Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai

We love Pad Thai!!! It is a must when we go to any Thai restaurant so I had to try my hand at it at home . . . and it was awesome and easy breeezy to make!
Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai
Recipe by: Emily

1/2 lb Chicken Tenders, thinly sliced
1/3 lb Shrimp, chopped
8 oz Thick Rice Noodles
3 Eggs, beaten
2 tsp Canola Oil
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
1 tsp garlic Chili Paste, add more if you like it spicy
4 Green Onions, chopped
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
3 tsp Brown Sugar
2 cups Bean Sprouts
1/4 cup Peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped

1. Soak the noodles in hot water for 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and set aside.

2. Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Heat a wok over medium high heat, add canola oil, sesame oil, garlic, chili paste and green onions. Cook for 1 minute then add the chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink. Add the chopped shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts and noodles and toss well with the shrimp and chicken.

4.Clear a well in the middle of the noodles and pour the eggs in. Scramble the eggs in the well and then break up and mix with the noodle mixture. Add the fish sauce/ lime juice mixture to the noodles and toss to coat. Cook for 1-2 more minutes then sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts. Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheesy Turkey Meatballs with Rosemary Marinara Sauce

   I love the flavor of turkey and rosemary together. They compliment each other so well with the flavorful rosemary adding a bit of a lift to the fairly uneventful ground turkey. This is a great dish to whip up for your fam while finishing wrapping gifts, or going over lists or just wanting to feed the fam some good and easy cooking . . . and then crash on the sofa with a good movie!
Turkey Meatballs
Recipe by: Emily

1.5 lbs Ground Turkey
2 Eggs
2 slices of Bread
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

1. Soak the bread slices in the milk in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Combine ingredients and roll into 1 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Bake meatballs in a 425 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve over pasta with Rosemary Marinara Sauce. Enjoy!

Rosemary Marinara Sauce
Recipe by: Emily

1 large Onion, chopped
2 14 oz cans diced Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1-2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp dried Basil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp dried Rosemary,minced
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1. Heat the Olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Cook onions for 4-5 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the diced tomatoes with juice, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, minced roasted garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, dried basil, rosemary and tomato paste to the onions. Lower heat if needed and simmer for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. After simmering, taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta! Enjoy

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pork Won Tons

These were incredibly flavorful and easy to make . . . a perfect finger food appetizer for any party. I had never made my own won ton dough before . . . and it was easy and fast to whip out.
Pork Filling
Recipe by: Emily

1 tsp Sesame Oil
1tsp Canola Oil
1 lb Ground Pork
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 tsp Garlic Chili Paste
2 tsp Ginger, Pureed
2 Green Onions, Minced
1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp Honey Roasted Peanuts, chopped
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Brown Sugar

1. Heat the oils in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and chili paste. Cook for 1 minute then add the ground pork. Use a fork to break up the pork into a fine crumb. Once pork has browned add the hoisin sauce, peanuts, cilantro, and brown sugar. Cook for 1 more minute and remove from heat.

2. Roll out half of the won ton dough very thin. Cut dough into 4 inch square. Place 1 1/2 tsp of pork filling in the middle of each square. Lightly brush 2 the edges of of each won ton square with water. Fold one corner of the dough over the filling to the opposite corner and seal over filling by pressing dough tightly. They should form a triangle.

3. Deep fry the won tons in oil until lightly browned on each side. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!

Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2-3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Green Onion, minced
1/2 tsp Ginger, minced
1 tsp Garlic Chili Paste
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar

Heat Sauce to dissolve sugar. Serve with Won tons

Won ton Wrapper Dough
1 Egg
6 Tbsp Water
2 cups Flours
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine all ingredients in a bread mixer or food processor. Add more water 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to make a firm but elastic dough. Allow dough to rest covered for 15 minutes before using.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pork Lettuce Wraps

We have been having a bit of an Asian inspired menu this week at our home . . . I still have PLENTY of recipes yet to come. These Pork Lettuce Wraps were awesome! VERY flavorful and fun to eat! I would make these again anytime!
Pork Lettuce WrapsRecipe by: Emily1 lb Ground Pork
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Canola Oil
1/2-1 tsp Garlic Chili Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 tsp Ginger, minced
4 Green Onions, Chopped
1 1/2 cups Bean Sprouts
1/2 cup Water Chestnuts, chopped
1-2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar

1. Heat the sesame and canola oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, garlic chili paste and green onions to wok. Cook for 1 minute, add the ground pork. Cook until the pork is no longer pink. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, chestnuts and bean sprouts. Toss together, cook for 1 more minute and remove from heat. Serve Pork mixture in lettuce cups garnished with cilantro and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2-3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2-1 tsp Garlic Chili Paste

Heat to dissolve brown sugar.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shrimp Egg Foo Young

My hubby LOVES eggs! He could eat them prepared almost anyway morning, noon or night. I on the other hand am not always so keen to dive into them. So to appease the both of us I came up with this recipe . . . and we both loved it!
Shrimp Egg Foo YoungRecipe by: Emily
1/4 Pound Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
1 1/2 cups Bean Sprouts
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
2 Green Onion, chopped
1/3 cup Water Chestnuts, chopped
1 tsp Canola Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Cornstarch
4 Eggs

1. Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon canola oil in a non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add the green onions and bean sprouts. Cook for another minute and then add the shrimp, and soy sauce, cook for another 2-3 minutes until the shrimp are just done. Remove from heat and sprinkle the cornstarch over the shrimp mixture, combine. Allow shrimp mixture to cool for a few minutes.
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the shrimp and veggie mixture. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into skillet. Cook each patty until the eggs are lightly browned and then flip over and cook the other side until lightly browned. Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with gravy and enjoy!

Egg foo Young Gravy
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Water

Combine the chicken stock, brown sugar and soy sauce in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
Combine the cornstarch and water together to make a slurry. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the chicken stock and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Serve over Egg Foo Young.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cheesy Leek and Ground Beef Soup with Soft Bread Bowls

I had this soup in Germany on my mission many times. (Knorr actually makes a soup seasoning packet for it.) It was always a favorite and got me HOOKED on leeks!!! It is simple and straight forward to make. You can also add potatoes to it if you like but I like it how it is . . . keeping leeks as the star ingredient. My husband about melted over these bread bowls too . . . they are soft, easy to make and delish!
Cheesy Leek and Beef Soup
Recipe by: Emily
3 Leeks, chopped and cleaned very well
1 1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 - 1 1/2 cups Processed English Cheddar Cheese or cream cheese, or Velveeta etc.
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Half and Half
1/3 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat, add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute the leeks until soft, add the ground beef to the leeks and brown. Once the beef is cooked through add 2 tablespoons of butter to the beef and sprinkle the flour over the beef and stir to coat. Add the garlic powder, black pepper, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and add the cheese and allow to melt and mix in with the stock. Simmer for a few minutes until the soup thickens. Turn off the heat and add the half and half. Check for seasoning and serve. Enjoy!

Soft Bread Bowls
Recipe by: Emily
3- 3 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 packet Yeast

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Combine yeast mixture, milk, slat, sugar, egg, and oil in a mixing bowl and combine. Add 3 cups of flour to the mixture and mix with a bread hook until smooth. Add more flour if needed to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
2. Oil a medium bowl and place dough in it to rise, flipping once in the oil to coat all sides of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces and form into balls, tuck the dough underneath to create a smooth ball.
4. Place dough balls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover loosely with plastice wrap. Allow to rise again for 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size again.
5. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Cool and slice of the top and hollow out interior and fill with soup. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Em's famous Stuffed Mushrooms

These are a holiday tradition that everyone loves! I came up with this recipe a few years ago. I make these at Thanksgiving, for family gatherings and any and all holiday parties. They go fast and are so delicious!!! Make them a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate them until ready to bake.
Em's Famous Stuffed MushroomsRecipe by: Emily
2 lbs Mushrooms, medium sized
3 cans Minced or Chopped Clams
2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
1/2-3/4 cup Dry Italian Bread Crumbs
1/3 cup Minced Onion
2-3 tsp Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Butter

1.De-stem and clean the mushrooms. Chop the mushroom stems. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and onion for a few 5-7, until the onions are translucent and then add the juice from the clam cans. Reduce clam juice to a quarter of the juice. Add clams, chopped parsley and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat then add enough bread crumbs to absorb clam juice but not dry out the mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and mix with a fork. Taste and season with salt if needed. Stuff the mushroom caps with the clam mixture then top each mushroom with remaining shredded cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs

I loved it when I was a child and my mom made porcupine meatballs . . . I thought it was the coolest thing how the rice made the meatballs look like little porcupines once they were cooked . . . these are a great little appetizer for a holiday party. Once the meatballs are baked you can transfer them to a crock pot to simmer in the sauce as well.Porcupine MeatballsRecipe by: Emily
2 lbs Ground Beef
3/4 cup Rice
1 cup of Water
1 small Onion, minced
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard

Sauce:1 can Tomato Soup
2 8 oz cans Tomato Sauce
3-4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1. Combine ground beef, rice, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard and 1 cup of water together. Make into 2 inch meatballs and place in a baking dish. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pan. Cover dish tightly with tin foil and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes.
2. Pour sauce over the meatballs and continue baking uncovered for 15- 20 minutes. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Holiday baking is upon us again . . . I love the taste and look of these cookies . . . they are a very festive red and make a great treat to give to friends and neighbors or to share at a party.Red Velvet Cookies
Recipe by: Emily

1/2 cup Butter, Softened
1 1/4 cup Sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Red Food Coloring Gel, or 1/2 tsp of Red Food Coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter, sour cream and sugar together. Add the Eggs and to the creamed mixture and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until moist and combined.
2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until set but moist. Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before placing cookies on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped toasted pecans or your favorite sprinkles. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla
3 cups Powder sugar

Cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth. Add the powder sugar and continue to mix until combined. Refrigerate until use.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cowboy Mac N' Cheese

   The snow has finally hit us hard this year . . . I have to admit I was kind of wishing it would return . . . and then it did and I am wondering what possessed me to wish for it!?! . . . But with snow comes the craving for warm, comforting foods . . . which I love . . . I think if you look in the food dictionary I believe you will find that Mac N' Cheese and comfort cross reference each other. We had some friends for dinner to sample this dish and they loved it . . . so naturally it made the blog!Cowboy Mac N' Cheese
Recipe by: Emily

14.5 oz box of Pasta, Elbow Macaroni, Penne, Spiral . . . etc.5 strips of Bacon, chopped
2 cups Diced cooked Chicken
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 small can diced Green Chili's
4 oz Cream Cheese
3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
2 cups Milk
3-4 Tbsp Barbeque Sauce
Cayenne Pepper
1 Buttery Bread Crumbs or Cracker Crumbs

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon and onion under the bacon has rendered and is crisp and the onions are translusent and begin to brown; 7-9 minutes. Add the green chilis and chicken and cook for another 2 minutes. Place the chicken/bacon mixture aside in a bowl.
2. While the bacon and onion cook boil the pasta according to package directions until the pasta is al dente. When the pasta is done drain and set aside.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet used to cook the bacon and melt over medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of flour to the butter and cook for one minute. Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk and cool until mixture begins to thicken. Add the barbeque sauce, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir in the chicken/bacon mixture to the cheese sauce and combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper or add more bbq sauce if needed.
4. Combine the pasta and chicken mixture together. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with bread or cracker crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden browned and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

I am a dedicated chocoholic . . . but tonight that may have changed . . . I cannot believe that I have never made lemon curd until today!!! I think the name turned me off and lemon is not my very favorite flavor but after trying this dessert . . . I say chocolate can just take a seat on the bench for a while . . . the bitter sweet part of this dessert is that you can use the egg whites to make this heavenly Angel Food Cake (light and low fat) and then whisk the egg yolks in the luxurious (butter laden) lemon curd . . . they cancel each other out essentially. I am going to make this the next time I have my girls over . . . or to impress my in-laws . . . or because it is snowing . . . or . . . whenever . . .
Angel Food Cake

10 egg whites at room temperature
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp minced Lemon Zest (optional)

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with the salt until frothed. Add the cream of tarter, almond extract, vanilla extract, and slowly add the 3/4 cup of the sugar. Beat egg whites until stiff.
2. Whisk the flour and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar together in a bowl. Gentle fold flour mixture into the eggs whites until just combined.
3. Evenly divide the batter between two UNGREASED loaf pans. Run a butter knife through the center of the batter to release any large air bubbles.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool pans cake side down on a wire rack for 1-2 hours. Run a spatula down the sides of the pan and under the cake to release it. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd

1 cup of Sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp Water
Zest of 1 Lemon
6 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Egg Yolks room temperature
1/2 cup Butter, cut into 1 inch pieces

1. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a sauce pan. Add the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Whisk half of the lemon mixture with the egg yolks and then add back to the remaining lemon mixture. Boil for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add whisk in the butter. Pour mixture into a bowl and place a layer of plastic wrap on the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Enjoy!

