Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chocolate Sauce

Perfect Pairing:  Oreo Ice Cream Pie


This chocolate sauce is so easy to make and it is about 100x better than the store-bought version.  My family has been making this for years.  The original recipe card (that we still use) was written on a typewriter.  I believe the original came from my Grandma Rosie.  Who, by the way, was also the originator of Grandma Rosie’s Ice Cream Dessert.  The perfect pairing on that post was chocolate sauce.  They are a great combo.


Over Christmas I needed to make a dessert to serve a large group of people.  I wanted to find something I could do in advance.  I decided to make Oreo Ice Cream Pies.  They are not fancy, but they are really tasty.  They do get fancied up a bit when you drizzle on the homemade chocolate sauce. 

There is no recipe for these pies.  I started with pre-made Oreo crusts, a few half gallons of ice cream in various flavors, and Oreos.  


I used one crust for each half gallon of ice cream.  I let the ice cream sit out to soften a bit.  Once the ice cream starts to soften I transferred it to a large bowl and stirred with a wooden spoon until it was spreadable, but not melted.   


Half of the ice cream went into the pie shell, then that was topped with a handful (okay, maybe two handfuls) of chopped Oreos, another layer of ice cream, and then a few Oreos on top for good measure.  Then back to the freezer.  Dessert for 20+ people in just a few minutes!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sausage Caprese Bites

Perfect Pairing:  Marinated mini bocconcini


I am a big fan of pre cooked chicken sausage.  I use them all the time. 


They come in a ton of flavors like apple and cheddar, cognac and cranberry, or you can keep it simple with spicy or Italian flavored.  They are all pretty healthy.  I like to get the natural varieties.  I am using them here in a quick appetizer.  Even though they are fully cooked I sauté them a bit to give them some caramelization.  Spell-check is telling me that caramelization is not a word.  I do not agree with this.

I drizzled some pesto on top, but you could certainly skip that step.  You could also add a little basil leaf to the skewer.  I used marinated mini bocconcini which were perfect in this recipe.  No need to slice up fresh mozzarella, and they just look really cute.  They are marinated in a seasoned olive oil.  I removed some of the oil by resting them on paper towels before threading them on the toothpicks.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Morning Glory Muffins

Perfect Pairing: Spring loaded scoop

Last spring I had breakfast at a local diner where instead of toast you could substitute a morning glory muffin.  I thought that sounded nice, so I tried it out.  I absolutely loved it!  I studied it thinking I wanted to try to recreate it at home.  Turns out, morning glory muffins are a real thing and this place did not make them up, and there are many recipes for them online. 

I found a recipe that sounded closest to what I had at the restaurant and gave it a shot.  They were equally delicious!  These muffins are filled with good stuff like shredded carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts, and coconut.  The diner muffins had a crunchy sugar topping so I added that to my version along with some rolled oats on top.

Using a spring loaded scoop is the fastest and most efficient way to get the batter into the tins.  I have talked about my love of these scoops here, here, here…. Oh, and here.  I like them a lot.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lemon Cream Pasta

Perfect Pairing: Grilled Shrimp

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Mexico.  While I was there I soaked up a lot of sunshine and enjoyed some gorgeous views.  
I had a fabulous time and met some great new friends, but it is nice to be home.  

News flash... it still very cold in Chicago.  That apparently did not change while I was out of the country.  It is a good day to be cozy inside!  Which is exactly what I am doing with my boyfriend today. 

Oh goodness, this pasta.  My cousin made this for me a couple of times before I tried it myself.  It is decadent and amazing.  You can always count on the Barefoot Contessa to have fantastic recipes. I am actually making it for my boyfriend for dinner tonight.

The pasta is tossed with slightly crisp broccoli, tomatoes, and greens and coated in a lemony cream sauce.  I followed this recipe with a couple of minor changes.  I substituted half of the cream for half and half, and used mache instead of arugula.  It is truly mouth watering.  We didn’t have any leftovers, but my cousin told me that if you do plan on having some leftover skip adding the whole pieces of lemon at the end.  They tend to make the dish bitter after it sits.

The pasta is fabulous on its own, but I loved the addition of grilled shrimp.  I used my favorite marinade, which is 2 parts Italian dressing to 1 part honey.  Just whisk it up and let the shrimp marinate it in for about 1 hour.  You can brush on the remaining marinade while you grill up the shrimp. 
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