Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mini Twice Baked Spinach Potatoes

One of the things I wanted to make for our special Valentine's Day dinner the other night was twice baked potatoes.  I've actually never made them.  It's hard to believe isn't it?  I have never been a huge potato fan, but lately they are growing on me.  Plus, they require a lot of ingredients, ingredients which aren't cheap- cheese, cream, butter, bacon.  Also, they are not really a healthy option.  I usually try to steer clear of heavy, cheesy dishes.  (Well, besides pizza, but even then I'm easy on the cheese.)  

Anywho, I thought it would be a nice surprise for Steven and something a little indulgent.  (Are you laughing at the fact that I consider a twice baked potato indulgent?)  

I had small red new potatoes on hand, so that's what I used.  I also had a tub of fresh spinach, which I try to hide in everything, so I thought I'd use that too.  Here is the recipe I found & used- Miss Anthropist's Kitchen.

I didn't quite go by the recipe, so mine look a bit different.  I DID however do the toast option with the leftover stuffing.  REALLY YUMMY!  Do it.

Click her link for the full recipes.  I think will be trying different variations .. potatoes with French's Fried onions, ranch seasoning, or shrimp stuffed potatoes?  

 The stuffing, probably could have used a lot more spinach.  next time
 My oven is not wide enough so I just overlap.  Anyone else ever do this?  It's what the real pros do.  
 Ta da!  Mini stuffed taters and tater muffins.  The three little ones are the toast muffins.  You just squoosh a piece of sandwich bread into a little muffin tin and then use leftover stuffing in it. These  would make really good appetizers!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Happy Valentine's Day!
I'm going to skip over the fact that I haven't blogged in a very, very long time.  So sorry.  Life.  
Now, on to why you're here... chocolate.

This Valentine's Day we don't have any money to spend on gifts or fancy dates or a weekend getaway, but still wanted to do something to let my incredible husband know how much I love him.  So I sent our two year old to Grandma & Pop Pop's (kept the baby- not ready for an overnight without her yet), cleaned the house, rented a movie, and cooked a yummy dinner & dessert.  

My husband loves anything sweet, so I wanted to make something over the top and special. I found this recipe for Chocolate Molten Cake. 
It is REALLY good.  
And REALLY easy.  
I guess you could mess this up, but it would be hard to.

Here's the recipe:

You need:
  • 4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Real Whipping Cream (seriously It's So Much Better!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

What you Do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray 4 custard cups with Pam and place on cookie sheet.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
Divide between cups.
Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.
Then invert the cups on a dish & serve.
Honestly, this would have been awesome with ice cream or whipped cream, but I didn't have any & it was good on it's own.  
And I didn't have any glass ramekins or small bowls, so I just used little teacups & it worked great!  The recipe made 4 small cakes.  Husband at 2.7 & one is in the fridge.  I guess he liked them!
Today isn't over yet, go make one for your Valentine!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spinach Pesto

We eat a lot of baby spinach at our house.  We buy those big containers of it and I try to fit it into as many meals as possible, but even then it's hard to use all of it. 

A few months ago I decided to use it to make spinach pesto!
It is delicious and freezes great.  Just put it into ice cube trays and thaw as you need it.  Also, just use it as you would regular pesto.  It definitely doesn't taste the same as basil pesto, but if you add some basil leaves it would be close.
I use Giada's recipe here.

And here are some more ideas of how to use pesto.
Pesto Bread
Pesto Bread Rolls
Pesto Pizza
Pesto Pasta
Pesto Cream Sauce
Pesto Roasted Chicken
Pesto Roasted Potatoes- a new post coming soon!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Rainbow Salad

A head of red cabbage, a head of romaine, matchstick carrots, a cucumber, a squash, an apple, red onion, grapes, a tomato, a celery, & an orange bell pepper.

I'll take Random Foods in Alison's Fridge for $1,000, Alex.

Pretty much anything goes in Rainbow Salad. The brighter & more diverse the colors the better!

Rainbow Salad

1/4 head red cabbage
1 small head romaine or green leaf lettuce
handful matchstick carrots
1 cucumber, diced
1 squash, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
handful of grapes, cut in 1/2
1/2 bunch of radishes, sliced thin
nuts, toasted
cheese (Feta, mozarella, monterey jack, or other white cheese)
vinaigrette salad dressing (I prefer a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette)

~ Alison

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beer Bread

I've seen this recipe on a few other cooking blogs and finally tried it last weekend. 
 It is so good!  

We live near a Miller Beer Factory and Mrs. Baird's Bread Factory- they are right next to each other.  Every time I drive by I love the smell & I can't always tell if it's the yeast from the beer or the bread.  I don't even like beer, but for some reason this smell is so yummy.  This bread is perfect b/c it's a combo of the two.  If Mr. Miller and Mrs. Baird's had a baby- it would be this bread.  

I used the recipe found on this one:  Meals at the Muirs
And it's the easiest bread ever to make.  There are only 4 ingredients and like 4 steps!

Ya Need:
3 Cups Self Rising Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 bottle beer
1 stick butter

**If you don't have self rising flour- you can make it!  That's what I do.  Just add 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt for every cup of flour. 

What Ya Do:
1.  Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix flour, sugar, & beer 

I used Shiner, but I'm sure you could use whatever  kind you'd like.
3.  Put dough into a greased pan & bake for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove from oven and pour the stick of melted butter over the top.  Then put it back into the oven for another 10 min.
You can't get easier than that!

This was a really big hit with my family.  It is just a little bit sweet, but still savory.  It would be great with a huge steak!  We may be doing that for dinner tomorrow night!

I'm always on the lookout for easy bread recipes, so if you have one please pass it on!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roasted Garlic

Now this is obviously not a meal, but something I use in meals or appetizers.  If you haven't roasted a head/bulb of garlic before then pay attention b/c you will definitely want to do this.  And if you have, then you will agree with me when I say it is delicious and probably go straight to your kitchen to preheat the oven.

What Ya Need:
one bulb of garlic
olive oil

What Ya Do:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut about a half inch off the top of the whole head of the garlic.  Put on to a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  

 Close up the foil, making a little "pouch" or "purse" and twist it up tight.  Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.  

 After it's cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic until the cloves pop or squeeze out. 

At this point, I use a fork to mash it into a paste.  But you don't have to.  I used this batch to mix into mashed potatoes.  Garlic mashed potatoes are incredible!

Other uses:
spread on french bread
mix into a chicken pasta dish
on baked potato
on a grilled chicken sandwich mixed with mayo

It's so easy!  I really should make it more often!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

The BEST Cookie Recipe!

"Who are we to have stumbled upon the greatest cookie recipe in the entire world?"
I'm not kidding, but my husband and I ask each other this question every time we make these cookies.  Which is a lot.  Like every week.  
It's the best.
Just trust me, mmmkay?

They are crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  I just ate two.  I have been known to eat more.  And we always have to make a double batch b/c Steven eats then entire first batch right when it comes out of the oven.  So when you make these, just go ahead and double the recipe.  You have all the stuff out anyway and you can freeze the dough.  

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Here's What Ya Need:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (i use margarine)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
generous 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C rolled oats
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

What Ya Do:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 & grease your cookie sheets
2.  Sift together dry ingredients- flour, baking soda, powder, salt
3.  Cream butter and sugars in a separate bowl
4.  Add egg & vanilla and beat until light and fluffy
5.  Add flour mixture and beat until thoroughly blended
6.  Stir in oats and chips
7.  Plop dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy.  (My oven runs hot, so 10 in mine may be 15 in yours)

Make these for the holidays!