- Lemon curd is delicious on pancakes, pound cake, as a cake or cupcake filling, pavlova or tart topping, etc.

- Angel food cake is wonderful topped with fruit, cut up in a trifle, drizzled with chocolate, dipped in chocolate or caramel, etc.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin French Toast with Buttery Pumpkin Syrup

I made this recipe for dinner the other night . . . It felt more like dessert! I loved it . . I especially loved how buttery the syrup was and the rich-nuttiness that the pumpkin added to it! So good! A great recipe for fall!Stuffed Pumpkin French Toast with Buttery Pumpkin Syrup
Recipe by: Emily
1 loaf of bread, sliced (wheat or white)
6 eggs
2 cups of milk
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
1/2 tsp Vanilla
5-6 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1. Beat the eggs and 2 cups of milk together in a bowl with 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.
2. Combine the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, vanilla, and a pinch of salt together. Spread a generous layer of cream cheese/pumpkin filling on one piece of bread and top it with another slice. Continue until all of the cream cheese mixture is gone.
3. Heat a griddle and butter lightly. Dip the stuffed bread in the egg mixture and soak on both sides. Place egg dipped bread on a hot griddle and cook until golden brown and cooked through on both sides. Serve french toast with pumpkin syrup and enjoy!

Buttery Pumpkin Syrup

1/2 cup Butter (use the real deal)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring syrup to a boil. Simmer syrup for 5-10 minutes stirring often to keep from scorching. Enjoy!

-I only cooked 1/2 of my stuffed french toast and froze the rest before it was dipped in the egg mixture. . . a decadent brunch waiting for another day . . .

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warm Goat Cheese, Asian Pear, Crispy Prosciutto and Leek Salad

Kate this salad is dedicated to you! I wish we could have enjoyed it together!!! I went all out and added Asian pears, prosciutto and crispy leeks . . . it was almost life changing good!!!Warm Goat Cheese, Asian Pear, Crispy Prosciutto and Leek SaladRecipe by: Emily

6 oz Goat Cheese, sliced into 1 inch rounds
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 Egg whites
2 tsp water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Leek, sliced, cleaned thoroughly and dried
1 Asian Pear, cored and thinly sliced
2 slices Prosciutto
Salad Greens

1. Whisk the water and egg whites together to combine. Dip the goat cheese rounds into the egg whites and then coat in the bread crumbs on all sides. Place on a plate to refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

2. While the goat cheese refrigerates prepare the salad. Crisp 2 slices of prosciutto in a skillet over medium heat on each side. Set aside. Add 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet. Once the butter has melted add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook until browned and crispy; about 10-12 minutes. Drain leeks on a paper towel.

3. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Fry the breaded goat cheese on each side in the oil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel.

4. Assemble the salad by placing greens and pears in a large bowl and tossing with enough dressing to coat. Plate the salad and top with the crisped prosciutto, leeks and goat cheese. Serve while the goat cheese is still warm. Enjoy!

3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Dijon or Spicy Mustard
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
3/4-1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Whisk everything together, taste and add more sugar or salt as needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Double Chocolate Whopper Pie

I am loving this weekend!!! I had a blast with some amazing girl friends last night doing a little shopping and then hanging out munching on pizza, playing cards, and frosting sugar cookies! Every year as fall rolls in my craving to bake and create seems to multiply 10 fold! This little chocoholic fix came about a few weeks ago . . .
I used to hate the texture of whoopers as a kid . . . I also didn't like the sound that they made when you crunched into them . . . but I guess I am over that now . . . they add a great texture AND flavor to this chocolate fantasy . . . but you can crush or chop any chocolaty treat that you love to add in its place . . .
Double Chocolate Whopper Pie
Recipe by: Emily
Top Chocolate Layer:8 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Cups Whoppers, chopped
1/4 cup Powder Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 large Cool Whip container, defrosted.

