Gimme S'more!

Combine two classic desserts to create one incredible cookie.

Bento Boxes for Days

Prepare for the week with some delicious bento box meals.

Garden Herb and Citrus Chicken

Made with herbs plucked fresh from my garden!

Havana Style: Huevos Habaneros

Bienvenida a Picante!

Fancy it up with Filet Mignon

Tonight, this chef is NOT starving!

May 17, 2015

Mexican Corn Salad


Corn on the cob is finally back on the menu. If there's one food that just screams summer to me, it's some good ol' sweet corn right off the cob.

And while discussing ideas for sides for my bison stuffed peppers, the inspiration for a simple corn salad came up as a way to add some fun colors to the dish. Plus, this salad can be made as a cooling salad or spicy hot side - whichever you are in the mood for!


Ingredients:

  • corn (fresh or frozen)
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • red pepper
  • garlic
  • butter
  • lime
  • mayonnaise
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • coriander
  • Parmesan cheese
Here are a couple cooking hacks worth knowing.


First, if you've never tried microwaving your corn in the husk - then you are missing out on an incredibly simple way to achieve perfectly steamed corn on the cob!!

I stuck 1-2 unhusked corn on the cobs into the microwave for 6-7 minutes, then cut off the bottoms and carefully squeezed the corn from the husk. It's literally the easiest way to cook your corn perfectly as well as remove pretty much all of those annoying stringy things!


You can also use an upsidedown bowl to secure the corn when cutting off the kernels - just be sure to use a big enough plate or bowl beneath to catch it all!


Add the corn and chopped veggies into a large skillet with the butter and seasonings.


Saute for 10 minutes or until the corn is beginning to brown just slightly.


Then stir together the mayonnaise, lime, and cheese. Pour the corn mix into a large bowl, then combine in the mayonnaise.


Serve cold alongside some bison stuffed peppers!


Or serve hot alongside some bison tacos!


Recipe TL;DR:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 5-6 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Here's How:
  1. Begin by steaming the corn while still in it's husk by microwaving for 6-7 minutes per 1-2 cobs. Remove from the microwave and carefully, using oven mitts, cut off the bottom of the corn. Squeeze the top of the cob until the corn slides out of the husk. 
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the kernels. Chop the carrots, onion, and pepper, then mince the garlic.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lime, and cheese. Set aside to chill.
  4. Heat a large pan over medium high and add the butter. Toss in the corn and the other chopped veggies and seasonings. Saute for 10 minutes or until heated through and beginning to brown.
  5. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the mayonnaise. Serve warm right away, or chill for a few hours and serve as a cold corn salad.

Yum

Week 21: Ground Meat - Bison Stuffed Peppers


Well people, I think I might have found my new favorite recipe: bison stuffed peppers. And yes, the bison really does make all the difference in this recipe.

In case you didn't know, there is actually a difference between a bison and a buffalo. American bison are commonly referred to as buffalo, but that's really not the case. Bison also happens to be super healthy, and is way more lean than its beefy counterpart. 


Another benefit to this recipe? Any leftover bison meat can be used to make tacos!


Ingredients:
  • ground bison meat
  • red, orange, yellow, or large sweet pepper of choice
  • white onion
  • cremini mushrooms
  • garlic
  • cherry tomatoes
  • red onion
  • lemon
  • tomato paste
  • tomato sauce
  •  orcestershire sauce
  • brown or Dijon mustard
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • paprika  
  • coriander
  • cooked orzo
  • jalapeno cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
You know the bison has got to be good when it's just labeled as "bison."


That's not even a joke either - the bison I used was picked up from Cleveland's West Side Farmer's Market, from a relatively local farm. But I digress...

Begin by cutting each pepper in half and removing the seeds and place into a shallow glass dish.


In a large sauce pan, brown a little butter then add the chopped onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are just beginning to caramelize. 


Add the bison meat to the same pan with the onions and break apart with a wooden spoon, stirring constantly.


Then the bison is getting browned, add the mushrooms and other seasonings. Be sure to stir continuously so everything is evenly cooked - but be super careful not to overcook! Since bison is less fatty than beef, it's easier to dry it out while cooking. 5-7 minutes should be enough time to completely brown 1 pound of bison meat over medium high heat. 


