I have not touched a single plant other than my baby basil growing on my porch in weeks. Yet somehow last week I contracted what looks like a small patch of poison ivy rash on the back of my right hand. It is strategically placed in an area that leads me to believe I shook hands with someone who had it on their thumb. WASH YOUR HANDS PEOPLE. Ugh! I’ll be soaking it in the Atlantic ocean this weekend for my cousin’s bachelorette party so hopefully that will help dry it out.
Speaking of washing your hands, be sure to also do so whenever you immerse your hands in raw meat to make burgers or these lamb meatballs. Mixing and forming raw meat is one of my least favorite tasks while cooking, so I took advantage of Bob since he was visiting for BBQ fest/a long weekend and delegated this step to him. Add that to the list of reasons why I like cooking with others O:-). Don’t worry, I was kind enough to turn on the faucet and dollop soap onto his hands afterwards.
These gyros would be a perfect weeknight meal because it comes together quickly and satisfies. But if you feel the need for a side, go for a Greek salad or if you have more time, oven roasted Greek potatoes.
One year ago: Spicy Basil Chicken
Two years ago: Buttermilk Ranch Mac & Cheese
SIMPLE LAMB MEATBALL GYROS
1 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 whole grain English muffin, pulsed in a food processor for breadcrumbs
1 egg, lighten beaten
4 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 0% plain Chobani)
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
1/4 cup freshly chopped tomatoes, for garnish
1/4 cup sliced red onion, for garnish
1 lime, for spritzing
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with nonstick spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the lamb, raisins, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, egg, 3/4 of the scallions, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Form meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Place them on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating every few minutes so they brown evenly on all sides.
- Heat the pita bread in the microwave until soft and pliable. Place 3 to 5 ball on each pita bread. Dollop with a little yogurt and garnish with remaining scallions, mint, tomato and red onion. Spritz with lime and serve!
Source: Bev Cooks
Fourth Thursday of the month? Time to dig out those unused cook books for Pass the Cook Book Club! This month we embraced the warm weather and made recipes from the cook book Slushed! which features boozy frozen treats. In other words, a must have for summer.
I almost made the Frozen Key Lime Margarita Pie, but after going a little crazy with strawberry picking over the weekend I knew I had to make this ice cream. I was especially intrigued by the flavors – basil in ice cream? But the flavors balanced with each other perfectly! I may be daring and try balsamic reduction drizzled over it next time. Doesn’t that sound like it could be great?
As for the boozy part, you could not tell there was any alcohol in this ice cream. I actually used vodka instead of strawberry liqueur because it’s what I had and strawberry liqueur is basically half vodka. I also didn’t feel like going out to buy the liqueur for such a small amount. But now I am tempted to make homemade strawberry liqueur with my leftovers from picking!
One year ago: Apricot White Chocolate Granola Bites
Two years ago: Chicken and Veggie Nuggets
STRAWBERRY BASIL GELATO
Makes about 1 quart
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
2 Tbsp strawberry liqueur (I used 1 Tbsp vodka instead)
- Macerate the strawberries by putting them in a small bowl and tossing with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the milk and cream in a medium-sized sauce heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the edges just start to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in the basil. Cover and let the mixture infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the basil leaves.
- Slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return to the pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it registers 170 degrees on a candy thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk in the strawberry preserves, liqueur, and sliced strawberries with syrup. Refrigerate until chilled, 4-6 hours.
- Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a container and freeze overnight.
Source: Halved from Slushed!, page 70.
One year ago today, I posted about meeting my nephew Luke for the first time and just yesterday I saw a video of him walking (more like running)! I wish I could witness it in person but unfortunately am not sure when I will be able to visit next, especially with all the weddings I am in this summer/fall, trying to graduate and then they are moving to southern California in August! Which means my job searches just got expanded to include the west coast as well, haha. In the meantime I thrive through Facebook and Dropbox photos and videos.
…and baked goods. When it comes to sweet breads, I love making mini loafs. They are cute, fun and you just want to eat them right up! Just like Luke but I digress. These mini applesauce loaves also have toffee bits and almond slices mixed in for a little bit of crunch and extra sweetness.
One year ago: Inedible Favorites – Luke
ALMOND TOFFEE APPLESAUCE BREAD
Makes 1 loaf or 3 mini loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
5 oz toasted sliced almonds (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard sized loaf pan or three mini loaf pans.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Add the sliced almonds and toffee bits to the dry ingredients, reserving about three tablespoons of the almonds.