Bottom Chocolate Layer:
1 Package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Butter
1 cup Flour
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Nuts, chopped (optional)
3 unbaked Pie Shells

Bottom Chocolate layer:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter and chocolate chips in a bowl. Melt by 15 second increments in a microwave, stirring until chocolate is melted. Add sugar to the melted chocolate mixture. Once sugar is mixed add the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt baking powder and nuts in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Evenly distribute batter into 3 unbaked pie shells. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pie is puffed and just beginning to brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool.

Top Chocolate Layer:1. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl by 15 second increments, stirring between increments until chocolate is melted. Set aside.

2. Beat the cream cheese for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add 1/4 cup powder sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 of the cool whip, mix until combined. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and whip. Add the rest of the cool whip to the chocolate mixture and mix. Fold in the chopped whoppers.

3. Spoon the filling on to of the 3 cooled baked pies and spread evenly on top. Chop or crush more whoppers to sprinkle on top. Refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Toph's Favorite: Beef Stew

I am one spoiled girl . . . I have a husband who is amazing and a day and fairly easy to please. Beef stew is one of my boy's favorite meals and was screaming to be made this week as a heavy cold front has been hammering us the past week . . . preparing us for the grays of winter up a head and making fall tumble in a little faster than usual Welcome fall! Stick around a while . . . I'm not ready for winter weather . . .
Beef Stew
Recipe by: Emily
2 1/2 pounds Stew Beef
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3cups water
2 cups Beef Stock
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Bay leaves
2 Medium Onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried Mustard
1/2 tsp dried Tarragon
Dash ground allspice or 2 whole Allspice
4 large Carrots, peeled and sliced
3 Ribs Celery, sliced
2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into a small dice
2 cups Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbsp Flour
2 Tbsp Butter, softened

1. Brown half of the beef in hot oil; 5-6 minutes. Remove the browned beef and set aside while browning the remainder of the beef. Add all of the beef, chopped onions2 1/2 cups of water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, dried mustard, tarragon, bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika, allspice, and balsamic vinegar to the pot. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

2. Remove bay leaves, and whole allspice (if used). Add the celery and parsnips and cover and cook for 10 minutes (I put them in first to make sure the celery is not crunchy and so that the parsnips soften and thicken the gravy). Add the potatoes, carrots, and beef stock; cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, mix together 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons butter. Add butter/flour mixture to 2 cups of the hot beef stock. Stir in flour mixture to the stew pot and cook until bubbly and thick. Enjoy!

-My husband likes his stew thick, so if you want a more liquid stew add more beef broth or water.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Easy Chocolate Tart

Food for thought: “Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.”― Jeffrey R. HollandSometimes we all need a little reminder . . . and a little chocolate in our lives doesn't hurt either . . . This tart is VERY rich! Add a little cinnamon or cayenne if you for an additional POP!
Easy Chocolate Tart
Recipe by: Emily

Crust:2 cups Flour
1/4 cup Powder Sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large Egg, separated
2-3 Tbsp Cold Water

Filling:1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the crust:1.Make the pastry by combining the flour, powder sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and mix until the dough resembles small peas. Whisk the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water together in a bowl, add to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough begins to form a ball. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Lightly flour work surface and roll out dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough in a tart pan. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly without stretching the dough. Press the edges into the sides of the pan. Trim any excess hanging dough with a knife. Refrigerate the tart crust for 20 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet. Prick the dough with a fork to prevent the dough from forming air bubbles while baking. Line the tart with buttered aluminum foil and top with rice or beans to weight the dough down flat. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove rice or beans and foil from the tart and continue baking for 7-8 minutes until lightly golden but not brown. Allow tart crust to cool and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

For the Filling:1. Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium-low heat until it just begins to simmer around the edges. Remove liquid from the heat and add the chocolate chips; stir until melted and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk together. Beat the eggs in a small bowl then add them to the chocolate mixture, stir until completely mixed. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the filling is set. Cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spicy Grilled Corn and Slaw Salad

