With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Monday, July 30, 2012

White Pizza Dip


I feel the need to keep this post short and sweet.

This is essential summer food.

In my life that translates to food eaten right out of the oven or off the grill on easy paper plates... before heading outside to have a bonfire, beer, and pool times.

A.K.A the best kind of food in my opinion.

Some notes on this recipe.  If you're on a diet, you might not want to make this.  If you're trying to eat healthy, you probably don't want to make this.  If you want to consume some of the best thing ever.... you definitely want to make this.


Oven roasted sea salted tomatoes are mixed with some fresh herbs and four different types of cheese and then baked to perfection.  The result is dangerous.  Dangerous.  DAN-GER-OUS.

I'd definitely recommend making this for a gathering.  Rest assured though if there are only 4-5 people around, it can still be finished within 15 minutes - it just might lead to a cheese coma.

Not that I know that from experience or anything.

In other news, I might never be hungry again.

Worth it.

So worth it.



White Pizza Dip
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
- 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 12 oz softened cream cheese
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 8 oz provolone cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more to garnish)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 4 garlic cloves (finely minced)
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh oregano (stems removed and leaves finely chopped)
- crackers or chips for serving

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place tomatoes on it.  Sprinkle with salt and olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until bursting).  In the meantime mix cream cheese with 7 oz each mozzarella and provolone, the parmesan, herbs, garlic, and pepper.  Mix until well combined.  Gently stir in tomatoes until combined.  Pour into an oven proof baking dish (one preferably not too large, but most will do) and spread evenly.  Top with remaning mozzarella and provolone and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes (until bubbly).  Serve warm and try not to enter a cheese coma.  Harder than you may think.  Enjoy.


Recipe adapted from: How Sweet Eats

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5 Minute Strawberry Basil 3 Cheese Pizza


I need you to keep a couple of things in mind here.

1.) I have about 6-7 recipes made/photographed/edited waiting in rotation to be put up here for you, both sweet and savory, all of which I love.

2.) I made this last night for dinner and felt the need to share it with you immediately because I died ten thousand happy deaths after consuming it in its entirety.

3.) I made this again today for lunch.

Which actually means I've had two all to myself in under 24 hours.
-This fact delights me-



4.) This literally only takes a few minutes to prep and five minutes to cook.

Which is the most dangerous wonderful thing about it.

I try not to be overly effusive about everything I put on here (even though I truly love each and every thing I put up and it's obvious I'm overly effusive about most things) so that way you know which recipes really stand out for me.

And this is absolutely perfect in my mind.  Soft chewy naan (soft pita you will most likely be able to find at your local grocery store - if not pre-made pizza dough is OK), creamy mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, a hint of bite from balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked pepper, tangy goat cheese crumbles, salty parmesan, and most importantly a burst of sweet strawberries.



Make this when strawberries are in season, choosing dark ripe berries, and prepare to be wowed.  The strawberries make this.  But don't skip any ingredient.  The sum is more than the parts.  When they're all together it adds up to the most wonderful thing I've consumed in a very long time.

Have I convinced you yet?  I hope so.  This could not be easier.  Or more wonderful.   A true new favorite of mine.


5 minute Strawberry Basil 3 Cheese Pizza
Printer Friendly Version

Ingredients:
- 1 individual sized Naan (soft pita bread) or pre-made pizza dough
- 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 3-4 ripe strawberries (depending on size)
- balsamic vinegar
- freshly cracked pepper
- grated parmesan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.  Chop off stems of basil leaves and rinse.  Julienne (roll up and chop finely) and set aside.  Rinse strawberries, cut off tops, slice and set aside.  Place naan on a clean baking sheet.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese all over the naan (leaving a border for a crust).  Sprinkle basil on top, making sure to space it out.  Drizzle some balsamic lightly over the entire naan.  Crumble the goat cheese into small pieces (or cut whatever is easiest for you) and sprinkle evenly across naan.  Place strawberries all over the naan.  Place in the oven for approximately 5 minutes (or until the mozzarella cheese melts and the whole pie is warmed).  Remove and immediately top with a little freshly cracked balck pepper and grated parmesan cheese.  (I forgot this step when I made this for lunch and noticed immediately.  Don't be like me.  It really ties it together.)  Enjoy immediately, maybe with some crisp cold white wine, or just by itself.  Whichever way you choose, it's divine.


