Recipe Included


If you need a VERY quick and VERY simple side this is the one. Provided you like fresh asparagus with lots of flavor.

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I didn’t really like asparagus until a couple of years ago. Mom had always used the canned stuff and the ‘fragrance’ was enough to send me screaming from the house. But then, one day, I tried fresh and now I look for new ways to cook it. And this was my pick for this weeks Wednesdays with Donna Hay. How simple is it, you ask. Melt butter. Add some balsamic vinegar. Throw in a bunch of asparagus and cook until it is tender. Top with Parmasean cheese. How can you say to no to THAT??? Definitely a keeper.

Check with the rest of the cooks on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

The recipe is on page 134 of Donna’s New Food Fast.

And if you would like to join us – just look at our choices for the next few weeks (on he right) then cook/bake, blog and leave us a comment below. Love to have you!

There are times when our lives take a tumble. Time when we want what we cannot have. Times when we feel failure. Times when we lose someone important in our lives. Times when we feel sorrow for someone else’s loss. This was the case this week when we found out that Deb, one of our administrators in I Heart Cooking Clubs, had lost her Mom. So we are virtually sending her hugs with comfort food. Food that wraps you up and makes you warm inside. Food that brings back memories, feelings, joy. Deb – this is for you. It’s all we can do from afar.

If you look on page 30 of Donna Hay‘s Off The Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry you will see the recipe for baked carbonara. She lists it as ‘short order’. Presumably because it is quick. And it is. By the time the sauce is put together the pasta is al dente and ready to be mixed with some nice crispy bacon. What you end up with after baking the mixture for 30 minutes is….

…which you use as a main or a side. Either way, it is GOOD. The cream, milk, egg, and Parm cheese all comes together resulting in a creamy pasta.

I would not change anything except instead of just pouring the cream/milk/egg mixture over the pasta I would mix it all up in larger bowl with the the bacon and then put it into the baking dish. Good Stuff Y’all.

    14 oz ziti or pasta of your choice
    4 slies bacon
    4 eggs
    2 cps heavy cream
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese.

Cook pasta til al dente and drain.
Cook bacon until crsip
Whisk the eggs together with the cream, milk and Parmesan Cheese.
Place pasta in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold all the ingredients.
Top with the bacon and egg mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set.

What else is on the Potluck this week? I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking for Deb this week.

What is Rocky Road? Well, if you are ice cream lovers, like we are, you would know it is Chocolate Ice Cream filled with nuts, and marshmallows. Invented in 1929, William Dryer named it Rocky Road to give the population, during the depression, something to smile about in the Depression. Rocky Road. Clever. And tasty, too. Originally it had walnuts. Those were replaced with almonds. And it did not have chocolate chips. Today, the ice cream has changed and is one of the most popular flavors in the US.

You can even find vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and almonds.

I found out that in some other countries it isn’t necessarily an Ice Cream Flavor, it’s a cupcake or brownie with additional ingredients: coconut, cherries, raisins, biscuits. Interesting! I always knew this group could be not only delicious, but educational as well.

But, I digress….. on with the cake!

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    1 3/4 cup sugar {I used 1 cup Stevia in the Raw and 3/4 cup sugar}
    2/3 cup butter, softened
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    3 cups all purpose flour
    1 2/3 cups milk
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
    2/3 cup mini marshmallows, frozen
    2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, almonds, peanuts)
    1/4 cup cocoa powder
    1 tablespoon baking powder.
    3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup Bundt Pan. If using a 10 cup pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and almond extract until very light and fluffy. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon 3/4 batter into prepared pan. Add cocoa powder to remaining batter. Add the cocoa batter to the top and gently swirl through entire cake.
Bake at 325″ for 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes.
Remove from pan; cool completely.
Drizzle with chocolate glaze, and if desired, marshmallow cream.
16 servings.

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I was disappointed that the marshmallow melted into the cake even tho I started with frozen minis. But they did add a great texture and a lot of moisture to the cake itself. Maybe small ‘globs’ of marshmallow fluff would have worked better. But all the ingredients are there, so…… I chopped some minis into small pieces and scattered them on top but the cake wasn’t as pretty with them on it.

