Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Summer Flavors July 23, 2014

Are you ready to indulge in some incredibly delicious dishes that highlight some of the flavors of summer?  I’ve already indulged in the two recipes I’m sharing, but they’re so good I’d gladly eat them again.   First though, I’ve got to share a nice deal for you to take advantage of.  Starbucks is once again offering their treat receipt program.  If you buy something in the morning, you can bring your receipt in after 2 PM and receive an iced grande drink for just $2.  If you know you’re going to have a long day, this might make it just a little brighter.

This first recipe is one I could have sworn I’d already shared with you.  I actually searched the archive twice to make sure I hadn’t missed it somehow.  I made this for the first time several years ago with one of my best friends.  That summer, she’d planted a garden that was producing plenty of basil and zucchini.  We made this delectable looking dish to use up some of that bounty.  For those of you who might be wondering, a galette (in this sense) is just a freeform pie.  The crust for this one is a little easier to work with than regular pie dough because it’s made with sour cream as well as butter.  Then you top the galette with a cheese mixture, and finish with some garlic-basted zucchini.  None of the flavors are very bold; they just all harmonize into a tasty treat.

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette (from Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/4 c. chilled all-purpose flour (When you make pie crust, it’s best for all ingredients to be very cold.)

1/4 tsp. salt

8 tbsp. cubed butter

1/4 c. sour cream

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 c. ice water

1 large (or 2 small) zucchini sliced in 1/4 in. thick rounds

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 c. ricotta

1/2 c. grated Parmesan

1/4 c. shredded mozzarella

1 tbsp. slivered basil leaves

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. water

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Sprinkle the butter over the flour, then cut in (with a pastry mixer or 2 forks) the butter, til the mix resembles coarse meal with the biggest pieces the size of peas.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and ice water; add this mixture to the butter mix.  Mix together til large lumps form.  Pat the lumps into ball, but do not overwork it.  Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

2. Spread the cut zucchini over several layers of paper towels.  Sprinkle the zucchini with 1/2 tsp. salt, then let it drain for 30 minutes.  Gently blot the tops dry with paper towels.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic; set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix together the 3 cheeses with 1 tsp. of the garlic oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 inch round.  Transfer the dough to an ungreased baking sheet.  Spread the ricotta mix evenly on the dough, leaving a 2 inch border.  Shingle the zucchini on top of the ricotta, then drizzle it with the remaining garlic oil.  Fold the border of dough over the filling, pleating to make it fit.  In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and 1 tsp. water; brush over the crust.

4. Bake til the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the basil, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini and Ricotta GaletteZucchini and Ricotta Galette 2Zucchini and Ricotta Galette 3

And as good as that is (and it’s really, REALLY good), this next one is even better.  Imagine my surprise when, towards the end of last week, my husband announced that he’s not really a fan of coconut milk.  What?!  I’m obsessed with coconut milk, how can he not like it?  How did I not know this?  What was I going to do about the coconut milk ice cream that I had just bought the ingredients for?

So I did what I thought made the most sense, I made the ice cream and didn’t tell him what was in it until he said that he liked it.  Success!  After I told him it was made from coconut milk, he said that he could taste it, but that it worked in the ice cream.  Personally, I think he’s actually just ambivalent about coconut milk, but that he didn’t like the last couple of dishes that I had used it in.  (I didn’t really like those last few dishes either, which is why they haven’t been posted on the blog.)  But this…  This was amazing!  Do you remember the coconut ice milk I blogged about last month?  This ice cream is its alter ego.  Coconut milk is mixed with just a hint of cocoa and sugar, then churned and studded with a wealth of Oreo cookies.  (But you could leave the cookies out and still have an incredible ice cream.)  This recipe only makes a half batch of ice cream which could be good or bad.  Good because I didn’t gorge on it; bad because I’m already craving more.  You must know by now that I adore the flavor combination of chocolate and coconut, and this ice cream brings them together beautifully.  I also love that you can make it with pantry ingredients (minus the Oreos, which I wouldn’t dare keep in my pantry at all times), so it’s ready to be made at any time.  Okay, I think I’ve hyped it enough; let me tell you how to make it.

