Minute Corn : {Trick to Fast Steamed Corn}

Cooking dinner with the kids running around and my husband still at work can get a little crazy.  Why is it they always want to play in the kitchen when I am in there??  Anyway, my kids love steamed corn on the cob and my mother in law taught me this quick and easy way to steam corn…I call it minute corn…really its a minute and a half but whos counting?

Here is how to make it:
Wet a single paper towel (Don’t wring it out) Wrap the wet paper towel over each ear of corn
Place in the microwave on high for a minute thirty and cook one ear of corn at a timeAnd voila, steamed corn!

Drooling for Doughnuts : {Redbook Magazine Feature}

A few months back I featured a recipe about my knock-off of the Cronut….the Kronut.  Well this month Redbook Magazine came out with 10 delicious donut recipes and they featured my Kronut as one of them!  Be sure to check it out and all the other great donut recipes featured!  Also be sure to like and share it!

http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/tips-advice/homemade-doughnut-recipes-5#slide-3

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Apple Cake w/Cinnamon Sugar Topping {Magnolia Bakery}

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When on maternity leave we had lots of visitors who brought us meals, one of them being my sweet Grandma.  When she brought us food she left this can of Duncan Hines Country Apple Pie Filling for dessert saying we could mix it/top it on almost anything!  I have never bought pre-mixed pie filling and thought it was a sweet “Grandma thing” to bring but didn’t know how to really use it….so I just put it in my cupboard and forgot about it.  But then when looking for fall recipes and flipping through my favorite Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I found this recipe and it called for canned apples.  I figured canned apples and canned apple pie filling weren’t that much different so I made the cake and it was delish and very moist!  The difference is that I didn’t add sugar to the batter because the pie filling already had sugar…but everything else is the same.  It’s a perfect cake to be sliced, served warm with coffee or tea for breakfast or dessert!  This is also a good loaf cake to give as a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (20 ounce) can sliced apples, drained and patted dry
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I skipped this since the canned pie filling had sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

*Tip:  If you want a really crispy cinnamon/sugar top then really load it on.  The amount called for in the recipe does not produce a super sweet crust but is still good.

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, and eggs, using an electric mixer on medium speed; beat for about 3 minutes or until light and thick.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/oil mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth.
  • In another bowl, toss the apples with half the cinnamon-sugar topping; then stir half the apples into the batter. (In my case I skipped this and just added the canned apple pie filling to the batter and a tsp of cinnamon.  I tried to leave as much of the jelly from the filling out of the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 10-inch tube pan.
  • Drop the remaining apples on top of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour.
  • Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

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{Pumpkin} Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Fall is my favorite season by far!  So it’s time for the fall recipes and that means PUMPKIN!  I was making some Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies the other day and decided they needed to be pumpkin instead!  Last Fall I made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips as an experiment and my brother loved it!  So I had to combine those two ingredients again this year but in cookie form.  The result is a soft, fluffy pumpkin-y cookie that is delish and light!

Ingredients:  

{Follow the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips directions but add pumpkin and spice to butter/sugar mixture}

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin pureé
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice

IMG_2297IMG_2302IMG_2321The cookies come out puffier, softer, and more cake like than normal cookiesIMG_2318IMG_2324Dip and enjoy!

Apple Cake w/Cinnamon Sugar Topping {Magnolia Bakery}

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When on maternity leave we had lots of visitors who brought us meals, one of them being my sweet Grandma.  When she brought us food she left this can of Duncan Hines Country Apple Pie Filling for dessert saying we could mix it/top it on almost anything!  I have never bought pre-mixed pie filling and thought it was a sweet “Grandma thing” to bring but didn’t know how to really use it….so I just put it in my cupboard and forgot about it.  But then when looking for fall recipes and flipping through my favorite Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I found this recipe and it called for canned apples.  I figured canned apples and canned apple pie filling weren’t that much different so I made the cake and it was delish and very moist!  The difference is that I didn’t add sugar to the batter because the pie filling already had sugar…but everything else is the same.  It’s a perfect cake to be sliced, served warm with coffee or tea for breakfast or dessert!  This is also a good loaf cake to give as a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (20 ounce) can sliced apples, drained and patted dry
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I skipped this since the canned pie filling had sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

*Tip:  If you want a really crispy cinnamon/sugar top then really load it on.  The amount called for in the recipe does not produce a super sweet crust but is still good.

