Adult Gummy Bears

Ran across this idea on Pinterest (where else) the other day for adult gummy bears. Whoever thought of this was brilliant and it works on either bears or worms. The gummies absorb most of the vodka and will expand to be about twice their size. The vodka left in the bottom makes a very tasty shot.

Vodka Soaked Gummies

Ingredients:
1 package gummy bears or worms
1 pint vodka

Directions:
1. Put gummies in a small mason jar
2. Cover the gummies with vodka (make sure it covers all the gummies)
3. Seal the jar, and place in the fridge for 3 days. Shake a few times each day
4. Remove gummies from jar* let dry out on a tray or bowl for an hour or so, then store in a zip lock bag in the fridge.

*Don’t forget to drink the vodka from the bottom of the mason jar!

Advertisements

Panzanella

Panzanella is essentially just salad minus the lettuce with the addition of bread cubes. I made this one last night as I was running out of time to use an old loaf of bread and didn’t want it to go bad. Panzanella is fully customizable and is great for a side dish or a lighter main dish. You can add a protien as well, making it heartier.

Quick Balsamic Panzanella (serves 1)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 inch slice of ciabatta bread
4oz shredded chicken
Half pint of cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup thickly sliced onion
1 garlic clove, cut in half
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt/Pepper

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Half tomatoes and combine them, the chicken, cucumber and onion in a small bowl
3. Oil each side of the bread. Place in oven and brown on each side
4. Let the bread cool, then rub each side with the garlic clove
5. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the vegetable/chicken mix
6. Drizzle oil and vinegar over the salad (to your specifications). Toss with salt and pepper to taste

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

It’s that time of year when strawberries are starting to pop up again at farmers markets and my parents backyard is full of rhubarb. My dad loves rhubarb, like I think he might have an unhealthy obsession with it. I think he’s even tried to pickle it before… not joking. Anyway last weekend I invited myself over for dinner and volunteered to bring a pie knowing full well I could raid their ever growing patch of rhubarb. Earlier that morning I scored a flat of freshly picked strawberries from the farmers market, so clearly a strawberry rhubarb pie was going to happen.

We make a lot of pie in our family and ever since I can remember my mom would make little toppings for our pies out of left over dough. Usually they would be a pretty leaf or flower (shes quite artistic) and ever since then it’s been a tradition in my family to top the pies with various shapes with the left over dough. There has been everything from “mom” spelled out for mothers day, to last weekends creation – the Strawberry Rhubarb Dinosaur Pie (decorations courtesy of my sister, and yes that is a dino breaking out of it’s egg.)

Even my little furry friends were around to help… well more to just get a chance at a falling strawberry or two.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:
Pie crust of your choice (I use Krusteaz)
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice (use less if you prefer a sweeter pie)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. (My moms trick for rolling dough is to lightly flour a piece of waxed paper and then roll the dough out on that. The dough can then be easily peeled off the paper.)
2. Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. Mound filling inside bottom pie crust

3. Roll out the second half of pie dough into an 11-inch circle
4. Place the second half over the top of the mound of fruit. Trim top and bottom pie dough so that their overhang is roughly 1/4-1/2 inch over the edge of the pie pan then crimp the edges
5. Cut a few slits on the top to allow venting and decorate with fun shapes using leftover dough (if you see fit)

6. Transfer pie to a baking sheet (or directly onto rack with a sheet of foil underneath to catch juice overflow
7. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly.
8. Transfer pie to  rack to cool. Let it cool a few hours (I might have skipped this step which is why mine is so runny…)

Caprese Bites

Not much to write about this one, the picture pretty much sums it up! I’ve done the caprese salad and the larger caprese skewers, but I wanted something more bit size for an appetizer. These were quick, easy and compact.

Caprese Bites

Ingredients:
One small container cherry tomatoes
One container small fresh mozzarella balls (called Ciliegine), halved
One large bunch basil leaves (the larger the better)
Salt/Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Directions:
1. Poke a small hole through the bottom of the basil leaf and thread the toothpick through so that the majority of the toothpick is resting on top of the basil leaf
2. Thread the cherry tomato and the mozzarella onto the toothpick
3. Bring the top of the basil leaf up and thread through the toothpick to create a “boat”
4. Arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar (optional)

Bubble Up Enchiladas

I know a lot of you have seen this recipe floating around the web and it has been sitting on my “recipes to try” Pinterest board for far too long. Shockingly enough, it is originally a weight watchers recipe, all though I pretty much stripped it of being one. I took the basic recipe and added quite a few things to it, which is the best part about it! You can change/add/detract any of the ingredients or keep it basic and it will still taste amazing. This meal took about 15 minutes to prepare, which makes it a great addition to your weeknight recipe arsenal.

