Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Freezing Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil

I had intended to share this tip last fall when all of those beautiful summer herbs were facing their wintry demise.  But it is equally relevant now – have you ever bought a $3 package of fresh herbs just to have a bunch of leftovers?

You could toss them into any dish to use them up.  Or dry them.  Or you could freeze them to maintain a bit of that freshness.  But instead of chopping the herbs and freezing them in water, I’ve been freezing mine in olive oil.

See where we’re going here?  Yep.  Instant infused olive oils!  I keep my herb cubes in the freezer and just toss one into a pot any time I want to sauté veggies or meat or even begin a soup or casserole!

Recipe Notes:
*Some recommend carefully labeling the cubes and freezing them separately depending upon which herb is frozen.  I just toss mine all together and use whatever I grab to add to my dish!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Sauce

Today Meatless Monday recipe is a delish vegetarian burger!  These burgers are similar to last year’s Yamburgers, but with a delightful smoky flavor from the paprika and, of course, a lot of beautiful roasted garlic flavor!

This was my first time using roasted garlic and I can tell you right now that roasted garlic is my new best friend!  I want to try it in everything now! 

Oh, and that roasted garlic sauce?  It makes a fabulous French fry or chip dip too!

Recipe Notes:
*Pulse old fashioned or quick oats in a food processor until they are processed to a powder.
*The number of burgers you can make will depend a bit on the size of the sweet potatoes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

Let’s take a look at that 30x30 list.  Yep, there are some challenging recipes on there…bagels, French onion soup, English muffins

But do you want to know which one was the most challenging?  Yep, the biscuits.

I’m a Bisquick girl.  I grew up with Bisquick drop biscuits and I still love them.  They’re salty and light and easy and yummy.  And there are approximately 50 bajillion biscuit recipes out there (some easier than others).  Some recipes involve spreading butter and folding and refolding.  Others swear that specific brands of flour are responsible biscuit success.  And absolutely all of them claim to be “the best”.

Want to see my first attempt at “the best” biscuits?

Yep, flat little hockey pucks.  They tasted good, but I just couldn’t get over how dense and flat they were.

So for my next attempt, I went back to drop biscuits.  I was hoping that my inexperience with rolled biscuits was part of the reason for the flat biscuits.  The drop biscuits turned out a lot better!

My absolute favorite part of the recipe was the suggestion to grate the butter before incorporating it into the flour mixture.  I want to find the genius that thought of that and shake his or her hand.  Have you ever tried cutting butter into flour?  It’s hard!  But having grated butter makes the processes so incredibly easy!

The whole family loved these biscuits!  I may even have to start making these instead of the Bisquick kind!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feta & Caramelized Onion Crusted Steaks

To me, the best steak is one that seasoned simply, and cooked over a hot outdoor grill.  But if you live in a Northern climate, and the grill is covered with snow, that doesn’t work so well.

So I’m always on the lookout for a great indoor steak recipes.  I love this recipe, because the steak gets a beautiful sear on the stove top but easily finishes to the desired heat under the broiler.

I absolutely adore the combination of the charred feta and caramelized onions as a steak topping.  This is a great way to dress up an ordinary meal to make any day a special day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Copy Cat Taco Bell MexiMelt: SRS

Welcome to the second Surprise Recipe Swap!!!

This month, I was assigned Meghan’s blog, The Tasty Fork.  Meghan is a Chicago girl who is passionate about cooking.  And her passion shows with all the beautiful photography and delicious (and usually healthy!) recipes she posts on her blog.

When it came time to decide on a recipe, I was thisclose to choosing a vegetarian recipe (and I probably will in the near future, being Lent and all), but ultimately, I chose a quick meal that called for pantry staples (read: no need to run to the store with feverish little dudes).

All in all the Meximelts were a delicious twist on a taco!   These were a hit for the whole family. Thank you, Meghan, for a great recipe!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mississippi Mudslide {For Two}: SRC

Hey everyone!

I have an extra Secret Recipe Club post today, since one of our members got orphaned (sad face).

Secret Recipe Club

But someone else’s loss is my gain!  I got to whip up something from Denise’s blog, From Brazil to You.  Denise was born and raised in Brazil.  Though she now lives in the US, she missed Brazilian food and wanted to share it, so she started her blog to do just that!

I would have loved to share one of her beautiful Brazilian dishes with you today, but, well, it’s currently doing this outside.

Yep folks, that is one fierce blizzard and pretty much the whole town is shut down, so I am left using ingredients that I already have on hand.

Cue Mudslide!  Yep, I have ice cream and booze.  I’m waiting out this blizzard, wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace, drinking boozy ice cream.  This is the life!

Thanks, Denise for a delicious way to spend my snow day!

Quinoa & Black Bean Enchiladas

Oh my gosh you guys.  I almost didn’t have a Meatless Monday recipe to share today.  I planned to make Rice & Bean Enchiladas, but yeah, only a handful of rice in the whole house.  Then, after I had bundled both of my boys up to race to the store for rice, I couldn’t find my car keys (I found them much later that night). 

Ugh.  Total ditz moment.

Then I remembered the huge bag of quinoa collecting dust in my cupboard.  After all, they say that necessity is the mother of invention, and I am so glad that I had the need to invent today!  The enchiladas were amazing!  I loved the rice and quinoa mix and all of the fabulous flavors in these enchiladas.   It is one of those meals where you don’t even miss the meat, because it is so filling and delicious.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mini Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

I meant to post this little recipe on Valentine's Day, but I must have forgotten to hit "publish".  So here's a little post-Valentine's love for you all!

I thought I'd share a recipe that published as a guest post last month, just in case you missed it!

