Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Simple Frosted Brownies

These could easily be called Facebook Brownies or Pinterest Brownies, because they are popping up on both of those websites constantly.  On Facebook they're usually called "Lunch Lady Brownies" or something like that; they are supposed to be reminiscent of homemade brownies served back in the day in the US School lunch program.  Let me tell you, I never had anything like this in my scary occasional school-bought lunches (I actually stopped taking school lunches altogether around 4th or 5th grade- too much scariness).
The kids LOVED these, of course.  I enjoyed them too, although the brownie itself wasn't as fudgy or dense as I'd like- the wonderful icing made up for it all.  These make a big 9x13 pan but was gone in no time around here.  They're easy to make and would be great for a potluck or casual party.
Simple Frosted Brownies
adapted from Cookies & Cups

1 cup butter, melted
½ cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1½ Tbsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour

¼ cup butter, room temperature*
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup milk
2½ cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350°  Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. (I skipped the foil.)

2.  In bowl of stand mixer combine melted butter and cocoa powder. Mix on medium speed until all lumps are gone. (I'm sure you can make these without a stand mixer, as well.)  Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until thickened and smooth, about 1 minute.  Add in sugar and beat until incorporated and finally add in flour and mix until combined.  Spread in prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes until center is just set.

3.  While the brownies are baking, prepare your frosting my beating the butter and cocoa powder together. Add in milk and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Allow the brownies to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then spread on frosting. The brownies will still be warm.  Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
*I might have melted the butter instead; I can't remember! My frosting looks glossy and smooth, like I did.  It's been over a month since I made these, I think.
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Cheddar-Garlic Oven-Fried Chicken

I was looking for an easy chicken dish to go with this Creamy Garlic Pasta that my family loves so much.  I had some chicken cutlets on hand, and was looking for a no-fuss oven recipe so I could have them baking while I made the pasta and veggie.  I found this recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken, and was very happy for it.  The Panko coating made it crispy and delicious.  They were fast to put together, quick to bake, and tastes just perfect with the pasta.  The whole family liked everything about dinner that night. (I bet we had lemon broccoli with this... I can't remember and the pics are of the leftovers!)
If you use regular chicken breasts with this, they will take longer to cook, obviously.  I liked the quick-cooking of chicken cutlets.  (In my store, they are just labeled "sliced chicken breast".  Chicken tenders would also be good.  BTW: I'd probably leave the cheddar out next time. There are so many other flavors going on, you'd be fine without it.  Also, I made more chicken the next day and used olive oil instead of butter and it was just as good.
Cheddar-Garlic Oven-Fried Chicken
adapted from Food

1⁄3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons minced garlic (can use more or less)
2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
salt, to taste (I didn't use any; butter & cheeses are salty)
3⁄4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
6-7 chicken cutlets or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter (or use cooking spray) a 9x13 or 11 x 7-inch pan- depending on how much chicken you have.  You don't want the chicken overlapping.  (Mine did a teeny-tiny bit; it was ok.)

2.  In a bowl, combine melted butter with fresh minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and optional salt.  In another bowl, combine the dry breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ground black pepper.

3.  Dip chicken in butter mixture; then in crumb mixture.  Place in prepared pan and bake uncovered. Chicken cutlets or tenders should only take about 20 minutes.  Check for doneness.  Regular breasts might take 35-45 minutes or until cooked through.  Larger breasts may take more time.  If topping starts to brown too much, cover with foil.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Honey-Almond Granola

I liked this granola recipe in that it was super simple, and used butter instead of oil.  I like to do that sometimes for a change of flavor.  I added some cinnamon to this.  This recipe is no longer available on the original website I got it from, for some reason.

Honey-Almond Granola
adapted from here, although no longer available
330 g (4 cups) rolled (old-fashioned) oats*
80 g (1 cup) sliced or whole almonds
80 g (1 cup) shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
100 g (1/3 cup) honey
60 g (1/4 cup) butter
60 g (1/4 cup) water

1.  Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).  In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, almonds, coconut and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter and honey. Stir until they no longer separate then add the water. Pour honey and butter mixture over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Combine until absorbed.

