Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt

Sometimes I just need a hefty dose of chocolate. I need it to be rich and gooey and delicious. These cookies delivered on all fronts. Plus the kick of sea salt (this is the first sweet that I have added it to up to this point) also satisfied any need for salt I had. These are craving satisfying cookies on multiple fronts. Yum.

Yield: 12 cookies
3 oz chocolate - the darker the better, I used 60%, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Fleur de Sel (or large-flake sea salt) for topping (A big thank you to Hunter's Dad for supplying me with this!)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Over a double broiler, melt the chocolate then let it cool for 5 minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Stir the egg and sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.

Roll the cookie dough into about 1 1/2 tbsp balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the fleur de sel on top. Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes.

Source: adapted from The Novice Chef Blog

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aztec Chicken

When Hunter and I were engaged and deciding where we were going to live it was tough. If we both stayed working where we currently were then odds were that we would both be commuting 30-45 minutes. Not a good situation. I was lucky and ended up getting a job working for a boss I had worked for previously and was in a much better location. Now my commute is 15 minutes and his is 30. Much better.

Anyway, the reason I tell this story is that when I left the job I was currently at (which I loved and the only reason I was leaving was for convenience) it was a bittersweet experience. We had a going away party on one of my last days and my manager provided the main dish, which was this Aztec Chicken. To say it was a hit was an understatement. It. Was. So. Good. I think everyone there that day got the recipe from him. This is also one of the few things I could cook when we first got married because it also happens to be super easy. Thank you Rusty for helping me to feed my husband as a newlywed and providing an easy meal now that I actually know what I am doing.

Yield: 6-8 servings

2 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 bag frozen corn
1 cup salsa
4-5 chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
Garlic, to taste
Cumin, to taste
8 oz. Cream cheese

Put all the ingredients except the cream cheese in a crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Stir in the cream cheese right before serving. Serve over rice or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fish cooked in Parchment Paper

This meal might have been my favorite fish dish to date. I loved every single bite and didn't even let a drop of the juices go to waste. This is big for me because usually it is a struggle to get through even a small fish fillet. Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it is super adaptable and I'm pretty sure next time I will do it completely differently - maybe cauliflower and orange instead of asparagus and lemon.

This recipe makes much more sense if I break it down step by step.

First, your ingredients:
2 fish fillets - whatever size and type of fish you like. I used salmon and did a little one and a big one for my fish loving husband.
1 bunch asparagus (or other vegetable of your choice)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Fresh herb of your choice
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
Butter, thinly sliced
Parchment Paper

And now for our recipe:

Cut yourself two pretty good sized hearts from the parchment paper. Think elementary school style where you fold it over and cut both halves at once.

Open the heart up and put some asparagus on one side. Top it with a few thin slices of butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Next, put your fish fillet on top of your vegetable. Put a few more slices of butter and sprinkle again with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Top with the herb of your choice. I used basil because I have an abundance due to my very productive basil plant.

Next, fold over the other half of your heart and twist the ends closed. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until the fish is completely cooked. The fish can be left wrapped in the parchment paper for up to 4 hours before baking.

Unwrap and enjoy! Don't forget to enjoy all the yummy juices produced in the cooking process. I served our with couscous, which was delightful and a perfect medium to absorb the flavor in the juices.

Source: adapted from The Novice Chef Blog

Monday, September 17, 2012

Summer Fruit Salad

One thing I have learned in the last couple months is that my husband is a sucker for fruit salad. It doesn't really even matter what kind of fruit I put into it, he will eat it all. I am a big fan of this particular recipe as well so I thought it appropriate to share...

1 package vanilla instant pudding (5.1 oz)
1 cup water
1 tbsp honey
1 cup pineapple, diced
1 lb strawberries
1 cup blueberries
3 bananas, sliced

Mix vanilla pudding pack, water, and honey in a bowl until no lumps remain. Add the fruit ingredients and stir to coat evenly. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt

The first time I ever had Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream I was sorely disappointed. You mean they can put a few tiny chunks of cookie dough into a vanilla ice cream base and that is acceptable? As I grew up, I slowly adjusted thinking paradigm to match the world's and grew to expect this. But mostly I just avoided cookie dough ice cream because really, it's the cookie dough part that I am after.

Imagine my excitement when I saw a recipe for frozen yogurt (close enough to ice cream to count in my book - don't tell my husband I said that) that was actually cookie dough. I made it the very next day. It was just as satisfying as eating a handful of cookie dough except that it is socially acceptable for me to put in a bowl and eat with a spoon along with my husband and his heaping bowl of chocolate ice cream. Rock. On.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used greek but could definitely taste the tang. I'm sure it would work just as well using normal yogurt)

Blend together the butter and sugars until well mixed. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips to this mixture and combine.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir gently. Add the yogurt and stir until combined. Place in an airtight container and place in the freezer. Freeze until set, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Source: adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod on Tasty Kitchen

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Corn's take on Carbonara

Let's make a list of a few of my favorite food items:


Alright, now let's combine them all into one dish and this is what you get. I'm sure there are many other things you could come up with using those ingredients (Master Chef style, anyone?), but give me a recipe that is acting either like carbonara or pesto and I am so down. 

The original recipe calls it corn pesto, but I think the taste and feel is closer to carbonara. I'll let you choose. But either way, you definitely should make it so you can form an opinion. It won't disappoint.
Yield: 4-6 servings

4 strips bacon
4 cups corn (about 5 ears)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lb fettucini noodles

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook the fettucini according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

In the meantime, cook the bacon in a large skillet. When it is finished, remove it, saving 1-2 tbsp of the grease. Allow the bacon to cool a little and dice. Add the corn, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to the bacon grease remaining in the skillet and saute for 3-5 minutes until the corn is cooked through. Remove from the heat.

Place all but 1 cup of the corn mixture in a food processor with the walnuts. Process until a thick paste begins to form, adding the olive oil slowly.

When the noodles are done, add the mixture and toss to coat. If it seems a little thick, add some of the reserved pasta water until the desired consistency is reached. Add the reserved corn and bacon and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Mom de Cuisine