Martha Mondays: Chocolate Cups

January 31, 2011

Have you ever bought an ingredient for a recipe then been simply unable to locate it anywhere in your house? That’s what happened to me with this. I needed mini size cupcake liners or candy wrappers for this recipe. I bought them. I brought them home. They sat on the kitchen table for a few days. Then I put them in the pantry. Then I moved them to a shelf in the pantry so that I would be able to easily find them. Then, when I went to make this, they were just gone. We looked everywhere. So I had to improvise, and I used full size cupcake liners.

This project is from February Living and was chosen by Sassy Suppers. All you do is melt bittersweet chocolate (which I do in the microwave) and then brush into the inside of the cups. Let it dry and do it again. Simple, right?

It actually was pretty simple. The only hard part was getting the paper to peel off. I had to call in Mr. MarthaAndMe for that. He popped them in the freezer for a minute then was able to get it to peel off.

You can add anything you want to the cups – fruit, mousse, ice cream, etc. Martha suggested peanut butter but I didn’t want to eat that much peanut butter. So I did fruit and ice cream. This is super cute and would really be a great way to serve dessert for a dinner party.

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Mac and Cheese, Tweaked

January 27, 2011

I love mac and cheese, but sometimes I like it with a bit of a twist. Here’s my latest version, which I must confess is extra good if you serve it with some meatballs, but excellent by itself. And you will feel virtuous because it has lots of veggies.

2 slices wheat bread

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup fontina cheese

1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 lb whole wheat penne

1 1/2 cup frozen peas

2 oz fresh baby spinach

2 cups cooked cauliflower florets

2 tsp butter

2 tsp flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

 

Make the bread into breadcrumbs in the food processor. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400.

Begin cooking pasta, you want it done about the time the sauce below is, so make them simultaneously if you can. Just when it reaches doneness, add the vegetables to the pot and cook until they’re hot and the spinach is wilted (about a minute or two).

Mix cheeses in a bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour, cooking for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the cream and turn up to high, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occassionally, for about 1 minute. Add in 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and vegetables and place them on top of the cheeses in the bowl. Pour the cream sauce on top. Cover and let it sit for 3 minutes.

Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and cover with breadcrumb mix, pressing it down into the pasta. Bake at 400 for 7 minutes until the breadcrumbs are slightly browned.

I loved this. I am generally not a Gorgonzola fan, but the little bit in this recipe gives it a really interesting tang. This was creamy and cheesy but it had enough veggies in it to make it feel like a meal to me. Oh and if you just happen to have a bag of turkey meatballs already made in your freezer, adding one to your plate makes this supreme.

 


Recipe Workshop: Chicken Chesapeake

January 25, 2011

I need your help. I recently made Chicken Chesapeake, which is from Paula Deen’s magazine. Here’s the recipe

8 oz lump crabmeat
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
8 oz sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream
8 oz cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13×9 dish. Sprinkle crab in bottom.
Season chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper then cook in 2 tbsp melted butter in a skillet 4-5 min per side. Remove and place on top of crab.
Melt remaining butter, add mushrooms and green onions. Cook for 6 min until mushrooms are tender. Add wine and cook 6 min until reduced by half. Add cream and broth, cook for 10 min until slightly thickened. Stir in cream cheese. Add remaining salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and bake for 25-30 minutes.

It sounded SOOOOO good. But it wasn’t. It actually was pretty awful. I did use a refrigerated can of pasteurized crabmeat and I cut the recipe in half. Other than that, I followed it exactly. It was horrible. The sauce tasted delicious when I was cooking it, but over the chicken it was tasteless. The crab tasted not so great. Nothing about this was good and I was so disappointed. I don’t cook with crab a lot and am wondering if I expected too much? I tried squeezing some lemon over it on my plate and that didn’t help much. Any suggestions for making this recipe work?

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Martha Mondays Artichoke Crostini

January 24, 2011

Artichoke Parmesan Crostini was a quick and easy recipe that would make a great hors d’oeuvre or party food. I put all the ingredients in the food procesor and whizzed them up. It was ready literally in minutes. I think I might add a little more cheese next time. Thanks to Megan’s Cookin’ for selecting this.

Next week’s project is chocolate cups from p. 56 of Feb. Living. Let me know if you need the recipe.

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Potato Skins

January 18, 2011

The first article I ever wrote about food,  12 years ago, was about making take out food at home and potato skins was one of the recipes. At the time we were living in a rural area, I’d just had my second baby and we were pretty much dead broke since I’d left my law practice to stay home. I spent a lot of time looking for ways to save money.

I’ve always had a thing for the potato skins at TGI Fridays. I get them whenever we go there (which isn’t very often!). Because eating out wasn’t on the agenda much back then (or now for that matter), I learned to make my own.

Bake 4 Idaho potatoes in the oven until done (don’t use the microwave – they have to be baked in the oven). Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a thin layer (when I made it this time, I used the insides to make baked potato soup). Spray the inside and outside of the skins with cooking spray (or brush with olive oil) and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for until they are crispy but not getting too brown (about half an hour). Take out of the oven and sprinkle shredded cheddar or American cheese (or any cheese you like) and sprinkle some cooked, chopped bacon (I used 3 pieces this time). Sprinkle with salt. Put back in the oven until the cheese melts. Mix some chopped chives or scallions into sour cream and serve to dip in (I always make about 1 cup for this amount of skins).

These are a special treat in our house – not something we have often, but when we do, everyone loves them. You could jazz this up with some jalapenos, salsa, chopped ham, French onion dip, or different kinds of cheese. It also makes a great party snack (think: Super Bowl).


Martha Mondays 1/24

January 17, 2011

Thanks to Megan at Megan’s Cookin’ for choosing Artichoke Parmesan Crostini for next week’s project. Oh yum!

And if you want to plan ahead, the project for 1/31 is on page 56 of Feb Living – the chocolate cups, to be filled with whatever you want (let me know if you need the recipe for that one).

Feb 7 will be Beef Bourguignon


Martha Mondays: Real Deal Chili

January 17, 2011

Chili with no tomatoes and no beans? Really? Yup. That’s what the real deal chili recipe is, the project chosen for today’s Martha Mondays by Steak and Potato Kinda Gurl.

I seriously contemplated dumping some tomatoes or kidney beans into this because I was worried it wasn’t going to be any good. It has paprika, cayenne, cumin, and oregano in it (no chilis you’ll notice). But after I got it going, I tasted it and it was pretty good. Plus DudeMartha is not a fan of tomatoes or beans and when I described it to him he was excited. So we went with it. It was good. I put cheese and sour cream on mine. DudeMartha added Tabasco. Mr. MarthaAndMe had just cheese. They gave it the thumbs up. I thought it was good, but it’s not the kind of thing I get nutty over.  How did everyone else make out?

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