Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate Chip Bars

PB, Caramel and Choc Chip Bars from Cook with Sara

Could you even dare to think of a better combination for blondies than this? Peanut butter AND caramel??? AND Chocolate chips??? Just thinking about these entices me to make them again - and I should, because I didn't get to eat enough of the first batch. I took them to a party and they disappeared quickly. And it's no wonder. They are amazing. But don't take my word for it - make them yourself! Today!

PB, Caramel and Choc Chip Bars from Cook with Sara

Find more great recipes at What's Cooking, Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash.

Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate Chip Bars

12 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Caramel:
10 ounces caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Press a little more than half of the batter in the bottom of the pan lined and bake for 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the caramels and milk in a medium glass bowl and microwave for 1-minute increments at 50% power, stirring in between, until the caramel is melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract.

Drizzle the caramel mixture over the top of the baked cookie dough and spread evenly. Drop the remaining cookie dough in teaspoonsfuls over the top of the caramel.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the bars are puffed and the edges are slightly golden. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into squares.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sweet-Tart Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet

I haven't made any ice cream yet this summer, shame on me! I have a pinterest board committed to ice cream, and have not made a one. So when I saw this recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet on Mary Anne and Mariel's blog, I knew it would be a perfect choice for Secret Recipe Club.

This recipe doesn't even require the use of an ice cream maker, so if you don't have one, don't worry! Just start with a simple syrup, spiked with ginger, add rhubarb, puree and freeze. It is EASY. And, I discovered, it's also multi-purpose -- I sneaked a taste of the "sauce" after pureeing, and it was so delicious warm! It would be a wonderful topping for cake. But if you put the mixture in the freezer, it turns into sorbet! What a great recipe.

Be sure to check out Feast on the Cheap for tons of great recipes...and make the most of summer with this fantastic dessert.

Sweet-Tart Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet

1 lb rhubarb (about 8 big stalks), washed, trimmed of any rough ends and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tsp. of grated fresh ginger

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, water and ginger to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring ocassionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the rhubarb becomes very tender.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Transfer the pureed rhubarb to an airtight, freezer-safe container and chill for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can process it in your ice cream maker.

Let the sorbet sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to soften up a bit before serving. Makes 1 quart.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chicken Sausage Gyros

We love to get gyros at fairs and Lebanese restaurants, and I've long had this recipe in my "binder of things to try." When I recently picked up a package of chicken sausages, I knew I would use them to finally try these. (I'm a little late to the chicken sausage party, I know, but I'm about to catch up - I loved them so much I bought a HUGE package at Costco today!) These have the great flavor of traditional gyros without the need to have a huge piece of meat on a turning skewer in your kitchen. (Ha! could you imagine?)

We enjoyed these on Naan (Indian flatbread, great options at both Aldi and Costco) but pitas would be great too. I added a few ingredients to the sauce from the original recipe, and also threw in some spring mix to increase the veggie content. We ate these twice in three days, and they will now become a regular in our rotation. They're a fun change of pace and I hope you'll try them, too!

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Foodie Friday, What's Cooking, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash.

Chicken Sausage Gyros

1 package (12 ounces) fully cooked chicken sausage links (Mild Italian or flavor or your choice)
1 cup sour cream (I use low fat)
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1-1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill
4 pita breads or Naan
1 plum tomato, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups spring mix or baby lettuce

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until heated through.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, cucumber, vinegar, oil, garlic powder and dill. Serve chicken sausage on pita breads with lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber sauce. Yield: 4 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, August 3, 2015

Grilled Brown Sugar Chili Pork Tenderloin

In my opinion, there can never be too many options for preparing pork tenderloin. It's one of my favorite cuts of meat, because it's tender, flavorful, and does well on the grill, in the oven, or in the crockpot.

This version employs a simple rub, with ingredients already in your spice cabinet, to liven up the meat before placing it on the grill. The result is a delicious, melt in your mouth entree! Any leftovers would be divine on a sandwich the next day, too! (We didn't have leftovers, unfortunately.) Pair this with some potatoes and a salad (or cauli and brussels!), and you have a wonderful meal that's quick and easy.

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Create Link Inspire, What's Cooking.

Grilled Brown Sugar Chili Pork Tenderloin

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 pork tenderloin

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and ground cinnamon. Mix well.

Rinse and dry off the pork tenderloin. Rub half of seasoning mixture onto the top, then flip the pork tenderloin over and rub the rest onto the bottom of the pork. Place tenderloin on a grill heated to medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. (The internal temperature of pork should reach 155 degrees.) Slice and serve immediately. Serves 3.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Zucchini Raisin Muffins

Soon it will be time to start looking for every way under the sun to use zucchini. I don't have a garden myself, but I am usually the happy recipient of gifts of produce, with zucchini being the one most often received! Some of my favorite ways to use this prolific vegetable are cherry zucchini muffins, zucchini fries, lemon zucchini bread and chicken and zucchini pasta.

And now I can add these muffins! I changed up this recipe a bit and love the way it turned out - I think it could be lightened up further with no real effect - the zucchini keeps the muffins moist and tender and the golden raisins add good contrast and sweetness. These were gobbled up quickly at home and at work - the true sign of a great recipe!

Zucchini Raisin Muffins

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup golden raisins

With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. reduce speed to medium and beat in the applesauce, then the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and raisins.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups lined with paper, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake at 350 until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack. Makes 18-20.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet Onion Jam

Don't let the name of this distract you - a jam made from onions?

This is a wonderful "condiment" - although putting it in that class makes it seem less glamorous than it deserves. We first tasted this at a restaurant as a base for fried brussels sprouts and it was AMAZING. My husband talked about it EVERY DAY until we tried to recreate it at home. This version is a bit different than our restaurant experience, but no less delicious.

We loved it on steak, pork tenderloin, chicken

and several vegetables. It adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Because the onions need to cook a while, this dish needs 40 minutes to come together, but it is worth it. It adds a wonderful color to your plate and table and a fantastic taste to your palate!

Sweet Onion Jam

1 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups diced Vidalia onions, (2 medium or 1 large)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until soft and just translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the sugar, wine, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the liquid thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 35 minutes. Carefully puree the onion mixture to your desired texture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Food and Wine

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If there's one thing my family cannot get enough of, it's fun breakfast treats. Toast, no thank you. Muffins, yes please. Cereal, if I have to. Coffee cake, get it on my plate. Seriously. So when I was perusing Kirstin's blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I knew I had to pick her recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Besides that fun breakfasts are always applauded at my house, I also knew I had several tubs of sour cream languishing in the fridge. (We've been eating lots of taco salad this summer!) This recipe was super easy to put together, and it smelled SO good while it was baking.

But the proof is in the pudding, right? I left this coffee cake at home and went to work. When I got home that evening, there was not a crumb left. Technically, this cake serves 12. But if you leave it on the counter and go to work, it might only feed 5. They gobbled it up!! I couldn't even get a picture of a slice. I guess you know it's just that good. Thanks, Kirstin, for making my family's breakfast more exciting on a Thursday.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar; add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter; mix well.

Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 10" tube or bundt pan; sprinkle with half of brown sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto large plate. Serves 12.

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