Chocolate Cookies ‘N’ Cream Ice Cream (from Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah)

1 14 oz. can coconut milk (She recommends the Chaokoh brand.  I haven’t seen that in my stores, but Goya is a consistently good and available brand for me.)

1/3 c. sugar

2 tbsp. cocoa

10 crushed Oreos

1. In a blender, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and cocoa.  Blend for 20 seconds.  Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions.  In the last 5 minutes of churning, pour in the Oreos.  Freeze until ready to eat.

Chocolate Cookies 'n' Cream Ice CreamChocolate Cookies 'n' Cream Ice Cream 2

On a sad note, you may have noticed the absence lately of recipes that I’ve recently found to drool over.  While I certainly wouldn’t mind being struck hungry by a new recipe, I didn’t want to leave you bereft until that happens.  A lot of people associate summer with going to the movies.  Though I don’t personally enjoy movie theaters (The noise and occasionally the cinematography give me headaches.), I do enjoy watching all the new movie trailers that come out during this time.  I thought I’d end today’s post with previews of several movies that I’m looking forward to seeing when they come out on DVD.

The first movie I’m interested in is called The Boxtrolls.  I love the whimsy and silliness of this movie.

The next movie is called Home and is about a hilarious alien’s adventures on earth.  I especially love how Oh got his name and his dancing!

The last one that I’m most excited about is The Hundred Foot Journey.  It’s about Indian and French food; is it any wonder I’m dying to see it?

What movie are you looking forward to?

 

Return of the… Granola? July 15, 2014

We’ll return to that unusual theme in a second. (I’ll also tell you why I bought a can of pumpkin in the middle of July.)  First, I wanted to tell you about Krispy Kreme’s latest flavors.  For a limited time they are offering two new flavors.  The first is a banana pudding doughnut: a yeast doughnut filled with a banana cream filling and topped with a yellow icing and vanilla wafer crumbs.  The other doughnut is carrot cake:  a cake doughnut flavored with carrots and spices and topped with a cream cheese icing (yum!).  Those sound like some pretty convincing reasons to take a trip to Krispy Kreme.

While my husband’s been on night shift, our eating schedule has been very mixed up.  We’ve both been a lot more prone to snacking, so I’ve been trying to make sure that we have a lot of healthy snack options to keep us full.  One of the options I’ve been trying to stock is granola.  (Still don’t understand the title?  Just wait, it’s coming.)  It’s a nice chewy treat that can be both savory and sweet.  The first granola recipe I want to share is probably the easiest granola I’ve ever made.  It uses just 5 basic pantry ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make (including cook time).  This granola is really basic, but you could always add in extra flavors.  It doesn’t make a ton of granola, but that’s probably for the best since it’s kind of addictive.

Peanut Butter Granola (from Table for Two)

4 tbsp. peanut butter

4 tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. old-fashioned oats

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment (or a silpat).  In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and honey.  Nuke them 30-45 seconds or til melted.  Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon, then add in the oats and stir til well coated.

2. Spread in the pan and bake 15 minutes or til golden brown.  (The granola will harden as it cools, so don’t worry if it seems a little soft when you take it out.)

Peanut Butter GranolaPeanut Butter Granola 2

Now we come to the explanation for today’s title.  It’s been 3 months, but I’m finally getting back to the movie and recipe series.  This time, I watched a classic Disney movie and one of my favorites, Cinderella.  (See a very old trailer here.)  The movie follows the main points of the classic fairy tale, but it also adds a lot of personality with all of the animal friends.  (Who doesn’t love those adorable and hilarious mice and birds?)  And of course there’s the music, so many of the songs are still well-known and well-loved by both kids and adults.  (My favorite is A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.)  Though I adore the whole movie, I think my favorite scene is when the mice are gathering materials for Cinderella’s dress, and they have to outwit the cat, Lucifer.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I could possibly make to go along with the movie:  something French? something about mice? :P (The mice thing was actually the hubby’s suggestion.)  Then I got to the fairy godmother scene, and it clicked.  Pumpkin!  I’d make something with pumpkin.  Then I had to argue with myself.  Pumpkin?  In July?  If you’ve read this blog for a while, you probably realize that I have some weird quirks concerning food, most notably, that I relegate some foods to certain seasons.  In our 90+ degree weather, pumpkin bread (a favorite fall treat) just didn’t appeal to me.  Not wanting to give up, I looked through my ingredient index and found this tasty granola that uses pumpkin puree in place of oil.  Then I made it.  And now I’m sharing it with you!

