Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Food Review: Buitoni

I'm adding a fun new element to my blog! Every Thursday I will do a new food review. I have been getting so many fun things to try in the mail, mostly from being part of the Foodbuzz Tastemasters Program, and am looking forward to sharing them all with you.

Today I'm sharing the Buitoni Mushroom Ravioli. WOW! This ravioli comes fresh in the cheese aisle of your grocery store. The flavor is absolutely fantastic. My neighbor, Steph, from Stephanie's Kitchen, and I both got the package in the mail the same day with this pasta and were discussing what kind of sauce would go well with it. We both agreed on a white sauce, probably alfredo, but then when I was getting ready to cook the pasta, I read on the package that it said the flavor is strong enough that you only need to add a little bit of olive oil to serve with. They were right. Any other sauce would be too much and take away from the intense cheese and mushroom. I will definitely be buying these in the future!

I served the ravioli with some french green beans sauteed in a little bit of olive oil. I gave them a few shots of balsamic vinegar spritzer and added some feta. If I had goat cheese I would have added that, but the feta was really good too. This was a great side and an amazing meal! Definitely add this one to your menu next week!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: choclate cream tart

I know what you are thinking...this doesn't look like chocolate cream tart. Well, you aren't crazy! Due to the fact that I couldn't bear to have such a dessert around the house tempting me, and I ran out of time like usual, I did some major modification. I made the chocolate shortbread crust and then topped it with lowfat strawberry yogurt and fresh strawberries. Not as good as it looks, but not a horrible little treat.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Kim of Scrumptious Photography. You really do need to check out her blog. Her tart looks SO good and all of her food photography is absolutely amazing! She is very talented! I'm totally impressed!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: 4 Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

I missed last week's Tuesdays With Dorie and was going to pass on this weeks too until I saw it was bread pudding.

Dorie's 4 Star Chocolate Bread Pudding was chosen by Lauren, of Upper East Side Chronicle. You can get the recipe from her blog or from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook.

I couldn't just make the recipe as it says though. I always have to make my own version of it. So, this time, I halved the recipe so I wouldn't eat it all to start with. I used whole wheat bread! Probably a major "no-no" for bread pudding, but it was "healthier" and still amazing. I used dark chocolate instead of bittersweet and I added caramel bits (those aren't nuts) to the pudding right after it came out of the oven. After I took it out of the oven, I went and ran a few miles because I could feel myself expanding just looking at it. Let me just tell you, the one bite I had when I got back was worth every drop of sweat, every sharp pain from my shin splints, and every mosquito bite I got. As if I could only keep to one bite! Absolutely rich and delicious bread pudding!

Another great recipe from Dorie!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretzel Jell-O!

Don't knock it until you try it! Since I live in the jell-o capital of the world, it was time to add a jell-o recipe to my recipe box. This pretzel jello is more like a dessert than a side dish or salad though. You have the sweet and salty pretzel crust, cream cheese and cool whip middle, and strawberry jello with blended strawberries mixed in for the top. People are always surprised at how amazing this treat really is!

Pretzel Jello

1 3/4 C chopped pretzels
3 T sugar
3/4 C melted butter

mix together, press into a 9x13 pan, and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until firm. Cool completely.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
8 oz Cool Whip

Blend cream cheese and sugar together. Fold in cool whip. Spread over pretzel crust when completely cooled. You need to be sure to seal all the edges with the cream cheese mixture.

6 oz pkg strawberry jell-o
1 C hot water
1 C cold water
16 oz frozen strawberries, mostly thawed.

Blend the strawberries and 1 C cold water until pureed. Dissolve jell-o in 1 C hot water. Mix with strawberries. Let cool, but not set, before pouring over cream cheese layer.

Keep in fridge until jell-o is set.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coconut Cream Macaroons

Happy Easter! I hope everyone ate as much as I did and will share all of their yummy recipes! I made these cookies yesterday for our annual egg hunt with some good family friends. They are a coconut lover's dream cookie!

