Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudgey Brownies

This week the Bulldogs had a late game (10:45 pm start time, nice right?), and so I thought I had tons of time on Saturday to figure out something. Turns out I got a lot busier than I thought that day, and when I realized we would be leaving for the game in 3 hours, I still hadn’t even thought of anything to make. A quick look in my cupboard revealed a bag of peanut butter chipits, hmm what to do with those? I decided on brownies, as I needed it to get done quickly and cool so I could get them to the game, and still had to make some supper.

Fudgey Brownies with Peanut Butter
1 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
peanut butter chipits (I used ½ a package but would up that to ¾, do what you like)

1.In a medium saucepan melt the margarine and remove from heat. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth.
2.Add in the eggs and vanilla once the mixture has cooled so it will not cook the eggs.
3.Stir in the cocoa powder and all purpose flour until just combined. Fold in the peanut butter chipits.
4.Pour into a 9x 13 inch pan ( I line mine with parchment paper)
5.Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, cool on a wire rack.

The boys loved these brownies (and I must admit that I stole a few before they made it to the locker room). The peanut butter cuts the sweetness of the brownie just the right amount, and what goes together better than peanut butter and chocolate? When asked what they wanted next week, I was told these brownies (or the oreo cookies). Too bad for them that isn’t happening, I can’t have these things around too often!

The Game:
They won 10-4 against the Canadians! Way to go boys! They play again Saturday evening, and hopefully I will have post up a little quicker this time.

Tai Coconut Curry Soup

I saw a recipe for this in “The best of Chef at Home” by Micheal Smith. The picture had me drooling, and I really wanted to try this soup. However after a trip to the grocery store I was unable to find a few of the ingredients (lemon grass, lime leaves ect), so I picked up a curry sauce instead of a paste and made my own soup!

2 cans coconut milk
1 jar Thai curry sauce (I used yellow, but if you want spicier go for red or green)
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 carrots – shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 – 2” knob of ginger
1 box chicken broth
1 packed thai rice noodles

1.In a saucepan, cook the chicken strips.
2.Add in the curry sauce (start with ½ the jar and go from there), 1 can of coconut milk, cream from 1 can of coconut milk, carrots, celery, grated ginger and chicken broth. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes ( vegetables should be cooked).
3.Add the rice noodles and allow them to rehydrate (1-3 minutes depending on heat of soup – check package directions).
4.Serve and enjoy.

Tip: If the noodles are long (as rice noodles tend to be), break them before putting them in the soup, long noodles are hard to dish up or eat with a spoon!

O and I both really enjoyed this soup! It was easy to adjust the spice, and the flavours went really well together. Using the pre-made curry sauce allowed the soup to be made in about 30 minutes, with very little work (and I didn't have to hunt out lemon grass, but still got the flavour). That is my kind of dinner.

The chicken is great in this, but I am sure it would be just as good without and using vegetable broth as a vegetarian version.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cardamom Cookies

First let me let me apologize for the lack of pictures, my camera batteries were dead and then all the cookies were done before they were charged. Also the last week has been terribly busy, so i apologize that this post is a week late.

I love cardamom and usually only get it in cookies around Christmas time. I had a craving for it this week, but didn’t want to make fattigmen or anything like that. I had seen some recipes for Cardamom Chocolate pots, and figured if it went well with chocolate, it should go well in chocolate chip cookies.

Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 cup margerine or butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
½ to 1 tsp ground cardamom (if it is fresh, you will need only ½, use 1 for preground, or if you really like the flavour!)
Chocolate chips.

1.Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy, then cream in the sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla.
2.Mix the baking soda, flour and cardamom together. Add to the butter mixtures and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3.Using a teaspoon drop cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes.
4.Cool on a wire rack.

So I made a half batch with cardamom and a half batch without. I loved the cookies with the cardamom in them and could tell the difference. O thought they were okay, but isn’t a big fan of cardamom so he mostly went for the regular. He could tell which were the cardamom cookies, as he would take a bite then give them to me and get himself a new one!

However the hockey boys could not tell the difference between the two batches. My theory is they weren’t really trying. No complaints on either batch though, and I will be making these again.

All right Game time:
I know I missed last week as I was away – well the boys won sans cookies! Way to go! As for this week, the game ended in a 2-2 tie after 3 periods and one round (5 players) of shootout. They then ran out of ice time and had to leave the game as a tie.

(As this post is a week late, this weeks post will be up soon!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cinnamon Cookies

I love cinnamon, so naturally I am fan of cinnamon hearts. I had a large bag of cinnamon hearts and decided to try and make a cookie out of them for valentines, as I wanted something new and special.

Cinnamon Heart Cookies

¼ + 2 tbsp butter
¾ cup crushed cinnamon hearts
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp baking poweder

powdered sugar
crushed cinnamon hearts

1.Cream the butter and then add the crushed cinnamon hearts and continue creaming. Add in the egg and vanilla until well mixed.
2.Add the flour ½ cup at a time and the baking powder until mixed.
3.Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
4.Sprinkle the counter top with powdered sugar and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.
5.Cut out cookies and place on a cookie sheet, sprinkle the top of the cookies with the remaining crushed candies.
6.Bake at 400F for 6-7 minutes.

I fed these to my students and they all seemed to really enjoy them. Theya re great slightly crispy cookies with a little kick of cinnamon to them. They make a fun and easy Valentines treat, or a great treat for anyone who is a fan of cinnamon hearts!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lasagna (with Bolognese sauce)

I watched Guy's Big Bite on the food channel one day (seriously big mistake) and they featured a couple of Italian places with amazing looking food. After that I was craving something cheesy and tomato goodness. In that same timespan I found myself on bell'alimento (again, not the smartest plan when I was already craving Italian). As soon as I hit the Lasagna Bolognese I was done. I called O at work, he stopped on his way home to pick me up some cheese as I got to work on the sauce. The result is a mix of bell'alimento's recipe and the ones I saw on the Food Network that week.

Lasagna (made with Bolognese sauce)

Bolognese sauce
fresh pasta dough/ dry lasagna noodles
mozzerela cheese
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Assemble the lasagna.

1.Take the pasta dough from fresh pasta and roll into sheets, or use dry noodles. Cook the dough in boiling water.
2.In a pan layer Bolognese sauce, cream sauce, cheese and top with noodles.
3.Repeat the layers until you have 3 layers of noodles, top with sauces and cheese.
4.Bake at 350F for 35 min. (golden on top)
5.Let sit 15 min before serving.

Note: you could also sprinkle some paresien cheese on the top as well!

Also the Bolognese recipe makes a lot, I got 2 of these lasagnas made in a 9” pan and more for spagetti.

Bechamel Sauce (made enough for 2 9” square pans of lasagna)
4 tbsp of Butter
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Milk

In a pan melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until it forms a “paste”. Slowly add the milk to the paste and whisking until smooth each time. Once all the milk is in cook for 5 min or so until it thickens.


Oh my, this hit the spot. I almost pulled it out of the oven and started shoveling it in my face before it was done it smelled so good. It was hardy and filling and just good comfort food. I am drooling just thinking about it. This was also a hit with O.

I have one sitting the freezer ready for to bake it in the coming weeks. I am really looking forward to this.

Bolognese Sauce

I have tried a few different Bolognese sauces over the last year or two, trying to find one that I loved. I have eaten at a couple of places that have tasty ones, so I kept trying. While browsing one day I came across bell'alimento, and here delicious looking Ragu alla Bolognese. I knew I had to try it.

I have made a couple of changes, as I was looking for something with a little more tomato in it (also requested by O) that day, but the original sauce is also amazing! I highly suggest checking it out, and all her other yummy looking recipes!

Bolognese Sauce

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 carrots - peeled & minced
2 stalks of celery - minced
1 clove of garlic - minced
1 onion - minced
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 cups red wine (I used a Shiraz)
1 ½ lb of ground beef
½ lb of ground venison (or beef)
3 cans tomato sauce

1. In a large, deep pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Once hot add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute on low heat for 20 to 25 min. The veggies should be soft and tender. Don’t forget to stir it once in a while.
3. Add the meat, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is brown through.
4. Add the tomato paste and brown for 5 minutes. Add the wine and allow to reduce by half (10-20 min).
5. Put enough water in the mixture to cover the sauce by 1”. Let the sauce simmer on low for a MINIMUM of 1 hour, best is 2-3 hours. If the liquid gets too low, add a little more.
6. ½ hour or so before using the sauce, add in the tomato sauce and stir. (If you want you can add a little basil and oregano – I did this to ½ the sauce.)

Read more:

Both the original sauce found on bellalimento's sight and this version are amazing, just depends on how much tomato you feel like. I am in love with this sauce and I can see I will be making it again in the near future (after the leftovers in the freezer run out).

This recipe make a lot of sauce, and so I have some in the freezer just waiting for me. I am looking forward to see the results of freezing on the sauce. I used this sauce to make lasagna (coming very soon!).