Once the bison is cooked, add the can of tomato sauce, cooked orzo, and the chopped cherry tomatoes.


Stir until mix is warmed sufficiently, then transfer to the peppers in the glass dish.


Don't worry if there is more meat than there is room for in the peppers - just pile it around the peppers instead! It'll make for some perfect taco meat for any picky eaters who might not like peppers.


Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes or until tops of peppers are browning - feel free to add more cheese here too and broil for an additional 5 minutes.


Serve alongside some baller corn salad.


Or serve with tortillas for a unique taco experience.


Recipe TL;DR:

Makes 8 stuffed peppers (+ extra filling)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground bison meat
  • red, orange, yellow, or large sweet pepper of choice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 chopped white onion
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 7oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown or Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika  
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 cup cooked orzo
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Here's How:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place into a glass dish or pan. Cook the orzo according the package instructions. Chop the onion and mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and mince the garlic and herbs.
  2. Add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped red and white onions. Saute until just browning and translucent - about 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Drop the bison into the same skillet and bring up the heat to medium high. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to break up the bison meat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, and coriander.
  4. Once bison is no longer red, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Then pour in the tomato sauce, orzo, and cherry tomatoes. Stir well to combine, and bring to a boil.
  5. When bison mix is heated through, spoon generously into each halved pepper and use excess filling between each pepper. Sprinkle on half of each cheese. Place into the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and broil for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted.
  7. Serve alongside some simple Mexican corn salad and tortillas for tacos!
Need a Side?


Why not Mexican corn salad? It's a cooling counterpart to it's heated bison brethren.




Yum

Loaded Baked Potato Salad


One of my favorite things about teaching myself how to cook, is teaching myself how to cook all of the foods I previously disliked in a way that I might enjoy them. 

Potato salad was one of those foods - it never quite struck a chord with my taste buds; until this recipe, that is.

This recipe is particularly awesome since I already had most of the ingredients laying around the kitchen! I love playing "what's in my refrigerator door" and making something out of whatever I can find there. This time around, I spotted my vegan nayonaise (which I guess is just like mayonnaise, they definitely taste the same) and some sour cream. And with our friend's cookout coming up, I needed to whip up a quick side that everyone would enjoy - and somehow I was assigned potato salad.


Ingredients:
  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • bacon
  • potatoes (I used russet)
  • cheddar cheese
  • jalapeno cheese
  • green onions 
  • salt and pepper, to taste
There's only one way I like my potatoes - loaded.


Start by frying and crumbling your bacon. Let it cool.


In a large bowl mix together the mayo, sour cream, cheese, half of the green onions, and the bacon.


Once combined, pop into the refrigerator to cool while you prepare the potatoes.


Cut your potatoes into chunks about 1 inch in size. Place into a large pot and cover with water, then heat the pot on the stove until boiling, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Take care not to overcook, or else you will get a mashed potato consistency, not potato salad consistency.

Strain and gently rinse with cool water. Let the potatoes chill for a few hours.


About an hour before you are ready to serve, combine the potatoes and the sour cream mayo mix.


I used a spatula to toss my potatoes - this was the best way I could think of to mix and not mash my potatoes.

Cover the potato salad with foil then when ready to serve, garnish with the remaining bacon, cheese, and green onions. 


Recipe TL:DR;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes + 1-6 hours chill time

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 strips of bacon, crumbled
  • 8 potatoes (I used russet)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup jalapeno cheese
  • green onions, for garnish 
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Here's How:
  1. Fry the bacon in a large pan until crispy, then let cool and crumble. In a large bowl, while the bacon is cooling, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, half of the cheeses, half of the green onion, and half of the bacon. Stir well, then place into the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Wash and chop the potatoes. Throw the potatoes into a large pan and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil on the stove and cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until they break easily with a fork.Drain the potatoes and toss into a large mixing bowl. Cool until no longer warm.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled, remove the dressing from the fridge and pour over the top of the potatoes. Mix gently with a spatula.
  4. Garnish with the remaining halves of cheese, bacon, and green onions.
  5. Cool until ready to serve and enioy!

Yum

May 16, 2015

Good Old Fashioned S'more Cookies

s'more cookie

Out of all of the recipes I frequently make, this one certainly takes the cake.

Er...cookie.

And it's definitely the most documented dessert I've made. I first remember making these cookies in 2009, sometime in my last year of high school. Sorry if that makes you feel old. Or young, I guess.


s'more cookies

Since then, these cookies have evolved into the perfect combination of a bonfire classic and a chocolate chip cookie.

I even still have the original sheet of notebook paper I had scribbled down the recipe on - probably from one of my school notebooks. While my current recipe is slightly different than the original, the ingredients remain just about the same.

smore cookie recipe

Ingredients:
  • flour
  • graham crackers
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • butter, room temperature
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • sea salt, coarse
  • mini chocolate chips
  • mini marshmallows
  • Hershey chocolate bars
smore ingredients

Don't forget to use the REAL stuff to truly mimic those classic s'more flavors. I recommend you first break up the bars, then break each piece in half again, before you actually start cooking, and then put into the refrigerator to keep cool. Chocolate bars melt surprisingly fast when subjected to any temperature above like, body heat.

mini chocolate chips

I also recommend you take the extra second to find the mini chocolate chips - I've used the regular sized ones before, and they seem to overpower the Hershey's chocolate bar flavor. It's the best way to ensure the best of both flavors meshing perfectly.

crushed graham crackers

Then toss the graham crackers into a plastic baggie, and crush with your hands. You'll want a good range of pieces, from about a 1/4 inch and smaller. Pour out as much of the big bits into a small bowl and add the smaller and powdered graham crackers into a larger bowl with the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.

flour ingredients

Next combine the white and brown sugar into a stand mixer with the stick of room temperature butter. If you don't have one of these guys to keep your brown sugar soft, I definitely think you need to get one, like right now.

brown sugar gingerbread man

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth.

butter sugar

Then pour in the chocolate chips and stir on a slow speed as you slowly pour in the flour.


Add about 1/4 cup at a time, and let it be completely mixed in before you add the next 1/4 cup.

cookie dough

The dough shouldn't be super sticky nor super firm. Go for the middle with a soft dough that won't stick to your hands. You might need to add a few extra tablespoons of flour to achieve this consistency. 

cookie dough

Then use your hands or two spoons to create rounded dough balls. Once formed, you can dip one side of the dough in the bowl of larger graham cracker crumbs. I forgot to do that in the following pictures, but trust me, it's well worth it to have the crunch (and appearance) of the graham crackers on top.

cookie dough balls silicone mat

Only bake the cookies for about 8 minutes. They will still be pretty light and not thoroughly cooked - and that's totally what we want! 

half baked cookies

Remember the chocolate bars I stuck in the refrigerator - well now is the time to bust them out. You'll have to move quickly since the cookies will continue cooking as you gently press the chocolate and mini marshmallows into the tops of each cookie.


Then put the cookie back into the oven for another 4-5 minutes or until the marshmallows are poofy and beginning to brown.

baked smore cookies

Like I said, I completely forgot to add the graham cracker step to the first batch of cookies, so here's a picture of a fresh cookie with crumbs, straight out of the oven.

s'more cookie recipe

YUM.

easy s'more cookies

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes + 4 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, coarse
  • 1/2 bag mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • Hershey chocolate bars
Here's How:
  1. Start by breaking up the bars of chocolate, then breaking each piece in half. Place into the refrigerator while you prep the rest of the dough. Also open and set aside the marshmallows. 
  2. Add the graham crackers to a plastic bag, and crush with your hands until the crumbs range from 1/4 inch to powder. Pour off the larger bits and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375*F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and graham cracker crumbs.
  4. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and white and brown sugars. Beat in the eggs, one at time, then the vanilla extract. When the mix is smooth, add half a bag of mini chocolate chips.  
  5. Pour the flour mix into the stand mixer 1/4 cup at a time, letting it combine completely before adding the next 1/4 cup. The dough should be soft, but not sticky, to the touch.
  6. Using your hands or spoons, create rounded balls of dough, gently roll in the graham cracker crumbs, and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat with the graham cracker side facing up.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven and quickly press a few bits of chocolate and mini marshmallows. Put back into the oven for another 4-5 minutes or until the tops of the marshmallows are just beginning to brown.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments! I love getting feedback on all of my recipes.



Yum

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