Monday, January 25, 2010

Ricotta Pancakes with Buttermilk Syrup

Breakfast . . . Mmmm! My husbands favorite meal of the day! There seriously is nothing like a great breakfast . . . especially on the weekends when the stress and craziness of the week has your eyes rolling around in your head and your mind is ready to shut down! At our house my hubby is the king of Saturday morning breakfast . . . and he goes to town!!! I am not an egg girl or a huge fan of pancakes . . . but if they have buttermilk syrup on them I will take them anyday! This buttermilk syrup recipe is a FAVORITE on both sides of our family!!! I could drink the stuff! It is SOOOOO GOOD!!! Last weekend we whipped up a batch of heavenly ricotta pancakes to pair with it and mensch was it good! The pancakes are delish! So light and moist! I actually love them (Never thought that I would say that about a pancake . . .) This Buttermilk Syrup recipe is from my Aunt Alyson of Caramel Popcorn fame! It is amazing!!! Ricotta Pancakes
Recipe by: Emily
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Milk
3 eggs, divided
1 tsp Vanilla

1. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Seperate egg whites and yolks. Combine ricotta cheese, milk, eggs yolks and vanilla in another bowl, mixing well. Combine the flour mixture with the ricotta mixture and set aside.
2. Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into ricotta batter.
3. Heat a griddle to medium high and lightly coat with melted butter. Ladle batter onto buttered griddle and cook pancakes on each side until golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup or fruit preserves if desired. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Syrup
Recipe by: Alyson Christensen
1 cube Butter (or margarine)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Cook and stir until thick. Add the baking soda, stir and serve warm.

(When you add the soda it is going to bubble up so use a large saucepan . . .)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

It is snowing like mad outside!!! Which means that I get to dig out Mo (my SUV) in the morning before heading to school. I have already deemed tomorrow as a ballcap day . . . wet messy hair does not sound appealing to me at all . . . especially while listening to class lectures. What does sound appealing right now is a steaming plate of Chicken Cacciatore!!! I LOVE this recipe! It is light and oh so good and so versatile! I say add whatever veggies you want to! Zuch's, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, artichoke hearts . . . etc. Yum-o!Chicken Cacciatore
Recipe by: Emily

4 Chicken Breasts, I used boneless skinless
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 can Italian Stewed Tomatoes
1/3 cup Flour
2 Medium Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Basil
Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter

1.Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then lightly dredge in flour. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot add floured chicken breasts to pan and brown on both sides. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic to pan. Cook for a few minutes until onions begin to soften. Add basil, chicken stock, tomato paste, and stewed tomatoes to pan. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta or rice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

(You can also add red pepper flakes for a little heat and/or capers.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Homemade 3 Musketeer Chocolates

Forecast says COLD!!! Can't wait for more snow!!! At this point it is like "whatever . . . just bring it . . ." I really can't complain . . . it could be much worse!!! When I was in Germany the cold was a BITING cold that seemed to seep through the countless layers that I had on and chill right to the bone . . . so I will take the Utah cold anyday! The dry bitter cold! Moving on . . . to chocolate!!! These are super rich and decadent!!! I made these for my YW class and they LOVED them!
Homemade 3 Musketeer ChocolatesRecipe by: Emily

2 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips, use good quality . . . I used Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips
12 oz Carton of Cool Whip
Candy Coating Chocolate

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler just until the chocolate is melted. Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped topping with a rubber spatula and mix until the chocolate is incorporated. Poor chocolate into a wax paper lined 9x9 inch pan, spread evenly and freeze until set. Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes after mixture is set and place cut out chocolates onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze again.
Melt coating chocolate and dip the cut out shapes into chocolate to coat and place back on wax paper to set. Drizzle chocolates with additional chocolate to decorate if desired and allow to set before serving. Enjoy!

Easy Method: Rather than cutting the chocolates into shapes just freeze the chocolate mixture for a half hour and then use a cookie scoop to scoop out chocolates and freeze them on the wax paper lined cookie sheet and then dip chocolates after freezing.

Alternative Chocolate Coating: Use chocolate chips but add a teaspoon or two of oil to it . . .

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Squash Ravioli with Toasted Walnut, Maple and Brown Butter Sauce

This ravioli was a "my husband is away on business and would never eat squash ravioli if I served it to him so I better make it while he is gone recipe" . . . no no I shouldn't say that . . . he would eat it . . . just not happily! The poor guy once sat down and ate a pumpkin burger from a recipe that I found during a serious healthy kick week . . . my family has never let me forget it. I seriously thought that pumpkin burgers would be so great especially since the recipe had mashed white beans, oatmeal, spices etc . . . I added turkey bacon to ease him into it a bit better. On his first bite everything oozed out the sides like babyfood . . . but being the amazing man that he is . . he still ate it . . . since then I haven't tried to serve him anything that I will get serious heat over from the fam or that I know will make him think "why is my wife doing this to me?. (Love you Toph!) I did make homemade Three Musketeers today (will post this week) for my YW class . . . and my hubby was my taste tester . . so I think he has definitely forgiven me for the pumpkin burgers by now . . I really liked these ravioli . . . in fact I froze most of them and they are sitting contently in my freezer waiting to make another appearance. They have a nutty-sweetness to them and went really well with the maple, brown butter toasted walnut sauce. Just wanted to try something new and have seen a milion squash ravioli recipes and wanted to shake things up a bit.
Caramelized Onion and Squash Ravioli with Toasted Walnut, Maple and Brown Butter Sauce

