Friday, August 30, 2013

Chocolate Mini Doughnuts

Rob surprised me with a mini doughnut pan that arrived in the mail yesterday. He sure knows the way to my heart. And it doesn't work out so shabby for him when he comes home to a variety of triple chocolate mini doughnuts either. Gifts for the kitchen are really a gift for everyone. 

Especially for my toddler who ripped open the box, popped all the bubble-wrap and then proceeded to help me make a big batch of chocolate mini doughnuts. It was a happy afternoon, with only a mild sugar crash in the evening. 

If you happen to have a mini doughnut pan lying around, why not whip up a batch of these awesome little treats? They're sure to put a smile on your face

Chocolate Mini Doughnuts
adapted from Food4Tots
Makes: 3 dozen mini donuts

1¼ cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 400. Grease mini doughnut pans with cooking spraying or butter.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and oil. Pour dry ingredients into bowl, and mix until batter is smooth.  

Pour the batter into a piping bag and fill each doughnut mold ¾ full.

Bake for 4-6 minutes or until when a toothpick inserted into the doughnut come out clean. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then invert them onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbs. shortening
1 Tbs. corn syrup
1 tsp. hot water

Microwave chips, shortening and cornsyrup at 30-second intervals until melted, stirring each time. Stir in hot water until mixture is smooth. Dip doughnuts in glaze and top with desired sprinkles. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Honey Florentines

Sometimes I really want dessert but don't feel like putting in a lot of effort. That's not to say that I don't enjoy making complicated desserts - I most definitely do. But some nights I'm tired or I've left it too late, and that's when a recipe like this is just amazing.

It hardly dirties any dishes, takes just a few pantry staples in very small portions, and is ready in about 10 minutes start to finish. Not to mention they look classy as hell. I mean, look at that thing. Glorious.

Honey Florentines
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

makes 1 1/2 dozen

2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. flour
a pinch of coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a small saucepan, melt butter, sugar and honey. Off the heat add in flour and salt, stir until smooth.

Working quickly, drop 1/2 tsp of batter at a time onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet at least 3 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 6 minutes.

Allow to cool on the pan and remove cookies carefully using your fingers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oven Roasted Tomato Bisque

I've been getting pretty adventurous in the kitchen lately. Like making homemade croissants (Annie's Eats has you covered on that front) and deciding to cook my way through a cookbook of biblical proportions and making my own recipes, like this amazing tomato bisque.

Also in kitchen news, Rob has (at least for the moment) overcome his lactose intolerance. My world is one big dairy indulgence party right now. So you may be seeing some new and exciting recipes soon. Maybe a resurrection of Sweet Life is on its way again. 

No promises, but I'll try. Because I love you.

Oven Roasted Tomato Bisque
serves 4

2lb ripe tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. olive oil
2cups (16oz) chicken broth
¼  cup basil, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
¼- ½ cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut tomatoes into wedges and place skin-side down on parchment. Evenly distribute onions and garlic over tomatoes; season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 35-40 minutes.

Transfer roasted tomatoes, onion and garlic to a large pot and add broth, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.  

Transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until almost smooth (I like mine a with a bit more texture). Return to pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Freezer Friendly Chicken Enchiladas

I used to be very lukewarm towards enchiladas. In fact, I really didn't like them much at all. Then a couple years ago, Rob pressured me to make some because he really wanted them. It was the first time I'd ever had homemade enchilada sauce, and it opened up my world to so much awesomeness.

Enchiladas are quite possibly one of my favorite meals now, so long as there's no tinny store bought sauce to be found anywhere nearby.

And these just elevate my love for enchiladas to a whole different level because this recipe makes 3-4 casseroles that can cook straight from the freezer. Oh yes, you heard me right.

It's a bit of work to make this big batch, but so worthwhile. Just think about how satisfying it will be to pull a ready made casserole from the freezer after a long, hard day while you're chopping a mountain of onions. You can also break up the assembly - I often make the sauce and store the chicken mixture until the next day before rolling the enchiladas - to make things easier on yourself.

Freezer Friendly Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from The Best Make-Ahead Recipes

makes 3-4 13x9 inch casseroles

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
9 cloves of garlic, minced (about 3 Tbs)
6 Tbs. chili powder
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
4 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4 inch strips
6 (8oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 (12oz) can pickled jalapenos, drained and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
24 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (about 6 cups)
30-40 soft corn tortillas

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine spices.

Add garlic and spices to the pot and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken to the pot and stir until it is completely coated with the onion-spice mixture. Stir in tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is done, about 8-10 minutes.

Pour the chicken mixture through a large mesh strainer over a large bowl, pressing on the chicken mixture with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much sauce as possible. Store enchilada sauce in freezer-safe containers in 2 - 2 1/2 cup servings. (Let cool to room temperature before freezing)

Place chicken mixture in a large bowl and refrigerate until cool enough to handle. Add jalapenos, cilantro, and 4 cups of cheese (the remaining cheese is for topping the casseroles), and stir until combined.

Place 1/4 - 1/3 cup of filling in the center of each tortilla, roll, and place into casserole dishes. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum before freezing. (or bake immediately, instructions below)

To Serve Immediately: Preheat oven to 350F. Top casserole with 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until cheese is melted and filling is heated through, about 20-30 minutes. Serve additional sauce alongside enchiladas.

To Serve From Frozen: Preheat oven to 400F. Remove plastic wrap and aluminum foil from casserole dish and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, defrost enchilada sauce in the microwave (3-5 minutes on high).

Remove from oven and top with 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted and filling is heated through, another 20-30 minutes. Serve additional sauce alongside enchiladas.

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