Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring fever...

Have a happy day:@)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Peas and Pancetta (or Bacon)

Raise your hand if you've ever heard someone say the holidays are not the time to try new recipes... Yep, mine is up too. Add to that, if my boys had it their way we'd have the same five dinners in rotation every Sunday... Forget about changing a holiday menu! Well, I saved this Peas and Pancetta recipe over a year ago and decided to try it on Easter *insert gasp here*. Not only were the peas not the petite canned variety, I immediately heard "do I smell orange?". Does anyone else remember the days when you couldn't shovel strained squash into their mouths fast enough??? Yea, long gone...
Back to these peas, I took some liberties with the recipe and used bacon instead of pancetta and frozen peas instead of fresh. (Please note this pic was of the leftovers reheated, kinda had a busy Sunday...) I love peas and bacon and found these very flavorful, liked the orange (but would cut the zest in half) and would make them again. I do suggest saving them for a day when you're serving a meat, a veggie and a starch, not a big holiday meal, you'll thank me for that:@)

Peas and Pancetta-from Michael Simon via Food Network Magazine, April 2013
1/4 pound pancetta, diced, (about 1 C)-I used bacon
1 shallot, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
grated zest and juice of an orange
3 C fresh shelled peas (about 1 lb)-I used frozen, thawed
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped-ooops, forgot that
1 Tblsp butter
Kosher salt if needed-I did add a few grinds of black pepper too
  1. Cook pancetta in large skillet over medium-low heat until crispy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add shallot and garlic, cook one minute and add orange juice.
  3. Increase heat to medium, add peas and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. (I covered the skillet for the frozen peas and cooked them longer.)
  4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the zest, parsley and butter. Add salt if desired.
Try something new and have a happy day:@)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cannoli Pie

I really didn't have anything new planned for Easter dessert... Then I happened to see a Cannoli Pie recipe and b~i~n~g~o! That's what I made. We all thought this was good, the whole pie worked so well together and did truly remind us of cannoli (minus the deep fat frying part:@) The ricotta was also a nice change from cream cheese filling, it seemed lighter to me.
The only thing I'd do differently: The recipe does make a lot of crust, I wouldn't use all of it the next time. 
I also had some custard that wouldn't fit in the pie shell so I baked that off in a ramekin as the Cook's snack:@)
I thought it would be pretty to add the chocolate chips only around the outer edge, but the pie puffed up like custard does, and after chasing a few chips that rolled off around the kitchen I decided that wasn't such a good idea... So I just sprinkled them on top. The heat from the pie helped make them stick a bit.
Don't hesitate to give this a try folks!

Cannoli Pie-from Baking Bites
Shortbread Crust:
1 2/3 C A/P flour
1/4 C Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon-I used 1/4 tsp
1/2 C butter, chilled
1 egg

Custard Filling:
15 oz ricotta cheese
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon zest, optional-I did not use this
1/2 C miniature chocolate chips

  • Cut butter into the dry ingredients, then add egg and mix well. You can click the link above for food processor instructions, I suggest just using your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9"pie plate and place in the fridge until the custard is made. 
  • Mix everything well, except chocolate chips. Pour into pie crust. Baking Bites sprinkled chocolate chips on top before baking, I sprinkled them on as soon as I took the pie out of the oven.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes. The center will be barely jiggly. 
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips (if you didn't add them earlier).
  • Cool and store in the fridge. Best eaten the day it's made.
Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chipotle Turkey and Sweet Potato Grilled Southwestern Stir Fry

finally fired up the grill and it sure felt good:@) That meal gave a couple interesting items for a New Food To Me post, have you ever tried turkey tenderloins? They're just as wonderful as chicken tenders and will make some fun shish-ka-bobs in the near future. I also decided it was time to pick up a jar of ground chipotle powder (I've been looking at it for months)... In nosing around I saw that folks say chipotle works well with sweet potatoes so wa-la, the Chipotle Turkey and Sweet Potato Grilled Southwestern Stir Fry was born!
The spice gave me that little bite of heat I was looking for from something labeled "chipotle", and it also has a nice smoky flavor. 
I think I'll get my monies worth from this $1.15 jar of southwestern yumminess:@)
I called this a stir fry because everything is dumped into a hot grill pan and cooked over high heat.
You may want to oil your pan a bit before adding the food, that's your call.

Chiptle Turkey and Sweet Potato Grilled Southwestern Stir Fry
Makes enough for two people, maybe more if served with rice or black beans
One thinner small sweet potato, partially cooked and cooled
1/4 C BBQ sauce-I used Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chipotle
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp chipotle powder-more if you'd like
a healthy Tblsp chopped cilantro
1 Tblsp olive oil
pinch S&P
Approx 1/2 lb turkey tenderloins, cut into 1" cubes
1 medium green bell pepper, 1" diced
1/2 to 1 medium red bell pepper, 1" diced
1/2 baseball sized sweet onion, 1" wedges and separated
  1. Wash sweet potato, prick it with a knife a few times and microwave for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix BBQ sauce, lime juice, chipotle powder, cilantro, oil and S&P.
  3. Add turkey, peppers and onion (no sweet potato yet), stir well to coat everything. Let marinate for about 30 minutes.
  4. While that's marinating, heat up your grill. I used a BBQ wok/pan and put that on the grill as it was heating up.
  5. Peel the sweet potato, cut in half lengthwise then into 1" chunks. Add to the meat and veggies and stir well to coat everything. 
  6. When the grill is hot dump everything into the grill pan, spread out and allow the food time to get a little char, then stir. Do this until everything is cooked through, approx 15 minutes.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

My New Foods List:
(If my sons happen to read this... relax! I still promise fairly "normal" Sunday dinners...)
hominy ~ artichokes ~ fish sauce (I'm scared) ~ almond paste ~ oyster sauce (scared again) ~ gorgonzola ~ dates ~ brisket ~ parsnips ~ adobo ~ meringue powder ~ goat cheese (I'm told to be scared) ~ souffle ~ red velvet anything ~ curry ~ capers ~ chow chow ~ pot stickers ~ pho ~ ponzu sauce ~ fondant ~ fire roasted tomatoes ~ Gruyere ~ Quinoa ~ Tetrazzini any kind ~ Divinity ~ Meyer lemon ~ lemon curd ~ leeks ~ shallots ~turkey tenderloin and Chipotle Powder

I'm Joining:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last Minute Bunny Ears for Barbie

Sometimes the easiest things bring the biggest smiles... These Last Minute Super Simple Bunny Ears for Barbie would be so cute tucked inside a plastic egg, or they're a great project to have the girls make for themselves. It's a fast craft that only requires the plastic ring from a water bottle for the headband and pipe cleaners for the ears. Of course you could make them fancier and maybe glue a little pink to the center of each ear (you know I'm thinking glitter:@) but I wanted to keep it as quick and easy as possible, especially if you have several Barbies to help get ready for Easter...
Philly Barbie says "yo, s'up Doc?".
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Last Minute Bunny Ears for Barbie
~Plastic ring from a water bottle (the part that stays on the bottle when you screw the cap off).
~Half of a pipe cleaner in whatever spring-y colors you have.
~Plastic egg to put it in-optional. I also think it would be a fun surprise if the girl just finds her Barbie wearing bunny ears.
  • Cut ring off of bottle. Bring the two sides of the pipe cleaner up around the ring (making a V), wrap each side tightly around the ring once. Fold each side down in half to make ears and shape them how you'd like. Reshape ring into a circle if necessary. Glue something pink or white to the middle if desired.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grandma Inez's Pineapple Meringue Pie

This is my second attempt at making Grandma Inez's Pineapple Meringue Pie. Take it from me, it works much better when you follow the directions:@) The first time I couldn't understand why my filling wasn't thickening up and turned around to find the cornstarch still in the measuring cup!!! The pie tastes amazing with a beautiful nicely set yellow fruit custard. I haven't met Grandma Inez but I highly recommend this pie and would like to thank her for the recipe!
I started with a thinner layer of meringue and spread that to the edges of the pie, then had some fun with a Wilton 1M tip to swirl the meringue. I think it split because I slid the wobbly foil pie plate off of the pan I baked it on while hot. I'd just let it cool on that pan the next time. Or make my own crust in a glass pie plate, even a better idea...
You might notice I don't have a pic of a cut piece... um, that's because we were all too busy eating:@) 
You'll love this one folks!

Grandma Inez's Pineapple Meringue Pie-from Tasty Kitchen
3/4 C sugar-I cut back a bit
2 Tblsp butter
2 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1/3 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C, plus 2 Tblsp water
8 oz can crushed pineapple
9" pre-baked pie crust-I used a purchased graham cracker crust

2 egg whites-I'd use 3 the next time
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Pie: Mix sugar, butter and egg yolks in a sauce pan with either a hand held mixer, whisk or spoon.
  2. Add cornstarch, vanilla, water and pineapple (juice and all), mix well making sure the yolks are well incorporated. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick, approx 15 minutes. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Meringue: Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add everything else and whip until stiff peaks form and it's smooth and glossy. 
  4. Spread meringue over pie and bake at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes, or until the meringue has a browned a bit.
  5. Can be served warm or cold but I think it's best eaten the day it's made.
Here are two more fun pineapple ideas for you: Pineapple Pie and Pineapple Cream Cheese Roll.
Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)

I'm Joining:
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ferrero Rocher Easter Bunnies

These little Ferrero Rocher Easter Bunnies are popping their heads up out of their holes just in time for Easter! They make cute place settings, are nice little party favors and would even be fun glued onto napkin rings. I also love that this is a candy adults enjoy as well as kids. They're super simple so why not make like bunnies and whip up a bunch of these to share with everyone:@)
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I wanted to suggest the option of gently peeling the candy from the brown cup and gluing some Easter grass in the cup. This does require a little... patience... you'll notice only one of mine has grass:@)
I added the ornament label because I think they'd be adorable hanging on my Easter tree.

Ferrero Rocher candy
pipe cleaners cut in half, any color
1/2" pink pom-poms for nose
googly eyes, in desired size
string for whiskers
glue-I used hot glue
spring colored small cupcake/candy cups to replace the brown paper if desired

1. Remove little label sticker from top of candy (you can place it somewhere else).
2. Bend pipe cleaner in half, then each side in half again for ears.
3. Glue on whiskers then nose. Then glue eyes and ears.
4. Sit back and say "awwwwww".