Berry Scones – ugly but delish

Happy New Years Eve!!!
IMG_5631

If there were ever a cooking competition that was for tastes great but looks terrible my scones would win hands down. Albeit I have only made them twice or maybe three times but they NEVER look like the scones I buy; well anywhere else. But mine do taste simply divine; just to clear the air I am not the only one judging them. My biggest critic is my husband, almost to a fault. He simply has a comment for everything that is put in front of him. Thankfully I have sat across from him for or 30+ years so I at least know he is not only critiquing my food.
IMG_5624
I will have to keep practicing, but I had to actually put away the last three so we stopped eating them, that can’t be good for us; eating 5 scones within a matter of a couple of hours. Did I mention there were only three of us in the house at the time.
IMG_5629
I have been trying to list the macros; Protein, Fat, Carbs and Calories; on my recipes but I fear trying to figure out what the macros would be on the scones would stop me from trying to finally make a pretty scone worth photographing. Which as you can tell hasn’t stopped me from taking and sharing pictures of my “ugly” but very tasty version.
IMG_5630
Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon sugar
zest of 2 citrus fruits – lime, lemon, orange whatever you have on hand
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh juice from the fruit you zested – I used lemon
1 cup fresh berries – I used 3 kinds, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon zest of the fruit you used
A little juice from the same fruit
IMG_5633
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, lime zest and salt. Cut in the butter, using your hands, or a pastry blender. Mix just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix 1 cup of heavy cream with lime juice and pour over the ingredients. Stir with a spatula until dough begins to form. Careful not to over mix. Gently fold in raspberries, they will smash a bit and turn the dough a little pink but it does not affect the flavor.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead by hand just until it forms a ball. Form scones by patting the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Cut into 8 even triangles.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until scones are light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Make the lime glaze in a small bowl while the scones are cooling. Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream or milk, zest and juice. Whisk until you reach desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over the scones.

Ham & Cheese pull apart bread

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

I made these for our holiday party last week and since they were delish and easy to make I am making them again for a party that we are going to this weekend. Tis the season for parties!
IMG_5607
While they are yummy this time around I need to pay more attention to how much filling I put in each dough ball. You would think that I would have done that the first time around especially since you use a 3 inch cookie cutter for EACH piece. Probably sounds totally logical to you but I had some different sizes happening and a little cheese leakage on my first go round.
IMG_5639
Since I tend to keep it real here with my writings, I also want to mention that you shouldn’t stack them like I did without flouring between the layers, I had to start over as I couldn’t pull them apart, what a rookie move I know better than that. Maybe I was distracted last week? Yeah I’m going to go with that!
IMG_5609
Ham & Cheese pull apart wreath
16 ounce bag of store-bought pizza dough – at room temperature
1 cup black forest ham – minced
1 cup gruyere – shredded
4 ounce cream cheese – softened
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted
Flaky sea salt
Fresh parsley – finely chopped for garnish
IMG_5614
Dijon Honey dipping sauce
1 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoon honey
¼ sour cream
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Allow pizza dough to come to room temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough into a 10×15 inch rectangle. Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out 23 rounds of dough and set aside.  Make sure to lightly flour between layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ham, cheese, cream cheese and nutmeg. Scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture on the middle of each pizza dough round. Enclose the filling by wrapping up the sides and rolling the dough into a sealed ball.
IMG_5616
Arrange the dough balls into a wreath using 15 of them as the outer ring, all touching and then use the remaining 8 as an inner wreath all touching each other as well as the outer ring.

Brush with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
IMG_5638
Remove once golden brown, brush with more of the melted butter and sprinkle with a little of the flaky salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley to your desired effect.

Dipping sauce
Stir mustard, honey and sour cream and place in a bowl that will fit in the center of your wreath

Note: use whatever filing you want to make them your own creation

Macros = 2 balls without dipping sauce
256 Calories – 15g Fat – 20g Carbs – 10g Protein

