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Pick of the Week

November 4th, 2012 by Susan

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Weeknight Calzones

October 30th, 2012 by Susan

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who never wanted pizza.  It’s not that she didn’t like pizza.  In fact, she liked it quite a bit.  It’s just that when pizza was offered as an option, it was never what she wanted.

I hate to say it, but that girl is me.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m never in the mood for pizza.  I always enjoy it when I eat it.  What’s not to love?  Dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and any other topping you could imagine.  If asked, though, I’d rather eat something else.

The problem is my husband LOVES pizza.  We, ahem, buy pizza bagels on a regular basis.  Every time we debate what to order in, his first suggestion is pizza.  So, when my cube-mate offered me a recipe for mini calzones, I knew what I had to do.  I had to give them a try.  The results were delicious, and this recipe has become a weeknight staple.

 

Chicken, Spinach, and Artichoke Calzones (adapted from Cuisine at Home)

3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded Parmesean

1 chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 package Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin

1/4 cup minced onion

1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I used about 5 artichoke hearts in brine, rinsed)

1/3 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 pound prepared pizza dough

1 egg, beaten

Flour

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

For the filling, combine the cheeses, chicken, onion, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Mix to combine the ingredients evenly.

Divide the dough into four equal segments.  Dust the dough and the work surface with flour.  Gently roll and stretch the dough into an eight inch round and let rest.  I let mine rest for about 10 minutes.

Place 1/4 of the filling onto one side of each dough round.  Stretch the dough over the filling and crimp the edges to seal the calzones.  Brush each calzone with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

 

Place the calzones on the heated pizza stone and bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

 

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On The Docket– Week of October 28th

October 29th, 2012 by Susan

Well, it’s Halloween, and that means pumpkins!  I’ve never cooked with pumpkin before, let alone baked with it.  For some reason, though, the challenge is pretty alluring.  Some of the recipes I’ve found this week just look too delicious to pass up.

Fudge Striped Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies:  I recently tried pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the first time a few weeks ago, and they were delicious.  This particular recipe reminded me of fudge stripe cookies, which I loved as a child.  I think these will have to make an appearance at my company’s Halloween party on Wednesday.

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars:  One of my favorite fall desserts is pumpkin cheesecake.  Taking one of my faves and adding a little bit of maple seemed genius!

Ok, ok, I know I cannot subsist on baked goods alone.  But if they include pumpkin, they’re healthy right?  No?  Ok, fine.  Some lunch and dinner ideas as well.

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls:  To be honest, I’ll probably add some chicken to this recipe, but I really like the idea behind this burrito bowl.  I also prefer quinoa to rice, so I’m really excited to give this a shot.

Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken:  I love my slow cooker.  I actually jumped up and down when I unwrapped it for my birthday a few years ago.  Despite my rather unnatural love for this particular kitchen appliance, I generally forget I own one until fall.  This is one of the first recipes I’ve seen this fall that made me want to break out the slow cooker.

Chicken Curry with Egg Noodles:  I’m just going to go with “yep” on this one.  Chicken, curry, noodles, what’s not to love?

I’m really excited about these recipes, so I’m hoping they turn out alright.  I’ll keep you posted on the results!

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Pick of the Week

October 28th, 2012 by Susan

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Pick of the Week

September 23rd, 2012 by Susan

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Nutella Buttercream Frosting

July 11th, 2012 by Susan

So I made chocolate cupcakes, but what did I frost them with?  Nutella buttercream frosting.

