Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Banana's Foster Ice Cream

Still lovin my ice cream maker attachment!

I think happy hubby is too...

Now I want to invest in several more attachments. I am definitely planning to get the grain miller so I can make my own flour and some of the pasta maker ones too! So excited!

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of banana-flavored stuff but I am trying most ice cream recipes that fall into my lap right now and happy hubby likes banana stuff. After we tried the ice cream, we decided it needed some caramel to really enhance the flavor of the banana.

Banana's Foster Ice Cream
adapted from ReadyMade magazine and

Ice Cream
1 medium ripe banana
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter
1 cup superfine sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1. Puree the banana and 1/4 cup of the milk in a food processor until smooth.

2. Combine the banana puree, the remaining 1 1/4 cups of milk, 1/2 brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Scald the milk mixture (heat nearly to boil) over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

3. While the milk is scalding, whisk together the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and whisk until the eggs are light and fluffy. Whisking constantly, add a small amount of the hot milk to the egg mixture (to temper the eggs). Gradually whisk in the remaining hot milk.

4. Return the custard mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and place in a bowl of ice water to quickly cool the custard. Let the custard cool, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine cream and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir in the custard mixture. Cover with plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. The custard may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

6. Freeze the chilled custard mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

7. While the ice is in the ice cream maker, melt the butter in a saucepan and add sugar. Use medium high heat and stir continuously so sugar can dissolve and continue stirring until the butter starts to brown. The butter will separate from the sugar; don't are almost there. Lower heat and continue stirring until it is dark caramel in color.

8. Add cream slowly (mixture will bubble up). The sugar will set up again but don't worry. Just stir, stir, stir and it will all reincorporate. Let boil 1 minute. Continue cooking at medium heat until you reach your desired consistency.

9. Layer caramel and ice cream and "swirl" with a knife in an airtight container. Place in the freezer for 2-4 hours before serving.

I topped the ice cream with the caramel for the picture, since we realized later that we wanted to add caramel to the recipe. Also, you can add 2-3 tablespoons or rum to the caramel for an extra kick. Happy Hubby said that was overdoing it...I disagree!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bruschetta Pasta with Crispy Shrimp

Haven't posted in a while. So, expect a few within the next few days. I have been thoroughly enjoying the new fun. CD. Then, lucky me (and lucky fun.) got to see my two favorites together! fun. and Conan!!! (not sure why he has a mustache, but don't mind too much either)

 It has also led me back to their first CD and the Format CD's just because I love Nate's music so much. It also made me crave the classic Beatles Pandora station while I reorganized my kitchen yesterday. BTW, when Pandora throws in newer Paul McCartney music like Wings or his solo stuff, I get very upset. Classic Beatles and John Lennon or bust I say. Now I want to watch Across the Universe...

Speaking of cravings... I had bought a lot of basil earlier in the week for my Basil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza which made me crave a pasta I made in the summer when my Mom had a giant basil plant and extra to spare. Someday when I have a sunny window or a warm climate to live in, I will have a beautiful hhhhhhhhherb garden with extra basil and cilantro. Until then, it's from the store and quickly wilting in my kitchen...sad face... Also, the basil I purchased said "DO NOT REFRIGERATE, keep in a cool (50-55 degree) place." Um... Where would that be? Not my house, not my porch, not my fridge...

This was one of my first go-to recipes when we moved out of our parents house and I really had no idea how or what to shop for besides cereal, Cheetos, and peanut butter and jelly essentials. I have altered the original recipe to make it more of a bruschetta pasta instead of the original. I also hold back on the tomatoes since they end up on the side of my husbands plate (his only flaw). This is my version with added shrimp because hubby really enjoyed a crispy shrimp recipe from

Bruschetta Pasta with Crispy Shrimp
adapted from and

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2-4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian cheese mix (yes, I used bagged cheese)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound raw, deveined shrimp (tails removed)
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. In a large bowl combine chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, Italian cheese blend, chopped basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook the pasta until al dente.

3. Make sure shrimp is clean and completely dry. Combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder and sprinkle it over the shrimp. Add the flour to a small bowl, and dredge the shrimp through the flour to get a very light coating on it. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shrimp and brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. 

4. Drain cooked pasta and add pasta to the shrimp. Toss with the sitting bruschetta mixture. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Why isn't bruschetta in spell check?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

Is anyone else upset that Bruno Mars was completely snubbed at the Grammy's? I don't hate Adele or anything, but I reeeeaalllly like Bruno Mars. Adele got so many, she should have just gave one to him out of pity. His CD had so many hits this year, you would have thought he would get at least one Grammy. Besides, his performance was probably the best of the night...

Anyways, I had some left over shredded chicken and was going through different sites and blogs to see some creative options instead of just mixing in BBQ sauce and slapping it on a bun (which would have been really good anyways). No, that would have been too easy. So, I referred to my favorite blogger and sure enough, she had something right up my alley.

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

6 medium sweet potatoes
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2-3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil + more for brushing
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
fresh cilantro for topping

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then lay cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until soft. Once finished, let cool until you can touch them.

2. While potatoes are baking, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add sliced onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. Add shredded chicken to a bowl and mix with BBQ sauce. Set aside.

3. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out sweet potato flesh, leaving just the slightest bit of skin. Set aside about half of the sweet potato flesh, saving it for later use. Take the sweet potato skins and place them on the baking sheet cut-side down, then brush or spray the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for 3-4 minutes more.

