"For I was hungry & you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink..."

Matthew 25:35

Monday, September 10, 2012

Man Pleasing Chicken

man pleasing chicken. when i informed the husband of the name of this dish he said, "well, i'll be the judge of that."

because, after all, he is a man.

 so he sliced into his portion, worked it around & declared, "i am a man & i am pleased."

i guess that's that.

Man Pleasing Chicken (via witty in the city)
You Need:
Boneless chicken thighs, 1.5 lb package
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1 tblsp rice wine vinegar
fresh rosemary
salt & pepper

Directions: Pre heat oven to 450 & line a baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, combine the dijon mustard, maple syrup & rice wine vinegar.
Place the chicken thighs into the foil lined baking dish & salt & pepper them. Pour the maple & mustard mixture over the thighs, turning to fully coat.

Place the thighs into the oven, uncovered, & bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165. Baste the chicken thighs with the sauce 1/2 way through. Once the thighs are fully cooked, remove from the oven & let rest for 3 minutes

Plate your chicken, top with some more sauce & sprinkle with the fresh rosemary (dried works as well). Feed it to your man. or woman. or child.

It'll please.
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Salted Caramel Brownie Pies

 these may very well be one of the best things i've ever eaten. no lie. they are sweet & salty & chewy & just perfect.

i've made them twice in 2 weeks & i kid you not, people were tripping over themselves to get to them.

i brought them to work & i now have an office holiday day named after me. 

no i don't. that's a lie. but i should. 

i also brought them to a cookout & birthday party & again, gone.

Salted Caramel Brownie Pies (via the perfect bite)
Brownie Cookie:
12 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
3 tblsp butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted

Salted Caramel Creme Filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup caramel

Directions for Brownie Cookies: Pre heat oven to 350. Place 7 oz of the chocolate & the butter in a microwave safe dish & heat in 15 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted & smooth. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar & vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer & beat until pale & creamy- 5 minutes or so. Add in the flour, baking powder & melted chocolate & remaining 5 oz of chopped chocolate & mix to combine. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Spoon 2 tblsp of the mixture onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Make sure to leave a good 2-3 inches between each cookie as they do expand. Bake for 8-10 minutes until puffed & cracked.
Cool completely on trays or allow to cool for 5 minutes & then use a very thin spreading spatula to remove from the cookie sheet & place on wax paper. Allow cookie to cool completely.

Directions for Salted Caramel Creme: Place butter in a bowl & beat until creamed. Add in the confectioner sugar & salt & beat until combined. Add int he caramel & beat until fluffy.

Spread about 1-2 tblsp of the caramel creme on the underside of one of the brownie cookies....
& then place a second brownie cookie, bottom side down, on top.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. If your kitchen is hot you can store these in the fridge- just make sure to bring them back to room temp before serving.

I doubt, unless you stuff your pies, that you'll use all the filling. So you can store the leftover in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Just bring it back to room  temp & whip it up before using.
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Apple Cinnamon Chip Zucchini Bread Muffins

i have always loathed zucchini bread. when i mention this people always say things like, "what? why? you can't even taste the zucchini!" & "blah blah blah!" & "zucchini is my lover!" & other such nonsense.

but it's true. perhaps it's a complex because it contains my arch nemesis. perhaps it's because as a child my mother would make me tend to the stupid garden that only seemed to produce zucchini & squash; & then after making us choke down said zucchini & squash for dinner EVERY NIGHT (with onions!!!) she would put me in charge of blending the zucchini so she could make some terribly dense, & often times over or undercooked, zucchini bread.

it was a painful existence, my childhood. & those summers of dinnertime & breakfast hell have always stuck with me.

i'd like to take a minute here & clarify that my mother is pretty great. she made sure we were fed, clothed, bathed & had a healthy fear of lying & hell. but a fabulous baker of zucchini bread she was not. no, no she was not.
anyway- now that i'm a grown up & i'm no longer forced to eat zucchini & squash (VICTORY), i don't. ever. & it's pretty awesome.
but a lovely co-worker gifted me with some zucchini recently & i wanted to use it. so i got to work, scouring Pinterest, for the best zucchini bread recipe i could find. i finally tossed a few together & tweaked them a bit & came up with my own....& i love it.

