Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Almond Grape Tea Cake



Have you ever baked with grapes? Not me. So I knew I wanted to try this recipe as soon as I saw it. Filled to the brim with almonds, this tea cake is not too sweet - just perfect for an afternoon break - at tea time, obviously. (or anytime, really)

Start by combining the almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and pulsing until the nuts are finely ground.



Then add in the flour and salt



and pulse to combine. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time,



and beat well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla. Gradually add the flour/almond mixture.



Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan. Now place the grapes, cut side down, onto the batter. To help space them evenly, line them up along a short side first, then a long side, to make an "L."



Then fill in the rows and columns. (If you're not OCD, you can just free hand it! ha!)



Bake for about an hour, or until the bread is golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes,



then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

One year ago: Chicken Marsala
Two years ago: Jambalaya
Three years ago: Cherry Oatmeal Muffins
Four years ago: Vanilla Chip Cranberry Blondies

Find more great stuff at Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, What's Cooking, Wednesday Extravaganza, Wicked Good Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday (#2), Full Plate Thursday, Thursday's Treasures, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday (#2), Food on Friday: Cakes, Friday Flash, TGIF.

Almond Grape Tea Cake

5 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 - 6 oz. carton vanilla yogurt
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
18 grapes, halved crosswise

In a food processor, pulse almonds and 1/4 cup sugar until finely ground. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine.

In a large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in yogurt and vanilla.

With mixer on low, beat almond mixture into butter mixture until combined.

Transfer batter to a greased loaf pan and smooth top. Press grape halves into batter in rows (start with one long side and one short side - like an "L" to space them evenly). Bake at 350 about 1 hour, rotating pan halfway through. Toothpick should come out with moist crumbs attached.

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cajun Shrimp Pizza




What do you think? Will we ever exhaust the possibilities for pizza? I'm not sure. I'm just glad to have a lot of options. This Cajun Shrimp Pizza is one of the best. You can tell, just from seeing all the beautiful toppings chopped up.



And, three kinds of cheese!!! Combine them all on the best crust ever, and you will have a great dinner.

Start by seasoning the shrimp. Add as much Cajun seasoning as you think you will like, probably about 1-2 teaspoons.



Then toss the shrimp around to make sure it's all coated. Stretch out your pizza dough, and place it on a large sheet of parchment. Top the dough with the pizza sauce, then sprinkle on the mozzarella, parmesan and pepper jack.



Add the green onions,



then the red onions, the roasted red pepper slices,



and finally the shrimp.



If you'd like to, you can sprinkle the pizza with additional Cajun seasoning. Now transfer the pizza to a hot pizza stone and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. (If you need a tutorial about this, check out the Chicken, Spinach and Feta pizza step by step.)

Let the pizza rest a few minutes before you cut into slices and serve!



One year ago: Blueberry Chicken Salad
Two years ago: Raspberry Chocolate Oat Bars

Three years ago: Coconut Macadamia Triangles

Four years ago: Toasted Almond Granola

Get more great ideas at Mop it Up Mondays, Mix it Up Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, On the Menu, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasteful Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, Wicked Good Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday (#2).

Cajun Shrimp Pizza

1 pound pizza dough
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1/2 lb. large cooked shrimp
Cajun seasoning, to taste (about 1-2 tsp.)
1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 oz. shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 475 for 30 minutes.

Place the shrimp in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. Stir to be sure all the shrimps are coated.

Roll out the pizza dough and place on a large sheet of parchment paper. Top the crust with a thin layer of pizza sauce, the sprinkle on the mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pepper Jack cheeses. Top with roasted red pepper, red onion, and green onions. Top the pizza with the shrimp, and sprinkle on more Cajun seasoning if you like.

Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread



I am always game to try a new version of quickbread - especially when I can make it even healthier by using white whole wheat flour and yogurt in place of some of the fat. This bread also has the added bonus of oats and blueberries. You'll never even know it's healthier because it's SO delicious. It's a great way to start the day!

Start by coating the blueberries with a tablespoon of flour. This will ensure that they don't all sink to the bottom of the pan.



Like most quick breads, this one can be whipped up using just a wooden spoon! No mixer required. In a large bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour, sugar,



baking powder and salt. Add in the melted butter,



yogurt, eggs and vanilla, and mix just until combined. Then stir in the oats.