4. Take the other half of the sweet potato flesh and mash it with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

5. Remove skin from oven and fill each with about 1-2 tablespoons of the cheddar sweet potato mash, some BBQ chicken, bacon and caramelized red onions. Top with additional cheddar and place on the baking sheet, repeating with remaining potatoes. Bake 4-5 minutes more, then serve hot and top with cilantro.

Anything topped with cilantro is good in my book.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Basil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza with Cheese and Jalapeno Pepperoni

CHEESE, CHEESE, CHEESE.... I think there is more CHEESE in our refrigerator than anything else. My husband proposed to me after we ate at a CHEESE market. We once drove two hours to go to a CHEESE castle (which isn't really a castle) and got back in time for work. We specifically go out of our way to shop at a Wisconsin-based grocery store just to buy our favorite 7 year aged cheddar CHEESE! We planned a trip to a Cubs game based on when we would be able to eat at a local grilled CHEESE pub in Wrigleyville. Mac & CHEESE pizza and Asiago stuffed crust pizza... Yes, we have indulged in that too!

So when my favorite food blogger posted a Goat CHEESE and Basil Stuffed Crust Pizza, I just had to make it. I was even more influenced to make it while grocery shopping when I came across CHEESE and Jalapeno Pepperoni.

Basil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

8 ounces goat cheese
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey

1. Combine flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add water, honey, oil, and salt. Using a stand mixer with a bread hook or your hands, mix/knead until combined. Lightly oil a bowl and add dough back in. Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours.

2. After 2-3 hours, remove from bowl and punch down. Roll back into a ball and let sit for 30 minutes.

3. While dough is sitting, combine goat cheese and basil in a small bowl until mixed. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay dough on a lightly floured surface and roll very thin. Along the outer  edge (about 1 1/2 inches from the outside) place goat cheese around the entire outside. Fold dough over top and press down to seal the top to the bottom. Top with desired topping and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Classic Pizza Sauce
From Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
(makes enough for about 5 pizzas, so freeze extra!)

One 28-ounce can reduced sodium crushed tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

2. Set the lid askew, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down into a somewhat thickened sauce, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before using.

Note: I store extra sauce in the freezer in 1/2 cup sized Tupperware. When I make pizza, I just take one out and thaw. This recipe is also delicious as a pasta sauce.

 Did I mention we love CHEESE?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Strawberry-Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt

I had the bestest birthday ever! My Mom got me a Crockpot (the one thing I did not get as a wedding gift) and my amazing husband got me the Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment that I have been wanting forever.

We also went to a yummy little place in Naperville, IL called Cookie Dough Creations that serves raw (egg free) cookie dough in scoops. You can mix cookie dough together, with ice cream, in a shake, or put it between two baked cookies! What!?! I know... I got a small half chocolate chip cookie dough (classic) and half Oreo cookie dough! It was delicious, but it was filling! My good friend Leah mixed hers with ice cream and she said it tamed the heavy beast. My other friend, Dane, started sweating but managed to finish his. I stopped at the halfway point and my husband finished his before we had even made a dent like usual. I highly recommend this place and you should check it out if you get a chance.

When I got my ice cream maker attachment, I immediately cleaned it and stuck it in the freezer. 24 hours later, I made this refreshing dessert. It reminds me of a mix between sherbet and a cocktail. I look forward to making this again in the summer for friends and family after a cookout.

So good!

Strawberry-Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt
adapted from a recipe in ReadyMade

3 Cups plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon  salt
1 Cup fresh strawberries, quartered and thinly sliced

1. Combine the yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

2. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add strawberries during the last minute of mixing of mixing in the ice cream maker. Transfer frozen yogurt to an airtight container and place in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours before serving.

You can all look forward to more ice cream recipes soon. I am in love with a frozen bowl that churns dairy products into cold, creamy, awesomeness...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mini Salmon Burgers with Healthy Home-Cut Fries

Hello All! Welcome to my first blog! Lets get started...

I love fish! Especially salmon. I love the taste, the color, and the fact that they swim upstream. More power to you, strong little dudes!

I also love when they are shaped into burgers! Yum!

I paired these lovelies with some homemade "Healthy Fries". Super Yum!

Mini Salmon Burgers
adapted from a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens
(makes 4 regular sized burgers or 6 mini burgers)

1 cup Croutons (or crackers)
1 lb. skinless, boneless salmon fillets
1 egg
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
6 mini sized ciabatta buns, split
Top with guacamole and Dijon mustard

1. In a food processor, place croutons. Cover and process until coarsely ground. Add half the salmon, the egg, and mustard. Cover and process until salmon is ground and mixture is thoroughly combined. Add remaining salmon. Cover and pulse until slmon is coarsely chopped. Shape mixture into 6 equal patties.

2. Brush patties lightly with olive oil. Grill directly on a greased grill rack or skillet over medium heat 3 minutes per side or until cooked through (160 F).

3. Serve salmon burgers on buns with guacamole and Dijon mustard.

Healthy Fries
adapted from a recipe in Shape

2 medium russet potatoes
4 teaspoons of canola oil
Seasoned Salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut potatoes lengthwise into roughly 3/8 inch thick slices. Stack slices and cut lengthwise again into sticks to make fries. Fill a large bowl with very hot tap water, add potatoes, and leave to soak for 15 minutes.

2. Gently lift potatoes from water and lay on paper towels; dry thoroughly. Rinse and dry bowl. Add potatoes and oil to bowl; toss well to combine.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer over baking sheet(s). Bake for 20 minutes, turn potatoes, and bake for 10 minutes more or until potatoes are cooked through and golden. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, toss, and enjoy!

See you soon with more yum yums!