Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spinach Artichoke dip...perfect super bowl winner!

My family does not observe the day of super bowl Sunday, call us "Un-American"...but really, it is just because we don't watch sports...we play them. The one exception being the Olympics...of course...because that isn't just a sport...it is magic. Although we don't make a big hoopla about the Super Bowl, we do join in on some of the eating rituals that come with the holiday. I think I will make this dip and eat it during the half time show and then go to bed. Speaking of bed, on a completely non related tangent...after working a long shift at the bakery I quickly jumped into bed and as my head was hitting the pillow I realized that this is the single most unappreciated moment in life...I mean come on, people make a big deal out of sunsets, and rainbows, but nobody pays homage to that perfect moment of bliss when your head meets your pillow at the end of a long day. I mean come on people, someone needs to write a song about that exact moment that brings so many people joy. I'm just saying.

Anyways, back to the dip, the dip that don't belong to no chip. This dip is best paired with some awesome bread - crusty, or chewy...whichever you prefer. Or, a pita, or some crudites, or just eaten with a spoon straight from the bowl. I can't remember where I found this recipe, but I have made some minor adjustments. Basically what it all comes down to is if you want to be that "person" who made "that dip" that you just can't stop thinking about...and yes my friend...you want to be that person. I wish I had a photo of it, but it never lasts long enough to take a picture.

Spinach Artichoke dip

In medium saucepan combine the following and stir over medium heat until well combined and hot:
1 cup cooked and drained frozen spinach (just boil it in some h2o, or zap it in the microwave)
1 1/2 cups canned artichoke (chopped and drained)

6 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Stir, stir, stir...and then eat. Best if served warm.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quick chicken...

So yeah, I know I have already posted a chicken teriyaki recipe, but here is what I do when I have chicken and need something quick...of course it is always better is you let the chicken marinate for at least an hour...but really...who plans dinner an hour ahead of time? : )

My quick chicken Teriyaki

chicken thighs
cover with:
lemon juice
sesame or olive oil
teriyaki sauce
chopped fresh garlic
ginger (from the spice aisle)
brown sugar

I am not giving you measurements because I don't have any...basically you want enough of the marinade to fully coat all the chicken.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Apple and Carrot Agave muffins

It is such a beautiful day.
I am currently sitting outside trying to type this post while huddling under a canopy that is failing to block the sun and glare from my computer...I will prevail, and not surrender to the indoors today. I knew it was going to be a good day when I left church this morning and some sweet old bald dude came up to me and asked if he could borrow some of my hair for his bald head. I jokingly said, "I have plenty to spare." He then went on to say I had very beautiful hair. Have I mentioned before that I LOVE LOVE old guys...they have this old genteelness to them that seems to be lost to my generation. They are great! Anyways, I also knew today was going to be a good day because after my Mass, and gym, and a quick visit to a new bookstore, I knew that there were fresh muffins sitting at home anxiously awaiting my return. I am proud to say the muffins are gone, and the liner is thoroughly scraped, and my tummy very satisfied. It is such a beautiful day.

My Mom recently bought a juicer with the hopes of getting more fruits and veggies into our daily diet. So far we are very pleased with it, and use it every day. It is quite a pain to clean, so hopefully we will come up with a more time efficient solution. Every time you use the machine it collects all the pulp and extra stuff from the fruits and veggies in a little bin. We figured that stuff had a lot of nutritious value as well so I developed this muffin recipe last night. I am pleased to say that it is sweetened with agave and not refined sugars. Last summer I was dappling in the unrefined sugars baking world and had mild success. Overall, I really liked substituting agave for sugar in my muffin and quick bread recipes. The results were always fabulous, and the muffins rose really well with that perfect dome shape on top that everyone always strives to get with muffins. I plan on coming up with a banana bread recipe using agave in the near future. As a general rule if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar I use 1/2 cup of agave. Like I was saying earlier, I used the pulp from our juicer after making a carrot, orange and apple juice for this recipe, but if you don't have that - equal amounts of shredded carrots and apples will do just fine.

Apple and Carrot Agave Muffins
from my insane pea sized brain and kitchen

Mix the following in small bowl and set aside
2 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup coconut oil (or olive, grape seed, canola)
1/2 cup agave
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 cup milk

Whisk together in larger bowl. Then stir in the wet ingredients from above. Stir just until combined.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice

Add the following and mix just until combined.

6 oz shredded carrots, apples, or pulp from juicer
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins

Fill lined muffin tins to top of liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I got 12 standard sized muffins out of this.


My food quote of the day..."To eat, is always a treat."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chocolate Bubble Biscuits

Oh good Lord, has it really been over a month since my last post? I hate the huge gaps in posts...I hope I didn't loose any of you. I work at a bakery and basically from Thanksgiving to Christmas I was working insane overtime...we were really cranking out the cookies. We got through the season and are now enjoying a slight lull until things pick back up again once everyone has given up on their New Year's resolution to get skinny. : ) I also quit my office job, which is when I usually wrote this blog...so now I actually have to schedule a time to update.

I decided to post one of my oldies, but a goodie. This recipe was the second one I wrote in my first recipe journal. It is kind of a random thing because it isn't a cookie, and it isn't a biscuit...so I am always confused as to when I should make it. I generally make this when I have guests arriving late in the evening...it is a good night cap treat. I was fortunate enough to have two wonderful college friends stop by for two nights and this is a must make whenever I see one of them... Do not be fooled by the name, these are incredible and different.

Chocolate Chip Bubble Biscuits
from the Nestle Toll house cookbook

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together: 2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cut 1/3 cup cold diced butter into the dry mixture.
(I usually just mix it in my kitchen aid until it is mealy...if you mix it too long it will clump)

Stir 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips into the bowl.

Add 2/3 cup milk to mixture and stir until combined....do not over mix, it will result in a tough biscuit.

In separate bowl mix 1/2 cup cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Pour 1/2 of that butter into the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll dough into aprx. 16 balls and place in buttered/sugared pan. Brush with remaining butter and then sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and no longer doughy looking. Cool about 10 minutes, if you can wait that long, and then eat, and share...if you want.