Though this granola has pumpkin and pumpkin spice in it, it wasn’t so overpowering that I would insist it be limited to autumnal use.  This is a pretty healthy granola, and I like how it has a lot of different textures and flavors.  Like the peanut butter granola, this is easy to whip together and fairly fast too.

Pumpkin Spice Granola (from Healthy Food for Living)

1 1/2 c. rolled oats

1 1/2 c. puffed rice cereal (I used a plain puffed brown rice that didn’t have any added sugar.  I’m sure you could use regular rice krispies too.)

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (If, like me, you refuse to pay $5 for a tiny container that holds a mix of spices you probably already have on hand, you can make your own.  I used 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and 1/8 tsp. each of allspice and nutmeg.)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. pumpkin puree

2 tbsp. applesauce

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. chopped nuts or seeds (I used 1/4 c. each of pecans, walnuts, and pistachios.)

1/2 c. dried fruit (I used 1/4 c. each of craisins and chopped dried cherries.)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment.  Put the oats and rice puffs in a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Whisk together til very smooth.

3. Pour the pumpkin mix over the oat mix and stir til evenly coated.  Spread on the cookie sheet.

4. Bake 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and stir in the nuts.  Return to the oven and bake 15 more minutes or til golden brown and crisp.

5. Once the granola is cooked, toss it with the dried fruit, and let it cool completely.

Pumpkin Spice GranolaPumpkin Spice Granola 2  (I really love the added color from the pistachios and craisins.)

So, does the title make more sense now?

Unfortunately, I still don’t have any eye-catching recipes to share (Come on, bloggers, catch my attention with something decadent!), but I did want to share a few pics.  Let’s start with an update on my garden.

7-9 Alive 2  The basil and chives are both doing great.

7-9 Alive 3  The spiny succulents are growing flowers and the other is growing some new leaves.

7-9 Alive  The mint has also continued to grow and thrive.

This last picture comes from my photo a day challenge.  It’s captioned torn.

7-15 Torn  Which one should I eat first?

 

Richly Delicious July 9, 2014

Let’s talk about some rich, delicious foods.  I know that it’s summer, and people are trying to eat lighter food to fit into their bathing suits.  But you can’t eat light all the time.  Sometimes, you just need to indulge a little.  Let’s start our indulgences with a favorite of mine: Krispy Kreme!  For their 77th birthday, Krispy Kreme is offering a deal where you can go to a participating store on July 11, buy any dozen doughnuts, and receive a dozen original glazed doughnuts for just 77 cents.  I doubt I’ll be able to get any, but someone should enjoy some. :D

This first dish wasn’t my personal favorite, but my husband really enjoyed it.  It’s very rich, but with a nice combination of flavors.  If you haven’t heard of them before, a Cuban sandwich usually involves ham and pickles, while a monte cristo is a ham and turkey sandwich that’s battered and fried.  You probably already know that I’m not a huge meat-eater, so it shouldn’t be a big shock that I’m not over the moon for this one.  To me, the best part of the sandwich was the pickle because the acidity of it helped cut through all the fatty, richness of the rest of the sandwich.  If you’re feeling especially decadent, you should definitely consider putting this on the menu.  I did find that the amount of sauce the recipe made was double what we needed, so you may want to scale it back.

Cuban Style Monte Cristos (from Rachael Ray)

5 tbsp. butter

1 clove finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. mustard

8 slices white bread

8 slices Swiss

8 slices baked ham

8 slices smoked turkey

4 slices dill pickle

3 eggs

1. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp. butter.  Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes; then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in 1 1/4 c. milk and let thicken for 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the mustard and remove from the heat.

