Sunday, January 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

I was skeptical.  I adore the original chocolate Texas sheet cake and it's a cinch to make it for big parties.  But sometimes a gal needs a break from chocolate.  I realize I NEVER say this but upon finding this cake on the social media site Pinterest, I was intrigued.  This cake was moist, rich and I will definitely be making this at large gatherings.  In fact, making a chocolate one and this one together would be a fun way to please the masses! 

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 cup water

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
I also topped with a few M&M's for fun!  Mini- chocolate chips would be delish too!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cake: In a bowl combine the sugar and flour. In a separate bowl (I used my mixer bowl) mix eggs, baking soda, and sour cream well. Set aside. In a small saucepan combine peanut butter, butter, and water. Bring to a boil. Stir the boiled peanut butter mixture into the flour mixture, then add to the sour cream mixture. Pour into a 15×10 inch sheet/jellyroll type pan. Bake 20 minutes or until done. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting: Combine the butter, peanut butter, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. let the frosting cool for a few minutes, then add vanilla. The frosting will be thick, mix well. Pour over cake while both are still warm. Let cool, then get some milk ready and enjoy!
I "Pinned" this recipe from Pinterest (my new obsession) but originally from Sprinkled with Flour.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buffalo-Chicken Mac & Cheese

My car registered 2 degrees the other day.  After a mild winter, my body was not prepared for that kind of bone chilling cold.  I could not find my gloves but I did find this!  I found it (or pinned it) on Pinterest.  Do you know it?  It's like a virtual bulletin board and completely addictive.  Once you start, you're hooked.  Anyway, back to the food.  This is comforting, creamy, a bit spicy and all together tasty.  It's very rich dish so you may want to consider this as a side dish or paired with some healthy greens!

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups milk (now's not the time for skim so use whole please)
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Sprinkle blue cheese and parsley over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

From Food Network

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quinoa Fried "Rice"

Sometimes you just come across an idea that seems so logical you cannot help but wonder why you didn't think of it yourself.  This was a "duh" recipe for me.  I've had a lonely box of quinoa in my pantry forever and I finally found a great way to use it.  I just cooked mine in my rice cooker like I would rice.  You can really use whatever favorite fried rice recipe your family prefers.  This is just a variation of what I had handy.  Because quinoa is a natural source of protein, there's really no need to add meat.  A simple vegetarian meal that's familiar and welcomed in our house. 

4 cups cooked quinoa
8 scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red peppers, diced small
1 cup snow peas or green peas
1 can water chestnuts, drained
4 - 6 tsp low sodium soy sauce or to taste
1 tsp. sesame oil or toasted sesame seeds to taste
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 whole egg, scrambled
Can also add: broccoli, baby corn, bamboo shoots, corn, onions, whatever floats your boat.

In a nonstick wok or large frying pan, add 1 tsp. veg. oil and add the eggs and cook a minute or two until done. Set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the scallions, peppers, peas, water chestnuts and garlic. Saute about a minute, and stir in all the quinoa. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and stir to mix all the ingredients. Keep stirring a few minutes, then add cooked scrambled egg. Adjust soy sauce if needed to taste and mix well another 30 seconds.

Recipe (and pic) adapted from Gina's Recipes

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Steakhouse Burgers

Oh my.  Oh my.  These were decedent.  We had these New Year's day because the kids were not digging the black eye pea dish I had planned and they declared that anything covered in the yummy looking sauce had to be good.  Those kids of mine were right.  The original recipe called for 8 oz of diced, sauteed mushrooms but since we are not huge mushroom fans I omitted them.  Consider this your favorite winter-time burger!

For burgers:
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground sirloin
1 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 slices buttered Texas Toast
shredded Parmesan

Creamed Spinach Sauce

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 cup half-and-half, plus more as needed
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and black pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or 2/3 package chopped, frozen spinach - defrosted and wrung dry
1 Tbs grated Parmesan
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine the sirloin with 1 tablespoon oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper, mustard and herbs. Gently mix to combine using a fork or your hands. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a patty.

Scrape the grate clean and brush with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Grill the burgers until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the burgers from the grill and cover to keep warm. Grill the bread 1-2 minutes per side, until lightly browned.
To make the spinach sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir the flour into the onions and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in the half-and-half, broth, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Bring sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, until it begins to thicken.  Add the spinach. Mix in the Parmesan and lemon juice, and add more half-and-half if the sauce has thickened too much. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Top each slice of bread with a burger, spinach sauce, and garnish with Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Recipe (and yes, pic) from Pink Parsley