Monthly Archives: July 2012

Samoa Rice Krispie Treats

Samoas are those delicious Girl Scout Cookies with caramel, chocolate, and coconut.  They are easily my favorite!  I have no idea why they are called Samoas (I was never a Girlscout; could this be the reason I hate camping?), but I’ve heard them called Caramel Delights as well.  Wherever the name comes from, those G-scouts bake a mean cookie.  I turned these Samoas into Samoa Rice Krispie Treats;  I mixed toasted coconut with the Rice Krispies and then covered the top with chocolate, more toasted coconut, and caramel drizzle.

 

Disclaimer:  These Samoa Rice Krispies are best enjoyed while watching Troop Beverly Hills, starring Shelley Long, circa 1989.  A classic, must-see 80’s movie.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 package (10 oz.) marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Caramel syrup for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Spread shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 -10 minutes.  Meanwhile, coat a 13×9″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.  Add Rice Krispies and 1/2 cup coconut and stir until well coated.  Using buttered spatula or wax paper to evenly press mixture into pan.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spread melted chocolate over Rice Krispie treats and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toasted coconut, gently pressing into chocolate.  Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Allow Rice Krispies to harden before cutting into squares.

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Blueberry Baked Donuts

July is National Blueberry month and what better way to celebrate then with these delicious Blueberry Baked Donuts. One of my favorite types of donuts, besides peanut donuts, are blueberry donuts. They are delicious and because these donuts are baked, are healthier too! I must have a thing for bluberries because I also love blueberry bagels. Blueberries are chocked full of healthy antioxidants, so be sure to get your fill with these delicious blueberry treats:

Blueberry & Coconut Smoothie

Blueberry & Lavender Scones

Blueberry & Pineapple Smoothie

Blueberry Cheesecake Squares w/Hazelnuts

Blueberry Glazed Doughnut Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake

Oatmeal Blueberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Fillet Mignon w/Blueberry Balsamic Reduction (Fileno al Mirtillo)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 Greek Yogurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Vanilla Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray donut pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add yogurt, eggs, and butter and beat until combined. Fill each doughnut cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 7-9 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan 4-5 minutes before removing from pan.
  4. To make glaze, combine ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over donuts and allow to dry on a wire rack.

*Makes 12 doughnuts

Adapted from Wilton Baked Cake Donuts

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Sweet Corn Succotash

Sweet corn has been on sale lately.  If you’re like me, you buy 10 ears of corn for $2.00, eat about 4 of them and then have 6 leftover that you need to use before they go bad.  This Sweet Corn Succotash is the perfect solution!  This succotash is simple to make and is the perfect side dish to accompany a vast array of grilled dishes or BBQ.  I served my succotash with grilled chicken – it was the perfect summer dish.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen lima beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered parsley leaves

Ingredients:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the frozen beans until tender.  Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a deep skillet, add the onion and cook until just softened.  Add the tomatoes and corn and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the lima beans with the cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in the butter and parsley and serve.
 *Adapted from Food & Wine

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Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

The hubby and I recently saw Moonrise Kingdom this past weekend.  It was hysterical!  Wes Anderson’s movies are not for everyone (dry, sarcastic humor said in a serious tone), but I knew I’d love this movie since The Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic were great and Bill Murray is one of the best actors ever.  I thought Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and especially Sam Shakusky (real name?) were also great in this movie.

What’s also great?  These Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies!  The vanilla flavor from the pudding really gives these cookies such a wonderful taste – the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and Reese’s Pieces help too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix, 1.34 oz.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add in eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, stir in peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and Reese’s Pieces.
  4. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet, about 2″ apart.  Press down gently with the palm of your hand.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden.  Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking rack.  Yield: 3 dozen cookies

*Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

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Shells w/Grilled Chicken Cutlets & Fresh Mozzarella

I had a kitchen emergency this past weekend – a ball of fresh mozzarella that I had in my refrigerator was about to go bad.  Fresh mozzarella is amazing and I could not let this beauty go to waste, so I made Shells w/Grilled Chicken Cutlets & Fresh Mozzarella.  This dish was simple, but tasted delicious with all the fresh ingredients… adding a little butter to the pasta shells also helped too.   Enjoy!
Guess who turns 1 today???  The cutest baby in the world… my niece!
Happy Birthday, Little Mama!!!!
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 box of medium pasta shells
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.  Meanwhile, heat grill pan to medium; lightly oil grates with cooking spray or vegetable oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from grill, and cut into thin strips.  Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.  Add chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Parmesan, and butter.  Toss to combine.  Add reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a sauce that coats shells (you may not need all the water).  Serve with more Parmesan and basil.

*Adapted from Martha Stewart

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Caramelized Onion Hummus

I hope you enjoyed your weekend… I did! I was in Savannah celebrating a close friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, and Savannah is a gorgeous, historic city. Now, it’s back to reality. Good news is that this heat wave finally broke, and what better way to celebrate then with this delicious Caramelized Onion Hummus. I caramelized onions and then pureed them with garlic, chickpeas, tahini, fresh rosemary, and lemon juice. This hummus is creamy and full of flavor. Enjoy and enjoy your week!
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
Directions:
  1. In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and turn heat to low, caramelizing onions until translucent. Add onions to food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the hummus is pureed. Add more water or liquid from chickpeas until desired smoothness. Serve hummus with toasted pita or bread.

*Adapted from Food Network

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Chocolate Potato Chip Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!!!  These Chocolate Potato Chip Cookies are delicious because they have potato chips and chocolate chips in them.  I know that sounds like a strange combo, but trust me when I say that they are amazing.  The salty from the potato chips and the sweetness from the chocolate chips really give these cookies a wonderful flavor that is sure to please everyone’s palate.  The hubby craves salty after dinner while I crave sweet so these cookies are the perfect after-dinner treat for both us.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crush potato chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and potato chips.  With a cookie scoop, drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. C ool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield:  3 dozen cookies

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Watermelon Tequila Cooler

You may have seen on the news that this past weekend, Northern V.A. and D.C. were in states of emergency.  Let me be honest… it stunk!  Friday night our power went off around 10pm and came back on Sunday at 3pm.  And as I’m writing this, a few of my co-workers still do not have power.  Not only was it 100 degrees all weekend with no power, but most of the gas stations ran out of gas, grocery stores were closed, stores that were open could not take credit cards, etc.  It was/is a mess.  Fortunately, our basement is redone and two guest bedrooms are down there, so we were able to sleep down there and stay cool.  My sister and brother-in-law never lost power, so we were also able to soak up some of their AC.  They adopted our cooler full of frozen meats and even made us delicious margaritas that inspired me to make these Watermelon Tequila Coolers.  These coolers are not only cold and refreshing, they are red and blue and perfect to celebrate the 4th!  Hopefully everyone’s power will be restored, this heat will break safely, and we’ll all be able to enjoy the 4th with these delicious drinks!

I also have to wish my very special, big sister a Happy Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!!!! Love you! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 cups diced seedless watermelon (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes
  • 1 3/4 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups tequila
  • Ice
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.
  2. In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.
  3. In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  4. Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.
*Food and Wine

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