Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

I've extolled the virtues of tacos approximately ten million times.

I'm about to do it again.

Not only are these tacos crazy delicious and packed with flavor, they're super quick to make. Listen you guys. I am seriously the slowest human being on the planet in the kitchen. My knives are about as sharp as Kim Kardashian, and my slightly OCD nature means I spend way too much time doing things like scrubbing vegetables, and cleaning and cutting the nasty bits from chicken. I saw this earlier today, and #15 totally spoke to me.

Despite all that, I still managed to make this recipe in 20 minutes flat. A normal person will probably make it in 15 minutes.

One final item unrelated to tacos: I'm typing this post in public, and someone near me just sprayed himself with half a bottle of Axe body spray. Since it's kind of illegal to physical harm strangers for being stupid, I'm complaining to you guys. If I never blog here again it's because I'm in jail for spraying him in the eyes while informing him that Axe is for prepubescent boys and Jersey Shore cast members.

Rant over. Go forth and make tacos.

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

So, there's this annoying thing that happens when you have a food blog...

You assemble a collection of recipes on your blog that you love...but you can't make them again if you want to have time to develop new blog material.

During October, I said to heck with new blog material, and remade some of my favorite things from A Bitchin' Kitchen, specifically, this, this, and this. I only made one new recipe all month - a hot mess of an apple pie that was soooo not blog-worthy. If anyone has an apple pie recipe that doesn't turn out like apple soup, please send it to me and you'll be my best friend fo' lyfe. I also made this new to the blog (but not new to me) buffalo chicken dip. I know there are roughly 348272934 renditions of this dip floating around in internet-land, but I am sharing my version anyway.

A lot of people make this dip with canned chicken and blue cheese. However, canned chicken scares the heck out of me, and James is skeptical of blue cheese, so my version contains neither. Please don't leave me mean comments for making unauthentic buffalo chicken dip. I seriously saw that happen on a big blogger's site once when she made hers with ranch and cheddar.

And since it's almost Friday, have a fantabulous weekend everyone! I have big plans that involve breakfast burritos, day drinking Bloody Mary's on a heated patio, and Season 2 of Scandal on Netflix. I couldn't BE more psyched. Onward with the recipe!

Buffalo Chicken Dip



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

It's hard to believe this is my 5th fall in a row having this blog. In November 2009, I posted these pumpkin pie bars ('scuse the horrible photo) and outed myself to the world (aka the 3 people who read my blog back then) as a pumpkin-aholic. I feel like it's become such a food blogger cliche to lose one's shit over pumpkin, however, I do not care. Pumpkin is unarguably delicious, and I get super psyched to bake with it every fall.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Fortunately for me, James (the aforementioned boyfriend) also enjoys pumpkin, and he tracked down a case of the elusive Southern Tier Pumking last week. What I'm about to write next is very important: Pumking is the best pumpkin beer I've ever had. If you can find it in your neck of the woods, buy it. Unlike most pumpkin beers that only taste like spices, Pumking actually tastes like pumpkin pie. It's incredible. Anyway, I decided that we needed a pumpkin food to pair with our pumpkin beer...so, here we are. These probably make more sense for breakfast, but life is too short to be sensible. Have a donut with your beer. Or beer with your breakfast...your choice.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

Someday in the near future, I hope to begin a post with something other than an explanation of where the heck I've been. Today isn't that day.

My new excuse for being the worst food blogger on the planet is my recent move. I moved to the Clizzle-Dizzle at the end of July and took my sweet ass time unpacking my kitchen and otherwise getting my ish together. I've been wanting to live in this neighborhood for a long time, primarily because it's super walkable to about a bajillion restaurants and bars. Bonus: my new place is only 15 minutes from my office, has a huge balcony that I could do a cartwheel on if I knew how to do cartwheels, and so much closet space that I actually have a prop closet. Fellow food bloggers totally get how exciting this is. 

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

One of the first things I made in my new kitchen was this ice cream. As I mentioned back in February, I'm obsessed with Nancy Meyers' food-porny movie It's Complicated. Since I'm a weirdo, I decided that I want to make all the foods that Meryl Streep's character makes in the movie. I started with Croque Monsieur several months ago, and now I'm onto lavender honey ice cream.