2. Spread some of the mustard sauce on each piece of bread.  Layer the sandwiches with 2 slices each of Swiss, ham, and turkey and 1 slice of pickle.  In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and 1/4 c. milk.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat; add 2 tbsp. butter and let melt.  Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, then place them in the pan.  Cook the sandwiches til they’re golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side.

Cuban Style Monte CristoCuban Style Monte Cristo 3

What was more exciting to me was the cupcake recipe that I whipped up for one of my SIL’s birthdays.  She wasn’t set on a specific recipe, she just asked for some kind of cake involving chocolate.  I decided to go with an amazing recipe that combines a rich chocolate cake with a creamy cheesecake filling.  I’m not sure what she thought (yet), but we thought they were to die for.  The original recipe says that this yields 12 cupcakes, but I think it actually yields 18.  (I didn’t want to bother cleaning the pan and cooking 6 more cupcakes, so I put the leftover in a loaf pan.)  Though they aren’t as composed as your usual birthday treat, I really loved their rustic look.  These were really easy to whip up, and I think they’ve clinched a spot as my go-to cake recipe.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes (from the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit)

For the cream cheese filling:

1 8 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese

1 egg

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt (Some people on the BA site said that this was too salty for them.  I didn’t have a problem with it, but you could cut it in half if you’re sensitive to salt.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:

1 c. all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 c. softened butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate

1/2 c. milk

1. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese in a medium bowl.  Add the egg, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla; beat til almost smooth.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and baking soda.  In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar (3/4 c. + 2 tbsp.) til fluffy.  Beat in the eggs.  Stir in the chocolate and vanilla, then beat on high for 5 seconds.   Alternate beating in the flour mix and the milk.  Once incorporated, beat on high for 5 seconds.

3. Divide the batter among the paper cups, filling them 1/3 full.  (That’s not a typo, just 1/3 full.)  Using a tbsp., hollow out the center of each cupcake.  (I know that sounds impossible, but this isn’t your typical cake batter.  This was so fluffy and silky; it reminded me of a mousse.)  Place 1 heaping tbsp. of cream cheese filling in the center of each cupcake.

4. Bake the cupcakes til a toothpick inserted in the center (of the cupcake, not the filling) removes cleanly, about 20 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Chocolate Cream Cheese CupcakesChocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes 2

These cupcakes are my new go-to; have you discovered a new indulgence lately?

 

Luxurious or Light July 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 8:49 PM
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Today’s post is about giving you an option to eat luxuriously or a little lighter.  On the side of luxury, Starbucks in Targets are currently offering a free La Boulange pastry with any handcrafted beverage  purchase from now through July 2 (participating stores only).  I’ve had their pain au chocolat (a croissant with chocolate in the middle) before, and it was delicious!!

Guess what else is delicious and luxurious:  macaroni and cheese!  This one in particular has bacon, 3 types of cheese, and a crumb topping.  I actually felt that the bacon was a little unnecessary.  (Sacrilege, I know.)  Though I love bacon, I couldn’t really taste it through the cheeses, so I’d rather save my bacon for something like a BLT.  Other than that, this was such a tasty dish.  The sauce had a great cheesy flavor with a bit of kick, and the crumb topping gave it a nice crunch.  My husband was particularly taken with this one and insists that we have it again before too long goes by.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese (Unknown origin)

6 tbsp. butter

3 slices diced bacon

1 c. finely chopped onion

1 tsp. crushed red pepper (Use less if you don’t like spicy food.)

2 cloves minced garlic

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

3 c. milk

1 c. grated Parmesan

4 oz. cream cheese (softened)

3 c. shredded cheddar

3/4 c. panko

1/2 c. chopped parsley

1 lb. penne

1. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and cook til crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

2. Remove all but 3 tbsp. of the bacon grease from the pan.  Add the onion and saute til tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the red pepper and garlic and stir for 1 minute.

