Category Archives: Desserts

Shortcut Blood Orange Cranberry Biscotti

The first time I made shortcut biscotti, I took the recipe from a fantastic beach read. I loved it so much that I made it my own and blogged about it. Go ahead, check out the Shortcut Mocha Macadamia Nut Biscotti. Since then, I’ve been swapping out biscotti ingredients based on items that I have in my pantry.

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Here, I’m using blood oranges. They looked gorgeous and tasted fantastic when I first purchased them. But after some time, I needed for the oranges to fulfill their destiny in a glorious way. Baking! And these fantastic biscotti came to existence. Go ahead and use regular oranges, mineola oranges, etc. Whatever citrus you like!

Enjoy!

Squeezing the juice from the blood oranges

Squeezing the juice from the blood oranges

Putting all of the ingredients together

Putting all of the ingredients together

Combine all of the ingredients. The dough shouldn't be too watery. You'll have to form rectangular logs with the dough

Combine all of the ingredients. The dough shouldn’t be too watery. You’ll have to form rectangular logs with the dough

Biscotti logs...

Biscotti logs…

After the first bake, cut the loaves into pieces, put them back on the baking sheet to bake a second time and dry them out

After the first bake, cut the loaves into pieces, put them back on the baking sheet to bake a second time and dry them out

Baked biscotti!!! (they look dark because of nighttime lighting)

Baked biscotti!!! (they look dark because of nighttime lighting. Makes me appreciate sunlight!)

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients

1 package store bought cake mix (any white/butter flavor)
1 cup AP unbleached flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
Zest from 4 blood oranges
Juice from 4 blood oranges (between 1/4 and 1/3 cup)
2 teaspoons orange extract (optional)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Pinch kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F. 

1. Cut parchment paper to fit large cookie sheet.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except for the dried cranberries and raisins (if using). Mix to combine.
3. Add cranberries and raisins. Mix to incorporate evenly into the dough.
4. Using your hands, separate the dough in half. On the parchment paper lined baking sheet, shape the dough into two even rectangles. Each piece should be approximately 3” wide and ½” thick. Leave space in between, because the dough will rise.
5. Bake for 25 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
7. Cut biscotti into even horizontal strips, approximately 1” wide. 
8. Lay each biscotti on its side on the cookie sheet, leaving space between each one.
9. Bake at 350º F for another 10 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 200º F and continue baking for another 40 minutes. 
10. Cool on wire rack.
 
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach

Chili is a fantastic way to sneak vegetables in to unsuspecting diners. Some people, adults and children alike, have an aversion to visible vegetables. But once those vegetables have been pureed into a delicious tomato sauce for chili, they’ll willingly ask for more.

Beef Chili (shhhhh.... lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

Beef Chili (shhhhh…. lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

I usually try to make chili in one pot. Heck, it’s one of the reasons that I love chili, because it’s not a multiple pot or fussy dish. Having two pots is very helpful for this recipe so that you can saute and puree the vegetables separately.

Use whatever vegetables you have available. Cauliflower, broccoli, peas, eggplant…. whatever is hanging around in the crisper that you’re not sure what to do with this week. This recipe is as flexible as you need it to be!

Enjoy!

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

Add ground beef and brown

Add ground beef and brown

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

 

Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach
Makes approximately 12 entree servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 pounds ground beef
4 carrots, diced
2 large zucchini, cubed
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 28 ounce cans pureed or diced tomatoes (Tuttorosso or similar)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(If you have a preferred chili seasoning, go ahead and use that)
Additional kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium sized pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute carrots for 6-7 minutes.
2. Add zucchini and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
3. Add 1 can of pureed tomatoes and raw spinach. Stir to combine.
4. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a low simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots have softened.
5. Remove from heat and puree vegetables with an immersion blender. If using a stand blender, let vegetables cool a bit and then puree in batches.
6. In a large cast iron pot, or similar heavy bottomed pot, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes to soften.
7. Add ground beef. Saute until browned.
8. To the ground beef and onions, add the pureed vegetables and remaining can of tomatoes. Warm through.
9. Add seasonings. Taste. Adjust for salt and pepper.
10. Add drained and rinsed beans.
11. Bring to a boil and the down to a simmer. Let simmer at least 20 minutes (and up to 5 hours) to let the flavors marry.
Optional: Serve over rice or pasta (for Cincinnati chili)
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Craisins & Raisins

I’m always looking for interesting ways to repurpose prepared foods. Leftover rice from Monday’s dinner with chili turns into paella on Tuesday or pilaf on Wednesday. All foods deserve a happy second turn in life! 

Here, we find new life for an extremely large sweet potato. Of course, you should feel free to use smaller sweet potatoes! If you have a leftover baked sweet potato, great. If not, bake up a fresh sweet potato! Adapted from recipes for Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding Cake, this rich pudding cake isn’t overly sweet, allowing the sweet tartness of the dried cranberries and raisins to shine through.