Gently stir in the blueberries. Transfer the batter into a parchment lined loaf pan. (Is it just me or is parchment super difficult to deal with - especially in a pan? Aargh!)



Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then use the parchment paper to remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack.



Whether you serve this bread warm or at room temperature, you will love it, and so will everyone who tries it!


One year ago: Banana Bread Pancakes
Two years ago: Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins
Three years ago: Almond Pear Coffee Cake
Four years ago: Fruited Pork and Veggie Kebabs

Find more great stuff at Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, Wicked Good Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday (#2), Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Thursday's Treasures, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday (#2), Friday Flash, Ingredient Spotlight.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

1 cup blueberries
2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Greek (plain or vanilla) yogurt
2 eggs
5 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup oats

In a small bowl, toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to keep blueberries from sinking.

In a large bowl, whisk 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a large measuring cup, mix yogurt, eggs, melted butter and vanilla together and then fold into the dry ingredients. Add the blueberries and oats and gently combine.

Scrape the mixture into a parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes and golden brown. When the bread is done, a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes then lift out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Toffee Cheesecake Brownies



This month, for Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Erin's blog. I've visited her blog before, and she has amazingly decadent treats. Decadent. And they're all accessible - because the theme of Erin's blog is making memories with her kids - so many of the recipes are ones she has...wait for it...made with her kids! I needed to bring treats for an office lunch, and when I saw the recipe for Toffee Cheesecake Brownies, I knew it would be the perfect thing. Plus, I had all the ingredients on hand. Score!

Start by combining the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. (Don't make the same mistake I did and put this in a small bowl. If you use a medium bowl, you can add all the other ingredients later and only have one bowl to wash!)



Melt the butter and chocolate using 50% power in the microwave. I start by heating for 1 minute, then stirring, then heating at 30 second intervals - stirring between each - until it's all melted. Then stir until smooth. Now add the sugar and eggs,



and stir until well combined. Now add in the flour, salt and cocoa.



Finally beat the vanilla and stir in the chocolate chips.



Transfer the brownie batter into a foil-lined 9-inch pan.

Now combine the egg yolk, cream cheese,



sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until smooth. Then stir in the toffee bits.



Drop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in the pan



then use a table knife to swirl the cream cheese into the brownies.



Bake for 35 minutes or until the middle is nearly set.



Let cool on a wire rack, then remove the bars from the pan using the foil. Cut into 16 bars. I like these best after they've been refrigerated overnight. You should also store these bars in the refrigerator. Unless you eat all 16 of them in one setting, which I would never judge you for...as long as you have a very large glass of milk.



One year ago: Bananas Foster Souffle
Two years ago: Banana Split Crepes
Three years ago: Easy Crab Cakes
Four years ago: Cashew Chicken

Find more great stuff at Mop it Up Mondays, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, On the Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Try a New Recipe.

Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
5 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup toffee bits

Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl on 50% power in the microwave. Cook for 1 minute, then stir, then cook at 30 second intervals until the butter is melted and the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the 2/3 cup sugar and 2 eggs. Then add in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips. Line a 9x9 pan with foil then coat the foil with nonstick spray. Spread the batter into the pan.

Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, 5 Tbsp. of sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the toffee bits. Drop large spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the cheesecake through the brownie mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the batter in the center of the pan is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Lift out the brownies using the foil and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 16 bars.



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blackberry Rhubarb Bread



After a few days of warm temperatures, I am convinced that spring has finally sprung. I am seeing a few lilies of the valley in my yard and the peonies are poking up out of the cold ground. Spring makes me want to bake with delicious fruits, among other things, and I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that I would love it. I have been eating SO many blackberries lately - they've been so inexpensive at my grocery and SO delicious. Since I'm trying to eat less candy, blackberries have made a good substitute.

I also love rhubarb and love finding new "partners" for it. The rhubarb and blackberries pair wonderfully together in this delicious bread, and the cinnamon sugar topping takes it over the top. It's the perfect recipe for this month's Improv Challenge!

Start by slicing up the rhubarb - rhubarb is kind of like celery, so I like to cut the stalks lengthwise before thinly slicing it crosswise.




I also cut my blackberries in half so that they would be distributed more through the batter.



Now, make the batter. Combine the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, buttermilk and oil



in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, baking soda and salt, then gradually add the flour.



Stir in the rhubarb



and the blackberries



then transfer to two greased loaf pans. (Mine are 9x5, if yours are smaller you'll need to adjust the baking time.)

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.



Dollop this mixture on top of the batter -



you don't need to spread it or anything, it will spread a little as it bakes. Bake the bread for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack so the bread can cool completely.



Doesn't that cinnamon sugar topping look amazingly delicious? It is!!!



One year ago: Strawberry and Cream Danish
Two years ago: Gingered Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Three years ago: Sweet Potato "Fries"
Four years ago: Sesame Asparagus

Find a lot more recipes featuring cinnamon and sugar below. Then, get more great recipes at Full Plate Thursday and Thursday's Treasures, Ingredient Spotlight: Rhubarb.

Blackberry Rhubarb Bread

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 - 6 oz. container vanilla (or plain) yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb
1 - 6 oz. package fresh blackberries, halved
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil and egg and beat until well blended. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla then gradually add the flour, salt and baking soda.

Stir in the rhubarb and blackberries. Spoon the batter into two lightly greased 9x5 loaf pans.

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle in clumps over the top of the batter. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in bread comes out with a few crumbs.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pans, then continue to cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Patty's Food



Monday, May 13, 2013

Spanakopita Bites


I love Greek food and I've always wanted to try my hand at spanakopita - a yummy spinach and feta pie. While I still might, some day, these little appetizers certainly satisfied my immediate craving for this treat. It was my first time working with phyllo dough, and while it is a little putsy - it's totally worth it. The light, crispy shell that is created from the paper thin layers of dough and BUTTER is absolutely delicious...

Let's get cooking!

In a large skillet,saute the two kinds of onion in a bit of olive oil until they are soft.


Transfer the cooked onions to a bowl, then add the cream cheese, feta,


spinach, and egg.


Season this mixture to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside while you prepare the shells.

Take the phyllo and put it in a stack. Then cut into 2-inch squares. I used a ruler so I could try to be as accurate as possible! You'll see that I was able to get 12 2-inch squares from my 1/2 pound of phyllo.


Now take the melted butter and brush a little of it into each well of your mini muffin tin.


Next, take two of your 2-inch squares of phyllo and tuck them into the muffin tin wells.


Brush lightly with butter,


then add two more squares of phyllo. Brush those lightly with butter, top with 2 more squares, and brush those with butter! You should now have 6 sheets of phyllo in each well, each set lightly brushed with butter.

Now fill each well with some of the spinach mixture.


Now place the bites in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly bubbly and the shells are golden. Cool slightly then remove the bites from the pan - I actually just used my fingers to pluck them out, then placed them on a wire rack.


These are delicious served warm, and just as delicious at room temperature. You can be sure they will disappear quickly at any party, gathering, or ocassion where eating is involved....



One year ago: Strawberry Oat Muffins
Two years ago: Strawberry Banana Muffins
Three years ago: Molten Chocolate Cakes
Four years ago: Apple Slaw

Find more great stuff at My Meatless Monday, Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth, On the Menu, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tempt my Tummy, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whatcha Whipped Up, What's Cooking, Wednesday Extravaganza, What's Cooking Wednesday (#2), Food on Friday.

Spanakopita Bites

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 ounces cream cheese (low fat is fine)
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound phyllo sheets, thawed
4 Tbsp. butter, melted

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix spinach, feta, cream cheese and egg in medium bowl. Add cooked onions and season with salt, and pepper.

Remove the phyllo dough from the package and stack up. Carefully cut the phyllo dough into 2 inch by 2 inch squares; set aside.

Prepare your mini muffin pan by brushing butter in each well. Place 2 squares of phyllo dough into each well, pushing down to create a cup or crust. Brush the top phyllo filled wells with more melted butter and repeat by placing 2 squares of phyllo dough into each well and pushing down to create a cup or crust again, then brushing with butter. Repeat with another layer of 2 squares of phyllo dough and brush with more melted butter.

Place a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture into each well, filling the phyllo cup. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 36-42 bites

Recipe Source: Adapted from What's Cooking Chicago
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