Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Oh yes, you read the title right. Cinnamon toast crunch covered in chocolate? These can become addicting. I found myself going back into the kitchen and grabbing for more. They would make a great party snack too!

These were part of Matt's early Valentine's Day present. I made the chocolate for some chocolate covered strawberries. Had some chocolate left over so I threw in some sliced bananas. Still had about half a cup of chocolate left over so I threw in a couple cups of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Which led me to discover these addicting treats.

The chocolate has been spiked with some orange liqueur too bringing another depth of flavor to the chocolate. Tossed with that cinnamon sugar cereal, it made a sweet and crunchy snack. I also tossed some mini M&Ms in there. Why not? You could throw in marshmallow, pretzels, whatever else your heart desires!

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Toast Crunch

6 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp orange extract
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
3 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur
2 tbsp light corn syrup
Cinnamon toast crunch cereal
Optional mix-ins 

Set a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, careful to not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. You're basically creating a double boiler. Heat the cream and orange extract in the bowl. Add the chocolate, coffee, Grand Marnier, and corn syrup and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Toss some of the cereal into the chocolate, adding as much cereal as needed to use up all of the chocolate and coat the cereal. You can also mix in any mix-ins of your choosing (I chose mini M&Ms). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill in the fridge until set. It won't take long for the chocolate to set. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Whipped up some chicken salad with the chicken tenders, celery, and lettuce we had. The result ended up being blog-worthy. It had a nice bit of kick to it from the chipotle chile pepper and lots of flavor from the other spices making this salad a keeper. And it was so easy and quick to put together. I had to blog it to remember what all I threw together. 

Chipotle Chicken Salad

6 chicken tender
1 bay leaf
6 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic, smashed and halved
1 tsp Kosher salt
Grinds of Grains of paradise or black pepper

Put all contents in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and let it cool. 

To prepare the rest of the chicken salad, mix together in a medium bowl:
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
4 tsp capers, chopped, plus 1 tsp brine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 lg spoonful mayo
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle chile pepper
Pinch of salt and pepper

Dice the cooked chicken and toss with the contents of the bowl. Serve over mixed greens and with some mozzarella. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Artichoke and Pesto Grilled Cheese

I just had the best grilled cheese sandwich. Melted muenster cheese, topped with artichokes, and homemade pesto...yum! 
Homemade pesto is so easy too. It's the perfect way of using leftover herbs. The basic things you need are usually some kind of nuts, herbs, and olive oil. Other optional additions can include Parmesan, lime, spices, etc. 
For today's pesto, I grounded 1/4 cup of pistachio, bunch of parsley leaves, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper in a mini food processor. I also decided to mix in a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. The parsley and garlic made the pesto so flavorful, and the pistachio really added texture to it. 
I spread a generous portion of pesto on two slices of whole grain bread. Then topped one side with three slices of muenster cheese. Yes, three. They were thin slices. Plus what's a good grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese, right?
On the other slice of bread I topped it with artichoke hearts from the salad bar. Okay, I must confess. I'm addicted to these little artichokes from the Kroger salad bar. I have seriously bought $10 worth before, just for snacking. 
These artichoke hearts are so much better than the jarred. It's fresher and tangier, which really adds a nice bite along with the pesto. 
Arranged the sandwich together and grilled it in a buttered skillet over medium heat. Be patient in letting it melt together. It'll be worth it. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprout

Now don't turn away when you see that brussel sprouts are in here! I think these little guys get a bad reputation. My friend, who doesn't like brussel sprouts, decided to give them a try when we were out at dinner one day. I tried one and told her no wonder they get a bad rep! It was barely cooked nor seasoned. 
My favorite way to have brussel sprouts is roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper, until fork-tender. For this dish, I also threw in some sweet potato and tomatoes we had in the fridge. All the colors were beautiful together. It made a nice presentation. I was thinking it could even be a great veggie dish for Thanksgiving!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprouts
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 bag of brussel sprouts, halved
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves
2 roasted garlic cloves, chopped 
4 slices of bacon, sliced 
Salt and pepper (about 1 tsp)
Olive oil (about a qtr to half a cup)
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pats

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large casserole dish, add the potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, bacon, oregano, thyme, and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Top with the butter and roast in the oven for about 30-45 mins, until it's fork-tender. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chicken Piccata

I don't know why people complain about how cooking a good meal takes too much time out of their schedule. Or requires too much planning for the ingredients. I whipped up this dish in less than 15 mins, including prepping, and with ingredients I had leftover in the fridge! This chicken dish had a bit of tang from the wine and capers, and subtle sweetness from the honey butter. They complimented and balanced each other so well. It reminded me of a chicken piccata dish so I guess you can say this is an adaptation. 

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients approx.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 c white wine
2 oz caper brine
1/2 tsp capers
1 lg garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp honey butter
Salt and pepper
Flour for dusting 
Olive oil

Place one chicken breast between a piece of Saran Wrap. With a meat mallet (the prickly side) pound the chicken breast out until it's about 1/2 inch thin. Repeat with the other chicken breast. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Then coat in flour and shake of any excess. 
Add oil to a deep skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken breast about 3-4 mins per side. When done cooking, let rest on a plate. 
To make the sauce, deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the capers, brine, garlic, and oregano. Then melt in the butter. Cook for a few mins until slightly reduced. Serve the sauce over the chicken. Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Honeyed Citrus Vinegrette

Have you ever bought something for a recipe and never have to use it again? Of course we all have. Orange extract was one of those culprits in our pantry. We actually didn't even end up using it! Well I decided to open that little bottle up and incorporate it into a last-minute salad dressing. It turned out surprisingly well - so light and refreshing. I encourage you to give that extract bottle a chance outside of baking!

Honeyed Citrus Vinegrette

1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 c olive oil
1-2 tsp honey
3 sprig thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste 

Whisk everything together. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Healthier Caesar Salad

If you're looking for a salad without all the oil, but still full of flavor, try this salad! I took some spring mix salad, added a couple of chopped anchovies, capers, parmesan, croutons, and a poached egg. The salad was quite tasty!
I had ran out of olive oil to make caesar dressing. So that's why I decided to try adding a poached egg instead of having plain lettuce with anchovies. I guess you can say this is a deconstructed caesar salad?