Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fudgy Brownies from Scratch!

I would love to show you pictures, but my SD card reader is on the fritz.  However, take my word for it, these brownies taste even better than they don't look!  It may be from scratch, but if you can make box brownies or hamburger helper, then you can make these brownies, and they'll turn out great.

Better-than-box Brownies

This recipe is modified from BHG's New CookBook's Fudgy Brownies.

1/2 c margarine
3 oz dark chocolate chips
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2/3 c flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 c chopped nuts

(The margarine and chocolate chips are my changes.)
1.  In a saucepan, melt margarine and chocolate chips, stirring constantly.  Cool 15 mins.

2. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate, then add eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

3.  Add flour and baking soda (it's better to mix these together separately, but I never do), stirring until just combined.  Add nuts, stir into greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan.

4. Bake 350 deg. for 25 to 30 mins, checking with knife for doneness.

These brownies have all of the wonderful fudgy taste that I could only seem to get with boxed brownies, but they're pretty easy to make and cheap ingredients.  They're not dry or too cakey like I seemed to always get when I tried making my own brownies previously.  I am a HUGE fan.  I like them even better than the box mix--the dark chocolate chips really seem to add a rich chocolate taste that the powder just doesn't quite hit.

Love, love, love!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mormon Tiramisu

I love desserts, and I've always wanted to try this classic Italian sweet.

I seem to have one little problem: I don't drink coffee or alcoholic beverages, two apparent must-haves for Tiramisu.
Note: this requires 12 hours chill time, so prepare ahead of time!

My solution: Mormon Tiramisu

This recipe is modified from the original, taken from the California Pizza Kitchen cookbook.

Sabayon-Mascarpone Mixture:
12 oz mascarpone cheese
5 egg yolks
6 T sugar
2 T cranberry-grape juice
2/3 c heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla extract

Sabayon topping sauce:
1 c sabayon-mascarpone mixture
2 T cranberry-grape juice

Not-So-Espresso Mixture:
1 1/2 c dark hot chocolate, still hot
1 t rum flavoring

Whipped cream:
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract

Additonal ingredients:
20 Italian ladyfinger cookies
2 T shaved chocolate

To make the Sabayon-Mascarpone mixture:
1. Put the mascarpone in a mixing bowl, beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, 4 T of the sugar, and the cranberry-grape juice. In a double boiler, whisk the mixture until it triples in volume (about 5 mins). Cover and chill.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream, 2 T of sugar, and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form, then fold into mascarpone. Add the egg mixture, folding gently. Refrigerate.

For the topping:
Remove 1 c of the sabayon-mascarpone mixture to mix with the cranberry-grape juice.

To make the Tiramisu:
1. In a separate bowl, mix cream, sugar, and vanilla, whisking until a whipped cream is formed. Fold in a a cup of the sabayon-mascarpone mixture. This is our sabayon whipped cream.
2. Pour rum flavoring into the hot chocolate.
3. In a 9x9 baking dish, spread a small amount of the sabayon whipped cream.
4. One at a time, submerge ladyfingers into chocolate-rum drink, then layer them onto the bottom of the pan. It should take roughly 10 ladyfingers. Use more as needed to get a tight fit across the pan.
5. Spread the remaining sabayon whipped cream over these ladyfingers, then gently tap the pan on your work surface to remove air bubbles.
6. Similarly to step 4, dip and layer remaining ladyfingers. This time, layer the cookies at right angles to the previous layer.
7. Spread the rest of the Sabayon-Mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, again tapping to remove bubbles.
8. Smooth surface with a spatula, cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours.

9. Serve by pouring the reserved Sabayon topping sauce on each portion, then sprinkle shaved chocolate on top.

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spinach salad

This salad is super easy and has a tasty homemade vinaigrette.

Spinach Salad

5 oz spinach
diced red onion
berry vinaigrette

1. Toss together spinach, onion, and vinaigrette (I like to go light on the onion).

2. Top with chopped walnuts and berries of the same persuasion as your vinaigrette.

Berry Vinaigrette

1/3 c berries of your choice (I have used strawberries and raspberries, and loved them both)
2 T sugar
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c canola oil (or olive oil if you're a stickler...but remember, this is a budget recipe site)
1 T or so of garlic salt

1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine sliced berries and sugar. Microwave on high 1 min.

2. In a separate bowl, slowly whisk oil into the vinegar. Then, add garlic salt. Taste, adding more salt or pepper if you prefer.

3. Take out the hot berries and mash with a fork or whisk. Pour into the vinegar mixture, then pour over the salad and toss.

Stuffed Hamburgers

So, I never exactly stick to my plan. It just never quite happens that way, but I usually take the inspiration of what I planned and do something with that.

We made the stuffed hamburgers, but I didn't actually ever make the buns, so we used lettuce wraps. Super yummy! For the side, we did the spinach salad.

Stuffed Hamburgers

2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
diced onion (I dice an entire onion and store it in the fridge, then sprinkle in a little for my recipes.)
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t seasoned salt
1 t garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 c shredded cheese (your choice)

1. Mix all the ingredients except the cheese together in a medium bowl.

2. Begin shaping the burgers. Pick up about half of the amount of ground beef you usually use to make your burgers. (I usually make smaller rather than larger burgers, so adjust to your burger style). Flatten the patty in your hand, making a well in the center (but don't let it make a hole in the meat). Place about 2 T of shredded cheese in the well (more for larger burgers).

3. Taking an equal sized amount of meat again, place it over the cheese and fold together until it forms a patty with no cheese showing.

4. Cook the burgers over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway.

5. Serve over buns with favored condiments.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What I'm cooking this week

Below is the menu and shopping list for the week. After my shopping trip, I will post approximate prices (which will vary based on location). Most of the posted recipes will be slightly altered by substituting more cost-effective alternatives, and I will repost pictures and altered recipes.

Happy Eating!

Friday: Manicotti
Saturday: Baked "Chimichangas"
Monday: Steak Fingers and Crash Potatoes
Wednesday: Stuffed Hamburgers (including homemade buns) and spinach salad

Check back this week for the updated recipes based on these recipes, as well as posts about the recipes that are my own! My recipes are all for 4 people.

My shopping list* for the week:

garlic cloves
green peppers
spinach (2-5 oz bags)
small red onion

Frozen section:
boneless skinless chicken breast

Center aisles:
cream of mushroom soup
spaghetti noodles
no-boil lasagna
any other pastas on sale
Worcestershire sauce
instant rice
refried beans

Side aisle:
a cheap cut of steak (not important what type)
80/20 ground beef--about 4 to 5 lbs.
cheese--lots of it, in various flavors!

Back of store:
uncooked tortillas

Things I already have in my pantry/fridge for these recipes:
yellow onions
chicken bouillon
seasoned salt
red pepper flakes
salt, pepper
new (red) potatoes
canola oil
dried herbs
tomato sauce
(28 0z) can diced tomatoes
(28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
parmesan cheese
white distilled vinegar
balsamic vinegar
cider vinegar
garlic salt
bread dough recipe (get buns if you don't make your own bread)

*Please note: my location designations are based on the Walmart store layout.