Foodie Blog Roll 2

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Individual Pumpkin Cranberry French Toast Casseroles with Nut Praline Topping

Pin It I made you breakfast!


Individual Pumpkin Cranberry French Toast Casseroles

(Sorry in advance....I got a little camera happy!)

Remember my Grilled Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich? Well I made a lot of them last week. I used all the bread except for the two heels. Saturday morning I was in the kitchen, wondering what to do with these....
Enter cute, individual ramekins. I cut up the bread to see exactly how much I had, and it fit perfectly in 4 - 6 inch ramekins.

I have a great french toast casserole recipe, but I wanted to give it a little twist. So I added pumpkin.

As I have said before, I am SO ready for fall! This recipe will just have to tide me over, at least until the next fall craving hits! :)

Individual Pumpkin Cranberry French Toast Casseroles
     makes 4

2 Leftover heels of whole wheat or whole grain bread
1/4 C pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/4 tsp homemade pumpkin pie spice (or store bought)
1 egg
1/3 C milk (I used Almond Breeze Vanilla- Unsweetened)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 T dried cranberries or Crasins (optional)

Nut Praline Topping
1 T light butter, softened
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 T light brown sugar
1/2 T pure maple syrup
2 T chopped pecans or walnuts

Cut bread into bite sized pieces. It totaled about 2 1/4 cups of bread.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray ramekins with Baker's Joy, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add dried cranberries. Fold bread into the pumpkin mixture, coating each piece. Divide bread into ramekins, evenly.


For the topping, in a small bowl, smoosh the butter around with a fork to get it soft. Add the pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and syrup. 

Add in your chopped nuts. Spread praline topping evenly over 4 dishes.

Use the back of a spoon to push down mixture a little.

Place ramekins on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. It will be slightly bubbly and golden brown. Oh yeah, and your kitchen will smell like a candle! Remove from oven.

I promise, it really is as good as it looks!

Dust with powdered sugar if you wish. You know I won't judge.

So, like I said, I made you breakfast. Who's coming over?

We'll be waiting for you. Me and this little guy!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mini Buffalo Chicken Ranch Wraps

That's right. I'm still on my buffalo kick. Actually, I don't think I've ever NOT been on it.
It's a disease. But can you blame me? I actually think I have a problem, because I love all things ORANGE!
Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrot (cake), anything but actual oranges. Not my favorite. But buffalo sauce? It's my favorite!

Mini Buffalo Chicken Ranch Wraps

My favorite dish at Buffalo Wild Wings is the Buffalo Chicken Ranch Wrap. The chicken is fried and oh-so-yummy! This is my own, healthier version of that dish. I used bake chicken, whole wheat tortillas and ranch seasoning to lighten things up a little. I also used part-skim cheese and loaded it with veggies. No guilt here!


Mini Buffalo Chicken Ranch Wraps
     serves 2
4 -7 inch whole wheat tortillas (I like the LaTortilla Smart and Delicious brand)
2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 celery stick, including leaves, chopped
1 peeled carrot, grated or cut into peels
4 lettuce leaves, chopped or shredded
Cilantro, chopped
4 T wing sauce (I use Louisiana)
2 tsp Hidden Valley Ranch powder mix
8 T part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, mix wing sauce and ranch powder together. Add chicken and stir to coat. Reheat chicken if cold.

Lay out tortillas and top with chicken, celery, carrots, lettuce and cilantro. Top with cheese.

Fold both ends of the tortilla inward, and wrap up. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and spray with non-stick cook spray. The idea is to cook long enough for cheese to melt.

Cook on both sides until golden brown.

Cut the four wraps in the middle, on a diagonal. 
Serve warm. Each serving is 2 mini wraps, or 4 diagonal pieces. Dip in additional ranch if desired. I didn't want these wraps to be leaky, so I used the ranch powder mix to achieve the ranch flavor, with out adding additional liquid.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Cowgirl Football Whoopie Pies!

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As in OSU Cowgirl Whoopie Pies. As in Oklahoma State University Cowgirl Whoopie Pies. 
As in "Go Pokes!" Pies. 

(No, not cow pies!) You get the idea.



Cowgirl Whoopie Pies

CAN YOU TELL I'M READY FOR FOOTBALL TO START?? Speaking of football.......

