Saturday, May 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Brownies

It is pretty funny that if I ever made brownies, they were only from the box. Little did I know how easy they actually are to make from scratch. I love this recipe because it is super easy and double chocolate! What is great about them too is that they are not overly sweet and this recipe makes a great crumbly crust. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Brownies
Recipe from Family Circle
Makes 16 large brownies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (I left these out of the recipe)
1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate chips (2 cups)

Directions: Heat oven to 350°. Line 13x9 baking pan with nonstick foil, leaving overhang. In large glass bowl, heat butter and chocolate in microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes; stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes, until top is dry to the touch. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift brownie from pan with foil. Cut into squares and serve.

Brownies right before going into the oven.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four Cheese Mac & Cheese

I have always wanted to try and make a mac and cheese but just never did. Well, when I came across this recipe my time had come. Yeah I know it probably isn't the most healthiest dish but if you only eat it once in a while it isn't too bad... The only piece of advice I would give when making this recipe is choosing your baking dish wisely. I had some family over so had this really pretty oval 9x13 pan I used. However, once the mac & cheese spread along the bottom of the 9x13 pan it was only about an inch deep. So once the mac & cheese was baked it was not as moist as I hoped. Next time I make this recipe I will use more of a 9x9 or so pan. Also, I will learn how to make a bread crumb type crust for the top of it. Overall this was a great recipe and definitely a keeper!

Four Cheese with Bacon
Serves 12

1 box (1 pound) cavatappi
6 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded colby-Jack cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American cheese (6 ounces) (You can use any brand of deli cheese)

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3-quart broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Cook cavatappi 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, in medium-size saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Carefully pour off drippings, returning 2 tablespoons to pan. Add butter. Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. In large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-Jack and mozzarella. Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar mixture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese. In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with a generous cup of the bacon-cheese mixture. Repeat layering. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil 3 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pollo Guisado (Braised Chicken)

My friend Debbie asked for a Latin style meal so I knew I was going to make rice and beans but needed a meat dish. I have tried Pollo Guidado (Braised Chicken) recipes in the past but nothing to write about until know. This recipe is so tasty. Although it did not specifically call for chicken thighs, the recipe does call for small pieces of chicken. So the thighs worked perfectly without having to chop into pieces. And if you have a Costco near you, I would recommend shopping there for big quantities. For this recipe, I bought a package of chicken thighs for $14. This package had 6 individually wrapped pockets with 5 thighs in each -- that's 30 thighs for $14! I used 15 chicken thighs for this recipe. Also since I love onions, I used 3 small red onions instead of one and I didn't use any olives. I hope you enjoy this keeper recipe!

Pollo Guisado served family style.
Pollo Guisado
Recipe by Dominican Cooking
Serves 6

2 lbs of chicken cut into small pieces
2 lemons cut into halves
2 green bell peppers
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1 small red onion chopped into fine strips or rings (I used 3 red onions)
4 plum tomatoes cut into quarters
2 tablespoons of oil
1/4 cup of seedless olives cut into halves (optional)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon of mashed garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
A pinch of oregano
Coriander leaves (I couldn't find these so didn't use)

Directions: In a bowl mix the chicken, oregano, onion, celery, tomatoes, a pinch of salt and garlic. Marinate for 30 minutes. (I let this marinate overnight in a ziplock bag) In a pot heat up the oil, add the sugar and let the sugar heat up until it becomes dark brown. Add the chicken (reserve vegetables and herbs) and sauté until the meat is light brown. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 12 minutes adjusting water when necessary. Add the remaining ingredients (except tomato paste), cover and and simmer until they are tender, adjust water if necessary. Add tomato paste and half a cup of water, simmer over low heat to produce a light sauce. Adjust salt to taste. Serve with white rice, a side dish (or salad) and beans.

Chicken thighs after being marinated overnight. 

Chopped veggies.

Chicken and veggies together. Almost done!