Sesame Green Beans

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Two posts in one day? Must be recipe swap day! The latest theme was blogger’s choice, so I got to select anything I wanted from Joanna’s blog, Kosher Kitchen. I’ve never had to cook kosher, so it was really neat to spend time poking through her recipes to see the kinds of things she makes.

I settled on this simple side dish because side dishes are usually something of an after-thought for me so I’m trying to vary things up a bit. This was a great, delicious alternative to what I usually do with beans – and nearly as easy as just making some frozen ones.

As a side note, I someone managed to not get a single sesame seed in this picture. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since they were in the pan and then on our plates. Food blogger fail!

Sesame Green Beans
(from Kosher Kitchen)
Serves 4 as a side

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sesame seeds. When the sesame seeds begin to darken, stir in the green beans. Cook, stirring, until they turn bright green.

Add in the chicken broth, salt and pepper and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and then uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.

Want to see what the other bloggers participating made? Check out the roundup below. And thanks to Sarah, as always, for hosting!


Bang Bang Cauliflower

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Mark’s been working late recently, which means the opportunity to make some dinners he’d turn his nose up at – like cauliflower as a main dish. It’s one of the best parts of dinner-for-1 nights!

I adapted this recipe a little – I used a whole wheat batter and baked instead of fried – to make a little healthier. Granted, you’re still covering everything in this amazing bang bang sauce, but eating so much cauliflower has to balance it out a bit, right?

This is a great meatless meal option, but chicken would also work great here.

Bang Bang Cauliflower
(adapted from Life and Kitchen)
Serves 2 as a main dish

1 head of cauliflower
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2-4 tsp. sriracha sauce
Green onions

Preheat the oven for 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into florets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and milk. Dunk the cauliflower, letting excess drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet. When all the cauliflower is dunked, spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower bakes, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and sriracha in a large bowl. Toss the baked cauliflower with the sauce and serve immediately.


16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent

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Last year, I kicked off Lent by sharing a roundup of meatless meal ideas. Part of Lenten obligation for us is abstaining from meat on Fridays, and over the past few years I’ve made it a project to shake us from our usual menus of cheese pizza and pasta with tomato sauce. I’ll be sharing new, meatless dishes on Fridays during Lent again this year – but I’m kicking off again with a roundup of our favorite meatless meals of the year to give you some inspiration.

Whether you’re observing Lenten Fridays or just looking for some new meatless dishes to work into your rotation, these are all great options. And you can check out the roundup I shared last year of 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent here.

Pizza Cobbler

Apple and Cheddar Panini

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Curry Dressing

Easy Roasted Eggplant

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Zucchini, Chile and Red Onion Fritatta

Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Tart

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Berry Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

Layered Vegetarian Tostadas

Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread

Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos

Potato Enchiladas

Barbecue Quinoa Salad

Bubble-Up Pizza

Korean Vegetable Pancakes with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce


Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue

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Mark and I aren’t big fans of going out on holidays – especially holidays when everyone else wants to go out - so we usually just do a nice meal at home for Valentine’s day. The last few years, we’ve picked up nice steaks, but this year we decided to do a fondue night at home.

This cheese was the hands-down hit of our Valentine’s Day meal. Mark cut up some green apples, broccoli and bread while I melted the cheese and then we chatted as we devoured it all. It was a nice meal to make and enjoy together - and we stuffed ourselves enough that we had to put off the chocolate course for a few hours. It’s definitely going in the “make again” file.

 

Garlic Herb Cheddar Fondue
(adapted from For the Love of Food)
Serves 4 as an appetizer

12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 tsp. chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. Green Goddess salad dressing
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
French bread, green apples, broccoli and baby carrots, for dipping

In a small bowl, toss the cheese and flour together.

Add about 2″ of water to the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and pour chicken broth into the top pot. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add half the cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly, until all is melted. Stir in Green Goddess sauce and pepper.

Pour into a warm fondue pot and keep warm over low heat.


What’s Baking: Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies

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We’re not big Valentine’s day celebrators. We’ve been doing the same date – a college basketball game and some sort of bar-food dinner – for years. It’s not terribly romantic, but it’s a fun night out and I honestly don’t miss the mushy stuff.

I do miss the fun Valentine desserts, though, which is why I was excited when I saw this month’s What’s Baking theme was red velvet. So perfect for Valentine’s Day!

These brownies were a delicious splurge. I sent most of them to work with Mark, because that Oreo truffle layer is dangerously addictive! These are gorgeous and impressive looking, but really not that hard to pull off.

You can check out the full roundup of all the red velvet treats on Kim’s blog, Just Baked, later this month!

 

Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies
(from Pizzazzarie)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan of brownies

1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325F degrees. Liberally grease a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside.

Whisk together cake mix and pudding mix. Beat in melted butter, eggs and vegetable oil until well combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

Crush the Oreo cookies and mix pieces with the cream cheese until well combined. Spread over the cooled red velvet brownies.

