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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fat Witch Brownies


I was on Southern Living's blog a few months ago and read a post about Fat Witch Brownies in NYC.  They raved about how great the brownies were; going so far as to say they were the most delicious brownie in the country.  Well, I happen to love brownies, so I was very intrigued with this statement.  I used the Google and found that the Fat Witch Bakery had a cookbook coming out soon - score!  I patiently waited for it to be released and downloaded to my iPad. 

I decided to make the original brownie first.  Good choice - it was fantastic!  It was very moist, rich and chocolately, but not overly sweet.  I enjoyed it very much with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Looking through the cookbook, I don't think there is a single recipe that I don't want to try.  They all look fabulous.  The brownies are so easy to make and don't require any speciality ingredients.  I plan on trying out the peanut butter bars tonight.



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honey Cornbread Muffins


These wonderful muffins are the perfect accompaniment to the Creamy Jambalaya Pasta I posted yesterday. I especially loved the honey butter brushed over the tops.   These muffins were also good reheated the next day for leftovers.  We usually make our cornbread in an iron skillet, so this was a fun change.

The weather is finally starting to turn a bit cooler.  I am looking forward to having these cornbread muffins with some chili and beef stew!



Honey Cornmeal Muffins
Adapted from The Three Cheeses
(Printable Recipe)

2 cups plain flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup butter or cooking margarine, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 heaping tbsp honey
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 F and spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, soften butter and add eggs, vanilla, and honey. Stir until well-combined, then add your oil and milk. Mix just until all the lumps are gone.

Divide your batter into the muffin tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top and a knife inserted comes out clean. While muffins are baking, mix your butter and icing sugar together until thick and icing-like. Once muffins are done, place onto wire rack and allow to cool slightly. While muffins are still warm, brush them with some melted honey butter.

*Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins.*



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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Creamy Jambalaya Pasta


This was one of the best things we ate last week.  It reminded me a lot of jambalaya (that's why I called it Creamy Jambalaya Pasta).  I've never had a pasta with smoked sausage in it and it turns out that I love it!  This dish had the perfect amount of spice in it - not too hot, but it definately had a little kick to it from the cajun seasoning. 

The sauce for this pasta is so decadent.  How could it not be with white wine and cream?  The sauce has an  amazing flavor that comes from reduicing it not once, but twice.  Don't worry, this is still a quick weeknight meal.  It took less than 30 minutes to throw together.  I can't wait to try different meats with the sauce.  I think this sauce would go well with chicken or shimp too.  I will be making this again very soon!




Creamy Jambalaya Pasta
adapted from Steamy Kitchen
(Printable Recipe)

1/2 pound Farfalle pasta
1/2 lb smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup heavy cream (or half & half or evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion or 2 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese


In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Salt water.  Boil pasta and cook until al dente.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in a small skillet over medium heat. Once browned, add onion and saute for two minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add white wine to skillet, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom.  Let wine reduce by half, about two minutes.
Stir in Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Add cream and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low. Allow the cream mixture to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.



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Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cakes & Cocktails - Dreamcakes Bakery


I had the opportunity to go to Cakes & Cocktails at Dreamcakes Bakery in Homewood on Thursday night.  I missed the first set of classes back in the spring, so I was excited to get into a class this week.  I had planned on going with a friend, but she bailed on me at the last minute.  Luckily, Chicken Legs said he would go with me.  He's a great guy!


Jan Moon is the owner of Dreamcakes   

Jan is demonstrating how to make the frosting on a cake smooth.  She did it in no time and it was perfect.  She gave us some good tips like using a spray bottle to help smooth the icing out.  She also said you could add almond or clear vanilla extract to the water - love it!  

Luckily for us, the cakes were already iced.  After Jan's demonstration on how to make a beautiful "princess cake", we had to decide what we wanted our cake to look like.  That was tough!  There were lots of fall/halloween colors and candies ready for us to choose from.  Jan also suggested Auburn or Alabama football cakes.  After much deliberation, Chicken Legs chose to make a pumpkin cake and I made an Auburn cake. 


Chicken Legs worked really hard on his pumpkin cake.  He added some brown icing to the sides and piped some green leaves around the bottom.  He did a really great job!  I was very impressed.  He must have been paying attention when I was making cookies and cakes.


For my Auburn cake, I decided to put tiger paws all around my cake and then top it off with an "AU" and "War Eagle".  I did both orange and blue paws.  Jan was nice enough to mix me up some navy icing. 


Here is Chicken Legs finished cake.  I thought it was really cute!  I love the candy corn mouth and nose.  He also did a great piping job on the edge.




Here is my finsihed product.  I thought it turned out GREAT!  I impressed myself with my writing.  It was much easier than I thought it would be.  My skills have improved greatly since I took the Wilton cake decorating class many years ago. 