Apple Cinnamon Chip Zucchini Bread Muffins (mainly via mel's)
You Need:
1 - 1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded & wrung through a towel to get rid of excess liquid (1ish lbs)
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tblsp ground Flax Seed
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 apple pie spice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek yogurt
1 tblsn lemon juice
6 tblsp butter, melted
1/2 Hershey's cinnamon chips (optional or use chocolate chip)

Directions: Pre heat oven to 375 & line muffin tins with liners.
Chop off the ends of the zucchini & finely shred, including the peel. Place the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel, wrap it up (like a candy wrapper) & wring out all of the excess liquid. You should get anywhere from 1 - 1 1/2 cups- set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda & all the spices. In a smaller bowl whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice & melted butter until combined.

Fold the yogurt mixture & zucchini into the flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in the cinnamon chips (you can even use nuts or chocolate chips or craisins or raisins- mix it up) & spoon into the muffin cups.

Bake until golden brown, 15-20 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

Cool on a wire rack or eat them warm....with butter.

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Basil Mint Pesto

pesto is my go to. i'm not huge on tomato sauce so when i need something to slap onto my pasta, i reach for a jar of pesto. it's also what i add to my grilled cheese & homemade pizza when i want to be fancy.

pesto is fancy.

& easy. which is why i really have no excuse not to make it 100% of the time. but Barilla does a pretty good job & the jar is so pretty...

anyway- when i have the energy to expend this is how i do it.

Basil Mint Pesto
You Need:
2 cups fresh basil, packed
mint leaves, about 8-10
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, fresh is best but i use the other stuff in a pinch
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste 

Directions: Toss the basil, mint leaves, pine nuts, garlic & grated cheese into your food processor. Pulse until your mixture is coarsely ground. Season with the salt & pepper, to taste, & then, with your food processor running, stream in the olive oil.

& you're done. 

you can use it right away, store it in a lidded container in the fridge for a week'ish, or freeze it. pasta, pizza, grilled cheese, toast, potatoes, etc etc etc. you really can't go wrong with pesto.

p.s. if you don't have a food processor then you can simply dump everything (all at once) into your blender or one of those small food choppers & go to town. i've done it both ways & my pesto always tastes the same.
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

rice krispie treats are a childhood staple. i'm almost positive that i've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like them.
they're crispy & chewy & sweet.

 & if you make them with browned butter & a sprinkle of salt they're also a little grown up. incredible, the power of butter....& salt.

Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats
You Need:
1 stick unsalted butter (plus extra for the pan)
1- 10 oz bag of marshmallows
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Directions: Butter an 8 in baking dish. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Let it melt, then foam, turn clear golden & finally start to turn brown & smell nutty. Stir frequently whilst this is going on, making sure to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pot. Watch it like a hawk because butter is a cruel friend who will turn on you in an instant.
Once your butter is brown & butty, turn off the heat & stir in the marshmallows. I alsmot guarantee you'll have enough heat to melt them completely, but if not- turn it on low & stir until melted & smooth.
Remove the pot from the stove & stir in the cereal & salt. Quickly spread into the buttered baking dish & press down with a spatula.

Sprinkle a tad more salt on top (if you wish) & allow to cool.

