Showing posts with label improv. Show all posts
Showing posts with label improv. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad


When I saw the two ingredients for this month's Improv Cooking Challenge, I KNEW I had to participate! Fish and avocado? How can that go anywhere but delicious? There were lots of options here - tacos, appetizers, sandwiches, but now that's it's summer, I knew the perfect way to combine them - in a salad. This salad is not your ordinary dinner salad - it's special - and not just because of shrimp and avocado. But those two ingredients shine when paired with bacon, ROASTED corn (sounds harder than it is, I promise!) and a super yummy dressing with pesto as the star. No oven required, just a skillet over the stove, and dinner will be on the table and in your belly super fast.


Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad

2 ears of sweet corn, shaved off the cob
3 strips of bacon, diced
1/2 lb. large cooked shrimp, tails removed
4-5 cups chopped Romaine lettuce or Spring Mix
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

Buttermilk Pesto Dressing:

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup pesto
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a large measuring cup and whisking well. (Note: you will only use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the dressing for these two servings, so save, covered in the fridge, for another use.) Set aside.

For the salads, heat a skillet over high heat. Add the corn kernels and let them dry-roast for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until their edges begin to brown and caramelize. Transfer the corn to a plate to set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high. In the same skillet, add the bacon. Fry for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, then wipe out most of the grease, leaving about 1-2 tsp. in the skillet. Add the shrimp and saute until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.

Divide the lettuce between two plates, then drizzle on the dressing. Top evenly with the shrimp, corn, bacon and avocado. Serves 2.


Recipe Source: Adapted from Gimme Some Oven




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Fritter Bread


The theme for this month's Improv Challenge is apples and cinnamon, one of the best combinations on the planet. There are countless options for those two ingredients, but in the end, I settled in this recipe for apple fritter bread. I love apple fritters, and I love that apple cinnamon bread they have in my local grocery, always tempting me as soon as I walk in the door...

I adapted this recipe slightly to use applesauce in place of some of the butter - since we're baking with apples we might as well increase the apple goodness, and make it easier to indulge in more than one slice!


Apple Fritter Bread

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
4 apples, cored and chopped, and mixed with 3 Tbsp. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk or cream

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and applesauce until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add this alternately to the creamed butter mixture with the milk, mixing just until combined.

Spread 1/4 of the batter into a greased loaf pan, and then repeat for a second pan. (You will have used half the batter now.) Layer each pan with 1/4 of the apple mixture and 1/4 of the brown sugar mixture. Carefully add 1/2 the remaining batter to each pan, then top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Use a table knife to gently swirl the topping into the batter.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pans.

For the glaze, whisk together the sugar and milk until it is your desired consistency; drizzle over loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.

These loaves freeze well, too.




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blueberry Yogurt Cake


The theme for this month's Improv Challenge is berries and cream. I can think of countless ways to interpret that, and they would all be delicious. I chose to go with a blueberry yogurt cake, trying to increase the health factor ever so slightly in a cake... the result was wonderful. This is a relatively dense cake so you can cut it into small pieces. It would work well as a dessert or as a breakfast or coffee break treat. The lemony glaze really puts it over the top, and there are so many blueberries that you will be sure to taste them in every bite.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil,


lemon zest, sugar


and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and mix until just combined. Add in 1 1/4 cup blueberries


and gently stir to incorporate.

Pour batter into a greased 11x7 pan. Lightly sprinkle 1/4 cup remaining blueberries over the top.


Bake for 40 minutes, or until top is domed and set or a toothpick comes out clean, and edges of cake are just browning and beginning to slightly pull away from sides of pan. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.


While cake cools, make the glaze by combining lemon juice,


vanilla, and powdered sugar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Adjust the lemon juice and sugar ratios until the glaze reaches a good consistency and flavor. Drizzle glaze over cake.



You'll want to serve this right after you glaze it. If you bake the cake ahead of time, wait to glaze it until right before you serve it.