Recipe: Clinton Kelly viewed on the Chew

Baked Jalapeno Poppers – no longer afraid

As little as a few short months ago you couldn’t pay me or my husband to even try a Jalapeno popper – we both just figured they were going to be too hot for us. Now I am making them for my Christmas party. I must be growing as an adult, nah we were at a friends for dinner and they served jalapeno poppers and stuffed mushrooms – ugh I had to at the very least take a “no thank you” bite of each. My husband was going to be OK because he doesn’t mind mushrooms; I think it must be a texture thing for me. We were both super surprised how much we liked the poppers and the mushrooms were not too bad either.
IMG_5601.JPGSo here I was shopping for the party; saw the jalapenos and decided why not! I get home and tell my husband what I was doing and he was psyched. Maybe we are both evolving hahaha stop talking crazy Donna.
IMG_5591This is actually going to be great come summer when I have way too many Jalapenos from my garden; I usually just bring them into to work and put them on one of the kitchen tables for whoever wanted them. Now I have more than salsa and guacamole to use them in.
IMG_560024 +/- jalapeno
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounce cream cheese – softened
16 ounce breakfast sausage – browned and drained

Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and veins; I use an iced tea spoon, it is small enough to fit right in them. If you are not wearing gloves, make sure not to touch your face or eyes until you wash your hands really well.
IMG_5594IMG_5595

Mix the next three ingredients once the sausage is cooled.
IMG_5599

Scoop about a tablespoon and a half into each jalapeno. Press the mixture into them so it doesn’t fall out.

IMG_5604

My husband saw me writing and said you should tell them “that I Love these”


Place on a sheet pan and broil for about 7-10 minutes but you know your oven better than me so watch them. You want them nice and browned and for the jalapeno to be soft

Macros = 2 pieces
228 Calories – 15g Fat – 10g Carbs – 13g Protein

Spicy and Sweet dumpling salad

I have a strange obsession with dumplings which depending on where you are in the world can also be called a potsticker, gyoza or simply ravioli. They generally has a small amount of meat and some vegetables wrapped around a wrapper and you can boil, fry, bake or any combination of the three cooking methods. I have made my fair share of homemade dumplings but I have found a frozen brand that is delicious and I haven’t made a single dumpling since. A friend of mine showed me where there is a dumpling restaurant in Montreal that I’m kind of happy isn’t closer to me.
IMG_5588.JPGI’m sure that I am not off the hook and they are not difficult to make but sometimes a quick and simple lunch or dinner is just what the doctor ordered. Today we have been getting things done. We cut down our tree and it is finally is in place, we’ll need to get it decorated before the weekend ends.
IMG_5571This recipe fits a few of my requirements especially this time of year it is quick, easy, and limits my dumpling eating to a few and not the whole pan 🙂 which I could easily do but should most definitely not.
IMG_5581Sweet and Spicy Korean Dumpling Salad

3-5 dumplings per serving
Lettuce a few leaves chopped
Cabbage a few slices chopped
1 small Cucumber – peeled, seeded and julienned
1 small Carrot – peeled and julienned
1-2 tablespoons oil for pan frying
IMG_5584Spicy & sweet dressing
1 tablespoon Koren chili paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place veggies in a bowl and set aside. Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till combined.
Heat oil in a pan on medium low heat and arrange the dumplings so the bottoms are all touching the pan, you’ll want to brown the bottoms and then add a tablespoon or two to the pan and cover with a lid cook for about 5-10 minutes till the dumplings are cooked thru.
Mix everything when you are about to sit down and eat so the veggies and dumplings stay crunchy.
IMG_5577
Macros = 1 serving – recipe makes 3-4 with 4 dumplings per
227 Calories – 5 g Fat – 36 g Carbs – 9 g Protein

 

recipe adapted from Korean kitchen

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins – cajun rub fried turkey

I share this recipe last year but it was so good that I thought it was worth repeating. Plus I am sitting on a beach drinking tasty adult beverages and haven’t made anything sweet and delicious to share and maybe you have a can or two of pumpkins lying around. It may last till next year’s Thanksgiving but why chance it.

img_4800
I do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year I did things a little different. I made mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes first thing in the morning and put each in my slow cookers to keep warm. I buy 2 smaller birds versus one enormous one, I find I have better luck having juicy meat instead of dry. This year I was on the fence on how to cook them. literally the morning of Thanksgiving I held a meeting with all in the kitchen on how to cook my two 10 pound birds. consensus was fry one and spatchcock the other. I knew that the fried one needed A LOT of spices and I needed to get going so it had time to soak in. I took the other and started to spatchcock also know as removed the backbone.  FYI it was much harder to remove than when I remove it from a roaster chicken.
img_4801


img_4802
Both birds turned out great, but the cajun spice rub I put on the fried bird was amazing!

