“Something Red” – Pink Cheesecake Oreo Brownies

This week’s ingredient for Challenge Monday was themed “Something Red” for Valentine’s Day.  I had high hopes for this recipe… I thought I could make it happen but alas….pink!

It’s not a secret that baking isn’t my thing.

This recipe is adapted from Annie’s Eats.  The tulip in the background, by the way, is from a bouquet my husband brought me ♥

You will need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp red food coloring
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour a 8×8 baking pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Set aside.  In a stand mixer, beat the eggs for one minute, but leave these here because you’ll be adding ingredients to them and need the mixer again.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa and salt.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla on medium until smooth.  Add the food coloring and beat a few seconds until red pink.

Add the sugar/butter mixture to the eggs and beat on low just until combined.  Stir in the flour mixture gradually, then the oreos.  Spread half the brownie batter in the baking pan, followed by cream cheese mixture.  Dot with the remaining brownie batter and spread as best you can, then run a butter knife through it a few times to get a swirl effect on top.

Bake for about 22-24 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

However, I’m impatient and I get out my big Pampered Chef pizza cutter, spray it with Pam and go to town.  Then, sprinkle them with powdered sugar ’cause it’s pretty 😉

Now, go see:

Nutritionella

Marci Gilbert

From The Little Yellow Kitchen

And Love It Too!

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day!!

♥ Love ♥

~Dixie Chik~

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Easy French Bread Pizzas For The Soul & Ingredient For Challenge Monday

It.Is.So.Cold.

 

I’m so ready for pool weather.  So ready to hear people complaining about how hot it is.  But first I have to endure the spring in Alabama.  That means once March gets here, we never know what the weather will be like from day to day.  It could be 80°…..or maybe 30°.  We could have a blizzard, we could have tornadoes.  Who knows.  But most of the time, March through May you can count on using the heat in the morning and the air conditioning in the afternoon. 

But the good news is, once we make it to May it’s all hot all the time.

Homemade French Bread Pizzas

 

Typically when it’s really cold outside I like to make chili, soup, etc.  Yesterday when I was at Publix (as usual) I passed by the frozen section and for some reason Stouffer’s french bread pizza got my attention.  It was one of those moments when you see something and you start to crave it.

1 fresh loaf crusty french bread

1 6 oz package sliced provolone cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp coarse salt

Herbes de Provence

Your favorite pizza toppings…..I used:

Diced onions

Mushrooms (canned), drained

Pepperocini peppers

Green olives

Preheat oven to 400°.  Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat; add garlic.  Stir until fragrant, then add the tomatoes through salt.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat but keep covered. 

Using a sharp knife, half the french bread; then quarter it.  Slice down the middle of each section to make 8 french bread pieces.  Transfer to a cookie sheet cut sides up.  Layer the sauce, toppings, then cheese. 

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browning around the edges.  Sprinkle herbes de Provence on top. 

These are so much more healthy than the frozen ones.

Now, onto Ingredient Challenge Monday.  Since Monday is Valentine’s Day, we decided instead of one ingredient, the theme will be “Something Red”.  Fun! 

Make sure to check back on Monday and see what we come up with, and visit the other challenger’s blogs to see what they’ve been up to lately:

Nutritionella

Marci Gilbert

And Love It Too!

From The Little Yellow Kitchen

Happy Friday!

~Dixie Chik~

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Chicken Martini

A friend recently sent me a link to Food 52.  Apart from being a great resource for cooks and food bloggers, they do a weekly themed recipe contest that’s driven by the readers and going on now through September 2011.  The winners become a part of a collection of recipes for a cookbook, which will feature bios of the recipe authors. 

This week’s challenge was creating a recipe using citrus and olives.  My idea actually came to me at 3 am two nights ago when I couldn’t sleep.  Don’t you hate it when that happens?  It may be a little lengthy, but worth it.

Chicken Martini

 

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ pieces

1 box Angel Hair pasta

1/4 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Lemon pepper seasoning

3/4 can (14 oz) baby artichokes, chopped

8 Sicilian green olives (pitted and NOT stuffed), chopped

2 tbsp olive juice from the jar

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup white wine

2 tbsp gin

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 small (16 oz) can petite diced tomatoes

3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Spread the chicken pieces into one layer on a big plate or prep area.  Stab with a fork several times, then sprinkle on the Worchestershire followed by a few generous shakes of the lemon pepper. 

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.   Throw in the chicken when the oil is hot.  Let it brown for about a minute or two, then toss.  Turn it, browning the other sides and continue cooking until browned and done – about 6 minutes or so.   Move to a plate and cover with foil.  Do not rinse the pan…we need those little brown bits! 

I thought I would mention this because I’ve always known that making a sauce after searing or cooking meat in the same pan produces yummy flavor, but never put much thought into it.  Well – I decided to put some thought into it and find out.  Here’s why. 

About 100 years or so ago, a French chemist described something called the “Maillard Reaction”.  This is what happens in the pan when you brown meat.  It basically means that when the meat’s amino acids are subjected to the heat it forms new compounds, which in turn forms new compounds, resulting in new flavors. 

See, you learn something new everyday. 

Add another tbsp of olive oil to the pan, and then the garlic and onions.  Stir until you can smell the garlic and then add the artichokes through parmesan.  Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Simmer, and stir occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  You may want to taste it and adjust for salt and pepper, although you shouldn’t need any salt because the olives really season this well.

Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer about another one or two minutes, then remove from heat.  Toss with the pasta and serve. 

 

 

Enjoy…with a martini!

