Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweet Potato Fries


These were the perfect side for the lentil burgers, and I used the avocado sauce for both!

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick fries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Directions
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line a baking pan with foil.
3. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes and the seasoning with the oil and mix well. Place on the baking sheet and cook for about 25- 30 minutes. or until the fries are crispy they way you like them. 
4. Serve with the Avocado Sauce. 

Lentil and Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Sauce




My husband and I went to Seattle for Labor day weekend and we ate at some AMAZING restaurants, thanks to the suggestion of Erins friend Annmarie! For lunch one day Nick ordered a lentil mushroom burger and it was fantastic. We have been craving that burger ever since. I decided to try to make some, and they turned out pretty good, not as good as the one we had in Seattle, but that is a good reason to go back ;).



 Lentil and Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 7 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon block pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced and sauteed for the top of the burgers. 
Directions
1. To Prepare the burger, combine water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Drain and set aside
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the mushrooms, oregano, and pepper and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. 
3. Place onion mixture in a large bowl with the black beans and let it cool for a minute.
4. Add the lentils, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and egg whites. Cover and chill 30 minutes to an hour. (the mixture is going to be really hard to handle until it cools slightly)
5. Divide the lentil mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each portion into 1/2 inch thick patty. 
6. Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add lentil patties and cook for 5 minutes each side. 
7 Assemble the patties how you would like, I put lettuce, avocado sauce and sautéed some onion on mine, you can add cheese or whatever you like. 



Avocado Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper
Directions
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth. 
2. Season with salt and pepper to you taste and serve with lentil burger or sweet potato fries



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pineapple Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing



My girlfriend Brooke Bell who owns Sugar Bell Cookies & Cupcakes makes the most glorious sugar cookies with royal icing.  I have admired her work for years.  And though I cannot come close to her extraordinary talent, I wanted to give this a try.  I found this extremely cute cookie cutter at Williams Sonoma, and bought it on a whim.  I'm so glad I did.  These cookies are so fun.


                           

Pineapple Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Ingredients

SUGAR COOKIES
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pineapple cookie cutter

ROYAL ICING
1/2 cup meringue powder
3/4 cup water
2 pounds (32 ounces) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Yellow gel food coloring
Green gel food coloring
Small squeeze bottles
Toothpicks
2 small piping bags
2 #3 piping tips

Directions

FOR THE COOKIES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.  Add the flour mixture one cup at a time, mixing on low until just combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  After the last addition, the mixture will look thick and crumbly.

Now, lets roll!  Line rolling surface with silicone baking mat.  Dust rolling pin with flour.  Roll half of dough on the silicone mat 1/4 inch thinck.  Dip the cookie cutter in flour and cut as many pineapples out of the dough as you can (I managed 4 on my first roll-out).  Remove scraps, re-knead and repeat.

Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet. 

Place cookies in freezer for 10 minutes.  Bake for 9-12 minutes.  Remove from oven when done and let cool for a couple of minutes on baking tray.  Use the cookie cutter again to trim cookies to size, if desired.  Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

FOR THE ICING
When cookies have cooled, mix the royal icing in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed meringue powder, powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup until combined.  Scrape down sides, and beat for 5 minutes on medium speed.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until icing is glossy and stiff peaks form.  

Divide icing into two containers.  Since you will be using more yellow icing, make sure one container has about two-thirds of the prepared icing, and the other container has about one-third of the icing.  Tint Royal Icing yellow and green.  

With a piping bag and #3 tip, outline the pineapple in yellow, and the leaves in green.  Once all the cookies have been outlined, return remaining icing to containers. 

Now you have to thin the icing in order flood the cookies.  Add a few drops of water at a time until the consistency of your icing is a thick syrup.  Fill your squeeze bottle with the thinned icing.  Fill the center of the outlined cookie.  Use a toothpick to spread the icing to the edges and slightly over.  Repeat with the remaining cookies and let dry for 24 hours.  

Remember!  Practice makes perfect.  So have fun with these, and don't give up :)

-Erin


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brown Sugar Banana Cake


I know I am a little late to the party!!!  But better late than never...Right?  This recipe mixes the perfect flavors and sugars to give it a unique taste.  Here is my "rustic" looking cake but if I have a little extra time I actually frost the entire thing and it looks pretty spectacular.

Brown Sugar Banana Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8-inch round pans.  In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Mix in the bananas.  Add flour mixture alternately with the yogurt.  Stir in the walnuts by hand.  Pour into baking pans and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.  



Frosting
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar

Directions 

Beat first three ingredients together then gradually add the powdered sugar.  

Frost any way you like and enjoy!

-Kelli

p.s. I just noticed my sons connect toy under my picture of the batter...please disregard...occupational hazard of having two small children in the kitchen with you!


Fun Fruity Rainbow Skewers



This is a fun twist on a fruit salad or just an easy way to enjoy your fruit.  My kids love it when I present them with this colorful array of fruit.  It is also a perfect individual serving without having to dirty a plate or use a fork.

Fun Fruity Rainbow Skewers

Ingredients

  • 20 strawberries
  • 20 orange or clementine wedges
  • 20 pineapple chunks
  • 40 green grapes
  • 40 blueberries
  • 40 red grapes
  • 20 wood or bamboo skewers


Directions

Arrange the fruit on the skewers in any order using: 1 strawberry, 1 orange wedge, 1 pineapple chunk, 2 green and red grapes, and 2 blueberries on each.  I like to do them in a rainbow pattern and then display them in a rainbow on a platter.

Enjoy!

-Erin


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Easy Chicken Kebabs



These chicken kebabs are a go-to in my house.  They are loaded with flavor and a snap to make.  Zucchinis are one of my favorite vegetables.  I love using them in lasagnas, breads, and on their own as a side dish.  Red peppers are another great way to add flavor.  They are inherently sweet and so good for you.



Easy Chicken Kebabs

Ingredients

* 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
* 3 zucchinis cut into 1 1/2 inch sections
* 3 large red peppers chopped into 1 inch squares
* Pappy's seasoning
* 10 skewers soaked in water for 15 minutes

Directions

Prepare each skewer as follows: 2 red peppers, 2 chicken cubes, 2 red peppers, 1 zucchini, 2 chicken cubes, 2 red peppers, 2 chicken cubes, 1 zucchini.

Season each skewer liberally with Pappy's

Place skewers on grill, rotating about every 3 minutes.

-Erin

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1- 26 oz jar marinera sauce (or you can make your own, see recipe below)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 cubes  mozzarella cheese


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined.
3. Form 12 meatballs, with your thumb make an indentation in the center. Add the mozzarella cheese in the center of the meatball and completely cover the cheese with the meat. Forming a nice tight ball. Do with the rest of the meatballs. 
4. Pour about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the meatballs, lightly covering each ball with the sauce. Cover and cook for about 35 minutes. Take the cover off and finish for about 5-7 minutes, or until fully cooked. 
5. Serve with Spaghetti and the rest of the sauce


Marinera Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, peeled and small diced
  • 1 white onion, small diced
  • 2 celery stocks, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1- 38 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes 
  • 1 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions
1. Heat a large pan with the oil and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and simmer for about 45 minutes on low heat. 

-Tara