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.

Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Third Monday in May.

The end result – meeting a new foodie and cooking something or things from their collection of good things. I have found over the years that cooking just one thing is not a good way to learn about what makes a person tick. Or in the case of my ‘assignment’ this month – people. This month I was matched with Feast on the Cheap which is run by Mother and Daughter Duo Mary Ann and Mariel. Mary Ann is caterer and Mariel is writer with extraordinary culinary skills learned at her mother’s side. Between the two of them there is an awesome collection of great recipes.Not only that – the cost of every recipe is laid out for you with the ingredients. Thus the name “FEAST ON THE CHEAP”!! It was great to see how much each dish would cost.

I usually make three different treats. Usually a side and an entree and maybe a sweet treat. But it seems everything I went looking for something I was in need of something sweet. So here are two desserts – unusual for me – and a nice little quinoa dish.

I had a quart jar of pears in the pantry. We have a couple of trees so I put up pears every year. Finding this…

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was perfect. It is easy to make and yummy with the Maple Brown Butter Syrup and Pecans on top. Merial called for walnuts but we aren’t big fans and I always have lots of pecans in the freezer. Another change I made – I subbed out 1/2 of the AP flour for Whole Wheat. This is a grown up {what we used to call} Poke Cake. After the cake is cooked and cooled a bit holes are poked all over which lets the lovely syrup soak into the cake. Oh, Yeah!! Since I used my canned pears I skipped the “boil the pears, cinnamon, and water” part and just heated the pears and their juice with the cinnamon (and a little extra). Make this cake!!

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The next time I wandered through the site I found another sweet treat and since I was completely out of cake I deemed it absolutely necessary to make another. This time…

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Our garden yielded a lot of butternut last year. We could not eat all of them or give all of them away. There is just so much butternut one can eat. So I had cooked up quite a few, scooped out the good part, and froze packages of butternut squash. Lucky me to have found this cake, also from Merial.

This is supposed to be a quick bread but I changed it up just a tad and made ‘brownies’ with them. I poured the batter into a 11″ x 7″ pan and baked them for about 24 minutes. Merial made a Ginger Apple Butter for her bread but I chose not to use a ‘frosting’. But I did use some Sweet Potato Butter on some and they were wonderful!! Slicing these was a cinch since I had Mom’s special brownie pan (she loved gadgets like I do)

P1060546 PRESTO!! 18 perfect snacks!!

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Okay, I just couldn’t make another sweet treat. I HAD to go along another path.
For Lunch:

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Quinoa Salad with Sweet Bell Peppers, Dried Cranberries and Turkey Bacon

    1 cup organic quinoa
    2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
    ½ Teaspoon salt
    1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
    1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
    ¾ cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped –
    ¾ cup dried cranberries
    4 scallions (green onions), white and green parts thinly sliced
    5 ozs. Montrachet or plain goat cheese (NOT Feta)
    ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

    For the dressing:
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    1 Teaspoon Turmeric or dry mustard
    1 Teaspoon Cumin
    3 Teaspoons honey
    ¾ cup olive oil
    salt and pepper

If not using organic quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cold, running water.

In a 1½ quart lidded saucepan, combine the quinoa, salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork and set aside. Allow to cool to about room temperature.

In the mean time, prepare the remaining ingredients and dressing. Set the dressing aside.

Toss the peppers, cheese, nuts, cranberries, cucumber, onions, cilantro, and crumbled bacon with the quinoa. Season the Pilaf with salt and pepper. Add the dressing if serving all at once, combining well.

This was definitely a hit with me. The sweet cranberries and pecans mixed with the sweet pepper and green onions was a nice contrast. The tangy sweet dressing brought it all together. I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two light lunches (with cake!). And so colorful which means lots of good things in the dish that are good for you.

So many recipes, so little time. I did make the Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuits. I couldn’t pass those up. Now I want to go back and try

And that’s just my short list.

Visit with Mary Ann and Merial – you WON”T be sorry!!