- In another bowl, combine the melted butter, egg and applesauce. Add to dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms (do not overmix).
- Smooth batter into loaf pan and top with reserved sliced almonds. Bake for 1 hour (30 minutes for mini loaves) or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.
Source: Adapted slightly from Eat, Live Run.
The other day I spotted a 2.5 quart crock pot in a sale bin at Kroger. For $9.99. With purple polka dots! With my need for a smaller crock pot, minimal funds, and love for purple it’s like it was meant to be mine and therefore I swiped it up and purchased it (and heck yea for extra gas points). Hopefully cooking smaller volume recipes in this smaller crock pot will solve my issue with things cooking too fast in my larger 5 quart one, although it still lacks a timer setting on it so I will still have to depend on my plug timer.
Unfortunately, I bought the 2.5 quart crock pot after making this recipe I am sharing with you today, so I cannot yet report on it’s functionality just yet. So as usual for my 5 quart crock pot this recipe cooked twice as fast and therefore be sure to adjust the cooking time based on your crock pot’s mannerisms. But cooking time adjustments aside, this was an awesome meal. The beef was tender and the sauce was so good I ended up using every last drop on top of some leftover rice. Yes, I ate just the sauce over some rice because I enjoyed it that much.
SLOW COOKER BEEF & BROCCOLI
1 lb. boneless, beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consumme or beef broth
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups broccoli florets, cooked
White rice, cooked
- Coat the inside of the crockpot with nonstick spray.
- In the crockpot, whisk together beef consume, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
- Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
- Turn crockpot on low and cook for 6 hours*.
- When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid to create a slurry, pour back into crockpot, and stir to mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
- Serve with broccoli florets over white rice.
*Cooking times may vary. My crock pot cooks hot with smaller volumes and only took 3 hours.
Source: Adapted slightly from Table for Two.
The idea for these bagels spawned from reading a post on A Beautiful Mess, where Emma mentioned that her favorite bagel was from Panera – a peanut butter and banana bagel in fact! I never had the chance to try this gem, as it has been discontinued, but decided to take on this challenge of recreating what I imagine they would have been like. The execution of making these bagels however, poses the problem of adding two wet ingredients to dough, which would just result is needing more flour. But I have made bagels using pumpkin puree in the past and therefore substituted with mashed banana and used PB2′s powdered peanut butter instead.
I had hoped for a very obvious flavor, but the result was more subtle and I may need to try folding in real peanut butter for a swirl or try peanut butter chips. Or maybe my desire for a super peanut buttery-banana-y bagel is unrealistic, and this is as close as it gets. Don’t get me wrong, these were wonderful bagels! I wouldn’t be sharing them on my blog if they were not, just not a “wow that’s an explosion of peanut butter-banana flavor”. That response might be reserved for moister items such as muffins and blondies. To compensate, these were particularly good with a smear of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter. Peanut butter on top of peanut butter – that’s just how I roll!
Actually, I recently discovered that cake batter flavor exists, and upon searching their website while writing this post found both banana and peanut butter flavorings. I feel like it would be a cop out to use them instead of real banana and peanut butter, but maybe a couple drops would get this bagel flavor up to the next level. What are your thoughts?
Two years ago: Baked Blueberry Almond Pancakes
PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BAGELS
Makes 8 bagels
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup PB2 powdered peanut butter
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup warm water
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 large very ripe banana, mashed
- In a small bowl, combine the two flours. In a large bowl, whisk together 2-1/2 cups of the flour, powdered peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, yeast and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk together slightly and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes or until slightly foamy.
- Add the mashed banana and mix using a dough hook, then begin to slowly add the flour mixture. Mix for 5 minutes or until smooth, alternating between slow and medium speeds as you add flour. You want to mix it until the dough is no longer sticky. After 5 minutes, if the dough is sticky, incorporate the remaining flour, a little at a time.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large bowl. Cover and allow the dough to double in size, around 1 hour.
- Remove the dough and punch it down. Divide into equal pieces. A digital scale is very helpful, but if you don’t have one just eye out 8 even pieces of dough. Press your finger through the middle of the ball, and form into a bagel shape. They will rise some more, so if you want a hole, make it bigger than the size of a quarter. Repeat with the the rest of the dough. Place on prepared baking sheet and let rest until risen but not doubled, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring 12 cups of water to a boil with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
- In batches, boil the bagels for around 20 to 30 seconds per side. Remove from water and place back on prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before serving.
