Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tomato, Basil, Parmesan Pasta

This week on my Patch Column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I made a Tomato, Basil, Parmesan Pasta.  This dish, simply put, is Summer in a bowl.  It's light, fresh, and easy to prepare- all of the requirements I have for a successful summer dinner entree!

I especially love that it's made up of garden fresh tomatoes.  It's always great to have another recipe on hand to use up your ever growing tomatoes when they're ripe and ready to be picked.

This dish is simple and takes no time to prepare.  Very little hands on time is required.  Only prepping of your ingredients, letting it sit and marinate, and only two to three minutes of stove-top time to cook your pasta.  It's that simple!

Not only is it simple, but it's also so very delicious.  Made up of mostly a garlic olive oil sauce with a bite from the addition of red pepper flakes, it's light and simple, while still maintaining wonderful flavor. I hope you enjoy it!

To find this recipe click here to visit my cooking column on Patch.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hi guys! I'm Laurie from Simply Scratch and I'm super excited to be sharing a recipe with you today! But first I'd like to start out by thanking my friend Chelsea for asking me to stop by and keep you company while she is gone on vacation! I'm thrilled to be here and hope she had a safe flight and is having a blast in the Dominican Republic *jealous!*

Like Chelsea, I'm a "from scratch" home cook.  I love to find ways to create delicious, healthy, and simple dishes that any home cook can make.  And on Simply Scratch is where I get to unleash that very passion for cooking. I'm pretty sure I eat, sleep, and breathe food, recipes, and blog posts... and I love stopping by Chelsea's site to see what she's been up to! She has no fear in the kitchen and that shows in her recipes like Baklava, Crème Brûlée, and Coconut Lime Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce!

As Chelsea has cleverly coined; "My quest to conquer home cooked deliciousness" started when I got married as well. However my journey started ten years ago {yikes!}when I married my husband {at the age of 20! Who does that?}, I was quickly thrust into the role of wife and mother in a very short period of time and the only thing I could make was a salad and some mean chocolate chip cookies! I started slow by making my daughter's baby food then it spiraled out of control to what is is now Simply Scratch!

The recipe I brought to share with you all is a delicious Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip! I've been making this dip for years! And every time I pull it out of the oven, it reminds me of when my best friend would come over. We would curl up on the couch and watch movies with this dip in our laps and a bottle of wine on the table.  Feeling stuffed and a bit tipsy by the end of the movie we'd laugh about finishing off the dip and promise we'd run the next day, knowing darn well we wouldn't!

This recipe is not only a total cinch to whip up, but yields delicious results every time! So grab a bottle of wine, your best friend, and dig in!

Thanks again Chelsea for letting me come by today! :)

Here is what you'll need; Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, Mayo, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Dried Basil, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and fresh Mozzarella cheese:

Start by buttering a dish. I like to use a pie dish so that there is more surface to get all brown and bubbly!

Drain the artichoke hearts and discard the liquid:

Cut in half lengthwise:

Then in half again:

Then cut the quartered pieces in half, giving you some chunks and some pieces that will break apart when you go to mix it.  Set those babies aside:

Next grab the mozzarella.  On a box grater, grate about 1/2 cup:

You knew this was coming right?

Get out your garlic press and press two small garlic cloves {or one large clove}.

I like to cube up my cream cheese before adding it, makes for easy stirring... and I like easy.

Add the cream cheese and the 1/4 cup of mayo to the garlic:

Then add the salt, pepper, and dried basil:

Then add about a 1/4 cup of the freshly grated mozzarella:

Then add about a 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses each: 

I reserve about a 1/4 cup of the Mozz and a tablespoon of the 3 other cheeses, toss together and then set aside for later:

 Mix up the cream cheese mixture until all of the ingredients are incorporated:

 Next add the artichokes and the spinach.  I used frozen spinach that I thawed and squeezed dry in a kitchen towel.  You can try to cook down your own spinach... but it's so time consuming and who wants to dirty more dishes? Not this girl!