Somehow after making this recipe, I ended up with three unopened containers of Nutella in my cabinet.  I’m not sure how exactly that happened.  Considering I only bought one, I must have already had some of this chocolately goodness on hand.  Let this be a lesson to you:  always shop your pantry before going to the store.  I guess I’m going to have to find some pretty inventive uses for chocolate hazelnut spread in the coming months.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting (Adapted from My Baking Addiction)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 of a jar of Nutella (13 oz jar)

Pinch of sea salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 pound powdered sugar

5 tablespoons heavy cream

Cream the butter and the Nutella together in a large bowl.  Mix until well combined.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, and mix until well blended.  Add the salt, vanilla, and slowly add the cream.  I added the cream one tablespoon at a time until the frosting was the right consistency.  The frosting should be smooth and fluffy.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with buttercream frostings, and I would have to say this one was my most successful.  As one of my friends said, “the frosting is really well structured.”  It also tasted delicious!

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On the Docket- Week of July 9, 2012

July 9th, 2012 by Susan

I think it’s going to be an interesting week.  First, I’ve accepted a “Sweet Genius” baking challenge.  My old boss and I were talking about cooking shows, and he issued me a challenge:  to use three random ingredients and an inspiration in a dessert a la the show.  I could not say no because I thought it would be a ton of fun.  I get my ingredients on Monday, so more to come on what happens there.

Second, my husband wants to try infusing our own liquors.  On 4th of July, while I was making breakfast, he came into the kitchen with six small Ball jars.  Why, might you ask, do we have six small Ball jars when I have never canned or preserved anything my life?  That is an excellent question for which I do not have an answer.  Setting the jars on the microwave, my husband said “I think we should infuse some whiskey.  I’m thinking peach and blackberry.  Would you be willing to look up how to do this so we could give it a shot?”  Once again, I could not say no, so more to come on that adventure.

With those two items in the works, I am once again not sure what will be cooked this week, but here are some recipes I’ve pulled to try.

Blackberry pie:  this is one of my favorite desserts of all time.  I am going to make one before the summer berry season is done.  I’m not sure if I’m going to go with the lattice crust, but we’ll see.

Tom Yum Grilled Shrimp:  Summer grilling season is upon us, and grilled shrimp is always delicious.  This recipe looked nice and spicy, so I added it to the list to try!

Salmon and Peas:  Not sure how this is a 4th of July Tradition, but this recipe looked delicious.

 

 

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Pick of the Week

July 8th, 2012 by Susan

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Chocolate Cupcakes

July 7th, 2012 by Susan

You may or may not have noticed that I’m on a baking kick.  Though one of my favorite childhood memories is making Christmas cookies with my mom and sister, I have never considered myself a baker.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy baking, but I’ve never thought I was very good at it.  Baking is an exact science- perfectly measured ingredients to achieve the perfect texture- while my cooking style is more “a dash of this, a pinch of that.”  After moving to the Rockies, and numerous baking at altitude failures, I had pretty much written off baking.

Problem is I like challenges.  And I like reading recipes.  And I kept finding desserts that I desperately wanted to try.  So, about a year and a half ago, I started baking again.  It started slowly– a scone here, a cookie there–until last fall when I just couldn’t stop myself.  I was baking every other week.  There was always something I had to try.  So I keep trying new baked desserts, and I’m glad I decided to give it another go.

My most recent baking success?  Mini filled chocolate cupcakes.  There are certain things that I think everyone should have a recipe for:  pesto, mashed potatoes, pasta salad.  Chocolate cupcakes is one of those recipes for which everyone should have a go to.  Slight problem with that:  I didn’t have one.  When I was reading a recipe that called for “your favorite chocolate cake recipe,” I was at a loss.

After taking so much time off from baking, I hadn’t built up any standard recipes.  So, I had to find a one.

Here is my now go to recipe for chocolate cupcakes

 

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup hot water

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder with the hot water until smooth.  In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is complete melted.  The mixture should be smooth.  Transfer the butter sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until the mixture is cool.  This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition.  Add the vanilla and cocoa mixture.

Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the sour cream.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.  Each liner should be about 2/3 full.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.  This will take 18-20 minutes for full size cupcakes and 15 for mini cupcakes.

Cool before frosting and enjoy!

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Pick of the Week

July 1st, 2012 by Susan

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