Recipe adapted from: Take a Mega Bite



Friday, July 20, 2012

White Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


Summer is a time when I let my eating habits go a little haywire.

Being in a time of my life where I'm responsible for my own meals but don't have to worry feeding anyone but myself allows me a little weirdness creativity in deciding every day what I want to eat.

(This often times translates to frozen yogurt with gummy bears for lunch or an alcoholic beverage of choice with homemade tacos from whatever is lying around for dinner.  This is also 100% beside the point.)


Keeping it mostly balanced allows me to eat and make what makes me happy.

And these, these made me incredibly happy.

A soft chocolate cookie base filled with a white chocolate ganache and drizzled with a little more white chocolate was one of the most satisfying cookies I've cranked out in a while.

The chocolate cookie base is incredibly versatile (let's sandwich some coffee ice cream with a little peanut butter chocolate ganache for the best ice cream sandwich ever next please) and can even be enjoyed simply by itself.

But when filled with the easy white chocolate ganache, the situation just goes to another level.


So if you're a normal person, whip these up and serve 'em up for a fantastic dessert.  Or if you're like me, whip these up and eat 'em at any hour.

And if anyone tries to tell you a sandwich cookie for dinner once in awhile is a horrible decision, feel free to call me up.

I think we can both take a guess at to what my opinion on the subject will be.



White Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Servings: approximately 20 sandwiches

Ingredients:

For Cookies:
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For Ganache:
- 9 oz chopped white chocolate (I used white chocolate chips and they suited me wonderfully)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream

For Drizzle:
- 3 oz chopped white chocolate

Directions:
**please note to start these cookies approximately 1 hr before you'd like to bake them
** please note to start ganache at least 1 hr before you'd like to fill cookies

Place flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined.  Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy.  Mix in an egg and vanilla until well combined.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combed.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hr.

Put 9oz of the white chocolate in a bowl.  Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour over chocolate.  Let stand 3-5 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator until spreadable, stirring occasionally if needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (or cocoa powder works too!) until approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 2-inch squares (or similarly sized shapes).  Wrap scraps in plastic and refrigerate while working on and continue with later.  Place the cookies 1-inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.  Bake cookies 11-13 minutes (rotating pans halfway through) until the edges have just begun to brown.

Cool the cookies on wire racks and continue with scraps until all dough has been used.

When cookies have completely cooled, match each one to a another of similar size and shape.  Spread some chilled ganache on the inside of one cookie and top with the match, pressing only slightly to adhere.  Continue with all sandwiches and place in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes to firm up.  

In the meantime melt the remaining white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on medium heat, stirring every 10 seconds or so until smooth.  Drizzle over the sandwich cookies and return to the refrigerator to set for at least 10 minutes.  

Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Cookies are best kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart's Cookies



Monday, July 9, 2012

Onion Ring Breakfast Skillet


Breakfast seems to be the only meal of the day I get my act together and make.

It's not that I don't want to shoot for making lunch and dinner as well.  It's just that for lunch most days I'm usually running around and grabbing something on the go (or seeing who I can coerce to come to panera bread with me).  And dinner requires so much planing.  Who's around, how much to make, and when to start.

However at this point of my life, breakfast suits me just perfectly.  Especially weekend breakfasts.  I just can't get enough.

The recipe was inspired by the idea of cooking eggs in onion rings similar to the "egg in hole" breakfast toast phenomena. 

But then I got to thinking.  I wanted to use all the rings of the onion and not just the largest, and I wanted something even more low fuss.

Therefore, the onion ring skillet was born.  Oh my god.  Think of this as a blank canvas that you could take a million different ways.  You could keep it relatively simple as I did this time, and just fry the onion rings up with some eggs and salt and pepper (which was honestly amazing - don't get me wrong).

Orrrrrr....

You could definitely make this the breakfast of my dreams and add some cheddar cheese, home fries, and crumbled bacon as well.

I mean if you really wanted to keep it healthy I guess you could add some sautéed veggies.  But if you're balancing it with other healthy meals, where's the fun in that?  You already have onion rings to start.  Just go with it.

