Shrimp Scampi Dip

What’s not to love about this? Shrimp in a creamy dip – a delicious and filling appetizer that will make your guests feel like they’re eating gold. OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but they will definitely perk up when they’ve heard you made a shrimp scampi dip and you give them some nice toasts or crusty bread to dip with.

I will warn you that this is super filling. We had a little bit leftover that I have now sitting in the freezer. I’m looking for the perfect opportunity to defrost this and repurpose it for an amazing pasta sauce.

I actually came across this recipe on Facebook. I saw it as a Food Network video. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) I thought that the directions were specific enough that I mostly copied and pasted them here with a couple of adjustments.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

  • 4 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails discarded, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • Slices of crusty bread and/or crackers, for serving

Beat the cream cheese, mozzarella, sour cream, mayonnaise, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to add the shrimp.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes, and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. (there will be some liquid left in the skillet). Remove the skillet from the heat, and let the shrimp cool completely.

Meanwhile, mix together the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

If you want more of this crust, I would suggest doubling the ingredients for this part. In fact, I think it would be delicious with some of it mixed right into the dip.

Once the shrimp has cooled, stir the shrimp and its liquid and cream cheese mixtures together to combine; transfer to a baking dish. (The dip and breadcrumb mixture can be covered and refrigerated overnight separately at this point. This is actually what I did until guests were starting to arrive.)

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the dip, and bake until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and cook until the top is golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve hot with bread and/or crackers.

I chose to serve this with ritz crackers and garlic melba toasts. Don’t be afraid when you scoop it; it will be a bit more watery than you expect, especially when it’s still hot. I hope you and your guests enjoy this hot and yummy dip!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

Cilantro Lime Pinto Beans

We recently had Jake’s dad over for dinner and we were having some of Jake’s smoked ham. I’m usually in charge or appetizers and sides and decided on this bean dish. Unlike most of my other recipes, I actually found this in my Bon Apetit magazine. I really liked this side and it had a unique flavor. However, I should have realized that it very much has a latin foods flavor, especially with the cilantro and lime. I would definitely make this again and probably double the recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One 28 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1 small buch of cilantro, steps finely chopped and separated from leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 lime – you will need zest and the juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

First, cook the shallots, garlic, and cilantro stems in a saucepan on medium heat with a bit of oil. (You’ll notice in my photo that I have some cilantro leaves at this step. That was my mistake for not separating the stems and leaves to start with. It all turned out A-OK, though!)

Once contents of the saucepan are softened a bit, add the beans, butter, and 3/4 cup water. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Finally, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves, lime zest, and lime juice.

Give it a taste and add salt and pepper, as desired.

In the end, you’ll end up with sort of a thicker paste-like bean. I imagine you could thin it out a bit by adding more water or lime juice.

I hope that you enjoy this twist on a bean side dish!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

Roasted Carrot Garlic Hummus & Tomato Basil Hummus

In the past, Jake had purchased hummus every week to include in his lunch. He had stopped it for a while, but recently, he had the urge to bring hummus back as a staple into his diet. No opposition here! I really don’t know how healthy the store-bought ones are, so I decided that I would make my own. I tried to find recipes that had basic ingredients.

I landed on a chickpea, roasted carrot and garlic hummus that doesn’t require any tahini. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

The other one I chose was a tomato basil hummus. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

Both were really good and we even used them in some zucchini hummus wraps for dinner one night.


Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chopped orange carrots (about 3 medium sized)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas/garbanzos,
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons of canned chickpea water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • dash of black pepper

First, peel and chop the carrots and place with the garlic cloves in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit. Roast until the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. The original recipe doesn’t call for additional cooking of the garlic cloves, but I would recommend cooking those for a bit longer. The garlic flavor in the end was very overpowering and I think roasting the garlic a little longer would’ve helped give it an even better flavor and tone down the raw garlic taste.

Once the carrots and garlic are done roasting, peel the garlic and plop it all into a beldner. Add the other ingredients: the chickpeas, chickpea water, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Blend well until the consistency is as you would like. You may choose to keep it a little chunky or try to get it smooth. And that’s it! Very simple. This had a deep flavor and was pretty thick/substantial (in a good way). I was surprised, since it didn’t require any tahini!

20190104_103600.jpg


Tomato Basil Hummus

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • Salt & pepper

I ended up using campari tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes. I think it did alter the flavor a bit from what was intended, but overall it was still really good. Since I used a larger tomato, I cut into smaller pieces and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit until cooked and a bit wilted. (You may see from the photo above that I actually roasted these at the same time as the carrots and garlic for the other hummus. These were done first, so I took them out after about 10 minutes.

