All posts by Jana Snyder

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 2: Hot Stuff

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Super Bowl recipes: hot dips

Continuing this week’s round-up of Super Bowl recipes… Today’s theme: Hot dips.
Dig in!

Jalapeno Popper Dip from Big Red Kitchen — so much easier than wrapping jalapenos one by one!
French Dip Crescents from Mama Loves Food — Make this one even easier on yourself: use the super-simple au jus with my 10-minute French Dip recipe.
Buffalo Chicken Dip from SkinnyTaste – All the flavor of buffalo wings without messy hands!

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 1: Three-Ingredient Treats

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Every day this week, I’ll be posting four to six recipes I’ve rounded up that you might want to put on your Super Bowl table this weekend. Today’s theme: Three ingredients!  — aka, SUPER easy!

Mango Salsa
There are lots of recipes out there for mango salsa, but the first one I was introduced to was this one. It’s so simple, you’ll think, “That can’t be it.” But trust me, these three ingredients combine in some mystical way to create a deliciousness that outweighs the shopping list and expectations. For each two servings:
1 mango, diced (here’s how)
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Stir them all together, and enjoy immediately, or use within one day.
For party food, serve it with tortilla chips, but it’s also delish on top of salmon or pork.
Chipotle-Raspberry Salsa on Cream Cheese
Here’s another “recipe” that seems toooooo simple to be impressive, but oh my goodness, is this stuff addictive! And really, the picture above contains the whole recipe. You’ll want to soften the cream cheese first, and you won’t need the whole bottle — just pour it on till the cheese is well smothered.
The third ingredient? Your favorite crackers or chips: Ritz, Wheat Thins, Doritos — it’s all good!
You can find Bronco Bob’s at Amazon, World Market, and last time I checked, Dillons/Kroger.
Coming later this week: Hot Stuff, Cold Dips, Low Carb, and Sweet Treats!

Coffee Panna Cotta

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“Panna cotta” is Italian for “cooked cream,” and that’s exactly what it is. The result is a smooth, custard-like yumminess made without eggs or oven time. This Coffee Panna Cotta is easy enough to make every weekend, but elegant enough for a special occasion.

I use instant espresso powder because it’s easy to keep on hand, but if you have some brewed espresso on hand, you can certainly use that. Just be sure to chill it before adding the gelatin to it.

If you’re cutting down on sugar, it can be made with Splenda Blend. I don’t recommend making it with only Splenda. The consistency becomes very jello-like, and there’s something very, very wrong about opaque jello.

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This is not all the ingredients; just the ones for the
coffee/gelatin mixture.

Coffee Panna Cotta

1/3 cup very cold water
1 t. instant espresso powder
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar (for low carb: 2 to 3 T. Splenda Blend)
2 t. Kahlua (optional; does contain sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

Stir the espresso powder into the cold water until completely dissolved.  Stir in the gelatin powder.

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It may want to clump at first, but stir until it looks fairly homogenized. It will still look sort of grainy. Set this in the fridge.

In a saucepan (size at least 2 qt.), stir together the heavy cream and sugar or Splenda (and Kahlua, if you want), and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil (which may take up to 10 minutes), stirring frequently or constantly. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Boiling cream doesn’t look like boiling water: it mostly just has bumps moving just under the surface, with an occasional bubble breaking the surface.

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Retrieve the gelatin mixture from the fridge…

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It will look even more grainy now; that’s okay. Whisk it into the cream until completely dissolved. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Leave it off the heat for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Clean-up tip: fill the sauce pan and liquid measuring cup with cold water now, to soak off the remaining gelatin.

When the cream mixture has cooled to about room temperature, pour into individual dishes. Espresso cups, small ramekins or dipping bowls work great. Putting them all on one tray or baking sheet makes transporting them to fridge easier.

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In my house, what comes next is my husband wandering into the kitchen. “What’s this?”

“Coffee panna cotta,” I answer.

“Can I have some?,” he asks.

“Well, it’s not nearly done, it needs to…”

Too late! He’s got dish and spoon in hand, enjoying coffee-cream soup for lunch.

Cover the remaining dishes with cling wrap, and move to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

If you can.

6-10 servings, depending on what size dishes you use.

You might also like:
7 Special Occasion Cookies
Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream
Chicken with Mushroom Sage Sauce (another special-occasion-worthy dish)

10-Minute Quick French Dip Sandwich

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Quick French Dip Sandwich

I love a good French dip, and this recipe makes it so easy, you can have one on the table in just minutes. Sure, it uses deli roast beef, but there are a few extra ingredients in the au jus that make this sandwich taste like the jus simmered for hours. It’s one of my go-to meals when I need something quick and brainless.

A note about the bread… The classic bread for French dip is baguette, but you can use any sturdy, fairly thick bread. I’m using homemade honey wheat bread in the demo photos. It’s not as authentic as a white French bread, but it does make the dish a bit healthier. Which is where I like to live!

10-Minute French Dip

Servings: 3

2 c. beef broth or stock
1 T. soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
1 garlic clove, crushed (or 1 t. granulated garlic)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. dried rosemary
3 sandwich buns, or equivalent baguette
9 slices provolone
1 lb. deli roast beef

Preheat broiler, and place rack about 4″ under heat.

Combine beef broth, soy sauce, garlic and herbs in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Yes, just throw the bay leaf in there whole. You’ll strain it out later. Keep this on low while you prepare the bread.

Slice the bread lengthways and and place it cut side up on a baking sheet. Top each piece of bread with slices of provolone to cover the cut surface of the bread. Broil this until the cheese is melted and bubbly, watching closely. This will only take about 2 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven. Place matching bread pieces on each plate. Using tongs, pick up a few slices of roast beef and swish them in the broth, just to heat them a little. (You don’t want to overcook them, or they’ll get tough.) As you lift the beef out, tap the tongs on the side of the sauce pan to remove excess juice, then place the beef on one sandwich. Repeat for the other plates.

Pour the remaining broth through a strainer, into ramekins or other small bowls for dipping, and serve immediately.

You might also like:
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
Quick Easy Lunch: Tex Mex Plate
Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Seven Special Occasion Cookies (and one cake)

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Special Occasion Cookies: a recipe roundup

I’ve been scouting the interwebs for some special cookie recipes. We’re hosting a birthday party for my mom-in-law in a couple weeks, and I thought that a table of cookies would be more fun than just a cake. Here are seven that stood out to me. They’d be great for other occasions and uses, too: baby or wedding shower, bake sale, goodies in a gift basket.
Those that don’t involve cream cheese would probably travel well, and be a most welcome surprise to a college student or soldier.

Paula Deen’s Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies. One stick of butter, one package of cream cheese, one box of cake mix and one egg. Yep, sounds gooey alright!

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. These look yummy and sound as if they could be healthy.  Let’s all pretend, shall we?

I’m all for healthy choices on a daily basis. But I also believe that when there is truly a special occasion, it’s okay to break out the sugar and splurge a little. A little. And just for that day. Not the whole dang week!

Oreo Truffles, from Chef in Training. Speaking of splurging! Oreos are combined with cream cheese and then dipped in white chocolate. One reader’s tip: use corn-on-the-cob holders for the dipping process.

Walnut Snowball Cookies (aka, Wedding Cookies). Who doesn’t like these? They’re simple, and delicious, and classic!

Walnuts are healthy. Yeah, health food, baby!

Gramma’s Date Bars. I know this is not a decadent-sounding recipe, but I think it’s nice to have at least one low-sugar option on the table. And this type of cookie was very popular in the 1930’s (I remember my grandma making these), so I think it’s a nostalgic favorite for lots of people.

Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread. I make an almond version. I could whip up a batch now — they take no time at all to make — but since I don’t have time to photograph them today, you’ll have to be content with this picture of Lemon Poppyseed Cookies from Martha Stewart.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. I found this recipe because one commenter’s quote caught my eye: “Out of this world!!!! These are INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Becky Bakes says, “These may just be the tastiest thing I’ve had… ever.” They certainly are elegant enough to earn a spot on a birthday party table.

Ina Garten’s Carrot and Pineapple Cake. Okay, so it’s not a cookie, but if it were made as a sheet cake and cut into little squares or bars it could pass, right?  And here’s a lighter carrot cake option. (The photo is of the lighter version.)

What cookies do you make for special occasions?

You might also like:
Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Pie
No-bake Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

Recipe review: Coffee Ice Cream (with Heath Bar)

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coffee ice cream - our favorite!

For me, living a low carb life means that the majority of the time, I stay away from sugary foods. But it also means that it’s okay to splurge once in a while. (If “once in a while” turns into “pretty much every day,” then it’s not working!) Also, if I’m going to compromise my healthy habit by eating something sugary, I will only do it for things I really, really love! Grocery store cake or cookies? Nah. Homemade carrot cake or cinnamon rolls? Worth it!

This coffee ice cream is one of those things that’s worth it.

This ice cream recipe from Simply Recipes originally caught my eye as something to make for my husband. He LOVES coffee, and his favorite candy bar is Heath or Skor. But once I tasted it, it became one of my favorites, too!

We served it at Christmas dinner. It goes great with pumpkin or pecan pie!

By the way, we don’t have an ice cream freezer. (Well, we have a vintage hand-crank one, but that only gets used if there are young children around, eager to take their turn at cranking!) We just put it in a shallow container in the freezer, and stir it every 30-60 minutes. I’m sure it would be even more amazing made in an ice cream freezer, but if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you from enjoying this totally-worth-it treat!

You might also like:
Peanut Butter Pie
No-bake Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

“Get Well Soon” with this simple soup

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Simple Soup

This soup is so simple, it’s really just a dressed-up broth, but that’s the beauty of it. Even when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it’s easy to make for yourself. Or to ask a cooking newbie in the house to make for you!

Of course, if you like, you can add any number of things to it and come up with a more substantial soup: cooked noodles or rice, diced carrots, peas, celery… But when I’m not feeling quite up to par, I like the simplicity of the broth and just one or two additions.

“Get Well Soon” – a Simple Soup

2 c. good quality chicken broth (such as this one)
1 white mushroom
1 green onion
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth just to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

Thinly slice the mushroom and add it to the broth. Thinly slice the mushroom and green onion; set a few slices of the greenest part of the onion for garnish, if you like. Add the rest to the broth.

Continue to simmer until the mushrooms are done to your liking. If you like them just barely cooked, pull it off the heat then. Or you can leave it on the heat till the ‘shrooms have reduced in size by about a third. They may also turn a little darker; that’s okay.

Once the mushrooms are done to your liking, taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your taste. (Pepper is optional.)

Serves 2

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