Monday, February 27, 2012

Caramelized Roasted Broccoli

I eat these bad boys at least twice a week. Minimum. 
They're delicious, and so quick.

After a childhood of steamed broccoli or broccoli and cheese a la Green Giant, Mom first made this roasted broccoli, maybe, six years ago. It blew my mind then. It still blows my mind today. Roasting with a touch of sugar caramelizes the broccoli-so that brown part I used to pass off as burnt? Now the best part. The tiny little guys that are all brown and crispy - ugh, making my mouth water now. 

This is a recipe I've made so much, I don't really know the measurements, so take my suggestions as they are--suggestions. Adjust to your taste. Also, I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end, but no worries if you haven't got any lemons. 

Roasted Caramelized Broccoli
1 small head of broccoli
1 tablespoon of olive oil (go on the light side of a tablespoon, you can always add more)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Fresh squeeze of lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F or 425F (depends on my patience).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well. (Do this first so that when you add the broccoli, they will get evenly coated.)
  3. Cut up the broccoli into strips/mini trees. Use the stalk! Add broccoli to the bowl and stir to toss well. At first they won't seem to be coated; keep mixing--it'll get there.
  4. Roast in a pan or on a cookie sheet for around 12 minutes. Place the broccoli cut-side-down, as this is what will caramelize and you will definitely want to maximize caramelizing coverage.
  5. Remove and allow to cool slightly; squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and enjoy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sinless Chocolate Raspberries

We've almost survived a full week of Lent. If you're a true Catholic you understand that Sunday is the day of rest and you're allowed to cheat your Lenten promise. Well for those that gave up sweets, I have devised a Lenten cheat that really isn't a cheat, so you can eat it whenever, not just on Sundays. I gave up swearing, although I'm not convinced that I can cuss on Sundays. Not that it hasn't happened; just saying that I'm still working on it...

For those who have given up dessert for Lent, this does not count as dessert. But it could, and in my book it should, but since there really isn't very much chocolate, it doesn't have to be called "dessert". Listen, I'm trying to give you an out so just try these; they're fantastic. And sinless.

Sinless Chocolate Raspberries
Fresh raspberries
Dark chocolate chips

  1. Rinse raspberries. 
  2. Place one chocolate chip inside each raspberry.
  3. Return to fridge for awhile. 
  4. Enjoy the sinfully sinless flavor explosion.
You could also try making them frozen, or stuffing frozen dark cherries with the chocolate chips. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Buffalo Wing Hummus

I was never into hummus until those little hummus and pretzel chip combo cups came out. I am now a certified believer in all things hummus. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to experiment with a few different flavors of homemade hummus, and our first attempt is Buffalo Wing Hummus.

Who doesn't love a good buffalo sauce? I remember growing up, we'd head to Charlestown Mall and Mom always got the Buffalo Chicken Salad. We'd also head over to Wings and Rings, or Wings and Things, or whatever it was called for some buffalo wings and celery sticks. Now buffalo sauce has come to hummus, a healthier but just as finger-lickin'-good way of getting that buffalo fix. New kitchen staple!

Buffalo Hummus
1 (15oz) can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/3 cup liquid reserved from chickpea can
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon (more or less)
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce (more or less)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (eyeball it)

  1. Toss all of the ingredients into a food processor or Ninja blender, and mix thoroughly. This runs on the thinner side, so add more beans if you'd like a thicker hummus.
  2. Drizzle extra buffalo sauce on top and eat with celery, carrots, peppers, or a spoon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sauteed Parsnips and Carrots

Literally just finished eating these and had to blog immediately--they really hit the spot!

What is a parsnip? It's a white carrot. Okay, that's simplifying things, but more or less that's what it is. They're slightly sweeter than carrots and just as versatile. 

Exciting, right?
I'm an avid roaster--I roast everything from asparagus to broccoli to peppers to tomatoes to sweet potatoes to yada yada yada. You name it, I roast it. So today I decided to go a new route and try sauteing. I went even more out of my box and used butter, not oil, and man, butter is so good! Haha Midwestern roots showing, but seriously, using butter made the dish so decadent. Be sure to have a glass of milk at the ready.

The original recipe called for rosemary, but I didn't have any so I used fresh thyme. The dish was very aromatic--my kitchen smelled great. When I added the honey, the sweet smell took over, so next time I may use brown sugar instead to caramelize the root veggies; however, the actual honey flavor wasn't strong, and the dish turned out great regardless.

I just eyeballed all of the ingredients. Cut up the parsnips and carrots into similar thickness, preferably on the thinner side as they'll cook quicker (a must after swimming "I need to eat NOW"). You don't need much butter, 1 tablespoon was plenty for 4 parsnips and a handful of baby carrots. With the honey, just a light drizzle is needed. Your guess is as good as mine with the thyme. 

Sauteed Parsnips and Carrots
Parsnips and carrots, tops removed and sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon butter
fresh thyme

  1. In a medium skillet over medium/medium high heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the parsnips and carrots in a single layer, coating with butter and sprinkling with the thyme.
  3. Saute until they begin to become tender.
  4. Drizzle with honey and caramelize the veggies until tender.

Hope you all enjoy! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Who likes spicy food?

I like spicy food. I like really spicy food. But my family, eh, not as much. This is a great dish that allows you to change the spice level depending on who you're serving. Adjust the amount of sriracha, garlic, and cayenne to find your spice comfort zone. Just of few ingredients, but lots of flavor. Who knew cauliflower had a sassy side?