Then, except for the olive oil, all the ingredients were added to the blender. As the blender was going, I streamed the olive oil in.

This had a brighter flavor than the carrot hummus, so it actually worked really well in the wrap with the more muted flavors of some of the other veggies I used in the wrap.



Here’s a photo of the wrap with the carrot hummus! Yummmmmmm!

I hope you can find some insirpiration with these hummuses like I did and enjoy having something you can use a few different ways for lunch and dinner during the week!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

2 Ingredient Berry Angel Food Cake

This dessert could NOT be any easier. What I particularly like about it is that it actually isn’t too sweet. For a savory food lover like me, it was perfect. The actual cake part is just two ingredients. I additionally made my own whipped cream, but this could be simplified even further by using store-bought canned whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Since this is so easy to prepare, it’s a good option if you’re entertaining. If you’re using your oven for the main meal, mix this and pop it in the oven before you sit down to eat. Then, this will be done and can sit out to cool for a little bit before serving. The timing works out well.

If you’re interested in making your own whipped cream like I did, here is the link to the recipe I used. You just need whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.


Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:

  • One box of angel food cake mix (the kind where you only need to add water)
  • One 21-oz can of pie filling (I used blueberry, but any kind of berry will work)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farnenheit.

Mix the angel food cake mix (just the dry ingredients in the package, no need to prepare per the box instructions) and the pie filling.

Pour the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. (I chose to rub some butter on the bottom and around the edges of the dish to help prevent sticking.)

Bake for about 30 minutes.

I truly hope you enjoy the simplicity, lightness, and deliciousness of this dessert!

Sincerely,

Fu’d

Fried Chicken (A Tyler Florence Recipe)

Although I love the chicken wings we make in the air fryer, sometimes you really just crave that crispy outer breading layer. I had saved a Food Network video on Facebook a while back (in fact, unknowingly, I saved it twice) for Tyler Florence’s fried chicken. I decided to make it for New Year’s Eve last night and to make it into a chicken and waffles dish.

On top of that, I had previously received a gift of homemade maple syrup from Indiana and this was the perfect opportunity to crack that open. There were a lot of good things going on, but I fear my execution was lacking. I’ll highlight some of these lessons learned as I go along.

Here’s the link to the recipe.

We decided to use a boneless chicken thigh. We decided on boneless so it would be easier to eat with the waffles and decided on chicken thigh for taste. (Tip #1: I think this recipe may have been better eating the chicken right off the bone like in the video I saw, so next time I might try bone-in legs and thighs.)

I brined the chicken in a water/salt bath and let that sit in the fridge for about 4 hours. I then, removed the chicken from the brine, patted it dry, and let it sit out (covered) to get to room temperature before frying.

In the meantime, I prepared the dry ingredients. I didn’t need a full 3 cups of flour, so I just eyeballed that and the seasonings. For herbs, I used what I had on hand – rosemary, thyme, sage, and a few cloves of unpeeled garlic.

When the time came, I poured the buttermilk into a dish for dredging and added Sirarcha. I actually prepared the coating for all the thighs first and set them on a baking sheet until I was ready to fry.

Preparing too far in advance was mistake number one. I think preparing them all first was probably fine, but I let them sit out until guests arrived. I think this probably soaked the dry ingredients too much and caused a little less crispiness. In retrospect, I would’ve prepared them all and then fried right away. (I get anxious and inpatient when people are coming over, so I want to do everything quickly and right away.)

Mistake number two was that I decided to double coat everything. The recipe calls for coating the chicken with the buttermilk/chili sauce and then coating with the dry ingredients. I repeated that one more time for every chicken thigh. I think this also contributed to a thicker and more dense batter/outer layer, meaning less crisp.

I pulled out my deep fryer accessories that came with my Gotham Steel copper set. I used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil. I’m not sure if this made a big difference, but perhaps it did. I first fried up the herbs. Boy, did that smell amazing! Once a bit crisp, I took those out and set them aside. (I didn’t end up using them as garnish because I was making chicken and waffles, but they really fell apart. So, the herbs would’ve been great sprinkled over the chicken, but I’m unsure how they would have held up as garnish.)

Then, I cooked the chicken in batches of 3 or 4 thighs at a time. This took much longer than the recipe mentioned. It took me about 15 – 20 minutes per thigh. (I’m not a seasoned deep fryer and I was a afraid to turn up the temperature of the stove too high – maybe that led to the longer cooking time.)

Once done, I heated up some frozen multigrain eggos in the oven. I put everything on a serving dish, drizzled with that Indiana syrup. Even through some of the mistakes, people ate it and Jake and I are still having it for breakfast this next morning!

Good luck trying the recipe and maybe adding a few twists of your own!

Sincerely,
Fu’d

Vegetarian Chili – A Crossover for Dinner and Breakfast

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but the holidays were a whirlwind…a very fattening whirlwind. Jake and I have decided to be your stereotypical New Years resolutioners and are trying to start eating healthy again. I promptly went to trusty Pinterest and began pinning all sorts of new healthy recipes. One of them was a vegtarian chili. We happened to pretty much have all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to try it last night. It was good and even better the next day as an open-faced omlet topping. Just add a dollop of sour cream and mmmmm….

Here’s the link to the recipe.

I ended up using black beans and canellini beans becaue it’s what I had available. Otherwise, I would’ve chosen a more typical chili bean, like kidney. I also ended up using one can of whole peeled tomatoes (the Cento San Marzano can) and a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes. This worked out just fine. I also had some butternut squash that was likely only to last a little longer, so I decided to add it to the recipe. This helped, too, because I didn’t have any corn as suggested by the recipe.

I figured the cubed butternut squash might take a little longer to cook through than the other diced vegetables, I decided to throw these in the pot first and cook them for about five minutes. Once they started to cook through a little bit, I took them out and set them aside while I continued on with the recipe.

I sauteed the onions until soft and then added in pressed garlic and the seasonings. I ended up with a somewhat thick mixture.

I then added the remainder of the vegetables to cook down until a little soft. Then, I added in the tomatoes, allowing that to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, I added in the rinsed beans and added salt to taste. I ended up adding a bit more of the other seasonings, as well, to taste.

Finally, I served in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some grated smoked gouda. Feel free to add whatever toppings you like or serve with tortilla chips on the side!

Overall, this dish was easy to make and probably could’ve been easily adapted for the crock pot or the pressure cooker. This made a very healthy portion. We packaged up some of the leftovers and also used some for breakfast the next day. We cooked up a couple of eggs and used the chili as a topping. Of course, we added another dollop of sour cream on top ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I have to say that the chili was even better the next day, after the flavors had a chance to really meld together. If you have the chance to make this ahead of time, I’d say go for it!

Enjoy.

Sincerely,

Fu’d

Turkey and Mushroom Stroganoff

You may have seen in my recent post that Jake and I had a belated mini Thanksgiving meal this year. So, that means I’m a little behind the eight ball on using leftovers for other dishes. Nevertheless, here it is. I found a turkey and mushroom stroganoff. It calls for ground turkey, but I figured it must still be delicious with the fresh citrus roasted turkey we made. (Spoiler alert – I was right!) I had also make some homemade turkey stock using the turkey bones; I used the stock in the recipe, too.

(Here’s the link to the recipe.) I made a couple of modifications based on what I had on hand and what I felt like (not) doing. Haha – I was feeling a bit lazy.

Here’s what I used:

  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
    • Original recipe called for 2 cloves. I just happened to pull out 3 from the fridge and used them all.
  • Chopped up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving
    • I used approximately 3/4 cup
    • Original recipe called for 1 lb of ground turkey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups broth
    • I used 2.5 cups of homemade turkey stock (with leftover bones from Thanksgiving)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional spice)
  • dash of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 brick of cream cheese
    • The original recipe called for 1/2 cups sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 package of pasta shells
    • The original recipe called for 1 package egg noodles, which I would have used if I had it on hand.

I used a large sauce pot to first cook the onion, mushrooms, and already-cooked turkey pieces in a drizzle of olive oil. I cooked until the onions were translucent and mushrooms were soft.
I then added in the garlic, butter, spices, and Worcestershire sauce. Note that the originalย  recipe calls for making a rue with the butter and flour separately, but I didn’t want to dirty another dish. So, I put the butter in early with the other ingredients just listed.

Once everything was incorporated and the butter was melted, I mixed in the flour and made sure it was incorporated/coating everything. This should make everything a bit pasty/sticky.
Then, I added in the broth and cream cheese. I broke up the cream cheese and stirred until most of it was melted down.
I let everything simmer and let the flavors incorporate for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, in a separate pot, I cooked the shells in some salted and oiled water until al dente.
Finally, it was time to serve! We ate this with a side of the leftover green bean casserole and stuffing from Thanksgiving. I had also left a couple of larger pieces of turkey to slice and lay on top. Lastly, I garnished with a sprig of parsley.