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

This recipe is Gluten Free, but go ahead and use regular all purpose flour.

One laaaaarge sweet potato

One laaaaarge sweet potato

Just some of the ingredients....

Just some of the ingredients….

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Looks great even before it's baked!

Looks great even before it’s baked!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Couldn't wait... sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Couldn’t wait… sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Raisins and Dried Cranberries

Makes a 9″ cake

Adapted from Social Kitchen

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato (1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup AP gluten free flour
1/2 cup almond flour
pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)
2 tablespoons Jack Daniels
4 large eggs
1 can coconut cream (14.5 ounces)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
powdered sugar to dust

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Bake sweet potato on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, until fork tender. Let cool to room temperature. Or use a pre-baked sweet potato.
2. Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ round springform pan with cooking spray or butter.
3. In a medium size bowl, combine gluten free flour, almond flour, salt and nutmeg.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, if you’re using a hand mixer or mixing by hand) add sweet potato and eggs. Beat until smooth.
5. Add coconut milk, brown sugar, Jack Daniels and butter. Mix to combine.
6. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
7. Add raisins and cranberries. Mix to combine.
8. Pour into prepared springform pan. Place springform pan on a baking sheet (in case it leaks) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top has a golden crust and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to release the cake from the springform pan.
10. Let cake cool for a few hours. Top with powdered sugar.
11. The cake is delicious at room temperature.
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

I’m not a great baker. It’s a tough admission to make, but it’s true. I don’t have a good “feel” for baking. I can’t add a pinch of this or dash of that and I can never eyeball something. If baking is my downfall, then pies are my kryptonite.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

You can imagine my joy when I saw something on pinterest (evil, evil pinterest) that made me believe I could successfully bake an apple pie without exact measurements! Apple Pie Pizza. It’s a genius as it sounds. With the help of some store-bought ingredients, I had this gorgeous dessert in the oven in about 20 minutes… and that’s with the help/hindrance of small hands!

I’m never going to make a regular apple pie again!

Cooks notes: 1. Add the caramel drizzle when you’re read to eat the pie. The crumb topping absorbs it very quickly.  2. It doesn’t transport easily. If you’re going to plate it, bake it on parchment paper and then you’ll have an easier time sliding it onto a platter.

Defrost and then roll out dough

Defrost and then roll out dough

Peel and dice three large apples

Peel and dice three large apples

Toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and sugar

Toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and sugar

Toss crumb ingredients together (before)

Toss crumb ingredients together (before)

Crumb ingredients should be evenly coated with butter (after)

Crumb ingredients should be evenly coated with butter (after)

Top the pie crust with the apple mixture

Top the pie crust with the apple mixture

Add the crumb topping

Add the crumb topping

Resist not taking a piece...

Resist not taking a piece…

TJ's Salted Caramel Sauce

TJ’s Salted Caramel Sauce

Baked!

Baked!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

The kids will want to do this part

The kids will want to do this part

Cross section of the pie

Cross section of the pie
Action shots!! (Older daughter was pouring the caramel and my son took the photos)

Action shots!! (Older daughter was pouring the caramel and my son took the photos)

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Note: I’ve given exact measurements here, but I promise that if you eyeball most of it, this pie is still going to be fantastic!

Ingredients

1 store bought pie crust, defrosted (standard or gluten free)
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Pie Filling
3 large apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons AP flour (or AP GF flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
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Crumb Topping
1/2 cup AP flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup rolled oats
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3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel (add more if you have a really big sweet tooth!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Roll pie dough out on a silpat. Roll it out a bit thinner than it’s original size. Tuck the edges  (about 1/2 inch or so) underneath itself, to give it a raise crust.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine diced apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crumb topping. Making sure to get each piece coated with butter.
4. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the pie crust, leaving about 1/4″ – 1/2″ border.
5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the apples have softened.  Once out of the oven, let rest for at least 10 minutes.
7. Drizzle with salted caramel immediately before eating.
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Jam is my favorite way to hold onto the taste of summer. Incidentally, jam is also one of my favorite ways to give life to fruit that is on it’s way to going bad. Blueberries have been abundant in the area. We’ve purchased them at local farmers markets and picked our own at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT. After eating them plain, adding them to smoothies, to yogurt and cottage cheese, sweet and savory salads, and baking with them… it was time to make jam.

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Four cups of blueberries (roughly 2 pints of berries) yielded almost 4 pints of jam.

Go ahead… save summer 🙂

Enjoy!