And visit the rest of the Secret Recipe Club Members and see what they cooked/baked this month.

There is no rule out there that says French cooking must be elegant or complex. It can be simple and rustic as well. Which is a good thing for this week’s I Heart Cooking ClubFrench Dish. This recipe from Jacques is one of his mother’s. And it is quite simple.

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Pepin says his mother added cheese but he doesn’t always. I made mine without cheese but Gruyère would have been really good here.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes {I used basic russet potatoes}
2 cups milk
2–3 garlic cloves, crushed, and finely chopped (1 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick Do NOT rinse the slices.

Place the potato slices, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring gently to separate the slices and prevent the mixture from scorching. It will thicken as it reaches a boil.

Pour the potato mixture into a 6-cup gratin dish, and pour the cream on top. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Let the potatoes rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
(Original Recipe)

While simple to make they were creamy and comforting. Definitely added to our rotation of potato dishes. Sometimes with cheese, sometimes not.

{BTW – reheat them in the oven and they are just as good as freshly made. DON”T nuke them!!}

Maintenant! Cliquez sur Plus d’IHCC et de vérifier plus d’une cuisine française de M. Pepin. Now! {Now! Click on over to IHCC and check out more of Pepin’s French Cuisine.}

It’s that time again! Time to share some new dishes from a blogger I have been reading for a while but haven’t had a chance to cook from. Why now? Because it is is reveal time for the

    Secret Recipe Club!

And this month I knew it was going to be fun because I had CHELSY over at MANGIA!! ITALIAN FOOD!!! But – FORTUNATELY – healthy Italian! Which was perfect considering I am trying to eat healthier these days. I was a little worried at first because so many of the blogs have great food but lots of ingredients I am not eating these days – sugar, beef, cheese, pasta – so finding lots of good, healthy recipes on Chelsy’s blog was a definite plus for me.

Let me tell you about Chelsy: Personal Trainer, gluten free recipe developer, foodie, Italian.
One statement caught me eye when she was listing facts about herself

    “I will choose grocery shopping over mall shopping any day!”

‘Nuff said!!

I started through her awesome recipes and finally had to quit Pinning. I though Pinterest might kick me off for putting TOO many pictures/recipes up in one day. And then, of course I had to go through and find just a few and then narrow that down to my usual three. NOT. AN. EASY. JOB! But then, with all the great bloggers in the SRC, it never is!

Here is what I ended up with:

Healthy Snacking –

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with Granola. And granola with a twist – made with QUINOA! I have only recently discovered quinoa so whenever I find a new recipe I HAVE to try it.
Granola with sliced almonds, coconut, maple syrup, cinnamon. All the good things. You can find her recipe for QUINOA GRANOLA on her blog. The only change I made in her recipe was to use dried cranberries instead of the goji berries she had listed. Only because I couldn’t find any.

Healthy Supper

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    Bada-Bing! Shrimp and Sauce

What a great name!! It is more than just shrimp in tomato sauce. It’s BADA-BING! And it WAS!

    1/4 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
    Dressing:
    1/4 c. white wine vinegar
    3 TBS. water
    1 0.7 oz packet Italian Salad Dressing Mix
    1/4 c. olive oil
    1/4 c. water
    Sauce:
    1 med.- lrg. yellow onion, chopped and diced
    10 cloves of garlic, diced
    1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
    Palmful of Italian Seasoning
    Palmful of Oregano, dried
    3 8 oz. cans of No Salt Added Tomato Sauce (Like to add my own salt)
    1 14.5 oz. can of No Salt Added dice tomatoes
    1/4 c. Sweet white wine
    black pepper
    salt

Place the shrimp in a small bowl.
Prepare the dressing: put 1/4 c. white wine vinegar and 3 TBS. water into a salad shaker. Add dressing packet and shake the bottle until mixed. Add 1/4 c. olive oil and 1/4 c. water to the bottle and shake vigorously.
Pour the dressing over the shrimp and let marinate while preparing the sauce.
For the sauce.
Chop the onion, garlic, and basil.
Heat a large saucepan with olive oil over low-medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir continuously with a spatula until lightly browned. Add the shrimp to the saucepan and cook until they are slightly pink.
Remove the shrimp from the saucepan after 3-4 minutes and place in a clean bowl. Add tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, spices, basil, and wine to the saucepan. Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the shrimp.
To serve, garnish with freshly shaved Parmesan.
I served mine over high fiber pasta. It would be amazing with some garlic linguini.

