Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bunch o' brownies

These brownies definitely fall into the category of "if you're gonna have a brownie, you should really HAVE a brownie." I totally forgot how many brownies this recipe makes. These brownies get rave reviews every time I make them, but I warn you - they are nothing even remotely close to something resembling healthy.

You start by melting 1 pound of unsalted butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips and six ounces of unsalted chocolate (I use cocoa and follow the instructions on the container to swap it out - basically ends up being 1 c cocoa + 2 T + 6 T oil).

Let that cool, and then add six extra large eggs (I use 8 large eggs), instant coffee (truthfully I've never added this), vanilla and 2 1/4 cups sugar.

Add that to the slighly cooled chocolate mixture and let cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. I actually add the chocolate mixture to this since the pan wouldn't have held it. Toss 12 oz. of chips in 1/4 cup flour to keep them from sticking inside the batter. Then add to the batter and pour into prepared pan. I use the Baker's Joy spray and love it!

Bake and await ooey gooey goodness. B is allergic to walnuts so I just put some on the top of about 1/2 of the pan.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Barbecue-Sauced Sloppy Joes

I made this from my new Weight Watchers Cookbook titled "Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites" (link). It was super easy and really good.

I'll update later with the downloadable version:

1 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 pound ground skinless turkey breast (I used lean beef instead)
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the dry ingredients.
3. Add the meat and cook, breaking with spoon until no longer pink.
4. Stir in the barbecue sauce and cook until slightly thickened.
5. Serve on bun and enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cooking...thousands of miles out of my comfort zone

Yesterday I got the idea to make Indian for dinner. I wanted to cook from my Healthy Indian Cookbook. It took a while to get the necessary ingredients, and by the time I got home it was far too late to begin what I knew would be a time-consuming adventure.

So I made my Indian feast today. It took about four hours to get it all done. And while some things worked and one didn't, I'm glad I took on the challenge. We ended up eating after 8 p.m. and our portions ended up larger than we'd have planned, so the "healthy" aspect kind of went out the window.

Like other things I've made recently, once I got going, I had far too much going on to stop and take pictures along the way.

I started my prep by making my Tikka paste. This paste was the base for my Chicken Tikka Masala.

I also got my naan dough going. No pics of this because I wasn't sure at the time it'd work. In the end, what tasted like naan didn't resemble the stuff I'm used to.

The meal included Chicken Tikka Masala, which is chicken pieces cooked in a creamy tomato sauce.

Here is the entire meal put together with the Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Pilan and Naan. My naan tasted good, but it was really puffy. I'm not sure why.

The meal was quite tasty, but I made far too much rice (doubled the recipe for some reason). And it was a lot of work. In the future, I'd probably just make a meat dish and serve it with regular basmati rice. But it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and the early evening. Now I need to go clean up.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chicken Piccata with Pasta and Mushrooms


This was my first recipe from this cook book, which I got from a cookbook club (yes I know it's a little dorky - but it was a free trial and I got 5 books for $5)

If this recipe is any indicator of the rest of the book, I'm a happy girl. This recipe was soooo good. It had just the right amount of tang from the lemon. I just got back on weight watchers after not being too religious over the holidays, and this was a great kickstart.

I didn't take pics along the way because you kind of have a lot going on at once, but here's the finished creation.

A quick, healthy and yummy breakfast

Last night I was having trouble sleeping. For whatever reason, I ended up watching the Turbo Cooker informercial. (Disclaimer: I had one of these and I never thought it worked.)

This lady:

was making a bunch of stuff, one of which was a breakfast skillet souffle-type thing. I decided that I could make it in a skillet, which I did this morning. There are no pictures because we ate it too quickly, but it was quite yummy and filling.

I used:
5 oz. Honeysuckle White breakfast turkey sausage
2 cups shredded hashbrowns
1 cup Egg Beaters
1/2 cup Kraft 2% shredded cheese

In a small skillet, brown the sausage and chop up with spatula into crumbles.
Spray cooking spray on the bottom of a large pan, and add the hashbrowns into a single layer.
Brown the hashbrowns on one side.
Flip the hashbrowns, add the sausage, eggs and cheese.
Cover and cook about five to seven minutes, depending on how hard you want the eggs.

The total weight watchers points on this was 12. We did two big servings to keep us full for a while, but it could easily be four servings.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remembering those far away

I have posted before that I recruited some friends (and friends of friends) to help with Operation Baking Gals. We are supporting Brian "Bubba" Parks. Brian is the 2nd youngest of 6 children. He has been married to Nicki for 2 years, and they have a 15-month-old son named Connor. He is a graduate of West Point, and he actually decided not to re-enlist in June of 2007 to make sure he would be home for his wife and new baby. In February 2008, he was relieved of his inactive status and left for Afghanistan in June 2008. They were living in Kentucky (he was previously stationed at Ft. Knox), and his wife and son have since moved back to Rockville, Maryland to be near their families. Bubba's mother died 6 years ago of breast cancer, and his dad still lives in the greater DC area.

I wanted to share some of the results of our sugary work. I have been meaning to post these for a while, but I thought today would be a good day because as we all get together to share in the season, I think we need to take a moment to think about those who can't be with the people they love.

Baker Joy shared this note with her pictures:
Thank you for sending me all the information for the Baking Bombshells Team- I'm so glad I could take part in Round 5 of Operation Baking GALS. I actually baked my goodies this past Saturday morning... it was a wonderful way to start my 21st birthday! :) I wanted to pack and ship all in one day so that my cookies would be as fresh as possible- that put me on a bit of a deadline as I had to get to the post office before 1:00, when they closed. I made it just in time, and sent two batches of cookies: Chewy Molasses Spice and Oatmeal Triple Chocolate Chip. I chose to make the chewy molasses spice cookies because they're kind of homey and reminiscent of all the holiday flavors. I also went with the Oatmeal chocolate chip because they're my mom's favorite, and from a reliable stand-by recipe. I included a handwritten postcard of the Boston skyline (my hometown) with holiday wishes for Bubba and his fellow troops.

Bakern Kim shared this note:
We mailed out our gigantic package... my husband went a little nuts at the store because he too is a West Point alum and he really got into this! Thanks for including us... this was fun... I have a pic of Scott with the big bags of food... holding our letters...I will send you soon.

Baker Karen shared this note:
The mini nut rolls & no bake cookies my 3 yr old daughter Kayla & I made were shipped out. We included a brief note as well. Happy baking!

Baker Suzanne wrote:
We TORE UP the kitchen yesterday making all kinds of cookies. There very well may be flour in some crevices we have yet to find, but had a great time baking up all kinds of goodies from gingerbread men to sugar cookies, snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkles. Here's a few of the pics we managed to catch in between the chaos. And no, I don't do aprons :)

And you can see the results of my work here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cake for 80 - part 2

I should say this is part 2, 3, 4, 5 and beyond because this project turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than I ever could have imagined.

I made the two french vanilla cakes on Tuesday night. Then Wednesday the fun began. I was up until 1:30 a.m. getting everything done, but I was quite pleased with the results. I delivered them to the party Thursday night, and from what I hear - they were a hit. Apparently there were only about 45 people there, and there was no cake left. I made four 9x13 cakes, so I'm taking that as a very good sign. Unfortunately I don't have any of my cake slice pics because I was gone before they cut them.

French Vanilla Cake with Buttercream and Raspberry Filling

Triple Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing and Slivered Almonds

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cake for 80 - part 1

After weeks of sending my cake class creations to work with Brian, a lovely co-worker of his asked me to make cake for a party she was hosting. It's a retirement party for one of the cancer center's doctors, and I was very honored. She's expecting about 80 people, which is quite an undertaking for a one-woman kitchen.

So tonight is the first of several days' worth of posts. The party is Thursday, and I've determined the best way to do this is in stages. Tonight's stage - chocolate buttercream. And a lot of it. And a big mess to go with it

This is a 13-cup container. There's almost 2 pounds of powdered sugar and 3/4 of a pound of butter in there. And it's ridiculously good.