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Friday, January 29, 2010

Pepperoni-Pesto Popovers


This is the final Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe we tried.  I love pepperoni and pesto, so this was perfect for me!  These were really easy to make.  Just unroll the dough, top it, cut it and roll it up.  I could have eaten the whole batch myself.  I used turkey pepperoni and reduced-fat crescent rolls, so eating the whole batch wouldn't have been that bad, right?  I would add more pepperoni next time - I thought 3 per popover wasn't enough.  We ate these for lunch and served our little popovers with vokda sauce.  I would definately make these again.  I think these would be great little snacks for a party.  We might make these again for the Super Bowl.


Pepperoni-Pest Popovers
Pillsbury
(Printable Recipe)

1 tablespoon Crisco® 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil
1 tablespoon semolina flour or cornmeal
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup basil pesto
18 slices (1 1/2-inch size) pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375°F. In 6-cup popover pan or 6 regular-size muffin cups (2 3/4x1 1/4 inches), brush 1/2 teaspoon of the oil over bottom and side of each cup. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the flour over bottom and side of each cup.

Unroll dough sheet on cutting board. Sprinkle with garlic salt; spread with pesto. Top with pepperoni, arranging slices in 6 rows by 3 rows. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Using pizza cutter, cut dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into thirds to make 6 equal pieces. Starting at short end, roll up each piece; place seam side down in popover cup so center of dough piece is on bottom and ends of dough are facing up (filling will show).

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Using knife or metal spatula, remove popovers from pan. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blueberry Muffin Tops


Top of the Muffin to You!  I love to eat the top of the muffin - I think it is the best part.  We all know from watching Seinfeld, nobody wants the stumps.  Not even the homeless!  This recipe avoids having to hire "a cleaner" to dispose of the stumps.

I thought using cookie dough as the base of the muffins was a great idea.  These took a little bit of time to put together, but it was worth it.  We both really liked these little muffin tops.  They were soft and had a nice hint of lemon.  I may add some coarse sugar on top next time for some crunch.  These would be great for a brunch with a mimosa (or two) or just as a soft blueberry cookie.



Blueberry Muffin Tops
Pillsbury
(Printable Recipe)

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 EGGLAND’S BEST egg
1/3 cup milk
2 to 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries

Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. In small bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the flour, sugar and butter with fork until crumbly; set aside to use for topping. In another small bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat dough and cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. On low speed, beat in egg, milk, lemon peel and lemon juice until well blended. Stir in flour mixture just until combined (do not overmix; mixture will be a thick batter). Carefully fold in blueberries. (If using thawed berries, rinse and pat dry with paper towel before adding.)

Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 1 to 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets, using rubber spatula to scrape batter from tablespoon. Bake 3 minutes; remove from oven. Sprinkle each muffin top with about 1 teaspoon crumb topping; immediately return to oven.

Bake 16 to 20 minutes longer or just until edges begin to brown. Cool on cookie sheets 2 to 3 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Serve warm or cool.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mile-High Peanut Butter Pie

Now that I have your attention - go ahead and wipe the drool off your screen.  This pie is as good as it looks, if not better.  It is the kind of pie that calls to you from the fridge "Come eat me!".  We heard it calling and happily obliged. 

This was the second recipe we made from the Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist.  I wanted to use my new pie plate, and I love chocolate and peanut butter, so it was a good choice.  This was easy to put together; it just requires patience for the cooling of the brownie and chilling of the topping.  The pie was even better the next day.  It is a very rich pie, so you only need a little piece (or lots of little pieces).    This would be great for a cook-out or party.  I promise it will be a hit.



Mile-High Peanut Butter Pie
Pillsbury
(Printable Recipe)

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
1 box (15.5 oz) Pillsbury® Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix
1/4 cup Reese's® peanut butter chips
1/3 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
3 tablespoons water
1 EGGLAND’S BEST egg
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 tablespoons Fisher® Party Peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons Hershey’s® mini chips semi-sweet chocolate

Heat oven to 350°F. Unroll pie crust; place in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie; flute edge.

In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, peanut butter chips, oil, water and egg 50 strokes with spoon. Pour batter into crust-lined pie plate.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, covering edge of crust with strips of foil after 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and center of brownie is set. Cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate 1 hour or until completely cooled.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture over brownie. Sprinkle with peanuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maple-Bacon Rolls

It is almost time for the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-Off.  Pillsbury has all the finalist's recipes posted on their website.  There are so many wonderful recipes!  I quickly made a list of several I wanted to try.  I decided to start with the Maple-Bacon Rolls for breakfast.  Sweet & Salty!  These were super easy and tasted great.  I used turkey bacon and a can of reduced-fat cresent rolls to help cut down on the calories and fat - with no sacarafice in taste.  These little rolls were a nice change from our usual crescent cinnamon rolls.  I really liked that it only took a few minutes to get these in the oven and didn't involve messing up a million dishes.  I also really liked the bacon - who doesn't?!



Maple-Bacon Rolls
Pillsbury
(Printable Recipe)

10 slices precooked bacon (or turkey bacon)
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
3 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. Microwave bacon as directed on package until very crisp. Drain on paper towels. Set aside to cool. Generously spray large cookie sheet (dark cookie sheet not recommended) with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray, or line with cooking parchment paper. Unroll dough sheet on work surface; press into 12x8-inch rectangle.

