Savory Servings by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Jul 22, 2011 | 5834 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Tortellini and Spinach Soup
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Oct 31, 2011 | 5299 views |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Tortellini and Spinach Soup
Tortellini and Spinach Soup
slideshow
Total approximate time from start to finish: 25-30 minutes

This is one of the most delicious and easiest soup recipes I’ve ever encountered. I found this one in the Food and Wine Quick from Scratch Soup and Salad Cookbook. If you like garlic, spinach and tortellini, you will absolutely love this soup. It is perfect on a cold day. It is also a nice substitute for chicken soup when you’re feeling under the weather. The base is a garlic chicken broth and the spinach is full of nutrients as well. It is just as delectable the next day after the flavors have had a little time to combine. We love to eat this with crusty garlic bread.

Here is what you will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups water

3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 pound of frozen tortellini

1 pound of fresh spinach

Grated parmesan to sprinkle on top at the end.

The Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (I like to add salt to my water for seasoning the pasta as it cooks, about 1 tablespoon per large pot of water). While you are waiting for your water to boil, go ahead with the next step below. Once the water is at a rolling boil, cook the tortellini, making sure you stir often for about 12-14 minutes. Once it is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. You want to make sure your heat is not too high and that you don’t cook it took long. You want it to still be a light, white/opaque color when you’re finished – not brown. Add the water, broth and salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. This will create the yummy base for your soup.

Add the spinach to the soup and cook it about 1 minute until it is wilted. One pound of spinach will look like a TON when you are adding it to the soup but it cooks down and really adds a nice body to the soup. Once it is wilted, gently stir in the tortellini. Top each bowl with a small handful of shredded parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

A note about the ingredients: You can find the frozen, plain tortellini in the freezer section of your grocery store. It is usually located near the frozen biscuits and the frozen garlic bread.

As for the garlic – use the fresh if you can. I know so many folks that are timid about using fresh garlic but you can really taste the difference! Look in the onion section at your grocery store and you will find heads of garlic sold loosely like onions. A nice head of garlic will be firm to the touch and not have any brown or mushy spots. I’ve used white and light purple garlic but the taste is really the same. Under the skin you will see little sections – those are cloves. A quick way to prepare garlic: separate however many cloves you need (leave the little skins around the cloves). Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the stem end. Put the garlic on your cutting board and lay the flat end of your knife on top. Using the heel of your hand, give it a good smack. This will loosen the skins away from your clove of garlic and you can separate it out much easier than painstakingly peeling each clove by hand. As an added bonus, it is already a little smashed and ready for mincing.


Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Oct 24, 2011 | 3290 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies
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I can remember growing up thinking the ready to bake cookies were amazing! I’m old enough to have been around when they first started producing them; you could find them in the freezer section. I think the brand was Mrs. Good Cookie? My brother and I adored Mrs. Good Cookie because we could grab them out of the freezer and have fresh chocolate chip cookies in a matter of minutes. Now that I’m older, I have to say the homemade cookies put all of the “ready to bake” cookies to shame. I just love a homemade cookie. Maybe my tastes have changed? Maybe I’ve become a bit of a food snob? Maybe I’m older now and can appreciate the time put into making homemade cookies and I just think they taste better? I don’t know the answer. I do know that you can’t find oatmeal butterscotch cookies in the “ready to bake” section… And these cookies are amazing. I actually found this recipe on the back of a bag of Nestle butterscotch chips. I must admit at first glance I was quite unsure that oats and butterscotch needed to be together at all, much less in a cookie. I love a cooking adventure though so I made them and we love them. They are just as simple as other made from scratch recipes; you just add a few extra ingredients (oats, cinnamon, etc.). These cookies are so unique but still soft, delicate and delicious.

What you will need:

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks of butter, softened)

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3 cups quick oats

1, 11oz package of butterscotch chips

The Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract with a mixer until it is creamy. Add the eggs one at a time making sure to beat well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until you have a nice chocolate dough consistency. Stir in the oatmeal and butterscotch chips. Drop by the teaspoon full onto an UNGREASED cookie sheet.

Bake them for 9-10 minutes until the center is set. The edges will look a little crisper than the rest. Do not over bake them; they will firm up on the cookie sheet after you take them out of the oven. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 15-20 minutes.


Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken and Rice
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Oct 16, 2011 | 2865 views |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken and Rice
Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken and Rice
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Total approximate time from start to finish: 35-40 minutes

FALL IS HERE! The leaves are changing colors, temperatures are a little cooler (on some days at least) and it’s finally time for soup! I could honestly eat soup every day of the year but my family prefers that I limit the soup dinners to when it is 72 degrees or less. Not to say that I don’t sneak a pot of vegetable soup in during the summer… But I do get excited when fall arrives because there are so many wonderful recipes out there for soup. Just about every culture eats some kind of soup or stew. I am so excited to share several of my favorite recipes over the next few months.

This particular recipe is probably my husband’s absolute favorite dinner (and he’s not a huge fan of soup!). They actually had soup day at his office last year. Different folks brought various kinds of soup and raised money for Relay for Life and I made this one for him to take. Most people were a little reserved at first because let’s face it; most of the white soups you find in the south are made of chili (white chicken chili anyone?). However, I am told it was devoured in less than 20 minutes. It is really delicious and has all of the right flavor combinations. It is wonderful right after you make it and even for leftovers the next day. I think I mentioned in a previous post just how much we love Thai food. If you are familiar with the coconut soup found in a Thai restaurant, this recipe builds on that amazing soup. It is heartier with the addition of rice and chicken. You can make it hours in advance or even the night before if you want a warm and hearty dinner ready to eat the next night. If you make it in advance, it helps to keep some chicken broth on hand to thin it out a little as you warm it up. It thickens as it cools but the chicken broth works beautifully to thin it out and retain every bit of the yummy flavor.

Here is what you will need:

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small chunks

3 tablespoons of Asian Fish sauce (you can find this at Winn Dixie or Kroger)

1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lime juice plus extra lime wedges for serving

4 ¾ cups of low sodium chicken broth

3 strips of lemon zest/peel (3 inches long, about ½ inch wide)

1 piece of peeled, fresh ginger (about 2 inches long), cut into about 4-6 chunks

1 cup of jasmine or basmati rice (uncooked)

1 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk (on the Asian food aisle)

2 jalapeño peppers, diced into fine pieces (leave the seeds and ribs if you want extra heat, remove them for less spice)

3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (and a little extra for garnish)

A few sprinkles of dried red pepper flakes for garnish



The Instructions:

In a medium glass dish, add the chicken, fish sauce and lime juice. Make sure it is thoroughly coated then put it aside while you prepare the base of the soup.

In a large stew pot, add the broth, lemon zest strips and ginger. Bring it to a boil then reduce it down to medium and let it simmer. Add the rice and let it simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until your rice is done.

Add the coconut milk next and make sure you shake the can very well before you open it. The contents will sometimes separate over time and it is harder to get out of the can and is a little harder to blend into the soup. After you add the coconut milk, bring it back up to a simmer (medium to medium high depending on your stove). Stir in the chicken/fish sauce/lime juice mixture and cook it for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is done. The first time I made this recipe I was paranoid that 5 minutes wasn’t long enough to cook the chicken. But the soup is hot enough that it cooks the chicken very quickly and very thoroughly. If the soup is too thick for your liking, just add chicken broth until it reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the jalapeños and cilantro and it is ready to serve. I like to sprinkle a little extra cilantro on top as well as some dried red pepper flakes - it adds to the flavor and it makes a nice presentation.

Note – if you are making it in advance, save the cilantro and add it right before you serve the soup otherwise it loses it’s pretty green color. You can do the same with the jalapeños if you like your soup a little less spicy. Making it in advance with the jalapeños included increases the spice because the flavors have time to really meld together.

When serving this to company, I usually fish out the lemon strips and the ginger chunks right before serving. I don’t mind the sudden burst of ginger or lemon but it can be a little surprising if it’s your first time eating the dish. I just love serving this soup with some crusty bread and maybe a salad. However, if you don’t have time for the extras – it is a meal in and of itself. Also, make sure you serve it with lime wedges – I know its a little extra trouble but it is well worth it. The lime juice adds the final touch which sends the flavors bursting forward in this delicious and fairly simple soup.