 And gently fold them in until combined:

Transfer the spinach mixture into the prepared dish:

I like to make sure I scrape out all of that goodness and not leave a speck behind. I can't begin to tell you how irked I get when they don't scrape out the bowl on cooking shows! I yell "C'mon now! There's still some left in there!" and then I look over my shoulder to make sure no one heard me!!!

Spread it all out evenly:

Now I sprinkle with that remaining cheese mixture. Cheese is great... the more the better I always say... so BRING. IT. ON!

Really I could just forget to bake it and just eat it now. No really I could. But it's much better baked, I promise.

Serve it with chips, pita chips, or my most favorite... pumpernickel bread. Use whatever you have on hand.  I had some left over blue corn tortillas for dinner the guacamole I made the other day so I used those, longing for pumpernickel.

I pull it out of the oven after about 30-35 minutes or when the top is all golden and bubbly:

Then just scoop and stuff!

And repeat until full and happy.

You're gonna love this dip!

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Recipe by Simply Scratch
Serves: about 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25-35 minutes

1, 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup mozzarella (divided), grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (divided), grated
1/4 cup Romano cheese (divided), grated
1/4 cup Asiago cheese (divided), grated
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 can artichoke hears, drained, quartered, and chopped
1 package of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a pie dish and set aside. In a large bowl combine the garlic, mayo, basil, salt, pepper, cream cheese and stir until well combined.  Next add half the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses reserving a tablespoon of each off to the side. Once combined, add the thawed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts.  Gently fold the ingredients.

Transfer mixture to a prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly.  Then add the remaining mozzarella cheese along with the reserved cheeses and sprinkle those over the top.  Place pie dish in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Remove and let cook slightly before serving.

Serve with corn tortilla chips, baked pita chips, or pumpernickel bread along with a nice bottle of wine!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Berry Cherry Crumble

We’ve been big fans of Sprinkles of Parsley for quite some time now, so when Chelsea contacted us about writing a guest post, we were more than happy to oblige.

For those of you who don’t know us, Feast on the Cheap encompasses a mother-daughter duo starring a professional caterer (my mom) and a fledgling foodie (me). My mom has been catering for upwards of 25 years, which means that most of my childhood was spent in the presence of food preparation. My brothers and I used to pine for drive thru dinners and pizza Fridays, but my mom “insisted” on feeding us grown-up fare like Rack of Lamb and Caramelized Onion Tartlets. Terrible, I know…

I guess it was inevitable that I eventually pick up the whisk, and while my mother always assumed my middle brother would be the heir to her catering dynasty, it turns out, she placed her bet on the wrong pony. Sick of greasy takeout and NYC’s sky-high restaurant prices, it was time to take dinner into my own hands, so I officially started cooking about two-and-a-half years ago when we launched our now-not-so-little blog. But that certainly wasn’t the first time I’d gotten my hands dirty in the kitchen.

There was one dish in particular that I learned to make at a very young age that always won rave reviews: fruit crumbles. One Thanksgiving, when I was about 10 years old, I whipped up an Apple Crumble using the scraps from my mom’s beautiful and intricately constructed Apple Pie. And guess what? There wasn’t one crumble crumb left at the end of the evening.

A week ago, I decided to revisit this dessert of yesteryear but spruce it up with some seasonal favorites – namely cherries and blackberries. And rather than cook it in the toaster like I did when I was 10, I used the big girl oven and everything. Sinfully delicious and delightfully easy, this summer staple can be whipped up double-quick so you’ll barely break a sweat in the kitchen. Top it off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet, a sprinkle of fresh mint and you’ve got a treat the whole family will adore. Take it from someone who knows…

Berry Cherry Crumble
From Feast on the Cheap
Serves 6
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

1 pint blackberries, washed and patted dry - $1.50
1 ½ cups of cherries, washed and pitted - $2.50
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar - stock
1 Tablespoon lemon juice - stock
1 Tablespoon cornstarch - stock

¾ cup Old Fashioned oats, lightly toasted - $3.79
1/3-cup whole wheat flour - stock
1 teaspoon cinnamon - stock
1/3 cup packed brown sugar - stock
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces - stock
1/8 teaspoon salt - stock
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (optional) - $1.19
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen (excluding optional mint): $7.79
Cost per serving: $1.30

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make sure oven rack is in upper third. Once the oven is hot, lightly toast the oats on a clean baking sheet for four minutes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the blackberries, pitted cherries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Turn into a 9-inch pie plate.

