Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chocolate Ganache Icebox Cake

Spring break has sprung and it is clearly no where near spring in our parts. While we sit at home in the cold, others have their toes in the sand. But as my hubby reminds me, I had my warm vacation a month ago. So much for spring weather to enjoy by spring break! 

With the boys at home during the day, and no homework in the evening, it leaves us time for plenty of fun baking! This chocolate icebox cake with ganache will not disappoint. It is a super simple, throw together cake. This is less cake and a bit more of a cake-like brownie. Regardless, a perfect weeknight dessert to enjoy with my husband and littles.

Chocolate Ganache Icebox Cake 
Barely Adapted from The View from Great Island

For the cake:
Butter an 8x12 baking pan and preheat oven to 350. 

Whisk together in a bowl:
3/4 c. good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. Flour
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 t. Baking powder

In another large bowl cream together the following until light and fluffy:

3/4 c. Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. Sugar

Add and mix well: 
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. Vanilla

Pour half of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Then add:

1/2 c. Sour cream

Mix well and add remaining dry ingredients until mixed throughly. 

Spread batter into baking pan and tap several times on the counter to get all the air bubbles out.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the ganache. 

1 c. Heavy cream
1 c. Good quality chocolate chips
1/2 c. Powdered sugar
1/3 c. Unsweetened cocoa 

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof glass bowl.  Heat heavy cream until steaming and pour over chocolate. Let it sit several minutes then whisk until shiny. Add in powdered sugar and cocoa and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for about 45 min until the cake has cooled. 

Once cake has cooled, pour ganache over the top and spread. Refrigerate for 2 hours then serve! Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Breyers Gelato Indulgences

Have you tried the new Gelato Indulgences from Breyers? If you haven't, stop what you are doing right now, and RUN to your local grocer to pick some up. I am not kidding, they are that good. They are these amazing blends of rich, creamy gelato, deliciously mixed with gourmet toppings and luscious sauces. Heaven in a jar, I tell you! 

With that said, I am not an ice cream kind of girl. Sure, I won't pass up a trip to the local ice cream shop in the middle of a hot summer, but I certainly don't crave it, and I can easily walk down the frozen aisle at the store and not look twice at frozen treats. Lets just say that isn't the case anymore. 

I was given the opportunity (or ruination of me!! Ha!) to try two of the four amazing flavors of the new Gelato Indulgences. I was provided with the Vanilla Caramel and the Tiramisu. These were both equally amazing, but if I had to choose I would definitely go with the Tiramisu. Only because tiramisu is something I can't pass up on any occasion, and I felt like I was eating a piece while indulging in this gelato! Perfect blend of espresso, chocolate and mascarpone cheese. The Vanilla Caramel was delish as well, blending a perfect caramel sauce with a lovely vanilla gelato. If you are a caramel lover, this one is for you! 

Breyers Gelato Indulgences are also available in the following flavors, which I may just have to stop out to get because my taste buds are quite curious!  

  Raspberry Cheesecake: Cheesecake gelato with luscious raspberry sauce & gourmet graham crumble

  Triple Chocolate: Milk & Dark chocolate gelato with white chocolate sauce & chocolate curls

Breyers Gelato Indulgences™ will be available in a 28.5 oz. clear tub, showcasing the gelato with its luscious sauce and gourmet toppings, and will retail for a suggested price of $4.49-$5.99

*Disclaimer: All opinions listed above are all my own. I was not compensated for this post, only provided with samples of the product for my own reviews and opinions. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Lasagne

The hubby and the oldest little love anything and everything spicy. In fact, they tend to add hot sauce, pepper, etc to everything they eat! When I came across this recipe, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Buffalo chicken in lasagne form sounded just plain awful to me. I'll take my lasagne in Italian form thankyouverymuch.

I was wrong. This was delicious! Now, for me, a little bit of buffalo goes a long way, so I was only able to devour a small piece. But the the little and the hubby LOVED it! It was an easy dish packed full of flavor! Anyone who loves buffalo sauce will love this dish!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagne
Serves 6

2 t. Canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/4 lb. ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 12 oz. bottle of wing sauce (I recommend Frank's buffalo wing sauce)
1/2 c. water
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. pepper
8 no boil lasagne noodles (Barilla makes great ones)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
5 oz. blue cheese crumbles, divided
1 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. Shredded cheddar blend (I used 4 State Cheddar by Sargento)

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes. Add in ground chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add in garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add In tomatoes, buffalo sauce, water, Italian seasoning and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, and half of the blue cheese crumbles.

Preheat oven to 375.