The culinary lavender required to make this is kind of a pain in the butt to track down, but it's worth the trip to a specialty store (I found mine at Dean and Deluca). Also, the ice cream container you see in the photo is from Sweet Bliss. I bought a pack of their disposable pint sized containers and a pack of their quart containers a couple years ago, and pretty much have ice cream storage for life. Homemade ice cream gets freezer burn much more quickly than commercial ice cream, and these containers buy you an extra couple days.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars

I suffer from a very unfortunate affliction known as secondhand embarrassment.

I can usually pinpoint when it will occur. For example, I know I'll cringe while watching the awkward antics of characters on Girls or The Office. I always feel it when I walk into the office bathroom and someone is pooping and goes dead silent in their stall until I hastily leave. When I'm stone-cold sober, and people around me are drunk and actin' a fool, the secondhand embarrassment is brutal.

You guys probably feel secondhand embarrassment all the time when you read the weird stuff I write here.

This quality isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm an empathetic person (humble-brag?), and feeling shame on behalf of others just goes with the territory.

Last Friday, I discovered a new situation where I feel a horrific level of vicarious embarrassment.

I was grabbing dinner at a bar in Arlington with my boyfriend*, and halfway through my french dip, I noticed something on my plate that was very out of place...

...because it had wings. That's right, nestled underneath my waffle fries, there was a greasy, crispy, deep-fried house fly.

Sidebar: I don't think I've ever mentioned here that I'm deathly afraid of bugs. A few years ago, I slept on my couch for a whole week because there was a spider near my bed that I was too afraid to kill (I finally killed it in a valiant battle involving a bottle of Windex and a giant wad of paper towels.) When I was five, my parents allowed me to watch Arachnophobia for some bizarre reason, and I'm convinced that it's the reason I've spent the past 24 years petrified of all insects. I don't even want a butterfly near me. Those bitches are creepy.

Anyway, I don't know whether it's my irrational fear of bugs, or the fact that finding a fly on one's plate is just plain gross, but I obviously lost interest in finishing my french dip. My disgust quickly devolved into a case of preemptive secondhand embarrassment for what our waitress was about to endure. I've been a waitress. I once waited on a table that found the finger of a latex glove in their chicken wrap, and was absolutely MORTIFIED even though I didn't make their wrap and had nothing to do with it.

Obviously our horrified waitress apologized profusely, whisked away the offending plate, and removed my food and beer from the bill. If only I'd had the foresight to pound half a dozen Miller Lights prior to finding the fly...

As is the case with most of the stories that precede my recipes, the fly incident has absolutely nothing to do with these blackberry pie bars.

Blackberry Pie Bars


These bars may be the best dessert I've made all year. They have a shortbread crust, an amazing blackberry and lemon filling, and a shortbread crumb topping. Those of you following me on Instagram probably saw that I brought them to a party a couple weeks ago, and it was extremely hard to avoid eating them all before I even left.

*Look at me just trying to slip in that little detail! So you know how I've barely posted for the last few months? Uhhh...now you know why. My evenings and weekends have been quite busy. 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tomato, Sausage, and Spinach Risotto

Tomato, Sausage, and Spinach Risotto

I've totally procrastinated posting this recipe because I'm not really digging the photo. Pretty photos take time, and I refuse to let my risotto get cold and gummy while I stage a photo-shoot. 

Please don't let my mediocre photography skills deter you from trying this, because this is the BEST EFFING RISOTTO IN THE UNIVERSE.

I'm sorry for cursing, shouting, and making sweeping unsubstantiated claims.

But listen you guys...

THIS IS THE BEST EFFING RISOTTO IN THE UNIVERSE.

Trust me. I've made a lot of risottos over the years, and they all pale in comparison to this one. It's so flavorful and creamy and perfect that I texted approximately four different people while eating it, just to tell them how amazing it is.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm baa-aaack!

I'm really hoping that I have some readers left after abandoning this blog for six weeks with no explanation.

