Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lemon Risotto with Peas

Posted by: Maggie

I'm so sorry. I know you all must be sick of lemon after the lemon linguine and lemon cupcakes. Truth is, I had a giant bag of lemons in my fridge that I didn't want to waste. I just crave that flavor once warm weather hits, and I got a little overzealous when purchasing them at my grocery store.

I promise to give you a break from lemon after this recipe because...

Annie got me an ice cream maker for my birthday!  I am very excited about this gift, and plan to share a non-lemon ice cream recipe with you on Monday.

This risotto might be one of my favorite recipes on the blog. It requires standing over the stove the entire time it is cooking, but it still comes together quickly enough to qualify as a weeknight meal. The original recipe says it makes 8 servings, but I got 3 out of it. That's a salad size plate in the picture, and I had two more equally sized portions off to the side. The blog where I found this recipe suggested serving this with salmon, and I think that you could get a perfectly sized meal for 3 people out of this recipe if you did that.

P.S. People using Internet Explorer - is our logo showing up at the top of the page for you? It is displaying fine on Firefox and Safari on my home computer, but not showing on my work computer that only has IE.

Here's what you will need:

4 - 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used closer to 4 cups)
2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup white wine
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

In a medium saucepan, heat the broth, and keep it warm.

In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter, and saute shallots for 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add the uncooked rice, thyme, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in wine and lemon juice, and stir until all liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the heated broth, 1/2 cup at a time, letting all liquid absorbe between additions. Cook until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender - about 20-24 minutes.

Add the peas, parmesan, and lemon peel.  Allow to cook another 2 minutes until heated through. Serve immediately.

Source: Susi's Kochen und Backen Adventures

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes

Posted by:  Maggie

These cupcakes have officially surpassed my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes as the best cupcakes I've ever made. Everything about this recipe is seriously perfect - the cake is moist but sturdy, the frosting is lemony but not too tart - I really just love it.

I shared these with my coworkers yesterday, and am still getting compliments as of this morning!

You *must* make these sometime soon. The bright citrusy flavor makes them so perfect for spring, and I will definitely be making these again sometime soon so Jeff can try them too. I saw him last night but didn't bring him a cupcake. I'm such a bad girlfriend.

Here's what you'll need for the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake tins with 24 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a separate medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is slightly moist and fragrant. Now take a break from cooking and click on the YouTube video that the word moist is linked to. When I typed that word, that scene immediately popped in my head. Moving on...

Add the butter into the large bowl, and cream together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat in the extracts, and then alternate adding in the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat for a minute to make sure everything is well combined, and scoop into your prepared cupcake tins.

Bake 18-22 minutes, or until cupcakes are well risen and spring back when touched. Cool on a wire rack.

Here's what you'll need for the frosting:

2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2-3 lbs. confectioners’ sugar (I started with a 2 pound bag, and probably added an additional 2 cups to get it to piping consistency.)
juice of one lemon

I know cream cheese frosting typically has vanilla extract, but I skipped adding it to maintain the white color of the frosting. It had plenty of flavor from the lemon juice without it. This makes enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes, with a bit left over.

Beat cream cheese and butter until well combined. Gradually add in confectioners sugar, and beat to combine. Finally, mix in lemon juice.

Source: My Baking Addiction

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Roasted Chipotle Chicken Drumsticks

Posted by: Maggie

This recipe was a momentous cooking occasion for me. You see, I used to be afraid to cook chicken. I was so doubtful of my own cooking abilities that I was absolutely certain I would undercook my food and poison myself and others.

I partially got over this fear, but only when I could use boneless, skinless breasts. They seemed safer to me. They cook evenly, they don't have a bone, and it's fairly easy to tell when they're done.

Then one day I came across this recipe for Chipotle Chicken Drumsticks, and I decided that I wanted to get over my weirdo fear of cooking other chicken parts. I love, love, love canned chipotles in adobo. Their smoky, spicy flavor is just amazing. I couldn't let this recipe pass me by.

Guess what...I did it! Betcha' caught on to that from the picture just above. I cooked them, and as I type this 24 hours later, I am TOTALLY ALIVE and not suffering from salmonella, or E.coli, or chicken pox! (heheh)

I should probably stop talking about food borne illness (and skin viruses) if I want you keep reading.

Does anyone else get excited when they conquer a cooking fear? I'm also scared to make yeast bread.

Here's what you'll need:

1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lime zest
4-8  canned chipotle chiles (depending on how spicy you like it...I didn't think these were very spicy, and I used a lot of chiles, however, this is coming from a person with a very high tolerance for spice)
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 chicken drumsticks, with skin
Lime wedges for serving

Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

In a food processor, puree the first 6 ingredients until no chunks of chipotle peppers remain. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve half the mixture. I pulled big pieces of the chicken off the bone when I was eating and dipped them in the extra sauce, and also dipped my sweet potato fries in it.

Spread the remaining half of the mixture evenly over the drumsticks. Place in the pan, and cook uncovered for 50 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

I highly recommend serving these with sweet potato fries. I just used store-bought, and they went extremely well with the chicken.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Garlic Shrimp

Posted by: Maggie

I have another quick and easy dinner for you today! 

I wanted something healthy, since DC is going to be unpleasantly hot and humid in approximately one month, and I am in no way ready for anything skin revealing. Much to my dismay, jeans and cozy sweaters cannot be comfortably worn in DC year round. If I had it my way, November weather would last all year, and I'd never have to reveal my pasty appendages in sundresses (I don't do shorts. Seriously, I own zero pairs.) Unfortunately it's not November year round, and if I'm going to wear all the new sundresses I bought I'm going to have to break out some healthy foods for the time being. 

As much as I love food blogs that encourage me to stuff my face with copious amounts of bacon, peanut butter, chocolate, animal fat, and frosting, I also enjoy quite a few health conscious blogs, particularly Gina's Skinny Recipes.  She makes all of her diet friendly fare look and sound so downright delicious I often forget I'm reading a healthy blog. 

I settled on the garlic shrimp from Gina's website, since I ate the leftover lemon linguine for lunch back on Tuesday when I made this, and wanted something a bit more protein heavy for dinner. I ate these shrimp by themselves, but I imagine they'd also be great on a salad, or over rice. 

Here's what you'll need:

1/2 pound large shrimp, washed, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
Lime wedges for serving

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until golden, about 1-2 minutes. This will burn really easily, so keep an eye on it. Add shrimp to pan, and season with salt and paprika.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through, stirring frequently. 

Transfer shrimp to a bowl, and stir in parsley. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lemon Linguine

Posted by: Maggie

I made this pasta dish for dinner back on Monday night, when DC temperatures soared to the mid-80s, and all I craved was something fresh and light tasting for dinner. I know it doesn't look like anything special from the picture, but trust me when I say that these simple ingredients come together to make something amazing.

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors for baked goods, but I haven't really used it much in savory dishes. After making this pasta, I can't wait to use it more.

Another great thing about this pasta is simply the speed with which it came together. I am a notoriously slow cook, and this literally took me about 20 minutes to throw together. It would probably take a normal person 10 minutes to make! I usually don't like eating leftovers, but since this only made two portions I'm going to see what it's like as a cold pasta salad tomorrow and report back!

One last thing - bufala mozzarella is insanely expensive. Since when I grocery shop I sometimes forget that my job doesn't pay me eleventy bajillion dollars a year to keep me in spendy cheeses, I paid $12.99 for a container of bufala mozzarella. Yeah, it's delicious, and I may try and convince myself that it's worth it, but you could probably use fresh mozzarella from a cow instead of a water buffalo and pay about half that price with equally tasty results.

Here's what you'll need:

1 9 ounce container fresh linguine
1 container fresh bufala mozzarella, torn into small pieces (or cow mozzarella if you're smart)
Juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 handful fresh basil, chiffonaded (I used about 8 large leaves)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, and whisk to combine.

Cook linguine according to package directions (fresh pasta only takes about 2-3 minutes.)

Mix cooked pasta with all other ingredients, and garnish with more basil and lemon zest if desired.

Source: Ramshackle Glam

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BBQ Salmon

Posted by: Annie

I almost feel silly posting this recipe because it was SO simple and did not require many ingredients. However, it was so delicious and reminiscent of summer I figured I would share! I was still recovering from my Alfredo binge from the other day and was incredibly tempted by the leftovers in the fridge, but opted for a piece of salmon and some fresh sauteed spinach instead. (I only sulked about not eating Alfredo for like ten minutes - I also stared at a pint of Wegmans Dark Chocolate Ice Cream for a good five minutes, but thoughts of Florida sadly kept me focused.) I cooked this using my grill/panini maker that I received from my dad for Christmas. I did not close the lid to use as a panini maker, I simply used the grill plates like you would use a normal grill.

What you will need:
1 skinless salmon filet (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons BBQ seasoning (I used McCormick's Grill Mates brand)

Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Pour olive oil into a medium sized bowl. Place the salmon in the bowl and coat thoroughly with the oil. Dump in BBQ seasoning and using your hands rub into the oiled fish. Place salmon on preheated grill plates and cook for approximately six minutes per side, until the fish flakes when pulled with a fork.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pasta Alfredo

Posted by: Annie

In six days, I am heading to sunny Florida to visit Harry Potter World (woo!) and Disney World. The weather forecast looks beautiful and hotel pool-worthy. Obviously tonight I was thinking of being in a bathing suit when I decided to make Alfredo sauce for dinner. (Hello health food for the upcoming week!)
Alfredo sauce and I go way back. I still remember being a little girl celebrating my 11th birthday in The Olive Garden, and ordering a big adult sized portion of fettuccine alfredo. And I still remember wanting to punch our waitress when she commented "You ate all that? Most adults can't even finish this dish." Ha! I showed her with my alfredo eating skills.