I discovered El Pato tomato sauce this summer when a friend used it to make a simple coleslaw that was DELICIOUS. So I utilized some garden veggies to make a salad for supper the other night. It was wonderful! The charred corn and El Pato sauce really put the umph in this salad!Spicy Grilled Corn and Slaw SaladRecipe by: Emily

1 Small head Cabbage, shredded
1 Small head Red Cabbage shredded
4 Ears of Corn, roasted on the grill or oven, core and reserve the kernals
1 1/2-2 cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 handful Cilantro, Chopped
2 Limes or 2 Lemons, juiced
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Mayo
2-3 tsp Sugar
1/2 can El Pato Tomato Sauce

1.Combine the shredded cabbage and squeeze the juice from 1 lime or lemon over the cabbage, set aside while you make the sauce.
2. Mix the mayo, sour cream, juice from 1 lime or 1 lemon, sugar and El Pato tomato sauce together. Taste and add salt and pepper and more sugar or El Pato sauce if needed.
3. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, corn and sauce to the cabbage. Mix well and check for seasonings. Enjoy!

-I like my coleslaw nice and crisp so I don't let it sit too long in the fridge before serving.
- This is a great slaw to serve on pork or chicken tacos!

Friday, July 15, 2011

German Sauerkraut Soup

This soup tastes like Germany in a bowl! Lots of bold flavors that warm you down to your toes! I love it! I love sauerkraut, brats and spicy mustard . . . I know that not everyone is too keen on sauerkraut so this soup is a good of way easing into it. I especially love adding a dollop of horseradish to it when serving! Mmm-mmm!!!German Sauerkraut SoupRecipe by: Emily

7-8 Medium Red Potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
4-5 Bratwurst
1 Large Onion, chopped
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cups Sauerkraut, with juices
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Water
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2-3 Tbsp Spicy Mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp chopped Parsley

1. Cook the bratwurst in a large soup pot according to package directions. Remove and set aside. Raise the pot heat to medium high and add the chopped onion and 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Once the onions start to caramelize lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until softened and golden brown.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water and deglaze the pan. Add the beef broth, mustard's, sauerkraut and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15- 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

3. Cut the cooked bratwurst into bite sized pieces and add to the pot along with 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and chopped parsley. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Check seasonings and add additional salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar if needed. Serve with horseradish, fried onions, and or croutons to garnish. Enjoy!

-Rinse the sauerkraut before adding to the pot if you want a milder flavor.
-Crumble rye bread over the top before serving.
-You can also add 1/2 tsp caraway seed to the soup while cooking the onions if you like caraway.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Minute White Chicken Chili

Today is my handsome hubby's birthday!!! (Which means I need to warm up my golf swing for tomorrow . . ) Happy, Happy Birthday Toph!!! He is without a doubt the most amazing husband ever!!! This chili is pretty amazing as well . . . the best compliment in the world is having someone ask you for a recipe after trying your wares . . . and this one has got a few requests! Plus can you beat feeding your fam something delish in less than 30 minutes . . . I think not!30 Minute White Chicken ChiliRecipe by: Emily
2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can cream of Chicken Soup
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 4oz can diced Green Chili's
1 cup Chicken Broth
1-2 can's Cannellini Beans or Great Northern White Beans
1-2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 cup Pepper Jack or Mexican Blend shredded Cheese
1 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Oregano
Diced Jalapenos (Optional . . . to give it a little more kick)

1. Saute the chopped onion over medium heat in one tablespoon of oil in a medium pot for 6-7 minutes. Add the chicken, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink 6-7 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth, oregano, green chili's and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cream of chicken soup and beans and bring back to a simmer for a few minutes.