A Note about the ingredients: Asian Fish Sauce and canned coconut milk can be found on the Asian food aisle at Winn Dixie, Kroger or Food World. When you are extracting the lime juice, you don’t need a fancy juicer, just a fork. Cut it in half right down the middle where the stem end is to your left or right. Stick the fork in the middle and turn it with one hand while squeezing the lime half with the other hand. It works every time and saves on clean up. On the lemon peel – it may seem like a pain but don’t skip this step – the lemon adds an essential flavor to the broth. It is very simple, just use a very sharp knife and starting at the stem end, peel down the side of the lemon being careful to get only lemon peel if possible (you want there to be very little white on the other side of your strip). If yours doesn’t stay in one solid strip, do not fret - the soup will still be delicious. If you plan to take out the lemon strips and ginger before you serve it, just make a note of how many strips you put in. For the ginger – you can find it in the produce section of your local grocery store. I usually break off about what I need and only purchase that amount. Otherwise I end up with a huge chunk of ginger in my fridge that will probably go to waste. Ginger has a nice thin skin and it should peel off nicely with a sharp knife. It is a bit fibrous when you cut it but that will dissolve as it cooks in the broth.


Mom’s Cream Cheese Cookies
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Oct 06, 2011 | 2743 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Mom's Cream Cheese Cookies
Mom's Cream Cheese Cookies
slideshow

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Cook Time: 25 minutes total (about 8 minutes per pan)

Even at a young age, I loved being in the kitchen and helping with whatever task I was given. Needless to say my Mom is an amazingly patient and loving woman. I am so thankful that she took the time and energy to teach me even the most basic cooking techniques. I can remember the various versions of this recipe until she had it “just right.” I have loved this recipe for a very long time. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve this recipe. I can remember watching the old clay-mation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and during the “scary” parts I would run to the kitchen and “assist” my Mom while she baked these cookies. Mostly I think I just sampled during the “non-scary” parts. It is very simple and one of those “mostly from scratch” recipes. However, it is one of the most unique and delicious cookie recipes I’ve ever encountered. I love bringing this to an old fashioned cookie swap around Christmas time. Everyone always skips over them thinking they are just a simple sugar cookie – they do appear very similar. That is, until one person takes a bite and then the plate is usually empty within 15-20 minutes. It is a very moist cookie – delicate, delicious and easy to make.

What you will need:

1 8oz package of cream cheese (at room temp)

¼ cup softened butter (1/2 stick)

1 egg yolk

¼ teaspoon vanilla

1 box butter recipe golden cake mix

The Instructions:   

In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter with your mixer. Add egg yolk, cake mix and vanilla. Drop by the teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Pull them out as soon as they start getting golden brown AROUND THE EDGES. If you like your cookies more firm – let the tops get a little golden brown. If you’re like me though and you love a moist and yummy cookie – pull them out when the edges are golden brown.  They will also be golden brown on the bottom. Leave them on the cookie sheet for at least 20 minutes. The heat from the pan will continue cooking them and they will firm up nicely.


Easy 3 Bean Salad
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Oct 03, 2011 | 2246 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Easy Three Bean Salad
Easy Three Bean Salad
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Total prep time: about 15 minutes

Total cook time: 5 minutes

We are a “take your lunch to work” family. We weren’t always that way. It is so tempting to get out of the office and grab something from a fast food restaurant. As we’ve gotten older we’ve been more cognizant of what we are putting in our bodies. Both my husband and I have a terrible family history when it comes to cancer, diabetes, etc. So over the past year, we’ve been trying to eat healthier, exercise more, blah-blah-blah. The blahs are in reference to just how dreary it can be to eat healthy as well as find time to exercise. However – you can absolutely tell a difference in how you feel. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy our sweets (just refer all of my brownie and cookie posts!). We just try to limit how many we eat and balance it out with some exercise. I do love this recipe because it is healthy and easy to make. It makes a great side item and it keeps well in a lunchbox (with a little cold pack). It’s high in protein and low in cholesterol, sugar and sodium. What is the best thing about this recipe? It is all of those “healthy” things and it is absolutely delicious too.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups of frozen edamame (sweet soybeans)

1, 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1, 15 oz can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup red onion sliced very thin

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon lime zest

¼ cup lime juice

½ teaspoon salt



The Instructions:

Cook your edamame according to package directions (you can find these in the freezer aisle at any grocery store – look in the frozen vegetables section). After they are cooked, drain them and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

In a large bowl, add the soybeans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, onion and cilantro. Stir gently to combine. In a separate, glass bowl combine the olive oil, lime zest and lime juice and salt together – stir vigorously to thoroughly combine them.

Toss the bean mixture with your dressing and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Make sure you stir it/mix it before you serve it. You can also top it with some fresh chopped cilantro if you want. I like to store mine in a large Tupperware so that I can just shake the entire container before I open it. Everything gets mixed up nicely without the extra step of stirring it.


Sausage and Potato Quesadillas
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Sep 28, 2011 | 4765 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Sausage and Potato Quesadillas
Sausage and Potato Quesadillas
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Total prep time: about 15 minutes

Total cook time: 30 minutes

This is a great recipe from my “Food and Wine Quick from Scratch Recipes with Herbs and Spices” cookbook. It focuses on using the spice paprika. As a child, my only memory of paprika as a cooking ingredient was when my Mom would sprinkle it on top of the homemade potato salad to make it look pretty. Now, as an adult I’ve happily discovered many other delicious uses for this nifty little spice. I do love these food and wine quick from scratch cookbooks because they take basic, fresh ingredients and put them together to create a delicious meal. This recipe is unique because it pairs sausage and potatoes together in a quesadilla. When I first prepared this recipe, I was skeptical of how it would turn out, it sounded like a bizarre combination… It made sound weird, but it tastes incredible. The prep work can be a little labor intensive but it is all worth it in the end. These are delicious all by themselves or if you prefer, you can add some sour cream or salsa.

Here is what you will need:

1 pound of Italian sausage, casings removed (use the hot if you want yours to be spicy)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cooking oil

1 large baking potato (about ½ pound), peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes

¾ teaspoon of paprika

¼ teaspoon salt

12, 6 inch flour tortillas

¼ cup chopped red onion

½ cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 cups Monterey Jack (or fiesta blend cheese), shredded/grated

The Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large, nonstick frying pan, cook the Italian sausage over medium high heat, making sure to break up the chunks as it cooks. Cook it for about 8-10 minutes or until it is browned. Remove it from the pan to a separate bowl and set it aside. Pour off the fat from the pan but don’t wash or wipe out the pan. You want the little brown sausage bits for your next step. Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the potato, ½ teaspoon of the paprika and the salt and cook, stirring occasionally until they are tender (about 15 minutes). They should be a nice reddish/brown color and a little crispy on the outside.

Put 4 of the tortillas on a cookie sheet (I have to use 2 cookie sheets because my pans are small). Divide half of the sausage, potato, onion, cilantro, and cheese on the four tortillas, making sure you spread the ingredients to the edges. Top each one with another tortilla. Then repeat with the remaining sausage, potato, onion, cilantro and cheese. Top with each one with one more tortilla. Brush the tops of the quesadillas with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and sprinkle them with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Bake them in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and they are golden brown. Cut them into little wedges and enjoy!

Vegetarian Version: For our resident vegetarian, I used the imitation soy sausage (preparing the recipe exactly the same way) and she loved it.

Milk Allergy or Sensitivity: If you are sensitive or allergic to dairy, you can omit the cheese and it is still quite delicious. Our son is allergic to milk but he loves it when Mommy cooks the “triangles” (sans cheese).


Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Sep 23, 2011 | 2916 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Total Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Cook Time: 25-35 minutes total

This recipe is for cookie and chocolate lovers everywhere. Moist and delicious, chocolaty and chewy – they are absolutely delicious. They are fairly easy to make from scratch and usually make about 3 dozen or more cookies. I don’t have a lot to say about this recipe because they speak for themselves when you take the first bite.

Here is what you will need:

2 ¼ cups of all purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter, softened (I used unsalted, real butter)

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 12 oz package of white chocolate chips

The Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set it aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar and brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs in one at a time beating well after you add each one. Slowly add in the flour mixture until you have nice chocolate cookie dough. Stir in the white chocolate chips and drop by the rounded teaspoon onto an UNGREASED COOKIE SHEET.

You want to bake them for about 8-11 minutes depending on your oven. Make sure you trust your eyes and not the timer. You want them to look a little crispy AROUND THE EDGES. The middle may still look moist and you might think they are not ready to come out. Pull them out and let them sit on the cookie sheet for at least 20-30 minutes. They will continue cooking just enough on the hot pan and firm up nicely while retaining the moist goodness in the middle.     


