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Archive for the ‘Whisks’ Category

Tortellini Soup

I’m always on the look out for lunch ideas.  Particularly things that my husband doesn’t really like.  That way I can still get my fill on them at lunch time…and he doesn’t have to suffer through them at dinner.  This is normally soups.  I love soup; butternut squash, clam chowder, chicken noodle.  I love soup.  Especially in the winter when it’s so chilly.  So this weekend I found this recipe and it was just too easy to pass up!

http://mrsschwartzkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/11/tomato-tortellini-soup.html

Ingredients:

– Olive Oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– Pkg of refrigerated cheese tortellini
– 2 cups chicken broth
– 2 cans tomato soup
– 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
– 2 cups half and half
– 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (I pureed mine)
– 1 tsp onion powder
– 2 tsp oregano
– 1/2 tsp salt

1) saute the garlic in olive oil until golden (beware burning the garlic)
2) then add broth, soup, milk, half & half, sun dried tomatoes, and seasonings
3) cook until blended – you’ll know
4) add the tortellini and cook for as long as on package (normally 8 minutes).  I left mine a little underdone b/c I knew I’d be reheating everyday at lunch.

and that’s all it takes!  And trust me…its delicious.  And filling with all those tortellini!

I failed at taking photos but let me know how yours turns out!

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I had a dream…

A dream that my two favoritest things would somehow collide…then I woke up and realized.  It’s possible…a cinnamon roll cupcake.

Oh my goodness gracious the delicious-ness of these cupcakes is completely mind blowing.  However they are not super easy. I guess it’s true – nothing worth having comes easy

I’ll be honest – the search for these cupcakes was not easy.  Try me!  Google cinnamon roll cupcakes.  You end up with tons of recipes that aren’t actually rolls.  They are more like cinnamon muffins with icing.  I’m sure these are yummy but not the same as a CINNAMON ROLL!

So here is what I did (sorry – there are no in process pictures – I was a bit lazy)

Ingredients:

2 cups warm milk (I used skim)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 eggs
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1) Mix milk, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Add salt and two cups of the flour and beat for two minutes (This would be a good time to mention – use your kitchen aid mixer!!)

2) beat in eggs and butter, stir remaining flour in a half cup at a time. (did I mention…use your kitchen aid!! – I thought I would use my hand mixer because my Kitchen-Aid bowl was dirty – bad move – My hand mixer started smelling like burnt rubber and smoking!! – this dough was too much for it to handle!)

3) turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.  Place dough in a large bowl in a warm place to rise (not too warm…)

4) let dough rise for 40 minutes

5) then roll dough out into a long rectangle about a quarter inch thick (it will be a long long rectangle)

6) then spread filling on top

Filling Ingredients

– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup sugar sugar 🙂
– 3 tbsp cinnamon

7) roll the dough up from the long side

8) cut the roll as if you were cutting them to be cinnamon rolls! – place the roll in a cupcake liner – you might have to fold it into a c – or squish it slightly 🙂 Depending on how high you want your rolls – would be how big your slices should be – mine came about even to the top of the liner before the second rise.

9) let rise another 40 minutes

10) bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until done!

11) top with a powdered sugar glaze … yummy to my tummy

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Yummy Salted Caramel

I’ve been wanting to make salted caramel ever since seeing a recipe for salted caramel cupcakes.  I do want to make the cupcakes as well but I thought how great it would be to use a piece of salted caramel as the decoration on a salted caramel cupcake.  Original…I know :).

I had originally found a salted caramel by the Barefoot Contessa but I decided to use a recipe by Alton Brown instead.  Not Jaclyn’s favorite food network chef but definitely one of mine.  It might be that he, like me, is a University of Georgia grad.  Or could just be that we both have southern roots.  Either way I like him both on Good Eats and on Iron Chef.  So here goes Alton’s recipe.

It’s not super easy – but it’s not hard either.  The key is the candy thermometer…without it you just don’t know what’s going on :).  Trust me…I know.  I tried one batch thinking I would just know the steps based on the color of the sugar.  I didn’t….so go get a candy thermometer 🙂 Trust me on this.

Ingredients

  • 14 1/2 ounces sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Step One: – Line the pan (you may have time to do this while the sugar is cooking but I did this first so I wouldn’t feel rushed later 😉 ) My pan was 8 inches by 8 inches.

 

Step Two:  Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tarter in a dutch oven (the white bottom makes it easier to see the color of the sugar and the cast iron distributes heat better….bazinga).  Place on high heat until sugar is dissolved.  The cover the dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes.

 

Step Three: While the sugar is cooking mix the cream and soy sauce in a measuring cup – have it on stand by along with the butter!

Step Four: Remove lid from sugar mixture and attach candy thermometer.  When sugar reaches 230 degrees reduce heat to medium and cook without stirring until syrup is goldenie brown and delicious. Once sugar is at 300 degrees you can gently swirl the pan to remove any hot spots.

Step Five: When the temperature approaches 350 degrees F, the syrup will turn deep amber. Remove the pan from the heat, and gently swirl again to break up all of the hot pockets. Cool for 2 minutes.

Step Six: Add cream, soy and the butter into the pan. Stir to combine. Return the caramel to medium heat, stir until the butter is completely melted, and continue cooking until it reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined pan, tap gently to release air bubbles.

