Archive | June, 2012

Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies

29 Jun

4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
I have had this recipe bookmarked for quite awhile now and just hadn’t found the perfect ocassion to make them yet. I stumbled across it when I was searching for 4th of July treats to feature and knew it would translate well to the red, white and blue color scheme. I mean, could these get any cuter? I think not.
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
I’m not usually a big marshmallow fan but man this frosting was ridiculous! It was just madness along with the fluffy, cake-like cookie. Just one is definitely an indulgence but it is well worth every bite!
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Funfetti Whoopie Pies
recipe from Sweet Peas Kitchen

For the Whoopie Pies:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
White of 1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/3 cup sprinkles, plus more for garnish

For the Marshmallow Filling:

1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg and egg white, and beat until incorporated.  Add half of flour mixture and half of milk to creamed mixture; beat at medium speed just until blended.  Add remaining half of flour, milk and vanilla; beat until blended. Fold in sprinkles.

4. Drop by heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Bake, one baking sheet at a time, until cakes begin to crack and are firm to the touch, 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and slide the parchment paper, with the cakes, onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Use a thin metal spatula to lift the cookies off the parchment paper.

5. To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the marshmallow fluff and the vegetable shortening, on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

6. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla and beat on low until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.

7. To assemble, turn half of the cooled cookies upside down, flat side facing up. Drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie, leaving a 1/4-inch plain edge.

8. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie.

9. Roll edges in sprinkles. Repeat until all cookies are used. Yields: 12 whoopie pies.

Recipe linked to Cast Party Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.

Pad Thai

27 Jun

Chicken Pad Thai
Joel and I love Pad Thai but for some reason it’s something that I have never attempted to make at home. I love cooking Asian food and do probably once a week so naturally this has been in the back of my mind to whip up. I think it just seemed intimidating but turns out it’s just as easy as any other Asian recipe I have made.
Chicken Pad Thai
And I recently found out about an awesome Asian market in our downtown area so I didn’t have to worry about any unusual ingredients called for in the recipe. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I came home with after my first trip. There was almost an entire aisle of just noodles so you can only imagine how many types came home with me….let’s just say the pantry is stocked for quite awhile. Some of them aren’t in English so I have no idea what to do with them but they looked super delicious!

Ok, I totally got distracted by noodles. Not the first time and probably not the last. Anyway…the Pad Thai ended up tasting incredibly authentic and we were very pleasantly surprised with the outcome. And it was really pretty which made this meal even more appetizing.
Chicken Pad Thai
Chicken Pad Thai
recipe from New Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens

8 ounces rice noodles (Vietnamese bahn pho or Thai sen-mee)
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. grated lime peel
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Asian chili sauce with garlic
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size strips
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup sliced green onion
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro

1. Place noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot water to cover them; let stand for 10-15 minutes or until the noodles are pliable but not soft. Drain well in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, for peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel; set aside.
Toppings for Pad Thai
3. In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar and chile sauce; stir until smooth. Set aside.

4. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook and stir about 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl.

5. Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, just until set. Remove egg from skillet; chop egg and set aside.

6. In same skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and the sprouts; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through. Divide noodles mixture among four plates. Sprinkle each serving with egg, peanut topping, green onion and cilantro.

Recipe linked to Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday, What I Whipped Up Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.

Patriotic Fruit Skewers

22 Jun

4th of July Fruit Skewers
If you are looking for a quick, easy and cute snack for the 4th of July then I have the thing for you! Red, white and blue fruit skewers! They were super simple to put together and I think they disappeared faster than it took me to make them. It’s great to see kids grab for these fun skewers rather than chips or cookies….pretty much a mom’s dream come true!
4th of July Fruit Skewers
4th of July Fruit Skewers

1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and dried
Star shaped or mini marshmallows
1 pint blueberries, washed and dried
Wooden skewers

Thread strawberries, marshmallows and blueberries onto the wooden skewers in whatever red, white and blue pattern you desire. I did some with lots of strawberries, some with lots of blueberries….whatever you like.

Recipe linked to Full Plate Thursday, This Week’s Craving, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday and What I Whipped Up Wednesday.

Smoked Corn on the Cob

20 Jun

Smoked Corn on the Cob
We recently had some friends over for dinner to catch up and break out the smoker. We made delicious pulled pork and planned on grilling some corn on the cob for one of the sides. Well, unfortunately the Minnesota wind had a different plan for us. It was ridiculously windy that day which meant no grilling and smoking the meat in the garage red neck style. I didn’t want to just boil the corn so Joel suggested throwing it in the smoker. I searched the internet a bit and found that it is possible to smoke corn.
Smoked Corn on the Cob
Turns out it was super delicious! Joel, who normally doesn’t eat corn on the cob, devoured it. The corn had a slightly smoky flavor and was great slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper. This was a simple recipe and the part that took the longest was shucking the corn and removing the silk…..ugh, I hate that part.

