Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg Cookies

Happy Easter, everyone! It has been a long 40 days, but I can finally eat cookies again. I can't think of a better way to jump back into them, then with my favorite Easter candy - Reese's peanut butter eggs. If you like Reese's peanut butter cups, then you will love these eggs, which are filled with creamy peanut butter and a milk chocolate coating.

This year's masterpieces:

Recipe yields 24 cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 Reese's peanut butter eggs

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the sugars and butter until smooth and creamy.

Add your egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until egg is completely incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. In batches, add your dry ingredients to the mixer.  Mix until just incorporated, being sure not to overmix.

Cut your eggs into little bite sized pieces. Add them to the cookie dough and mix together with a spoon.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. As the dough is chilling in the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Using a cookie scooper, spoon 1 tbsp of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Serve and enjoy with your Easter feast!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Bowl

Happy Good Friday, Everyone! For our last meatless Friday of this Lenten season, how about some shrimp and rice? I am going to let you in on a little secret - you can prepare this in 10 minutes and it is going to taste like you were working on it all day! Can you ask for anything better? This dish packs a punch with its Cajun flavors and sauteed peppers and onions. If you like my Simple Shrimp & Rice Bowl, you are sure to enjoy this spicy, Cajun version.

Recipe yields 4 servings

2 cups white rice
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 bag fire roasted bell peppers and onions (these are from Trader Joe's and help keep this dish within 10 minutes!)12 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp thyme
2-3 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you like it spicy!)
2 lbs large shrimp, cleaned

Add your rice to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. While rice is cooking, heat up your butter and oil in a large skillet and slice your garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute.

Add in your peppers and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.

Toss in the diced tomatoes and half of your spices. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil.

Once the vegetables are boiling, add your shrimp right on top. Sprinkle the tops with the other half of your seasoning before mixing everything together.

Keep the heat to a simmer and cook shrimp until pink (about 3-4 minutes).

We are about 9 minutes in now. Once your rice is done, empty it into a serving dish and pour your shrimp right on top.

Stir it all together and serve. Hope you enjoy this quick and delicious meal!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Italian Chopped Salad

An Italian chopped salad is refreshing and light. It is perfect for lunch or dinner and can be customized in so many ways. Below is the base for my favorite salad. You can easily add chopped Italian meats, hard boiled eggs, chicken or anything you would like to give this salad more substance and turn it into a meal. It comes together in no time and is sure to soon be a favorite.

Recipe yields 6 servings

1 large head of iceberg lettuce
1 red onion
1 cucumber
1 can of olives
3 roasted red peppers

4-6 tbsp of your favorite dressing

Dice your cucumbers.

Next comes the red onion.

Onto the roasted red peppers.

Finely shred your lettuce and give it a good rinse.

Add all of your ingredients to a large bowl.

Toss everything together.

Get your salad dressing ready. I use Four Seasons Italian - it is delicious!

Cover your salad in the dressing and mix it together really well to evenly coat. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

One of Carmine's favorite side dishes is garlic mashed potatoes. The creamier and more garlicky, the better! Using my amazing KitchenAid Immersion Blender that he bought me for Christmas this year, these couldn't be easier to make. If you don't have an immersion blender (I highly suggest getting one!) make sure you boil your potatoes until they are soft so you can easily mash them into a creamy consistency.

Recipe yields 8 servings

5 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese.

Clean your potatoes and then dice them into about 1" chunks. I left the skin on mine, but feel free to peel them if you like.

Add the diced potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water.

Bring the water to a rolling boil and cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until soft. It is important to cook them long enough or they will be too hard and nearly impossible to mash.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely mince the garlic. Add your butter, milk and garlic to a small saute pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.

Once your potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain them from the pot and add them to a large mixing bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the potatoes.

Using a masher or an immersion blender, mix together your ingredients while mashing up the potatoes. Add in your cheese as you are mixing. Once creamy, transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mushroom Gravy

Just as promised from Monday, here is the recipe for my thick and delicious mushroom gravy. This is perfect to serve with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and biscuits for dipping. You can also pair it with roast beef or London broil. It is packed with flavor and goes great with any beef you serve with it. I wonder how it would be on my Roast Beef Sandwich Melts? I bet the mushrooms would really kick it up a notch!

Recipe yields 6-8 servings

4 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper, to taste

Start off by preparing your vegetables. Chop the onion, slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add your vegetables and saute until fragrant and tender.

Watch for your mushrooms to reduce and that it when you should add the stock. Bring the stock to a rolling boil.

While the stock is boiling, combine the remaining tablespoon of butter with the flour to create a paste. I find it is easiest to do this with your hands to really mix it together. Break off a small piece of the paste and stir it into the gravy. This will help to thicken it up. Continue to add more paste until the gravy reaches your desired consistency.

Remove gravy from the pot and into a serving dish. Pour on top of my meatloaf from earlier in the week for a hearty and home style meal. Enjoy!