Saturday, July 25, 2009

Deliciously Decadent Dessert

I made blondies and used white chocolate for the first time a few months ago, and loved the flavors together, so I was excited to try this recipe. These blondies include the addition of macadamia nuts - which I love & remind me of my honeymoon to Hawaii, where many sweet and savory dishes include this type of nut. These are so decadent and delicious at any time of the day, I couldn't help but sneak one (or two) for breakfast...they also taste great heated a little topped with vanilla ice cream.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies
Seen on Erin's Food Files; Originally from Emeril Legasse

1/2 pound, plus 1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and rough chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1/2 pound of the butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until a smooth batter is formed. While the machine is running, add the eggs and vanilla extract, until incorporated into the batter.

Sift together 3 cups flour and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until a dough is formed. Very gently, by turning the mixer on and then off, fold the chips and nuts into the dough.

Once the dough is all blended, grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan ("I used a 9x13 pan, and still felt they were sufficiently thick" - I used Erin's suggestion since I realized I didn't have a 9 x 9 pan!) with the remaining butter and dust with the 1tablespoon of flour. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set yet still moist.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Garden Fresh Salsa

I've made homemade salsa a few times - I pretty much use the same basic ingredients - tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeno & cilantro. It's always turned out great, but for some reason, I always end up buying salsa anyways (even though most of it sucks!)

Now that I have tomatoes, cilantro & jalapenos (as well as WAY too many other varieties of hot peppers) in my garden, I figured there wasn't a better time to make homemade & homegrown salsa. I found this recipe and knew it would be great - although it uses the same ingredients that I always use myself, it roasts everything. I LOVE roasted veggies - it just makes any veggie taste better. This recipe was so easy, and the veggies roast itself, so it doesn't require any additional hands-on time than a regular salsa would. I only made one change, and I can't get enough of this stuff - I've made two batches in the past week!

Roasted Tomato Salsa

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 large white onion
4-6 cloves roasted garlic
2-3 large jalapenos, deseeded & deveined, cut in half lengthwise
freshly ground black pepper & kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

drizzle of lime juice, maybe juice of half a lime

Heat oven to 400°F . Gently toss the tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos with the olive oil in a large bowl. Alternatively, use spray oil to gently coat the veggies (You just don’t want it to burn). Season with a little freshly ground black pepper. After they are nicely coated arrange in a single layer, tomatoes cut-side facing up, across a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes, (depending upon the size of your tomatoes). You’ll know they’re ready to come out when they start to get a nice color and the tomatoes start to collapse. Remove from the oven and cool.

Puree cooled tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapenos. Alternatively, puree half of the veggies and hand chop the remainder and combine. Season with salt, lime juice and stir in the cilantro. Refrigerate.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meatless Mexican

I was in the mood for Mexican...but not really feeling like meat - so something featuring black beans seemed very appetizing. I came across this recipe for enchiladas - I've never made them meatless before, but I was kind of surprised how satisfying they were, so we didn't miss the meat at all. As with most enchilada recipes, it makes a lot of food, so I prepared the filling and made half one night, and reserved the rest for another night's dinner. The black bean filling would also be great on top of nachos or as a dip. Also...all of my enchilada recipe pictures seem to look the same, but they are all different, yet very good!

Black Bean Enchiladas
Found on Annie's Eats; Originally from Two Novice Chefs, One Tiny Kitchen


For the bean filling:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn kernels
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup salsa
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. lime juice

For the enchiladas:

3 cups black bean filling (above)
8-10 medium flour tortillas
shredded Mexican cheese (about 2 cups)
1 can enchilada sauce


To make the black bean filling, place the black beans in a medium sized mixing bowl. Partially mash the beans. In a medium sized skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes. Mix beans, corn, tomato, salsa, cumin, and chili powder into the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Stir until cheese is melted.

Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°. To make the enchiladas, spoon some of the black bean mixture down the center of a tortilla. Top with some cheese, fold sides over the filling and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over the tops of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese and bake 2-3 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Choose Between A Cheesecake Or Brownie...

....when you can have both! I've made cheesecake brownies before, and I've never been disappointed. You have the best of both worlds - chocolate goodness combines with a fruity/creamy cheesecake layer - yum! This recipe was rich and delicious, and you can change it up by using different chocolate for the brownie mixture, or different fruit preserves for the cheesecake layer.

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Beantown Baker

makes 25 brownies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped I used 4- oz dark chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves/jam I used strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Drop dollops of raspberry preserves into the cheesecake batter. Gently swirl batters with a butter knife, giving the brownies a swirly look.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.

Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies - With A Twist

After receiving the July edition of Cooking Light, I quickly spotted a must-try cookie recipe. Anything with banana and chocolate is right up my alley, plus I liked the healthy addition of oats and the small amount of butter used. The hubby and I loved these - not only were they an easy snack, but they were a great quick breakfast with a cold glass of milk, or a delicious dessert broken into pieces on top of vanilla ice cream. My only mistake was not doubling up the recipe!

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cooking Light

2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)


1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium) I used 2 bananas
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 115
Fat: 3.6g (sat 2g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 2g
Carbohydrate: 19.1g
Fiber: 1.2g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 121mg
Calcium: 10mg

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fresh & Fruity

There are so many delicious ice cream recipes that I am dying to try with my new ice cream maker....but I decided to go the healthier route this time. This recipe for Mango Sorbet seemed like a perfect and light refresher for these 90 degree days. The result was a beautiful orange frozen treat that was full of sweetness and flavor; and it is a great alternative to more decadent frozen desserts. So go ahead, and sneak in that extra serving :)

Fresh Mango Sorbet
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Recipe Booklet

Preparation: 10-15 minutes, 25-30 minutes chilling time, optional 2 hours to ripen in freezer
Makes about ten 1/2 cup servings

4 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled, pitted and cubed
2-3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
6 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice I used half of each

Combine the mango cubes, sugar, corn syrup and lemon juice in a blender or food processor that has been fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to chop, then process until thick and smooth, scraping jar or work bowl as necessary with a spatula.

The mango puree may be made up to one day ahead; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Turn the machine on, pour mango puree into freezer bowl through ingredients spout and mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes.

Nutritional Info per serving:

Calories 190 (2% from fat)
Carbs 49 g
Protein 1 g
Fat .0 g
Sodium 27 mg
Sat.fat & cholesterol 0 g