Friday, May 18, 2012

Cream Cheese Rangoons

Today is Day 2 of my wonton appetizer recipes. Yesterday I shared my homemade pizza rolls. And now I'll show you my cream cheese rangoon recipe. A year or two ago Eric's mom gave me a crab rangoon recipe. Neither Eric or I cared much for the crab, so I turned them into a very simple, very scrumptious cream cheese rangoons.

1 package of wonton wrappers
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese and mayo until well combined. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water. Bring the four corners together in the center of the wonton and press the seams together to seal. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the wonton wrappers.

Spray the tops of the rangoons with cooking spray and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

These rangoons were also a hit with Eric's mom (as were the pizza rolls and chocolate-hazelnut ravioli) and we talked about different variations of these we could make. Add some green onions, garlic powder, or some spinach so they resemble my pull-apart cheeses and spinach bread. Edye even mentioned turning them into dessert appetizers by adding chocolate chips. So you can really tailor these rangoons anyway you'd like.  

Tomorrow I'll share with you my chocolate-hazelnut ravioli recipe.

Chocolate-hazelnut ravioli, cream cheese rangoons, and homemade pizza rolls

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homemade Pizza Rolls

There have been a package of wonton wrappers sitting in the fridge for about two weeks now. At first I thought I was going to use them to make homemade pizza rolls for Eric, then I thought about using them to make cream cheese rangoons which we both love, and then I made some homemade Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) and couldn't wait to make chocolate-hazelnut ravioli. So today I decided to make the whole trio of appetizers. First, I'll share with you my homemade pizza rolls.

16 wonton wrappers
16 pepperonis
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup pizza sauce
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Pour about 1 teaspoon of pizza sauce in the middle of your wonton wrapper.

Add a large pinch of cheese--about 1/2 teaspoon--on top of the sauce.

Place a single pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Brush all four edges of the pizza roll with water then fold the wonton wrapper in half and press the edges together to seal. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat the process with the rest of the wonton wrappers.

Spray the tops of the pizza rolls with cooking spray and place them in the oven. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

When Eric took his first bite of the pizza rolls, he just turned to me with a large smile and I knew he'd want me to make them again, so much so that he even offered to help next time (working with wonton wrappers is a bit of work). You also can do a million and one variations of these. Eric's a pizza traditionalist--pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. But you could add minced onion, green pepper, mushrooms, olives . . . pretty much any veggie you'd like. Or you could make a buffalo chicken pizza roll, sausage pizza roll, and so on.

Tomorrow I'll post the cream cheese rangoon recipe.

Chocolate-hazelnut ravioli, cream cheese rangoons, and homemade pizza rolls


Chocolate-Hazelnut Ravioli

I've already shared the homemade pizza roll and cream cheese rangoon recipes with you. Finally, here is the dessert appetizer, the chocolate-hazelnut ravioli. I would tell you that these were my favorite, but all these wonton appetizers were so good, I couldn't choose a favorite.

The chocolate-hazelnut ravioli recipe is an adaption of Giada Laurentiis's chocolate-hazelnut ravioli.

16 wonton wrappers
1/3 cup homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread or Nutella
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray and set aside.

Place about a teaspoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread in the center of the wonton wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water, fold the wrapper over diagonally, and press the edges together to seal. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the wontons.

Spray the tops of the ravioli with cooking spray and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the ravioli begin to turn a golden brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Chocolate-hazelnut ravioli, cream cheese ragoons, and homemade pizza rolls


Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

I would love to tell you that this homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread taste just like Nutella, but it's been so many years since I've had the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread (it's a bit out of my budget), that I can't clearly remember what it tastes like. However, I can tell you that I will no longer leer lustfully at it in the grocery store because this chocolate-hazelnut spread is amazing! (And so much cheaper!) Now I can finally begin trying all those recipes that call for Nutella.

This recipe comes from with some minor variations.

1/2 cup hazelnuts with skins
1 cup sweetened condense milk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
4 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes. The skins will turn black. Allow the hazelnuts cool then rub the skins off using your hands or a dishtowel.

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and process until the nuts liquify, occasionally scraping down the sides with a spatula. It takes between 5 and 8 minutes for the hazelnuts to liquify.

In a heat proof bow, combine the condensed milk, chocolate chips, and honey. Microwave the mixture at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is well combined.