As you know from many previous posts, I love to find fun seasonal candy to bake with. I found these Coconut Cream Hershey Kisses and had the willpower to stop eating them long enough to make the cookie recipe on the back of the bag. Basically they are coconut macaroons with one of these kisses to top them off after they are done baking.

Hurry out and buy a bag, or better yet, run to the store first thing in the morning and get them 1/2 off! I'll be there getting a few bags for my freezer!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

I seriously need to work on my pie making skills. My crust tasted great, but it was far from pretty. My custard was a little too thick, and I just wasn't in the mood for banana cream pie. Even still, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I mean, I did end up eating a whole piece of the pie!

This recipe was chosen by Amy from Sing For Your Supper. I'm glad I got to practice, but I have a long way too go.

I ate my what do I do with the rest of it???

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Molasses Crinkles and Snickerdoodles

When I asked my husband what kind of cookies he wanted for our Sunday afternoon treat, I didn't really want him to actually say he wanted...I wanted him to say what I wanted, of course! So, he said snickerdoodles and I wanted molasses crinkles just like my Grandpa Chris used to make them. I don't know why he couldn't read my mind and go with it, but he never caught those brain waves I was sending him so I made him his snickerdoodles...and then made my molasses crinkles. I have to say, they made a very nice duo too! Both had such great flavor and texture and when you make them small, like I always do, I was able to eat plenty of both!

I have to tell a little story about my Grandpa Chris. He's not my "real" grandpa, which is why I called him Grandpa Chris. My grandma married him after my real grandpa passed away. But, he is by far, one of the most amazing people I have ever met for so many reasons. He made each granddaughter a beautiful hope chest when we graduated high school. He was an amazing wood-worker and wood-carver. He also was a master cookie maker. My favorites were these little shortbread cookies called Grandma's Nutty Fingers that he would shape by hand all exactly the same. My first year at college he would send me boxes of his homemade cookies in the mail. I loved getting his packages. During that same year, he had some minor surgery done and the antibiotics the doctor put him on after caused him to go completely blind. He was such a trooper though. He was in his 80's and decided to go to a school for the blind so he could learn to get around in his new condition, but it was hard for him and he decided he would rather listen to books on tape than have to try and get around at all. He listened to over 600 books on tape over the next 5 years before he died. Mostly about history and religion. He was probably the smartest man I know. I feel so blessed to have known him.

Molasses Crinkles (my grandpa's recipe, not sure where it came from exactly)

3/4 C shortening
1 C dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add egg and molasses.
Combine flour, salt, and spices. Add to sugar mixture and mix well. Chill dough for 30 minutes. Roll dough into balls and roll the tops of the balls in sugar. Place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart and sprinkle with a couple of drops of water. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Watch closely to not over-bake.

Snickerdoodles (recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)

Don't think I can post the recipe because of publishing rights, but go here to get it!

So, for now, I would like to thank my husband for not reading my mind and doing something I wanted him to do without telling him what it was I wanted. These were some good cookies!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lemon Berry Smoothies

Trying to create something sweet enough to satisfy me, but so I wouldn't feel any guilt after eating it, I came up with a lemon berry smoothie. It is simple and one of the more healthy desserts I have made, but still very refreshing.

It is perfect timing for a smoothie too. Tuesday was my BFF's birthday! I would have posted this then if it wasn't for Tuesdays With Dorie. But, we have been best friends since we were 12! I'm not super old or anything, but that's a long time! The reason why a smoothie is significant is because the first job we ever had was working together at a cute little bread and smoothie shop called Whole Grain. Smoothies were our favorite and I can remember more than one occasion that she would show up at my house when I was having a bad day or for no reason at all, with smoothie in hand. She is always so thoughtful! I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with her. I know we will be friends forever.

This smoothie doesn't even compare to the ones we had loaded with ice cream, especially when we had them with the good cookies or scones that we sold too, but still good nonetheless. Happy Birthday, La! I love you!

Lemon Berry Smoothie

1 1/2 C berries of your choice
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 C water
2 C ice cubes

Blend together until all ice pieces remaining can be sipped through a straw.

I can't wait for summer fruits and veggies! Guess I should let spring come first though, right?!