3. Stir in 2 tbsp. butter.  Once melted, add in the flour and stir for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer, stirring frequently, til thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan, cream cheese, and 2 1/4 c. cheddar.  Once they’re melted in, a the bacon and season with salt and pepper.

5. In a separate large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp. butter.  Add the panko and stir til light golden brown (about 5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13×9 baking dish.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta til al dente; drain well.

7. Once the pasta’s cooked, toss it with the sauce and transfer to the baking dish.  Top with the panko mix and 3/4 c. cheddar.  Bake 30 minutes or til golden brown; let stand 5 minutes for serving.

Cuban Style Monte CristoMac 'n' Cheese 2  (By the way, are you wondering about that luxurious looking sandwich?  You’ll just have to come back another time for that recipe.)

The last recipe for tonight is from the lighter side of dinner (but it’s not broccoli salad again).  It’s the very flavorful shrimp I hinted at a couple of weeks ago.  This shrimp is full of a great flavor, and it cooks up in a flash.  Though the recipe calls for the shrimp to be grilled, I just sauteed mine in a regular nonstick frying pan til it was pink and cooked through.

Cilantro-Lemon Shrimp (from Food Network)

1 c. cilantro

1 c. parsley

6 cloves garlic

Zest of 3 lemons

Juice of 3 lemons

1 tbsp. salt

1/2 tbsp. black pepper

1 c. olive oil

2 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp

1. Turn on the grill.  Put all the ingredients except the oil and shrimp into the food processor.  Process till smooth.  With the machine running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube, til it’s completely incorporated.

2. Place the shrimp in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it.  Squeeze out the air, seal, and let marinate for 1 hour.  Grill til cooked through.

Cilantro-Lemon Shrimp 2

Even though I love both of these recipes, what I’m craving right now is something light, cold, and refreshing.  I think I’m going to go grab a popsicle from the freezer and chill on the couch with my hubby.  Have a cool and relaxing evening!

 

Short and Sweet June 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 12:01 AM
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So, today’s post is going to have to be abbreviated.  For some reason, this week decided to be insanely busy, but I didn’t want to miss a post just for that.  I’m hoping to try a couple new recipes this next week.  I’m also hoping that next week will be a little less busy so that I can get you a much longer post.

The recipe I wanted to share today is for a delicious little cake that’s easy to make, fast to bake, and tasty to take.  (What!?  You don’t like my rhyme?)  I made these for the first time several years ago when I wanted to bake something without having to go to the store for special ingredients.  I whipped these up and now I’ve remade them to share with you.  When I originally made them, I felt that the flavor of the ginger wasn’t prominent enough.  This time I substituted fresh ginger for the ground, and it definitely packed a punch.  If you’re a really big ginger fan, use fresh; if not, I’d try to use 1 tsp. ground so that you can still taste it.  On another note, the amounts listed for the glaze make twice as much as you need.  I reduced the amounts (by half) below.  You might also need to add more milk for a more dippable consistency.  Enjoy!

Ginger Tea Cakes with Lemon Glaze (from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp. ginger  (See my note above for different flavor levels.)

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar

7 tbsp. softened butter

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

3 tbsp. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. milk

3 tbsp. finely chopped candied ginger (This is mostly for garnish, so don’t worry if you don’t have it on hand.  The first time I made this I didn’t, and they were still delicious.  This time I had ginger, but didn’t have the time to chop it up before I needed to take these to my secret sis.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger.  In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter on medium for 1 minute.  Beat in the eggs and yolk at medium speed.  Stir in the dry ingredients on low, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla.

2. Add 1 tbsp. batter to each mini muffin cup and bake til a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly, 12-14 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and milk.  Dip the tops of the cake in the glaze and top with the candied ginger.

Ginger Tea Cakes with Lemon GlazeGinger Tea Cakes with Lemon Glaze 3

Thanks for bearing with the short post, and I’ll be back with something longer soon.  Happy eating!