Today I commence a little project I came up with called Single Serving Sunday, where I will share recipes that serve just one. Being a grad student, living alone and being a food blogger is an interesting mix sometimes when it comes to cooking and baking. I don’t have a very large budget, I prefer to not eat the same thing for an entire week, and yet I like to make things that the general public can relate to on my blog. As a result of this combination, I scale a lot of recipes from their original sources in half when I make and post them on my blog. But sometimes I need a recipe that just serves one, and certainly there are other people out there just like me.
Sometimes I will share recipes that make two servings for those of us that like leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. The plan is to keep these recipes simple for one and occasionally two servings. The biggest challenge is going to be tackling the problem with single servings, which is the inevitability of having leftover ingredients. In those situations I will offer suggestions on what to do with what remains, or offer a post the following Sunday using the leftovers. If any other bloggers feel like joining me in this adventure feel free to do so!
Today’s breakfast taco does have some leftover ingredients, and I can already hear you asking “But what am I supposed to do with the remaining 3/4 avocado and corn tortillas?” For the avocado you could whip up a simple guacamole, or you could make these for breakfast another day. I actually did make these two days in a row because I enjoyed them so much and then used the remaining 1/2 in a pasta dish that I will share next Sunday. As for the corn tortillas, they keep in the fridge for a long time but you could also make baked tortilla chips to go with that guacamole . Or have friends over for a taco night dinner!
Do you have any single serving ideas, suggestions or requests? Please share! I may even get a fancy button if this project is a hit.
Two years ago: Penne with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch
BACON, EGG AND AVOCADO TACO
2 slices turkey bacon
1/4 avocado, sliced
1 6-inch white corn tortilla, warmed
- In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the bacon to desired doneness. Drain on paper towel, and crumble.
- In the same frying pan, fry the egg until the yolk is set. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Assemble the taco by layering egg and avocado slices on the warm tortilla, and top with crumbled bacon. Fold and enjoy!
Source: Adapted slightly from Fitness, January 2013.
Step aside Twinkies, these truffles have you beat! You won’t need to hunt down the remaining Hostess cakes left in the world once you bite into one of these beauties. After yesterday, I decided to not even try to share something healthy today. It would just look like a joke seeing those two recipes side by side on my homepage. So I present to you, Twinkie truffles!
The truffle base is similar to a cake ball, but instead of frosting I mixed the cake crumbs with marshmallow creme. Then to take them over the top and get into Twinkie-character, a marshmallow creme filling is piped into the middle before being dipped in yellow chocolate coating. Do you see the resemblance?
One year ago: Thai Chicken Pizza
Two years ago: Grilled Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes approximately 3 dozen truffles
1 box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients on box)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
7 oz. marshmallow creme
2 tsp very hot water
1/4 tsp salt
7 oz. marshmallow creme
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz. yellow candy melts
2 oz. white candy melts
- Bake cake mix according to package directions adding the extra vanilla into the mix along with the other liquid ingredients. When completely cool, crumble into a large bowl and mix with marshmallow cream until well blended (and hand mixer gets the job done).
- Using a cookie scoop form the cake balls and hollow out the center with your finger. Keep about the amount of six cake balls of dough aside. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cream filling. Dissolve salt in very hot water and set aside to cool. Whip marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy. When cool, add salt water and whip to combine. Place cream in a zip top bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Snip the corner of the bag so you can pipe into the hollow balls. Remove balls from freezer and fill each with cream. Take small amounts of the leftover dough that didn’t get frozen and smooth over top to enclose cream completely inside ball. Place back into the freezer from an additional 20 minutes.
- When you are ready to dip. Place candy melts in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Dip each ball and when completely covered, allow excess to drip off and place back on parchment paper. Allow to harden and enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Crumbs and Chaos.
Today I am sharing a very special local dish from where I grew up, known as the Garbage Plate. Not a very appetizing name right? Let me explain… A Garbage Plate is a combination of one selection of typically cheeseburger, hamburger, red hots, or white hots. But you can also choose Italian sausage, chicken tender, haddock, fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs (yes eggs and it’s called a Breakfast Plate – it’s delicious). Then you choose two sides of either home fries, French fries, baked beans, or macaroni salad. On top of that are the options of mustard and onions, and a proprietary hot sauce, made with spices and slowly simmered ground beef. And then it’s all served with Italian bread and butter on the side. I like to use the bread to swipe up any remaining sauce when I’m finished! There’s actually a specific way to put it all together too. Click HERE to see how!
