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Friday, December 9, 2011

Nutter Butter Truffles

Truffles. . . chocolatey, elegant, decadent, and with this recipe EASY and FUN!


3 Ingredients!

1 package Nutter Butter Cookies
8 oz. Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
1 bag good quality Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Yields 30-32 truffles

Directions:

In a food processor, grind up all but 5 nutter butter cookies.  With a wooden or silicone spoon, mix in cream cheese.  

Using a 1 tablespoon scoop - line these little guys up on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  They should be about 1" rounds.  Pop these in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the next step.


Melt chocolate chips either in a double boiler or in the microwave.  If in the microwave, make sure it is at 50% power and you are checking and stirring every 30 seconds until melted.  

Dip each ball into the chocolate using a fork so that the chocolate drips off and place back on wax or parchment paper to harden.  


Once they are all dipped, use the remaining chocolate to "decorate".  Drizzle the extra chocolate using a fork. It not only looks pretty and professional, but helps cover up any imperfections!


Let these harden in the fridge overnight, or for at least 6 hours.  Serve at room temperature. 

Chocolatey Crunch Outside - Creamy, Peanut Buttery Inside!

Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tahitian Vanilla and Lemon Creme Fruit Tartlettes

Mini desserts are all the rage and these delightful tarts are sweet, tangy, fruity and cute to boot!


Strawberry, Mandarin Orange, Blueberries
Kiwi, Blueberries, Mandarin Orange
Blackberry, Strawberry, Kiwi
Play around with the filling and use your favorite fruits.  


Ingredients:
Shortbread Tart Shells (go ahead and cheat - store bought are just as delish)
** Recipe yields 36-40 tarts so purchase accordingly
8 oz. Cream Cheese (reduced fat works well)
14 oz.  Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 Lemons - zest of one lemon and juice  = 1/3 of a cup
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract 
1/2 -1 teaspoon Tahitian Vanilla dried seeds
1/2 cup Apricot Jam




Directions:
Using a mixer or food processor, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth.   It helps to have your cream cheese at room temperature.  Add in the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and vanilla beans.  Don't over mix - you don't want this to be too runny!

Line your tarts up and start filling assembly line style!  Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling into each tart and top with different combinations of fruit.  





In a saucepan, heat the jam and a splash of water.  Stir until jam is completely dissolved.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the tart with the apricot glaze making sure to completely cover all of the fruit.  This will not only give it that professional looking, glossy, pretty shine, but this step will also ensure that your tart doesn't dry out!  Fun tip huh?   


Pop these in the fridge for 30 minutes to1 hour to set up.  Serve at room temperature on the same day if possible.  They tend to get a bit soft with the filling after 8-10 hours.






Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stylishly Simple Side Dish - Pearled Couscous

I have fallen in love. . .with Pearled Couscous.  You get more of a nutty bite since these gems since they are pearl shaped.  This side dish is easy to prepare and can be dressed up in many different ways.  


Serve it up warm or at room temperature.  If you are going to refrigerate this, I'd suggest re-heating the couscous separately and then adding your toppings.  Play around with your ingredients with the Seasons and experiment with different fruits and nuts. 




Suggested Ingredients:


Pearled Couscous - Plain or Tri-Color
Dried Cherries, Cranberries, Apricots
Feta Cheese, Gorgonzola, Goat Cheese
Toasted, Sliced Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios
Mandarin Orange Segments, Nectarines, Raspberries, Strawberries
Sundried Tomatoes
Fresh veggies
In season fresh herbs
Your favorite salad dressing or vinaigrette


Directions:


Cook Couscous according to package directions - I like to add a generous handful of sea salt and a splash of olive oil to the water.


Drain and spread on a baking sheet to prevent sticking.  I like to add 1/2 of the vinaigrette immediately so it can get soak in - this also prevents clumping.  


Chop and gather your "toppings".  I love a combination of salty and sweet.  Mandarin Oranges, Sundried tomatoes and Feta or try  Dried Cherries, Almonds and Basil.  Last week, I tried this combo with a tangerine vinaigrette - delish.  My usual go to is an easy champagne dressing.  


Sprinkle your toppings, toss with the remaining vinaigrette and enjoy!






Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mango Mousse

Mango Mousse is sweet, tangy, tropical, light dessert perfect for all occasions.  "Whip" up this creamy, dreamy concoction in no time.  Simple ingredients, not a lot of prep time, keeps well in the fridge and always a hit - you really can't go wrong!


Credit goes to Mama Sampath for creating a deliciously stylish mousse without gelatin or eggs!  Yay Mom!


Ingredients:
1 lb mango nectar - this is sold in the can in the Indian Grocery Store
1 can Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk - I like Eagle Brand
8-12 oz. of whipped cream - use Light Cool Whip for a short cut
Sliced fruit to top - use mixed tropical fruit in light syrup (drained) if you are short on time
Toasted, Sliced Almonds to garnish


Directions:
Whip mango nectar and condensed milk until well blended. 
Slowly fold in and incorporate the whipped cream - you want this to be light and fluffy - do not over mix!
Spoon or ladle (depending on the size you choose) into mini cups or bowls.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and fruits.
Top with almonds just before serving - you don't want them to get soggy!


No one will ever believe it only took you minutes and 5 ingredients.
Makes about 30 mini mousse cups or 15 larger.  Keep a few aside for yourself!




Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is my husband's favorite meal -hands down.  He could eat it for lunch and dinner a few times a week.  I think he dreams in ooey gooey cheese!  The recipe below is a slightly healthier twist on a typical eggplant parm in that it is not deep fried and is finished off in the oven.  It's crunchy, saucy, cheesy and it melts his heart everytime!






Ingredients:


1 large Eggplant or a few small Japanese Eggplant
1 Egg
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (Italian Seasoned)
Fresh Mozzerella Cheese 
Parmesan or Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
1 jar or 1 batch Your favorite Tomato Sauce
Fresh Basil for garnish
1/4 - 1/3 cup pesto
Oil for Shallow Frying
Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper




Directions:


Cut eggplant into 1/2" to 3/4" thick slices (I like mine closer to 1/2")
Set up 3 breading stations: 
1 with flour (season  this with salt and pepper)
1 with an egg beaten with a few drops of water
1 with seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs


Heat pan with enough olive oil to just coat the bottom - you don't need a lot.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Warm tomato sauce


Dip eggplant in flour - shake any excess off. Dip into egg wash and then dip into breadcrumbs making sure all sides are covered.  Repeat.


Place dipped and covered eggplant into your pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.  


Place eggplant into one layer on a baking sheet.  Cover every other slice with fresh mozzerella (be sure to squeeze any excess liquid out of the cheese.  Your eggplant will become soggy if you skip this step.  Cover the remaining slices with a thin spread of your favorite pesto.


Warm in oven for 5-7 minutes until the cheese starts to melt. 


Assembly:


Start with some tomato sauce on your plate.  Alternate eggplant with cheese and eggplant with pesto. Layer tomato sauce in between.  End with a piece of eggplant with melted cheese on top.  Garnish with some chopped fresh basil and a sprinkling of shaved Parmesan or Italian Blend Cheese.




Serve piping hot!



Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!



Monday, May 23, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Mini Muffins

These two bite treats combine my love of muffins and donuts!  The muffin itself is not overly sweet and you can play around with the topping with plain sugar, cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar - you get the picture! 




I have made these a few times now and there are never leftovers!  You can make the batter ahead of time and pop these in the oven right before serving.  They are also good the next day.  Anything longer than that and the sugar starts to soak into the muffin - still delish - but not as pretty as a nice dusting of sugar!


Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking power
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk (I have used both 1% and 2% and they taste great either way)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (to brush this on top muffins before dusting with sugar)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, for sprinkling



Directions:


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl beat together sugar and egg until light and fluffy. In small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Pour into sugar/egg mixture and stir until well combined. Add in vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour into mini- muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 10-11 minutes until tester comes out clean.  Note: tops will not brown
Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl. When the muffins are done allow to cool for a few minutes, until you are able to handle them easily. Bursh the tops of the muffins with the melted butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
Original recipe found here: Sugar Donut Muffins

Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Greek Yogurt Fruit Parfaits

These parfaits are a great, light dessert or a delicious way to start the day!  

I'm obsessed with greek yogurt and with the addition of a few ingredients, plain yogurt is turned into a decadent treat.  I've made these parfaits for just myself, brunch for many and dessert for a crowd.  Leftovers do well in the fridge so this can be made a day or so ahead of time.  Just give it a good stir before serving. 