Bubble Up Enchiladas (Serves 6)

Ingredients
1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 19 oz can red enchilada sauce
1 7.5 oz can reduced fat refrigerator biscuits, ripped into small pieces
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1/2 cup diced white onion
one packet taco seasoning
1 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 cups reduced fat shredded mexican blend cheese
1/4 diced green onion (optional)
avocado (for garnish)
sour cream (for garnish)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large cast iron skillet*, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat
3. Brown the meat and add the taco seasoning while browning
4. Add the beans, veggies and enchilada sauce to the skillet
5. Tear the biscuits into small pieces and cut into the enchilada mixture in your skillet
6. Place the skillet in the oven for 30 minutes
7. Remove, sprinkle on desired amount of cheese (more is better obviously) and green onions if you choose. Put back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melty
8. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving, it will be really hot
9. Garnish with sour cream, avocado or any of your other favorite toppings
*if you don’t have a large enough cast iron skillet, simply prepare the mixture in a regular skillet and then put it in a greased 9×13 baking dish

Banana-Caramel Bread Pudding

Been a bit since I’ve written… buying a house and trying to move has kept me pretty busy! I was going through my photos on my phone the other day (3/4 of which are all food btw) and realized I never posted the bread pudding recipe I made for my lovely significant others birthday. It was his 30th, and I wanted to make something super special for him (aside from his sweet party medallions, picture below) for dessert. When I came across this recipe from epicurious.com I knew I had found the one. I didn’t change too much about the recipe – except the added salt and few measurements. These little gems are super easy to make and really delicious.

Banana-Caramel Bread Pudding – (adapted from Epicurious.com) Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup purchased caramel sauce (I used Smucker’s, they have a squeeze bottle)
4 5×3 1/2-inch slices potato bread, very lightly toasted
2 medium bananas, peeled, thinly sliced on diagonal into 1 1/2-inch ovals
2 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat broiler and butter four 3/4-cup ramekins
2. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon caramel into each ramekin
3. Place bread on rimmed baking sheet and spread 1 generous tablespoon caramel over each bread slice
4. Broil until caramel is bubbling and slightly darker, keeping and eye on it, 1 to 2 minutes then cool
5. Cut each bread slice into 6 squares, for 24 pieces total
6. Set 1 banana slice on each bread square and arrange 6 banana-topped bread squares standing on edge, side by side in each prepared ramekin, fitting snugly. Don’t worry if they stick out above the ramiken

7. Whisk eggs, half and half, milk, 3/4 tablespoon sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl
8. Pour enough custard into each ramekin to reach top and let stand until bread absorbs some of custard, about 30 minutes, reserving any remaining custard
9. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F
10. Pour remaining custard into ramekins and brush exposed bread pieces with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar
11. Set ramekins in large roasting pan filled with enough hot water in the pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins (imagine water in the photo)

12. Bake puddings until set and knife inserted into custard comes out clean, about 45 minutes
13. Remove from pan and cool… and ta-da!
 It is best to serve bread puddings warm or at room temperature

As for the medallion I mentioned earlier – here it is… we went on a tracksuit pub-crawl in Ballard, all 40ish of us sporting these little numbers 🙂

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

We have no shortage of good banh mi around my office, but I wanted to try to re-create one of these delicious little sandwiches myself. A year or so ago, I found and amazing recipe for Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork) from gastronomyblog.com. I adapted it a bit, using pork tenderloin instead of pork butt and eliminated a few of the ingredients but realized it would be great for a banh mi filling. I was right 🙂 This meat can also be served over rice noodles with additional accompaniments (this was how it was used in the original blog post I found).
*please note, this is not an authentic banh mi recipe, just one I adapted to my taste buds. 

Grilled Pork Banh Mi (serves 4-6)

Ingredients

For the meat:

2 lbs pork tenderloin, thinly sliced approximately 1/4 inch thick
1 large shallot, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup lemongrass, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the mayo:

1/2 cup low-fat mayo
2 tablespoons sriracha (or to taste)

Accompaniments:

4-6 crusty bread rolls
cilantro
mint
basil
julienned carrots
julienned diakon
julienned cucumbers
sliced jalapenos

Directions:

