Mardi Gras

90-Minute Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Mardi Gras! Start the celebration with these whole wheat cinnamon rolls, cinnamon pecan filling and cream cheese icing. Decorated like a king cake with green, purple, and yellow sprinkles and a hidden plastic baby.

Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls 1

With the coming of yet another snow storm, I figured many of you were in need of a sweet comforting breakfast option today. Even in east TN  the temperature dropped 40 degrees in less than 24 hours and there were even snowflake sightings. I think Florida is yet again the only state to be spared the wrath of the polar vortex.

Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls 2

One year ago: Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Three years ago: Chicken Parmeatballs
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Mardi Gras Recipe Roundup

Most of you are super excited for another week to finally be over and are looking forward to the weekend. For me every day is the weekend so it’s just another day, in a good way. I actually do have weekend plans though, as I am going to see a play on Sunday with my parents called The Trip to Bountiful. It has received great reviews so I look forward to seeing it. Guess that means I will miss the Academy Awards… oh well.

One thing to look forward to once your weekend is over is Mardi Gras! Also known as the perfect excuse to drink on a weekday (along with Cinco de Mayo, July 4th, St. Patrick’s Day, life, etc.). After compiling this roundup it became evident that I need to work on my stock of Mardi Gras recipes. Only twelve fourteen!? Disgraceful. Evidently my taste buds don’t celebrate this holiday as much as the others. At least the recipes I do have are keepers, and I’ll be posting at least one more by Tuesday.

One year ago: Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin

Two years ago: Homemade Almond Butter

Three years ago: Over Easy Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

BREAKFAST

Bananas Foster Pancakes

ENTREE

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

DESSERT

Green Velvet Cake Balls

Signature

Pass the Cook Book Club: Mini Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies

For Pass the Cook Book Club this month, we (figuratively) passed around Cooking Up a Storm by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker.

PtCBC 2014

This cookbook was compiled by a New Orleans newspaper, as it became a post-Katrina swapping place for old recipes that were lost in the storm. With 250 authentic recipes including their background stories, this cookbook contains the very best of New Orleans cuisine. Seems like a great cookbook choice for this month, especially with Mardi Gras next week.

I decided to divide up the bananas foster ice cream into six individual mini pies. They were really easy to make: just scoop the ice cream into the pie crusts, freeze, and right before serving you whip up the bananas foster. My parents had never actually had bananas foster before and they really enjoyed their pies. Just make sure to serve immediately as that hot bananas foster starts melting the ice cream!

Don’t miss out on the fun, join us for next month! Click on over to the Facebook group page to sign up.

Mini Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies

Two years ago: Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Almond Butter Frosting
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Bananas Foster Pancakes

Like most people I see some pretty entertaining and/or shocking things while driving on a fairly regular basis. People driving the wrong way down a one-way street, stopping at a red light and continuing through it before it turns green, honking at me from behind for not turning left after the light has turned red, and even making their own left-turn lane into on-coming traffic. Then there are the cars: OREO brand name printed, zebra-printed, big spinning rims on a junky car, reindeer and elf car costumes (have to admit I think they are cute), and eyelashes on the headlights of a VW bug. But just the other day I saw those same eyelashes on another car, and not a cutesy car similar to the VW but a big beefy car that I would never associate with girly characteristics – a Dodge Charger. I thoroughly enjoyed that sighting.

What does all that have to do with bananas foster pancakes? Absolutely nothing. Enjoy :-)!
Bananas Foster Pancakes
Don’t forget to enter to win some bakeware from Baker’s Secret by retweeting my tweet on Twitter!


One year ago: Christmas Red Velvet Mug Cake

Two years ago: Spinach Artichoke Dip
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Bananas Foster Mini Cheesecakes

Happy National Cheesecake Day! After recently making mini cheesecakes, I decided to dig out that pan again for another variation. I actually made these for Kathy, in honor of last lab-lunch-outing before moving to Chicago. She will be missed dearly by all members of the lab, and we’re not entirely sure how we will function without her around.

