Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

Mexican Sushi

“Like so many things: it is not what is outside but what is inside that counts” …classic song quote from Aladdin helps explain these Mexican Sushi Rolls.

These are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing OR a blessing in disguise… long story short: these look like sushi but taste like Mexican food! Go ahead and make these using some squared off tortilla shells, sushi rice & your favorite mexican (dry works better) fillings. Some of these looked a lot like Mexican Roll-Ups (yes – Rich’s looked a lot better than mine… thanks darling for saving my ok-is looking rolls into some awesome faux-sushi AND for taking some great photos) but throw one some sauce and you have a great fake-out dinner. Feel free to give these a try with nori as well!


Happy April Fools, or any fun day!


March 29, 2011

Guinness “French” Onion Soup

We love French Onion Soup (and when I say “we”, I mean that I have loved it from the time that I was a little kid and Rich had gotten it in restaurants and never really loved it until I made it a few months ago)!

Guinness French Onion Soup

This is your (very belated) St. Patrick’s Day inspired version of French Onion Soup (not sure if it is still FRENCH Onion Soup when you use an IRISH Beer).

BUT… what better way to illustrate the United States as being the Great American Melting Pot (yay for School House Rock songs now being stuck in my head) as using beer from one country to make a soup named after another one… lets celebrate America and have some soup!


Recipe (from Pennies on a Platter)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (about 2 very large onions)
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or dried)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups Guinness Draught
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • [1 bay leaf]
  • Country bread loaf, cut into six 1/2-inch thick slices, then toasted
  • 1/2 lb Irish Cheddar, thinly sliced [I used a slice of swiss, and then some sharp white cheddar]

Heat the olive oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven over high heat.  Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant.  Add the onions, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute’ the onions for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are a deep amber color.

Add the thyme, vinegar and beer.  Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, then add the beef stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler and set out individual oven-proof soup bowls.  Discard the bay leaf, then use a ladle to transfer the soup to the individual bowls.  Top with toasted bread slices, then 3-4 slices of the cheddar cheese.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

March 23, 2011

BACON Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my “sunshine on a cloudy day”. Because today, March 23, 2011 we had our second snow day of the week and almost 6 inches of “snowball snow” fall outside my window! I decided to make myself a breakfast skittle breakfast (you know: potato, meat & egg) and wanted to finally use the bacon I had in the fridge and cook it all up at the same time (since I HATE cooking bacon). Usually when I cook up a whole package of bacon I just freeze the cooked bacon in a baggie so its there when I want some. Today was different though: I wanted to bring that sunshine to Rich when he got home since he had to work today and decided to make him some chocolate chip cookies. We all know how much Rich loves that Cookie Dough – but I decided to something unthinkable and cook that dough (with some bacon mixed in)!

These are one of those Heaven on Earth type things… we all love bacon & we all love chocolate (even though we all try to deny ourselves those loves).

Happy Wednesday & Happy Spring

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

RECIPE (from Everything Nice)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup [Candied] Bacon (to candy: check this out – I just used regular)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease OR line with parchment paper several baking sheets.

Beat the sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter.  Stir in the chocolate chunks and bacon bits.

Using a small cookie scoop (teaspoon), scoop the cookie dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place them 2 inches apart on each of the baking sheets. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until pale golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

… and remember: all good things in moderation. Do not deny yourself the things that you love – just enjoy them in moderation!!

March 21, 2011

Spinach [Parmesan Cheese] Balls

In my attempt to be healthy recently I have been on a GREEN kick (smoothies, and pancakes, and muffins, and all sorts of yummy stuff made with spinach). Well now St. Patrick’s Day is passed and Spring is here (although I currently have a snow day on the first full day of spring… hmm). BUT, I still think that green fits in quite perfectly! I made these amazing simple (and kinda healthy) spinach balls around Thanksgiving (but we had too much family at the house and I didn’t get a good picture before everyone snatched them all up so I never posted). These make an amazing appetizer and I figured they would be amazing with a Sausage-Meatball (take your favorite sausage out of the casing, add some egg n bread crumbs to make your balls) and pasta as a healthier dinner option than just a plain “meat”ball (OR just do the spinach balls for your veggie-friends!


  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 small green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the chopped spinach, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, green onion, eggs, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls (if you make them too big, they will have a longer cooking time).
  3. Arrange the balls in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

* I am currently working on playing with the recipe to lower to amount of butter. This last time I just used one stick of butter and used a bit less bread crumbs but they  were much more delicate. Next time I plan to still just use one stick of butter and then add another egg or so to hold them together more… feel free to play around to make these be all that you want them to be.

Like I always say: as long as the end result is still edible: experimentation in the kitchen is a good thing!

March 18, 2011

“Car Bomb” Cupcakes

These Cupcakes are ‘Da Bomb!

… or that is at least what I am going to be calling them! Since it is the time of year where you see lots of St. Patrick’s Day themed thing, I kept stumbling across lots of recipes calling for Guinness, which I can not really take more than a few sips of… so using it in cooking I knew would be a better way for me to enjoy it. When I have really enjoyed Guinness, it has been mixed with chocolate so I just knew that I needed to make Stout Cupcakes & the perfect frosting for these is a Baileys buttercream! (This would also make a great cake recipe.)

The flavors of the stout cupcake (rich, light, & dense all at the same time) are perfectly balanced with the creamy sweet Bailey’s frosting. Topped with some Green Sugar Sprinkles (or shamrock sprinkles) and your St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes are all ready.

As I post this – I realize that St. Patrick was the Patron Saint of Ireland and brought Christianity from England to Ireland… so it is against Judaism to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!?  Hmmm. Well – here is how I figure it: I am very “not religious” (I consider myself someone who honors and appreciates tradition and honors/respects everyone more than someone who is religious/follows a religion) AND St. Patrick’s Day has been very commercialized – just like everything else… SO: thanks to modern commercialism, everyone can enjoy this holiday, wear some green, drink some Guinness, and eat their Americanized corned beef.


Cake: (from The Culinary Chronicles)

  • 1 Cup Stout Beer
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ Cup Quality Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1½  Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ⅔ Cup Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners.

Melt your butter with the beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool slightly while working on the next phase.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In your mixing bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Then (using a rubber spatula) fold the batter until completely combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way filled (for a nice dome – slightly less if you want a flatter cake). Bake about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely (this can easily be done one day & frost the next… spreads the cleaning out too)

Frosting: (from Pages, Pucks, & Pantry)

  • 8-oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
  • 4-oz. stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, add the cream cheese, butter and confectioner’s sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly drizzle (or pour by the shot-glass full) in the Bailey’s and beat until completely incorporated into the frosting.

Use your favorite pastry bag (or a freezer-sized ziploc bag) with a nice tip (either a large hole OR a large star-tip – I don’t know sizes, just make it look nice) and make circles starting either at the center or the edge… the more you play the easier it will get (and remember, these taste amazing so even if they don’t look perfect everyone will forget and just remember how awesome they tasted)!

* Frosting Note: after reading quite a few comments/feedback – this is just [barely] enough for all the cupcakes, but doubling it makes a lot of frosting… so I went with 1.5 times what the recipe calls for and it seemed to work out pretty well, although I still has some extra!

* GREEEN recipes can be found HERE

Happy St. Patrick’s Day… and enjoy any reason explore new corners of the globe through your kitchen!

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