White Chocolate Blondies

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Ahhh…summer is HERE! School is out (thank heavens) and the kiddos get to sleep in, something we adults don’t get to take advantage of unfortunately. But that’s okay, because we all have accepted that part of adulthood, more or less… Highlight is, they have to go back to school eventually and we don’t! So to celebrate, let’s all eat Blondie’s!

For those that aren’t familiar with Blondies…they’re like brownies, but blond. Not too complicated of an explanation. We all know the saying: “blondes have more fun” but I happen to be a brunette, so I tend to disagree with that saying, because I have plenty of fun!

White Chocolate Blondies

8 oz. white chocolate chips

½ cup butter, softened

1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan. Melt white chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler (which is a glass bowl that sits over a larger saucepan that has about 1 1/2 cups of simmering water) Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed until foamy, with the mixer still running at medium speed, slowly add the sugar and vanilla, and then drizzle the melted white chocolate mixture. Turn your mixer to slow speed, mix in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, til evenly mixed and then fold in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 25-27 minutes, until the middle comes out clean with a knife. Cool before cutting into bars. This recipe can also be baked more thin and crisp in a 9×13 pan with a shorter baking time of 15-17 mins and used for the “cookie” part of ice cream sandwiches, pair with chocolate ice cream in the center? YUM!

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Strawberry Shortcake

One of the things I love so much about living here in California, is the year-round supply of fresh strawberries! This recipe is a little twist on the standard shortcake recipe and my friends and family are big fans of this, leftovers do not exist. It’s perfect for pot-lucks or family dinners. Serves about 8, unless you’re related to me, then about 4:) Best part? Super easy and quick to make.

Shortcake:

1/4 cup sour cream

1-1/4 cups cold milk, divided

4 Tbsp. sugar

2-1/4 cups all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick)

Filling:

1 pkg. 3.4 oz. vanilla instant pudding

1 container of whipped topping, thawed

Topping:

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk sour cream, 1/2 cup milk and 3 Tbsp. sugar in large bowl until blended. Add baking mix; stir just until moistened. Lumpy is okay! Spread onto the base of 9-inch round cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Cool 10 min, remove to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Whisk pudding mix and remaining milk in medium bowl for about 2 min. Whip in the whipped topping. In a separate bowl, toss strawberries with the 1/3 cup sugar. (Before assembly, drain a little of the strawberry juice out to prevent sogginess) Cut cake horizontally in half; place 1 layer on your serving dish, Spread ½ of the whipped topping/vanilla mix, the place ½ of the strawberry mixture. Repeat the layers again! Enjoy your berrylicious!

Note: for those Gluten-free, they do make a gluten-free baking mix, Bisquick brand is pretty darn awesome. Same with the pudding mix, Jell-O brand is gluten-free. Enjoy!

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Berry Tartlets

tartlets

Okay this is possibly the easiest dessert known to man! Here are your ingredients:

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Plus whatever berries you prefer (I slice up the strawberries) , my kids are big fans of blueberries, so I usually omit those. This is easily made into a 9-inch cracker crust also.

Spread the softened mascarpone in the base of your tartlet shells. About 1 TBSP per shell. In a large bowl mix your prepared berries with the glaze, stir gently. Scoop into your shells….Like I said, the easiest dessert ever!!! Top with whipped cream is desired. Yummo!

Creamy Lemonade Pie

This pie is one of my all-time favorites, it’s creamy and tart and frankly, I’d probably eat a shoe if it was served on a buttery graham cracker crust! Now, I do admit that I’ve been on quite the citrus kick lately. But with Springtime here, lemon anything just feels right! You can serve this with whipped cream, but it’s fantastic just on it’s own. Happy Spring!

Crust:

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted

Or you can use 1 ready-made 9-inch graham cracker crust, however, when you make it from scratch, there’s more butter involved, which personally makes me happy!

Filling:

1 5-oz can evaporated milk

1 3.4-oz box of instant lemon pudding mix, (the small box)

2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened

¾ cup frozen lemonade concentrate

Preheat oven to 350 if making your own crust.

In a medium mixing bowl, combined all crust ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Press graham cracker crust into a greased 9” deep dish pie dish and make sure to go up the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the evaporated milk and the pudding mix and whisk/beat for 2 minutes (the mixture will be thick).

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Slowly mix in the lemonade concentrate. After it’s well combined, mix in the pudding mixture. Pour the filling into the cooled graham cracker crust. Cover and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set. Don’t forget to lick the spatula though:)

Now for those who are gluten-free, they do sell gluten-free graham crackers to use for the crust. As far as the pudding mix goes, I’ve found that the mix made by Kraft (jell-o brand) is gluten-free, non-brand names may not be the same, so check the ingredients first.

#3

Citrus Orange Roughy

I’m not normally a fish person….I tend to stick with shrimp, calamari and salmon if seafood is on the menu, but my butcher recommended that I try orange roughy, and I’m glad I did! It was light, flaky and tasty.

Marinade:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 TBSP soy sauce (I use Gluten-Free)
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP canola oil
1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs orange roughy fillets

In a shallow dish, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, butter, oil and lemon juice. Cover and let marinate for 2-3 hours. Mix crumbs and salt and pepper.  Coat each fillet in the crumbs and pat down, repeat with the rest of the fish.  Place in a greased 9×13 pan Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 15-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. About 15-17 mins. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Gingersnaps

I love gingersnaps! They make your house smell like Christmas and they practically melt in your mouth as a great cookie should always do! I like my cookies soft in the inside and a little crunch when you bite into them. This recipe took me about 8 tries to figure out the perfect combination of ingredients, but I finally conquered the GINGERSNAP!

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup dark molasses

4 cups AP flour

2 TBSP ground ginger

4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1 package sugared ginger-chopped into small pieces. (I find it in the produce section and on the Asian food isle)

In your mixer bowl, beat the butter till creamy, add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and molasses until well blended.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk all your dry ingredients together. Turn your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until well incorporated, add the chopped candied ginger and mix again.

Using a medium size cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll into a ball and roll the ball in course or raw sugar and place on your cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 for about 10 mins, just until the tops start to crackle a little. Remove from the oven to cool completely. Yummo! Trust me your house will smell amazing!

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Chicken Carbonara

I love bacon almost as much as I love butter, and paired with heavy cream and pasta. …HOW could you go wrong?  Carbonara has a yummy egg cream sauce that is just so delectable you’ll want seconds and thirds and…….? This recipe does use a few different pans so assign someone else dishes before you begin:)

1/2 lb bacon (yum)

2 good size shallots, finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup green peas (frozen is fine)

1 12-oz package fettuccine/linguine pasta (cooked and drained)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

5 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese  (I find the powdered version works best for sauces)

salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, cut the bacon into small pieces with kitchen shears, cook on med heat until ½ way done, add shallots and onions, cook until onions are transparent and then add garlic and cook 1 minute and add the peas. Turn the heat to low and let them simmer, this is a perfect time to season with salt and pepper. Simmer 5-6 minutes.

On med heat, in a large skillet, add 2 TBSP of butter and saute’ the chicken breasts with salt and pepper til fully cooked….about 7-8 mins. Dice the chicken up after it’s fully cooked.

In a large measuring cup, heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir and cook another 45 seconds, just to heat it up a bit. (should be super warm to the touch, not scalding) Doing this will temper your yolks so they aren’t raw. Quickly whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, don’t stop whisking, til the last yolk has disappeared.  Add the parmesan cheese to this mixture. Whisk well.

Okay, now put it all together, add the bacon/pea/chicken mixture to the pasta pot….then your chicken…..then slowly pour the sauce over the top and toss gently. Serve with a warm loaf of garlic bread, true gluttony!

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