~Dixie Chik~

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Edamame Nachos

If the title of this post sounds gross…..just put that skepticism aside and give it a chance.  You have to; you’re obviously a foodie or you wouldn’t be here, right?

 I had this bag of frozen shelled edamame peas in my freezer for a while and I decided to get them out and play around a little.  I was craving Mexican food, and yes I know that’s nothing new.

I have seen recipes for edamame dip, edamame spread, etc. and I thought if they put refried beans on nachos, why not edamame – they’re both beans (or peas) – who cares if they’re green.  I’ll eat anything.  Well, almost anything.  It has to taste good.  And I prefer it not be sweet.  😉 

Edamame Nachos

 

My edamame peas were frozen, so I had to heat a small pan of water on high, then let them boil for 3 minutes to get them “done”.   

~Mise En Place~

About 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame peas

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil (you will need to judge this on your own – I think I might have used more)

1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tbsp dried cilantro

Large restaurant style tortilla chips

Plenty of Monterey Jack , or your cheese of choice

~Directions~

 

Heat oven to 425°.  Place the edamame, lemon juice, olive oil salt, cumin and cilantro in a food processor.  Pulse until pureed – or almost.  Edamame is a little resistant and won’t get to pureed consistency as quickly as other beans do.  Just give in – it will be good.  Continue to add olive oil until it looks like (and tastes) you want it to.

Spread a thin layer of the edamame mixture on the tortilla chips.  Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cheese.   Bake for 5-7 minutes, watching carefully.  Remove from oven when the cheese is melted and the chips are browning around the edges. 

Let me just go ahead and apologize for that little jalapeno looking so sad.  I try so hard.  Good models are hard to come by these days.

Ok, so top with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos – whatever you like on your nachos.

You must try them –

Speaking of things in the freezer….I was recently given some venison and asked to come up with some recipes.  I made some meatballs with the ground part of it, but I have a tenderloin that I’m not so sure what to do with??? Any suggestions?  Please let me know!

Have a great week and make sure to check back for our challenge ingredient on Friday! 

~Dixie Chik~

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Cooking Party

Last night I had a couple of friends over for dinner and to have some fun in the kitchen.   One of them was Jenny Carden, a Pampered Chef consultant and contributor to Dixie Chik Cooks. 

There’s nothing like relaxing in the kitchen with good conversation and good wine.

Here’s what we made:

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

 

Grape Tomato and Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

 

Cuban Bread with Italian Dipping Oil

 

Classic Lasagna

 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies – a recipe by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

 

And, by the way, Jenny made the Whoopie Pies and these turned out perfect.  The kiddies couldn’t keep their hands off them. 

Below is my recipe for lasagna, which has been my go-to recipe for years.  I played around with certain ingredients years ago and finally discovered a couple of things that have become my staples – that really make the difference – in this dish.  And sometimes I tweak it here and there, but for the most part the recipe is a good, solid foundation for a great lasagna. 

Later I will be posting the other recipes that we made, but for now-

Here’s me (right) and Jenny (left)…..she’s such a cutie – and she LOVES to cook so you know we had fun.

 

And here’s my friend Tresia enjoying a Whoopie Pie – I just love this girl.

 

I want to do dinner parties every week!  And have somebody come clean up after us!

Here’s the recipe for the lasagna:

Classic Lasagna

 

1 lb ground round

1/2 lb ground Italian sausage

1 12 oz package lasagna pasta

1/2 cup beef broth

1 12 oz container ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes

2 tbsp dried basil

2 tbsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 onion, diced

2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, divided

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 cups mozzarella cheese

1 package of sliced provolone cheese (you can find it where the shredded cheese is -sliced for sandwiches)

1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 tbsp Sea salt

1 tsp pepper

Olive oil

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, and add garlic.  When fragrant add onions and saute for about a minute or two.  Add sausage and ground beef, mashing and stirring until all crumbled and browned.  Add 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, both cans of tomatoes, beef broth, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Bring to a slow boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  Taste periodically and adjust salt/seasonings to your preference.

Next, mix ricotta, eggs, and parm in a medium mixing bowl.  Salt and pepper to your taste.  I add about 1 tbsp of sea salt and 2 tbsp coarse pepper.  But that’s me.

In a 9×10 baking pan (we used the Pampered Chef stoneware), pour 1/2 cup of the sauce and spread on the bottom.  Layer lasagna noodles, followed by ricotta mixture, then sauce.  Next, lay on top of the sauce 3 1/2 Provolone slices, followed by more pasta, ricotta, sauce and next mozzarella.  Continue repeating until the dish is almost full.  Cover very tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let it rest for about 15 minutes, then you can cut and serve. 

Finally, I just had to mention the stoneware we cooked the lasagna in.  This is not an advertisement, I promise.  This is me telling you that Dixie Chik found something she profoundly needs in her kitchen.  Dramatic? Yes.  Necessary?  I think so.

I have one stone – which is the pizza stone I got 6 years ago.  And although I use it all the time, and I love it, I found a new PC stone friend last night.  And she wants me to buy her. 

She’s the Deep Covered Baker in Cranberry.  I had no idea what a difference baking in stone would make.  But oh my….it did.  It honestly, and I’m not kidding, made a big difference in how evenly the lasagna cooked overall- no burnt edges. 

I actually have a Pampered Chef “show” online open until Monday, 2/7.  So, for the first three Dixie Chik fans that order online, Jenny will give away a free 2010 Fall/Winter Season’s Best Cookbook, which will not be available after the end of February.  To browse the online catalog and/or order all you have to do is go here and enter “Shea Goldstein” (moi) as the hostess.

Happy Cooking!

~Dixie Chik~

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