1 cup Squash, butternut, acorn, etc. roasted and mashed
1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 medium Sweet Onion, diced
1 Large Egg yolk
1 tsp Salt
1/2-1 tsp Freshly cracked Black Pepper
Wonton wrappers, or fresh pasta sheets

4 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
2 tsp Real Maple Syrup

1. Caramelize the onion in a frying pan over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, or until of a jam consistency and a caramel color. (Add a little water to onions when needed to prevent drying out and overbrowning.) Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2.Mix the squash, ricotta and parmesan cheese together with the salt, pepper, and egg yolk. Mix in cooled onions.
3. Lay out pasta sheets or wonton wrappers and spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center of the pasta. Wet the rim of the pasta sheets with water or brush with egg wash. Top squash topped pasta with another pasta sheet or wonton wrapper and seal the edges making sure to not trp airbubbles inside the ravioli.
4. Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil, add a tablespoon or two of salt to the water and then cook the pasta in the water at a gentle boil until they float and are cooked. Remove with a slotter spoon.
5. Toast 1/2 cup of walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat. When you can smell the walnuts add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until sauce begins to brown. Add maple syrup, stir together and remove from heat. Spoon sauce over ravioli and seve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Lasagna

Heads up . . . a little venting here! Two petpeeves today . . . people who do not put their shopping carts away . . . leaving them 8 feet from the cart stall or who leave them in parking stalls, or better yet who push them to the planter and leave them hanging over the edge. Common curtesy kids! Have we really gotten SO LAZY that we can't walk 3 more feet to put our carts away? I challenge everyone to do one simple thing that is for the betterment of all: put your shopping carts away! . . . and if you see one (or 2) hanging out where it does not belong . . . put it away! Also another heads up because I think MANY drivers either forgot or never learned that double yellow lines are not made to be crossed over so you can make left hand turns where you shouldn't be, nor should you be driving in a lane that is made for oncoming traffic to turn!!! Click here to brush up on Utah driving laws. Okay venting done! I hope everyone is having a good week . . . and to make your week even better bake up a batch of Roasted Garlic Mushroom Lasagna . . . it returned my sanity today! Off to make some caramel popcorn for YW's tonight!Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Lasagna
Recipe by: Emily

2 cups Milk
1/4 cup Flour
4 Tbsp Butter
1-2 cloves Roasted Garlic
1 1/2 cup Shredded Italian Cheese Blend
2 lbs Mushrooms, I used baby Portobella's, sliced
1/2 lb Lasagna Noodles
4 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
pinch of Nutmeg

1.Bring Milk to a simmer in a small sauce pan, turn off heat. Melt butter in another sauce pan and add flour. Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add the hot milk to the butter/flour mixture and whisk together. Add 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken, add roasted garlic and wisk until mixed into sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tbsp of salt and cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, once noodles are cooked drizzle and toss lightly with olive oil to prevent noodles from sticking to each other.
3.Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 of the sliced mushrooms and brown over medium heat. Set mushrooms aside in a bowl and cook the remaining mushrooms in small batches until browned.
4. To assemble the lasagna: spoon a couple of spoonfuls of sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan and spread all of the bottom. Layer lasagna noodles over the sauce and then spoon more sauce over the noodles and spread evenly over noodles. Add 1/3 of the cooked mushrooms for the next layer, then sprinkle with 1/4 of the shredded cheese. Continue to layer noodles, sauce, mushrooms and cheese with the last layers being noodles, sauce and cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and bubbly. Allow lasagna to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Young Women's Birthday Party Cake

Cake . . . cake . . . and more cake! I was tickled pink to get to make a birthday cake for our Young Women's night activity! We had a huge birthday party to celebrate the birthdays for all of the girls in our Young Womens! It was so much fun and such a great way to get to know the girls!!! (Also proved that you are NEVER too old to play pin the tail on the donkey!) I am glad that the girls liked the cake!!! I had a fiasco trying to get a pink color that I liked and finally created a swirly tie-died look by mixing white fondant and a deep pink fondant together. I though that it was pretty cool . . . especially with the white fondant covered cake! If I had time I would have loved to have made some lily's as toppers because it had a tropical look to it but . . . another time. The pictures aren't the best because I forgot my camera and had to use my phone to take them . . . live and learn. Anywho . . . happy birthday gals! Love you and I am so excited for my calling!
Also you may have noticed a bit of a face lift here at the Open Pantry . . . I plan on blogging about that in my next entry but here is a heads up to Rachel at Remember this Designs who has done such a masterful job revamping my blog!I also love the theme this year . . .

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pablo the Penguin Cake

I hope that everyone had a fabulous New Years!!! I can't believe that 2010 is here already! That means that my High School 10 year reunion is coming up! Augh! I feel like I graduated last week! Oh well . . . what can you do . . . eat cake? Well in my case make cake! Which is what I will be doing when I get home from school today as well! Oh yes . . . school starts again today! I am actually pretty pumped because if all goes well I will graduate in May! I am sure family and friends are thinking "um yeah, we'll believe it when we see it . . ." but that is the plan kiddles! Anywho I made this cake for our besties little boy who moved to Alaska and left us behind! We did get to see them this weekend . . . which only reinforced how much we miss them!!! (Luisy you did a great job with Logan's party!) On our way up north driving through one dandy of a snow storm my husband kept saying "this is why we are moving to Arizona" of course AZ gets some snow . . . but compared to what 95% of Utah gets I can see the AZ appeal to him . . . we'll see where we land one day. Until then I hope you all have a wonderful week and you fellow college students good luck with another semester of blissful learning!