Thursday, August 16, 2012

Artichoke-Ricotta Chicken

I wasn't sure what to call this dish. Basically, I took some chicken breasts, topped  it with a ricotta and artichoke mixture, and broiled it in the oven until golden brown. I loved this dish so much. The ricotta gave the dish an overall light texture. But the star was the artichoke. It gave a bit of tang to the dish and you're left wanting more. You can always lighten this dish up more by using less ricotta or even low-fat. I didn't want any leftover ricotta to go bad so I used the entire small container.

Artichoke-Ricotta Chicken

2 large boneless chicken breasts
15 oz ricotta cheese
14.75 oz marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

My chicken breasts were pretty thick, so I sliced them in half to get 4 thinner chicken breasts. (This way, you can reduce the cooking time on the chicken as well.) Place a chicken breast in between saran wrap and gently pound out with a mallet. (I just wanted to increase the surface area a bit and tenderize the chicken. Don't pound it to mush.) Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the chicken, about 10 mins on each side.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, artichoke hearts, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the cooked chicken breasts in the baking dish. Then evenly top the artichoke-ricotta mixture on each chicken. Broil in the oven until golden brown, about 10 more mins. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mini Rolo Cupcakes

Rolo in the center, Rolo in the buttercream. What's not to love? And if that wasn't enough, a bit of salt was added to the buttercream giving it that slightly salted caramel taste.

This recipe made about 4 dozen mini cupcakes. We didn't know how we were gonna eat all of them so we sent my parents home with a dozen. But by the time we reached our last cupcake, we had wished we didn't give that last dozen away. It was that good...

Mini Rolo Cupcakes

For the cupcakes you’ll need:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 c. sugar + 1 c. vanilla sugar (or 2 c. sugar)
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 c. flour
48 Rolos (2  12-oz. bags of Rolos will suffice for the cupcakes and buttercream)

For the buttercream you’ll need:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
20 Rolos
2 T. heavy cream
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. + 1/8 t. salt


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

To make the cupcakes, melt together the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on high heat for 90 seconds. Remove it from the microwave and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Add in the sugar, and stir until it is well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and salt. Finally, stir in the flour.

Put a teaspoon of the batter into paper-lined mini cupcake tins. They should be about half full. Put one Rolo in each tin, then cover with another teaspoon of batter so the tins are about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes have set. They will give a little when you gently press your finger into the top of them, but they should not be too soft.

Allow to cool, then make the buttercream!

First, melt the Rolos with the heavy cream. You can pop it in the microwave for 30 second increments, until the caramel is smooth. A
llow it to cool in the fridge for a few minutes.

Whip the butter for about 30 seconds on med-high speed, so it gets fluffy. Add in about one cup of powdered sugar, and mix until it's all combined. Once the caramel is cool to the touch, turn the mixer on medium speed and then drizzle the caramel into the frosting. If it's too hot, it'll melt the buttercream, so be patient.

Beat until fluffy. Then add in the other cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 t. of the salt. Mix and taste to see if the last 1/8 t. of salt is needed. A little goes a long way with the salt and everyone's taste preference differs, but I added the last salt addition. Lastly, frost the cupcakes and grate a few chocolate shavings over the top.

A little note: The batter is dense like a brownie, so some of the cupcakes stuck to the cupcake liners. Next time, and there will be a next time, I would try using non-stick cooking spray instead of paper liners. Update: If u do, bake them for a little less about 15 mins. It seems to bake more without the wrapper. 

recipe adapted from Bake It in a Cake