Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie


When I got the August bon appetit magazine in the mail last week I thought I would be making the Blackberry & Lime Meringue Pie because the picture on the cover was incredible! That all changed when I flipped through the pages to find the Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie.  I still want to make that Blackberry pie but I have my priorities and peanut butter is first!

This pie was really easy to make and looks quite impressive as well.  The recipe has a homemade pie crust but I had 2 store bought ones in my pantry that I needed to use so I allowed myself the luxury of being lazy and didn't make the homemade version. The pie was still good...just ask my co-workers, they seemed to enjoy it. 

I will be making more of the Honeycomb candy just to eat.  WOW, that stuff is awesome. The whole time I was waiting on the pie to chill I ate the candy by the handfull :)

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie 

Printable Recipe 

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Filling
8 large egg yolks
12 tbsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Topping
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
Honeycomb* (recipe below)
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Directions:

Filling
Mix yolks and 6 tbsp sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment.  Beat at high speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.

Combine milk and remaining 6 tbsp sugar in a large saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add bean.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove bean.

With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture.  Scrape mixture back into pan. Clean bowl.

Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove pan from heat; whisk vigorously for 1 minute.

Return custard to mixing bow; beat on high speed until cool, about 4 minutes.

Mix in butter one tbsp at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt; beat to blend. 

Scrape filling into cooled crust; smooth top.  Chill until set, 2-3 hours.

Topping
Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.

Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving 1-2 inches plain border.  Pile pieces o honeycomb and salted peanuts on top then drizzle more chocolate glaze over.

Honeycomb


1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp baking soda, sifted

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. 

Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy deep saucepan.

Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat to high; bring to a boil.  Cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns pale amber. 

Working quickly, add baking soda-mixture will foam dramatically.

Immediately pour candy over prepared baking sheet and do NOT spread out.  Allow to cool at least 20 minutes.

Hit candy in several places with the handle of a knife to crack into pieces. 


Source: bon appetit Aug. 2011 page  82

Oh, if you want to make the crust in the mag, click here

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicken Casserole


Steve hates broccoli...I love it! It's really one of the few things we don't agree on and I usually don't get to cook with it often because he truly hates it so much.  I have cooked it alone, with other things, with tons of cheese melted on top, added to dishes and although he has bravely tried them all he just doesn't like it.  It's a texture thing-I understand completely (I'm a texture girl myself) but my love for broccoli made me determined that I could get him to like it....FAIL!

Thursday night I came home from work to make this chicken casserole and although I really really really wanted to add broccoli to the dish I knew Steve wouldn't like it and probably wouldn't eat it. Since he's been working 60 + hours, outside in this unbearable heat every week he really needs some good tastin', nutritious food.  But then I thought, "If I leave the florets whole and don't chopped them down he can just eat around them." With a huge grin, I defrosted the broccoli in the microwave and I was a happy girl. Guess what? Steve didn't even complain about the broccoli, he ate some of it and loved this dish! SCORE! This is my favorite chicken casserole yet and trust me, I've had a lot of chicken casseroles.  Just about any variation you can dream up, I'm sure I've tried it. This one is the best-well it's the best for me anyway. :)
 
Like most things I make, you can really change this up to suit your taste. If you don't like broccoli, leave it out...add what you like (carrots, celery, corn, etc). If you don't like cheddar cheese (does anyone really not like cheddar cheese?) then change that too. Use what you like and serve it up!

Chicken Casserole
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 bag frozen broccoli florets (thawed)
5 or 6 chicken breast (cooked and shredded)*
2 cups white rice, steamed
salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
2 or 3 tbsp butter
1/8 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 can chicken broth (10 3/4 oz)
2-3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

*I put my chicken in a slow cooker (crock-pot) with a can of chicken broth and cook on low all day (while I'm at work)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil in medium heat and saute onions & broccoli about 5-7 minutes, until soft.  Add in minced (or gated) garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

Stir in chicken, rice, salt and pepper. I usually cook my rice in a large saucepan and add the onions and broccoli to it so I have more room to mix ingredients together.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium, medium-high heat.  Whisk in flour and add salt and pepper.

Pour in chicken broth, whisking continuously.  Whisk until mixture is almost to a boil then add 1 to 1 1/2 cups cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted then pour over rice/chicken mixture.

Place in a  baking dish and top with additional cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yay for Sunday

We skipped church this morning because Steve is feeling under the weather.  Poor thing, he feels miserable :( I woke up and ate some breakfast, nothing fancy just some toast with honey and my coffee of course!
 I sat outside and could barely finish my breakfast because although it was only 8:30 it was far too hot to be outside drinking coffee.

Here's what Greta did this weekend:

silly girl
This afternoon I headed to the grocery.  We didn't need much and since I had nothing else to do I decided to head a few miles outta' the way to the biggest grocery in our area.  I normally don't do grocery shopping on Sundays-too busy.  I don't think I'll be doing it again unless I have to, but it wasn't as bad as I expected honestly.  I was so thrilled that they had a "bulk food" section.  None of the groceries I usually shop have that section and I've really been wanting to make my own parfaits but haven't since my stores don't sell granola (other than granola bars).  I decided on a simple honey oat granola but cannot wait to go back and try some of the others, including PUMPKIN MAPLE! Oh wow, I can only dream about how good that's gonna' be.  So, this is what I made as an afternoon snack:


Can you believe they were out of blueberries? Ah well.  I just got strawberries, raspberries, vanilla yogurt, & honey oat granola.  It was such a nice refreshing treat.

I also bought some yummy cranberry orange muffins that I can't wait to taste.  I'm going to try something new starting tomorrow: Breakfast.  I know most of you are probably confused...I don't usually eat breakfast except on the weekends.  I have a really nervous stomach and every since high school I have skipped breakfast because unless I'm up for at least an hour it makes me sick to eat in the mornings.  I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and lately I find myself super hungry around 10:00 AM and right before lunch I almost crash from a lack of nutrition.  We'll see how it goes. 

Tomorrow I go for my second round of jury duty (Federal Court) selection! YAY.....NOT.  I've went once before and wasn't selected :) Hopefully I will have as much luck tomorrow. I'll let you know.  Have any of you served jury duty before? I always wanted to when I was in college but now that I work and have things to do I don't really feel like it would be all that exciting.  The case I didn't get chosen for last time was a 6-8 week trial! YIKES! I think the one tomorrow is only a ten day trial, so at least that wouldn't be so bad. 

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Country Drive & Garden Update

Steve took me for a nice drive the other night.  We were bored and complaining that there wasn't anything to do, so we got in the truck and drove around for 2 hours! It was great! I thought I'd share some pictures so you could see (those of you not from Kentucky) what it looks like where I'm from:
love the rock fences

Kentucky River


Greta came too




Shaker Town



clouds



Puppy 
 Here are some pictures of my garden
Basil

little pepper

big pepper

yay...they're gettin' ripe




my first ripe tomatoes

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wedge Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

I really enjoy a good salad. I have days that all I can think about is how much I want a good salad with rich, super thick, creamy dressing! My new favorite salad has been a wedge with blue cheese dressing.  I had my first wedge a few years ago at a local restaurant that makes their own dressing and I've been hooked ever since.  So, when I saw this post I knew I had to try it.  Gorgonzola dressing-how had I never tried this before? It did not disappoint.

I used more Greek yogurt than the original recipe because I like my dressing extra thick.  If you don't like it thick then use less (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup). I also had pancetta and no bacon so I used that instead. 

Gorgonzola Dressing
Printable Recipe
adapted from: Shutterbean

Ingredients:

2/3 cup buttermilk
1 scant cup Greek yogurt
1 large garlic clove, grated or minced
6 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 4 wedges
4 pieces pancetta, cooked and cut into cubes
1 small tomato, chopped

In a bowl, mix buttermilk, yogurt, & garlic clove together.  Add in Gorgonzola cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon dressing over iceberg wedges and sprinkle with pancetta and tomatoes. 
This really makes a great summer salad!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nutella Fudge Brownies

I fell in love with Nutella back in March when we were vacationing with my brother & sister-in-law.  My niece, Kennedy (she's 2) eats a Nutella sandwich every morning.  I hadn't tried it before but it smelled amazing so I had a spoon full and fell in love.  Steve takes a Nutella and peanutbutter sandwich everyday with him to work :) 
I've found so many great sweet treats that you make with Nutella but I hadn't tried any until this weekend. This one was by far the easiest and the one with ingredients that I already had so here they are! Try 'em, they're great and super quick.  The original recipe was half of what I have below and you were supposed to make them in a mini-cupcake tin. I don't have a mini-cupcake tin so I wanted to put them in a traditional brownie form.