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil (depending on how much cauliflower)
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce (hot sauce normally found in the international aisle)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 lime

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Cut up the cauliflower into equal, bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, sriracha, cayenne, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the cauliflower and coat evenly with spice mixture.
  5. Place in roasting pan or baking sheet and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. If you're good you'll rotate them so they brown evenly; I'm too lazy for that kind of nonsense.
  6. Once done cooking, slice up your lime and squeeze as much as you want. Again, adjust amount of juice to suit your taste, from limey afterthought to citrus punch. I'm more of a citrus punch myself.

Berry Burst Brownies

 Taking brownies to a whole new level.

Raspberry brownies. Raspberry chocolate anything is delicious, but by adding frozen fruit to the brownies, they don't cook all the way at the top and it leaves you with a hot gooey mess. It's delectable. Ask Kyle. I send him these brownies because I'll eat them all. In fact, these brownies are on their way to Ann Arbor as soon as they cool off. I can't handle the temptation.

So all you do is take an instant brownie mix, put it in a pan and sprinkle frozen raspberries on top. Bake them like you normally would. Nothing too special--til you taste them! I like to cook them in an 8"x 8" glass pan because they're thicker. Okay, to be honest, I cook them in an 8"x8" because to me, the whole point of baking brownies is to eat the batter, so by the time it actually gets into the pan, the thickness is about equal to what it would have been sans finger-lickin' in a 9"x13". Judge me.

Berry Burst Brownies
Instant brownie mix (Betty Crocker Triple Chunk!)
Frozen raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare brownie batter according to the box. Spoon into a greased 8"x8" pan.
  3. Take time to lick the bowl, fork, spoon, fingers, etc. 
  4. Sprinkle a layer of frozen raspberries over the top of the brownies.
  5. Bake according to box instructions.
  6. Enjoy warm & gooey!

Monday, February 6, 2012

SuperBowl Dip

Hello everyone!
Welcome back after a fantastic weekend. Seriously, this weekend was great. Quick synopsis:

Friday: Workout, SCUBA!, work a few horses, and a massage line at the swim team pasta dinner. Oh, and Jiffy Treat after. Gotta love me a cyclone.
Saturday: IUSC Hoosier Classic Swim Meet! So much fun. God it felt great to be back in the water. Six years out = too long. Just glad to be part of the team before I graduate. They're so fun. Thanks guys! 
Sunday: Workout, riding, and the Super Bowl!!


Thanks to Mike for hosting the swimming Super Bowl party. I had a blast hanging out with all of you this weekend (Jiffy, pasta dinner, Jiffy, swim meet, Jiffy, PJ party, Super Bowl, Jiffy Jiffy Jiffy). Looking forward to Northwestern this coming weekend :)

Now a Super Bowl party wouldn't be a party without plenty of food. Since "SuperBowl party" more or less translates to "junk food marathon", I decided to make an über health-conscious dip loaded with sour cream, cream cheese, and more cheese. But it's served with peppers, carrots, and cucumbers, so it's healthy! Okay, so the veggies are more guilt-negating than calorie-averting, but this dip is so good, who cares? Rhetorical question. No one cares. It's that good.

Aunt Delores's Bread Pot Fondue
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 - 90 minutes

2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) sour cream
6 oz cream cheese, softened 
1/4 lb chopped, fully-cooked ham
1/2 green onions, finely chopped
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 round loaf (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) Italian bread
Assorted fresh veggies (guilt-negating scoops)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Stir in the ham, onions, chiles, and Worcestershire sauce; set aside.
  3. Cut of the top fourth of the loaf of bread; carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving a 1/2" shell. Cube the removed bread; set aside.
  4. Spoon the ham & cheese mixture into the bottom shell, mounding slightly. Wrap tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil. 
  5. Bake at 350 for 60 - 90 minutes. Serve with the reserved bread cubes and assorted vegetables. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lime Coconut Macaroons

Okay, please take a moment to notice the little date header directly above the title. What does it read?

February 1, 2012. 
Now take a moment to read this, today's weather report.

Are we kidding?
Well, as much as I love the snow, there are no complaints here. I got up, went to class for three hours, then took off for the barn. Had an absolutely fantastic lesson on Bond Boy - a sexy Irish import. Tall, red head, with a long forelock and killer moves. And super sensitive. My kind of guy. 

Haha but the lesson was outside, and it was so glorious I stayed to soak up the sun and as many insights from the other lessons as possible. Five hours passes by. Then home for a quick shower before swim practice. Now I'm home, fed, and blogging (ie not doing homework, but that's fine).

Speaking of blogging! I made these last week during the rainstorms. Lately, anything tropical sounds good. So to celebrate today's sun, I'm sharing an addictive tropical recipe. Lime Coconut Macaroons!

Let me first admit that I have no idea what a macaroon is, other than scrumptious. Seriously, you cannot have just one. And, for those who care, they're accidentally vegan! They're crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and these little guys are full of tropical flavaaa. Piña colada + coconut macaroon + today's springtime weather, and suddenly summer doesn't seem too far away. 

Lime Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 3 dozen

1 (14 oz) bag shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime zest
Fresh lime juice from 1/2 lime
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
The Kitchen, getting tropical.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine shredded coconut, powdered sugar, coconut milk, lime zest, and lime juice.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  4. Add the flour mixture to the large coconut bowl until well-blended.
  5. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, place mounds onto the parchment paper. Yes, just plop them down, no rolling necessary.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
  7. Enjoy warm or cold!