Friday, May 31, 2013

Kale, Feta, and Craisin Pasta

Two Peas and Their Pod
Here's a blog link to one I stop in and visit every now and then.  It's just a good place to stop and get a few ideas....especially if I need a dessert recipe.  Don't get me wrong, there are some good dinner ideas as well, it's just that they bake a bit more than I do. 

This recipe just appealed to me as a great easy weeknight meal.  As anyone who knows us will attest, we're huge pasta fans.  And then add something like good-for-you kale, and salty feta, and sweetness of craisins, and all the pretty colors.  Yep, that one is sold on all of us.  I just may have found my go to recipe when the kale starts to get slightly out of control this summer.

It was looking so good that I forgot to take a picture of it.  but, it seems a shame to have you go on another day without trying this, so I'll post this now and refer you to the link above for the recipe and a picture.  When I make this again, and I will make this again, I hope to get pictures. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sweet Potatoes with Pulled Pork

Sweet Potatoes with Crockpot Pulled Pork

Wowie.  Zowie.  This looked fabulous when I saw it on Nicole's blog (like how I refer to her like I know her?),  I'm going to tell you all the reasons that this sounded fab to me:
1.  Crockpot
2.  Barbecue Sauce
3.  Sweet Potatoes
4.  Eleanor will like it because the barbecue sauce is not mixed with the meat.
5.  Paul will like it because it involves beer.
6.  Eleanor will like it because it has sweet potatoes
7.  Crockpot
8.  Crockpot
9.  Crockpot

As many people know, spring was slow to arrive in Wisconsin this year.  That meant a bit more crockpot meals than usual; and this is a good one.  The tricky part of this one is having it on a night that I have time to bake the sweet potatoes before dinner, but I found just the night a couple weeks ago.  

Slow Cooker Beer Pulled Pork-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – pork adapted from Bake Your Day, potatoes from The Novice Chef
5 lb center cut, boneless pork loin roast, trimmed (4 lb after trimming)
12 oz of your favorite beer
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
4 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, sear the trimmed roast on each side, 2-4 minutes or until slightly golden; remove to crock pot.
To the crock pot, add the pork, beer, soy sauce, liquid smoke, shallots, garlic, onion, pepper, and cumin; rotate meat to coat.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Remove pork from crockpot and drain.  Shred meat and place back in the crockpot.  I served it like this with the bbq sauce on the side and a bit of cheddar cheese.  Eleanor's tomato aversion includes bbq sauce, so that's why I kept it separate
Pierce potatoes with a fork and wrap in foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes or so, until fork tender.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream

We love Jeni's ice cream book.  It's one of those books I checked out of the library, and that convinced me to put it on my wish list.  Lucky person that I am, my parents sent it to me.  So, I got a fun surprise in the mail and now own this.  That could be a little dangerous.....but we're trying to limit ourselves to once a week for the ice cream maker.  
This had some good salty and sweet flavors along with creamy and just that hint of cayenne to make it spicy...without being really spicy hot.  Just a nice additional flavor to go along with the others.
So many hard to choose favorites. 

Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream
1 1/4 C whole milk
1 T plus 1 t of cornstarch 
1 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C natural peanut butter 
1/2 t natural fine sea salt
1 1/4 C heavy cream
3/4 C unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
2/3 C sugar
1 T light corn syrup 
2 T honey
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/8 t cayenne

In a medium bowl, cream peanut butter and cream cheese and salt together and set aside.
Toast you coconut, being careful not to burn it. I prefer to put mine in the toaster oven for about 2 minutes, on toast.
Take 2 tablespoons of the milk and mix the corn or tap starch and milk together, and set aside.
Combine the milk, cream, coconut milk, sugar, honey, tapioca syrup, and ginger over medium high heat until it comes to a rolling boil, about 4 minutes.
Once it comes to a boil, take it off the heat and add the milk/starch slurry. Return to medium high heat, for abut 1 minute, until slightly thickened.
Remove the ginger (of added) and slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the peanut butter mix, until smooth.
Add the cayenne pepper and toasted shredded coconut, and chill over night.
When its thoroughly chilled, freeze according to you ice cream makers instructions. It will be soft, so freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.
* The recipe is perfect! It tastes just like the real thing. The texture is smooth and creamy and professional tasting!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Passion Tea Lemonade

Passion Tea Lemonade, a recipe found by Eleanor and recommended that I make it; however, she found recipes calling for additional sugar or a simple syrup.  We just made some Tazo passion tea and some lemonade and mixed them...about half of each.  I have never had the Starbuck's version (and I don't think she has either), but we're pretty pleased with this version.

