Saturday, May 31, 2014

Roasted Corn & Jalapeño Dip

This past Memorial Day weekend friends invited us over for a great cook-out.  And the reason it's so much fun going over to their place is that the appetizers rock, almost to the point that I'm too full for the burgers!! But never too full for the cookies!

Two recipes will be shared this week from that wonderful meal: Joey's Corn Dip and Pearce's Lemon Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting--awesome, super simple and perfect for college living!  As the weather continues to warm up and picnics are on the rise, you will want some quick fix appetizers or desserts to take along!

I modified the dip just a tad, by adding 'more' heat and roasting the corn, but my, my, this stuff good! If you have grilled corn or have leftover corn cobs--use the leftovers, but if you are in a pinch, use the corn kernels in a can, i.e. Green Giant has very little additives, sugar or salt.

If you are low on time, skip the roasting!
Happy Dipping!!

Joey's Corn Dip--Modified

Large non-stick skillet (if you are roasting corn / jalapeños)
Mixing bowl

2 cups corn kernels, drained & roasted
1 Tbls butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh pepper
1/2 lime juice

2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

12 oz reduced-fat cream cheese (1 1/2 blocks), softened
1/2 - 3/4 cup light sour cream
1/3 - 1/2 cup mayo

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep, drain, dice and grate your ingredients as recommended above.

3. Melt your butter and olive oil over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
4. Add your corn and 1/2 of the diced jalapeños.
5. Sprinkle salt & pepper. And if you are up to it, add the cayenne. (check the jalapeño heat first)

6. Sear the corn slowly until golden brown, but not burnt! Add a little lime juice.

7. While the corn roasts, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo until smooth.

8. Add sharp cheddar to the cream cheese mixture.  Add a little more if you need to or add pepper jack if you want more heat.

9. Add the remaining jalapeño and green onions. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

10. Once the corn is golden brown and slightly cooled, combine it all with the cheese mixture.

11. Have the chips ready!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Better Ramen

Ramen was indeed invented to feed the masses, and at $0.35/packet it easily fits most college student budgets. But flavor is all MSG (monosodium-glutamate), artificial, and nutrition is minimal. 

Try something better next time you open a square of dried noodles--skip the little salt packet and replace it with some real ingredients and cooking moves!

And yes, it takes a few minutes more than boiling water, but only a few...i promise!

(Adapted from Pinch of Yum "Quick Homemade Ramen")

Wok-type skillet (or just a 3-qt saucepan)
Sharp knife
Wooden spoon

3 ramen packets, noodles only

1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp canola
3 tsp of grated ginger
4 tsp of minced garlic
8 oz of mini-portabellos, cleaned, sliced and sauteed
4 cups chicken broth
(original recipe calls for equal parts water, but I would skip this--too diluted--you decide!)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups spinach or kale
1 cup firm tofu, diced
1/2 tsp siracha (add more if you like 'hot')

1 egg 

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep your garlic, ginger, onions, mushrooms. 

3. Heat canola and sesame oil in your saucepan over MEDIUM-HI heat.

4. Add ginger and garlic.  Stir until fragrant, approx 1-2 minutes.

5. Add mushrooms and saute until just golden brown.

6. Add 4 cups of broth plus "maybe" 1 cup water (I would skip the water)

7. Add 3 noodle blocks of ramen. Bring to a low-boil. Stir until noodles begin to soften.

8. Add your scallions, spinach, and tofu. (I did not have tofu on hand, but next time!)

9. Adjust your heat with siracha, salt and pepper.

10. Grab your chopsticks, or if you are feeling adventurous, break an egg over top and allow to cook until done!

11. If you have some left, store it in tupperware. Should keep until evening or the next day...beyond that, probably not so good!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blondies Upgraded

Perhaps it was the company, but when we were visiting our friends in Florida, we couldn't stop eating the blondes our friend, Roshan,  put out before us! Not just regular blondies, but loaded with chocolate, white, and butterscotch chips! And as we were about to leave...I had to ask for the recipes, of course!

If you are hosting (or heading to) a Memorial Day gathering, check these out! I made a double batch and used a 9" x 13" Pyrex dish just to make sure there were enough.  Finally, you can make these with 'good ol' fashioned' upper body strength, but if someone has a hand-held mixer, these take about 10 minutes to put together! Really!!!

Large mixing bowl
9" x 13" Pyrex Dish, buttered.
Rubber Spatula
(or Hand-held mixer)

2 sticks (16 Tbls) of butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch chips

(If you like nuts or dried fruit, substitute 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips with the other.)

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
3. In a large mixing bow, combine brown sugar and melted butter until smooth.
4. Add baking powder and vanilla.

5. Add 1/2 tsp salt.

6. Add your flour slowly and combine well before adding more, especially if whisking yourself!

7. Using a spatula, combine your add-ins with the batter.

8. This is delicious, but promise yourself to save enough for baking.
9. Butter your baking dish.

10. Bake @ 350F degrees for 25 minutes, then turn down to 300F degrees for another 5 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blender Crepes

When our family would head to a breakfast place, Jon could never decide between savory and sweet--the classic 'eyes are bigger than the stomach'--the dilemma: Crepes vs eggs benedict! that you are cooking and have been taught to make 'Budget Benedict Eggs' could easily have both, right? 

Crepes are perfect for the college student and can virtually made at any time with the bare, staple ingredients of most refridgerators: eggs, milk, butter, flour, and water. You will only be limited by what's left in your pantry, your cooking skills, and your imagination, because the variations of fillings are limitless:

a. Sweet
--plain vanilla sugar or powdered sugar with lemon
--nutella and bananas or strawberries
--cinnamon sugar
--cottage cheese and fruit
--any fresh fruit
--any fruit compote
--see what you can concoct!

b. Savory
--chicken & mushrooms
--broccoli & cheese

If you indeed love making / having crepes, it is worth investing in a crepe skillet!
If not quite perfect the first time around, try again, try a different recipe combination.

(Adapted recipes from Molly Katzen's Breakfast cookbook and Allrecipes website.

Crepe Skillet or Non-stick skillet
Nutri-Bullet / Blender or Mixing Bowl & Whisk
Rubber Spatula
Redi-Whip--lots of it

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbls granulated sugar
2 Tbls butter, melted

1. Wash your hands.
2. If using a magic-bullet-like blender, combine all of your ingredients into the cup.

3. Blend until just combined and smooth, approx 10-15 second pulse. Go to Step 8.

4. If using mixing bowl and whisk, combine milk and water. 
5. Add flour slowly.
6. Add eggs, salt, sugar and butter.
7. Whisk until smooth.

8. Heat your crepe pan or skillet over MEDIUM heat with dab of butter. Spray lightly with PAM.

9. Add 1/4 - 1/3 cup of batter, then lift, tilt, and swirl the pan in a circular motion until batter covers skillet base. (if batter too thick, add a little liquid, i.e. milk or water)

10. Once edges begin to curl and separate from pan, flip the crepe and cook until golden brown.

11. Have a warm plate ready for crepes as you make them.

12. Mix up some fresh fruit with Vanilla Agave syrup.  Prep your condiments!

13. Fill your crepes with fruit, cinnamon sugar, and wrap it up. 

14. And that's just one variation!