We had a great time.  I loved that all I had to was decorate the cake.  It was nice that someone else baked the cake, iced it and prepped all the piping bags.  I just got to go and have fun!  Chicken Legs favorite part was eating the cake when we got home - it was excellent!

Jan Moon is so talented and SO nice.  It was so nice of her to take an evening and teach everyone how to make a pretty cake.  Dreamcakes is having more Cake & Cocktails classes this fall.  Be sure to check their website, facebook or twitter for the dates!



Pin It!


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CONNECT WITH PLAIN CHICKEN

Friday, September 24, 2010

Morton's Million Dollar Burgers - Football Friday



It's Football Friday!  Last week, for the first time in years, we grilled out some fabulous burgers in the parking lot before the game.  We had such a great time grilling that we are doing it again this weekend!

This burger recipe is from Morton's Steakhouse.  We've been visiting Nashville a lot this year for various events, and we started eating dinner at Morton's.  It is absolutely the best steakhouse on the planet!  I don't usually like big manly steakhouses, but Morton's is the exception. 

I discovered that Morton's has a blog, and they share their recipes on it!  OMG!!  I immediately found their burger recipe and took them to the tailgate.  They were great!  I expected nothing less, as Chicken Legs talks about how great their burger is.  So, if you can't make it to Morton's this weekend, give this burger a try.  You'll love it!






no tailgate is complete without super cute football cookies!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread


This is one of my favorite bread recipes.  It is the perfect accompaniment to a pasta or steak dinner.  I am warning you - this bread is highly addictive.  It is way too easy to just pull a bite off and pop it inot your mouth. You can't eat just one piece.  We can almost eat it all between just the two of us.

The original recipe came from my long-time "Pampered Chef Lady", Mary.  I have changed the recipe over the years.  I cut the butter down and added some parmesan cheese.  I really love how quick and simple this is.   I changed the spices up this time and used the Carrabba's Bread Dip seasoning instead of just Italian seasoning.  It was great!






Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese


This is TO DIE FOR!  I may never be able to eat regular mac & cheese again.  Seriously!  This is the best mac & cheese I've ever eaten. 

I made this to go with the fabulous steaks we had at my parent's house.  Everyone enjoyed it.  This is comfort food at its best.  Chicken Legs claims to dislike gnocchi, but he loved this dish.  We ate this again last weekend.  I have a feeling this will be at the dinner table often!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Steakhouse Filets


This is my Mom's favorite way to make steaks.  She raves about these steaks all the time.  We finally got a chance to try them a few weeks ago when we went down for a football game.  I must admit, the steaks were fabulous!  She marinated the steaks for a few hours in Dale's before she cooked them in an iron skillet.  

This method is perfect for a weeknight treat.  Chicken Legs will appreciate this method if once the weather cools off and he doesn't have to stand out in the cold to grill steak.

the steaks smelled so good - they were driving Max CRAZY!

Searing on the first side

Flipped over and ready for the oven

Done!

Max finally got a taste


Steakhouse Filets
Cuisine at Home
(Printable Recipe)

4 2-inch filets
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425.   Season steaks with salt and pepper.  Heat an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Sear filets in oil on one side for 4-5 minutes.  Turn them over, place the pan in the oven and roast to desired doneness.  Rare 5 minutes; Medium-Rare 7 minutes; Medium 9 minutes.  Allow filets to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


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Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seneca Crispy Onions - Burgers & Cookies


I recently received a sample of the new Seneca Crispy Onions. I follow @SenecaOnions on twitter and they asked for volunteers to try out their new Crispy Onions. I gladly threw my name out there and received a free sample! 

The onions are similar to the French's Fried Onions, yet different.  The Seneca Crispy Onions weren't as heavily coated as the french fried onions.  You could really tell that they were real onions.  I really liked how light and crispy they were. 

I made two recipes.  A burger and some cookies.  Cookies? Yes, cookies.  My Mom sent me a recipe for Vidalia Onion Chocolate Chip Cookies a while back, so I gave them a whirl with the Crispy Onions.  You don't notice the onion when you first bite into them, but as you eat more you start to recognize the flavor.  The cookies were definitely unique, to say the very least.






Seneca Crispy Onions Burger

1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup Seneca Crispy Onions
1 tsp beef bouillon
1/4 cup Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

Combine all ingredients.  Form into 3 hamburger patties.  Grill or broil until desired temperature.


Seneca Crispy Onions Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
12 oz semi sweet cho chips
1 c Vidalia Onion, small dice

Cream butter, add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add flour, salt, and soda. Mix until well blended. Stir in chips.
Rinse the onions with ice water and drain well. Fold the onions into the dough to blend. Drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.



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