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, and eggs, using an electric mixer on medium speed; beat for about 3 minutes or until light and thick.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar/oil mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth.
  • In another bowl, toss the apples with half the cinnamon-sugar topping; then stir half the apples into the batter. (In my case I skipped this and just added the canned apple pie filling to the batter and a tsp of cinnamon.  I tried to leave as much of the jelly from the filling out of the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 10-inch tube pan.
  • Drop the remaining apples on top of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour.
  • Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Cocoa & Pumpkin Fruit & Nut Bars {Paleo}

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I am a snacker…especially at work.  This is because I get up so early (3am) that “normal meal times” sorta go out the window.   So I am always looking for a quick snack that is somewhat healthy.  But of course I often fail and go for whatever is easy and close.  The traditional granola bar frustrates me because it is usually loaded with tons of bad sugars and unwanted extras….or is super expensive!  So after seeing this fruit and nut bar recipe (compare to lara bars) on fitsugar.com I was inspired to make my own batch, make a few changes, and add some other flavors!  I like this recipe because it is super easy to modify with your preferred fruits, nuts, spices, etc.

Ingredients: {Yields approx. 12 Bars}

  • 2 Cups Nuts (I used 1 1/2 cup almonds/1/2 cup walnuts)
  • 18 Large pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used 1/4 cup raisins & 1/4 cup apricots)
  • 2 tbsp  Spice(s) of choice!  (I split the batch and did one with pumpkin pie spice and the other raw cocoa)

*You can also add unsweetened coconut flakes to add more flavor, texture and thicken the bar OR if you have a sweet tooth you can add some dark chocolate chips.

Directions:  {So easy to make}

  • Combine fruit and nuts and process in food processor approx. 2 minutes until everything is finely chopped.
  • You may need to process fruits and nuts separately (depending on food processor size) and then combine by kneading together with your hand (which is what I did).
  • Place mixture between wax paper and roll out until 1/2 inch thick.  Try and roll into a rectangle which will help with cutting even bar shapes.  To keep the same shape you may need to cut off uneven sides and re-roll them in the center of the mixture.
  • Freeze rectangles for 1 hour to solidify mixture a little more, then cut, and wrap individually in plastic wrap!

*Keep them in the fridge.  Also be careful not to freeze longer than an hour in the wax paper or it will stick to the bars.  You can also use plastic wrap instead of wax paper.

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Thyme for Lemon Chicken

IMG_2238Clearly I love lemons and lemon recipes.  I’m throwin’ it back this Thursday with one of the first recipes I ever came up with years ago.  I was cooking in my now mother-in-laws kitchen for my then boyfriend, and trying to come up with something that would impress him.  I had no idea what thyme was, or what it tasted like….but I cook like my mom…just throw it in!  It wasn’t as “put together” the first few times I made it….but by now I have it down.

Healthier Options:

The combo of the thyme, lemon juice, and olive oil is what really makes this dish….how you cook it is up to you.  When I make it I cook it in olive oil on the pan.  But it can also be baked and drizzled with olive oil instead of dredged in it.

Ingredients : {Makes 4 Servings}

  • 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Thyme
  • Pepper (8-10 dashes)
  • Salt (4 turns on the grinder)
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 3/4 cup Olive oil

Directions:

IMG_2215Combine 1/2 cup of olive oil with the juice of 2 lemons in a shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and thyme.IMG_2220Dredge chicken in olive oil/lemon mixture then dip in the seasoned crumbs.
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Heat the remaining oil on medium-high heat and place chicken in.  (Make sure oil is heated before putting in chicken)
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Cook approx. 5-7 minutes per side on medium-high heat until chicken is fully cooked and crumbs are golden brown (or crispier if you like it like that).  My stove goes from 1-6 and I cooked it on a 4 if that helps haha.  IMG_2231After flipping the chicken squeeze the last of the lemon juice on the breasts (but make sure not to squeeze the juice into the hot oil…bad news…just on the chicken itself.  Make sure to only flip once so you don’t loose the crumbs.IMG_2232Place chicken on paper towel to soak up the excess olive oil.  (And I totally fished out the crispy pieces that fell off the chicken because they are the best part!)IMG_2239

A few of my favorite things {This Week}

Favorite things wk5Links:

Maple Pecan Blondies w/Maple Butter Glaze

ilycouture.com Wifey Sweatshirt

27 DIY Beauty Hacks Every Girl Should Know

 

Kronut : {A Croissant Donut}

IMG_1403Unless you have been living under a rock then you have definitely heard of the CRONUT by Dominique Ansel Bakery!  It’s the newest pastry that combines the light flaky layers of a croissant with the round fried deliciousness of a donut!  The creator of the Cronut has not released the recipe yet so there are lots of copycats out their trying to create this treat!….and I am one of them!   For my Kronut (spelled differently for copyright reasons), I basically just used a croissant recipe and made the rest up from watching Dominique Ansel make them on Jimmy Fallon….from what I am getting it’s a croissant and the only thing different is that it is fried (instead of baked) in a donut shape and topped or filled with a variety of glazes, etc.

The Good News:  They were delish!  They tasted best fresh, I preferred the Kronut holes, and the best combo by far was the strawberry & cream Kronut (pictured above).

The Bad News:  They take FOREVER to make (3 days!)  Worth it?  YES!