Healthy (Kinda Sorta) Side –

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I think Sweet Potatoes are my favorite veggie. You can fry them, sautee them, bake them, roast them. They are sweet. AND they are so good for you. Chelsy’s are roasted after mixing them with curry, vanilla, shallots, and browned butter (This is the kinda sorta part). They were sweet and full of flavor. I did add a little extra curry powder to mine because I really like the flavor. And the vanilla adds just a hint of sweet. I could eat these every day!!

I enjoyed my visit with Chelsy. I have been reading her blog for a while now and cooking some of her food but I have never blogged them. And probably never told her how much I enjoy my visits. So there you are, Chelsy.

Check with the other members of Secret Recipe Club below and see what they found to cook this month.

One of the fun things I remember about Spring Break, or summer vacation is the beach. Sand! Surf! Building a fire pit in the sand and toasting marshmallows. And using those marshmallows to make S’MORES!! Ooey! Gooey! Chocolate! Graham! Sticky Fingers! Laughing! Great memories!

Where am I going with this? This month’s Bundt Cake for Bundt Bakers.

The theme is HIDDEN SURPRISE. And after running into a recipe for a Graham Cracker cake I knew I had found my surprise.

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This cake made from graham crackers was just asking to be filled with CHOCOLATE AND MARSHMALLOWS,

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I tried two different methods to fill the cake. I made a trench in the batter and filled it with either chocolate chips or marshmallow fluff. The side I used the fluff on I put the chocolate chips in on top. The side with chocolate chips I put mini marshmallows on top. The fluff worked best. The minis just melted into the cake.

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Then I covered all of it with the rest of the batter and baked.

When it cooled I drizzled it with chocolate ganache and a warm marshmallow sauce.

    2 2/3 cups finely crushed graham crackers
    2/3 cup flaked coconut
    2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    1 1/3 teaspoons baking soda
    2/3 cup sugar Stevia in the Raw
    2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    3 tablespoons butter, softened
    1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    5 eggs, separated
    1 1/3 cups sour cream
    Chocolate chips
    Marshmallow Fluff.

Heat oven to 325″. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup Bundt Pan.
In a small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, coconut, pecans and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolks; mix well.
Add sour cream and graham cracker crumb mixture alternately to sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into cake mixture. {I have to tell you – at this point we almost didn’t have a cake because the batter was SO GOOD!!!}
Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter into the pan. Let sit a couple of minutes then make a small trench in the middle of the batter all the way around. Fill the trench with chocolate chips. Then cover the chips with mini marshmallows. {I didn’t put any measurements for these because it is really up to you to decide how much you want. I used about 2 ounces of chips and 1/2 – 2/3 CUPS OF FLUFF. I wish I had used more of both.}
Cover the chips and marshmallow with the remaining batter.
Bake at 325 for 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes.
Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
Drizzle with your favorite chocolate ganache and a marshmallow sauce. {I used ONE adapted from the Wicked Noodle.}

    2 Tbl butter
    1 cup marshmallow fluff

Melt marshmallow fluff and butter in a saucepan whiisking until smooth. Using a fork drizzle mixture over cake.

I put the ganache on first and THEN the marshmallow sauce, but you could do it the opposite way.

The cake was nice and dense. The filling was ALMOST ooey! gooey! {and would have been in a warm cake!}

Cake was adapted from Bundt Classics mostly but other recipes on the web as well.

BundtBakers


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.
Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. The theme for April is “Hidden Surprise” – Bundt cakes with fillings or stuffing. There was no constraint on filling and flavor choices.The only
requirement was that the cake be filled/stuffed inside. Anshie from SpiceRoots was our host for this month.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Links:-

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