Nutella Brownies
Printable Recipe 
Adapted from:Wenderly

Ingredients:

1 cup Nutella spread
2 large eggs
10 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium or large bowl, whisk Nutella and eggs until smooth.  Add in flour and cinnamon and mix until combine.

Pour batter into a prepared 8x8 baking dish.*

Bake 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Cut into squares and serve! ENJOY!!

*I like to spray my pan with non-stick cooking spray then I line it with parchment paper (with 2 inches coming up the sides on 2 sides) so it's easy to lift the brownies out of the pan.   

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Steve-a-Rino

My husband doesn't cook often but there is one thing he makes that I like better than my own...grilled cheese! He makes the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches; I just love them.  A month or so ago (maybe longer, I don't recall) I didn't feel much like cooking and he wanted more than just your normal grilled cheese.  I was summoned to the kitchen and asked to try THE STEVE-A-RINO.  This grilled sandwich was GREAT and Steve came up with it all on his own.  Basically, he took everything in the fridge and put it on a sandwich: ham, pepperoni, spicy mustard, provolone cheese and mayo. - The fridge wasn't stocked well that week ;)

Sunday evening was yet another night that I just didn't feel like cooking and I hadn't really made plans to cook, so our options were very limited.  Steve grinned and said he would make us Steve-a-rinos :) This time we had some cheddar-pepper jack cheese that he added and it was amazing! There is one key ingredient to the grilled cheese and now to my husband's creation that may seem off-putting to some of you but trust me (I was a MAJOR skeptic) and just try it! Instead of buttering your bread, use mayo. Have you already tried this? I like mayo, but only on certain things and only in moderation. So, when I was first introduced to the concept to using mayo instead of butter on a grilled cheese I turned my nose up and said, "EWWW, HECK NO!"  Luckily, Steve was more daring and tried it....it's so much better than butter.  It gives you the same browning effect without being as greasy :) And if you don't like mayonnaise, that's okay too because you can't taste it!
The Steve-a-Rino
Printable Recipe 

Ingredients:

white bread
deli ham (we used Smoked)
pepperoni
cheddar-jack cheese
provolone cheese
spicy mustard
mayonnaise

Directions:

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat.

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of two slices of bread. 

Place the mayo-side down on skillet and build your sandwich (ham, pepperoni, cheese, mustard, etc). Then place a second piece of bread (mayo-side up) on top.
cheddar-pepper jack cheese & ham

pepperoni

provolone

mustard

bread
Cook sandwich a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

Cut into two triangles (or leave whole if desired) and ENJOY!

Next time I'm adding bacon to mine , YUM! Mix it up, try different meats, cheeses, mustards, etc.
Hungry Puppy :) Sorry Greta, no Steve-a-Rino for you!
Hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Favorite Things...

This has nothing to do with food but I just thought I would share a few things (non food related) I'm loving right now:


1.  L'Oreal Sublime Self-Tanning Lotion
I don't go to the tanning bed anymore and I can't spray tan either.  I tanned for years and know I've already done damage to my skin that can't be repaired but I quit and decided I wouldn't continue on that path.  I am EXTREMELY fair skinned and due to all my allergies, almost everything (including getting a spray tan) breaks me out. My skin is super sensitive and after trying almost every tanning lotion on the market (not really, but I've tried a lot of them) this is my favorite! If you get a little too much in one spot you can just wet a washcloth and rub it right off.

2. OPI
Color: Suzi Says Feng Shui.  This is just a fun summer color that I've been wearing and love! Try it!!
YEP, that's my foot
3. My coffee cup
Although it's super hot I still have my morning coffee! I am in love with these travel mugs.  I have broken so many travel mugs in the past (washing them or dropping them) and some I just hated - they spilled everywhere or didn't keep my drink warm for long. These are SUPER CUTE, and since they're ceramic and don't have any kind of thermos mechanism you can SAFELY put them in the dishwasher!


4.

What can I say? I love my baby girl.  Greta has been driving us crazy this last week.  I'm not sure what's gotten into her but she's been misbehaving a lot (jumping on the couch, barking non-stop...at nothing, etc) but how can you stay mad at this precious face? You simply can't! She's crazy and annoying a lot of the time but she's so funny and TOO CUTE! LOVE HER!

What are you loving this summer?

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