Steak Pizzaiola with Couscous
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Sep 17, 2011 | 2927 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Steak Pizzaiola with Couscous
Steak Pizzaiola with Couscous
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Pizzaiola sauce simmering
Pizzaiola sauce simmering
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Total prep time: about 10 minutes

Total cook time: 15-20 minutes

This recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Food and Wine Quick from Scratch Recipes. The “Pizzaiola” part of the title refers to the ingredients being similar to what you would find on a pizza. I personally don’t think it tastes like pizza sauce; it reminds me more of a simple marinara.  The sauce is very simple and very easy to make. I love that it uses fresh ingredients – you can really taste it in the end result. You can pair this with pasta or even rice. We love to pair it with couscous because it only takes 5-8 minutes to cook and it absorbs the sauce perfectly. Top it all off with a piece of steak and it is a harmony of delicious Italian flavors. It is one of our favorite recipes – not only because it is tasty but also because you can make it from scratch in less than half an hour.

Here is what you will need:

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

About 5 plum tomatoes

3 sprigs of fresh oregano plus ½ teaspoon chopped fresh or ¾ teaspoon dried

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds steak (we’ve used sirloin, flank – whatever is on sale)

The Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it for about 45 seconds to 1 minute – make sure you don’t overcook it. You will want it to be white – once it turns yellow/brown it tastes completely different. Add the tomatoes, the oregano sprigs (or dried oregano) and ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer it with the lid partially on (to allow steam to escape without splattering tomato sauce all over your kitchen). Allow this to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring it a few times while the sauce thickens.

While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season the steak with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Put it in the hot skillet and cook it for 6 minutes (do not turn it) and then turn it and cook it another 6 minutes for a medium to medium rare steak. If you have a thin steak, you will cook it less time for a more pink center and if you have a thick steak, you might need to cook it longer if you desire medium or medium well (a less pink center). After it is done, take it out and let it rest for about 5 minutes. This is a very important step for just about any piece of meat. It will retain a lot more of the juices and result in a more moist and delicious dish. After the steak has rested, cut it diagonally into thin slices.

After you first put the steak in the skillet – start the couscous. Just follow the instructions on the box. It will take a moment for the water to boil and it should finish about the same time as your steak.

To plate this yummy dish, put a nice helping of couscous in the bottom of a bowl then top it with a few slices of steak. Ladle a nice helping of sauce on top of that. If you want to make it look extra pretty, sprinkle it with the chopped, fresh oregano.

A note about the ingredients:

Couscous is actually a very tiny type of pasta. It is made of crushed and steamed semolina (the main ingredient in pasta). It is even smaller than rice and very common in North Africa. You can find it on the aisle with rice and “easy rice” bags. It comes in a small box and there are simple instructions on the back for cooking. A note about the oregano… try to use fresh oregano if you can, it really makes a difference in the end result.

 

Plum tomatoes – you can find these in the produce section and they are little oblong shaped tomatoes. They are perfect for making sauce. I don’t even peel mine, just cut the stem end off, wash them well and dice.


Razzmataz Bars
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Sep 05, 2011 | 2013 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Razzmataz Bars
Razzmataz Bars
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Razzmataz Bars fresh out of the oven
Razzmataz Bars fresh out of the oven
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Total Prep Time: 25 minutes total

Total Cook Time: About 45 minutes total

I have a weak spot for easy brownie recipes from scratch (as you can see from my blog post history). Raspberry is one of my favorite flavors when it comes to dessert. Cake with raspberry filling, raspberry sorbet, raspberry filled doughnut, you name it. So when I found this recipe on the Nestle website for brownies AND raspberries, I was so excited to try it. I’ve made them several times and they are so decadent. I modified it a little, the original recipe called for ¼ cup of toasted, sliced almonds sprinkled over the batter. I have found that when it comes to nuts in desserts you either love it or you don’t. To put simply – I don’t. If you are a nut person, then feel free to add those back to your concoction and enjoy. The recipe also calls for almond extract and that delivers a powerful flavor punch that ties the white chocolate in perfectly with the raspberry. This recipe is a little more time consuming than most brownie/bar recipes but it is well worth it in the end.

Here is what you will need:

1 stick of butter

2 cups of white chocolate chips

2 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ cup seedless raspberry jam

The Instructions:

First, preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Heat the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the white chocolate chips but do NOT stir it – I slosh the bowl around a little to make sure all of the morsels have come in contact with the butter.