So glad that it's finally warmed up around here so we can enjoy things like this!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad (preventionrd version)

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad (half baked harvest version)

Two versions of this delicious salad before I even give you my version.  It's funny...I saw this on Nicole's blog from preventionrd but went to the original to print it.  I ended up making my version much closer to preventionrd's.  Basically, we both increased the vegetables and decreased the oil just a bit.  I rate this really high and thought it was fabulous.  

I made a batch and took it to work for lunches....I was in a good mood all morning thinking about this...and it didn't disappoint.  It had the great Buffalo chicken flavor but none of the mess of wings and the good health benefits of quinoa and vegetables.  I really think I could sell bowls and bowls of this stuff.  It's just that good.  

Tieghan, from halfbakedharvest, really figured out a good one in this recipe.  I'm excited to look around her blog a bit more since anything even close to this would have to rank pretty high on my list. 
  • 1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
  • chives, to tast
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup wing sauce (I recommend Franks)
  1. In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  2. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat Add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the broccoli for about 5 minutes. You want it to just start to soften, but still be crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. 
  3. When the quinoa is ready add the chicken, broccoli, carrots, shredded cabbage and as much of the dressing as desired (I ended up using all of the dressing, but we like things extra saucy) toss well. Add the blue cheese and chives. Toss again and serve warm with extra blue cheese crumbles and green onions.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chicken Ranch Pizza

Chicken Ranch Pizza from seededatthe table

Paul wasn't too thrilled about this pizza since it didn't have tomato sauce, but I think I won him over on the bacon.  It was a great dinner...and came together fairly quickly since we had grilled two extra chicken breasts on the weekend.  That's my tip for easy meals during the week....the grilled chicken breasts can be used in different ways and it sure cuts down on the cooking time during the week.

I used one chicken breast for the Buffalo chicken quinoa salad recipe which I will post a bit later.  The other one was used for this pizza.

Seededatthetable's author, Nikki, really did a great job with this recipe; however, I had a few adaptations (shocking, I know) which are listed below.  

  • pizza dough 
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing (1/4 c sour cream and 1/4 c mayonnaise mixed with 1 t sliced chives, 1 t dillweed, 1/2 t garlic salt)
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced small
  • 2 T sliced chives
Place pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven and stone to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Shape the pizza crust dough and transfer to a pizza peel or sheet of parchment paper dusted with semolina or cornmeal.
Evenly spread the ranch dressing over the pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border for the outer crust. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, then layer the chicken, bacon, tomatoes and green onions. Top with the cheddar cheese.
Slide the pizza onto the hot stone. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Buckeye State Ice Cram

Buckeye State Ice Cream
I have never been to Jeni's ice cream stores and have never tried it when I have seen it at the grocery store.  Likely I won't try it due to the nut contamination I sure am enjoying the recipes at home.  This was one of our more recent tries....and will probably be repeated at some point in this house.  It was a tiny bit too sweet for us, especially when topped with some of the chocolate bombe topping (like Magic Shell or Dairy Queen's dipped cones), so I think the next time I will probably decrease the corn syrup by half and maybe be a little bit short when measuring the sugar.

This ice cream was like eating a peanut butter cup....very tasty:)

The chocolate bombe topping  (not pictured...stay tuned for another day)...who knew this stuff is so easy to make?  Just melted chocolate and coconut oil.  A fabulous addition to all these ice creams I'm trying.  

Buckeye State Ice Cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home
2 cups whole milk
1 TB plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1-1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
2 TB light corn syrup
2 TB honey
4 oz. chocolate (55% to 70%) chopped

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. 
3. Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a large sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil of medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. (Keep a watchful eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over the sides of the pan) Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cornstarch slurry.
4. Place pan back on burner and bring the mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring with a spatula until slightly thickened – about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat (again).
5. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the peanut butter mixture until smooth. Keep whisking… Once it’s smooth pour the mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge in the ice water. Let sit until it’s chilled, at least 30 minutes.
6. Pour ice cream base into the frozen canister and being spinning.
7. While the ice cream is spinning, drizzle a bit of the chocolate bombe or plain melted chocolate through the opening at the tip of the ice cream maker. 
8. Pour ice cream into a storage container and freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm.