Tag Archives: recipes

Sneak Peek: Pasta with Spicy & Creamy Marinara Sauce for Two

Another night, another round of “what the hell can I make with the meager rations in my pantry.”

I present to you tonight’s delicious results. The sauce is healthier than most since I used cream cheese and mascarpone (leftover from these) rather than heavy cream. Tastes equally incredible to me. And now I feel like a cream cheese commercial.

You may be wondering who I am sharing this with, as it’s labeled “for two.” Don’t get too excited – my +1 is simply my future self who will undoubtedly be scarfing down these leftovers tomorrow and justifying it with 45 minutes of pretending her gear is higher than it is in spin class. Classy lady, that one. I like her already.

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Mini Espresso Cheesecake Bites

Though my internal clock adjusts to nocturnal mode for the weekends, weekdays are a very different story. When I’m not doing something extremely exciting (like checking my blog stats), I tend to fall asleep on the couch at 9:30, wake up and move to my bed at 10:30, then tell people that’s the time I actually went to sleep to avoid being shunned as a complete loserpants.

Last night, however, I would be damned if I missed the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. In an effort to stay awake for 2 hours and 20 minutes of sadistic bliss, I made up a very espresso-filled recipe that I hoped would keep me from drooling on my neighbor in the theater. Mission accomplished, I’m 70% certain.

The movie was amazing. I didn’t even need the espresso to stay awake, because I spent most of the time actively ogling the male tributes. The film was not 100% true to the book, but I could let the details go for the sake of not sitting through a seven hour movie. And not eating the entire batch of these by myself.

Making these little babies is very simple. The trick is to make extra filling so that when you bring them to whatever gathering you’re going to, it doesn’t look like you’ve eaten half of what you made. Your secret is safe with me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package mini phyllo shells (found in the freezer section – comes with 15 shells)
  • 1/3 c mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 c cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh raspberries
Directions:
Mix cheeses together until smooth. Add espresso and vanilla, mix well. Stir in powdered sugar and salt. Pipe filling into phyllo shells. Garnish with raspberries (don’t leave these out – they add a lot of complexity to the flavor).

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your flavor.

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Roasted Vegetable & Avocado Medley

In a “Hail Mary” effort to fit back into my pants before tonight’s hot date, I decided to eat something mildly healthy. As an added bonus, it’s the first day of spring and this recipe just might make me look less like Rosie O’Donnell in a bathing suit when summer rolls along.

Regarding tonight’s dinner date, I have high hopes. Supporting reasons for this include:

1. My date has not yet tried to feel me up in a dark alleyway.
2. He has not yet found my blog.
3. I am 90% certain he is not secretly gay.
4. Yesterday, an ugly bird shit on my head. Apparently this is a good omen.

With any date, it’s important to detox beforehand and wear something figure flattering, but not slutty. Which is unfortunate because I may have just eaten a slice of birthday cake and forgotten to launder half of my wardrobe. So I suppose the corset will have to do.

But even when I don’t need to squeeze into a corset, I love fresh vegetables. Not as much as I love cake, but they have their moments. This little diddy that I threw together showcases all of the fresh, flavorful, juicy, creamy, and acidic flavors that nature has to offer.

I like to consider avocado a vegetable to excuse the quantities I eat it in. In this dish, the avocado almost coats everything, giving it a luscious and rich texture that it just to die for.

To make this springtime wonder, you’ll need:

  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/8 c mild soft cheese, cubed (I used goat’s milk mozzarella and it was a good decision. Slightly melted with the roasted veggies and gave it a tang.)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, cut into strips
  • salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the zucchini and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until warmed through. Combine in a bowl with avocado and cheese. Add olive oil, lime juice, salt, & pepper and mix. Top with basil ribbons.

And for the record, I am not really wearing a corset. I’ll save that for the second date.

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St. Patrick’s Day Guinness & Bailey’s Cupcakes

Back when I was unpopular and sad, I shared a recipe for drunken cupcakes.  You would think one only makes such things on St. Patrick’s day, but apparently my post-divorce depression was just enough that I needed all liquids and solids I consumed to be mildly boozy.

Not only did I get rave reviews for these cupcakes around the office, but they are one of my personal favorites. I am now a firm believer that Guinness should be used in all chocolate cupcake recipes because of how deliciously moist they come out. And because I’ve become a borderline alcoholic.

I am having dramatic food envy staring at my picture of these cupcakes today. I would love nothing more than to make them again. Unfortunately, I am nearing the turning point in every woman’s life where she almost has to lay down before she can button her pants.

But if you’re looking to celebrate and actually fit into your pants, definitely try them out. You will not be disappointed.

And for some other unsolicited advice: wear true shades of green, and under no circumstances “go braugh-less,” even if your name is Erin. Nobody wants to see that.

In other news, here is some fun inspiration for a lovely St. Patty’s. Click images for source.

[pretty marble nails]

[pants i am too short for]

[traditional claddagh ring]

[pot of gold cocktail]

[sweet Irish blessing]

[baby i am going to steal]


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Cream Cheese & Jalapeno Thumbprint Cookies

For the thousandth time, you think I am crazy.

And for the thousandth time, I say to you: “Yes. I though we went over this already?”

Submitted for the approval of the midnight snack society, I present to you the product of last night’s impulse purchases at Whole Foods: peanut butter thumbprint cookies with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly.  These cookies join the ranks of Rosemary Lemon Cookies with Olive Oil Glaze, Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips, and Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake with Balsamic Drizzle in my slightly deranged collection of not-so-sweets.

There is method to my madness, people. Let’s take a moment for some arithmetic:

Peanuts + Spicy = Delicious. Think Pad Thai.
Cream Cheese + Spicy = Delicious. Have you ever eaten one of those cheese blocks smothered in jalapeno jelly? You should.
Peanut Butter + Cream Cheese = Delicious. Was this ever in question?

So, if A+B, B+C, and A+C all equal delicious…. we must be on to something exponentially better.

Eat your heart out, Giada. I’m coming for you and your perfect hair and your beach house, too.

I wish I could find a way to make these cookies prettier, but jalapeno jelly wasn’t really made for food styling. They are kind of like the ugly duckling children that you almost love more because you feel sorry for them.

In a related story – God, I hope my kids are pretty.

Here is my version of the recipe, using a modified version of Sunny Anderson’s thumbprint cookie as the base:

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Sugar for rolling (optional)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 jar jalapeno jelly

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and blend all ingredients on medium-high until creamy. Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, pushing everything back towards the center. Then add the vanilla, egg, and salt and blend until combined. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the flour in 1/2 cup intervals. Between each addition be sure to completely blend in all the flour and scrape the sides again as before.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll into a ball between your hands. Then roll the formed ball in the sugar (if using) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the balls, making sure to separate them on the sheet by about 1-inch.

Once all the balls are on the baking sheet, make an indentation in the center of each using the rounded end of a wooden spoon, the back of a rounded teaspoon, or your good old fashioned thumb. Bake for about 9 minutes and remove to a wire rack.

Fill each with 1/4 tsp cream cheese and 1/4 tsp jelly.

Eat in large quantities before and after dinner. Or at work. Or in your car. Or while reading my blog. This is a judgment-free zone, people.

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