Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Salted Brown Butter Krispy Treats

There is a place in Chicago called Summerhouse with the most perfect Brown Butter Rice Krispy Treats that melt in your mouth as you walk out the door. 

I have always wanted mine to taste like theirs--2 inch squares of chewy, buttery rice krispy treat goodness--but mine never have until I discovered Smitten Kitchen's version tucked in the back of the cookbook! 

I will forwarn you that this is not microwave krispy treats--attention is required along with a little extra equipment (and maybe practice to brown the butter) to get the prize. But, don't let those issues deter you from trying something so delish!

Salted Brown Butter Krispy Treats

Large 5-qt pot
Large mixing bowl
8" x 8" non-stick pan with 2" sides
Butter, for greasing pan
Seran Wrap, for spread gooey goodness easily
Wooden spoon

6 cups rice crispy cereal
1 (10oz) bag mini marshmallows
8 Tbls butter (1 stick)
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt (Maldon Salt)

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prepare all equipment and ingredients.
3. In a large pot, melt 1 stick butter over medium-low heat. 

Note: I have 1 1/2 sticks butter in picture because I was making 1 1/2 batches

4. Pay attention and do not leave--the butter will melt, foam, and turn clear golden.
5. Turning golden brown will occur very quickly along with a nutty aroma filling the air--make sure you are stirring the butter mixture frequently...and, do not walk away.

6. Once the butter is brown, turn off the heat, sprinkle salt into butter and add the marshmallows--these should melt fairly quickly into a smooth texture--but, if you need to, add a little heat briefly to melt remaining puffs.

Because of the browned butter, the melted marshmallows will look slightly dirty!

7. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal until all of it is evenly coated.
8. Scrap the cereal mixture into the prepared and buttered 8" x 8" dish.
9. Use plastic wrap to smooth the top and flatten without getting your hands sticky.

10. Set aside in the fridge briefly to facilitate cooling and setting, but then...who's watching...get your friends and dig in...I know you want one!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Smore Bites

Lookin' for new ways to have old classics I stumbled upon this version of 'Smores from Baking With Blondie!

For some, this recipe will be missing the bonfire ambiance, and for others it will be "just too cumbersome"; but, for those who push thru the detail work...enjoy! On the other hand, Mom just might be open to suggestions over Fall Break or Parents Weekend!

S'more Bites

Mini Muffin Tin, sprayed with PAM
Mixing Bowl
Large ZipLock Bag
Large Food Can (if you don't have rolling pin or processor, crush the crackers in bag)
PAM spray

7 whole graham crackers, finely crushed 
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbls butter, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Large marshmallow, cut in half

Extra Chocolate Chips, for melting and drizzling on final product (optional)

1. Wash your hands and preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. Grind or crush or process graham crackers until finely crushed.

3. Add powdered sugar and melted butter, mixing until coarse mixture.

4. The mixture should be formidable but not too sticky or greasy.

5. Spray mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray.
6. Using the back of a measuring spoon, press 1 Tbls of crust mixture into each cup.

7. Bake crusts x 4 minutes.  Be careful not to burn these.
8. Remove from oven and add 3-4 large dark chocolate chips to the base. Bake x 1 minute.

9. When ready to serve, place 1/2 of large marshmallow on top of your cup.

10. Broil cautiously until you start seeing that golden brown color we love so much! 
11. Allow to cool and set x 2-3 minutes before removing cautiously from the muffin tins.

If you want to get fancy, slowly nuke a handful of chocolate chips, and drizzle over top before inhaling! 

P.S. Cautious broiling is the best way to brown marshmallows if you are stuck inside!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nacho Pinwheels

I love football season--fall leaves, relaxing weekends, competition, and food!! But, I have gotten to the point where I want better snacks than a bowl of 'Chips & Salsa'.  I want interesting with a twist, something "new"...and, I want it easy to make!

What could be better than bite-size '7 Layer Dip' in one? Baking with Blondie offered a solution, but I found that the 'crunch' was missing--it tasted like classic 7 Layer Dip, but when rolled into a soft tortilla the refried beans, sour cream, and avocados made everything 'soggy' and 'mushy'--ike eating spoonfuls of dip without the crunch of the tortilla chips or their flavor! I decided to tweak this with a few layers of crushed tortilla chips!

See what you think of my take on this when you tailgate this weekend!

Nacho Pinwheels

Mixing bowls

Soft tortilla wraps--spinach, vegetable, tomato, low carb
1 can refried beans
1/2 to 3/4 packet taco seasoning, or to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 ripe avocado, seeded and mashed
Sharp cheddar cheese, either thin sliced or grated
1/2 cup pickled jalapeƱos, chopped
Thin tortilla chips, roughly crushed 
Lime juice
Salt & Pepper

Favorite Salsa--I used Rick Bayless' Mango Salsa

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep all ingredients.
3. Combine mashed avocado with sour cream, salt & pepper, and 1-2 tsp lime juice. 
4. Combine refried beans and taco seasoning. Adjust to taste. 
5. Begin layering process:
    --spread thin layer of refried beans mix
    --sprinkle crushed tortilla chips

    --layer thin slices of Extra Sharp Cheddar

    --spread thin layer of avocado cream

    --if you have think slices of green onion, sprinkle here
    --sprinkle another layer of crushed tortilla chips
6. Tightly roll the wrap together and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before cutting.
7. When ready to serve, slice the rolls into bite-size rounds.

Serve with additional salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, jalapeƱo, chips!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Open Face Lunch

Continuing with simple solutions to your college lunch...let's consider other variations of our beloved handheld,ie the open-face sandwich!

If you are cutting carbs, say no more! 
If want a touch of comfort, make it a melt!
Or, if you just want choices and variety, go no further! 

Boar's Head Pepperonero Garlic Ham, Havarti, and Pear Melt with Fig Spread on Multi-Grain Toast

Meet 'The Open Face Sandwich' which will make lunches so much more interesting while allowing you to experiment with different breads, deli meats and cheese combinations and deciding if everything should be hot vs cold, pure vegetarian or packed with protein. 

Add a small salad or handful of trail mix to round out a simple, but delicious lunch.
Check out two options below to try this weekend!

(Adapted from Cooking Light September 2016 magazine edition with some minor changes to spice things up)

Pepperonero Garlic Ham, Havarti and Pear

Toaster Oven

Multi-Grain Crusty Bread
Nance's Spicy Mustard
Fig Jam or Spread
Boar's Head Pepperonero Garlic Ham, thinly sliced
Swiss, Havarti, Dill Havarti, Munster, or your favorite cheese, thinly sliced
Bosc Pear, thinly sliced with seeds removed

1. Wash your hands.
2. Toast your slices of bread and spread the fig jam.

3. Layer the ham and spread with the mustard.

4. Add a few pear slices (use apples if you can't find pears)

5. Top everything with your favorite cheese and broil until bubbly and browned.

The Dark Rye
This is an incredible option for anyone cutting back on meat, seeking to avoid fats and high-sodium content, and looking for ways to "eat your veggies" without getting bored. Use a German type of dark, dense rye bread where coarse grains are packed and compressed for consumption.


Any veggies you want, thinly sliced (this is what I had in the fridge)
2% Greek Yoghurt
Fresh dill & chives, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of lemon juice (optional)
Dense German Dark bread 

1. Wash your hands.
2. Add 1 tsp of chopped dill and 1 tsp of chives to 1 cup yoghurt.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste
4. Spread yoghurt mixture on top of one slice of dark rye bread.
5. Add your sliced veggies.
6. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

Summer Is Over! You have started another semester, but now you have moved off-campus...on your own, or maybe, sharing an apartment with others--woohoo--finally! That said, one of the biggest revelations to most "newly-independent-living-alone-young-adults" is realizing all the crap that mom took care of: laundry, groceries, errands, bills, meals, snacks, and having toilet paper in the house...at all times!

No different when it comes to having food in the fridge! If you are new to this, and living on typical college budget, I suspect sandwiches will be one of your go-to-meals most days when you are busy, going to classes, and taking a lunch with you--just realize the options are endless--far beyond Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Grilled PB & J or Classic Grilled Cheese)!  

Start with the best ingredients you can afford and learn to make some incredible flavor boosters, like spreads, hot sauces, tricked-out condiments--this alone will change the way you feel about eating them day after day!

This week's focus will be about making the most of 'the sandwich', and today's post will elevate your grilled cheese to another mouth-watering level packed with flavor and a touch of spice! Warm, buttery, salty, and full of crunch--do not be quick to judge and do not let the pickle dissuade you from trying this incredible flavor combination!

(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine Sept 2016 in BA Kitchen section which featured Best New Restaurant nominees and one of their go-to-meals at home--this recipe is from Chef Susan Regis)

Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

Simple non-stick skillet

Nance's Original Sharp & Creamy Mustard (or Hot & Sweet version)
Fresh crusty bread--sourdough, Italian, or freshly baked Rye with caraway seeds
Butter, softened
Salami, thinly slice--Genoa or Pepper-crusted Salami
1/2 cup Gruyere, Swiss or Cheddar Cheese, grated
1-2 length-wise Dill pickle slices, 1/4" thick
1. Wash your hands.
2. Spread softened butter on outsides of each bread slice for the sandwich.
3. Heat skillet over medium-heat with 1/2 tsp butter.
4. Place buttered-side of bread face-down in skillet and spread open side with mustard.

5. Scatter 1/4 cup grated cheese.
6. Layer 3-4 thinly sliced salami pieces.
7. Add the pickle.
8. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
9. Place the second slice of bread with non-buttered side on top of the ingredients.

10. In the interim, the bottom slice of bread should be golden brown with the cheese beginning to ooze and soften.
11. Carefully, flip the whole sandwich onto the other buttered-side of bread until it becomes golden brown.

Add a salad.
Sit down to something different! 

Eat better!

Next up this week...
Open-Face Sandwich options--awesome way to try a multitude of flavor combinations without eating mostly bread!