Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monkey Bread Muffins



Hello, my name is Elena Blthe, and I have a cinnamon sugar problem. I love cinnamon sugar things, and if it also involves fried dough, it's that much better. This recipe doesn't involve fried dough, but it does involve tender slices of bread coated in cinnamon sugar that bake into delicious slightly gooey layers that are super delicious warm from the oven.

If you need inspiration for Easter morning brunch, here it is!

This recipe calls for frozen bread dough. You can use homemade dough if you want. I used homemade the first time I made this, and it was just a little harder to work with, because it was stickier. These photos represent the frozen dough experience...

Start by dividing the dough into 4 equal pieces.



Then divide each fourth into 8 pieces, so you have 32 total.



Press out each piece to roughly make a circle and place on a nonstick cookie sheet, or waxed paper. (You can use a rolling pin if you want but I couldn't be bothered...)

Now brush each piece with melted butter



and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.



Now, stack four of the slices one on top of another.



Cut each stack in half,



then place two stacks cut side down in a greased muffin tin cup.



Repeat with the rest of the slices - stacking, cutting and placing in the muffin tin. You should have 8 muffins.



Place the muffin pan on a larger rimmed baking sheet, then bake for 20 minutes or so until the tops are golden brown.



Let cool for about 10 minutes then carefully remove from the muffin pan. While they cool, you'll likely need to change into elastic-waisted pants... I'm just sayin'.



One year ago: Shrimp Enchiladas
Two years ago: Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Butter and Almonds

Find more great ideas at Crazy Sweet Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Recipe Roundup, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Bake with Bizzy, Sweet Treats Thursday, Kids in the Kitchen, Sweet Tooth Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food.

Monkey Bread Muffins

1 - 1 lb. loaf frozen bread dough, mostly thawed
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. nutmeg

In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Then cut each quarter into 8 pieces. Flatten each slice with your hands or a rolling pin and place on a sheet of parchment paper or a nonstick cookie sheet.

Brush each dough slice with the melted butter. Then sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Stack 4 dough slice on top of each other then slice the stacks down the middle. Place two of the sliced stacks, side by side, cut side down into a greased muffin tin. Repeat with the rest of the stacks.

Place the muffin tin on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake muffins at 350 for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Gently remove from the muffin pan and serve warm. (If you have any leftover - ha! - keep in an airtight container and microwave for about 20 seconds to warm up before serving again.) Makes 8 muffins.

Recipe source: adapted from Wendy See Wendy Do

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto



Spring seems like a wonderful time to make, and eat, risotto, in my opinion. Maybe it's because I associate delicious spring vegetables like spinach and asparagus with risotto. But regardless of the time of the year, this is a delicious risotto studded with mushrooms, spinach and shrimp. If you want to make this vegetarian, or a side dish, simply leave out the shrimp. It will still be spectacular.

Start by getting the broth simmering in a saucepan. Turn the heat to low so that the broth stays warm, but it doesn't need to boil. Then melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Now add the mushrooms



and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice



and continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Now add about a ladle-full of broth, and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook and stir constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed, then add another ladle of broth.



Continue this process until the broth is used up - stirring until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more broth. This process will take about 20 minutes.



When you're out of broth, and most of it is absorbed, add the spinach.



Stir the spinach in so it starts to wilt and then add the shrimp.



Finally, add the parmesan cheese.



Give it all a good stir to warm up the shrimp and melt the cheese,



then dish into bowls and serve!

One year ago: Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake
Two years ago: Tuna Tetrazzini

Find more recipes at Mangia Monday, Menu Monday, Mop it up Mondays, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday (#3), A Little Birdie Told Me, Tuesday Talent Show, Hearth and Soul, These Chicks Cooked.

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto

3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
1 - 6 oz. package baby spinach
1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp, halved
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in rice until fully coated and starting to get "toasty," about 3 minutes.

Add about 1 cup (or a ladleful) of broth and reduce heat to medium low. Stir until most of the broth is absorbed, then add another ladleful. Continue this process for about the next 20 minutes, waiting until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more, and stirring constantly.

Add the spinach and stir until it begins to wilt. Add shrimp and parmesan and stir until shrimp is warm and cheese is melted. Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot



I've had this recipe in my collection to try for many, many years. After taking one bite, I was kicking myself for not making it a long time ago. But I quit kicking myself quickly so I could concentrate on eating more of this delicious dish. Tender beef swims in a spectacular broth and is surrounded by vegetables. Served over rice noodles, egg noodles, or just regular rice, this is a complete dinner in a bowl that will have you looking forward to the leftovers at lunch the next day!

Start by cutting the beef into bite sized pieces. I find that stew beef comes from the store in very large chunks, so I usually cut them in 2 or 3 or even 4 pieces, depending on their size. You do want the chunks to be relatively similar in size so that they cook at the same rate.