Multiple areas of my life have suddenly become quite busy (in a very good way!), leaving me little time to cook anything more exciting than a Lean Cuisine or my new go-to speedy dinner.  I've been going out to dinner a ton, so I'm still eating some good food...it's just not being made by me. In related news, if you live in the D.C. area, get your ass to Graffiato for dinner and thank me later.

I squeezed in an hour of baking last Sunday to whip up these muffins, and I'm soooo glad that I did. Early in April, I bought a couple Texas-sized muffin pans from a store in New Jersey. I wanted to make those huge muffins you buy at a bakery or coffee shop. I kind of can't believe how well these turned out. Like a good bakery muffin, the domed tops have a slight crunch to them, while the inside is moist, tender, and chocolate-studded.

These are best served hot from the oven the day you make them, but I froze the leftovers and they're still pretty good if you thaw them in the microwave for about 60 seconds. 
Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

Random fact: I hate bringing lunch to work.

Am I the worst food blogger ever for preferring a sandwich that's been expertly prepared by the staff of Taylor Gourmet, to a sandwich I've made at home?

Probably.

However, until I can get up at the butt-crack of dawn to roast my own meats, Taylor Gourmet wins.

A Taylor Gourmet opened roughly 5 steps away from my office last year, and I've become slightly addicted. Every time I walk into TG, I feel like I've died and gone to Heaven. Except, this Heaven is made of meat and bread, and not the white puffy clouds I've always pictured. There are no angels, just office drones in pencil skirts and Tory Burch flats. Then, I walk through the exit doors and get hit up for some change by one of 19th Street's urban campers, and I realize that I'm just in DC, and that Heaven will most likely not be decorated with pickle bucket light fixtures.

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

There are just two problems with working in such close proximity to Meat Heaven: 1) It gets pricey, and 2) TG doesn't publish nutritional facts. I'd venture a guess that many of their sandwiches are pushing 1,000 calories, if not more.

Since part of being a grown up is doing things we hate, I made lunch and brought it to work to save myself some calories and some coinage.*

Guess what?! It was delicious. I happily ate this for lunch 3 days in a row, and only had a slight twinge of longing for my beloved sandwich shop. I put a couple big scoops of this over a bed of baby spinach, and felt totally virtuous about eating my greens.

*In the unlikely event that some of you reading are fellow Strangers with Candy fans, yes, that is a slight homage to the brilliantly dirty "Packing a Musket", by Jerry Blank.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lightened-Up Blueberry Lemon Greek Yogurt Bread


Lightened-Up Blueberry Lemon Greek Yogurt Bread

Oh, hai.

Remember me?

That girl who wrote an ode to tacos and then disappeared for two weeks?

Lightened-Up Blueberry Lemon Greek Yogurt Bread

Stuff got busy, man.

Annie came to visit. We drank Prosecco and ate lots of cheese at Cheesetique. Work was super busy, too. I went up to New Jersey for my Mom's birthday and Easter, where I finally got to enjoy a beer (okay, 4 beers) again after my Lenten fast.


I finally got my butt back in the kitchen on Tuesday night, and baked this lightened-up blueberry lemon Greek yogurt bread. I think we all know that most quickbreads are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. This is not cake. This bread is dense, but moist. It's sweet, but not dessert like. It's a true breakfast bread, and it's lightened-up enough that you can eat a huge slab of it without feeling guilty. I have enough guilt about the quantity of Reese's Eggs I've consumed over the past few days. Please tell me that some of you are having this problem too? I hid them in the freezer, which just made them taste even better.

Lightened-Up Blueberry Lemon Greek Yogurt Bread


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad from A Bitchin' Kitchen

My name is Maggie, and I am a taco-holic.

This is the sixth taco recipe that I've posted on A Bitchin' Kitchen. If I could open a restaurant or a food truck that exclusively sold tacos, I would. In addition to being insanely delicious, they're one of the most versatile foods ever. Do you want a quick and healthy taco? You're looking at them in this post. Do you want a slow-cooked and indulgent taco? Allow me to refer you to my barbacoa recipe. Do you want to show your hippie vegetarian friends some love? Black bean and sweet potato tacos make them happy.

