Sunday, July 28, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn

I always thought I didn't like cauliflower (or broccoli). Turns out I don't like frozen cauliflower and broccoli, but love them fresh. I'm not sure why this matters, but it really does. Taste, texture, totally different in my opinion. I had a little bit of cauliflower left over after making cauliflower alfredo sauce so I had to find something to do with it so of course I made popcorn with it. For someone who thought they didn't like cauliflower, I couldn't scarf it down as fast enough.

Recipes comes from here.

Fresh cauliflower florets, bite-size
butter-flavor cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425. Spread your florets in a single layer on parchment-lined cookie sheet and spray with the cooking spray. Sprinkle the veggies with the season of your choice. I used this lemon pepper spice mix from the Dollar Store that I love. It's magical on vegetables. But you could use garlic powder, turmeric, or even grated parmesan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until it's crisp and brown.

Eat as a healthy snack or as a side dish.



More Cauliflower Recipes:
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Basic Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

A Basic Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Ever since I made cauliflower pizza crust I've been slightly obsessed with vegetables replacing other not-so-nutritious foods. I've seen cauliflower alfredo sauce on pinterest for a long time and finally got around to trying it. As my dad says, alfredo sauce is a heart attack in a jar. But is so good. However, what if there was something that tasted nearly as good (I can't honestly say this sauce is better than the real cheese and cream based sauce, but it is damn tasty) and was also good for you? Well, here it is.

Recipe adapted from here.

6 cups fresh cauliflower florets
2 cups vegetable broth
5-6 cups water, divided
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Pour the vegetable broth and 4 cups of water into a stock pot. Add cauliflower floret and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until cauliflower becomes fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, melt butter in a small skillet and saute garlic over medium heat until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Cook pasta and reserved pasta water.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add garlic, milk, parmesan, salt, pepper and 1 cup of water. Puree the mixture until spoon. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add some more water until you get the desired thickness.

Served over pasta, a veggies, or chicken. I've also thought about using it in white lasagna.

Now, while this sauce is good, it is kind of one note. Everyone who ate it said it was tasty, but it needed that little something extra. Fortunately, this is such as easy problem to fix because this recipe provides such a wonderful base. If you're looking for a little extra flavor, add lemon pepper (this is my favorite but I'm obsessed with lemon pepper lately), rosemary, or thyme. I love a sauce that can be so easily transformed.  



More Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chocolate-Pistachio Cupcakes with Pistachio Buttercream Frosting

The pistachio craze started with my parents. A few summer ago we vacationed with them at their cabin up north. My dad bought a bag of pistachios. Eric and I have been hooked ever since. We can decimate a big bag in a single sitting if we let ourselves. So flash forward to these cupcakes. My birthday was a couple weeks ago. Eric was going to bake me a cake. In fact, he had me send him a list of dessert recipes that I wanted to try so he could pick one to make for me. Well, the choices I gave him were too good--he picked two recipes. The first was an amazing smores pie (seriously, you have to make this pie, click the link right now, it's that good!) he made for The Fourth of July, which is the day before my birthday. He was going to make chocolate-pistachio cake for my actual birthday. But we both decided that would be too many sweets in the house (we have wedding attire to fit into soon). Plus we had just finished our birthday adventure--sushi, museum, zoo--with ice cream.

But all the ingredients for this recipe were sitting in the cupboard, just begging to be made into a delicious cake, so of course it wasn't long before I gave in and made the cake as cupcakes. However, with the wedding just over two months away, I sent Eric to work with the bulk of them to share with his office. That way I get to have fun baking, we each get a taste, and we don't devour the entire two dozen ourselves!

Recipes for the cake comes from here.

Pardon the frosting, I was practicing with a pastry bag and tip. I know, I need more practice :)

Chocolate-Pistachio Cupcakes
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 3.4-ounce package of pistachio instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup chocolate syrup (did you know you can make your own chocolate syrup?)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease your cupcake tins or line them with cupcake lines.

In a large bowl, combine the yellow cake mix and the pistachio pudding. Add the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and almond extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until there are no lumps.

Pour about 1/3 of the batter into a bowl. Stir in the chocolate syrup.

Layering, divide the pistachio batter and the chocolate batter between 24 cupcake cups. If you want, take a butter knife and swirl the two layers together.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then transfer the cupcake to a wire rack to cool completely.

A pretty pastel pistachio green

Pistachio Buttercream Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoon instant pistachio pudding powder (I made the rest of the mix into pudding)
6 tablespoon milk

Combine the milk and the instant pistachio pudding powder until the powder is completely dissolved. It is going to be quite thick, but you're going to have a nice concentrated pistachio flavor.* Set aside.

Place the the butter into a large bowl and cream with a hand mixer or standing mixer. Add vanilla and mix. Add 1 cup of sugar and blend on low speed until well incorporated. Then add another cup of sugar and beat until well blended. Whip in the the final cup of sugar. Beat in the concentrated pistachio pudding. To get light, smooth buttercream you need to blend the buttercream for 15 to 20 minutes on low.