In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the syrup with fork or wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly over dough, covering to edges. Finely chop bacon; reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Spread remaining bacon evenly over butter mixture. Starting at short end (I started on the long end), roll up dough; pinch edge to seal. Wrap roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate 5 minutes to chill so dough will be easier to cut. (I skipped chilling the dough and they sliced just fine)

Unwrap roll; place seam side down on cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut roll into 12 (about 3/4-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, on cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Place waxed paper under cooling rack. Remove rolls from cookie sheet to cooling rack; cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix powdered sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 3 tablespoons syrup with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle icing over rolls. Garnish with reserved bacon.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Olexa's





We tried a new place for lunch yesterday - Olexa's in Mountain Brook.  I ate lunch with some friends on Friday, and they were going on and on about the cake from Olexa's.  I looked Olexa's up on the internet and saw they had a cafe and decided to take Chicken Legs to lunch there on Saturday.  

The interior is really cute.  You feel like you are outside in France with all the little bistro's around you.  The menu has lots of selections -salad, soup, quiche, sandwiches, etc.  I opted for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese with Tomato Basil soup.  OMG - the best tomato soup ever!  Chicken Legs got the Almond Chicken Salad Croissant and he said it was the best chicken salad he had ever eaten.  After lunch, we had to try a piece of cake.  On the recommendation of our server, we went with the vanilla cake.  The cake was really good.  It was light and fluffy.  The buttercream on top was perfectly sweet and creamy.  We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our entire meal.   I have a feeling we will be going back often - probably as soon as next weekend. ;)
















Olexa's Cafe, Cakes, & Catering on Urbanspoon

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CONNECT WITH PLAIN CHICKEN

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Flip

I ate at Flip - the new ulta-hip burger place - at The Summit this week.  This was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten!!  This is the second Flip location in the US.  The original Flip is in Atlanta.  Chef Richard Blais, runner-up on season 4 of Top Chef, is the mastermind behind these amazing burgers.  The menu is very different from your usual buger joint - they have your basic burger (Flip Burger), Steak Tartare Burger (hold the tartare sauce), Crab Burger, Lamb Burger - you get the idea.  I had the Flip Burger and fries.  Michele had the Bacon Cheese Burger and vodka battered onion rings.  The burgers are not as big as the "usual" burger you get in a restaurant.  I thought they were the perfect size.  The onion rings were light and crunchy and not the least bit greasy.  The fries were topped with big kosher salt that really put them over the top.  I plan on making room for a milkshake next time - they freeze the icecream with liquid nitrogen!









Flip burger boutique on Urbanspoon


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CONNECT WITH PLAIN CHICKEN

Friday, January 22, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Tacos


I really love Mexican food, but I quit eating it out so much (too salty and fattening, but oh so good!). In order to satisify my need for Mexican food, I've been looking for new recipes to try at home.  I found this recipe over on Southern Living's website and decided to give it a try this week.  This was a nice change from our regular tacos and chicken fajitas.  I really loved that it was made in the crock pot and it was ready when I got home from work!  The meat mixture is runny so I added a cup of minute rice to soak up all the wonderful juices.  We both enjoyed this and ate the leftovers last night.  I would definately make this again.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Tomato Mascarpone Sauce

I saw a picture on the internet of a tomato and mascarpone sauce and it peeked my interest.  I had never heard of such a sauce and I thought it would be good.  I googled it and found that most recipes are a basic tomato sauce with mascarpone added.  Sounded simple enough!  I decided to give it a whirl and it turned out great.  This was so simple and it packed a lot of great flavor.  The mascarpone added a nice creaminess to the sauce that we both really enjoyed.  This was a nice change to our usual tomato sauce.  We served the sauce with some garlic & herb grilled chicken for a fabulous dinner!



Tomato Mascarpone Sauce
(Printable Recipe)

olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot or small onion
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if you can get them)
2 tsp basil
4 oz mascarpone cheese

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute shallot until translucent; add garlic and cook for one minute, or until fragrant.  Pour tomatoes and basil into skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add mascarpone and stir until combined.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Buttery Chicken "Scampi" Pasta


This is the second recipe I tried from my Deen Bros Take It Easy cookbook.  This was quick and easy, as promised.  I followed the directions as written and it was a breeze.  We both really enjoyed the flavors in the sauce; it was light and fresh with a little tanginess from the lemon.  It reminded me of our favorite Chicken Picatta.  In the book, Jamie Deen said he loves shrimp scampi but his son, Jack, doesn't like shrimp.  Jamie decided to substituted chicken for the shrimp and they both agreed it was a winner.  We agree too!  I would definately make this again, especially during the week. 


Buttery Chicken "Scampi" Pasta
Deen Bros
(Printable Recipe)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch-long strips
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cooked pasta, such as linguine for serving

Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add the wine, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, 3-5 minutes.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the sauce in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink inside and the juices run clear when pricked with a fork.  Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.  Serve over the pasta.

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