Rub
1/4 cup chili pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper
2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

IMG_5560

spatchcock

IMG_5565

cajun rubbed fried

img_4803

Pumpkin Spiced Batter – preheat oven to 350’F


1 package yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and with an electric mixer on low speed beat just till moistened. Move up to medium for a couple of minutes. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ⅔ full

Bake for about 20 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with the spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese – softened
¼ cup butter – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cloves

Add to bowl and beat until light and fluffy, gradually add 1 (16oz) box of confectioners sugar.

 

 


Recipe by : McCormick & Co

Macaroni & “Cheese” butternut squash

I mentioned a bit ago that I heard you could make a pretty decent macaroni and cheese using butternut squash. A few years ago I would have told you you were crazy. Now I am coming around; so much so I tried it. I looked around the internet for a few recipes but decided to make my usual one and replace most of the cheese with the butternut squash. I was still a little skeptical but what was there to lose?
IMG_5542

I will advise you that if you are going to have your family or anyone for that matter try your new recipe I would not tell them what was in it.  I find that if you tell them it’s different or lighter or different in anyway, their senses are on high alert and they are sure to find or even look for something different with it.
IMG_5554

Case in point; my husband was home when I was making my lighter macaroni and cheese and when it was finished I just brought over a fork full and gave him a bite. First reaction was “mmmm good” I had to ask him what he thought it was. He looked at me a little funny and said “macaroni and cheese” but I think my comment made him add “of some sort” I had to confess it was made with squash and very little cheese. Oh and I also used rotini that was made from Chickpeas.  If you haven’t tried chickpea pasta I really think you will be pleasantly surprised. I have made 2 dishes with great success.

You might be thinking why chickpea pasta it has less carbs than average pasta, more protein and more fiber. So it is just a little better for you than ordinary box pasta. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any at either of my local stores my boxes were bought by my daughter when she visited one of Mario Batali’s Eataly. Looks like I will have to go and check it out.

Macaroni and “Cheese”

Small onion – diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 pounds cubed butternut squash – I used frozen
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
box of chickpea pasta
4 ounce gruyere cheese – grated
few drops sriracha sauce
Parmesan cheese – a small amount for grating on top
1/4 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

saute onion for a couple of minutes in the olive oil.  Add garlic saute another minute. add mustard, nutmeg, butternut squash, stock and milk still squash is softened.
Remove from the heat and using either a stick blender or however you puree your soups. puree the mixture and then add the cheese, season with salt and pepper to your taste.
place in a baking dish and grate some Parmesan cheese and a little seasoned panko bread crumbs.

Per 11 ounce serving
215 Calories – 12g Fat – 14g Carbs – 16g Protein  

 

Easiest Chicken Stock

With only a few weeks left in the year 2017 I can’t be the only person trying to fit in extra shopping, 3 holidays, a few birthday’s a couple of holiday parties and try to remain sane. I think I mentioned having a pretty significant birthday coming up. While you are reading this I should be sitting on a beach hopefully enjoying the sunshine on my face, a book in one hand and a tasty adult beverage in the other. * I meant to  post this one next week – oops! I will be on a beach this time next week! While my husband and I love going on vacations together; it does take it’s toll trying to fit one in this time of year, but I didn’t choose my birth month nor did my husband; his is a month from mine. Oh and let’s throw in our wedding anniversary too.
IMG_5533Sounds like I am complaining but I really am very fortunate to be able to get a break from reality once in awhile. Life gets very hectic around here at times; especially this time of year.
IMG_5532This is probably too simple to blog about but it is SO worth mentioning and I know many people that have never made their own stock and I don’t know about you but I can never have enough chicken stock on hand. I use it for not only soups, stews and gravy; it is a great addition any night of the week. After pan searing chicken breast; it’s a great way to deglaze the pan. You can also flavor pasta and rice by using your homemade stock instead of plain water to boil them in.

This is a great thing to do today so you have some stock on hand that you can use on Thanksgiving!

Simple Chicken Stock
Chicken carcass or bones
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1-2 onions
Season with salt and pepper to taste

After removing all the meat from your chicken; whether you made it or bought one of those roasters your local grocery makes and sells. Place the carcass in your slow cooker.  Cover with water and add a few stalks of celery; the leaves have flavor too. A couple of carrots roughly chopped and an onion.  Turn it on low before you go to bed and in the morning you have stock.
IMG_5541
Throw away the carcass and veggies and let the stock sit. I cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge so the fat will congeal on the top, I remove the fat and then put the “liquid gold” in containers and place in the freezer.