2.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the granola mixture evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven after 10 minutes and turn the granola.  If not browned enough for your liking, leave in the oven, watching carefully, until done.  When cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

*Can be made gluten-free with the appropriate oats.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White Chocolate Biscoff Blondies

I loved, loved, loved these.  I was on a brownie kick before, making a few different kinds, including these Chocolate Biscoff ones, which were also really, really good.  These White Chocolate ones, pictured above, tasted great and had a perfect texture; nice and dense and chewy.  Loved them.  Will have to make them again.  And, Biscoff!!
White Chocolate Biscoff Blondies
adapted from Picky Palate

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add 3/4 cup white chips and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until smooth, if needed place back over very low heat to melt through.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

3. To the butter mixture in the saucepan, add flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup white chips then add eggs and biscoff. Stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 35-30 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool completely then cut into squares. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.  Makes 12 servings
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

This was a hearty and satisfying chowder.  It combines broccoli-cheese soup and potato soup, while adding some extra veggies in.  I had to make it when I saw it!  The soup turned out a little too thick for me, so I'll include some changes in the recipe, below, like omitting the cream and adding an extra cup of broth.  
Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
adapted from Cooking Classy

5 1/2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 1/3 cups chopped carrots (about 3)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 cups peeled and cubed russet potatoes, cut 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick (2 large)
3 cups chopped broccoli florets (from about 1 large head)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk (preferably 1% or 2%)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (1 oz)

1.  In a large pot over medium heat, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp of the butter. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute 3 - 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and cook 15 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook 5 minutes longer or until veggies are tender.

2.  Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, whisking constantly 1 minute. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in milk (whisk well until no lumps remain). Cook stirring constantly until mixture begins to gently boil and thicken. Remove from heat and once all veggies are tender pour into the soup and stir. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar and parmesan cheese until melted. Serve warm. If soup thickens too much, add extra milk to thin.  Taste for salt.  
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mozzacado Sandwich

 This is a great sandwich idea I got off  It's just good bread (or a roll), fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, avocado, and salt and pepper.  So simple, but so much flavor!!  Just be warned: this sandwich is super, super messy.  I think sliced bread would be less messy than a roll, but I only had rolls on hand when I made this.  I can't wait to make this with local summer tomatoes!

Mozzacado Sandwich
adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 2

4 thick slices sourdough bread (or two good rolls)
1 avocado
1 small ripe tomato
4 thick slices whole milk mozzarella
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Lightly toast the bread. (My roll was fresh from the bakery, so I didn't toast.)  Meanwhile, smash the pitted avocado with a little salt and pepper (add a squirt of lemon juice, optional). Spread a thick layer of smashed avocado on the warm bread.

2.  Layer the cheese with the basil and tomato over the avocado.  Make two sandwiches, slice, share with someone you love, and enjoy!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Biscoff Swirl Brownies

I LOVED these brownies.  Well, what's not to love?  They contain a ton of butter, are a perfect brownie texture, and are topped by lots of Biscoff spread!!  The whole fam loved these.  It snowed again last week, and I made these during all the snow.  It came down for hours, but didn't stick until about 30 minutes before I had to leave the house.... of course.  I'm not very used to driving in snow, but it wasn't that bad this time.  

Biscoff Swirl Brownies
adapted from Unsophisticook

3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, melted

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Line a square 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper or give it a coating of baking spray (I did the spray and didn't bother with parchment.)

2.  Melt the butter on the stove top in a sauce pan. Whisk in sugar and cocoa powder, and then stir in vanilla extract.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well, and then whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Stir the flour into the chocolate mixture until just combined.

3.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Melt Biscoff Spread in the microwave (10-second intervals) and drizzle over the top of the brownie batter. Use a clean butter knife to swirl the Biscoff Spread into the batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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