Today, my stomach is older and is a little more sensitive to heavy sauces, but alfredo remains a favorite. I served this sauce over whole wheat linguine.

What you will need:
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups fresh 
Salt and pepper

1 pound of your favorite pasta

Cook pasta according to directions on package.
In a medium saute pan, melt butter. When the butter has melted, add in garlic and heavy cream and bring to a simmer.  Cook an additional five minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Add in cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the cooked pasta and enjoy!

Source: Annie's Eats

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Carrot Cake Balls

Posted by: Maggie

I'm probably the only food blogger in the universe who hasn't ever made cake balls. I haven't even tried cake balls (well, until now,) despite the fact that they're so popular even Starbucks has them now. I usually hate using cake mixes and canned frosting, but for my first time making these I just wanted to go the easy route, and I must say that they are delicious! Annie posted a recipe for carrot cupcakes a while back that you could probably use if you wanted to make these from scratch.

I made these over the course of two days since there is a lot of chilling and inactive time involved. The super cute carrot decorations are from my favorite baking supply store, Bake It Pretty.

I don't really know how carrot cake came to be associated with Easter, but since it is, these would make a great treat to have around two weeks from tomorrow!

Here's what you'll need:

1 box of carrot cake mix (and eggs and oil called for on the box)
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 package white almond bark

Bake carrot cake as directed on package, following directions for a 13x9 pan. Let cake cool completely (a few hours,) and crumble into a large bowl. Mix the entire can of cream cheese frosting into the crumbled cake mix to form a dough. I used my very clean hands for this - it was really messy, but much easier than using a spoon.

Chill the "dough" for a few hours (I chilled it overnight.)  Roll the dough into golf ball sized balls, place on a baking sheet, and put in the freezer for one hour.  Remove from freezer, and melt the almond bark per directions on package. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip each ball in the melted almond bark, place on baking sheet, and garnish as desired.

Random cake ball tips:

I use two forks to carefully lift the balls out of the almond bark, and let the excess drip down the side before placing on the baking sheet.

Almond bark firms up very quickly, so garnish each cake ball immediately after dipping, rather than waiting until you've dipped the whole batch. 

Makes about 30 cake balls.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Posted by: Maggie

I am so happy to be home again after back to back trips to New Jersey and Rhode Island. I was in New Jersey to visit family and see the Broadway tour of Spring Awakening with my sisters (amazing show by the way, it was my second time seeing it and Annie's FOURTH.) Being home is always great, but combined with a work trip to Rhode Island it just left me homesick for for my own apartment, and in particular my kitchen.

For someone who didn't even develop an interest in cooking until I moved into my own place with no roommates back in March 2008, I sure missed my kitchen a lot. Usually I miss my comfy bed, or my closet (I hate living out of a suitcase,) but my time away this time really just left me wanting to cook. Oftentimes I don't share stuff I make for dinner on here because I eat late, and ever since I got my baby* I've been making an effort to only take food photos in daylight in an effort to take the best pics possible. BUT, the lack of blogging and cooking I've done lately, and the fact that these meatballs were absolutely delicious and worthy of sharing meant I had to break my rule tonight, and take a picture in my fluorescent lit kitchen. 

If you enjoy meatloaf you will absolutely love these. The sweet and sour ketchup based sauce tastes very similar to what is slathered on a lot of meatloaves. I slightly adapted the recipe from my blogging idol, the fabulous Pioneer Woman. I went by the version in her cookbook (thanks Annie!) but an almost identical version is available on her website. And now here, duh.

I got 26 meatballs out of this recipe. I did not decide that a serving was 13 meatballs and stuff them in my face while watching Sex and the City reruns. Nope, wasn't me.

Here's what you'll need:


1 pound ground beef (I believe mine was 93% lean, but I don't think it really matters for this recipe)
1/2 cup quick oats
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons finely minced onions
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, a few shakes

For frying:

4 tablespoons canola oil


1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4-6 tablespoons minced onion
Dash of Tabasco sauce

In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, and thoroughly combine with your hands. A spoon won't do the job here, get in there with grubby little hands. Roll the mixture into tablespoon sized balls, and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes to firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce.

After the meatballs have had a chance to firm up, remove from the fridge. Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan, and dredge the meatballs in the flour, carefully shaking off the excess. Fry the meatballs in batches, just until light brown on all sides.

Place browned meatballs in a baking dish, pour the sauce on top, and bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

*His name is Otis. Don't ask.
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