Since she loves bananas foster I made little banana cheesecakes topped with that very thing! Sadly, two of them jumped to their deaths off the platter and onto the floor, but the remaining 10 each found a happy home in someone’s belly. These are best served when the cheesecakes are cold and the topping is still warm, so prepare the cheesecakes ahead of time if possible.

Bananas Foster Mini Cheesecakes

One year ago: Spaghetti Squash with White Cheddar Cheese Sauce
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Stovetop Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese

One cajun mac and cheese has been seen on here already, and despite being incredibly similar to the one today I had to post it as well because it was good enough to not care. Besides, this one is made with chicken instead of sausage!

Stovetop mac and cheese is my favorite kind because it is always extra creamy compared to the baked versions I have had. I once even made one so creamy it should’ve been illegal. But I do appreciate the crunchy tops they tend to get after being baked. I suppose a little trip under a broiler with a crumb topping would give me the best of both worlds, but that little idea will be saved for another day because it did not occur to me until just now while writing this post.

One year ago: Pumpkin Biscoff Cream Cheese Bread
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Cajun Mac & Cheese

I have a confession. I originally did make something using andouille sausage for the Holiday Recipe Club blog hop yesterday, and it was this mac and cheese. Instead I had decided to post something that was a little more in the spirit of the Mardi Gras holiday (hence the bananas foster muffins). But now it’s time to share the savory side of how this holiday was celebrated in my kitchen.

I cannot recall the last time I ate andouille sausage but such a question will become easy to answer now that I have made this because I definitely plan to make it again. Recipes that take traditional mac and cheese for a spin by adding other ingredients and seasonings, such as seen in this recipe, are some of my favorites. Mac and cheese really is a great base for the construction of a very delicious meal – after all, how can you go wrong with pasta and cheese?

One year ago: Pizza Bagels

CAJUN MAC & CHEESE

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 ounces whole-wheat pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil

6 oz. andouille sausage, diced

2 bunches green onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp Cajun spice blend

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups 2% milk

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water then drain pasta.
  2. In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add onions and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Gradually and carefully whisk in the milk. Whisk until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute. Serve.

Source: Adapted slightly from Handle the Heat, originally from Food Network Magazine March 2012.

Gluten-Free Bananas Foster Muffins

Happy Mardi Gras! The holiday recipe club has gotten together again today to celebrate by posting recipes that contain bananas, bourbon or andouille sausage. I contemplated doing something savory for the blog hop, but was sucked into the idea of something bananas foster with bourbon. Since today I also happen to be meeting with my committee (of which one member is gluten intolerant) I figured I would make them some gluten-free muffins to go along with their coffee (gotta make sure they arn’t grumpy).

While searching for a bananas foster bread/muffin recipe, I was disappointed by the fact that none actually utilized bananas foster itself, but instead incorporated the banana and alcohol separately. That’s banana rum/bourbon bread, not bananas foster bread in my mind. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and here are my results!

These muffins turned out to be very moist, flavorful, and tastes almost exactly what I would expect a bananas fosters muffin to be. And I would’ve never guess that they were made with gluten-free flour! I only wish that it had a stronger banana flavor, so I may add some of the banana liqueur into the glaze next time. But over all, extremely pleased with my results. I hope my committee agrees, and are also pleased with my lab results ;-).

Want to join the Holiday Recipe club? Make contact HERE.

One year ago: Cashew Chicken

GLUTEN-FREE BANANAS FOSTER MUFFINS

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

STREUSEL TOPPING

1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

MUFFINS

3 medium bananas, sliced

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar, divided

1 Tbsp banana liqueur

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 cup bourbon

2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp allspice

1/2 cup Chobani plain 2% Greek yogurt (or regular)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp milk

