Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Laziest Recipes Ever: 3 Ingredient Fudge

Hold onto your hats, everybody. We're talking 'bout fudge, today.

Here's the deal. I don't particularly like fudge. Too boring. Not enough texture. Waaay too tooth-numbingly sweet. The fiance is also not a huge fan of fudge.

So for whatever reason, I decided to make a simple fudge recipe I saw on Pinterest.

"What can I say- I was seduced by the mention of sweetened condensed milk in the ingredient list. I loooooove sweetened condensed milk.

As I melted and mixed and smoothed my batch of fudge, several thoughts popped into my mind:

"Why am I making fudge for two people who don't like fudge?"

"Who is going to eat all this fudge?"

"Am I wasting a bunch of Oreos on fudge? I could just eat plain Oreos.."

But after my fudge was cooled and cut, I went in for a sample and suddenly....I was a fudge convert. The fiance underwent the same transformation and even requested I make another batch so he could snack on fudge all weekend and still bring some into work on Monday.

This fudge would be a great addition to holiday treat trays/exchanges/stuffing-of-the-face-nights, etc.. I think you could even try out some different flavor additions aside from Oreos...perhaps chopped up Reeses, Almond Joy, or M&M's? What about a 'Milk and Cookies Fudge', with broken up bits of chocolate chip cookies? Or how about different kinds of Oreos...Mint? Birthday Cake? You could probably even change out the white chocolate chips for semi/milk chocolate. The possibilities are endless!

Cookies and Cream Fudge

  • 2 1/2 cups roughly crushed Oreos (about 2 sleeves out of the package)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 18 oz white chocolate chips
Combine SCM and white chocolate chips in a double boiler, or melt in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well after each cycle. (This will probably take about a total of 2 minutes/4 cycles, but times will vary based on microwave power)

Fold Oreos into melted SCM/white chocolate chips, then pour into a parchment lined 8x8 dish. I like to crumble up another handful of Oreos and sprinkle them over the top of the fudge, pressing slightly to secure.

Allow fudge to cool at room temp until solid (4-6 hours), or chill in the fridge. Slice fudge into small squares and store in an airtight container or zip bag. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Spanish Night!

A week or so ago I had the pleasure of getting together with my two sisters (and one brother-in-law) for dinner. We had a fabulous time cooking up a Spanish feast together....in fact, there was so much to do that it ended up being a very authentic Spanish meal, seeing as we didn't eat until 9:30 p.m.!

A Spanish Feast!

I do wish everybody lived closer together so that we could have these little dinner parties more often, but I suppose if that was the case I would weigh in at a comfortable 400 pounds before the year ended.

Serrano Ham, Olives, Cadiz Pepper Salad, Spanish Tortilla, Marinated Carrots, Jalapeno Jam Toasts, Paella!

This whole experience has inspired me to do a bit more cultural cooking, so stay tuned for that bit of fun. Until then, enjoy some Spanish dishes at your next meal!

A big thank you to Katie C. for taking the time to send me all of these recipes!

Marinated Carrots, Cadiz Pepper Salad, Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms (serves 4) 
from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 3 TB minced onion
  • 1 minced clove garlic
Saute until wilted; a few minutes. Then stir in:
  • 1 TB tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 whole cloves or a pinch ground
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • salt and pepper
Once added, simmer, covered, 45 minutes over low heat. Add more water if needed.
Then add:
  • 1/2 pound small mushrooms; cleaned, stems removed
Simmer 5 minutes more, covered. Remove from heat, let cool, then chill overnight. Bring to room temp before serving.

Finish with a bit of sherry or red wine vinegar.

Marinated Carrots (serves - 4)
  • 6-7 large carrots; peeled and chopped into 1-2" pieces.
Boil in salted water until just tender. A fork should pierce through with some resistance. Cool immediately in icy water. You want them to stay firm.
Marinate with:
  • 2-4 cloves minced garlic (start with 2)
  • 1 TB dried oregano (yes, that's right)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar + 1/3 cup water, or to cover
Let sit several hours or overnight. Drain off liquid and add good olive oil and some coarse salt, to your liking, when ready to serve.

Cadiz Pepper Salad (6-8)
from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain

  • 2 red peppers
  • 3 green peppers
Roast at 375 on an ungreased, foil lined pan, 17 minutes. Flip and roast 17-20 minutes more. Skin, seed, and chop into strips or dice. I did strips, but would probably dice next time.
Put in a bowl.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 TB good olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Combine. Chill at least 1 hour and adjust seasonings. Can be eaten on its own or on toasts, maybe with a nice creamy white cheese. Or on pizza! Or subs!

Salmorejo- Chilled Tomato Soup (serves 4-6)
From: Food52.com
  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled (cut an X at the base and dunk in boiling water until you see the skins peeling a little) OR 2 lbs whole peeled canned tomatoes, with juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (2 if the cloves are small and the garlic is young, 1 if it is very strong garlic)
Puree in a blender. Add to blender:
  • 3 slices white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed out
Blend 3 minutes. Open blender and add:
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TB cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
Chill at least 2 hours. Before serving, taste for salt and vinegar, adding more of either if it tastes bland or flat. Serve with croutons, chopped ham and/or chopped hard boil eggs.

Spanish tortilla (serves 6 or so)
As remembered from a cooking class in Spain by my sister, Katie.
  • 500g potatoes and maybe 1/2 a yellow onion, if you'd like
  • 6 eggs (7 if you have the onion in there)
  • 200 mL. olive oil
  • salt

In a deep skillet, let the oil heat up. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into small squares. Finely quarter and slice the onion, if using.
Put potatoes and onions in skillet for 20 minutes at medium heat, or until quite tender. You don't really want the to brown, just soften.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat eggs with some salt and set aside.
Drain potatoes of excess oil and add the bowl with the eggs. 
Put a nonstick skillet over high heat with a little olive oil. I used a large skillet, but would recommend a small skillet (8-9") with rounded sides. You'll probably need to make it in 2 batches, but it will be easier to flip and the tortilla will be taller. Otherwise, a 10"-12" skillet is okay, too.
When oil is hot, add potato/egg mixture and keep pan moving in a circular motion after the eggs have set a minute. Use a plate to slide off the tortilla, then put the pan to the plate and carefully flip it over to cook the other side. Needless to say, the eggs should be decently set when you attempt this. Let a cook a bit more, though not too long, before sliding onto a serving platter. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. I recommend it with garlic aioli. 

Quick Garlic aioli
Whisk 1 cup good mayonnaise, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, and lemon juice to taste.

Anchovy Toast (6-8 servings)
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 2 TB minced parsley 
  • 2 TB minced red onion or shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • pepper
  • 1/4" oil or butter in a skillet, for frying
  • 12-16  1/4" slices crusty bread
  • 3   2-oz tins anchovy fillets in oil

Combine olive oil through pepper in a bowl and set aside. Can be made ahead.
Fry bread on both sides in hot oil, until well browned all over. Set on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Can be made ahead.
Just before serving, put 1 tsp oil on each toast and top with 2 anchovy fillets, pulling out any large bones. 

Toasts with cream cheese, jam, and jalapenos (serves as many as you want)
(Recipe concocted by my sister, Katie and Allison. Not Spanish, but tasty enough anyway.)

  • Toasts fried in oil and/or butter, as in previous recipe
  • Softened cream cheese
  • Peach jam
  • Chopped jalapenos, with or without ribs and seeds, depending how you like your spice

Spread each toast with some cream cheese, a  dollop of jam, and some diced jalapenos. May add a sprinkling of pepper.

Fabulous Sangria
America's Test Kitchen

  • 750ml bottle inexpensive red wine (Merlot works well)
  • 2 large, juicy oranges (one sliced, one juiced)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup sugar
In a large pitcher, gently muddle the sliced orange, sliced lemon, and sugar together until some juice has been released and the sugar has begun to dissolve. 

Stir in the freshly squeezed orange juice, the triple sec and the wine- making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. 

Chill 2-8 hours. Stir once again before serving over ice. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

It's that fabulous time of year again when iced coffee reigns supreme. In the past, I've been happy to make my own iced coffee concentrate to save some moola. In fact, I usually think it tastes better.

But then I tried the Cinnamon Dolce syrup in my iced coffee at Starbucks and I didn't know how I could ever go back to sweetened condensed milk, sugar, or any of the boring coffee syrups I have on hand.

Have you tried it? It's the perfect balance of caramelly sweetness with just a hint of spicy cinnamon. I found it so delicious that I was ready to spend $4.00 a day on Starbucks just to get my fix.

Thank goodness for copy-cat recipes!

Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Coffee Syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, add sugars and water together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and allow to gently boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cinnamon and vanilla. 

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

To make an iced coffee:

Fill glass with ice. If using milk, I recommend filling the coffee up halfway, then adding milk and 2 TB of the syrup (or whatever sweetness tastes right, depending on the size of your glass!). If you want to be extra decadent and use 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream (my favorite), fill up the glass 3/4 of the way with coffee and add in 2 TB of cream + 2 TB syrup.

Then I enjoy it with my little sister. Yum!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pimp My Flip Flops

Have you ever stopped and realized that perhaps your fashion sense is a little...off?

I don't claim to be a fashionista, but I do try to keep up with the trends in my own little adulthood ways- like maxi skirts without the crop tops. (Showing your navel off is for someone 5 years younger and 20 pounds lighter than this chick.)