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

You name it, I've probably tried to stuff it in a tortilla. Chicken. Vegetables. Donuts. Soup. Cans of beer. Okay, the last 3 didn't happen. I'd never disrespect a beer like that.

Today, our tortillas are stuffed with seasoned tilapia, a spicy jalapeno and cilantro onion salad, and fresh slices of ripe avocado. I mixed up a quick black bean salad to go on the side, which, incidentally, would also be great stuffed in a taco. If you're into planning ahead, make the salad the day before you want to eat it - it gets better with age.

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

One more thing - I know a lot of you follow this blog via Google Reader. As you may have heard, Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st, and I don't want to lose you guys as readers! I recommend switching over to BlogLovin' or Feedly as a replacement. I always update Facebook with new posts, so following me over there will keep you up to date as well. Thanks in advance for taking the time to make the switch!

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad


Monday, March 18, 2013

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies

I'm having a bit of trouble focusing on this blog post, because I just got done watching the season finale of Girls for the second time. I have so many things that I could write regarding this episode, especially pertaining to Shoshanna's speech (which I won't elaborate on because I don't want to spoil things for those of you who haven't watched yet), however, my main bit of confusion stems from one minor detail of the episode: why the heck did Marnie steal the menorah? What was the point of that? Am I missing something here? Thank you Lena Dunham for messing with my mind, yet again.

Let's talk cookies. That's why you're here. These are my attempt at summoning spring weather. I love winter, but I'm at the point of the year where I'm over it, and I'm ready to experience the two glorious weeks of beautiful weather that DC gets before becoming disgustingly hot and humid.

Typically, I avoid using hard to find ingredients here on A Bitchin' Kitchen, because I want you guys to actually make the stuff I post. Half the fun of blogging is getting a comment from someone telling you that they made and loved your recipe (not that this one is my invention, credit goes to Kristin for that!) However, these are really tasty, and worth the pain of finding culinary lavender (there's a link to buy it in the recipe below.) The lavender taste is subtle in these, but don't be tempted to add extra. You want these to taste like cookies, not soap! The lavender gives these a nice, light, floral flavor and scent, and you mostly taste lemon and butter.

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Remember last August when I started an oven fire, and 5 firemen had to come and save me help this nincompoop who couldn't properly operate a broiler?

That was an embarrassing day.

This is the recipe that caused the fire! I know you're all dying to make it now, given that I'm prefacing the recipe with a story about it bursting into flames.  For obvious reasons, it took me about 7 months before I decided to make this again, but now that I know how to cook it without it igniting, it will be on the regular dinner rotation. This is officially my new favorite way to eat salmon. It gets popped in a quick marinade, broiled until crispy, and topped with a sweet, gingery glaze. Serve it with brown rice and you've got yourself an easy dinner for two.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

When I first cooked this in August, I made the grave error of putting the oven rack as close to the broiler as possible. Don't do that. This is an oil-based marinade that's going to spit and splatter while cooking, and you do not want it to splatter on the broiler coils.  I'm no expert on oven fires, but I'm pretty sure that's why things went awry last summer.

I can't say I'd mind if 5 firemen showed up again, but I'd prefer that it be for reasons other than extinguishing my kitchen fires. Just sayin'...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

You know how you're supposed to bring new parents stuff like casserole?

That's not how I roll. Unless its my dad's awesome hash brown casserole, or has the words french toast in its immediate vicinity, casserole is usually not my thing.

However, friends of mine just had an adorable new baby, and when I went over to their house a couple weeks ago to snuggle her, and pet her soft hair, and inhale her new baby smell I wanted to bring them something edible. So, I brought them cookies using two of the most delicious flavors known to humankind: chocolate and peanut butter.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Thank God I gave these cookies away. You may not be able to tell from the photos, but that's a regular sized Reese's cup in the center of the cookie, and tiny peanut butter cups in the cookie itself. These suckers are 4-5 inches across each. Ginormous. If I'd made these for the heck of it without having a recipient in mind, it would've been super dangerous to have these sitting around.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

P.S. If you like these, you may want to check out my small-batch peanut butter cupcakes with fudge frosting, peanut butter and fleur de sel brownies, and my peanut butter cheesecake swirl brownies!