Melt the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and pour the melted chocolate over the Oreo layer, smoothing to cover. Sprinkle immediately with mini chocolate chips and pan them down lightly to set.

Refrigerate until the chocolate sets, then cut into bars. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


Bubble Up Pizza

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This is pizza for a busy night. Or, pizza-when-I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-crust pizza. It takes all of five minutes to throw together and is on the table in less than a half hour. When paired with a big, green salad, it’s a great meal.

It uses canned biscuits at as the base. I have a huge soft spot for these so I’ll happily indulge occasionally, but if you’re not a fan, I think pizza dough would work just as well.

 

Bubble Up Pizza
(slightly adapted from Pass the Sushi)
Serves 4

2 containers canned biscuits
1 jar pizza sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

Slice each biscuit into 4 pieces. Place them in a bowl with the pizza sauce and 1 cup mozzarella. Toss until evenly coated.

Spread the biscuit mixture into a cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining mozzarella over the top and return to the oven until it melts.


Recipe Swap: Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

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The latest recipe swap was all about game-day eats – and as soon as I saw these on Sarah’s blog, I knew I had to make them. I’ve been on a huge pizza kick lately, so pizza in a sandwich form seemed like a great way to sneak it onto our weekly menu, again.

They’re also perfect for eating in front of the TV while you’re engrossed in football or basketball or hockey or the Olympics. Plenty of sports going around right now, so you have plenty of excuses to make them!

We loved them and if you’re a fan of pepperoni pizza, I bet you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
(from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 1 dozen sliders

For the sandwiches:
12 slider rolls
3/4 cup pizza sauce
24-36 slices of pepperoni (about 1/2 lb.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the topping:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

In a 9×13″ baking dish, place the bottoms of the slider rolls. Spread a little pizza sauce on each one and top with 2-3 slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle cheese over the pepperoni. Spread a little more pizza sauce on the inside of the top of the slider buns and top.

Whisk together the topping ingredients in a small bowl and brush over the sandwiches with a pastry brush. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb, then cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes, until the tops are slightly browned. Serve immediately.

You can check out what the other swappers made below.


What’s Baking: Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookie for 2

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This month’s What’s Baking theme is “Small Servings”. I decided doing something savory would be a cop-out – I often scale down dinner recipes for just the two of us. Dessert seemed like much more of a challenge.

When I think of baking up a dessert, I never think of small batches – I think of big, special sweets. This cookie is sort of the best of both worlds. By being one giant cookie, it looks impressive and seems special. And since it’s just one cookie, you won’t end up with a ton of leftovers and the guilt of eating cookies all week.

Given how much I rave about chocolate peanut butter desserts, it’s no surprise we loved this. If you want to see what other bloggers baked up for this challenge, check out the roundup on Eva Bakes later this month!

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookie for 2
(from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. beaten egg (crack an egg, beat it, and use 2 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Reese’s Pieces
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add in the peanut butter and mix until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s Pieces.

Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet. You want the dough to be rounded and a bit tall, but not totally round like a ball.

Bake for 17-19 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven (The center may seem undone, but it’s okay! It will set as the cookie cools.) and let sit for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before serving.


Strawberry Snow Ice Cream

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During the last two winters, I’ve shared my recipes for snow ice cream and the chocolate version after snowstorms. It usually takes me a few storms to get the recipe right. This winter, though, I’ve been getting lots of time to play with new flavors. Strawberry seemed like the obvious next choice. It’s one of my favorite ice cream flavors  and if  you make all three flavors and you can have Neapolitan snow ice cream! This would be excellent with diced strawberries mixed in too.

In other news, what are your favorite ice cream flavors? We’re getting another snow storm today so I’m looking to experiment with even more variations!

Strawberry Snow Ice Cream

1/4 c. sugar
1 c. strawberry milk
Large bowl of snow

In a large bowl, mix together sugar and strawberry milk. Stir in enough snow to make an ice cream consistency. Enjoy immediately!


Crunchy Peppermint Bark Blondies

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Are you guys finished with Christmas yet? Because I’m not. We’ve still got the decorations up. The freezer is still full of Christmas cookies. I’ve got all my new toys strewn around the house. And, I’m just getting around to blogging my holiday recipes.

Maybe next week I’ll be ready for the new year?

I made these blondies for a cookie swap. I had intended them to be cookies, but as things evolved they ended up being bars instead. I actually think they came out even better than the cookies would have and they were a lot easier, since I only had one pan to bake instead of multiple cookie pans. You could also make these a bit less holiday-oriented by swapping the peppermint bark for chocolate chips.

Crunchy Peppermint Bark Blondies
(adapted from Christina Tosi via Glamour)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan of blondies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 c. frosted flakes
1 lb. of peppermint bark, roughly chopped
1 1/4 c. mini marshmallows

Using a mixer, cream together the butter sugars for 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, scrape down sides and beat for an additional 7-8 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together.

Stir in frosted flakes peppermint bark and marshmallows  just until incorporated. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a 9×13″ baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Press dough into the lined pan, spreading to the edges. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and store in an airtight container.