Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caesar Salad

2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 whole lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 loaf crusty French or Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 head of romaine lettuce

In a blender or food processor mix the mustard, vinegar, worchestershire sauce, garlic and lemon juice together for several seconds until the garlic has broken down.

With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Scrape down the sides and add the parmesan cheese.  Pulse a few times until completely blended.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cube the bread into 1 inch cubes and put on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and toss around until each bread cube is coated.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

After washing the romaine, chop into 1 inch strips.

To put the salad together, drizzle some of the dressing along the sides of the salad bowl.  Put in the lettuce and drizzle a little over the top.  Toss together with two spoons until everything is evenly coated.  If lettuce is too dry add some more dressing.  The last thing you want to do though is overdress your salad, so add a little at time.  Now toss in the croutons and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.  Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator! It only gets better!

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Chocolate Souffle for Two

Souffles are usually thought to be very difficult things to master.  This souffle is so easy and completely full proof!  It also makes a small batch so you don't need to make such a huge amount!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease two 8 ounce ramekins.  I didn't have 8-ounce ramekins so I used one 16 ounce ramekin.  Either works fine.  Coat the ramekins with cocoa powder and tap the excess out.

In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each burst.  Continue microwaving until melted and smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.

Separate the eggs next.  Do this by cracking your egg and putting the yolks into each half of the egg shell while the whites drip into a bowl below.  Then put your yolks into the mixture that was just microwaved.

In a clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar just until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.  Do not mix roughly as you will deflate the egg whites.  Spoon into the ramekins.  You can cover this with plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Bake for 20 minutes or 30 if using the 16 ounce ramekin.  If coming directly from the refrigerator bake for 5 minutes more than the usual time.

Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- When baking try to leave the oven door as closed as possible.  Opening it up a lot releases a lot of heat which will make your baked good cook unevenly. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

One of the simplest, quickest, and most delicious sauces is Vodka Sauce.  Most of the ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already!

4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
3 oz pancetta
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup vodka
1 35 ounce can plum tomatoes
1/4 cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound short cut pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Putting a lid on it will help it boil faster.  Once it boils, toss in a few tablespoons of salt.  Pour in the pasta.  I used mezzi rigatoni but any short cut is perfectly fine. Follow the box for how long to cook for.  Once cooked, strain the water off and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat up the butter.  Finely chop the garlic and put it into the butter.  Stir around for 2 minutes to heat the garlic, but not brown it.  Chop up the pancetta and put it into the garlic and butter along with the crushed red pepper flakes.  Continue to move all of the ingredients around the pan so nothing burns.

After the pancetta has begun to brown, which should take about 4-5 minutes, pour in the vodka and scrape everything off the bottom of the pan with your spoon.

Allow the alcohol to cook out of the mixture for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile put the tomatoes in a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour this into the pan.  Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Now you can pour in the cream and parmesan cheese.  Cook everything together for another 5 minutes.

Add in your pasta and toss together for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce completely coats the pasta.  Serve hot and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- Cook your pasta 1-2 minutes less than the packaged directions and finish cooking it in your sauce. Pin It Now!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cheesecake Brownie Hearts

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be a great idea to make brownies in heart shaped pans.  They sell them in almost any grocery or party store.  I even saw them in a drug store the other day.  I found the silicone ones which are great for easy removal, but a metal one will work just as well.  If you can't find them then a regular muffin tin works just as well or a brownie pan.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake topping:
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Well grease whatever pan you are using, especially if it is a metal pan.

In one bowl mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in one egg at a time until fully combined.  Carefully beat in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until combined.

This batter made about 12 hearts, which would be the equivalent of 12 muffin tins or one 9 x 9 in baking dish.  Distribute batter evenly between every muffin cup.

In a separate bowl beat together the cream cheese, egg, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Drop about a tablespoon onto each muffin cup.  Using a knife, swirl the cream cheese into the brownie.

Bake for 19-21 minutes or until cheesecake sets up on top.  Cool for an hour.  Gently remove from pan.  Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- after greasing your pan, put it in the freezer for 15 minutes.  This creates a barrier so the food will not stick!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Breakfast Potatoes

4 russet potatoes
1 bell pepper
2 yellow onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put the potatoes into a pot of water that has been seasoned with salt.  Allow to cook on high heat for 15 minutes.

Finely chop the peppers and thinnly slice the onions.  Saute in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil.  Cook until soft. Should take as long as it takes for the potatoes to cook.

Once the potatoes are finished cooking, take them out of the water and slice into thin pieces or make small dices.  Put another tablespoon of oil with the vegetables and toss in all of the potatoes. Toss with a little salt and pepper. Press down so that everything is in an even layer in the pan.  Allow to brown for 5-7 minutes.  Then flip over small sections of the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes on the other side.  Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- Save leftover potatoes and mix with lightly beaten eggs.  Brown everything in a skillet until the eggs are fully cooked! Pin It Now!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mini Frittatas

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup goat cheese
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heavily grease 8 muffin tins.

Finely chop the onion and bell pepper.  Saute in the vegetable oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft.

After microwaving the frozen spinach, squeeze out all of the water.  Beat the eggs and milk together until light and fluffy.  Add the onions, peppers, and spinach and mix together until everything is evenly distributed.

Pour mixture into each muffin tin.  Top each with a few crumbles of goat cheese.  Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes or until they puff up and are lightly brown.  Allow to cool for 2 minutes.  Run a butter knife around the edges and gently lift out.  Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip- Freeze your muffin tins after they have been greased to further aid in removal of the eggs.  Freezing it allows the oil or butter to become solid and therefore form a hard barrier. Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup

1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl until well combined.  Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter.  Mix until smooth.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and lightly grease it with cooking spray or oil.  Pour pancake batter using 1/4 measurement in the pan.  Top each with about a tablespoon of chocolate chips.  Brown on both sides.  It should take 2-3 minutes per side.

For the syrup, mix together the cornstarch and sugar in a sauce pan.  Pour in the water and raspberries.  Whisk over high heat for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.  Serve warm with pancakes and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip: Make a mini pancake in your pan first to test how hot your pan is.  This way you don't waste much pancake batter with burnt pancakes!

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