Monday, January 31, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

It's almost Valentines day so I decided it was the perfect time to make some red velvet cake.  I also love whoopie pies and have been wanting to make some more this year.  I found this recipe on Annie's Eats and decided to give it a try.  I loved that Annie piped these into hearts.  It's just so cute.

Everyone that enjoys red velvet knows that you have to eat it with cream cheese frosting, there's no other way.  I used this recipe.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:
(Annie’s Eats)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon salt
tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring


Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the food coloring.
There are a couple of ways to get these on the cookie sheet.  If you use a piping bag the cookies will have a better chance of coming out even, however... don't worry if you don't have a piping bag or if you don't want to use one.  Use two spoons and just make little balls.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack.  Repeat with any remaining batter.  Allow cookies to cool completely. 

Pair the cookies up by shape and size.  Pipe frosting onto the flat-side of one of the cookie of each pair. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. 

Looks like another one I can cross off of my 2011 To Do List!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hashbrown Casserole

My family does a big brunch for Christmas every year.  It's awesome.  We wake up, make breakfast, enjoy the time with friends and family, and then open gifts. 

The menu usually consists of waffles, quiche, fresh fruit, and an assortment of breakfast meats.  We also have hash brown casserole.  It's awesome and everyone loves it.
Hash Brown Casserole
2 lbs
frozen hash browns
1/2 cup
margarine or butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup
1 pint
sour cream
1/2 cup
onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups
cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 11 x 14 baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix the above ingredients together, place in prepared pan and top with more cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes or until brown on top.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ranch Oven Fries

I had some potatoes to use up this week and I don't have the best track record with homemade french fries.  It was time for me to make a comeback!    These turned out really good too and were really easy.

Ranch Oven Fries:(Inspired by Tyler Florence)

2 russet potatoes, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, halves cut lengthwise into fourths to make 16 big, fat wedges
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet ranch dressing powder
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

While the baking sheet is heating, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, ranch dressing, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a ziploc bag. Then dump the potatoes out onto a baking sheet, spreading to a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until the potatoes are cooked through, brown and crispy. When the fries are finished toss them with the cheese and the rest of the salt.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is the bee's knee's.  It's my favorite, by far.  It's a classic frosting and is good on everything.  It's also super easy to make.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups powdered sugar

In a bowl beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated, beat until smooth. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adam's Rib Co.

Adam's Rib Co.
2111 NW 13th St.
Gainesville, FL 32609
Telephone: 352-373-8882

Monday-Saturday: 7AM to 9PM
Sunday: 9AM-9PM

I love BBQ.  It's awesome in every way.  One of the places that Mr. T and I like to go to is Adam's Rib Co..  It took us a while to try it, I'm honestly not sure why.  They have all of the typical BBQ and sides.

Their ribs are huge and my favorite thing is that you can add 1 rib to your meal.  When we went I got the 3-rib meal.  It was three ribs, two sides, and garlic bread for $8.49.  You can see the mac and cheese peeking out under the garlic bread, I forgot to get a picture of the baked beans... they're fantastic.  I also appreciate the fact that they serve collard greens.

While you're there sample the sauce bar.  There's at least 20 different sauces: mild, hot, spicy, pepper vinegars, and mustard.  There's Memphis Style, Carolina Style, and everything in between.  My favorite is the Honey BBQ.  Mr. T loves the Gator Sauce.  

Adam's is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It's worth it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Tea Pie

I've mentioned before how much I love tea.  I consider it my own personal crack.  In my opinion it's acceptable to drink for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I love it.  While watching Paula Deen the other day I saw an episode that had one of my favorite cookbook authors on it as a guest, Martha Foose.  She was making something called Sweet Tea Pie.  It looked amazing and I decided that I needed to try it.

This turned out really great.  I added some extra lemon to the mix because I tend to like extra lemon in my tea anyway.  The filling was really silky and it was different than any other pie I've had.  I will definitely make it again.    
This also covers our Flavor of the Month for January.