Add the chocolate mixture to the food processor with the liquified hazelnuts. Process until the mixture is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. 

Store in an airtight container, such as a canning jar, and keep refrigerated.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sausage and Bean Casserole

I just have to say it again: I love all that liquor, wine, and beer does to food, whether I'm making a dessert like Bailey's cupcakes or an entree like pasta in vodka sauce. And this recipe is just one more reason to love cooking with alcohol. The red wine in this adds such depth and flavor to a rather simple bean and sausage dish. The casserole was quite a hit with everyone in Eric's family--except for Eric, but only because he doesn't really like beans. He did, however, pick out all the sausage to eat.

2 1/2 cups sourdough breadcrumbs
kosher salt
black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound sweet sausage
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
 2 15.5-ounce cans of Great Northern beans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, and thyme. Set aside.

In a large, deep skillet, cook the sausage, onions, and garlic on medium-high heat until the sausage begins to brown and the onions caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, broth, wine, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs turn a golden brown.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Toasted Ravioli

No more boiled ravioli for us. I'm not normally one to fry foods (unless I'm appeasing Eric), but these toasted ravioli are absolutely delicious. This recipe also gave me a chance to test out my buttermilk substitute recipe.
1/3 cups canola oil
24-ounce packaged of ravioli (I used cheese ravioli)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
marinara or spaghetti sauce

Place buttermilk in a shallow dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a second shallow dish. Dip ravioli in buttermilk, coating completely. Shake off excess buttermilk and then dredge the ravioli in breadcrumbs. Place on plate. Repeat with the rest of the ravioli.

Even the uncooked ravioli look delicious.
Heat in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pasta in the oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the ravioli to paper towel to drain the excess oil. Serve with a side of warmed marinara or spaghetti sauce.
Toasted ravioli with marinara sauce and rosemary focaccia.


Buttermilk Substitute

Buttermilk is great for baking pancakes, donuts, breads, cakes, rolls, and so on. It adds complexity to the taste, produces light and fluffy results, and helps to keep baked goods like yellow cakes or sugar cookies from browning too quickly. But I don't ever buy it because I'll never use it all up before it expires, even with its long shelf life. So with a little Internet sleuthing I found an incredibly easy buttermilk substitute from A new world of recipes has just opened up!

Lemon Juice


1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pour the tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup. Pour the milk in the measuring cup until the liquid hits the 1 cup mark. Let stand for 5 minutes undisturbed. Use in your recipe.

So simple and easy and I already had all I need in the house.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chocolate Swirl Cake (Made with Swiss Cake Rolls)

Swiss cakes rolls bring back memories of brown bagged lunches in elementary and junior high school. First I'd eat all the coating coating off, then rolls the cakes out the best I could, lick off the cream filling, and finally devour the cake. I may or may not still eat them this way. But if you asked me what my favorite Little Debbie snack was, I'd have to go with Nutty Bars--unless we're including their seasonal snacks then it's Pumpkin Delights hands down. Eric favors the Swiss Rolls bar none. And that's why to celebrate his very last day of class (Eric is now a college graduate!) I am making him this Chocolate Swirl Cake. It is no-bake, incredibly decadent, and contains Swiss Rolls--in other words, the perfect cake for Eric.

This recipes comes from Taste of Home with a few minor changes.

20 Swiss Rolls (a little less than 2 boxes)
2 3.9-ounce instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
2 3/4 cups cold milk
1 8-ounce (2 cups) container of Cool Whip, thawed

8.5-inch springform pan

Slice each cake roll into six pieces. When you cut them, the chocolate coating is going to break off; reserve the chocolate for decoration. Line the pan with the cake pieces, beginning with the sides. I made four rows of cake pieces. Then line the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mixture until well combined and smooth. Place in the refrigerator for approximately 5 minutes until the pudding has thickened. Fill the center of the cake with the pudding. Top with the Cool Whip and sprinkle bits of chocolate coating on top. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

This dessert is chocked full of calories. In order to bring the calorie count down at least a little bit, I used skim milk to make the pudding and fat free Cool Whip.

Eric went nuts when he came home after his last college final and saw this cake waiting for him. But I guess it didn't have enough Swiss Cake Rolls to satisfy him. He had a huge slice of this dessert with a side of cake rolls.

Sorry the picture is a little blurry. Those are Eric's photography skills.