It is a fun little twist of everyone's favorite: the classic chocolate chip cookie.

By making the cookies bite sized and dipping them in chocolate (actually mint chocolate is my favorite) and adding a few sprinkles, the humble chocolate chipper is ready for a kids’ party, a holiday, or even a nice dinner party!

And just for fun...

Isn't the Valentine's bouquet I received from my boys just lovely?

And here's my attempt at Valentine's nails!

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fudge Jumbles

I don’t make a whole lot of bars, which is funny, because one my favorite desserts from childhood is a bar!  My mom handed down this recipe when I got married (6 ½ year ago) and I’ve never made them!

I think part of the reason was because it makes such a massive batch.  The huge batch makes these perfect to bring to a potluck or party, but tough to just have around the house! 

Since I really did want to make one of my favorite desserts, I added these to my 30x30 list.  Since I didn’t have any parties or potlucks to attend, I cut the whole batch and froze about 2/3 of them.  Now I can just sneak to the freezer and get a treat whenever I’d like!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pasta with Kale & Garlic

Today is Ash Wednesday and begins the season of Lent.  This year during Lent, I will be featuring Meatless Mondays to help inspire your Lenten menu.  And if you aren’t Catholic, Meatless Mondays will be a great way to introduce some new Vegetarian dishes to your repertoire.  To see some fantastic recipes of Lents past, click here or on the “Vegetarian” tag in the side bar.

This season’s first meatless recipe is a simple and delicious weeknight recipe.  This one is on the table in less than 30 minutes and boasts all the goodness of kale with a great punch of flavor from the garlic.   

This recipe is a great way to kick off Lent and to introduce children to kale!  Double bonus!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Biksemad (Hash): SRC

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Sid’s blog, Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking (sea palm being an edible type of seaweed).  Sid loves to cook, entertain and take pictures, so naturally food blogging is a must!

Secret Recipe Club

Sid has a whole section of the blog dedicated to Danish dishes, I was so intrigued, I couldn’t help but choose one of those for today’s reveal.  The dish is Biksemad, which is simply a hash.  I’ve never really eaten hash except for that mushy stuff that comes out of a can, so though this recipe is actually all about reinventing leftovers, I found it to be a real treat!

So often I find myself wondering what to do with all of that leftover roast (with two young picky eaters, it’s really just my husband & I eating roast) and Biksemad is the perfect solution!  I know I will be making this dish frequently and I can’t wait to try some of Sid’s suggested variations (like adding vegetables!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Strawberry & Chocolate Crepes

Can you believe that it’s almost Valentine’s day?  I wasn’t originally going to share any Valentine’s posts – I was just so uninspired!  Well at least until I looked at the rapidly approaching 30x30 deadline and decided to finally tackle those crepes!

Valentines Day is totally the perfect day for crepes.  And strawberries are perfect for chocolate.  Therefore, these are the perfect crepes for someone you love!

Strawberry and Chocolate Crepes

Crepes (recipe below)
Brownie Batter filling (recipe below)
1 lb strawberries, sliced
Powdered sugar
Chocolate sauce

Put the filling into piping bag (or ziplock with one corner cut).  Pipe a generous line of filling into the center of each crepe and top with sliced strawberries.  Roll the crepe, then dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with chocolate sauce.  Top with a heart shaped strawberry.

Makes about 12 crepes

Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Roast

Did you know that meat is super hard to photograph?  Yep, it looks great on the plate, but then looks like a mess on camera.  Though in all honesty, my meat carving skills could probably use some work, too.

I actually ended up photographing this roast on a whim.  This is my go to roast recipe and it is so ridiculously easy that I just never thought to share it before.  Then I realized that people like easy recipes, so I thought I’d put it out there.  Plus, its super delicious and a total crowd pleaser.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

My boys love muffins (I know, I’ve said it a million times before!)

On days that I make muffins, my younger son in particular wants nothing to do with any other food.  He wants muffins for breakfast, snacks, and lunch!

Since he’s such a muffin fanatic, I like the muffins I like to make a huge batch (I freeze most of them) and I want them to pack a big nutritional punch.

These muffins in particular boast whole wheat flour, flax, and oats, while being very low on sugars and oil. 

With a muffin this healthy, I don’t really mind if my little guy’s diet consists mostly of muffins every once in a while!

Recipe Notes:
*If you don’t have any quick oats on hand, simply pulse the same amount of Old Fashioned Oats in a food processor a couple times to break them up a bit.
*I freeze the bulk of the muffins in large zipper bags.  Then, I can take out a few at a time, microwave them for 30 seconds and have “like fresh” muffins anytime

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ham & Cheese Omelet

Omelets are yet another 30x30 recipe.  You can tell I’ve been panicking a bit about finishing this list, can’t you?  Incidentally, this is classic me.  I have 2 months to go and I’m already panicking about finishing.  When we were still in college I used to annoy my husband with all of my panicking about deadlines.  I would be absolutely certain that I would never finish a paper or project on time, so I’d start insanely early.  Then all of a sudden I’d be done with, like, a week to spare.  Yeah, I was kind of an annoying little perfectionist.

Anyhow, omelets.  I don’t really like omelets.  Perhaps it’s because most of my omelet experience involved a college dining center (blerg).  So why add them to the list?  Well, at this point I think I was simply running out of ideas.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to think of 30 bucket list recipes?  It’s hard!

So in the end, I decided to add omelets because my husband likes them.  And also because I remember making them in my high school “Foods and Culture” class (Home Ec) and I got a B because I had a small crack in my omelet.  So, 12 years after I took that class, I need to prove that I can make an omelet!



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