P.P.S. This is completely unrelated to cookies, but if you need a laugh, go read this hilarious post from Don't Quote the Raven. I found this a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to share it with you guys ever since. I sent it to one of my friends, and she started laugh-crying so badly that she had to leave her office. You've been warned.

P.P.P.S. I'm writing this at 11 p.m. Tuesday night, and I keep peeking out the window looking for snow. DC is about to get its first significant snowfall in 2 years, and I'm vacillating between excitement and annoyance. Mostly annoyance, since I'm mentally ready for spring, and don't feel like dealing with the power outage that will most likely accompany this storm. I wanted snow in December, not now! Blergh. I know this snowstorm is supposed to hit a lot of areas, so stay warm, friends!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chicken Quesadilla Pie


I *just* made this chicken quesadilla pie yesterday afternoon, and it was so delicious that my planned cookie post for today is being postponed until later this week. The cookies are amazing too, but Mexican food beats cookies any day, at least in my world. I wanted to share this as quickly as possible, so that every single one of you can add it to your dinner plans this week. Seriously. Do it.

Not only is this pie delicious, it's quick and incredibly easy. All you do is fashion a makeshift crust out of a tortilla, dump in a bunch of shredded rotisserie chicken, cheese, jalapenos, and cilantro, whisk together a quick batter that gets poured on top, and bake it for about 20 minutes. It's kind of like a quesadilla crossed with a quiche.

Blammo. You just made yourself an awesome dinner. 


This isn't very spicy with the specified amount of jalapenos, so feel free to toss in more if you like your food with a kick. I think that pepper-jack cheese would be a great sub for cheddar if you feel like mixing things up!

Also, a quick Public Service Announcement: I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Best Simple Recipes. I've been using this thing like crazy over the past couple months, and every single thing I've tried from it has turned out perfectly. If you're in the market for quick dinner ideas I could not recommend it more.

Okay. Time to go get my weekly dose of secondhand embarrassment and watch Girls. Have a happy Monday, friends!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Croque Monsieur + Baby Arugula Salad with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Croque Monsieur

Cooking inspiration can come from the most random places.

Several weeks ago, I was watching Girls. Specifically, the episode "One Man's Trash", where Hannah has an affair with a rich, hot, brownstone-owning doctor. While she's sitting in his gorgeous kitchen, she looks around and remarks, "I feel like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie."

I thought to myself, "Man, I love Nancy Meyers movies. I don't have places to go or things to do. I should watch It's Complicated, then Something's Gotta Give, and then It's Complicated again, all in one evening." So I did. For those of you who aren't familiar with her films, Nancy Meyers is known for her impeccable attention to detail in every tiny aspect of each scene. Every home in her films is stunning and beautifully decorated, but the particular detail that always sticks out to me is - what else? The food.

It's Complicated is definitely the food-porniest of all Meyers' movies. Meryl Streep's character, Jane, plays a chef/bakery owner, and several scenes heavily feature food preparation. From the scene where a slightly stoned Jane makes pain au chocolat from scratch, to her preparation of her ex-husband's favorite meal of roasted chicken, sauteed string beans, mashed potatoes, and double fudge cake in anticipation of their evening rendezvous, to her admission that she makes ice cream (of the lavender-honey variety) when she can't sleep, food is ALL over this movie.

Croque Monsieur

My favorite food-related scene in the movie occurs when Jane prepares Croque Monsieur and a salad for her architect and love interest, played by Steve Martin. She tells him that Croque Monsieur was the first thing she learned to cook for herself when she lived in France. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pretty sure that one of the first things I learned to cook for myself was grilled cheese. Croque Monsieur is basically grilled cheese on crack. Gruyere, ham, and dijon mustard get sandwiched between slices of white bread, topped with a Mornay sauce and more gruyere, then broiled.

The day I made this, I mentioned over on Facebook that it's really not fair to all the other sandwiches how good this is. This takes about 30 minutes to make. Any quicker, and I'd be in BIG trouble since I pretty much want to eat this every day, while imagining that I'm cooking it in a kitchen painstakingly designed by Ms. Meyers herself. Until I can live inside a Nancy Meyer's movie, I'll settle for just cooking like her characters. Trust me...the rest of that food is coming. Roasting a chicken has been on my culinary to-do list for far too long!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Snicker-Chip-Doodle Cookies

Snicker-Chip-Doodle Cookies

You may be wondering, what the heck is a Snicker-Chip-Doodle?

Allow me to explain.

When a Snickerdoodle and a Chocolate Chip Cookie love one another very much, they hug, and they kiss, and they fool around a little, and in 9 months 8 - 10 minutes they give birth to a Snicker-Chip-Doodle.

That's right. Cookies can get pregnant. Yay science!

Now, these cookies may not look like anything super special. However, they're addictive, and chewy, and chock full of flavor. Plus, they stay soft for eons, which is always a plus when you don't want to house 16 cookies in one day.

Not that I'll judge you if you do that. A Bitchin' Kitchen is a judgment-free zone, at least when it comes to cookie binges.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Caramelized Onion Risotto

Caramelized Onion Risotto

Who here has played the game two truths and a lie?

Let's play:

Statement #1: Risotto is difficult to make.

Statement #2: Risotto is one of the most delicious foods on the planet and cooking it will impress your cat, your lover, your dentist, and your mom.

Statement #3: Onions are a miracle vegetable that taste like unicorn tears when caramelized low and slow in olive oil.

Statement #1 is most definitely a lie. Since risotto requires constant stirring for 30 minutes, it sometimes gets a bad rep for being difficult or annoying to make. To that I say, preposterous! It's so simple a child could make it. Well, a really patient child who's allowed to play with hot stoves and cook with wine.

This is my favorite version of risotto that I've ever made. As I indicated above, I'm a huge fan of caramelized onions, and could probably eat them straight from the pan and be happy. Instead of doing that, I stirred them into a cheesy risotto, and cried happy tears over my delicious plate of carbohydrates.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread AND a Toasted Peanut Butter + Nutella + Banana Sandwich

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

Hey, remember that dummy that gave up dessert for Lent last year? Oh right, that was me.

I was shockingly successful. I think I only screwed up twice - once at a girlfriend's bridal shower, and once when I completely forgot about Lent in a fit of hunger and ate a bag of peanut M&Ms.

This year I wised up. As some of you probably know, Lent started up again yesterday with Ash Wednesday, and I was smart enough to skip the food related sacrifices. It's just too hard when you write a cooking blog.

Instead of something food related, I gave up liquor and beer. Since I'm single and childless, a lot of my social life unfortunately still revolves around drinking at bars, which will make this somewhat tricky. Fortunately, I didn't give up wine, so I'm just going to look like a fancy, fancy person at bars from now until Easter. Quit giving me the side eye. As one of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs points out, Jesus drank wine too.

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

On a somewhat related note, did I ever tell you guys about the time I got escorted out of church on Ash Wednesday for disruptive behavior?

Toasted Peanut Butter + Nutella + Banana Sandwich

I was 4, and it was during Ash Wednesday Mass with my preschool class.

For some ridiculous reason, I found it unacceptable that the ashes were not pink, proceeded to have a meltdown right there during Mass, and had to leave. I'll probably get paid back for that unfortunate episode some day. I'm sure that my future children are going to be a real treat to be around.

Toasted Peanut Butter + Nutella + Banana Sandwich

Let's discuss this bread now. I adore a sweet, non-yeasted, banana bread as much as the next girl. I love making them to use up overripe bananas, but wanted to do something a bit different this time. I came across this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, and could not be more pleased with how it turned out.

On its own, this bread is soft and very slightly sweet, with a subtle banana flavor. After making this bread, I decided that it was destined for greater things than just toast, and came up with this sandwich. Take one bite, and you'll feel like Santa Claus. On Prozac. At Disneyland. Getting laid. (Maybe I should give up making Friends references for Lent instead...it has been 9 years.)