3. Add the sour cream and shredded cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve garnished with sour cream, corn chips and or shredded cheese.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread-Bread Pudding

I got home last night smelling smoky from grilling pizza on the grill at our Young Women's activity prepping for girls camp (I am a die-hard girls camper . . . love it!) and spent a few hours in my kitchen making Chicken Enchilada's and a super easy and delish Chicken Chili. I am bringing dinner to my darling neighbor and started cooking and couldn't stop . . She is a southern gal so I opted for a "southern dessert." This dessert is everything a dessert should be . . . totally fulfills the chocolate craving and is rich, easy to make and is a great dessert to make when utilizing leftover bread!!! I love Dori Greenspan's Cocoa-Nana Bread recipe! I make it whenever I have browning banana's and freeze it for another. Today it made a grand appearance in a bread pudding that knocked my socks off! I think our neighbors will enjoy it . . . I did . . .Chocolate Banana Bread-Bread Pudding
Recipe by: Emily
5-7 Cups cubed Chocolate Banana Bread (fill the pan!!!)
4 Eggs
2 cups Milk
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla

1. Spread the cubed bread evenly in a 2-quart baking dish. In a bowl beat the eggs, milk, brown sugar and vanilla together. Pour over the cubed bread and allow to "soak" in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

2. Preheat an over to 350 degrees. Cover the bread pudding with foil and place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, uncover the pudding and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with a scoop of ice cream and caramel or chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tangy Chicken, Apple, Walnut, and Bacon Salad

Salads rock!!! They are simple . . . make great use of leftovers . . . can be altered to fit current cravings (and picky eaters) and pump your bod full of energy without making you feel like a soggy beanbag . . . I love the dressing for this salad! It can be tweaked left and right to tickle any taste buds!Tangy Apple Cider Dressing
Recipe by: Emily
1/2 cup Mayo
1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard
2-3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Honey
1/4 tsp Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the salad I simply toasted walnuts, crisped some bacon, chopped an apple and roasted a chicken breast and tossed all the goodies together with the dressing . . . and enjoyed!!! Great summer lunch or dinner!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Owl Birthday Cake

My hat is off to all of the pastry chefs and bakers who are constantly swirled in flour and powdered sugar and who must have piles of dishes to contend with at the end of the day! I make cakes for family members and dear friends . . . and it is a work out . . . but one I LOVE doing! Thanks for asking me Sandy!!!It has been a busy night filled with powder sugar dusting my kitchen (and probably whole house) the enticing smell of cakes baking. . . incredible caramel frosting topping chocolate chip cookie dough flavored cupcakes, . . . little owl faces peering at me from all over my counter tops and finally an owl birthday cake finally finished and ready to celebrate a DARLING little boys first birthday!!!Happy Birthday Cade!!! You have an amazing family who loves you to pieces buddy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cherry Blossom Cake . . .

My sweet little niece turned a whopping 3 years old on Monday and celebrated with a Mulan themed birthday party. She asked me to make her "happy cake" with pink flowers on it . . . so we went with a cherry blossom themed cake to tie into the Mulan party.
Finals week is upon me so I will hopefully find myself in the kitchen more once this semester is over!!! I plan on doing some serious canning this summer . . . but hopefully I will do some serious cooking too! Happy cooking all! I hope spring is treating you well and that the allergy season passes quickly!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup

I came home from class freezing and craving soup!!! I browsed my kitchen and pantry and decided to live it up with homemade tomato and a toasty grilled cheese.
Eating grilled cheese is a rarity at our house since my hubby is not a fan of melted cheese (sigh . . . I know . . .) so this is my idea of living it up . . . homemade soup goodness and a buttery, toasty, melty sammie! I love making soup like this because the better the ingredients you use the better it tastes . . . and it is a great opportunity to concentrate on simple but DELISH flavors such as caramelized/roasted garlic, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes. This soup is easy, cheap and yummers!Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup
Recipe by: Emily
1 14.5oz can of Diced Tomatoes (I used petite diced . . . cooks faster)
1 14.5 oz can Italian Stewed Tomatoes (or you can use just 2 cans of diced)
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
2-3 cloves of Roasted/Caramelized Garlic (or 2 cloves of raw garlic minced)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Chopped Sun dried Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Chopped Basil
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 Small Onion, diced
Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and brown sugar. Cook onion until it begins to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Allow to cook until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and they look "dry" and shiny, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and basil and cook for a minute. Add the chicken broth, water, and Italian tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree with a hand blender or in a blender.

2. Return pureed soup to the pot and simmer until desired thickness is reached. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!
Adding a pinch of sugar at the end really brings out the tomato flavor, as does the balsamic vinegar bring out the acidity of the tomatoes and balances the flavors nicely.You can also add 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the end if you like.