Want to make them but don’t have the time?  A cheat/faster way to make them is to use a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (of course the taste will be a bit different) and pick up the recipe at step 7.

Let’s get started……..

Ingredients:

{For the Dough} Thank you to finecooking.com for the Classic Croissant Recipe

  • 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
  • 5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2-1/4 tsp. table salt
  • Oil (Ansel uses grape seed oil but I only had Veggie oil)

{For the Butter Layer}

  • 10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

Directions:

Step 1:  {Make the Dough} Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured 10-inch dinner plate. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

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Step 2: {Make the Butter Layer} After making the dough, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 5- to 6-inch square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. Pound the butter until it’s about 7-1/2 inches square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin, refrigerate.
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IMG_1126IMG_1145Step 3: {Combine butter & dough}  The next day, unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-1/2-inch square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough. Fold the flaps of dough over the butter like an envelope, stretching lightly. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (A complete seal ensures butter won’t escape.)IMG_1223IMG_1225 IMG_1227 Step 4: {Roll Out}  Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.IMG_1236Roll the dough until it’s 8 by 24 inches. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.IMG_1322

Step 5: {Creating those flaky layers} Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 8 by 24 inches. Fold the dough in thirds again, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes.

Step 6:  {Repeat/last time} Give the dough a third rolling and folding. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate overnight.

Step 7: {The Next Morning}  Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.  Roll the dough out again until it is about 1/2″-3/4″ thick.  Cut them into donut shapes. *Tip: Cutter should not be dull or it can smoosh the layers together too much and they won’t pop up correctly when frying.  IMG_1324 IMG_1325 IMG_1326Step 8: {Fry em up!}  Heat oil (I used a fryer but a pan is fine) to 350 degrees and fry approx. 2-3 minutes per side.  Once done, put on paper towels to absorb excess oil and cool.  IMG_1336 IMG_1343 IMG_1353 IMG_1354Step 9: {Decorate}  Now the fun part!  You can fill these, cut them in half and stuff, roll them, or glaze them!  I made a lemon glaze, orange glaze, raspberry glaze, chocolate glaze (semi-sweet), and plain glaze.  I also rolled some in sugar, and some in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Half of them I injected crème pâtissière (a vanilla custard) because Ansel injects his with something so I though I would try it.  But hands down MY FAVORITE was cutting them in half, rolling them in sugar, and stuffing with piped fresh whipped cream and berries.

Step 10: {Glaze Recipes} The glazes I made are simple and fresh…but of course you can play with them if you want a different flavor.  I combine the ingredients until it is the desired consistency:

  • Lemon Glaze: Fresh lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar.
  • Orange Glaze: Orange juice mixed, orange zest, mixed with powdered sugar (This isn’t a very “orangey” flavor so if you want to increase it you can add orange liquor or orange juice from concentrate).
  • Berry Glaze:  (I used raspberries but this will work for any berry)  Purée berries (I used my baby food maker), you may need to add a little water, then mix purée with powdered sugar.
  • Plain Glaze:  Powdered sugar, cold water, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate Glaze: I used Martha’s recipe but it is simple as well (chocolate chips and heavy cream)
  • Whipped Cream Recipe:  I used this recipe and trust me fresh whipped cream is SO much better than canned!
  • Crème Pâtissière:  I used this recipe but I don’t feel like injecting the Kronuts with this really added anything…I should have injected whipped cream if anything.

Good luck creating your own fun and tasty toppings and KRONUTS!

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Glitzy Ritzy {Baked} Chicken

IMG_0712Yesterday I posted how to make Toaster Treats with Ritz Crackers.  Well now I have a ton of broken and leftover Ritz!  So I decided to make some Crispy Ritz Chicken, enjoy!

Ingredients:

-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

-3 Fresh Packs of Ritz (Approx. 36 crackers)

-1/2 tsp pepper

-1 Cup Cheddar Cheese

-1tbls butter

-3 tbls of olive oil

-1 tbls minced garlic

Directions:

IMG_0670Crumple the Ritz in a medium sized bowl.
IMG_0678 Add the Cheese and pepper.IMG_0679 MixIMG_0682 In a small bowl mix oil, melted butter, and garlic.IMG_0683 Wash chicken prior to dipping.IMG_0686 Dip chicken in oil mixture, then into ritz crumbs.

 (You will really need to press the crumbs onto the chicken a few times to really coat it)

IMG_0687Place in greased glass dish, then bake at 475 degrees for 20-25 minutes

(Depending on how crispy you like it)

IMG_0695Flip halfway through cooking.
IMG_0711My favorite part is the crispy pieces so I let mine go to 25minutes but don’t let it go longer or the chicken will get dried out. IMG_0714 I forgot to grease the pan haha! But it didn’t bother us…we just sprinkled the crispy pieces on top of our chicken.

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