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Vegetable Lasagna

10 Apr

Who says lasagnas must be meaty and cheesy? While lasagnas are undoubtedly delicious meaty and cheesy, I wanted to make a healthier option. You know, spring is here, summer is approaching, I know you are also watching your waistline. Don’t lie.

So I roasted some vegetables- onions, zucchini, and eggplant, layer on whole wheat lasagna, top with a little mozzarella, ricotta, and homemade marinara sauce. Of course it tastes delicious. Warm, gooey, a little cheesy but light. With this recipe, I don’t think I want to go back to meaty lasagna if I have to.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil

salt & pepper

2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

1 medium eggplant, sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

1 small onion, sliced

Lasagna Pasta

3 cups marinara sauce- homemade or store bought

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1.5 cup ricotta- skim, whole, your choice.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced onion, zucchini , and eggplant on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and toss. Once all the veggies are evenly coated, place the sheet into the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

2. In a 9 x 12 baking sheet, layer 1 cup of marinara sauce . Layer a layer of lasagna pasta, then vegetables on top, then dot some ricotta, then a thin layer of mozzarella. Repeat this rotation until all the ingredients run out. It should be enough for 3 thick layers.

3. Bake in the oven with aluminum foil on top for 30 minutes. Take off the top and bake for another 15 minutes, until top is golden brown.

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Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

17 Feb

So I made chocolate chip cookies, again.

I can’t help it, it’s a classic, you know?

This time, I followed and modified Chef Michael Mina’s recipe that I discovered on Refinery 29. The finishing product was delicious- crunchy, sweet, and fulfilling.

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and diced
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using hand-held electronic mixer or stand-mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.

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3. Once the mixture is fluffy (after beating for about 5 minutes), add in eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until combined.

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4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. Turn the mixer on and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to the mix.

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6. Once combined, fold in chocolate chips until they are incorporated.

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7. Roll the dough to about a size of a golf ball (2 inches). Put the dough on nonstick baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

8. Bake cookies in the lower rack of the oven for about 15 minutes.

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9. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and serve warm.

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ENJOY!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

7 Feb

Do you like goat cheese?

If you do, you’ve got to try this recipe. It takes less than ten minutes and it’s absolutely delicious! Creamy, cheesy, thick, garlicky, yet not too heavy. If you are a goat cheese lover, it doesn’t get much better than this dish!

This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s Penne with Spinach Sauce. I’ve made Giada’s recipe a few times, it’s amazing, but I decided to use what I had on hand to make this dish work!

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Ingredients:

1.5 cloves garlic

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 ounce goat cheese

3 ounces of spinach (I used a spinach mix since I didn’t have full spinach)

1/2 pound pasta (to make it healthier, I used organic brown rice pasta)

Grated parmesan to finish

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to its directions. Save pasta water!

2. In a blender/food processor, blend in all the ingredients together with 1/3 cup of pasta water.

3. Mix in the pasta and sauce. Top the dish with grated parmesan on top. THAT’S ALL!

It’s THAT easy! You try it now!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

18 Dec

I have been addicted to Pinterest. Not a habit I am proud of as it consumes a lot of my time. The upside of my addiction is that I have discovered a lot of good stuff. Yummy and crafty new projects are awaiting me over my winter break and I am so excited for them!

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I discovered this awesome pumpkin cupcakes recipe through Pinterest, and had to make these treats immediately! I took it to a party and got such positive reviews for them!

Makes about 20 cupckaes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a pan. Low and slow until butter is browned.

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2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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3. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, mix together cooled butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and pumpkin puree. After the mixture is combined, add in the dry ingredients.

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IMG_59384. Line muffin cups into muffin tins. Pour batter evenly into the tins about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Cinnamon Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and beat in 1 cup of confectioners sugar at a time. Beat in cinnamon and vanilla extract until mixture is smooth.

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Enjoy!

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Snicker-doodle & Chocolate Chips Cookies

14 Dec

I had a sudden urge to bake cookies the other day. The kind of cookies that makes your whole house smell warm and fuzzy, the kind that makes you miss your friends and family, the kind that makes you look forward to the holiday season.

Well, I didn’t have many ingredients on hand, but I did to whip up some cinnamon sugar cookies with what I had, and they did the job. You cannot beat the smell of warm cinnamon sugar cookies, or their official term, snicker-doodle cookies. My house smelled good, I started to miss my friends, and I am beyond excited for the holiday season.

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For these batch of cookies, I adapted this recipe from howsweeteats.comThey were crispy on the outside, cakey on the inside. The sweetness from granulated sugar and the warmth from cinnamon and the surprise factor of chocolate chips just make the cookies irresistible. They are best eaten warm. With a cup of tea or milk. Your choice.

Makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips

4 tablespoon granulated sugar and 2 teaspoon cinnamon for coating

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Then beat in egg and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients with wet, until dough comes together.

5. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. With the top covered.

6. Roll the dough into one tablespoon size, roll in the sugar/cinnamon mix and press down to about 1/4 inch and place on baking sheet.

7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

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Nutella Banana Brioche Bread Pudding

5 Dec

photo

This, is the only picture I have.

I am sorry.

I was in such a hurry when I made it that I only took a picture with my phone. On Instagram.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make it though. Because you are going to love this scrumptious dish. For breakfast, for brunch, for dessert. Hell, you can even eat this for lunch and dinner. Make sure you refrain yourself because you might indulge in a lot of pieces. Then you wouldn’t feel too good about it afterwards. I am sorry.

This Nutella banana brioche bread pudding will make you very happy about life. It will make you forget all the sorrow from your past and make you think everything will be a-okay in the future. Cloudy, sweet, creamy, custardy, warm. It’s the best day-after holiday brunch.

I must say, though, that the budget can be a bit high when you add things up. Between the egg challah($6), bottle of hazelnut liqueur($20), cream, whole milk, 8 eggs. You might have to be mentally prepared yourself to spend a bit with this dish. But it will be worth it. You will make your family very happy on Christmas day, indulging this goodness while opening presents in the morning.

So, what more can I say? Just make it. The recipe is here.

Healthy Hot Pockets

29 Nov

Before we discuss hot pockets, I just want to let everyone know that my fingers are so stiff from the cold… I type so much slower due to the stiffness… the joy of living in the Northeast…

Moving on. Let’s talk hot pockets! So how did I start this random craze for them? Well, I visited a friend a while ago and he offered me a Hot Pocket. Like, a real Hot Pocket with all the fakeness and “ham” and liquidy yellow cheese hot pocket. It.was.delicious.

I wanted more. I wanted more hot pockets. But, I don’t want the fake stuff. I am into whole foods eating, so I really try not to indulge in artificial processed food… Let me clarify… I am a fat kid at heart. Like, a very fat kid. If I could eat bacon and carbonara for dinner every night, I would. At the same time, I am not trying to die young. So I do indulge when I can, but I am mindful when it comes to everyday food.

So long story short, I decided that I am going to make my own hot pocket/Stromboli/calzone, whatever you call them. They were so easy, not to mention they are guilt-free. They’re awesome!

I went with the broccoli, mushroom, onions, and mozzarella combination.. .just because I had those things on hand. The basic broccoli and cheddar are next though. I can’t wait to make those.

Ingredients:

1/2 head broccoli, chopped

3 tbs cooking oil

1/4 cup diced onions

1/2 cup mushroom, cubed

1 cup mozzarella, shredded

1 pound pizza dough (I used whole wheat but you may use plain)

salt & pepper

egg wash from one egg

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, throw in the broccoli and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes, until semi-soften.

2. In another pan with oil, cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Put in the mushroom and saute for about 4 more minutes. Add in salt & pepper, toss in the cooked broccoli and stir.

3. On a floured surface, divide pizza dough into four balls. Roll out each ball to about 1/2 inch thick.

4. Scoop out the broccoli/mushroom mixture and layer on top of pizza dough, about 1/2 cup,  leave about 1.5 inches around the edge. Top the mixture with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.

5. Seal the edges of the pizza dough on all sides. Turn the pockets over and brush with a thin brush of egg wash. (Feel free to sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of the pockets at this point if you wish).

6. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

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