Then combine the beef broth and water in a large measuring cup. In another cup, combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce,



brown sugar and cinnamon.



Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, then add the beef and brown it on all sides. Add the broth and water mixture,



the soy sauce/vinegar mixture,



green onions



and garlic and ginger.



Bring this to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let the "hot pot" simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. (Mine only took about 1 hour, probably because the beef pieces were small.)

While it's cooking, prepare the other vegetables. Slice the bok choy - bok choy is sort of like celery so I cut the stalks in half lengthwise



and then slice it crosswise.



(If you're serving this over rice noodles, cover them with hot water and let them sit for 10 minutes. If you're using other grains, cook them appropriately!)

When the meat is tender, add the bok choy, carrots and mushrooms



and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Serve the soup over the noodles.



And start wondering where this recipe has been all your life...

One year ago: Banana Blondies
Two years ago: Mixed Rice and Barley Pilaf

There are more great recipes at the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Cast Party Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday, Fusion Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food, Ingredient Spotlight.

Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot

2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup beef broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup sliced green onion
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy (including green leafy parts)
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups cooked rice noodles, egg noodles or fettucine

Combine the broth, water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cinnamon and whisk well to combine. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the beef, browning on all sides.

Pour in the broth mixture, green onions, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Add the bok choy, carrots and mushroom and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Spoon over cooked noodles to serve. Serves 4-6.

Recipe source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vodka Sauce



Do you ever eat things in restaurants and think "it must be impossible to make this at home"??? (I know, I'm probably the only one. It's weird.) That's how I felt about vodka sauce. (I know, of all things, a pasta sauce...) So you can imagine my glee when I found this recipe on My Catholic Kitchen. I was assigned that blog for the Secret Recipe Club, so I didn't even have to think twice about what I would make. And I'm so glad I did. No need to order this in a restaurant any longer - this version is absolutely delicious. I also love how versatile it is - you can toss it with "plain" pasta, or stir in meats and veggies.

As with all good Italian recipes, this one starts with a pile of onions and garlic.



Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (best if this is oven safe!) and add the onions and garlic.



Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent, then add the red pepper flakes and oregano



and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the vodka



and cook for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced. Now add the tomatoes and give it all a good stir.



Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven for about an hour and a half. This will smell amazing! Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then use an immersion blender to puree the sauce.



(You can also use a regular blender or food processor, just be sure to puree it in batches and be careful about the steam - it's hot!)

You want the sauce to be nice and velvety smooth...



Pour in the cream



and stir. Serve the sauce with any pasta and add-ins of your choosing. This time, I made cheese tortellini and added smoked sausage and mushrooms.



Just be sure to top your pasta and sauce with fresh parmesan!



One year ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years ago: Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars
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Find more great stuff at Mop it up Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Mangia Monday, Menu Monday, Meatless Mondays, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday (#3), A Little Birdie Told Me, Tuesday Talent Show.

Vodka Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 cup vodka
2-28 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Pour the tomatoes into the pan and add salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until it is smooth. (Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender or food processor being careful to let steam escape - it is hot!) Stir in the cream then toss with hot pasta.

(If you want to freeze the sauce for use later, freeze it without cream in it. Add the cream after re-heating, just before tossing with pasta.)



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chewy Molasses Squares



Are you looking for something a little different for your dessert rotation? Try these delicious little bars full of chewy molasses-ey goodness. Coated with powdered sugar and bursting with deep molasses flavor, they are an out of the ordinary treat that are sure to delight.

Start by combining the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Then, in a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. With mixer on medium, add the egg whites



then the molasses



and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low, then add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Transfer the batter to a lightly greased 8 inch square baking dish.



Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool completely in the dish on a wire rack.

Invert the cake onto a cutting board and cut into squares - 6 rows and 6 columns will make the cubes about 1 1/2 inches.



Put the powdered sugar into a small bowl and roll each piece of cake



to coat all sides.



If you're not going to serve all these at once, wait to coat them with the powdered sugar until you're ready to serve. They will keep in an airtight container, un-sugared, for about a week. They also freeze well (un-coated, of course!).

I think these would be especially delicious at Christmastime, because of their gingerbready quality, but they're really great at any time. Enjoy!

One year ago: Irish Stew
Two years ago: Fruited Bran Muffins

Get more ideas at It's A Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Bake with Bizzy, Sweet Tooth Friday, Foodie Friday, Fusion Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food, Simply Delish, Sweets for a Saturday, Crazy Sweet Tuesday, Ingredient Spotlight.

Chewy Molasses Squares

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
4 egg whites
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With mixer on medium, add molasses and egg whites and beat until combined. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Transfer batter to a lightly greased 8 inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 about 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool completely in the dish on a wire rack.

Invert cake onto a cutting board and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Toss in powdered sugar to coat all sides. Makes 36 squares.
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