Are you hungry yet? Okay I know what you are thinking, and yes, it is definitely more popular to the college student crowd. Although I’ve actually eaten it sober many many more times than under the influence. Nick Tahou Hots is the originator of a the Garbage Plate and it’s popularity has spawned several imitators in the Greater Rochester area, including Mark’s Texas Hots (“The Sloppy Plate”), Gitsis Texas Hots (“The Gitsis Plate”), Empire Hots (“The Trash Plate”), Fairport Hots (“The Hot Plate”), Tom Wahl’s (“55 Junker Plate”), Jimmy Z’s (“Five Star Plate”), and others. Another fun fact, Health.com named the Garbage Plate the fattiest food in the state of New York, which is not all that surprising.
As for me and my history with the Garbage Plate, I used to get it with baked beans instead of mac salad, but I slowly converted over the years to enjoying the mac salad more. Today my perfect Garbage Plate is cheeseburger with mac salad, home fries, and a huge amount of ketchup. I go though half a bottle in one sitting, no lie. After cutting up the cheeseburgers and mixing it all together I swear it all gets absorbed and nearly disappears. Here is my plate before being cut up and mixed. I thought of posting a mixed picture but it’s not really a pretty sight.
As for my Memphian friends who I subjected this upon, they all loved it! Granted most of them had a half sized plate, but that’s really how much you should eat unless you like testing out how clogged you can get your arteries in one sitting. The bonus to this meal was the Genesee beer, found at a local grocery store! Never thought I’d see the day that a Rochester brewery would have a market in the south.
One year ago: Baked Oatmeal with Blackberries and Bananas
Two years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
HOMEMADE GARBAGE PLATES
Makes 4 garbage plates (serves 4 garbage-plate-pros or 8 regular people)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup water, plus more if needed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
8 beef patties, cooked
8 slices of American cheese (preferably white but did yellow this time)
4 cups macaroni salad
4 cups home fries (cubed hash browns), cooked
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Ketchup, mustard and Tabasco sauce
1 loaf of fresh Italian bread, sliced and buttered
1 case Genny Light/Genesee beer
- In large skillet, fry chopped onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add meat, stirring constantly with fork to keep its texture fine. Once the meat browns, add water and tomato paste. Simmer 10 minutes. Add sugar and spices. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if necessary to keep it moist but not soupy*.
- To assemble the garbage plate, melt one slice of cheese on each beef patty. Place 1 cup of macaroni salad and 1 cup of hash browns each onto four plates. Place 2 beef patties on top of the heaps, in the center. Spread mustard and diced onions over the beef patties. With a ladle, cover the center of the heap with plate sauce. Top with ketchup and/or Tabasco sauce, and garnish with buttered bread. (Also, here’s a slide show of how to put together a garbage plate.)
- Best served with Genny Light or Genesee beer.
*I like to prepare my sauce the day before. I feel like the flavors mix together better if they sit in the fridge overnight. But you must resist the urge to spoon off the grease that settles on top before reheating it!
Source: Adapted slightly from The Lynches.
I don’t go out to eat often, but when I do I rarely leave with leftovers. And what I mean by this is that I either inhale it all or I get a box to go and somehow end up leaving it on the table, much to my dismay later on. This problem of mine is particularly annoying when I purposely ordered enough food to cover two meals. I have to make a conscious effort to hold onto my to-go box when getting ready to leave or else it’ll never make it. One time I remembered right as I was walking out the restaurant door, but it was already too late. The waiting staff was just too fast and efficient for me .
The best thing about cooking and eating at home? All my leftovers stay with me. In fact, most of the time when I make recipes that serve multiple people, I portion out the serving I’m going to eat and then divide the rest amongst lunch-box-sized containers for lunch that week. This makes me particularly happy when I get to enjoy awesome things such as these sloppy joes more than once.
Sloppy Joes don’t have to come from a can. And they also don’t always have to be made with the same traditional seasonings either. When I saw this recipe using hoisin sauce I had to make it. And I am glad I did because it totally beats any canned sloppy joe sauce any day.
One year ago: Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola & Pecans
GROUND TURKEY SLOPPY JOES WITH HOISIN AND CILANTRO
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
4 sandwich rolls, toasted
- Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet and set the pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic paste, ginger and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the ground turkey to the pan and brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once the turkey is browned, stir in the tomato sauce and the hoisin. Continue cooking for 5-7 more minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat under the pan and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Divide the mixture evenly among the rolls and serve.
Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures