Archive for January, 2013


The Super Bowl is coming!  Need a last minute appetizer that everyone will RAVE about?? Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Try this winning recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Dip. We make this often. It is so wonderful and tasty! Hard to describe – lots of flavor and so versatile.

Use as a tortilla chip or veggie dip. We use this in chicken wraps with lettuce and rice. Delicious!! We also use it as a sauce (cold) when we serve grilled steak.

And, honestly, what’s not to love? Put everything in the blender or food processor and blend it up. So easy!

You can use the jarred red peppers, but it is so easy (and more flavorful) to make your own! (Instructions for this appear in the recipe.)

One of our most requested party recipes – try it and you’ll see why.

Hope you enjoy!
~ Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s Sis)

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Stuff you need:
1  7-oz jar roasted red sweet peppers, well drained (or 3 home-roasted red peppers, skinned, seeded, and sliced)
1  8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temp
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise [can omit this if you want – don’t sub Miracle Whip]
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tablespoon lime (or lemon) juice
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh, snipped parsley)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon cumin
Now what?
In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
Taste for seasoning. (Wait to add more cayenne – when the flavors blend it may sneak up on you!)
Yield:  2 cups.**To roast your own red peppers, place whole peppers directly onto stovetop flame. Once one side is nice and charred BLACK, turn and continue charring until all sides are black.
Place in plastic or paper bag, cover with a cloth. Let sit for 15 minutes to loosen skin.
Peel black skin off, cut open, take out seeds and veins, and dab with a paper towel to dry a bit.
Don’t worry about getting ALL of the black specks, it adds mucho flavor! This is messy, but soooooo good!!

Quinoa Pancakes

These Quinoa Pancakes are part of my attempt to get myself back on track. I’ve gotten into a bad habit lately — picking up breakfast sandwiches on the way into work.

Quinoa PancakesI’ve been too tired (aka lazy) to plan my meals ahead of time so I gravitate towards what’s easy – fast food. I love breakfast sandwiches – don’t get me wrong! It’s not the eggs that are the problem, it’s the bacon or sausage, coupled with the croissant / muffin / biscuit that holds all that goodness together. Too much fat, too many carbs, not so many health benefits.

I’ve made oatmeal pancakes before and I really like them, so quinoa pancakes seemed like a no-brainer. Don’t expect light and airy pancakes. The quinoa gives these some body.

Most pancakes, including these, can be made in advance, packaged in portions, and put in the frig or even frozen. In the morning when I’m tired I can just grab my food and stumble out the door. I can heat them up at work, top them with some fruit (fresh or frozen), and it’s a nutritious, low-fat start to my day!

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe. I didn’t have wheat bran so I crushed up some bran flakes and used those. I used 2 whole eggs instead of 1 egg + 1 T oil because I didn’t want to waste the yolk. I also added more spice because I love spices! The batter is thick, similar to muffin batter, so I used an ice cream scoop to drop it onto the skillet. I patted the batter down on the skillet to make them about 1/4 inch thick.

These are delish and I’ll be making them again. I hope you enjoy them too!

Quinoa Pancakes

Adapted from Rachel Cooks

Stuff you need:

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons ground flax-seed (flax meal)
1/4 cup wheat bran or crushed wheat bran cereal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almond milk or skim milk
2  tablespoons pure maple syrup

Now what?

In medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, ground flax-seed, wheat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and syrup until smooth.
Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not overmix!
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or non-stick spray and heat over medium-high.
Drop batter by ice cream scoop onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2-3 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes.
Serve with maple syrup or top with fruit.

Blondies!

My favorite baked desserts, aside from kick-ass cheesecakes, are the bar cookies. I think it’s because they’re easier to make than cookies, and versatile enough that you can customize them to your own tastes.Blondies

I was craving cookies but didn’t want to watch several pans of cookies closely enough that I didn’t burn them. I thought about brownies but didn’t have the right chocolate to make them from scratch. I saw this recipe and thought it would do the trick – quench my cookie craving while catering to my laziness today.

You don’t need a mixer for these; they’re mixed in a saucepan and poured into the baking pan. My Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies use the same method, and it’s an easy one.

The base to these have a slight butterscotch flavor due to the butter and brown sugar base. I topped them with semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. If you want a less-sweet bar, consider using bittersweet chocolate chips (but don’t go overboard!) and/or walnuts instead of pecans.

These are really easy to make and the recipe can be halved if you don’t want to eat them all yourself.  😉  They’ll travel well and would be great in lunches or to take to a pot luck.

Blondies

Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

(Recipe can be halved; bake in 8×8 pan.)

Stuff you need:
2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Now what?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a medium saucepan heat and stir butter and brown sugar over medium heat until smooth. Cool slightly. [I cooled mine about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggs will “cook” when they’re added if you don’t cool the mixture a little.]
Stir in eggs, one at a time.
Stir in vanilla.
Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Press down slightly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm.

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut ToppingMy daughter and her children befriended an elderly gentleman neighbor. For his birthday, he requested an Oatmeal Cake. Tish said that was all he wanted – just a simple oatmeal cake.

This morning, tired from working so much that many mornings I wasn’t sure what day it was, I decided to take the day off and do anything but work. I hadn’t baked anything in a couple of weeks, and I felt like I couldn’t go another day without playing in my kitchen!

While I was reading cookbooks in bed I ran across this Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut Topping. I remembered Tish saying she’d made one, realized I’ve never had it, and discovered I had all the ingredients in-house so I didn’t have to take my lazy butt to the store.

I’m not much of a cake person so I don’t make them often, but the “homey” feeling of this appealed to me. If there is a “comfort food” cake, this is it. It’s a bowl of oatmeal folded into a cake; a bit denser than most cakes because of the oatmeal yet not too heavy, and that may be why I like it.

The other thing I like – OK, maybe like isn’t a strong enough word – is the broiled nut topping. Mmmm… Mmmm… MMMMmm!! It’s definitely worth the extra steps required. In fact, I think it makes the cake memorable.Oatmeal Cake w/Broiled Nut Topping

I added a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg than the original recipe called for because I wasn’t really smelling the spices in the cake batter. I’ll see if the flavors meld overnight and come out a bit more. If not, I’ll double the spices the next time I make it. In my world, you can never have too much nutmeg.  =D

If you want a simple, homespun cake, give this a try. If you don’t want to make the broiled nut topping, you can serve it as-is; sprinkle powdered sugar on top; or serve it warm with ice cream, caramel sauce and nuts.

If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, you could pretend this is a good choice. After all, oatmeal with cinnamon is a common breakfast, right? So why can’t it be in a cake? (I can justify just about any food choice when I try.) Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut Topping

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (the pink Limited Edition)

Stuff you need:

CAKE

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1 cup rolled oats [not quick cooking]

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon [More if you like more spice.]

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg [More if you love nutmeg!]

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 recipe Broiled Nut Topping (see below)

 

Now what?

CAKE

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In small bowl pour boiling water over oats. Stir until combined; let stand 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a 9-inch springform pan; set pan aside. [I don’t think a regular 9-inch pan will work – this bakes up higher than a regular cake and will need the tall sides of the springform.]

In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.

Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla; beat until well combined.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternately add flour mixture and oatmeal mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool on wire rack at least 1 hour more.

Transfer cake to a baking sheet. [For easier clean-up, put some foil on the baking sheet.]

Spread Broiled Nut Topping over warm cake. Broil about 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

BROILED NUT TOPPING

 Stuff you need:

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons half-and-half, light cream, or milk [I used milk and it worked fine.]

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/3 cup flaked coconut

Now what?

In a medium saucepan combine butter and half-and-half, light cream, or milk.

Cook and stir until butter melts. Add brown sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat. Stir in chopped pecans or walnuts and flaked coconut.