Friday, May 31, 2013

Mocha Frosted Brownies

First sign you know you are getting old . . .

. . . I was called a "ma'am" today.

I was walking down the aisle at Walmart when some young boys came running around the corner and one of them said "excuse me ma'am," NOT "excuse me miss", he called me "ma'am"

That's it, I'm officially old :)

Times like this call for a good, down-right amazing, dessert.

My mocha frosting reminds me of coffee ice cream.

It has just enough coffee flavor and is perfectly sweet.  It's rich and creamy and pairs perfectly with a chewy chocolate brownie.

I originally made a batch of homemade brownies that claimed to taste just like a box mix, but I thought they tasted horrible.  They were way too bitter and needed way less cocoa and more sugar.  I still have yet to find a chewy homemade brownie recipe that can beat a box mix.  Does anyone have one?

I ended up making a box mix and they were perfect, as always.  So you only get a frosting recipe today and not a brownie recipe. 
Mocha Frosting
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner 
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 tsp. warm water
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
brewed coffee or milk, if needed 

Dissolve instant coffee in warm water; set aside.  Beat butter, salt and vanilla until creamy.  Add one cup of powdered sugar and beat until combined.  Add dissolved coffee and mix until combined.  Gradually mix in remaining powdered sugar, adding a little cold brewed coffee or milk, if needed, to reach desired creamy consistency.  Beat for a few minutes or until light and fluffy.  Makes enough to frost an 8x8-inch pan of brownies.    

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parmesan and Panko Crusted Pork Chops

I wanted a breaded pork chop for dinner.  Rather than just winging it as I went, I decided to look up a recipe.  I was really just trying to see if people usually seared the chops and then finished them in the oven or if they cooked them the whole time on the stove-top, but then I found this recipe from Giada.

You coat the chops in Parmesan cheese.  Serious.  It totally works and sticks to the chops.

I was very careful to not overcook the chops and they turned out so tender and juicy.  The flavorful breading browned up perfectly and added a nice crunchy outside.  

I served them with a side of creamy pasta and sliced ciabatta bread and it was delicious.

Parmesan & Panko Crusted Pork Chops
idea from: Giada
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

4 (1/2-inch thick) boneless pork loin chops
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. Johnny's Garlic seasoning
1 Tbl. vegetable oil

Whisk the eggs in a shallow dish.  Place the bread crumbs, dried parsley and Johnny's Garlic seasoning in another dish and the grated cheese in a third dish.  Season the chops with a little salt and generously with pepper.  Remember the cheese is salty, so don't add too much salt.  Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere.  Then, dip them in the beaten eggs and last in the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the chops, in batches, if necessary.  Cook until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer chops to a plate and serve.

Jenn's Notes: You can use Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of the Panko, parsley and Johnny's Garlic seasoning.  I prefer the crunch the Panko gives.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Copycat Fritos Bean Dip

Let me start off by saying this copycat recipe tastes EXACTLY like the real thing.

I absolutely LOVE Frito bean dip.  I grew up eating it and I still eat it to this day.  With a can being $3 or more and small enough for one person to finish off in one sitting, I needed a better solution.
I checked out the ingredients on the back of the can and then I set out hoping to find a copycat with the same ingredients and that I did.  

You can make this homemade version for a fraction of the cost and get twice as much.  Think about it, a can of refried beans is less than $1, you probably already have the seasonings on hand and then the jar of jalapenos was under $2 and has enough to make 10 batches or so of bean dip.  That is like a 1/3 of the cost and you get double the amount.  Don't let the cayenne and jalapenos scare you, it is not spicy at all.   
You can have a batch of this made in 30 seconds.  Now, the only problem is practicing some serious self control knowing that I can make this is no-time-flat and that I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

As an added bonus, this recipe is much better for you than other dips with all the fiber and protein you will get from the beans.
Copycat Fritos Bean Dip
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans 
5 slices bottled jalapenos 
1 1/2 Tbl. brine from bottled jalapenos
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with Fritos or Doritos.

Jenn's Notes: I made this exactly as I typed it above and it is PERFECT.

slightly adapted from: Cookin' with Cyndi

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Honey Beer Bread

Have you ever heard of Tastefully Simple?  My friend used to be a consultant for them and my favorite thing to buy from her was the Beer Bread Mix.  It was fabulous.  We could finish off a loaf in one day, no problem.  I didn't think about making a homemade version until I saw this recipe the other day.

Other than the incredible texture, part of what makes beer bread so good is that crunchy topping you get as a result of pouring melted butter over the top of the dough before baking.
Beer Bread isn't supposed to be a very sweet bread, but I do think this version could use a little more sugar.  I still like it plain with butter or honey, but it is great served alongside dinner or dipped in a soup.
If you don't like cooking with alcoholic beer, they do make non-alcoholic beer (O'doul's) that you could use and I'm sure you would get the same effect.
Honey Beer Bread
1 c. bread flour
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. sugar*
3 Tbl. honey
1 (12 oz.) bottle beer
4 Tbl. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Stir in the honey and beer and whisk until combined.  Dough will be very thick.  Spread into prepared loaf pan.  Pour melted butter over the top, do not stir.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Yield: 1 loaf. 