Step Seven: Cool on a rack for half an hour.  Then sprinkle on the sea salt (I used the coarse kind of course 🙂 )Continue cooling on the rack for an additional 3 1/2 hours. I even put mine in the fridge as well.  It makes it much easier to cut.  Wrap in parchment paper

– BEWARE THE STICKY AWESOMENESS – 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fried Pickles

So lately I’ve had this thing for fried pickles.  I never had them before a few weeks ago when the husband and I went to a restaurant in a nearby town and guess what?  I ordered the fried pickles.  I do love pickles, and I also love fried things, so why wouldn’t I love fried pickles.  I also tried the fried pickles at a restaurant in my hometown in GA called the Pickle Barrel Cafe.  Both of these restaurants fried the pickles as quarters, if that makes sense.  So I wanted to try to fry my own pickles, but slices not quarters.

Here’s the recipe:

1) slice the pickles and dry them

2) dip the pickles cornstarch

3) then dip them in an egg/milk mixture

4) Dip them in a mixture of 1 part cornstarch, 1 part cornmeal, a little paprika

5) fry them up!!

I made these right before I fried wings one Saturday!! Great football day appetizer

 

Super easy and super delicious

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What’s the best kind of sandwich?  The kind with sprinkles.  Honestly, sprinkles make everything better.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I’ve been known to eat them straight up.  I think of ice cream merely as a vehicle for sprinkles.  At ice cream shops where you can put on your own toppings, I’m the girl who takes the top off of the sprinkles to get a better flow.  Yup, that’s me.  But I digress.  For my birthday a few weeks ago, my mom gave me this nifty pan where you can make your own parts to an ice cream sandwich.  Which is great because now I can make whatever flavor combos I want AND it’s good for portion control (not that we only eat one like you are supposed to…but we do feel guiltier taking seconds)20120821-111706.jpg

I made two different types of “bread” for my ice cream sandwiches.  One was a brownie recipe and the other was a blondie recipe.  I think you could probably also use cookie recipes for this.  For that matter, I’m sure you could use cookies to make your ice cream sandwiches if you didn’t have a nifty pan like me.  Just bake everything up and let them cool.  During this time you might want to set out the ice cream to soften (otherwise it’s hard to squish in between the two cookies). After the cookies are cool and the ice cream has softened, put a scoop on one cookie and squash on the other cookie piece (duh…you probably saw this part coming) – then I rolled the outside in sprinkles.  Yum.  You could also roll in mini chocolate chips, shaved almonds, m&m’s, coconut… the options are endless. Afterwards, I put mine back in the freezer so the ice cream could harden.

20120821-111718.jpg

This sandwich was made with one of each of the cookies (something mysteriously happened to their respective mates).  It was deliciously awesome.  Next, I want to make one with peppermint ice cream in the middle.

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Who doesn’t love tomatoes!? Especially fresh tomatoes. I was so excited for tomato season at the farm and the endless  possibilities of what you could do with tomatoes (gazpacho, fresh salsa, tomato sauce, etc.). For every lunch I had been bringing in fresh picked sungold cherry tomatoes as a morning snack but then over the last week or so I starting feeling really nauseous. It was a weird combination of nausea and starvation that I experienced during my first trimester and I was worried that I was going to have to deal with it again in my last trimester. However, then Scott suggested at I might be experiencing heart burn and to try to remove acidic foods, like tomatoes. Sure enough, the next day I didn’t have any tomatoes for lunch and I felt great! While I was so excited to have figured out what was going on, I was a little bit bummed to not be able to eat any more tomatoes. Plus we w had a lot of tomatoes freshly picked from the farm and needed to figure out what to do with them… so we decided to dry them and store them in some olive oil to use later on.

If you are looking for what to do with leftover tomatoes, it is super easy to dry them in the oven and use them later! We have always loved sundried tomatoes and they tend to me more expensive, so it is a great way to save money too! Simply cut the tomatoes in half (or slices depending on the type of tomato you are using) and lay them on a cookie sheet, cut side up. Drizzle them with olive oil and salt and then feel free to add your own touch! You can throw in some thyme, garlic, oregano, pepper, etc.

Then bake them at 250 degrees for about 4-6 hours until the tomatoes are dry and only slightly juicy. Feel free to eat immediately or store in some olive oil.

Enjoy!!

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I don’t like squash.  A few months ago I would have said “I hate squash.” But I’ve gone up a level to just not liking them.  I will admit that I’m starting to come around.  Gradually.  Gardening has helped and opened doors to vegetables that before I would not eat.  I have two squash plants in my garden now, a normal straight neck yellow squash and a butternut squash.  It’s adorable.  Recently, I picked my first squash from it…but what to do with it?  I decided to make soup.  I love soup and it eliminates my major problem with squash – texture.  I have texture issues.  My worst enemy is an onion…boy, do I hate onions.  And guess what…this soup has onions too!!! I’m a dare-devil.

1) Peel and de-seed a butternut squash.  (I grew this…isn’t it cute?)

2) Cube squash and an onion (my squash was a medium one so I only used half an onion – I also hate onion)

3) Saute onion in butter until  translucent – add to pot with squash

4) Add box (4 cups) of chicken stock and cook until squash is tender (15-20 mins)

5) Use awesome immersion blender and blend

6) Mine is a pretty teal color (because they were out of pink)

7) Plate in a pretty bowl – or my pyrex because this is my lunch this week

8) Ta-Da!

I even fed this to my husband.  His comment “it isn’t awful, I would eat it if I was hungry.” – Five minutes later “I want some soup.” I consider that a small victory considering he is still in his i-hate-squash mode.

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