Sweet Tea Pie:

(Martha Foose- Screen Doors and Sweet Tea)

6 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cups strong black tea, cooled
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the crust:
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until well combined.  Add the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball.  Pat the dough into a 9-inch pie pan.  Chill until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350.

For the filling:

In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at a medium speed until light.  Add the yolks one at a time, beating at low speed until well incorporated.  Slowly add the tea, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set.  Cool completely on a wire rack and then chill for 2 hours before serving.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

I've never been a big fan of brussels sprouts but I've decided to try them again.  I also wanted to knock something off of my list of 2011 cooking resolutions.  I found a recipe from Ina Garten that looked fantastic, added bacon and garlic, and went to town.  They were really crisp on the outside and still tender on the inside.

Maybe brussels sprouts are back on the rotation.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon:
(adapted from Ina Garten)

½ pounds Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and sliced in half
3 cloves garlic, pressed
½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
2 slices bacon, chopped

Toss the Brussels sprouts, 3 pressed garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Empty the contents into a ovenproof dish and roast at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

In a skillet, add the bacon and cook until just crispy.

Add the Brussels sprouts and heat through for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

I made this pizza for my Grandma's birthday last year.  It was a huge hit so we decided to make it again.

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Pizza:

1 ball of pizza dough.  I get mine from the grocery store bakery.
2 cups cooked chicken breast halves (chopped and seasoned; I seasoned mine with garlic and italian seasoning)
8 slices cooked bacon, thick sliced is best, cut up
1/4 cup red onion, thinly chopped
Chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Roll out pizza dough onto your pizza pan or cookie sheet. Prepare sauce.

In saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Mix in the cream cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the whipping cream and garlic powder. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer, stirring often. If sauce is too thin, sprinkle in some flour 1 teaspoon at a time. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. It should be creamy.

Spread the ranch dressing on your dough first then spread the Alfredo sauce on top.

Sprinkle some of the mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Add your chopped chicken, bacon, tomato, and sliced onion. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  I like to have most of my toppings under the cheese but if you like your toppings on top lay all of the cheese down first.

Bake at 425 on the bottom rack of oven for 20 minutes or until crust appears done on the bottom.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Cranberry Pecan Bread

It's cold and gross looking outside. I decided that it was a sign that I needed to do some housework, which means time to do the dishes.  With a clean kitchen I decided it was a perfect time to make some bread.  I've had a bag of cranberries in my freezer since Thanksgiving and I have some fabulous pecans laying around.  Cranberry-Pecan bread... FTW.

Cranberry Nut Bread:
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
1 cup pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (8-cup capacity), and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine butter, egg, vanilla, and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and whisk to combine; fold in cranberries and pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan and top with some sanding sugar, if you want.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 minutes. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up to cool completely.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Sausage Balls

I love sausage balls.  They're really popular in the South, more so in Alabama than in my area of Florida.  Every family tweaks this recipe a little bit (I added some Old Bay) so feel free to experiment.  I have a friend that uses venison sausage instead of the pork.

Sausage Balls:
(Old Southern Recipe, but checked measurements from Paula Deen)

1 (1-pound) package ground sausage
3 cups baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
4 cups grated sharp Cheddar
1/8 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon Old Bay

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly.

Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheddar-Sausage Quiche

I love quiche.  My mom made quiche for Christmas morning this year.  The sausage and cheddar quiche was Mr. T's favorite.

I love quiche for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  If you're trying to save some time make the custard the night before and bake it off the next day.

Sausage & Cheddar Quiche:

2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons corn starch thoroughly blended into half and half
1 pound pork sausage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt/pepper to taste
ground nutmeg, just a pinch
1/2 cup mayo
4 eggs
1/4 onion diced fine
1 store bought pie crust (or make your own)

Blend half and half, eggs, mayo, and spices thoroughly. Line a pan with the pie crusts and mix cheese with sausage and onion, pour mixture into crust. Pour custard over the cheese/meat until shell is almost full. 

Bake at 350 about an hour or until golden brown. Let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.