Football Whoopie Pies

Ok, maybe I should start from the beginning. Now that I'm an official foodie blogger and everything, I love looking at food blogs and getting discouraged inspired by how talented and creative other people are! I kept seeing "whoopie pies" on these blogs and wondered what all the fuss was about, and suddenly all these thoughts started running through my head. 

"Is it cake? Is it a cookie? Is it the new cupcake? Why haven't I had one of these cute little things before?!"

So, a few weeks ago when I was in Chicago with my family, I saw some in a bakery and had to try one! I choose the chocolate whoopie pie with peanut butter filling. I decided we should document my first whoopie pie experience, just in case it was monumental.......


OH MAH GAWD!
Now I'm completely obsessed. Thanks a lot, Chicago!  :)




I started lining these up for their photo shoot when a light went off in my head....."Chris! I wish I had enough of these to line up an orange vs. black scrimmage!"  I was actually being serious, but when I heard it out loud, it sounded a little CRAZY! Needless to say, we got a good laugh out of it!


I actually needed to make these because whoopie pies have been on my Bucket List for like, forever!


So, let's get down to business. Because OSU, my alma mater, is orange and black, I tried to keep the color theme consistent for the footballs and frosting.  I choose classic chocolate cake for the "black" footballs and used red and yellow food coloring to color the basic butter cream frosting; the frosting is not orange flavored. For the "orange" footballs, I made pumpkin whoopie pies and did a cinnamon chocolate cream cheese frosting. Both combinations were scrumptious! I was worried curious as to how the pumpkin and chocolate combo would be, but wowza! Adding the cinnamon to the cream cheese frosting was dynamite. Chocolate or not, that frosting was good!


To make the football shapes, I used an egg shaped pan from Wilton that I found on ebay. (I know, not very helpful, but you can get a similar version at BakeDeco.) Or, you could always use a small egg/football cookie cutter and cut out the shapes from regular whoopie pies after they are baked and cooled.


Of course, you do not need an egg/football pan to make whoopie pies. I got a regular pan at Williams-Sonoma for around $15.00. I have not tested these recipies with out a pan, so I can't say for sure if they will hold up or not just on parchment paper. (The chocolate ones for sure won't).



Classic Chocolate Football Whoopie Pies
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
     makes 30 footballs or 15 whoopie pies
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark Chocolate, unsweetened 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 C light brown sugar
6 T unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 an egg,* or 2 T egg substitute
1 C whole milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray pans with Baker's Joy. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
*In a small dish, beat egg. In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Add half of the beaten egg to the butter mixture; discard the rest. Mix in vanilla and stir to combine. In batches, mix in part of the flour mixture, alternating with part of the milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated. 
Fill each well of the two pans about 3/4th the way full, or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter in each one. Tap the bottom of the pans on the counter to make sure there are no bubbles in the batter. Bake for 8 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in pans, on cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then turn pans over and let cakes fall out; cool completely on racks before frosting.

"Orange" Butter Cream Frosting
2 + 1/4 C powdered (confectioners) sugar*
5 T unsalted butter
3 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
35 drops yellow food coloring
18 drops red food coloring

I used my mixer for the frosting (with the flat beater). Start by mixing together 2 C of the powdered sugar and butter until combined. It will be a little crumbly. Add in the vanilla and salt and turn on slow. Mix in a tablespoon of milk at a time and it will start to smooth out. Add the food coloring until you get the color you want. *I added a 1/4 cup more powdered sugar to the end because I didn't want it to be too runny. 

To assemble:  Cut footballs in half, lengthwise with a serrated knife. Spread or pipe frosting on one of the flat surfaces of cake, and place the other half on top. Pipe laces on top of football.



Pumpkin Football Whoopie Pies
adapted from whoopie pies
     makes 18 footballs or 9 whoopie pies
1 1/8 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 T Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice (or store bought)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/4 C butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 C pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 an egg,* or 2 T egg substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 drops red and 4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pans with Baker's Joy. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Set aside.
*In a small dish, beat egg. In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Mix in pumpkin. Add half of the beaten egg to the butter mixture; discard the rest. Mix in vanilla and food coloring (optional) and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to wet mixture and stir just to combine. 
Fill each well of the two pans about 3/4th the way full, or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter in each one. Tap the bottom of the pans on the counter to make sure there are no bubbles in the batter. Bake for 10 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in pans, on cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then turn pans over and let cakes fall out; cool completely on racks before frosting.

Cinnamon Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 C (1/2 stick) butter
2 1/4 C powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 C Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark Chocolate, unsweetened
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
2 T whole milk

I used my mixer for the frosting (with the flat beater). Start by mixing together the cream cheese and butter until creamy and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. It will be a little dry and crumbly. Add in the vanilla, then the milk, one tablespoon at a time. 

To assemble:  Cut footballs in half, lengthwise with a serrated knife. Spread or pipe frosting on one of the flat surfaces of cake, and place the other half on top. Pipe laces on top of football.
When you put these in the fridge and they get super cold, they kind of taste like ice cream sandwiches. Yum!

So I just have one question. 

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? WHOOPIE!!!! 



click to print chocolate....                                                                                              click to print pumpkin
                                                 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Avocado Chicken Salad in Avocado Boats

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I was trying to decide what to do with this ginormous avocado besides just make guacamole or even a light version of guacamole with it. I have been known to slice it onto salads, or put it on burgers, but I wanted to do something totally different. I was determined to use only things I already had at the house AND make something yummy. Enter, avocado chicken salad.

Avocado Chicken Salad

I used a Florida avocado for this because the shell is much larger than a hass avocado. 

This made the perfect "bowl" to serve the chicken salad in.


Avocado Chicken Salad
     serves 2
1 ripe Florida avocado
2 small cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 C roasted red peppers, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 large lettuce leaves, chopped
Cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic salt*
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Cut avocado in half, length wise, and remove pit. Carefully, scoop out flesh and reserve shell for filling. 

Cut half of avocado in cubes and set aside. Place other half of avocado in a bowl and mash with fork, mixing in the cumin, garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Once mixed, add avocado cubes, chicken, lettuce, red peppers and cilantro.


Add in lime juice and gently mix everything together. Fill avocado bowls with chicken salad. Serve cold.

*This avocado seemed kind of sweet to me, so I used more salt that I would have with a hass avocado. Use salt to your taste. 

Have you ever used avocado instead of mayo? You may have noticed, but there is no mayonnaise in this recipe! Only heart-healthy fats! Serve this by itself.

Or eat it as a dip with chips. 

Either way, this buttery chicken salad is so delicious! It's not lacking any flavor and is easily adaptable. This would also rock on some toasted bread for a sandwich. Just try it; you know you want to!


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich

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Everyone has had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can personalize it any you want; crunchy peanut butter, creamy peanut butter, almond butter, grape jelly, strawberry jelly, sugar free jelly, you name it! But there is one peanut butter sandwich that really reminds me of my dad. 

Peanut butter and honey sandwich. 

Sometimes he would just have one of these as a snack, on the weekend or something. It’s funny how something as simple as food can strike up a memory. The other day, the craving for a peanut butter and honey sandwich hit me like a ton of bricks! Sometimes I’ll have a craving for a particular food and then I’ll forget about it or it will eventually go away. Not this time. I needed a PB & H sandwich…..bad. 

By the way, I have a question. Why is it that when you want a sandwich (which in my case is never) there is never any bread in the house? AND when you’re starving and the LAST thing in the world you want to eat is a sandwich, the only thing in the pantry is bread!? Am I the only one? 

So anyways, since I couldn’t overcome my craving, I went to the store and bought bread just for this sandwich! Yeah, it’s that special. I decided to “grill” this one in a skillet. Think grilled cheese, only sweet. Without the cheese. Yeah.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich

This is so simple and there are only a few ingredients, so make sure you use good stuff!! Like good quality, healthy bread....

......natural peanut butter and pure honey.....

....and if you do, you can't go wrong.


Grilled Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich
      makes 1 sandwich
2 slices whole wheat or whole grain bread
1-2 T natural, creamy peanut butter
2 tsp pure honey
1 tsp light butter (optional)

Now pay attention, this is very hard! :) Spread peanut butter on one side of the first piece of bread. Squeeze honey on one side of the other piece of bread.

Fold together and butter both sides (optional).

On medium heat, cook sandwich in skillet or on griddle for a few minutes on each side....

 ..... or until golden brown.

Cut in half, diagonally. It tastes better that way.
It's science.

Eat and say "Mmmmm," after every bite. And think about me! Or someone else that you love. :)

Have you ever had a honey sandwich?

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