*Jenn's Notes: My only recommendation would be to add a little more sugar (at least a few more Tablespoons).  I prefer mine slightly sweeter.  Everything else was perfect.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spaghetti a la Philly

Spaghetti sauce mixed with cream cheese?

Need I say more?

What doesn't taste better with cream cheese, I mean really?

This tasted great.  Nuff said.
Spaghetti a la Philly
adapted from: Mommy's Kitchen
1 Lb. ground beef or sausage
salt and pepper
1 (24-26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
8 oz. spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Cook ground beef or sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through; season with salt and pepper.  Add the spaghetti sauce and cream cheese.  Heat until sauce is warmed and cream cheese is melted.  Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti noodles according to package directions; drain.  Serve sauce over noodles and garnish with Parmesan cheese.  Serve with a side of garlic bread.  Serves: 3-4    

Jenn's Notes: You could also add some chopped onions or peppers if you like.  I used a mixture of hamburger and sausage and it was delicious. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aunt Patrecia's Yogurt Pie - No Bake

This was one of my favorite childhood treats and I have so many memories attached to a yogurt pie.

My aunt Patrecia and her family live up in Washington.  When I was younger, we would pile into my Grandma and Grandpa's car and visit them each Summer.  It's probably been 15 years or so since I last went up there.

My cousins and I would have so much fun going boating, riding our bikes, playing video games and just messing around being kids, but . . .

. . . It wasn't all fun and games up there, they would put us kids to work :)  In the front of their house, they had rows and rows of raspberry bushes.  We had to help pick the raspberries in the HOT Summer with bees buzzing around.  I don't know about you, but when a bee flies around me, I become a statue.  I don't even dare blink or I think it will sting me.

As a kid, it seemed like there were millions and millions of never ending raspberries.  

The only good thing was, when we were done, aunt Patrecia would "thank" us with a yogurt pie.
Yogurt pies are DELICIOUS.  The filling is pillowy soft and light and creamy.  All you do is combine yogurt, whatever flavor you like.  You can even mix and match and create your own flavor.  Fold it together with some Cool Whip and spread into the pie crust.  The recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, but you can use a Nilla Wafer crust, shortbread crust, OREO crust or whatever you like.  

ONLY 3 INGREDIENTS and as easy as could be.
This time, I tried Greek yogurt for added protein and fat-free Cool Whip.  It is totally FABULOUS and IRRESISTIBLE.   I would feel good about my kids eating this.  Much healthier than a cream pie, cake or cookies.  You can even use sugar-free Cool Whip if it makes you feel better (I haven't tried a sugar-free version).  

The lighter the Cool Whip you use, the softer the pie will be, but it will still hold its shape just fine, even with fat-free.  You can serve it straight out of the fridge or you can serve it frozen.

Make it, love it!

P.S. this even makes an amazing fruit dip!
Yogurt Pie
From: Aunt Patrecia
(Printable Recipe) and (Printable with Picture)

2 (6 oz.) cartons yogurt, any flavor(s)
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 graham cracker crust 

Combine yogurt and Cool Whip and very gently fold together.  Spread into pie crust and refrigerate until set, several hours.  Serve with fresh fruit, if desired.

Jenn's Notes: Both Greek yogurt and regular yogurt taste great.  Regular, light and fat-free Cool Whip all work great too.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Smokey Mesquite BBQ Bacon Burgers

My Oven/Range is still broken, but I finally got a tracking number and it looks like the part will be here on Tuesday.  Cross your fingers it comes on time.  Luckily, I have a few recipes saved up.  

Every single time I get on Pinterest I see those yummy looking Smokey Mesquite BBQ Meatball Sliders and I couldn't resist anymore.

I found the Kraft Fresh Take Smokey Mesquite BBQ Mix at Walmart for under $2.  Worth it!  It was hanging up next to the cheese.

I came home from the store and threw it in the pantry.  Several days later, I grabbed it out of the pantry and had a "duh" moment.  Umm . . . . there is a package of cheese in there.  Oops.

The cheese went in the trash, but the smokey bread crumb mix was good to go.

Instead of dealing with meatballs, I went with regular hamburger patties.  These burgers turned out AMAZING.  The smokey bread crumb mix adds a ton of flavor to the burgers and when topped with Cheddar cheese, grilled onions, bacon and barbeque sauce, this is one gourmet burger you are going to want to try.

