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Monday
Feb232015

Chorizo Gravy

Chorizo gravy

Welcome to the February edition of the Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This month, I was assigned to Sew You Think You Can Cook, written by Lauren. Lauren is an aerospace engineer who lives in Ohio with her husband and her baby boy. She has a ton of awesome recipes, and as her blog title suggests, she also posts a bunch of her amazing quilts, along with tutorials. She is so talented, you really need to check out her quilt blocks! They are all beautiful, but my favorite is the half-square triangles. Maybe some day I’ll be brave enough to tackle it, but for now, I’ll just stick to getting comfortable with basic sewing. As for the recipe, this month I chose something a little outside the box for us. While Joel and I are both from NY, born and raised, we decided to try a southern classic. While even Lauren says that this isn’t a “traditional” biscuits and gravy recipe, she has southern roots, so I knew this had to be good. Plus, with an ingredient list so short, it was really hard not to give it a try. Let me tell you, this was by far the best decision I could have made! We absolutely loved this dish. I made this for breakfast before a day of skiing, and it was the perfect stick-to-your-ribs type of meal that kept us full until lunch. Thanks for the delicious peek into southern cuisine, Lauren! 

3 links Chorizo Sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Milk
*(I used skim and ended up needing to thicken with cornstarch, so I recommend using 2% or whole milk) 

In a large skillet, brown the chorizo, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. Once cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo and let it drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Without draining the skillet of the fat, whisk in the flour to make a rue. Add the milk and whisk continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens to a gravy consistency, about 5 minutes. This was the point where I realized it was not thickening to my desired consistency because I used skim milk, so I put a teaspoon of cornstarch into a small bowl and added a little bit of the milk from the skillet, stirring into a slurry, then added the mixture back into the skillet and whisked until thickened. When the gravy has thickened, add the chorizo back to the skillet and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture over biscuits (I used these)

SOURCE: Sew You Think You Can Cook

Friday
Feb202015

Cheesy Beer Bread

Cheesy beer bread

Welcome to the first Friday of Lent. Meatless meals are all around, and local fish fry places are bursting at the seams with customers. When the crowds take over, we prefer to stay home, which is why I plan to make a creole shrimp dish for dinner tonight. A flavorful bread is necessary to soak up all the saucy goodness, if you ask me. And what better type of bread than one that contains beer and cheese? With no rising time needed, this is the perfect bread to make after a long day at work.  

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 (12 ounce) bottle Beer (I used Southern Tier’s Where the Helles Summer seasonal spring lager)
2 tablespoons Butter, melted

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese.  Using a wooden spoon, mix in the beer until completely incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan, pour the melted butter over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool

SOURCE: Elly Says Opa

Sunday
Feb152015

Blueberry Belgian Waffles

Blueberry waffles

While we have gotten away from the weekly waffles we once enjoyed on the weekends, they are still a welcomed treat every so often. Since yesterday was valentines day, I had hoped to make a special breakfast, but when I woke up, the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating enough to allow me to make a quick run to the store. Luckily, we had everything we needed to make some waffles! I tried a different recipe from the ones I have already posted, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. While most waffles we have had have either been very dense or so light and airy that they are crispy, these waffles had a great consistency. Substantial enough that we were full after eating one, but not so filling that we were feeling bogged down all day. The leftovers reheated nicely for a Sunday morning breakfast, as well, which certainly helped to combat the -25 degree temperature outside (I only wish that was an exaggeration)!

2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 3/4 cup Milk
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 cup Blueberries (I used frozen)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour 1 cup of batter into the center of a preheated waffle maker and bake until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cool leftover waffles, wrap in foil, and refrigerate. Reheat in the oven. 

SOURCE: Deliciously Yum

Thursday
Feb122015

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

PB Cup Brownies

Today is my brother’s 30th birthday. Of the two of us, I have the bigger sweet tooth. That being said, when he does eat sweets, he doesn’t mess around. Each year of our adult lives, I’ve been making dessert for his birthday dinner, and each year, he suggests the same “guidelines” and leaves me to choose the perfect recipe: chocolate with peanut butter, or Oreo. The boy certainly knows the best flavor combos! This year, I figured the suggestion was no different, so imagine my surprise when he said brownies! While I could have just used that as an excuse to go easy this year and reach for a box, I could never do no such thing for such a milestone birthday! I took it as the chance to merge his apparent simpler tastes of his 30’s with his favorite flavors of his 20’s. Not to mention, merge my favorite flavors together into one fudgy bite. These brownies were rich, but delicious. Definitely the right way to ring in a new decade. Happy birthday, Michael!

For the Brownies
10 tablespoons Butter
4 ounces Semisweet or Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 15-20 miniature size)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. To a large, microwave safe bowl, add the butter along with 2 ounces of the chocolate, and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, whisking until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter until smooth. Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 ounces of the chocolate. Top with the remaining brownie batter, gently spreading it toward the sides of the dish, if needed. Bake for 30 minutes (my oven took more like 45 minutes), until the brownies are set on top. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting. 

For the Frosting
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
5 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1 tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and peanut butter until it is melted and smooth. Set the frosting aside to cool and thicken as the brownies are cooling. Once thickened and cooled, spread the frosting on the brownies and sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow the frosting to set for about 30 minutes (I popped them in the fridge) before slicing into 16 squares. 

SOURCE: Half Baked Harvest
  

Tuesday
Feb032015

Cherry Almond Granola

Cherry almond granola

We’ve really been getting into granola and yogurt for breakfast lately. Personally, I find that it has more staying power than something like a bagel. Joel has a favorite granola recipe, which is chock full of nuts and brown sugar, and while it is delicious, I enjoy dried fruit in my granola so I kept on searching. I’ve made countless different recipes, and I have to say that this one ranks up there among my favorites. A little bit nutty and a little bit fruity, the almonds and cherries are the perfect pair. Not only does this granola cook quickly, it stays together perfectly, which creates the most deliciously perfect clusters to top my morning yogurt!

1 cup Almonds, divided
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Dried Cherries (I added)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Honey
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/8 teaspoon Almond Extract 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Finely chop half of the almonds and place them in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the cherries and remaining almonds, and add them to the bowl. Add the oats, salt, and brown sugar to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small microwavable bowl, combine the honey and coconut oil and heat for about 40 seconds, until the coconut oil is mostly melted. Stir to dissolve the coconut oil and add both extracts. Pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet, then bake for 5 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and stir, then return it to the oven and bake for about 10 more minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool completely. As it cools, it will clump together. When it has cooled completely, break the granola into clusters and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, but I bet it won’t last that long! (*FYI...The cook time is not a typo. I thought so at first too, but it really does work!)

SOURCE: Barely adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen