Browsing Category: special occasion recipes

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 5: Sweet Treats

sweet-treats-mont
Super Bowl recipes: the sweet stuff!

Today, we wrap up our Super Bowl recipes round-up.

Yesterday, we were so healthy, goin’ all low carb! Today’s list is a bit naughtier: it’s all about the sweet stuff!

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips, via Relish.  Still sorta healthy, what with all that fruit. Unlike our next contestant…

Homemade Chocoate Pop-Tarts and Nutella Pop-Tarts. Oh dear, I think you could blow any diet just by looking at these!

No-Bake Cheesecakes — This page includes a link to the original from My Baking Addiction, as well as three variations from me. These are especially cute served in little Mason jars. Plus so portable!

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries from The Sweets Life. Strawberries are low-glycemic and loaded with potassium, so if you make this with a sweetener other than refined sugar, these are actually pretty healthy. So you can feel all virtuous as you pig out on them!

If you’ve just gotta have something themey, here you go: Football Filbert Cookies from Food.com

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 3: Cold Dips

cold-dips-mont
Day 3 in our round-up of 25 Super Bowl Super Bowl Recipes: cold dips.
cold shrimp dip
Here’s a pretty one! A quick, easy, cold Shrimp Dip from SimplyRecipes.
.
7-layer mexican dip
Perhaps the best-loved, most classic party dip: 7-Layer Taco Dip. And who better to turn to than Pioneer Woman? (Personally, though, I’m perfectly happy to skip making the guac from scratch; I use Wholly Guacamole Picante Style. And if you’re making a version of this classic that involves taco seasoning mix, check out my low-sodium, sugar-free recipe.)
.
Here’s a new twist on that old favorite: 7-layer Greek Dip. And for that, you’ll need hummus. Coming right up…
I never heard of hummus until I was a teen, and I refused to try it for years, based on the name alone. Don’t follow my example! This is yummy (and healthy) stuff. And homemade hummus is so easy. My recipe is based on this one from Martha Stewart, but I take a quicker route than oven-roasting the garlic, and replace the cayenne with cumin.
(Want a Paleo, Whole30, or Keto friendly hummus? Check out my Almond Hummus recipe here!)

Garlic Hummus
3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 T. tahini
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. water
3/4 t. kosher salt
3/4 t. cumin
3 T. pine nuts
paprika, for garnish, optional

Put the garlic in a small microwave-safe dish, and add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the pieces. Microwave on medium for 40 seconds, stirring once. (This mellows it a bit, takes off the strong bite.)

Add the garlic, chickpeas, the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, kosher salt and cumin to a food processor. Process until very smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary: add more cumin, salt, and/or fresh-ground pepper.

Spread the hummus on a plate, leaving an inch or more around the edge. If not serving soon, refrigerate till half-hour before serving.

Optional: Toast the pine nuts, being careful not to burn them. (You can do this in a dry skillet on the stovetop, or with olive oil the same way the garlic was done.)

Drizzle some olive oil over the hummus, scatter the pine nuts over it, and sprinkle lightly with paprika for color.

Serve with pita chips, wheat thins, and/or crisp vegetables such as cucumber or hicama.

almond hummus with chicken + peppers - keto + paleo friendly

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 2: Hot Stuff

hot-stuff-mont
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!

Coffee Panna Cotta

coffee-panna-cotta-500x520

“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.

panna-cotta-coffee-etc

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.

gelatin-starting-600x520

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.

cream-boiling

Retrieve the gelatin mixture from the fridge…

gelatin-done-600x450

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.

panna-cotta-in-cups

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)

Seven Special Occasion Cookies (and one cake)

cookie-montage
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

Roasted vegetables

rstd-vggs-on-plate

The first time I had roasted vegetables was in one of our favorite restaurants on The Plaza in Kansas City. I was blown away by the flavor! This was nothing like any boiled, steamed, pan-fried or grilled vegetable I had ever had. The carrots, onions and peppers tasted like they’d been drenched in a just-sweet-enough sauce. The potatoes were perfectly salted and savory. I asked the waiter what they did to make the vegetables so sweet. “They’re just roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper,” he replied.

“There’s no sugar?” I asked, incredulous. He assured me there was not.

When we returned home, I hunted down some recipes for roasted vegetables. None of them called for sugar. I tried one. And just as the waiter had sworn, roasting them brought out their hidden sweetness.

After a few experiments, this is the recipe we’ve settled on. It’s become a standard on the Thanksgiving table, and a family favorite. In fact, my daughter’s request for dinner tonight, before she heads back to the land of dorm food, was chicken with mushroom sauce and roasted vegetables.

Roasted vegetables
Ready in about 1.25 hours    Servings: 3

2 T. olive oil, divided
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into generous chunks, to taste
1 red bell pepper
1/4 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (or left whole, if you like)
rosemary or thyme to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Note: to double the recipe, use two pans. Vegetables should not be crowded in the pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Place the carrots and potatoes onto the pan, and toss to coat with oil. Give them plenty of room. If the pan is too crowded, the veggies will steam, not roast, and you won’t get that lovely caramelization.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn each piece over. Don’t be afraid if the carrots are looking really dark, even almost black. Just taste one!

Then add the onion and bell pepper, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; toss all to coat; bake for 10 more minutes. (We were short on onion tonight, so there will be more of them in your pan. Assuming you plan ahead better than I do.)

To remove the woody end of the asparagus, just bend the stalk gently until it snaps in two. It will naturally break where the woody part becomes tender.

After the onion and bell pepper have had their 10 minutes, add the asparagus. Sprinkle all with herbs, if using. Continue baking until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Once tender, remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes in the pan.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm. Learn how to deal with your new popularity.

Recipe review: Chicken with mushroom (and maybe sage) sauce

If you haven’t discovered Simply Recipes, you simply must check them out! This was one of the first recipes I tried there, and it was a BIG hit at the dinner table! My hubs must have said four or five times, “This is so good!” And I usually try to make it for dinner when my daughter comes home from college. That always earns me a hug and a kiss!

So the recipe calls for chopped fresh sage, but having none on hand and not being sure that anything else would make an adequate substitution, I made it without. Also, I know they say you should never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, but white wine just isn’t something I keep around. So I went with the cheap-o cooking wine I have in the pantry. Even with these changes, this really is one of the most delicious chicken recipes I’ve ever made — or tasted. It’s impressive enough to serve very special guests, too.

And, and nice bonus for those who care: it’s low carb.