Recipes

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Strawberry Hearts

Here, have a heart. These little heart pastries are so easy to make and I bet you, you couldn’t eat just one. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own by filling the pies with whichever type of filling your heart desires.

Recipe adapted from The Sweetest Occasion.

What you will need:

  • Pie dough (I use the pre-made Pillsbury dough but you can also make your own).
  • Strawberry Jam (or filling of your choice)
  • A heart cookie cutter
  • 1 egg
  • Flour
  • About 2 tablespoons of sugar

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Preheat your oven for 350 degrees.

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Sprinkle flour on your surface to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough and begin cutting out little hearts.

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Once all the dough is cut into hearts, put about a spoonful of jam on every other heart. Be careful, if too much jam is used it will ooze out during baking. It won’t affect the pastry but there will be a lot of scrubbing after the finished product.

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Next beat the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using your finger or a pastry brush, paint the outside rim of the heart with the jam to create a seal for the top heart. Once the egg wash is added put the top crust on the hearts. Using a fork, pinch the two edges together while also creating a fancy design.

Paint the top heart with the egg wash. Then sprinkle some sugar over the egg wash. Place the hearts on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for about 20 to 30 minutes. Check them every 15 minutes.

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These give a new meaning to “eat your heart out!”.

Keep your head held high.

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Pies

As promised in my little update post, here is the mini pumpkin pies recipe. I was a little doubtful about my baking abilities since I have never baked a pie, ever. But, I proved myself wrong and I should have made double the amount because everyone loved them.

So, if I can do it. You can do it. I am hoping to make these for Christmas as well to perfect my skills and make them look a little prettier. Here it goes, bake away.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Makes 12 mini pies

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.)  evaporated milk
  • 2 nine-inch pie crust dough premade or make your own
  • bowl or round cookie cutter 4 inches in diameter
  • muffin/ cupcake tin
  • whipped cream

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the pie filling:

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. In a larger bowl beat the eggs. Then, stir in the pumpkin and sugar and spice mixture from the small bowl. Lastly, gradually stir in evaporated milk.

For the dough:

Roll out your pie dough and using a bowl or 4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Place each circle into a greased muffin tin. And I mean grease the heck out of that thing. I learned the hard way that you really need to grease the pan or you’ll be stuck scraping you pies out for hours. Learn from my mistake. Next, poke holes in the bottom of dough to keep the crust from bubbling. Lastly, pour the filling into the tops of the dough.

100_2173Bake the pies for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and them for about 25 to 30 minutes.

IMG_0013Let the pies then cool on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Top with some whipped cream and you have some pretty amazing mini pumpkin pies.

Sorry for the lack of great pictures, but once I make them again I will supply better photos.

Enjoy!

Food and Wine: Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta

You know in Everybody Loves Raymond how Debra makes her infamous lemon chicken.. and that’s all she makes. Well Kenny jokingly referred that episode to this recipe. Not because that is the only thing I can cook, excuse me while I toot my own horn, but because this recipe is amazing and we always want to make it.

Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta

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Even though asparagus is not in season, it doesn’t stop us from making this dish, you can even substitute the asparagus for broccoli. Recipe adapted from melskitchencafe.com.

What you will need:

1 pound fresh asparagus spears
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (original recipe called for 4 tablespoons but I reduced it to 2 for a lighter dish)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and toss them with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ of the pepper. Roast them for about 10 minutes or until they are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

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While you are roasting the asparagus, place the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The vinegar will be reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.

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Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 11-13 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir the butter and vinegar mixture into the cooked pasta. Toss to combine well. Add in the asparagus, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Toss it all together until it is mixed well and serve. 100_2165

Add more Parmesan cheese on top as desire and serve with a bottle of wine. Our selection of wine was Dave Matthew’s Dreaming Tree Cabernet, which we repeatedly quote the following line from the movie Just Go With It. ” Don’t pour over me! Don’t pour over me! I’ll bring my glass to you”. View the clip here if you don’t know what I’m talking about Ha!

100_2158100_2160The pasta also goes well with steak; Kenny’s expertise. 100_2168

And there you have it, an easy meal that is pretty amazing. Kenny and I recently made a pact: cut back on fast food and eat healthier, which means hopefully more cooking success stories and new recipes.

 Do you have a signature dish?

Keep your head held high.

Happy Halloween Eve!

 

It took me a while to get into the Halloween spirit this year. I felt like I have been so last-minute on everything, but I blame it out the weather being over 85 degrees the last couple days.

But, I am now finally ready for Halloween! I wasn’t planning on dressing up but at the last-minute Kenny and I put together some awesome 80s rock star costumes. I also found some quick and easy Halloween goodies to make for work and our family parties. AND of course I have watched Hocus Pocus at least three times.

Here are the recipes:

Witch Hat Cookies

Idea from: barbschram.blogspot.com

What you will need:

  • Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Orange Icing

Yep, that’s it! All you do is turn the cookies upside down so that the fudge side is facing up. Then you attach a Hershey’s Kiss to the middle of the cookie using the orange icing. Voila! There you have it, witch hat cookies!

Now this next one takes more time, due to refrigerating.

Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse

Recipe from: glorioustreats.com

What you will need:

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 small container (8 oz.) thawed Cool Whip
  • orange and yellow food color
  • candy corn

Here is what you do: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.  Slowly add powdered sugar and then milk (or cream) to the cream cheese.  Next,  add vanilla and continue mixing for about 1 minute on medium to medium-high speed.  Fold cool whip into cream cheese mixture, and stir until fully combined.

Separate the cheesecake mousse into thirds. Add the orange food coloring to one-third of the mouse and  the yellow food coloring to another third.  Leave the remaining third white. Scoop the yellow mousse into a piping bag or large ziplock bag (cut a hole in the corner of the bag)  and squeeze a layer of the mousse into small dessert dishes of your choice. Repeat with orange and then white mousse.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 1 day) before serving. Then for the finishing touch put a candy corn on top.

Although mine did not come even close to the ones on glorious treats.com, I’d like to think it was a nice attempt!

And now I am all set, bring it on ghouls, ghost, and goblins!

Spice It Up

Let’s face it. My generation is nothing like older generations. We weren’t brought up to cook, clean, fix cars, and be mechanical.

Sadly, I know very few guys who don’t need to take their cars to be serviced and can fix anything, like my dad. And my mom doesn’t hesitate to remind me every single weekend, that when she was younger she had to cook and clean out the refrigerator every Sunday. Yeah, mom I get it.

But before you old folks start bashing my generation, keep in mind that we are educated, very technological, and already starting to run this country so watch out!

With that said, I have decided to attempt to domesticate myself a little more. I am already 23 and my parents are right when they say I can’t live off of quesadillas and grilled cheese all my life.

Here is a recipe that I have been successful at cooking. Try it out.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

What you need:

  • 3 cups of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced/minced
  • 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of chili paste (more or less) I like it spicy
  • 1 table spoon of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/8 cup of chicken stock

What you do:

  • Steam broccoli for about 5 minutes by putting it in a steamer over an inch of boiling water and keep it covered.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté the chicken, green onions, and garlic until the chicken is no longer pink.
  • Stir in hoisin sauce, chili paste and soy sauce.
  • Then add the ginger, red pepper, salt and black pepper.
  • Stir in the chicken stock and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Lastly, mix in the steamed broccoli and any other vegetables and serve over rice.

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and makes about 5 servings. If you like healthy and spicy this recipe is for you. Enjoy!