One year ago: Best of Summer Recipes
Two years ago: Baby Bella "Fries"
Three years ago: Shaved Asparagus and Boursin Pizza
Four years ago: Cherry Chicken Salad
Five years ago: Frosty Coffee Pie

Find more great stuff at Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Blueberry Yogurt Cake

3 eggs
2-6 oz. containers up Greek blueberry yogurt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, divided

For the Lemon Vanilla Glaze
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup+ powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and mix until just combined. Fold in 1 1/4 cup blueberries and gently stir to incorporate.

Pour batter into a greased 11x7 pan. Lightly sprinkle 1/4 cup remaining blueberries over the top. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until top is domed and set or a toothpick comes out clean, and edges of cake are just browning and beginning to slightly pull away from sides of pan. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

While cake cools, make the glaze by combining lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and powdered sugar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Adjust the lemon juice and sugar ratios until the glaze reaches a good consistency and flavor. Drizzle glaze over cake and serve immediately. (If you bake the cake ahead of time, wait to glaze it until right before you serve it.)

Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Lime Bars


Spring and summer are perfect times for lemon and lime flavors. I especially love them in spring, when we can finally lighten up a little... so I was thrilled to find out that this month's Improv Challenge was lemon and lime! These bars kick it up a notch with strawberries too - and a delightful shortbread crust that's studded with oats. The (finally!) warmer weather is a perfect time to enjoy a refreshing treat like this!

Start by placing the flour, oats,


powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chilled butter


and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the yogurt


and pulse until combined.

Place the crust into a foil-lined 9x13 pan and firmly press into the bottom, making as level as possible.


Bake the shortbread crust for about 25 minutes, until light brown on the edges and firm to the touch.

Place the sliced strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar.


Remove the crust from the oven and scatter the strawberries evenly over the top.


In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar,


flour, lemon and lime zests


and lemon and lime juices.


Pour the lemon lime mixture over the strawberries.


Lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top of the bars is firm. Remove from the oven to a metal rack;


cool before cutting into squares and sifting powdered sugar over the top before serving.


One year ago: Blackberry Rhubarb Bread
Two years ago: Strawberry Oat Muffins
Three years ago: Gingered Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Four years ago: Sweet Potato "Fries"
Five years ago: Apple Slaw

Get more great stuff at Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday #2, Friday Frenzy.

Strawberry Lemon Lime Bars

Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into bits

Filling:
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
Zest of small lemon
Zest of lime
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
powdered sugar for sifting over the bars

Place the flour, oats, powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the yogurt and pulse until combined.

Place the crust into a foil-lined 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Firmly press into the bottom, making as level as possible. Bake the shortbread crust at 350 for about 25 minutes, until light brown on the edges and firm to the touch.

Place the sliced strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Remove the crust from the oven and scatter the strawberries evenly over the top.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon and lime zests and lemon and lime juices. Pour the lemon lime mixture over the strawberries.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top of the bars is firm. Remove from the oven to a metal rack; cool before cutting into squares and sifting powdered sugar over the top before serving.

Recipe Source
: Adapted from Patty's Food





Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats


I love different varieties of rice krispie bars - I can't even name a favorite (kind of like the varieties of banana bread!) - I love the cinnamon ones, the caramel ones, and now I love these too. I've had this recipe pinned for some time, and when this month's Improv Challenge was announced, I knew this would be the perfect entry. This month features dishes on the theme "Ebony and Ivory." Sing with me, now. We've got it covered here not only with oreos, but with marshmallows and white chocolate drizzle. I dare you to eat just one.

Start by placing the Oreos in a ziplock bag and chop them using a rolling pin or soup can. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed, so it's best to use this method and not a food processor.

Then, in a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows,


and cook, stirring constantly, until they melt together. Pour cereal


and chopped cookies


into the melted marshmallows mix well. Spread the mixture into a greased 9×13 pan.


Place the white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave, using 50% power, for 45 seconds. Stir, then repeat once to melt the chips. Stir until smooth;


drizzle over the rice krispie treats.


Allow the bars to set, then cut.


One year ago: Sassy Pot Roast
Two years ago: Peanut Butter and Jelly Crepes
Three years ago: Cherry Coffeecake
Four years ago: Shrimp Melts
Five years ago: Breakfast Couscous

Find more great stuff at Full Plate Thursday, Showcase Your Talent.