In a medium bowl, combine all the crumble ingredients (including the mint if you’ve opted to use it) and use your fingers to break up the butter and create a crumbly texture (hence the name). Sprinkle the topping over the berries/cherries.

Bake for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble topping is starting to turn golden. Serve warm, preferably a la mode.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rocky Road Bars

This week on my Patch Column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I made Rocky Road Bars.  A quick and easy dessert for a true chocolate lover!

These bars can be made following very few steps and using simple techniques.  They're a great dessert that I love to make in the summer and bring to BBQ's.  They can be made a day ahead, which makes it that much more convenient!

Not only are they simple and convenient, but they're also absolutely delicious.  Full of rich chocolaty flavor with a fudge like consistency.  The addition of salty almonds provides a great salty to the already sweet flavors as well as a great crunch.

You won't be disappointed if you try my go-to summer favorite, I promise you!  Click here to find this recipe on Patch.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Hey, guys! I’m Liz and I blog over at Blog is the New Black. Not only am I a huge fan of Chelsea’s blog, but I’ve also been friends with her for nearly 10 years!  I’ve been lucky enough to sample many of Chelsea’s creations, and I promise that they taste just as delicious as they look.  I was flattered and honored when Chels asked me to write a guest post while she’s away on vacation with Mr. Sprinkles!
If you’re familiar with my blog, you already know that I have quite the sweet tooth.  It’s no surprise that I decided to share a dessert recipe, specifically, cookies!  Cookies are a great snack or dessert, not only because they are delicious, but also because they are portion-controlled…  if you have willpower, of course.  I decided to share a cookie recipe you don’t see everyday: White Chocolate Cherry Cookies! 
I happen to love cherries.  I prefer them fresh, but I enjoy them dried, as well.   They are a great addition to any dish, adding a nice pop of flavor.  When I first came across this recipe, I knew I had to make them!  Sadly, it took me months to get around to it.  Better late than never, because these cookies are pure bliss!  Light and airy, these cookies boast a cake-like texture, with the white chocolate lends the cookies a slight vanilla flavor, which pairs perfectly with the slightly sweet, slight tart cherries.  These cookies are a refreshing change from the classic chocolate chip cookie.  Unique and delicious, these cookies will hit the spot!  

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine your butter and sugar:

Cream together your ingredients over medium/high speed until light and fluffy:

 Add your eggs, one at a time:

 Mix until combined:

Then add your vanilla extract:

Then your cream:

Add sifted flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until dough comes together: 

Then add your cherries:

And the white chocolate chips.  Fold them into your batter and refrigerate your dough overnight:

 Once the dough has chilled, use a cookie scoop to form dough balls. 

 Drop balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper:  

Bake your cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are cooked through.
Once done, remove from oven.  Let cool. and… voila!

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is
Yields about 2 dozen 
Prep Time: 30 minutes plus overnight refrigeration
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes
Print this recipe!
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix until combined.  Add vanilla and heavy cream.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until dough comes together. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips.
Refrigerate overnight. Once the dough has chilled, use a cookie scoop to form dough balls.  Drop balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are done.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Corn Dogs

This week on my Patch Column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I made Corn Dogs.  These delicious and fun finger foods were inspired by the On A Stick cookbook by Matt Armendariz I recently was sent.  I was asked to write a cookbook review and was more than pleased with the offer when I saw all of the great recipes his cookbook had to offer!

It was hard to choose which recipe to try first... I'm not sure who found it more difficult, me or my husband who bookmarked 90% of the book!  While all of the recipes had a variety of difficulty levels, this cookbook is presented in a way that gives you the confidence to try even the most difficult recipe. It starts you off with the basics from which skewers to use to which dipping sauces to serve your food on a stick with.  Each recipe has a final picture as well as a simple recipe with detailed instructions providing you with the right tools to tackle a technique you may not be familiar with.

Have you ever thought of making deep fried snickers on a stick or chicken satay? How about a fun appetizer antipasti on a stick, deep fried mac and cheese, or homemade doughnut holes on a stick? No matter what your desire, he has truly transformed the "On a Stick" craze you all have seen with cake pops. No need to stop there... the possibilities are endless and Matt has shown us just how creative we can get when it comes to putting food on a stick!

I hope you check out my Corn Dogs on Patch to find the recipe and give it a try! Just click here! They're so much easier than I ever would have imagined to make and a fun party dish to serve this summer season!

So in other news! I'm going on vacation to the Dominican Republic Thursday for a week and have lined up some great guest posts to keep you entertained in my absence!

Liz from Blog is the New Black will be my first guest post.  She's a talented blogger and lover of delicious healthy recipes with a sweet tooth.  Not only is she one of my favorite bloggers, but she's also one of my best friends! We go way back... back to our college days! When healthy recipes were the last thing on our mind! We've certainly grown up since then, but have remained close friends and I'm so excited for you to meet her on my blog!  Hope you enjoy her delicious recipe!

I also have Mariel and Mary-Anne from Feast on the Cheap guest blogging next week. I've been a fan of their site for a long time. They feature beautiful, sophisticated dishes on a budget... what's better than that?! They have a delicious recipe in store and I can't wait for you to check it out! 

Last, but certainly not least I have Laurie from Simply Scratch posting one of my favorite recipes.  Laurie is an amazing blogger who creates unique and delicious dishes from scratch and shows us how with her step by step pictures and tutorials. She makes it look so easy! 

Thank you so much to Liz, Mariel and Mary-Anne, and Laurie for writing such irresistible guest blog posts and allowing me to truly relax on my much needed vacation! I hope you enjoy them!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blueberry Crumb Cake


This weekend I had my sister-in-laws bridal shower.  I offered to bring a dessert, but with a packed weekend with two trips two hours in the opposite direction, I knew I needed a dessert that could be made quickly! I didn't have a lot of time to be in the kitchen, but also wanted to make sure to bring a bridal shower appropriate dessert that everyone would enjoy.

This crumb cake is easy to prepare and perfect for a shower.  It has a beautiful presentation and can be prepared in little time.  Only a few steps required to prepare this cake and a 40 minute baking time, which allowed me to get other things done around the house before the mad dash out the door!

It's quick to prepare and perfect for an occasion like a shower or Sunday family lunch.  With a hot cup of coffee in the other hand, this dessert is light and perfectly satisfying.  Made with a delicious streusel topping consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a mixture of sugars. It adds the perfect topping to the light and fluffy blueberry cake bottom.

This cake is a perfect recipe to keep on hand whenever your in the need for a quick and delicious sweet for any occasion.  Hope you enjoy it!

Begin with preparing your streusel topping by combining your granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl:


Add your melted butter:


And stir until your ingredients are moistened:


Then add the flour:


Mix until combined and set aside:


Meanwhile, combine your butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream your ingredients on high for 5 minutes:


Then lower your speed to low and add your eggs one at a time:


Then add your vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sour cream:


Mix over medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds:


Meanwhile, sift your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl:

Gradually add your flour mixture to the batter:


And mix on low speed until just combined:


Then add your blueberries:


And gently fold them into your batter:


Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan and add your batter.  Even it out with a spatula until smooth:


Then top with your streusel mixture:


Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted into the center of your cake.  Allow your cake to cool and then transfer it to a cake stand:


Sift with confectioners sugar:


And dig in!


Blueberry Crumb Cake
Ina Garten
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Begin with preparing your streusel topping by combining your granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and melted butter in a large mixing bowl.  Stir until your ingredients are moistened. Then add the flour and mix until combined and set aside. 

Meanwhile, cream together your butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment over high speed for 5 minutes. Then lower your speed to low and add your eggs one at a time. Add your vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sour cream and mix over medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Meanwhile, sift your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add your flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until just combined. Gently fold your blueberries into the batter. 

Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan and add your batter.  Smooth it out with a spatula and top with your streusel mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted into the center of your cake.  Allow your cake to cool and then transfer it to a cake stand and sift the top with confectioners sugar.