 

Chocolate, Chilly, and Chatter June 19, 2014

I have so much to share today that I’ll “barely” be able to share a couple of decadent chocolate recipes and some “chilly” frozen treats.  ;)

Let’s start with something non-chilled first.  On July 11, Chick-fil-A is hosting their annual Dress Like a Cow Day.  On that day, you can go in to any participating Chick-fil-A and receive either a free meal (for dressing like a cow head to toe) or a free entree (for wearing some kind of cow accessories or garb).  Chick-fil-A is one of our favorite restaurants, and this would be a fun outing for the whole family.  (Who wouldn’t like to see a bunch of cows at lunch?)

On the chilled front, Krispy Kreme (Y’all know how much I love Krispy Kreme!) has started offering 3 delicious sounding frozen lemonades: regular, strawberry, and mango.  They sound so delicious that I might just have to stop by and try them.  (Of course, I’d have to get some doughnuts while I was there.)

Speaking of frozen, have you ever tried frozen grapes?  I don’t think I had til several years ago, but now I adore them.  I love grapes eaten straight out of hand, but after they’re frozen, they’re even more refreshing.  I highly recommend that you try this while grapes are at a good price.

Okay, I promised you chocolate, and I will deliver.  Again, we’ll start with the non-chilled chocolate first.  Last week, my husband said that he wanted something chocolate-y, so I told him about a mug cake recipe I’d been meaning to try.  He whipped it up, and we were both impressed with it.  The blogger who created it named it “The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake”, and she meant it.  When I tried it again a few days ago, I had to cook it longer in my microwave to get the middle cooked through,  but the outside never got dried out, burnt, or spongy.  The cake is made from ingredients you probably have on hand already, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make.  It has a good chocolate flavor and would go well with a scoop of ice cream or any number of substitutions for the creamy center.  If you have a chocolate craving but not much time, this will definitely fit the bill.

Chocolate Mug Cake (from Table for Two)

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. cocoa

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. milk

2 tbsp. veggie oil

1 tbsp. Nutella (Peanut butter or Biscoff would also be good here.)

1. In a large (oversized), microwave-safe mug, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

2. Whisk in the milk and oil til well combined with no clumps.

3. Add the Nutella to the middle of the cake; you don’t have to worry about pushing it in.

4. Microwave for 70 seconds or til done.  (I do the initial 70 seconds, then 15 second intervals til it’s cooked through.)

Chocolate Mug Cake 2Chocolate Mug Cake 3

You may be saying, “Wait a sec, where did that ice cream come from?”  Well, I did promise you a frozen chocolate treat as well.  I’ve previously talked about this delicious chocolate ice cream with a peanut butter swirl. (Just over a year ago; talk about coincidence.)  This time, I decided to try a chocolate peanut butter ice cream that didn’t require any cream or melted chocolate.  (That one’s delicious, I just didn’t have those ingredients on hand this time.)  The chocolate peanut butter ice cream I tried this time uses just 5 ingredients to deliver a VERY rich, creamy chocolate and peanut butter taste.  (On the downside, it only makes about 1 pint of ice cream.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream (from the Brown Eyed Baker blog)

2 c. half and half

1/4 c. Dutch process cocoa (The special Hershey’s cocoa I use is half special dark cocoa and half Dutch process, so I just used that.)

1/2 c. sugar

1 pinch salt

1/2 c. peanut butter

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the half and half, cocoa, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a full, rolling boil, whisking frequently.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter til thoroughly blended.

2. Chill the mix thoroughly, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Have you had enough yet?  I hope not, since I have lots of extra finds to share this week.  Like last week, we’ll start with some new music.

- The other day, I was just chilling out listening to Pandora when this song captured my attention.  (Hooray for free internet radio that brings you new music and plays more than the same 15 songs over and over.)  Though it’s a little melancholy, I really enjoyed its smooth and heartfelt sound.  It’s called “The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore” and is by James Morrison.

Don’t worry though, I also have some recipes that caught my attention.

- Let’s start with this delicious looking, frozen strawberry treat from Cooking Light.  Let’s just say that I’ve been thinking about this since I saw it last week, and I may or may not be bringing it to a get-together this weekend.  I’ll keep you posted.