Perfect recipe for Memorial Day Weekend!
Smokey Mesquite BBQ Bacon Burgers
1 Lb. ground beef
1/2 pkg. Kraft Smokey Mesquite BBQ breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1 egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Lb. bacon 
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Kraft Hickory BBQ sauce
Cheddar cheese, sliced
4 hamburger buns

In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, breadcrumbs, a little salt and pepper, egg and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix together until combined.  Form beef into four patties, slightly larger than your hamburger buns; set aside.  Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Discard all but 1 Tablespoon bacon grease.  Add the sliced onions and cook over medium heat until browned and tender.  

Meanwhile, grill the hamburgers on the George Foreman or on a grill pan on the stove.  When done, top each burger with sliced Cheddar cheese and place in a warm oven to melt the cheese and keep warm until the onions are finished cooking.  

Toast the hamburger buns, top with a hamburger, grilled onions, sliced bacon and top with barbecue sauce.  Serves: 4 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

OREO Chocolate Chip Cookies aka The Cookies that Broke my Oven

The cookies that broke my oven . . . make these at your own risk :)

Story Time

"The Mr." wanted some OREO stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  He doesn't request things much, so I happily obliged to make him some cookies.  I tried a few where I baked a whole OREO cookie inside the chocolate chip cookie, but they were monsters.  I decided it was a much better idea to chop up the OREOS and mix them into the dough and that did work much better . . .
except . . .

There I was, staring at my cookies through the oven window, trying to decide if they were done.  All of the sudden I heard a loud POP and I saw a big red spark fly out of the back of the oven and then all of the lights in the house turned off and it was silent.  No power to anything.  

What the *#@%

That is when a few choice words may or may not have come out of my mouth. 

I hurried and looked behind the oven, afraid it was going to start on fire.  Why would a big spark fly out of it? 

I called Mr. fix-it (My Dad), but he was at a camoflauge wedding (for real - Mama June style), so I had to wait for him to get done to come check it out.  Do you realize how much we rely on power.  EVERYTHING USES POWER.  Hello.  
We were able to restore power to the rest of the house, but not the range.  The control panel to my range was fried.  Literally, look at it, it is BLACK and no chance of saving it.  The new part is $150 and I have to wait a whole week for it to get here.  Can you believe my kitchen will be closed for a week.  Suddenly, I have a million things I want to bake.

What am I going to eat?  This foodie cannot survive on cold cereal.    
Thankfully, I did manage to get a few cookies out if it, before it blew up and they tasted really good.  I used Birthday Cake OREOS and the flavor was so good mixed with a chocolate chip cookie.  Plus, it gave the cookies pretty colorful speckles.

I can't tell you how many cookies you will get out of a batch of this dough, since I made some stuffed, a dozen regular and I sent the rest of the dough home with my SIL.

At least "The Mr." requested these cookies, so I can blame my oven problem on him :) 
OREO Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. table salt)
1 tsp. baking soda
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 - 1 bag chocolate chips
20 OREOS, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and both sugars until well combined.  Mix in the eggs and the vanilla extract.  Add the kosher salt and baking soda.  Then, gradually add the flour and mix until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped OREO cookies.  Roll dough into Tablespoon size balls and bake in preheated oven for 8-9 minutes.    

Jenn's Notes: My dough was pretty dry and wouldn't quite come together, so I added around 1 teaspoon of half-and-half and it came together and baked up perfectly.  If you have the same problem, you could add a little water, milk or cream.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lemon Berry Chia Seed Yogurt Muffins

My mom showed up to work the other day with some homemade strawberry jam for me! mmm . . . my favorite!  Of course I had to use some immediately.  I made these muffins for breakfast last Saturday morning and they were delicious.  You can taste the lemon, you can taste the strawberry jam and they have a nice crunch from the Chia Seeds. 
I used my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe and subbed the plain yogurt with plain Greek yogurt for a bit of added protein, I subbed the poppy seeds for Chia seeds and I added some of that amazing strawberry jam.  To top it all off, I sprinkled them with a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  I love the flavor of cinnamon mixed with lemon and berries and I love the crunchy top if gives the muffins.  If you don't want to try the cinnamon, you could always mix a little sugar with some more lemon zest, rub it together and sprinkle it over the top just before baking.
Lemon Berry Chia Seed Yogurt Muffins
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2/3 c. sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced, divided
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. chia seeds
   or 2 Tbl. poppy seeds
1 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
strawberry jam
1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 c. sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Fill muffin tin with paper liners and spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.  Combine sugar and zest of two lemons and rub together with your fingers until fragrant.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chia seeds.  In a separate bowl, mix together the juice of two lemons, yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon extract and vegetable oil.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together just until combined.  Batter will be lumpy.  

Fill muffin liners 3/4 full (an ice cream scoop works perfect for this).  Top each muffin with a heaping 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam.  Use a toothpick and swirl the jam into the muffin.  Sprinkle the top of each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes around 16 muffins.  

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