Smoked Corn on the Cob

6 ears of corn
6 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Butter

1. Peel back husks of corn but do not remove them from the corn; remove all the silk. Soak the ears of corn in water for several hours.

2. Dry corn then brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pull husks back over the corn then place in a smoker heated to 225 degrees F. Cook for about an hour and a half. Remove from smoker and remove husks. Serve with butter.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry

18 Jun

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry

It seems like I am always on the hunt for quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals and I definitely found all those things in this dish. It literally only takes 20 minutes because while the rice cooks, you can prep and cook the stir fry. Can’t get much better than that!

We love a really saucy stir fry so when I saw the list of ingredients I knew it would be a hit for our family. The chicken broth and cornstarch slurry along with the teriyaki creates a rich, creamy sauce that is abundant and soaks into the bed of rice.

This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your family’s taste. I decided to add broccoli because I personally don’t think a stir fry should ever be without it. I also tossed in some sliced mushrooms for our fungus loving little man. Add your favorites or just toss in whatever you having in your produce drawer.

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. While rice is simmering, combine shrimp, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, sesame seeds and black pepper in a large plastic food storage bag. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator.

3. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Add red bell pepper, green onions and broccoli; sauté 3 to 4 minutes to soften slightly. Add teriyaki sauce. Add peas, mushrooms and shrimp with seasoning; sauté 4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.

4. Stir cornstarch into chicken broth and add to wok; cook, stirring until mixture boils. Sprinkle with salt. Spoon shrimp and veggie mixture over rice.

 

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

15 Jun

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Ever since devouring politely eating several lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs during a trip to Minneapolis a few months ago, I have had lettuce wraps on my mind and have made several different and unique varieties. I made these yummy buffalo chicken ones when my mom came to visit recently and they were a huge hit. Just a few short years ago, I wouldn’t eat lettuce…not on sandwiches, not a salad and definitely not as a replacement for a tortilla. So, needless to say, it still surprises my mom when I make, eat or crave meals like this. I’m sure she chalks it up to me being difficult.

This is a great meal to have in your back pocket when you need a quick, simple and healthy dinner. The crockpot does all the cooking so the only time this takes is to prep the veggies. As with most lettuce wraps, these are super messy so be prepared for drippy buffalo hands.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
recipe from Skinny Taste

For the chicken:
24 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
1 celery stalk
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic
16 oz fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (I like Louisiana Hot Sauce)

For the wraps:
6 large lettuce leaves, Bibb or Iceberg
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 large celery stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
Crumbled bleu cheese (we used feta since we don’t like bleu cheese)
Light ranch or bleu cheese dressing

1. In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn’t enough). Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

2. Remove the chicken from pot, reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.

3. To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and cheese/dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty TuesdayCast Party Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.

Scallops with Dill Sauce

13 Jun

Scallops with Dill Sauce
This was my first attempt at making scallops and I will be totally honest that I was very concerned about how they would turn out. I was making them for our anniversary dinner along with filet mignon, twice baked potatoes and caesar salad. Since I had a lot of other things going, I wanted to find a simple recipe that I hopefully wouldn’t screw up.

I started with a quick search through my cookbooks and found the perfect recipe almost immediately. When I saw Scallops with Dill Sauce I stopped my search because we are huge dill lovers around here and I happen to be growing some dill in my herb pots on the deck right now. This recipe really could not have been easier or tastier. I whipped up the dill sauce during nap time so that the flavors could mingle. Then all I had to do was brush the scallops with the seasoned butter and throw them under the broiler.
Scallops with Dill Sauce
I watched the scallops very closely since it was my first attempt and I really didn’t want to overcook them. While the recipe states 8-10 minutes, mine only took about 7 minutes to cook to perfection. They were unbelievably sweet and tender. The dill sauce, though simple, was really bright and delicious.

We are traveling to Naples, FL for a family vacation in just a few weeks so I have a strong feeling that this was just a little taste of what is to come for that seafood loving man of mine.
Scallops with Dill Sauce
Scallops with Dill Sauce
recipe from New Cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens)

1 lb. fresh or frozen sea scallops
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika

For Dill Sauce:
2/3 cup mayonaisse (I used the light olive oil kind and it tasted just fine to us)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. snipped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dried dill

1. If time permits, mix dill sauce ingredients together a few hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels. Halve any large scallops. Thread scallops onto four 8- to 10-inch skewers, leaving a 1/4-inch space between pieces. (I skipped this step and just placed them on a baking sheet). Preheat broiler. Place skewers on the greased unheated rack of a broiler pan.

3. In a small bowl stir together melted butter, pepper and paprika. Brush half the mixture over the scallops. Broil about 4 inches form the heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning and brushing with the remaining melted butter halfway through broiling (mine only took about 3 1/2 minutes per side). Serve scallops with dill sauce.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday and Cast Party Wednesday.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots

11 Jun

Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots

We have been all about carrots lately. They are a great vegetable to have on hand since they last forever and you can prepare them in all kinds of ways. My mom has always hated cooked carrots and her grandma always told her “cooked carrots will kill you.” It’s been a running joke throughout our family forever so she always gives me a hard time when I tell her we are having cooked carrots with dinner.

I love the sweet and tangy taste that the sauce lends to the carrots. And they really couldn’t get much easier. Have you noticed a trend of ease with the recipes I share? I’m all about easy meals for weeknights as I’m sure many of you are too.

For hot, summer days I am considering placing all the ingredients in a foil packet and throwing them on the grill.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots
recipe from So Wonderful So Marvelous

2 lbs. carrots {peeled, washed and cut into chunks}
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Herbs and Seasonings {I used salt, pepper and thyme}
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss carrots with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and herbs/seasonings of your choice. Place in a 13 x9 and roast for 20-25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar. After the 20-25 minutes, remove carrots and evenly toss with the honey mixture. Return them to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn

9 Jun

Quinoa Salad
Do any of you have one of those foods that your significant other just won’t eat? No matter what you do? Quinoa is one of those things that Joel will not go for in any shape or form. I knew the Quinoa Black Bean Patties would not go over well with my carnivore husband but I went for it anyway. I thought maybe a Quinoa Salad would be a middle ground that he possibly enjoy. Well, he still didn’t give it a try. I should have known when there was leftover macaroni and cheese in the fridge.
Quinoa Salad

Well I enjoyed this very much. I was originally just planning on mixing in the corn and beans but then I saw a cucumber in the fridge and thought it might be a good addition. Turns out that it totally made the salad for me. This was so simple to throw together and consisted of ingredients I always have on hand. Plus, it’s good for you so it can’t get much better than that!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly into half moons
6 Tbsp. Italian dressing (I like light balsamic vinaigrette)
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce to medium and boil, covered, for 12 minutes or until water is evaporated. Remove from heat, fluff and let sit with lid for 15 minutes.

2. Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and allow to cool.

3. Once cool, mix in black beans, corn, cucumber, Italian dressing and feta. Refrigerate.

5 Fruit Smoothie {Crazy Cooking Challenge}

7 Jun

Today brings back the Crazy Cooking Challenge and the item to make is fruit smoothies or shakes. Today is also a very special day in my personal life. Four years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. It’s hard to believe how fast these four years have gone and how much we have accomplished together. We became homeowners and parents. We went through an incredible amount of happy times and very few hardships. We grew up together and became the wife and husband we wanted and needed to be for each other. So this post is for you Joel. I love and cherish you more than you could ever know. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our big day and the honeymoon.
Hensley252
Joel and his guys. Don’t they look like they belong on the cover of a boy band cd?
Hensley344

Newlyweds.
Hensley455
First dance.
Hensley372
Joel’s “classic” moves.
P6150877
Relaxing at Maho Bay.
P6140777
Trunk Bay, St. John U.S. Virgin Islands.

I wanted to find a way to tie the challenge in with my anniversary so I decided I would search for a tropical smoothie to bring us back to our honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. I ultimately decided on this one because of the coconut and pineapple. A lot of the drinks we enjoyed there included those two ingredients so I thought it was fitting.
5 Fruit Smoothie
I’m so glad I picked this recipe from Made With Pink because it was amazing and just what I was looking for in a smoothie. The coconut and pineapple really jumped out and screamed tropical. The addition of the berries and banana helped round it out and put it over the top. I absolutely love strawberries so I think it would be great with just the pineapple, coconut and lots of strawberries.
5 Fruit Smoothie
5 Fruit Smoothie
recipe from Made With Pink

15 blueberries, frozen
1/2 banana, frozen
10 raspberries, frozen
7 large pineapple chunks, frozen
5 strawberries, frozen
2 Tbsp shredded Coconut
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Greek vanilla yogurt)
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1. Dump everything into a blend and blend until no large chunks are left. If it’s too thick, add more pineapple juice. If it’s too thin, add more frozen fruit and blend.

5 Fruit Smoothie
Photobucket

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,669 other followers