- And since we’ve been talking about chocolate peanut butter ice creams, this one from Yammie’s Noshery popped up in my inbox yesterday and has the potential to be my new favorite.  Like the one I just shared, it uses basic ingredients, but it seems even easier, AND it has a peanut butter swirl.  You shouldn’t be surprised if this also makes an appearance in the not too distant future.

- This last treat from Smitten Kitchen was only posted today, but I already want to make it.  It’s a frozen coconut limeade that sounds like a perfect summer treat.  I love the flavor combo of lime and coconut, and this is calling my name.  (Why, oh why, do blenders hate me so much?  Does anyone with a blender that doesn’t hate them want to whip this up for me?  I’d be ever so grateful!)

Can you tell that I’m in the mood for delicious frozen treats?  What about you, what’s your favorite frozen treat when the weather gets hot?

 

Fast and Flavorful June 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 8:12 PM
Tags: , , ,

I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of nights where I just don’t have time for elaborate meal preparation.  Sometimes I rely on my slow-cooker or reheat leftovers from a previous night.  Other nights, I reach for quick recipes like these.  Though these occasionally require a little prep ahead of time, the main cooking time is fast and easy.  (I don’t mind prep time that can be done earlier in the day or even a day or two ahead of time.)

Though this first recipe is technically for lettuce cups, it’s very versatile.  You can make the chicken mixture and then serve it as written or (like I did this time) over rice.  You could also add more vegetables to up the nutritional value.  This recipe has a good flavor and is very easy to whip up on a busy night.  And (though you may be tired of hearing me say this, it’s true) it’s also very easy to customize according to your personal preferences or what you have on hand.

Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups (from Real Simple)

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 3/4 in. pieces

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1 bunch trimmed, sliced scallions

1 8 oz. can drained, sliced water chestnuts

1/4 c. roasted, unsalted cashews

1 small head Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated

1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and honey; set aside.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, til it begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

2. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and ginger.  Add the scallions and cook 1 minute.  Stir in the chestnuts and half of the sauce mix; cook til the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the heat and sprinkle with the cashews.

3. Spoon the chicken mix into the lettuce cups and pass the remaining sauce around for drizzling on top.

Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce CupsChicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups 2

This next recipe is a quick and easy side dish that really packed a lot of flavor and nutrition into a small package.  The hardest part of this whole recipe was grating and wringing out a single zucchini.  (Which means it took very little work at all!)  These will definitely be added to our summer meal rotation.

Zucchini Tots (from Macaroni & Cheesecake)

1 c. grated zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)

1/4 finely chopped onion (I thought this was a little too much raw onion.  Next time, I’ll swap it out for a couple tablespoons of minced, dried onion for a less intense taste.)

1/4 c. panko

1/4 c. shredded cheddar

1/4-1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 beaten egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Liberally grease 12 mini muffin cups.  (Extra tip: to avoid burning the empty pan, fill each unused muffin cup half full with water.)

2. Place the grated zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess water.  Remove the zucchini from the towel and place it in a medium bowl.  Add in the onion, panko, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine and taste to adjust the seasonings.  Add in the egg and stir.

3. Spoon the mix into the greased muffin cups, filling completely full.  (I only got 10, but I might have overfilled some of them.)  Press each down with the back of a spoon to help them hold together.  Bake 15-18 minutes or til lightly golden.  A few minutes before they’re done, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle a little extra cheddar on top of each; return to the oven to finish cooking.

4. Run a knife around the edge of each cup and pop the tots out.  Serve with ranch or ketchup for dipping.  (Or just eat them by themselves, they certainly were tasty enough.)

Cilantro-Lemon ShrimpZucchini Tots 2 (You’ll have  to come back another day for the shrimp recipe.  As for those beautiful looking biscuits, they sadly had no flavor, so I won’t bother giving you a bum recipe.)

It’s been a busy week for us, and I haven’t found any new recipes to drool over.  :(     I did, however, run across a nice song that makes me think of summer when it talks about the “wind in my hair, salt on my skin, sun in the air.”  It’s called Free by Gavin DeGraw, and you can check it out here.  Hope you have a great rest of the week!

 

 
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