Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pasta White Bean Bake

You know when you're starving, you want something hot and hearty, but you feel like there is absolutely nothing to eat in your kitchen?

I get that a lot. Luckily, I always have pasta. And beans. And usually at least one variety of frozen veggie.

While I cooked a cup of whole wheat shells in some chicken broth, I steamed some frozen green beans over a saucepan of water. I strained the green beans and about 4 ounces of white cannelini beans and plopped them into a ramekin.

Isn't this silicone steaming basket fun?

Anyway, I digress. Once the pasta cooked, I drained it and tossed it with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, salt, pepper, dried basil, and a little garlic powder. Then I mixed the pasta in with the beans (green and white) and topped it with a tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan.

Into the oven for about 8 minutes on 350, and then under the broiler for about 2 minutes to finish it off.

Whole wheat pasta for starch, white beans for protein, green beans for your veggie, and a little cheese and butter for delicious.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Vegas, Baby

As is becoming all too frequent, I've been away from the blog for a week (or so) hiatus. But this time, I have a good excuse, as I was in Las Vegas with my sister.

A few snippets of breakfast, drinks, and dessert (my essentials):

Breakfast Highlight:

Mon Ami Gabi, Paris Resort & Casino: Lemon & Strawberry Crepes (with steak tenderloin eggs benedict in the background)

My sister Cabell and I split these two breakfast dishes. Sadly that glass of water is blocking the gravy boat full of whipped cream.

Drinks Highlight:

Jack Daniels Whiskey & Ginger, Eiffel Tower collectible strawberry margarita

Did you know Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale comes pre-mixed?? And yes, that Eiffel tower was full of booze.

Dessert Highlight:

The Buffet, Bellagio Las Vegas

Adorable mini key lime and lemon meringue tarts. Complete with the signature Bellagio B.

Go West, young man, and drink novelty glasses of frozen cocktails.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Fall Pumps

I've been lusting over a certain pair of strappy high heels all summer, thinking my time was running out to buy them. But really, I realized, they'd work for fall too. Hallelujah.

And the more I've been looking at summer sales, the more I realize that a lot of these strappy leather numbers in neutral colors could transition to autumnal outfits quite easily. With naked toes or paired with opaque tights if you're feeling bold (or cold), these pumps would look great with a fall trench.

1. L.A.M.B. Women's Norwood Platform Sandal, $255

2. Matiko Trix Sandal, $199.99

3. Nine West Raindate, $99

4. Wild Rose Criss Cross Open Toe Sandal, $28.80

5. ZIGIny Sonia, $199.99

6. Naughty Monkey Casting Call Sandal, $79.95

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Semi-Homemade Donuts

One of the first things I knew I had to make with my new deep fryer was donuts. If you know me, you know I cannot resist a donut, preferably with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. But yeast donuts seemed so time consuming, I was putting it off until I had a big chunk of time available. However, after perusing the internet for donut recipes, I was surprised to find one appearing over and over: cut holes in refrigerated biscuit dough and deep fry it.

Deep fried biscuits? Masquerading as donuts? No thank you, right? But I KEPT seeing this "recipe" pop up online. With tons of positive reviews. So I thought, why not. Worst case scenario I waste $2 on a can of biscuits and about five minutes of my Saturday.

And turns out, they were outstanding.

Honestly, what I liked most about them is that they weren't quite as airy as your standard Dunkin Donut. You know, where you eat three donuts and feel like you were chewing air? Delicious air, but still not much sustenance?

Well, the biscuit dough solved that. It's layered and light but still bready. And no, they really don't taste like biscuits. Once they surface from that deep fryer, they taste like donuts!

And don't forget the donut holes! (Blurry, but equally yummy.)

Semi-Homemade Donuts

1 can biscuit dough
Small circular cutter (you can use a bottle cap or skinny shot glass in a pinch)
Oil for frying

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter

Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
Cut your donut holes.

Prepare the glaze:
In the microwave or double broiler, melt chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup until smooth. Keep warm over the double broiler or re-microwave if necessary to keep the glaze thin while frying your donuts.

Fry the donuts quickly! I dunked them for about 30 seconds per side, which worked perfectly without over-crisping.
Drain for a minute or two on paper towels.
Dunk in chocolate glaze, then immediately coat in sprinkles.

(Also try coating with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.)

Devour. I finished off all 8 of these in less than 24 hours. No shame.

P.S. If anyone can figure out how to make that "butternut" topping Dunkin Donuts uses, throw a girl a bone over here.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Coookie Oreo Brownie Bars

That's right, you read that correctly. Chocolate chip cookies, oreos, and brownies, all in one bar. Oh, and also hot fudge.

I saw this recipe from the blog Kevin & Amanda and was obviously drawn to it immediately. I love chocolate chip cookies. I love Oreos. I am basically addicted to brownies. All in one? But it was so indulgent I didn't know when I'd have the excuse to make it.

Enter a co-worker's birthday a week later. His favorite desserts were listed as brownies and chocolate chip cookie dough, so I figured there was no time like the present to whip these monsters up.

And yes, they taste just like they look. Completely outrageous and delicious. The hot fudge mixed into the brownie batter stays gooey and oozes out while you're trying to eat them. I'd recommend a fork or a lot of napkins. Or just complete dessert abandon.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Toasted Ravioli

Of the many cool kitchen toys I got for my birthday, the most extravagant was probably my deep fryer! That's right. I now own a deep fryer. For its christening, I wanted to make something relatively simple but delicious, and toasted ravioli immediately came to mind.

If you're not from Missouri (and relatively close to St. Louis), you might not know what toasted ravioli are. Well, they're delicious. Akin to a mozzarella stick, you bread meat-filled ravioli and deep fry them. Traditionally they're dipped in marinara, but not being a big red sauce fan, I used an alternative. What else - blue cheese dressing.

Finding beef-filled ravioli turned out to be harder than I thought, so I opted for Trader Joe's lobster ravioli. Hence, my final product became St. Louis/New England Style Toasted Ravioli, a very opportune meeting of cultures.

Using one beaten egg and a cup of Italian style breadcrumbs, I dredged each raviolo in egg and then crumbs, allowing them to sit for 5-10 minutes before frying for the breading to set up.

Into the oily depths of the deep fryer, four at a time. I used canola oil, although I hear peanut oil is great for frying, too.

Don't these babies look amazing? I let them fry for 1 minute, then flipped them over with tongs, and then 1 more minute on the other side. Beautiful.

And how'd they taste? To die for. Delicious crunch, soft lobster filling, and the blue cheese complemented perfectly. If you are into marinara, I'm sure it will taste great as well.

Now to figure out what's next for my fryer...

On an unrelated note:

Happy birthday, Mom!

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