1. Combine all meat ingredients from shallot through vegetable oil in a large non reactive bowl
2. Place pork in marinade mixture, coat well
3. Allow the meat to soak overnight (or for best results, 24 hours)
4. Thread pork onto bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 20 minutes
5. Bbq pork over medium high heat until caramelized and cooked through (about 3-5 minutes per side)
6. While the meat is cooking, heat rolls in a slightly warmed oven, about 200 degrees.
7. Remove pork from skewers and place in a large serving dish
8. Slice the rolls and spread about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the mayo on each roll
9. Add meat, and any of the accompaniments above

Herb and Balsamic Sauced Chicken

Well I’m back from vacation and all though it was a wonderful time of eating, drinking and hanging out with friends and family, I was VERY ready to be home. I was practically melting in Texas, I don’t know how people live there full time! I’ve been craving a home cooked meal that wasn’t 1. BBQ 2. Tex-mex (all though I think I’m ready to eat tacos again) or 3. red meat. This week has been a lot of salads and lighter meals, including last nights dinner. I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Bon Appetite several years ago (original recipe) and has become a favorite when I wanted something light yet flavorful. The sauce is really versatile and can be used on anything from fish to steak to potatoes as well! I served the chicken with roasted asparagus and oven roasted potatoes.

Herb and Balsamic Sauced Chicken (adapted from Bon Appetite, serves 4)

Ingredients:
12 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts (I cut mine in half to make them thinner)

Directions:
1. Cook 8 garlic cloves in boiling water 2 minutes, drain garlic and cool
2. Add the remaining 4 garlic cloves and next 6 ingredients
3. Gradually add oil, blending until thick sauce forms and season with salt
4. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag and add 2/3 cup sauce and turn to coat evenly
5. Chill at least 1/2 hour and up to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally
6. Heat outdoor grill to medium/high heat and grill each chicken breast half about 4 minutes on each side
7. Top with a bit more sauce before serving and pass additional sauce for anyone that wants more (it was great on the sides* I served it with too)


*I suggest serving this dish with asparagus and roasted potatoes, as the sauce accompanies both side very well!

Bruschetta Chicken

A particularly warm and sunny April evening last night called for a more summery type of meal. Nothing says summer and warm weather to me like tomatoes especially when combined with something off the grill. Warmer weather also has me craving something lighter, and this recipe was just what I needed. You could also make a bruschetta chicken sandwich if you feel like getting your carb on 🙂

Bruschetta Chicken (Serves 4, Weight Watchers Points+ 9 points – includes the cheese)

Ingredients:
4 – 6oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. tomatoes (I used mini heirlooms for this particular recipe), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I shaved mine into ribbons)

Directions:
1. Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar and a shake of salt/pepper. Let this mixture sit for up to an hour
2. Heat a gas grill to medium high heat
3. Sprinkle each chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper
4. Grill chicken 4-6 minutes on each side
5. Top each chicken breast with 1/4 of the tomato mixture and add 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top


Pizza Party

I have never made pizza dough from scratch, but seeing the cover of the March issue of Bon Appetite had me wanting to try. The recipe is pretty simple and I didn’t change a thing for fear of messing it up. It’s no knead, and requires only 4 ingredients. The only downside is it does take time to rise (about 18 hours) but it’s easy to do the night before and you’re dough will be ready just in time for dinner!

Below you will find the recipe and step by step instructions for the dough followed by the pizzas that I made. Have fun and be creative with your toppings! (Note: this recipe makes enough for 6 10′-12′ pizzas – I only made 4 pizzas and discarded the leftover dough.)

No-Knead Pizza Dough (From the March issue of Bon Appetite, recipe by Jim Lahey)

Ingredients:
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups water

Directions:

For the Dough:
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated.
2. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room). *I am ashamed to admit this, but I actually put my dough next to our heater (turned to 67 degrees). I started it on the floor and then moved it to a chair about a foot from the actual heater.
4. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions.
5. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds.
 6. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.
7. Repeat with remaining portions.
8. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

For the Pizzas:
1. Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°.
2. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10″–12″ disk.
3. Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

We made 4 pizzas that night – the only one not pictured below was the Hawaiian. My best advice to anyone making more than one pizza is to prep the ingredients ahead of time (oh and have a glass of wine handy), it will save you time and a headache!

Pizza #1 – Margarita
Handful of basil leaves, whole
Sauce (I used blended crushed Italian tomatoes)
Fresh mozzarella
Pizza #2 – Prosciutto
8-10 Slices prosciutto, sliced
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
3 oz. fresh mozzarella
3/4 cup caramelized onions
Sauce (again I used blended crushed tomatoes)
Pizza #3 – Sausage and Red Pepper
1/3 lb. Italian chicken sausage
6 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup peppadew peppers
Sauce (again I used blended crushed tomatoes)