After sauce has simmered, spray an 8x8 dish with non stick spray. Ladle about 1 1/2 c. of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Lay 2 no boil noodles on top. Place 1/3 ricotta mixture on top followed by 1/3 of each of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Layer 2 more noodles, followed by another couple ladles of sauce. Followed by the cheeses. Repeat. On the top layer, finish with the sauce, rest of the shredded cheeses followed by the blue cheese. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Be sure to have that water handy!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad

I know what you are thinking. It's NOT summer. Well, at least not in my part of the world. This colorful salad will have you thinking summer in no time. This is SO easy - those of you who claim not to cook can even do it! My family loves this and is a staple in those dog days of summer.

I made this recently - the temps almost hit 50, which made me long for warmer days.

For this salad, I SWEAR by the Olive Garden Italian dressing. If you live near a Sam's Club, you need to run and go by it right now. It makes an amazing pasta salad! If you can't find it, any favorite Italian dressing will do. You can easily make this with your own favorite veggies!

Summer Pasta Salad

12 oz. tri-color rotini pasta, cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled
6 oz. halved grape tomatoes
4 oz. can sliced black olives
8 oz. chopped fresh broccoli
8 oz. cheese crumbles (we like Kraft Three Cheese crumbles)
Half bottle Italian dressing (more or less to taste)

In a large bowl combine pasta and veggies. Pour Italian dressing over and toss well. Chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Who doesn't love a blueberry muffin for breakfast? Fluffy, tart and sweet, classic blueberry muffin finished off with a slab of butter. (Did I say that?!)

My littles adore these muffins. They are the perfect breakfast, quick and healthy. We make these several times a month, and they continue to devour them time and time again.

Classic Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 11-12 standard size muffins

5 T. Unsalted butter, a bit soft
1/2 c. Sugar
1 large egg
3/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 11-12 liners.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and spur cream until well blended. Sift half of the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until incorporated, then sift the remaining in. Mix until fully incorporated, then fold in blueberries. Use an ice cream scoop to fill liners about 3/4 of the way full - keep in mind the batter will be very thick. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Slather them with some butter and grab your coffee.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I love Panera. They certainly have some delicious belly-warming soups. This soup is so very similar to their Chicken & Wild Rice soup and has become a staple at our house.

I am always on the lookout for great soup recipes to feed my hungry boys. Last night was a perfect opportunity to do so. We got several inches of the white stuff yesterday and when hubs came in from snow blowing I knew he would want something satisfying. This always does the trick. Even the pickiest little ate two bowls of this soup!

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from Tidy Mom

3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. celery, diced
3/4 c. carrots, diced
4 c. natural chicken broth
2 c. water
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
1 package (4-4.6 oz) quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet. (I use Rice a Roni naturals)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 c. half & half
1 c. heavy cream

Melt butter in large pot. Add garlic and cook a minute. Add carrots and celery and sauté until soft, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often.

Add chicken broth, water, and chicken and bring to a boil. Stir in rice only (reserve seasoning packet), cover and remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Once butter is melted, add seasoning packet and cook until bubbly. Begin adding flour mixture, a tablespoon at a time until combined completely. Cook until mixture thickens and forms a roux, being careful not to burn! Beginning adding cream/half and half mixture in small amounts. Stir constantly to combine and once all is added, cook until the mixture is thick.

Place chicken/rice mixture back on heat and slowly add cream mixture, stirring constantly. Heat soup on low for another 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!!! Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Risotto - Breville Risotto Plus

I am always looking for a lovely side dish. Something that goes with anything and everything. What better to prepare for my family but this cheddar cheese risotto? After all, who doesn't love cheese??

My amazing Mama gifted me the phenomenal Breville Risotto Plus for Christmas. I am forever loving this woman! See, I adore risotto. So does my family. However, I don't always have an extra hour to slave over the hot stove. In comes in this Breville Risotto maker - and voila! Perfect no-stir risotto. Seriously - where have you been all my life?!? Therefore, instead of eating risotto every once in a blue moon (or when the hubby is home to entertain the monkeys hanging from my legs), we have have it (gasp!) almost weekly. Heaven, I tell you!

I will give you the directions for the traditional method of preparing the risotto, I'll also share a blurb on the off-chance you own one of these amazing machines.

*Please note - these are all my own opinions. Breville has no idea that I even exist!

Cheddar Cheese Risotto
Adapted from: Nigella Lawson

1 T. Butter
1 T. Olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
1 1/4 c. risotto
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
4 c. vegetable stock (hot if preparing the traditional method)
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. chopped green onion

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add olive oil and sauté leeks until soft. Add risotto and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and dijon and stir constantly until absorbed. Begin ladling hot stock into the risotto, a ladle at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed. Continue to add liquid stock until risotto is very creamy - about 25 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Garnish with green onion. Enjoy!

*If using the Breville Risotto plus - place butter and oil together after maker is warm on the sauté setting. Sauté leeks until soft and add risotto and Dijon. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Pour in stock - turn maker to risotto setting and let sit until done - about 20 min or until the maker beeps. Add cheddar and stir until melted. Garnish with green onion. Enjoy!!