I guess what I'm getting at is that I like to dress my age. I enjoy the pencil skirts and blouses, the yoga pants sans words-on-the-butt, and the casual jeans/t-shirt look for when I'm out grocery shopping. Looks that are relatively "timeless" in our quickly changing fashion climate.

So imagine my embarrassment last summer when I came to the realization that my staple summer footwear- plain ol' flip flops- was out. For, like, everyone.


When summertime rolled around this year, I was prepared to shell out for a few pairs of blingy flip flops so that my feet would fit in...but holy cow! The upcharge from my regular $2.50 for plain flip flops was ridiculous. $30.00 for some beads and glitter? HA!

I'll just do it myself.

A little hot glue, some ribbon, a few beads, and 20 minutes later I had revived my flip flops!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Eat Your Veggies! Roasted Garlicy Bacon Brussels Sprouts

I'm not a veggie person.

I'm the kind of gal' that wants her onions minced so finely that they disintegrate into a dish.

I'm the kind of gal' that you need to puree cauliflower and mix it in with mashed potatoes to get me to agree to it.

I'm the kind of gal' that eats her veggies like a little kid: small bites drowned by ranch dressing.

Veggies are just not my cup of tea.

So how the heck did I just fall in love with Brussels Sprouts?

These roasted gems were divine. I could not stop eating them. After I finished the serving on my plate, I ignored the rest of my dinner and promptly ate the rest of the sprouts straight from the serving dish. I definitely got in my serving of veggies for the week.

Roasted Garlicy Bacon Brussels Sprouts

  • 16 oz Brussels Sprouts (about 20 sprouts)
  • 3 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and diced 
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon grease (do not leave this out! It's what gives the sprouts such a fabulous bacon flavor!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder, depending on how garlicy your palate prefers 
  • plenty of fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F. 

In a large bowl, toss sprouts with melted bacon grease and olive oil. Add in garlic powder and black pepper and stir to coat. Arrange sprouts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and place on the lower rack of the oven. Roast sprouts 15-20 minutes, until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Remove sprouts from baking sheet into a serving bowl and top with diced bacon. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hydration Nation!

It's finally summer!

It was a bittercold winter here in Minnesota. So cold that it froze my blogging capabilities back in November, and I'm only just thawing now.

Now that I can drink cold things without going into a hypothermic state, I've been loving me some infused water. My favorite thus far? Fabulously simple cucumber lime water.

Shall I bore you with the details?

First, invest in some of these wonderful 2 quart mason jars. Seriously. We bought them back in February to make gloogg (spiced red wine), and I think they've found their way into the fridge for some purpose or another every week since then. Lemonade, iced coffee, chicken stock...the list goes on.

Grab a nice big cucumber- regular, not English, and give it a good rinse. Peel the skin in alternating bands so you're left with some pretty green stripes. Half your cucumber. Working with one half at a time, slice into 1/4" thick slices and dump into a mason jar. Fill your jar up with water and then add the juice of 1/2 a lime*. Repeat with the second jar/cucumber half/lime, and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. I like to leave it for a few hours so the cucumber flavor really comes out.
Drink up! Stay hydrated! It's summer, baby!

*note: I like to squeeze the lime juice into the water rather than slice the lime and add it to the mason jar, as I find the water can take on a bitter taste from the lime pith if it sits too long.

The Laziest Recipes Ever: BBQ Jalapeno Turkey Sliders

I get excited about the idea of sliders whenever I see them on a menu. Cute little patties, adorable mini buns- whats not to love?

But sliders always seem to fall flat for me. The cute little pattie to adorable mini bun ratio is off, and often I wonder why I didn't just get an adult sized burger.

If sliders were more like these little lovelies, I think they would be much more enjoyable!

The beauty of this lazy recipe is you can throw it together with any lunch meat (or burger meat!) that you have in your fridge- same goes for the cheese and add ons! 

BBQ Turkey Sliders
  • 1/4 pound deli sliced turkey breast meat 
  • 1/4-1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce
  • 4 mini slider pretzel buns
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cooked 
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced 
  • Additional condiments (I mixed up some mustard/mayo)
Preheat oven to 450. 

In a frying pan, heat the deli meat until warmed through. Add in enough BBQ sauce to thoroughly coat the deli meat. Set aside.

Divide the buns. Butter the tops and place them butter side up on a baking sheet. On the bottom bun, place a slice of cheddar, turkey breast, a few slivers of jalapeno and the mozzarella. Place the bottom buns on the same baking sheet as their tops and toast in the oven until the tops are just starting to brown and the cheese is melted on the bottom buns, 5-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place two slices of bacon atop the turkey. Spread any desired condiments onto the tops and assemble your sliders.