Presentation options are endless!  I served these most recently in wine goblets, but often serve them in shallow bowls with granola, cookies, gingersnaps and even broken up pieces of waffle cone. Let your imagination run wild!



Ingredients:



·         32 ounces greek yogurt
·         1/2 cup honey (I love local Texas honey)
·         4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
·         1/2 to 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·         2-3 cups of fresh fruit - I chose strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Peaches, plums and other stone fruit would be delicious!
Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together and top with fruit and other desired toppings.
*Cookies, Granola, Waffle Cone pieces, Jam, Raspberry or Strawberry Syrup/Sauce

This amount makes 4 large servings or 8 smaller servings.  Eyeball what looks right to you.



Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Banana Pie Shooters

This hardly qualifies for a "recipe", but they follow the theme of mini desserts and were a hit at our Superbowl party.  


These little banana pie shooters can be made a day ahead and taste great the next day if they last that long!




Ingredients:


10-12 Graham Crackers
2-3 tablespoons Butter (melted)
1-2 Bananas
1 container Lite Cool Whip
1 large box Banana Pudding
1% or 2% milk for pudding
*optional - chocolate candy topping


Directions:


Prepare pudding according to directions on box.  Feel free to use any flavor you'd like.  French Vanilla would be great here too.


While the pudding is chilling, crush graham crackers in food processor or with a rolling pin in a ziplock bag.  Mix with 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter and press into bottom of mini-cups.


Top with 2 to 2.5 tablespoons of banana pudding and 2 slices of banana.  


Cover by piping cool whip and top with any candy you'd like - I choose whoppers this time!






Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spinach Souffle in French Bread Cups

I've been on a Pillsbury Dough kick lately. . . this was the first time I used their refrigerated french bread dough and I was pleasantly surprised! 

  
I found this recipe on Picky Palate and adapted it just a bit.  Recipe below

These little bites puffed up and were just as delicious the 2nd and 3rd day re-heated in the toaster oven.  They are great all by themselves and super delish with spicy marinara!



Ingredients:

*I doubled the recipe for a large batch during the Superbowl*

  • 13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped (I used 1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained)
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 oz softened cream cheese (light version works just as well)
  • 1/2 Cup light sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ancho Chile Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese


 Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 10 (for 1 batch) muffin cups with non stick cooking spray.  Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice into about a 3 inch round, I did this by pressing in between my hands.  Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup.  Set aside.

2.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.




3.  Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls.  Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes until just turning brown on edges.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.




Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Italian Spinach Torta


The name is pretty fancy, but this Torta is quite simple to make.  
The lattice top dresses it up and makes a great appetizer
for a crowd or an entrĂ©e for 4-6.  

I whipped one of these up for Christmas Day Brunch
as well as for dinner with company.  

Leftovers, if any, re-heat well in the toaster oven!  

Now, if you have the time and desire, by all means, make your own pie crust.  
If you're looking for a shortcut, Pillsbury makes a great
refrigerated pie crust.  Just roll it out, fill 'er up and top it off.  

Fix yourself a salad and a little dessert while this
bakes up and you'll be good to go!



Original recipe found here 

Ingredients:

Crust
1
box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
Filling
1
box (9 oz)  frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1
cup ricotta cheese (I used low fat)
1/2
cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used a blend of Pecorino and Romano since that's what I had on hand)
1/4
to 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4
teaspoon pepper
1
egg, separated
1
teaspoon water
Directions:

Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 9-inch glass pie pan. Place 1 pie crust in pan; press in bottom and up sides of pan. Trim edges if necessary.
  • Place oven rack in lowest rack position; heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, mix spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, pepper and egg yolk until well blended; spread evenly in crust-lined pan.
  • To make lattice top, cut remaining pie crust into 3/4-inch-wide strips; arrange in lattice design over spinach mixture. Trim and seal edges. In small bowl with fork, beat egg white and water; gently brush over lattice.
  • Bake on lowest oven rack 45 to 50 minutes or until dark golden brown. If necessary, cover torta with foil during last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. (I covered the sides during the last 15 minutes of cooking since mine started to brown sooner) Cool 10 minutes; remove sides of pan.  (don't worry if you don't have a removable torte pan.  The crust is buttery enough that it won't stick to your glass pie 
  • dish.)


Happy Cooking and  Happy Styling!