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
20 Regular Oreos
5 cups mini marshmallows
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup white chocolate chips

Place the cookies in a ziplock bag and chop the cookies using a rolling pin or soup can. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed, so it's best to use this method and not a food processor.

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows, and cook, stirring constantly, until they melt together.

Pour cereal and chopped cookies into the melted marshmallows mix well. Spread mixture into a greased 9×13 pan.

Place the white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave, using 50% power, for 45 seconds. Stir, then repeat once to melt the chips. Stir until smooth; drizzle over the rice krispie treats. Allow the bars to set, then cut.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Chef in Training



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta with Peas


I think sausage and mushrooms is one of the greatest combinations of all time. So I was excited to see that it was THE combo for this month's Improv Challenge! I couldn't wait to find a new recipe using these fantastic ingredients. And the recipe I found did not disappoint. Not in the least. In fact, it's one of my new favorite dinners. I didn't think anything could ever come close to how much I love Italian Sausage with Bow Ties, but this one does. But how could it not? Sausage, mushrooms and peas in a savory browned butter cream sauce? Can you make it tonight? Cause you should.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet until nearly cooked through. Drain off excess fat, then add the mushrooms,


and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the peas,


and cook until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium-sized sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat and then add the flour,


stirring constantly until it turns a light caramel color.


Add half and half, a 1/2 cup at a time,


stirring to allow it to heat up and thicken in between. Add Parmesan cheese to the cream sauce,


and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine sauce with the sausage pea and mushroom mixture


and then serve over drained pasta. Top with additional Parmesan if desired.


One year ago: Vegetable Risotto
Two years ago: Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot
Three years ago: Banana Blondies
Four years ago: Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars

Get more inspiration at Full Plate Thursday, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday #2, Friday Flash, Friday Food Frenzy.

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta with Peas

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1-8 oz. package mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 lb medium pasta shapes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups half and half

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet until nearly cooked through. Drain off excess fat, then add the mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the peas, and cook until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium-sized sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat and then add the flour, stirring constantly until it turns a light caramel color. Add half and half, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to allow it to heat up and thicken in between. Add Parmesan cheese to the cream sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine sauce with the sausage pea and mushroom mixture and then serve over warm pasta. Top with additional Parmesan if desired.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Nine More Months



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sweet Potato Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey Butter


The theme for Improv Challenge this month is bread and butter, which gave me the perfect excuse to make up a delicious flavored butter to go with this sweet potato cornbread that I've been wanting to try! I love it when restaurants have flavored butter, and it's so easy to make it at home. This makes a great accompaniment to soup, stew, Mexican meals, or about anything else you can think of.

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.


Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain thoroughly. Use a food processor to pulse until smooth and fluffy. (If you don't have a processor, just mash thoroughly.) Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.


In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal,


sugar, baking powder,


baking soda, salt, allspice, and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, combine the eggs, melted butter and buttermilk.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry


and stir just until combined, taking care not to overmix. Fold in the sweet potatoes.


Spread into a greased 9-inch square pan.


Bake until the top is golden brown and the bread pulls away from the pan sides, 30-35 minutes.


To make the flavored butter, combine the softened butter and honey


in a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the butter and honey together, then stir in the cinnamon.


Serve the bread with the flavored butter, and enjoy!


One year ago: Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce
Two years ago: Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Three years ago: Pumpkin Bran Muffins
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake


Sweet Potato Cornbread

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of allspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp butter, melted

For the Cinnamon Honey Butter:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain thoroughly. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until slightly fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cinnamon. Stir well.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add the sweet potatoes and mix well. Then add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined, taking care not to overmix. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan.

Bake at 400 until the top is golden brown and the bread pulls away from the pan sides, 30-35 minutes. Place the pan on a rack to cool slightly or completely.

For the butter, in a small bowl, stir together the butter, honey and cinnamon. Serve butter at room temperature with the bread. Store leftover butter in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source: Cornbread adapted from PetitChef



© Copyright Elenacooking.com
 
countercounter