I don't know what this sandwich is. Breakfast? Lunch? A weird dessert-wich? It really doesn't matter. Go make it immediately.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

This Thursday will be my first Valentine's Day as a single lady in quite a few years. I know a lot of people who aren't in a relationship on this day get bummed out, but seriously, don't. Just don't. Celebrating Valentine's Day as a single person can be equally, if not more fun. Take the money you would have spent on a gift for your significant other and treat yo self to a fancy ass bottle of wine and some chocolate. Drink the bottle, eat all the chocolate, and revel in the fact that you don't have to share a single sip or bite.

Whether you're single or coupled-up this Valentine's Day, you should definitely make these little cheesecakes to celebrate. They're super easy to whip up, and look and taste like you put in way more effort than you actually did. Plus, if you have any Valentine's Day related rage to work out, you get to violently pulverize Teddy Grahams in a food processor to create the crust, which feels fantastically cathartic.

I'm going to keep this short today, because I'm writing this while watching the Grammy's. Specifically, I'm watching that guy from "Fun" bop around in skinny capri pants. Are those a thing for men now? If so, I probably have many single lady Valentine's Days ahead of me, because that is SO not cute.

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

Monday, February 4, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

As a person who loves baking and cooking, there are a lot of garbage foods that people don't expect me to like.

McDonald's Quarter Pounders? Get in my face.

Cool-Whip? Guilty.

Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls? Until someone comes up with a way for me to bake these at home, Little Debbie will get two of my hard-earned dollars the one time a year I allow myself to buy these hydrogenated oil-laden treats.

Cake mix is another one of those processed junk foods that I like...kind of. I love that boxed cake mixes bake up consistently fluffy, moist, and light, but I don't love that they don't taste very strongly of chocolate. They just taste sweet, with a barely discernible chocolate flavor.

These cupcakes have all the wonderful qualities of a cake mix - the light, fluffy texture, the moist crumb, and the ability to stand up to a huge mound of frosting, while also actually tasting like real chocolate.

You can certainly make these as basic chocolate cupcakes, but I made them even better by following Emily's instructions to transform these into Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes. The center of the cupcake gets cored out and filled with salted caramel sauce, and then topped with a rich chocolate ganache, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you're probably aware that I'm a HUGE fan of sweet + salty desserts, and these were absolute perfection.

I brought these over to a friend's house for dinner Friday night, and one of the girls there brought a couple cupcakes home to her husband. I got this message from her on Facebook the next day (B = her husband). Sooo, ladies? Make these for the man in your life this Valentine's Day. Just sayin'...


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creamy Beer Cheese Soup with Salsa Verde

Creamy Beer Cheese Soup with Salsa Verde

Those of you who have been around for awhile may remember that I explained my complicated relationship with football last year. By complicated relationship, I mean that I want to like it. I really, really do. I just don't. I love the camaraderie of rooting for a team, the fact that football signifies the start of fall, and the excuse to drink beer and eat wings.

I was a marching band geek in high school, and therefore attended about 50 high school football games over my years at Ocean Township High School. Most of my time during those games was spent eating nachos, trying to avoid dropping my flute below the bleachers, and annoying/awkwardly attempting to flirt with the drummers who had the misfortune of being seated in front of me. Unfortunately none of that time was spent cultivating a love for the sport.

Fortunately, I did cultivate a love for game foods of all kinds, and wanted to share a recipe that would be appropriate for Superbowl Sunday. I decided to do something different than the standard dips and wings this year, and I turned to Pam Anderson's (no, not THAT Pam Anderson) Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals.I decided that this recipe would be perfect - and it's a good way to make sure your vegetarian friends don't get left out of the food festivities!

This was my first time making or tasting beer cheese soup, so my Wisconsinite readers will have to tell me if this is even remotely authentic. Authentic or not, it was really tasty, and would be a fantastic addition to a Superbowl spread! I mean, its two main ingredients are beer and cheese. Totally football appropriate. Leftovers reheat surprisingly well for a cheese-based soup, and I have a feeling that keeping this warm in a slow cooker would work splendidly.
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