon instant pudding
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1 can blueberry pie topping**

1. Crush graham crackers to a crumb consistency.
2. Add melted butter and cinnamon to the graham cracker crumbs and mix well.
3. Press into the bottom of a rectangular baking dish or two pie pans.
4. Bake crust at 350º for 6 minutes; allow to cool completely.
5. Beat cream cheese and vanilla on high until whipped; appx. 5 minutes.
6. Add sweetened condensed milk, pudding and milk and continue beating until well mixed.
7. Pour filling onto the graham cracker crust and smooth until even.
8. Refrigerate for 15 mins.
9. Pour blueberry topping onto cheesecake and carefully spread evenly.
10. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

* You can substitute for Neufchatel cheese for low-cal.
**Also great with cherry topping.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Miss B's 1/2 hour Skillet Chili

I recently mistook an aluminum foil-wrapped package of steaks for ground turkey so my whole dinner idea was scrapped! After a quick look through the refrigerator and pantry, it hit me ... turkey black bean chili! And it came together in less than one hour with 1/2 hour total cooking time! Here's how I did it:

Miss B's 1/2 hour Skillet Chili
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 c. chopped white onions
1 can chopped tomatoes, *chili flavored, with juice
1 can chopped tomatoes, *jalapeno flavored, with juice
1 can black beans, drained
1 sm. can fire roasted green chiles, chopped
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 minced jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
few dashes cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 bottle beer (Blue Moon, or any darker beer, or any meat stock)

* If you can't find the flavored chopped tomatoes, just use plain but increase the chili powder to 2 Tbs. and add 1 tsp. garlic salt. Should do the trick!

1. In a large cast iron skillet on med/high heat, add the ground turkey, chopped onions, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper and cayenne. Sautee, chopping the turkey down until it's browned (appx. 5 minutes).
2. Once browned, add all remaining ingredients into the skillet and mix well.
3. Reduce heat to med/low and simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 1/2 hour (or more, just keep an eye on liquid level). If you notice the liquid evaporating too quickly, add more beer! (or stock)
4. Serve! Suggestions: in a big bowl with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese. Also great over white rice. ENJOY!

This recipe is so versatile you could add any of your favorite ingredients. Try corn nibblets, chopped green or red peppers, chopped celery, chopped carrots, substitute ground turkey for ground beef or other chopped meat, substitute black beans for kidney beans, etc ... there are so many possibilities with this chili, just have fun with it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cupcake Ice Cream Cone Disaster

My friend Sheri was having a birthday and I wanted to make her something special. I heard that you could cook cupcakes in sugar cones and, when frosted, they look just like ice cream cones. How cute!

So, I prepared a package of Betty Crocker "Funfetti"cupcake batter and carefully filled each sugar cone. They were placed in the oven to bake as directed. About half-way through the cooking time, I peeked in the oven to see how they were doing and I was horrified! I had filled the cones nearly to the top and the batter began spilling over, like little, active volcanos! The hot batter literally melted the cones and made a huge mess. Not good! Here's the before photo - LOL! (I do admit, these were still really tasty despite their appearance.)

Luckilly I had another box of cake mix so I started over, but this time I only filled the cones 2/3 full. They cooked nicely this time, however, they seemed a little "flat." I got the idea to cook a separate batch of "tops" by filling a muffin tin 1/4 full. Using a dab of frosting, I adhered a "top" onto each cone and frosted each one. They turned out awesome; just like ice cream cones! Most importantly, Sheri loved them! Here's the after photo ... much better.

Let my mistakes here be your masterpieces. Hope you try making these sometime - just don't overfill!