Thursday, April 17, 2014

#TBT: White Chocolate Heaven


These cookies are incredible.  I don't use that term lightly...don't get me wrong, I love cookies, but these are on a whole different level.  I first made them about 2 years ago (Spring 2012) and have been hooked ever since. My husband made a request to have them this past week and I was happy to oblige.

This is one of those great desserts that look so impressive but is super-simply to make.  Must be something about that white chocolate drizzle that always impresses me!  You could use any kind of seedless jam or jelly, but I love the combination of white chocolate with raspberry so I always use that flavor combination.

White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints


Ingredients
12 ounces white chocolate chips (divide into thirds)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Instructions
Melt 4 oz. of the chocolate chips - I used the microwave rather than a double-boiler and it turned out perfectly. Just don't heat them too long, it worked for me to do 30 seconds, stir, then do another 10-20 seconds and stir until the last of the chips have melted. 

In a large mixing bowl beat softened butter with sugar until it is creamed, light and fluffy. Add in the baking soda and salt – beating until combined. Beat in eggs and melted white chocolate until combined.

Beat in the flour in batches, so you don’t have a giant cloud of flour explode all over your kitchen. Lastly, stir in 4 oz. of un-melted chocolate chips. 

Drop dough from a rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. I like to use a mini ice-cream scoop for cookies. If you do this, make sure you press gently on the top of each cookie so they are flattened slightly. 

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 9-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges.

Cool cookies on racks for a minute or two, and then make an indent on the top of each one with the back of a small rounded spoon. This will help hold the raspberry jam filling after the cookies cool completely.

After the cookies have completely cooled, melt the raspberry jam in a small saucepan over low heat or use the microwave again (about 30 seconds works). Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of jam onto the top of each cookie. 

Melt the remaining 4 oz. of chocolate chips the same way you did to add to the batter, only this time add the shortening to them before melting.  Drizzle each cookie with some of the melted mixture using a fork or spoon. I laid the cookies out on sheets of wax paper before drizzling; it saved me a ton of hassle containing the mess!


*Barely adapted from http://manouvellemode.com


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stewy With A Chance of Meatballs



I love a great meatball, but until recently I've stuck with the traditional Italian-style ones.  Recently I've found myself perusing cookbooks, websites and magazines looking for other ways to eat meatballs other than just in a red sauce over pasta or in a sandwich.  I came across an idea for meatballs in a stew and marrying them with spicy flavors seemed right up my husband's alley - of course I had to give it a try.

This can be a fairly spicy dish, so if you're a fan of milder flavors I would suggest swapping out the fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies for petite diced tomatoes.  The flavors will still be delicious, I promise!

Spanish Meatball Stew

Ingredients
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion (diced)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
Salt & pepper
2 tsp. smoked paprika (divided)
3 large carrots (peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick)
1 can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies
1 can of petite diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. lean ground turkey or chicken
Freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)

Instructions
Heat the oil in a large dutch-oven style pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add in the onion, garlic and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Cook until softened, then add in 1 tsp. of the paprika.  Transfer half the mixture to a large bowl.

Add the rest of the paprika and carrots to the remaining mixture in the pot and cook for just a minute or two. Pour in both cans of tomatoes, chicken broth and chickpeas.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the ground turkey or chicken and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bowl with the rest of the onion mixture.  Mix well with your hands and form the meat mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs.  Place the meatballs gently into the sauce/stew mixture and simmer.  Cook for about 7 minutes, then turn the meatballs over, cooking for another 7 minutes until done.

Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

*Adapted from Food Network Magazine


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Monday, April 14, 2014

No-Carb Fail: My Love of the Sandwich


I don't know about you, but I love a good sandwich.  I could never give up bread, I tried to go no-carb in college and it was the grumpiest month I've ever had!  I've since switched over to a healthier "everything in moderation" perspective of food, rather than dieting.  I blame my love of sandwiches fully on my failure at the no-carb trend!

Sometimes you just need a great sandwich for dinner.  I love a casual dinner every once in awhile and sandwiches are a huge hit in our house.  I'm not talking a slapped-together PB&J or grilled cheese (although some nights I'm guilty of those), but a more planned and complete sandwich really can feel like a meal.

I've been toying with making my own salad dressings for awhile, but had never really tried a ranch-style dressing from scratch.  This one is fantastic as a sandwich spread and if you want to use it as a dressing, just increase the liquid a little bit and decrease the thickeners like the sour cream or mayo.  Don't skimp on the fresh chives though, they make the whole dish!

You can serve these up on any type of sandwich roll, but my go-to bread for a sandwich like this are hoagie rolls.  If you feel like making your own from scratch, you can't do better than the Light Brioche Buns (original recipe from Smitten Kitchen) that are my absolute favorites!

Weeknight Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup light sour cream
3-4 dashes of Frank's hot sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper
6 thin chicken cutlets (I slice chicken breasts in half, so I get 2 cutlets per large breast)
Vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. finely chopped chives
Slices of colby jack cheese (for serving)
Hoagie (or other sandwich) rolls (for serving)
Lettuce & tomato (optional - for serving)

Instructions
Combine half of the buttermilk, hot sauce and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add in the chicken, making sure each piece is covered and coated with the mixture.  Set aside to marinade for about 15 minutes.

Preheat a grill pan (if you have one - I used a cast iron skillet) to medium high heat.  If using a grill pan, spray lightly with nonstick spray.  If using a cast iron or other type of skillet, pour about 1 tbsp. oil in the skillet and heat until shimmering.

Transfer the chicken to the pan in batches, cooking about 3-4 minutes on each side, until done.  Cover each cooked piece of chicken with cheese and set aside so the cheese has time to melt.

Whisk together the rest of the buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper, garlic powder and apple cider vinegar.  Stir in the chives and taste to adjust seasonings and texture.

Spread each roll with some of the ranch sauce and fill with the chicken, lettuce and tomato.  I like to serve these up with sweet potato fries and a big garden salad - yum!

*Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Printable Recipe

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