Once your cupcakes have cooled, frost them. If pistachios could last in our house for more than a couple of days I would have chopped some up and sprinkled them on top of the cupcakes.

*Before making this frosting, I did some research on the web about putting pudding in buttercream. Some posts said that you can add the powder directly into the buttercream while others said it made the frosting gritty. I put a little bit of my buttercream in a bowl and tried adding the pudding mix directly into it. The flavor is more intense, but it's gritty and unpleasant on the tongue.

Cupcakes for as long as the eye can see!
For pistachio lovers like Eric and me, the pistachio flavor was a little too mild. However, these cupcakes were a huge hit at his office!



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Brownie in a Mug

I am bringing you yet another mug recipe. What can I say? They are convenient, easy, and I love that I can make a single serving (that way I don't over indulge in their chocolatey deliciousness!). This brownie in a mug almost pushes out the chocolate chip cookie in a mug as my favorite mug recipe. It's no surprise that they come from the same source!

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
a splash of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Melt butter in a mug. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt to the mug and stir. Stir in the egg yolk, discarding the egg white. Pour in the flour and cocoa powder and combine well. Stir in chocolate chips. Microwave for 45 to 60 seconds. Mine cook at 55 seconds.



More Mug Recipes!
3-Ingredient Gluten-Free Mug Cake
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread in a Mug
Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Cake
Chocolate-Hazelnut Mug Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Pumpkin Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Fluffernutter Mug Cake
French Toast in a Mug
Quiche in a Mug

Thursday, July 11, 2013

1 Banana 2 Eggs Pancakes

I've seen these super easy, super healthy pancakes on pinterest since forever. I've always found them intriguing, if not exactly mouthwatering. I mean, can you really make a pancake out of a banana and eggs? Wouldn't they taste like an omelet with bananas in it, which is not at all appetizing? But as always, curiosity got to me and I made them for breakfast today.

So here's my review: it really does work. You have to make the pancakes small--like the size of a silver dollar--and they are rather messy to flip (but that could just be me, I'm not a great flipper). They taste just like a banana. No egg flavor to them at all. But they certainly do have an eggy texture, which took me a little getting used to. Since they taste like banana, they are kind of one note and boring. Maple syrup helps but kinda of goes against the whole purpose of making healthy pancakes. Next time, I would add cinnamon to the batter. I think that will give the pancakes some depth and help you forgo the syrup. However, I'm not sure if I'll make them again. I mean, the whole match is only around 240 calories (without syrup) and they are filling. But egg and banana . . . I just don't know.

Judge for yourself. Recipe is below.

1 ripe banana
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Mash the banana well with a fork in a bowl. Add eggs and whisk together. Stir in cinnamon, if desired. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray. Over medium-low heat, cook small pancakes, about 30 seconds on each side.

Eat plain or with syrup or fresh berries. If you want to make these into a semi-healthy dessert, I can see them being good with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or cool whip. You might even be able to make them with chocolate chips in them!



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cheesy Tomato Zucchini Bake

So I sent this recipe to my future mother-in-law to try, and she made it for us (along with pork tenderloin and cheesy potato patties). All I can say is that eating veggies never tasted so good. Even Eric, who is not a huge fan of zucchini, liked it.

Adapted from here.

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced (use a mandolin)
5 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin)
2 tablespoons onion, minced
3/4 cup panko

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Spray a 9x9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine cheddar, Parmesan, basil, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.* Set aside.

Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with the zucchini slices. Sprinkle about a quarter of the herb mixture on top of the slices. Add a layer of tomatoes using about half of the sliced tomatoes the sprinkle with a quarter of the herb mixture. Repeat the layers.

Sprinkle the panko on top of the casserole.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the panko topping is crisp.

*It is so easy to change up the flavor of the dish by adding different spices. A 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, rosemary, or oregano and you have a new dish!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Smores Pie


Nothing says summer like smores! So for Independence Day, Eric made us a smores pie. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing this dessert is. Seriously, no words would do this pie justice. And the aromas this dessert gives off--the chocolate baking, the marshmallow roasting--absolutely mouthwatering. And to make this recipe even more enticing: it's fairly simple to make. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool so you can take a bite! Eric is so proud of his creation--you should see the grin on his face!

Adapted from here.

1 store-bought graham cracker pie crust
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg, room temperature
pinch of salt
7-ounce (a little less than a cup) marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a heavy saucepan bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 1 minute.

Whisk the chocolate and cream together until it's well combined and smooth. Add the egg and a pinch of salt to the mixture and whisk until well incorporated. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chocolate is almost set--the center should be a little bit jiggly.

Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool for about one hour.

Add the marshmallow fluff on top of the chocolate layer and smooth with a spatula. Set the oven to broil and place the pie back in the oven for just 2 or 3 minutes or until the top of the fluff turns a golden brown.

Allow pie to cool for about ten minutes before serving.

Bake chocolate layer

Marshmallow fluff layer

Under the broiler. It smells just like marshmallows roasting on a fire. Taste just like them too!

Oh so good.



Check out these other Smores Recipes:
Smores Cookies
Smores Banana Boats
Peep Smores