Cut into liberally sized squares & go to town.
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Banana Oatmeal Muffins

 these muffins are healthy & easy. you can also mess around with the recipe & change them up. & there's a 75% change your kids will eat them. happily. shocker.

to change them up you can use different flavored Greek yogurt & toss in some spices. so many options.
Banana Oatmeal Muffins (adapted from kuwtj
You Need:
 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup Greek yogurt (i used Chobani apple cinnamon)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (or use Splenda or 2 tbls Stevia)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 bananas
1 tsp apple pie spice*
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
2 tblsp ground flax seeds*
* optional- make it your own

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 & line your muffin tins with FOIL liners. 
Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor & blend until the oats are smooth. (i had no issues dumping it all in my Ninja food processor but if you've got a stodgy old blender then add the oats a cup at a time or so & stop to stir)
Spoon the batter into your liners & bake 20-25 min (check them with a toothpick around 20)


let them cool for as long as you can (read: 15 seconds) & insert them into your face hole. feel good about it too because they're pretty healthy.
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S'mores Whoopie Pies

normally i'd be all, "blah blah blah...::something witty::....etc etc...::BAM::.." but these things are so good that i'll skip all that.

S'mores Whoopie Pies (via Cookies&Cups)
You Need:
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (do it yourself or buy the Nabisco box)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup  + 2 tblsp milk
1 tsp basking soda
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
6 (full sized, 1.55 oz) Hershey Bars

Marshmallow Buttercream (see recipe below)

Directions: Pre heat oven to 375 & line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour & baking powder in a bowl & set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the milk, vanilla, baking soda & vinegar. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the butter & brown sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs & beat until incorporated.
Turn the speed down to low & slowly add in the flour & milk mixtures. Turn the mixer up to medium speed & beat for an addtl 1 minute.
Using a small cookie scoop, drop the mixture, 2 inches apart, by heaping tblsp onto the baking sheets. 
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let the pies cool on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes & then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once all your pies are baked, melt the Hershey bars in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Stir & zap, stir & zap until the chocolate is melted.
Line up your pies & flip 1/2 of them over. Spoon a tblsp sized portion onto each pie & spread to the edge.

Then fill a piping bag with the prepared Marshmallow Buttercream, flip over the other 1/2 of your pies & pipe on the frosting.


 it'll look pretty awesome:


Top your frosting side with the chocolate side & then flip back over (i know,  know- what for? it just worked)

store those bad boys in an airtight container for up to 5 days....JK JK! yeah right! just EAT THEM RIGHT NOW!
but seriously- you can store them or even put them in the fridge. it was hot in my house so i popped them in the fridge overnight & took them out the next morning a few hours before i served them.

people raved & asked for my hand in marriage.

Marshmallow Buttercream
You Need:
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tblsp milk

Directions: Mix the butter & Fluff on medium speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar & milk & mix until everything is combined & fluffy. Done.
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Weight Watchers Chocolate Muffins

 no, i haven't been in a coma. no, i haven't been vacationing all summer. no, i don't have a life. 
but what i do have is a family, a job & love for young adult literature. & i'm lazy. so there you go.

weight watchers recipes. i used to be all like, "lolz- weight watchers is only for people that need to lose weight & can't eat whatever they want. i'll never have to worry about that."

if i could punch my 20 year old self in the face i would. you're welcome. wtf right?

i'm a pretty old & mature 28 year old now, who's pushed out 2 kids, watched her metabolism go to shit & has a passionate love affair with Nutella, carbs & all things salty. so weight watchers recipes? come at me bro.

Weight Watcher Chocolate Muffins 
You Need:
1 box of sugar free chocolate cake mix (I used Pillsbury Devil's Food)
1 15oz can Pumpkin (Libby's)
8 oz of chocolate chips
1 tblsp instant coffee

Directions: Pre heat oven to 350. Mix together the cake mix, instant coffee & pumpkin in the bowl of your stand mixer. 2-3 minutes is ideal. Stir in 6 oz of the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into your muffin cups (it's pretty dense & doesn't rise very majestically so feel free to fill em' up)
Toss a few choc chips on top of each muffin & bake for 20-25 min (check around 20)


then EAT ALL THE MUFFINS!!! i think these = 1-2 WW points per muffin (give or take). & they taste fabulous.
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