Monthly Archives

December 2015

Brownies Dessert

Hot Chocolate Brownies

December 29, 2015

I was going to post this one before Christmas….but I got caught up with the holidays and totally forgot.

One of my favorite childhood winter memories is getting to drink hot chocolate after a long day of sledding. I decided to combine one of my favorite childhood drinks with one of my all time favorite desserts. Hot chocolate brownies. This dessert was fully loaded with all things chocolate.

For this recipe I used half chocolate caramel hot chocolate and half Ghiraredli hot chocolate. Feel free to use any flavor hot chocolate that you have on hand. I kind of wish I had a peppermint hot chocolate mix for this recipe.

FullSizeRender (6) FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRender (3) FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (5) FullSizeRender (8)Hot Chocolate Brownies

 Ingredients

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

¾ cup hot chocolate mix

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt two sticks of butter and let it cool.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient and whisk until fully combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the pan and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips onto the mixture.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the brownie rest for at least 15 minutes before transferring it onto a wire rack.
  8. Melt the remaining chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave until smooth.
  9. Spread the melted chocolate onto the brownies. Let the chocolate set for 30 minutes before cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Meat

New and Improved Chicken Parm

December 21, 2015

Lately I’ve been watching America’s Test Kitchen at the gym. They featured a new and improved way of cooking Chicken Parmesan. There were 3 techniques that they tried that I would have never thought of.

1. They brined the chicken breasts to keep the chicken juicy.

2. They combined the egg wash and flour during the dredging process.

3. They broiled the Chicken Parm with just the cheese and spooned on the tomato sauce at the end. This was to prevent the crust from getting soggy.

I decided to test out 1 and 2 because I personally like to bake the chicken with tomato sauce.

So, how’d it turn out? It was worth the extra time and effort of brining the chicken as it made it more juicy and tender. I also thought it was a genius idea to combine the egg wash and flour. One less step and one less dish to clean. It also provided a more even coat of egg and flour. The mixture is a little thick, so make sure you take off any excess (see photo below). America’s Test Kitchen, you guys were definitely onto something! FullSizeRender (7)FullSizeRender (8)FullSizeRender (9)FullSizeRender (10)FullSizeRender (11)IMG_5426FullSizeRender (12)


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Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken breast

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup Panko

½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Butterfly the chicken breast and cut in half. Pound the chicken breast in between plastic wrap until they are ½ inch thick.
  2. Place chicken into a bowl and cover with about 6 cups of water (or until the chicken fully submerged) and ¼ cup salt. Let the chicken brine for at least 1 hour.
  3. In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic cloves. It the garlic cook for about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. In a bowl combine the Panko and seasoned breadcrumbs.
  5. In another bowl, combine the egg and flour. Add a little water to loosen the mixture.
  6. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat down with paper towels.
  7. Combine the Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  8. First, dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then the Panko mixture. Set aside on a wire rack.
  9. Heat vegetable skillet on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, place chicken into the pan. (2 pieces at a time to prevent crowding) Cook chicken for about 4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is done cooking, place it back onto the wire rack.
  10. Spoon tomato sauce onto each piece and then sprinkle with cheese.
  11. Broil the chicken on high for 3 minutes.
  12. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into.
Pasta

Bacon Mac and Cheese

December 14, 2015

Lately, I’ve been mentally checked out. Between stress from work and the fast approaching wedding, all I’ve been craving is comfort food. It’s probably not the best wedding diet idea, but every now and then you have to treat yourself, right?  I did try to make it tad more healthy by using Brown Rice Pasta. I saw it at Trader Joe’s and thought I’d give it a try.

Here are my thoughts on brown rice pasta- It says to cook the pasta for no longer than 8-10 minutes. I cooked it for about 10 minutes and baked it in the oven, and I tasted a bit under cooked to me. It was definitely al dente. My personal preference is to have pasta/noodles on the mushier side (I know, it’s gross). Besides the texture, it didn’t taste any different from regular pasta.

This mac and cheese satisfied my craving, but in the future, I probably will add more bacon and made it even more cheesier. FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (1)

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

1 pound brown rice pasta

4 slices bacon

1 ½ cups milk

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

½ cup Panko

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook the brown rice pasta and set aside.
  3. Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  4. Heat milk on medium high heat. Before the milk begins to boil, add the shredded cheese. When the cheese begins to melt, add the flour.
  5. Once all the cheese is melted, add salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
  6. Add the pasta and transfer into a baking pan.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Panko. Sprinkle an even layer on the pasta.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Chocolate Cookies Dessert

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 8, 2015

Chocolate and coffee, what a magical combination for a caffeine boost. If you’re looking for the perfect afternoon pick me up, look no further. This is this what you need.

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Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cup flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon espresso powder (or instant coffee)

1 ½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a microwavable bowl, heat 8 ounces of the chocolate and butter. Stir the mixture every 30 seconds. It should take about 2 minutes to completely melt the chocolate and butter.
  4. Stir in the espresso powder into the chocolate mixture until fully dissolved.
  5. Transfer the chocolate mixture into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla until combined. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
  6. Using a mini cookie scoop, place batter onto a lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool.

*When you take the cookies out of the oven, they might look and feel a little undone, but they will harden as they cool. Do not overbake.

Meat Turkey

Turkey Pot Pie

December 1, 2015

What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? The leftovers! Two things I look forward to the most post-Thanksgiving are turkey jook (rice porridge) and turkey pot pie. I have yet to attempt making my Grandma’s turkey jook, so maybe I’ll save that recipe for next year.

For the past few years we’ve been getting our turkey from Popeye’s. Yes, Popeye’s. I comes preseasoned and frozen; pop it in the oven for a couple of hours and there you have it. It’s a Cajun turkey and surprisingly flavorful and juicy.  The turkey leftovers from the Popeye’s turkey gives this pot pie a little bit of a kick, but feel free to use any leftover turkey that you have on hand.

For this recipe I made mini pot pies, but you can definitely make one large one if you prefer. FullSizeRender (14)FullSizeRender (10)FullSizeRender (11)FullSizeRender (12)FullSizeRender (13)

Mini Turkey Pot Pie

Ingredients

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup carrots, cubed

1 ½ cup potatoes, cubed

2 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey

1 cup frozen peas

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon flour

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

pie crust

1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Bring 2 cups of the chicken stock to a boil and then add the carrots. Lower the heat to medium and cook the carrots for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes to the carrots and cook for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are soften.
  4. Turn the flame off and add the turkey, peas, milk, flour and spices. Stir until it is fully incorporated.
  5. Roll out the pie crust and cut into circles to cover the tops of the ramekins.
  6. Fill the ramekin with the turkey mixture and top with the pie crust.
  7. Beat an egg and brush the tops of the pie crust.
  8. Place ramekins on a baking sheet to prevent spillage and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.