Thursday, August 25, 2016

Zucchini Tots

Ever hear the famous line, "Lock your car doors, it's zucchini time!"? Well it is! Watch out or you will end up with a ton of it. Every year, I am given endless zucchinis from people's gardens. I love zucchini, but I'm always on the hunt for something different. These tots fit the bill. I adjusted the recipe a bit to add more cheese, and they were so cheesy and delicious that I wished I had made more.

Zucchini Tots
Source: adapted from Kirby's Cravings

1 and 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (squeezed and patted dry)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup regular bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded cheese
(I used cheddar.)

1 large egg
salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning (to taste)

Shred zucchini and squeeze and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Add zucchini, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, and seasonings to a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands until everything is thoroughly combined. You may need to add more breadcrumbs if your mixture is too wet, but the mixture should not be dry.
Shape mixture into tot shapes and place on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes until bottoms are golden brown and crispy and flip over and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars

I love chocolate chip cookies, but some days I just don't feel like rolling out balls of cookie dough and waiting for pans and pans of cookies to bake. I would love to find an awesome cookie bar recipe, but unfortunately I am still on the hunt for the perfect bars: thick, chewy, and slightly crispy. These bars had so much promise, but really fell flat on flavor and texture. They were very cake-like, and the brown butter and toffee chips did not add much flavor. They were good but not what I had envisioned.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars
Source: Slightly adapted from So Tasty So Yummy

1 stick butter
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until it foams up and deepens in color.
Remove butter from heat and set aside to cool. 
Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a large bowl. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.
Add vanilla and eggs and mix well to combine.
Stir in the flour mixture.
Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee chips.
Press the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
Cool and slice into bars.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Buttercream

Some days you just need cake. A deep, dark chocolate cake spiked with beer and topped with boozey icing. The combination of Guinness and Bailey's is popular near St. Patrick's Day, but I think it's a perfect flavor combo any time of the year. The bittersweet cake is a perfect complement to the sweet icing. You need to make this cake!

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake
Source: Global Table Adventure

1 and 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup Guinness Stout beer
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and line two eight-inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the Guinness, vanilla extract, and cocoa. Remove mixture from heat to cool.
Whisk together the sugar, flour, and baking soda.
Add the Guinness mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk in the eggs.
When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour evenly into two prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Removed the cakes from the pans and cool on two cooling racks.
When cooled, spread Bailey's buttercream between layers and ice top and sides.

Bailey's Buttercream
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2–4 tablespoons Irish cream

Cream the butter. With the mixer on low, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and Irish cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hasselback Chicken

Have you heard of Tasty? It's a great Internet site full of fairly simple recipe videos. Since I have discovered it, I have been using it to get out of my cooking rut. The first recipe I tried was Hasselback chicken. Surely, you know about Hasselback potatoes? They were insanely popular in the blogosphere. The chicken uses the same concept: You cut slits in the chicken, stuff it with ingredients, and bake! It's easy and delicious! The recipe lends itself to many variations as you can stuff the chicken with just about anything!

Hasselback Chicken

Source: Adapted from Tasty

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh garlic (minced)
1 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)

1/3 cup ricotta cheese
3 chicken breasts
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, and spinach and cook 
for about 3 to 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Take off the heat, mix in roasted red peppers and ricotta.
Cut slits into the chicken breasts. (Do not cut the slits all the way through the chicken!)
Stuff the spinach mixture into the slits.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

Sprinkle paprika on top.
Bake on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes.