Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate and strawberry bliss! My Mom’s “magical” jello popped into my mind. She used to make jello squares and pour heavy cream into the jello mix (including water); placed them in the refrigerator and a couple hours later, 2 tone jello… creamy on top and jello on the bottom. Our family and friends used to think it was pretty neat!

I love the color contrast! Poured into 4 stem glasses for a charming, Valentine style. It’s meant to share or not. Lol! 

Ingredients: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces/chopped – 3 ounces 60% Ghiradelli – 1 cup cold heavy cream, – 3 egg whites 

Strawberry – 3 oz strawberry jello  (follow jello directions) – 2 cups heavy cream – allow jello to cool before adding whip cream/cool whip. At least 30 minutes. Whisk together the strawberry jello and whip cream until smooth. 

Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2 cups of water and bring to medium heat. Place chocolate and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Put remaining heavy cream back in the refrigerator. Place bowl over the saucepan (bowl should not touch the water). Melt chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. I suggest medium low heat. Carefully remove bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool. Place egg whites in a separate medium/large bowl and whisk (you may use electric whisk) for 3 minutes until stiff peaks form. Place the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream into a third medium bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold half of the whipped cream into melted chocolate. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. Thoroughly combine. Spoon mousse or pipe it from a pastry bag. 

Diagonal inspiration TipBuzz on Pinterest.

Homemade Whip Cream – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream – 2 tablespoons sugar – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste 

Angel Food Cupcakes

Cupcake-a-licious! You can’t be sad while holding a cupcake : ) 

I have never made angel food “cupcakes”.  It was an interesting experience with a sweet outcome. Angel food cake is a delicate & soft dessert, especially as a cupcake. It’s important not to over fill the cupcake liner. I lost a few that were filled slightly below the liner. My suggestion is to use foil liners as well. Be gentle with these little suckers. 

 The strawberries were roasted and smelled amazing … with a splash of maple syrup and granulated sugar. A summer scent that always makes me smile! 

#haveyouhadyourcupcaketoday #berrysweet

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted – 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar – 1 1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature – 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice – 1 tsp cream of tartar – 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp salt – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced,  1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons maple syrup – 1 teaspoon granulated sugar  – 1 1/2 cup heavy cream – 2 tbsp sugar – 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 2 cups fresh strawberries – 2 tbsp maple syrup – 6 oz strawberry jam; preserve – 2 tsp granulated sugar  Optional: red swedish fish valentine heart candy decoration

Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees. Do not spray or butter the pan. In a large bowl, sift together 3/4 cup granulated sugar and all of the flour. In your mixer or another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. About 2 minutes. Add the cream of tartar, lemon juice and vanilla extract and salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar. Scrape sides if necessary. Sift the flour mixture (gradually, 1/4 cup at a time), gently fold into the egg whites. Spoon into pan/liners. Reminder: fill 3/4 or slightly less, use your discretion. Bake 350, 12 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool. 

Glaze: Place sliced strawberries in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle maple syrup evenly followed by sprinkled sugar. Roast strawberries, 400 degrees 10-12 minutes. Berries should be tender and release juices. Place strawberry jam into a bowl, spoon roasted strawberries on top and mix together using a fork. Optional: add a few teaspoons of warm water if the glaze is too thick. 

 

 

 

Slow Cooked Pot Roast

Cooked with love? …. in a large electrical pot. Lol. A little morning prep work, place everything into the cooker, clean up & set a timer. Go to work, run errands, play with the kids, your fur babies, exercise, go brunching or whatever your heart desires. Low & slow eight hours later, an amazing delicious meal that may look fancy but didn’t require much of your time. That’s what I call a wonderful dinner! 

I have cooked this meal over the years with different ingredients, chuck vs rump, red wine vs no wine, worcestershire & Dr. Pepper soda at one point.  My suggestion is try what you like …it’s all about your taste preference : ) 

Note: I make a bowl of mashed potatoes as well. My Mom used to include mashed potatoes with this meal and my Dad is the one who taught me how to make mashed potatoes. 

#sundaydinner #cookedwithlove 

Ingredients: 2 lbs baby carrots – 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut – 3 to 4 lbs rump round roast – 1/4 sweet or yellow onion, sliced – 2 sticks; ribs of celery 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A classic dinner, that many of us love! 

Do you call it red sauce or gravy? Twirl or cut your pasta? As a teenager, I was invited to my boyfriend’s Nana’s home for dinner. We were all seated at the table and I began to cut the spaghetti with my fork & knife, Nana was not pleased! She scolded me — you should never cut spaghetti. That was the day I learned how to twirl spaghetti with a fork & spoon.  

Between you and me, I use the spoon and fork twirling method while dining at restaurants or in a new social setting however, in the comfort of my home …. I do not.   

I think meatballs tastes even better the next day : ) 

 #spaghettiMEETball  #Nonna

Ingredients: 1 cup bread crumbs/panko – 2/3 cup finely grated parmigiana – 1 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon pepper –  1/2 small red onion finely chopped and sauteed  – 1 to 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil to saute – 1 tablespoon parsley pieces, chopped – 2 eggs, slightly beaten – 2.5 to 3 lb ground meat

*Allow sauteed onions to slightly cool prior to combining into meat mixture* 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Winter layers, not clothes… dessert!

Chocolate lovers dream. I wanted to try a no-bake; flourless cheesecake. Thanks to Yummiest Food on Pinterest — the texture reminds me of mousse. The layered combination is delicious! ❤️🍫

8 ingredients

Vegetarian

Baking & Spices

16 oz
Bittersweet chocolate

1 tbsp
Granulated sugar

1 cup
Powdered sugar

2 tsp
Vanilla extract

Snacks

2 1/2 cups
Oreo cookie crumbs

Dairy

6 tbsp
Butter, unsalted

4 (8 oz.) packages
Cream cheese

2 3/4 cup
Heavy cream

To make crust:
  1. Finely crush the cookies in a food processor, add melted butter and blend until it’s all moistened.
  2. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared 9-inch springform pan by lightly greasing the edges of the pan with cooking spray
  3. Place in the freezer while you make the filling
To make cheesecake filling:
  1. Melt 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool
  2. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  3. In separate bowl, mix 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form, add vanilla extract and continue mixing until stiff peaks form
  4. Add cream cheese mixture into beaten heavy cream mix on low speed just to combine
  5. Divide mixture into 2 equal portions in separate bowls
  6. To the first half of the mixture add melted chocolate and mix on low speed to combine then pour the filling over the crust then second half of the mixture carefully spoon over the top of the chocolate mixture
  7. Place the cheesecakes in the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least one hour
To make chocolate topping:
  1. In a medium saucepan stir together cream, chocolate and sugar on low heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Cool and pour over the cheesecake.
  3. When the topping is set and cooled again run a thin knife around the sides and remove the springform pan sides.
  4. To serve cut the cheesecake into slices using a sharp, thin, non-serrated knife. Drizzle chocolate sauce if desired.

Chicken and Dumplings

Sunday dinner — Tiffani Thiessen’s Pull Up A Chair cookbook was a Christmas gift and apparently so was the ’tis the season cold I had last week. Huge ugh! Still slightly lingering around, Tiffani’s chicken and dumplings recipe sounded perfect. The chicken is succulent, quantity of flavors and a touch of dry sherry. Apparently recipes including alcohol is a recurring theme for me throughout 2018 and the New Year, Lol. 

My Mom used to cook chicken and dumplings with Campbell’s chicken & rice soup, boiled chicken water, salt and Bisquick’s dumpling recipe. Distinctly remember my Dad was not fond of the dumplings, he liked the broth though. 

This recipe does require a little kitchen time — your taste buds will thank you! 

#sundaydinner #inspiredtotrynewrecipes #foodforthesoul 

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 10 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry 
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth 
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley 
  • 2 bay leaves 
Dumplings:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill 

Directions:

For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.

Add the butter to the same pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, fennel and parsnip and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and when it releases its fragrance, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sherry and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the pot. Add the broth and stir to combine.

Tie the thyme, parsley and bay leaves together with kitchen twine, drop the bundle into the broth and add the chicken, taking care to fully immerse it in the liquid. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove the bundle of herbs and discard. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and discard. Tear the meat into bite-size pieces. Using a skimmer or wide spoon, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce in the pot. Return the chicken and any drippings to the pot and bring the stew to a simmer.

For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper. Add the buttermilk, butter, thyme, parsley and dill and stir to form a thick, very sticky dough.

Using your hands, roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop the dough balls into the stew spaced about 1/4 inch apart. Cover and simmer over low heat until the dumplings are firm and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

As a kid, I used to help my Mom and Grandmom make chocolate chip cookies. We always looked forward to licking the beaters or spoon …. fast forward 30 plus years it’s highly recommended not to eat raw batter….Sigh. Cookie dough is super delicious! When my son was younger, of course he would help stir and pour chocolate chip morsels into the mixture. I’m grateful for the ‘believe in the magic’ memories from my son’s childhood. He always helped prepare milk and cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa too! 

Mom and Grandmom would make Tollhouse cookie recipe. I used that recipe for years but eventually tried Crisco’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. Note: I replace one crisco stick with a regular stick of butter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and New Year! #milkandcookies #believeinthemagic

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Pillsbury BEST All Purpose Flour (I use 1 3/4 cup per their older recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

BEAT shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto baking sheet

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Caramel Apple Pie

This is not your classic American pie —- a caramel apple pie with holiday cheer, rum! I couldn’t help but smile while simmering the apple ingredients together. Every room filled with this wonderful aroma. I was eager to try Williams-Sonoma’s salted caramel apple pie recipe.  Let me state the recipe does not call for rum but it should, Lol. The flavors are on point and scrump-a-licious! The salted caramel sauce was purchased on sale and it’s amazing! I’m not just saying that. For those non-sweet n’ salty people, do not let the salted caramel sauce fool you. It is delightfully sweet. 

I use Allrecipes buttery pie crust and replace regular butter with Irish butter. My apologies about the yellow tone photo as I forgot to photograph prior to egg wash. 

Happy Holidays! #baketheworldabetterplace #applelicious 

For the Filling: 4 lbs Granny smith (I combined granny smith & fuji apples) peeled and sliced – 1/2 cup light brown sugar – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg – 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice – 3 Tbs. cornstarch – 1/2 tsp. sea salt Note: I added 3 tablespoons of Captain Morgan rum – 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar 

Salted Caramel recipe: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – 1/4 cup  water- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice – 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt OR purchase Williams Sonoma’s salted caramel sauce on line or in stores

 

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Baking season is here! I love carrot cake ….who am I kidding I LOVE cake. Period. 

Did you know Fall is peak carrot season? I never cared for this dessert until my 30’s. The first recipe I made the icing was way too sweet. After an Oprah episode airing Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Macaroni n’ Cheese, I purchased her recipe book. Her Heavenly Carrot Cake is just that …heavenly. 

The little decorative carrot chocolate melts are perfect on top. I googled these adorable carrots — practice and practice some more. I modified the icing with less confectioners sugar.

A cupcake is happiness with icing on top 🥕😋#bakemyday

Cake Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour – 2 teaspoons baking soda – 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon – 1/8 tsp ground allspice – 1/2 tsp salt – 2 cups sugar – 1 cup vegetable oil – 2 large eggs – 2 tsp vanilla extract – four 4 oz jars carrot baby food – 8 oz can shredded pineapple, well drained – 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting Ingredients: 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature – 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature – 1 tablespoon half n’ half or milk – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (I modified to 3 cups)

Sicilian Chicken Soup

Fall is my favorite season! Gorgeous colored leaves, apple cider, football, hockey, boots…a long list of seasonal favorites that includes soup for the soul. 

Inspired by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Spicy Sicilian Chicken Soup.  A warm bowl of deliciousness! I printed a copy cat recipe, doubt it will be “exactly” like theirs. Similar ingredients along with some cooking confidence, it tastes amazing.

Whether you’re a chicken noodle kind of lover, creamy or vegetable soup lover…there’s just something about soup that’s good for your soul.

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts – 6 to 8 cups of water – one 14.5 oz can chicken broth – 1 yellow onion finely chopped – 3 celery ribs diced – 3 carrots diced – 1 green bell pepper – 2 medium russet potatoes peeled & diced – one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup fresh parsley – 3 garlic cloves pressed or diced – kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste – half box ditalini pasta cooked & set aside

Directions: 

  • In a slow cooker add chicken breast, water, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots and diced tomatoes (whole can with juice), garlic, parsley and 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
  • Cook on low for 6 hours, remove chicken breasts and shred, place back in the soup. Add potatoes and pasta, allow to cook/simmer additional hour. Note: I peeled & boiled potatoes, cooled down and slightly mashed for pieces.
  • Modified ingredients
  • Tastes better the 2nd day : )

#comfortfood #emmmsoup