In a large bowl, beat both eggs until they are foamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 5 minutes – you want a nice, lemon colored batter. Stir in your butter-chocolate mixture and mix until blended. Then using your mixer, add the flour, salt and almond extract. Mix it on low speed until it is thoroughly combined. Take 2/3 of your batter and spread it into your prepared pan.

Bake it for 12-15 minutes OR until it is light, golden brown around the edges. Remove it from the oven (leave your oven at 350). Heat the raspberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. Spread it over the warm crust. Take the last cup of white chocolate chips and stir into the remaining 1/3 of batter. Drop spoonfuls of the batter over the jam. Don’t worry about covering all of the jam, it will spread and do that on its own. If you desire almonds, this is where you would sprinkle ¼ cup of toasted almonds on top.

Bake it for 20-25 minutes OR until the edges and top are golden brown. Do not overcook! Cool it completely in the pan for at least an hour before you cut them.


Thai Chicken with Cilantro Sauce and Jasmine Rice
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
Sep 04, 2011 | 3076 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Thai Chicken with Cilantro Sauce and Jasmine Rice
Thai Chicken with Cilantro Sauce and Jasmine Rice
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Total prep time: About 25 minutes

Total cook time: 10 minutes

My family absolutely loves Thai food. Two of my college roommates were Thai and both of their parents immigrated to the United States from Thailand at the age of 18. Their Mom taught them how to cook and needless to say I loved when they cooked a big “home cooked” meal. Our apartment gave off the aroma of a little Mom and Pop Thai restaurant for days. This recipe has an Asian flare without getting too exotic with spices and ingredients. I love this recipe because I can do most of the preparation ahead of time and all I need is about 10 minutes to cook the chicken (I put my rice on ahead of time). There is a dipping sauce that goes with the chicken. When I first made it I almost didn’t make the sauce and it would have been a huge mistake. The sauce ties it all together and makes it absolutely perfect. It calls for 2 jalapeños but surprisingly enough, the chicken doesn’t retain a lot of that heat after it is cooked – it just gives it a yummy flavor.

Here is what you will need:

2 jalapeño peppers (remove the seeds and white parts, this is the main heat source of hot peppers)

2 cloves of garlic smashed

½ cup packed cilantro (I use stems and leaves all together)

2 tablespoons of Asian fish sauce (often called nam pla or nuoc mam)

1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

¼ teaspoon salt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Dipping sauce:

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (leaves only here)

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 ½ tablespoons water

The Instructions:

In a food processor or blender (a mini chopper is plenty big), puree the jalapenos, 2 smashed garlic cloves, the ½ cup of cilantro, fish sauce, olive or cooking oil, sesame oil, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Put the chicken in a shallow, glass dish and spread the cilantro marinade all over the chicken. I like to make this in advance and just put it in the fridge until I’m ready to cook it.  When you’re ready to cook it, grill the chicken until it is just done, about 10 minutes. The George Foreman grill works well, it cooks quickly and you get the pretty grill marks without firing up the actual grill.

For the dipping sauce, add the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt to a small stainless steel sauce pan. Bring it to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. In a small glass bowl, add the minced garlic, tablespoon of chopped cilantro leaves, red pepper flakes and water. Pour the vinegar mixture on top and your sauce is now complete. This can also be made in advance.

As I mentioned before I love to serve this with jasmine rice. Put a nice large helping of rice in a bowl and lay your chicken breast on top. Serve the sauce alongside the dish to dip the chicken in. It is also tasty with a crusty bread and salad.

A note about the ingredients:

Jasmine or Basmati Rice can be found in the Asian food section (not with the rice) at Wal-Mart and most grocery stores. The Asian fish sauce, Asian Sesame oil, and Rice Wine Vinegar can all be found on the Aisan food aisle in the grocery store. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am a big proponent of fresh garlic. Don’t be afraid to use fresh garlic – you can really taste the difference! Look in the onion section at your grocery store and you will find heads of garlic sold loosely like onions. A nice head of garlic will be firm to the touch and not have any brown or mushy spots. I’ve used white and light purple garlic but the taste is really the same. Under the skin you will see little sections – those are cloves. A quick way to prepare garlic: separate however many cloves you need (leave the little skins around the cloves). Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the stem end. Put the garlic on your cutting board and lay the flat end of your knife on top. Using the heel of your hand, give it a good smack. This will loosen the skins away from your clove of garlic and you can separate it out much easier than painstakingly peeling each clove by hand. As an added bonus, it is already a little smashed and ready for mincing.


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