Well, 2015’s only about an hour away; what are your plans for the change of year? Personally, I’m keeping it low-key at home with some leftover Christmas goodies, DVDs from the library, and sharing some delicious recipes with y’all. As for resolutions, they’re pretty basic. I do want to eat more healthily, learn to take better pictures, and read a lot – just your basic plan to better yourself. As for food, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop baking and cooking delicious food. I do want to try to keep my sweet and fatty food intake to a moderate level, but good food doesn’t always have to be calorie laden. To that effect, I’m going to share with you something on the sweet, not-so-healthy side and a salad that’s so tasty you won’t realize it’s healthy. How’s that for a good start to the new year?
Let’s start with the super tasty salad. I have to admit that I’ve been holding on to this one for a while. I’ve wanted to share, but I hadn’t found the right time. This salad is so good that you can even convince a guy to eat it; it tastes like a cheeseburger. 🙂 Like the other guy-friendly salad on my site, the dressing in the original recipe would take away any nutritional value in the salad. Also, like that salad, I took the flavor profile of the dressing and made a vinaigrette with it. Unfortunately, I just kind of made it up as I went. I’ll give you the original recipe and try to explain what I did for my vinaigrette. As for the salad, the hubby and I both really enjoyed it. This amount makes four servings, but you might want to get ingredients for more – it’s really tasty.
Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad (from Pampered Chef)
4 seeded hamburger bun tops (I see no reason to not use the bottoms also. They’re not as pretty, but they still make tasty croutons.)
1 red onion (I left it off mine, but the hubby enjoyed it.)
2 plum tomatoes
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. diced dill pickle
3/4 c. ketchup
1 tbsp. mustard
8 c. thinly sliced romaine
1 c. shredded cheddar
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the bun tops into 1/4 in. long strips. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my croutons in strips. Since croutons are easier to slice before they’re cooked, just cut them the shape you want them to be in your salad.) Arrange the pieces in a single layer on a large 9×13 pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or til lightly toasted; let cool.
2. Cut the onion in half crosswise. Slice 1/2 of the onion into thin rings. Cut the tomatoes into lengthwise quarters, then slice crosswise.
3. Cook the beef over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or til no longer pink, break into crumbles. Chop the remaining onion 1/2 and combine it in a bowl with the pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Add the beef and mix well.
4. Arrange the lettuce on a large serving platter, spoon the beef mix over the lettuce. Top with the cheese, tomatoes, and sliced onion. Arrange the bun croutons around the edge of the platter.
Notes: I set mine up more like taco salad, with the lettuce, meat, tomato, onion, croutons, cheese, and dressing in separate bowls to be assembled according to each person’s preference. For the dressing, I started with a good bit of mustard (my favorite condimet), then added a little bit of ketchup, a little bit of mayo, some pickle relish, salt, and pepper. I mixed that up, then added olive oil til it reached a nice consistency.
For Christmas this year, I tried several new recipes. Sadly, almost all of them flopped. There were 2 that were much harder to work with than they should have been, 1 that lacked a key flavor (Which is fixable, but the procedure for making it was more complicated than it needed to be. I’d rather just tweak the flavor in a good recipe.), and 1 that tasted amazing but was much too hard to bite into. One recipe however stood out as better than I’d hoped for.
Last year, a German food/craft blogger that I follow posted a delicious looking recipe for a kind of chocolatey gingerbread cake. At the time, it was too close to Christmas for me to adjust my planned menu and convert the recipe (from metric). But this year, I made sure that I’d have time for it. I brought this to a teen party we helped at, but the kids ate too much pizza and barely touched the desserts. Since the recipe had made plenty, I decided to let a bunch of our church folk try it, so that I wouldn’t have to take as much home (trying not to tempt myself too much). Everyone loved it, including the hubby and myself. Though the gingerbread itself is good, it’s taken over the top by being covered in thin, chocolate glaze. Like the blogger says, this treat gets better if it sits a couple of days, so don’t be afraid to make it a few days before you need it. I found that the larger pieces got just a tad too dry after several days, so try to cut consistently smallish pieces. (Mine were all over the place in size range.) I know it’s past Christmas, but you’ll definitely want to keep this in mind for next year. Also on the plus side, I already did the conversion for you. (Thank goodness for digital scales!) I did end up needing twice the amount of glaze it called for, but I think that was my own fault. I might have let the glaze or the cake or both cool a little too much. It might also have to do with making this in the warmth of a TX winter as opposed to the cooler weather in Germany.
Magenbrot (from Nadel & Gabel)
For the cake:
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. milk
3 1/2 tbsp. honey
For the glaze:
1 3 1/2 oz. bar dark chocolate
1/3 c. water
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and spices. Add the milk and honey and mix to combine; the batter will be thick and sticky. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and spread to an 11×7 inch rectangle.
2. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
3. To make the glaze, break the chocolate in chunks and place it in a medium pot over low heat. Add the water, butter, and cinnamon (1/2 tsp.). When the chocolate and butter have melted, whisk in the confectioner’s sugar. Let the icing cool a little. (If you’re like me, you’ve always heard that water makes chocolate seize up. Apparently, a little water is bad for chocolate, but a lot works just fine. This glaze is incredible!)
4. Cut the magenbrot into small pieces. Dunk the pieces in the slightly warm glaze. Place the glazed pieces on a wire rack and let set overnight. Wait a couple days and enjoy your incredible treat!
That’s it for tonight. Have a happy new year!! I’ll see you in 2015.