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (ingredients)

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Makes 3 1/2 pints

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries (about 2 pints)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 granny smith apple, finely diced

Directions

1. In a medium size heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Turn down to medium (or medium/low) and let the blueberries gently bubble.
3. Place a small plate into the freezer (Just do it. Trust me, you’re going to need it)
4. Stir occasionally and let the blueberries reduce by about 1/3. This will take about an hour. Most will pop open, so there’s no need to mash them.
5. Perform a gel test: Remove the plate from the freezer. Place a spoonful of the jam on the plate and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently press jam with fingertip; it should not be runny, it should wrinkle slightly. Here’s a picture of the gel test from my other Off-Season Strawberry Jam recipe.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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3 Ingredient Banana Pancakes Oladi (оладья)

In a previous post, for Lemon Ricotta Syrniki, I mentioned that there isn’t a Russian equivalent to American pancakes. The premise for “oladi” style pancakes is simple: flour + egg + another ingredient. Oladi can be made with fruit or yogurt or kefir. I make these banana oladi any time I have bananas that are destined for greater glory. Pulling these three ingredients together is much faster than banana bread or muffins. 

Banana Oladi

Banana Oladi

These banana oladi are perfect for breakfast, lunch, snack-time or brinner. They travel well and are yummy hot, warm or at room temperature! If you happen to sneak one directly from the fridge, you won’t regret it… they’re delicious anytime! They’re a go-to staple at our house for road trips and days at the lake/beach.

The recipe also works with other fruit like apples, pears, plums, peaches or nectarines. If you try other fruits or with yogurt/kefir, you’ll need to adjust the flour and egg proportions to bind the pancake.

 

4 ripe bananas (slightly over-ripe)

4 ripe bananas (slightly over-ripe)

Mash the bananas

Mash the bananas

2 Jumbo Eggs + 1/2 cup All Purpose Unbleached Flour

2 Jumbo Eggs + 1/2 cup All Purpose Unbleached Flour

Mix to combine

Mix to combine

Use a soup spoon, size may vary

Use a soup spoon, size may vary

Spoon batter onto a skillet

Spoon batter onto a skillet

Flip over when edges are lightly golden brown

Flip over when edges are lightly golden brown

Serve banana oladi alone or with a fun topping

Serve banana oladi alone or with a fun topping

Banana Oladi

Banana Oladi

3 Ingredient Banana Pancakes Oladi  (оладья)

Makes approximately 30 oladi (2″ diameter)

Ingredients

4 ripe or slightly over-ripe bananas
2 Jumbo eggs
1/2 cup AP flour or GF AP flour
Canola oil for skillet (optional)

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mash bananas.
2. Add eggs and flour. Mix to combine.
3. Heat a non-stick pan to medium/medium-low. Add a splash of canola oil (about 1 tablespoon) and let the oil heat up.
4. Spoon batter onto skillet. I can get 9 pancakes on my pan, your amount will depend on the size of your skillet.
5. When the edges turn golden brown (about 3-4 minutes), flip the pancakes in the same order that you poured the batter into the skillet.
NOTE: if the pancakes burn, turn the heat down. If the pancakes don’t brown quickly enough, turn up the heat a bit.
6. Let pancakes cook for another 3-4 minutes.
7. Remove onto paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil
8. Optional: serve with sour cream, Fage, jam, Nutella or honey.
10. Eat immediately (after they cooled down for a bit) or refrigerate and enjoy later.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Baking requires a beautiful precision; a precision that I rarely have the patience for. This No-Bake Icebox Cake is my go-to dessert when I’m tight on time (always) and when the kids idle hands are dangerously close to becoming mischievous (always). Takes about 20 minutes to pull together and it’s a guaranteed hit for large parties (combine ingredients in a 10″ springform pan) and barbecues (individual cups). The creaminess of the whipped cream softens the thin cookies and becomes a wonderfully soft layered cake.

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

It’s a fool-proof recipe that can be modified based on the ingredients that you have on hand and what’s available at the store. If your store has chocolate cookie thins (also called wafers), bypass the lemon zest and swap out the lemon extract for vanilla extract and you’ll have a delicious Oreo-esque cake on your hands. You might also see ginger or orange flavored thins (Anna brand), which work very well in this recipe. Any flavor will work!

Perfect for a dinner party, kids party, or anytime… the springform pan can stay refrigerated for up to 2 days. Perfect for a picnic: throw those individual cups into a cooler in the morning and your individual cakes will be ready by lunchtime!

Enjoy!

Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Whip the cream to stiff peaks

Whip the cream to stiff peaks

Set up your base (individual containers here)

Set up your base (individual containers here)

Build your cake

Building our individual cakes

The dollop of whipped cream looks so pretty

The dollop of whipped cream looks so pretty

A tower of ease and goodness...

A tower of ease and goodness…

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Serves 8-10

3 cups cold whipping cream (heavy cream)
1/2 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
2 packages Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Directions

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, sugar, lemon extract (if using) and lemon zest.
2. Turn mixer on LOW to combine ingredients (about 1 minute). Then raise the speed to MEDIUM/HIGH for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Don’t over-beat it or you’ll start to make butter.
3. Place the cookies in a single layer on the bottom of a springform pan (or individual cups), covering as much of the bottom as possible.
4. In a thin layer, spread whipped cream over the cookies.
5. Add another layer of cookies and whipped cream. Repeat until your form(s) is/are filled. You will most likely have some leftover cookies and whipped cream.
6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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