This was so good! I would definitely try this recipe again. Next time, I would still keep the cut up turkey breast instead of ground turkey, but perhaps I’d use more and shred it. Also, I would love to try this with sour cream or greek yogurt instead of the cream cheese.

Hope you enjoy!
Sincerely,
Fu’d

A Belated Thanksgiving Feast: An ode to the classics with a couple of twists

Thanksgiving this year was a bit different for us. We had planned on hosting some family that day, but due to unforeseen events, it hadn’t transpired as planned.

Even though we didn’t celebrate that day, I decided to go ahead and make a mini Thanksgiving meal for Jake and I to enjoy the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I was able to try out a bunch of new recipes.

 

Here’s what was on the menu, linked to their original recipes. I put an asterisk next to the ones that I think were especially unique:


Pretzel and Sausage Stuffing

(Here’s the link to the recipe.)

This pretzel stuffing is definitely worth making again. I asked Jake what his favorite thing was that I made and he said the stuffing. I think the herbs and the pretzel give it a really special, unique flavor.

The original plan for this pretzel stuffing was to make my own pretzel rolls a day or two in advance. I was going to make the same ones that I made for the Mini Oktoberfest that we hosted last month. However, I didn’t have the time, so we picked up some frozen pretzels at the store. The recipe calls for 12 cups, so I should’ve gotten 2 or 3 bags. The stuffing tasted good, but definitely needed that extra “bread”.

20181125_130641.jpg

I tore the pretzels into pieces and toasted in the oven according to the recipe directions – 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 – 20 minutes until toasted, but not hard.

20181125_134122.jpg

In the meantime, I diced the onion, carrots, and celery. The recipe calls for 3-4 stalks celery, 3 carrots, and 1 medium onion. However, the amounts specified are about 3/4 -1/2 cup of each. I found that the quantities yielded more than the 3/4-1/2 cups. I think it would’ve worked out fine if I had more pretzels to balance out the vegetables. I went ahead and added the minced garlic and poultry seasoning with my prepped vegetables since they were all going to go into the pan/pot to cook at the same time anyway.

I sauteed these with the butter until they were soft. After cooking, I put them back into the “prep” bowl so I could use the pot to cook the sausage.

No photo for the sausage, but I used a few link that we had in the freezer. They were hot Italian sausage link. I thawed them out and squeezed the filling into the pot to cook through and crumble.

While I was cooking the sausage, I chopped the herbs. (Don’t they look B-E-A-UTIFUL?)

Once that was sausage was done cooking, I added back the cooked vegetables and mixed in the herbs.

I prepared the liquid by mixing the chicken broth and eggs.

I then poured the stuffing into the baking dish, packed it in, and poured the liquid evenly over the top of the stuffing. I then baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes covered and another 20 minutes uncovered. I added a little extra time uncovered than the recipe specified because the top was brown enough to my liking.


Roasted Vegetable Gravy

The ingredients are flexible, but here’s what I used:

  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour

I didn’t follow an exact recipe for this, but I had recently watched a holiday cooking tips video by Food Network. Basically, they were saying there is no need to use flour or cornstarch to try and thicken up your gravy. Instead, puree some roasted vegetables and add that to the gravy. I LOVED THIS IDEA and I would definitely do it again. The gravy ended up with a unique flavor and it was just something different than the “norm”.

I basically used the leftover carrots, celery, and onion that I didn’t need for the pretzel sausage stuffing. I chopped the vegetables into medium/large pieces and I didn’t even bother peeling the carrots. I roasted the vegetables (no seasoning, just tossed with a little olive oil) in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It time it, but it probably took about an hour to roast to the point where the vegetables were very soft.

Once the vegetables were done, I put them into a blender and added a bit of hot chicken broth. Actually, I had previously been boiling the green beans (for the green bean casserole) in chicken broth, so I just took some from that pot. I like to think maybe a little bit of the green bean flavor infused into that chicken broth too ๐Ÿ™‚

I blended until it was a puree. I think I could have blended it a little more and added a little more broth.

To at least get a base for the gravy, I melted the butter and mixed in some flour. Then, I added chicken broth.

Finally, I mixed the puree in with the gravy base and it was done!

Here’s a photo of some of the other dishes with the gravy displayed at the bottom left.


Citrus Roasted Turkey

We bought a small 6 lb turkey, since the dinner was primarily just for the both of us and we were hoping to make a little doggy bag for Jake’s dad and for us to have some leftovers.

Jake stuffed the turkey with onion, oranges, apple, and rosemary. He also put a few small slivers of onion right under the skins and squeezed a little bit of the juice from the orange on to the bird.

He also laid bacon pieces over the top of the turkey for both some flavor and to help keep the bird moist.

In the baking dish, we also added some additional orange, apple, and onion chunks. I also put a tiny bit of chicken broth at the bottom of the dish to also help keep the bird moist.

We cooked between 325 – 345 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3.5 hours. We don’t trust the plastic temperature gauge that comes in the turkey, so Jake took it out and we just checked it periodically with a meat thermometer. (Because Jake loves to cook meats, we have about 4 different meat thermometers. Haha!)

The turkey yielded a lot more meat than we thought and it was very juicy! I was so sad that this bird didn’t have a lot of skin because I love eating that crispy delicious part. However, I can’t complain. And I know Jake was really happy with the way this turned out given that there was not a lot of prep and no brining involved.


Green Bean Casserole

(Here’s the link to the recipe.)

This was a Food Network recipe that I hadn’t tried before. It was very easy and flavorful, without a lot of ingredients because it uses cream of mushroom canned soup. First, I took the thick stems off the green beans and broke the larger pieces in half. I boiled the green beans in chicken broth.

In the meantime, I chopped the onion. I then sauteed the onion and mushroom in melted butter until the onions were translucent and the mushrooms were soft.

I then mixed the green beans with the onion and mushrooms. I added the can of cream of mushroom soup, added in some store-bought French-fried onion rings, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

I put everything into a baking dish. I baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the initial 20 minutes then I added the cheddar cheese and baked until the cheese was melted.

I had a little extra of the French-fried onion rings, so I added the rest on top.

Overall, this was really good and easy. The cheddar cheese ruins the look of the casserole. Maybe next time I’ll mix the cheese in instead of just sprinkling it on top.


Homemade Cranberry Casserole

(Here’s the link to the recipe.)

I’ve never made cranberry sauce before, but I know that fresh cranberries are tart, so I was worried at how this would come out. It still had a bit of tartness and at first, I thought maybe it was too sweet. However, the more that I ate it, the more that I liked it and the more I think I had previously just been comparing it to canned cranberry sauce. This is definitely worth a try and is very simple.

I pretty much just plopped all the ingredients into a small pot and kept it on a low boil/simmer until the cranberries were popped and cooked down. It may seem a little liquid-y at first, but let it sit and cool for a bit and everything will come together.

Whipped Potatoes

Finally, there were the whipped potatoes. I’m sorry, but I can’t divulge the exact recipe! This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and I’m happy that I was able to to give it a try. There isn’t anything in this that is unusual. In fact, I encourage you to use your favorite mashed potato recipe. The only new thing you may want to try is whip the potatoes using a hand mixer instead of just mashing! This helps keep the potatoes creamy, even after refrigerating and eating as leftovers.

20181125_160600.jpg

20181125_161244.jpg

I hope that these recipes and tips give you some ideas either for next Thanksgiving or for you holiday or Christmas meals this year.

Sincerely,
Fu’d

No-Fail Ginger Cookies (Tip: Try them with matcha frosting or ice cream!)

I had made these ginger cookies a few years ago for the very first time. And even as a beginner cooker/baker (which I still very much am) I was incredibly pleased at how easy these were and how well they came out. These cookies will always be special because I made these for Jake’s grandfather. I only knew his grandfather for a little bit before he passed, but he was suffering from Alzheimer’s and had a hard time remembering people and events. However, I brought him these cookies and he always remembered that I did that and how soft and chewy they were. I will ALWAYS remember that.

I really didn’t make any substitutions or modifications at all with the actual recipe. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

As a side note, I have also used this recipe to make ginger cookie sandwiches with matcha frosting inside. What?!?! YES!!! If you’re interested in the frosting recipe, here it is! It is very sweet, but if you’re looking to impress or have that sweet tooth, try it!

I do, however, follow my own process for baking by using parchment paper on top of a baking rack because, otherwise, there is no doubt I would end up with burnt bottoms. I’ll talk a little more further down about what I did.

First, use a fine colander to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set it aside.

This recipe also calls for butter. I only had cold butter, but I used this handy dandy trip I learned a while ago to soften it without melting it. Boil some water, fill a glas that’s big enough to fit over the stick of butter (a beer glass works great). Let the hot water sit in the glass for 5 minutes. Carefully (I recommend with oven mits) dump the water out and out the warmed empty glass over the cold stick of butter. I also typically put everything in a bowl for the condensation to fall in. Let that sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Voila! Butter is soft!

I used a hand mixer to mix the butter and sugar until creamy.

I then incorporated the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar in batches. I added about 1 cup of dry ingredients at a time and incorporated, then did the next batch, and so on until all the ingredients are combined together.

Add some sugar (about a half cup) into a separate small bowl. Make 1″ balls with the dough and roll in the sugar. Do this until all the dough is used.

I prepared the baking sheet by putting a baking rack in/on a baking sheet. Then, I put parchment paper on top of the baking rack.

Bake for about at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. I judge doneness by the slightly darker color it becomes and the fact that the tops gets those cracks in them. Once done, I let it sit for a few minutes as is out of the oven. I carefully transferred the parchment paper with cookies on top off the rack and onto the baking sheet that should still be hot. This helps to give a little more cooking time to the bottoms without burning them.

I haven’t done this yet, but I can imagine how good these would be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Wow!

Enjoy!

Sincerely,
Fu’d

Guilt-Free Alfredo Sauce with a Cauliflower Base

I had somewhat recently joined a Facebook group that was created for people who live in the same town to share photos of their home cooked meals. First off, this group is absolutely amazing – the things that people cook and all the encouragement is a breath of fresh air. There’s been a recent onslaught of people making chicken broccoli alfredo. So, of course, I started to crave it like crazy!

20181111_181623.jpg

Here’s a version that I adapted for the pressure cooker from a Pinterest recipe. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) If you don’t want to use a pressure cooker, feel free to follow the original recipe as is, but be sure to read on for a few tips and suggestions! I also tried to make my own pasta shells…that was a disaster. Luckily I was smart enough to pick up some backup shells at the store.

Here’s what I used for the sauce:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Your choice of cheese (optional) – I used shelf-stable parmesan and a shredded pizza blend

You can supposedly pair this sauce with a number of dishes, but I made stuffed shells with chicken and broccoli. So, here is the rest of what I used:

  • 1 box of shells, cooked and drained
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 large chicken breast (You may want a little more if you want to try something unique with the sauce. Read on to learn more!)
  • More cheese for topping
  • Breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top (optional)

Cut the cauliflower head into medium sized pieces (doesn’t need to be perfect) and put it in the pressure cooker. Mince or use a garlic press and put all the garlic in with the cauliflower. Add one cup of vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper.

I chose to cube the chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, and put into a little tin foil boat. I put this on top of the cauliflower in the pressure cooker. If you chose to use some additional chicken for the unique twist on the sauce, add a handful of the chicken cubes in with the cauliflower, but outside of the foil. (You will end up incorporating that extra chicken right into the sauce.)

I set the pressure cooker to the poultry setting for only 5 minutes and then used the quick release when done. This was enough time to cook the chicken and soften the cauliflower.

Add the 1/2 cup of milk.

Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender or food processor), blend everything together. If you added the extra chicken into the sauce, this means you are blending chicken right into it. This may seem odd, but I accidentally did this the first time and I loved it. It gave the sauce flavor some depth and it also help give the sauce a little thicker in consistency!

I decided to put in some cheese and about 1 cup of small cut broccoli so they would fit in the shells for baking. (I left larger chunks of broccoli for addition to the baking dish after the shells were stuffed.) Go ahead and dump the cooked chicken cubes in there, too.

Mix together well.

I chose to microwave the remainder of the broccoli with a little water but feel free to pre-cook it any way you like.

Spread a thing layer of sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.

Stuff the shells with the sauce, chicken, broccoli mixture and place shells in the dish. I placed the microwaved broccoli around the shells.

I topped the dish with the rest of the sauce some more cheese, and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

I baked at 375 degrees Farenheit, covered with tin foil for about 15 minutes.

I then baked for another 15 minutes uncovered. I broiled at the end for a few minutes to get the golden brown color on top.

Lastly, serve and enjoy! Leftovers are delicious, too. I had this for lunch two days this week AND I was able to freeze some for when I get the craving later on ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Again, I chose shells, but feel free to eat this with any type of pasta or give it a try over some vegetables, on a white pizza, with rice, etc.

Sincerely,
Fu’d