BOURBON GLAZE

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp water

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine ingredients for streusel topping in a medium bowl and combine with a fork or pastry cutter to create a crumbly topping with the butter evenly distributed; set aside.
  3. Put the bananas in a 10-inch heavy skillet with the butter, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, liqueur and nutmeg and set over high heat. Once the sugar starts to dissolve, begin spooning the sauce over the bananas, flipping them after 1 minute. Remove from the heat when the sauce begins to thicken and bubble. Carefully pour the bourbon into the pan and ignite with a long match or stick lighter. Continue to cook until the flames die out and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool slightly then mash with a fork in the skillet.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and seasoning in a small bowl to combine. Set aside.
  5. On medium speed, beat 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and yogurt to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each until combined. Add the mashed banana mixture and vanilla extract; beat to combine. Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until the flour is incorporated and finish mixing with a spatula.
  6. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the muffins. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 22 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time.
  7. While the muffins are baking, make the bourbon glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the butter, water, and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  8. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes. Then, using a toothpick poke holes all over the top of the muffins. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the bourbon glaze over each muffin. Let the muffins sit for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Spoon the remaining glaze over each muffin, about 1 teaspoon for each muffin.

Source: Muffins adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen with Bananas Foster from Alton Brown on Food Network.



Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Today, I am going to remedy a serious problem. The problem is that I have not seen my dad since March last year and we live in the same state (and even worse, my stepmom since Christmas a year ago)! Granted we are on opposite ends of a very long state, but still unacceptable. So today I am venturing off to pay them a visit. Did I mention there will be also cookies at the end of the yellow brick road?

Speaking of things I haven’t seen in awhile, after I did my best of 2011 recipe round-up I started to crave the lighter cajun chicken alfredo on that list which despite it’s awesome-ness I have neglected to make again. But since I sometimes like to change up recipes into new creations, I decided to get rid of the pasta and throw it on top of a pizza crust instead!

Ok ok, now bear with me on this one and enjoy the cheesy point I’m about to make because it’s the reason I bought this… The plate says it all. You can start making fun of me now, I give you permission. But you know what? I won’t care because it’s fun and truly was yummy.

One year ago: Black Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie

CAJUN CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 recipe pizza dough

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided

1 cup 2% milk

1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

1 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp light butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup frozen broccoli, thawed and chopped

1 cup Mozzarella cheese

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees for at least 10 minutes with a pizza stone* on the middle rack.
  2. Meanwhile, roll pizza dough onto a corn meal dusted pizza peel*.
  3. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Season both sides of the chicken breast with 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning. Brown for 5 minutes on one side, flip, and cover the skillet. Continue cooking until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and allow to cool slightly before cutting into strips, or bite-sized pieces.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce begins to simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a couple minutes more. It should become thicker.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan until melted, then add the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, basil, and cayenne and cover the pan immediately.
  8. Let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to using. It will continue to thicken to desired consistency. Then spread sauce over pizza crust, and top with chicken, broccoli and cheese.
  9. Shimmy the pizza from the pizza peel onto the pre-heated pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it the crust turns golden brown and the cheese starts to bubble. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then cut into slices.

*If you do not have a pizza stone or peel, roll dough out on a corn meal dusted baking sheet/pizza pan.

Source: Adapted from The Spiffy Cookie.

Red Beans and Rice

I have a habit of letting some of my cravings linger for long periods of time. Guess that’s what happens when you crave 8 things a day. Seriously, the food blogging world is full of far too many things that I salivate over on a daily basis. The list of “things I want to make” grows faster than I can cross them off. It’s a constant battle of “what do I crave most today”?

Since the craving for red beans and rice has been lingering for months I decided to finally tackle it. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this comes together, just about 30 minutes – perfect for a weeknight meal. And the seasonings were spot on. Who knew that Italian seasoning went into red beans and rice? Cause I sure didn’t. Totally did a double take while prepping haha.

What’s on the top of your food to-do list?

RED BEANS AND RICE

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced (I used chicken)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp creole seasoning

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1- 15 oz. can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1- 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup uncooked white rice

2-1/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Directions:

  1. In a large non-stick saute pan, brown sausage over medium heat. Once browned, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  2. In the same large saute pan, add the onion and garlic, saute until tender. Stir in Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper, creole seasoning, and pepper, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Add beans, uncooked rice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for five minutes. Fluff with fork and stir in browned sausage.
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