Whichever way you try this, the important thing is that you do.  An easy and special weekend breakfast.  One that I will be replicating very often, and soon.

Enjoy.


Onion Ring Breakfast Skillet
Servings: 2-3


Ingredients:
- 3-4 eggs
- 1-2 sweet onions (depending on size)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs (panko or italian)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
Optional (cheese, cooked bacon, home fries, sautéed veggies, anything else that floats your boat)

Directions:
**Please note that this recipe is easily adapted to add more eggs and onions or a variety of fillings.  Feel free to adjust to suit your tastes!

Peel onion(s) and separate into rings.  Set up 3 separate small bowls.  In the first bowl, combine flour 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  In the second, add the milk.  In the third, the panko.  Set up a cutting board, or platter, or large plate.  Dredge the onions in the flour, then the milk, and finally the panko.  Set aside.   In a large pan, add olive oil and head until hot.  When oil is hot, add onion rings a few at a time and cook until brown on each side (flipping halfway through).  Mine took no longer than a minute on each side.  Remove rings and place on a paper towel lined plate and continue until all rings have cooked.

In a separate pan lightly spray with cooking spray or butter and heat on medium heat.  Whisk amount of eggs desired and pour in (if your pan is too small for the amount of eggs you want, no harm in cooking two!) pan.  Add onion rings in and any other desired fixings.  Cook until eggs are completely done (mine took 2-3 minutes) covered with a lid if needed to finish the eggs on top.  Eggs should not be runny.  Serve immediately right out of the skillet if desired or if you'd like to make more than one, alive whole skillet onto large plate and continue with remaining eggs and onion rings.

Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper and enjoy.


Recipe inspired by: Kiss My Whisk




Monday, July 2, 2012

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats


I'm not sure what weather has been like in your corner of the world lately, but around these parts... things have been hot.

Now I don't mean the typical summer "wow this is hot but it's ok because it's summer and I can just go jump in the closest body of water and feel better" hot.

I mean " wow it's been 100+ degrees F for over a week, any body of water you come across is already the temperature of bath water" hot.

The, "it's summer and you can't really leave your house" hot.

Sufficient to say, it's bad.

It's left me with little to no motivation to do anything except eat frozen yogurt at all meals and have a cold drink in my hands at all times.

Lowest on my motivation ladder, however, would be cranking up my oven during this horrendous and unending heat wave.

That's where those little gems come in.

They take a total of five minutes to whip up, scream summer fun, and don't require the use of the oven.

Perfect for the summer days when doing anything more for entertaining seems like a total drag, but still with enough wow factor bound to make most people, kids or not, smile.

Dry cake batter is mixed in with the usual rice krispie treat suspects of butter, marshmallows, and rice krispie cereal.  The flavor isn't overbearing, but just present enough to let you know these rice krispie treats are out of the ordinary.

Fun fact.  In the Philadelphia area, what we see throughout the rice krispie treats as well as on top are called "jimmies" whereas in the rest of the country (as for the world I'm not sure) they are generally regarded as "sprinkles".

Seeing as I like to consider myself Philadelphia through and through and I make the rules here, jimmies it is.

You mix the jimmies throughout the rice krispie treats and sprinkle even more on top.  These could not be easier.  If you plan on celebrating the 4th of July on Wednesday, a fun addition would be to see if you could scope out a red, white, and blue variety and use them instead.

However, I happen to think these are pretty fun just as is.


And, honestly, this one just makes me smile.

Enjoy!


Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats
Servings: Approx 16 large or 24 small

Ingredients:
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 (10oz) bag miniature marshmallows
- 1/2 cup dry yellow cake mix
- 1 (1.75oz) jar rainbow jimmies (sprinkles)
- 6 cups rice krispie cereal

Directions:

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low to medium heat.  When melted add marshmallows and stir until melted and but not overly gooey.  Turn off the heat, and take pan off stove.  Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the marshmallow mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in the rice krispie cereal as well as half of the jimmies (sprinkles).  When well combined, press into a 9x13 inch pan.  Top with remaining jimmies (sprinkles) and press down to stick.  Let cool, cut, serve, and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: Gimme Some Oven and How Sweet Eats