Recipes

Bittersweet Chocolate Soufflés (by Ghirardelli)

This recipe is SO EASY and SO GOOD, I just had to share it! I made these Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Soufflés for my family on Valentine’s Day, and everyone could not stop raving about them. Sure, they take a little extra love than stirring up a cake or brownie mix, but they are 10000% worth the effort, I promise. I followed Ghirardelli’s recipe exactly, and my batter filled four brand-spanking-new 8oz ramekins, that I actually went out and bought specifically for the occasion. I’m sure you can make this in a larger quiche dish, but you’d really have to watch your timing. My vote is for individual-serving ramekins all the way.

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Look at the rise on these souffles!!

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oven

Recipe, from Ghirardelli.com
Makes Four 8oz Ramekins

• 10oz Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips
• 6 TBS Unsalted Butter, plus more for coating dishes
• 6 TBS Granulated Sugar, plus more for coating dishes
• 6 Eggs, separated, at room temperature
• 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
• 1 TSB Orange liquor, optional
• Powdered sugar, optional

How To:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Generously coat eight 1- cup ramekins with butter, then coat bottom and sides of dishes with granulated sugar, tapping out the excess.
  3. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter, heating in 30 second increments and stirring in between until completely melted. Whisk in egg yolks, salt, vanilla extract, and orange liquor if using, until combined.
  4. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tarter on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer still running, add sugar one tablespoon at a time, beat until egg whites hold stiff peaks and appear glossy.
  5. Whisk a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixer to lighten batter. Fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter amongst ramekins, filling each almost to the rim. Using a wet paper towel, wipe excess batter from rim.
  6. Bake until soufflés are puffed and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 11-13 minutes. Dust top with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
  7. To make chocolate soufflés ahead of time, freeze filled ramekins until you are ready to bake. Preheat oven to 400F and bake soufflés for 17-18 minutes.



Recipes

Beef Stew…pie?

I’ll admit it, I’m a superfan of Emmymade on Facebook. If you’re not familiar, click through and check out her page. She makes really fun food videos, and covers everything from recipes that went viral on TikTok and copycat versions of famous foods, but my favorites are those where she takes military-issued food rations and makes something insanely good out of them, like this one:

Video credit: Emmymade // At around 13:17, something caught my eye – she puts beef stew in a pie (puff pastry)!


My husband and I were watching this video the other night, and when she got to the part with the beef stew (13:17) the two of us looked at each other as if the light bulbs above our heads lit up at exactly the same time!

I had a plan already to make my regular beef stew, so I thought, hey, let’s mix it up a bit and try putting it inside puff pastry! SPOILER ALERT: IT WORKED AND IT WAS REALLLLLY GOOD!

You can use any beef stew you like (including canned, if you’re in a pinch), but if you need a great, simple beef stew recipe, try mine. The steps are below, in photos:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets (one box includes two sheets). Defrost as package instructs, and place one sheet on a sheet pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon your cooked stew over the sheet, leaving room at the edges for sealing.
Beat up 2 egg yolks and brush around the edges of the base layer. Drape second sheet of puff pastry dough over the top of the stew and press the edges to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg and cut a small hole in the center to release steam. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of dried thyme, but it’s not necessary.
Bake for about 20-25 mins or until crust is puffed and golden brown.
Cut up and serve! I had extra stew, so I served it separately in a bowl and froze leftovers.
Crispy, flaky and buttery outside, savory and warm inside. A winner dinner – except for my daughter, who hates all things beef stew and protested this meal by having a TV dinner that’s off in the distance!


Takeaways:
1. Next time, I think I’d try to make individual pies, which would give a crispy crust on all four sides (because, who doesn’t love puff pastry?!)
2. You could make your stew ahead of time and keep in the fridge. It can be added to the pastry cold, since the cooking in the oven will warm it right up.
3. I’d chop my veggies and beef smaller, for more uniform bites in the filling.

Give this a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Recipes

Homemade Taco Crunch Wraps – Success! (but not before a fail!)

We’ve fallen into a rut of ‘typically expected’ weekly meals – pasta one day, burgers the next, chicken on another day, even a little breakfast for dinner now and then, but tacos – those are always on a Tuesday. This week, I decided to switch that up a bit and try to make one of my favorite things from Moe’s Southwest Grill – they call it a Stack!

They describe a Stack as “Our Take on a Southwest Wrap: soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside, it’s like a quesadilla and a hard taco had a baby”. Image credit, Moe’s Southwest Grill

The way I see it, a Stack, or Crunch Wrap as Taco Bell calls theirs, is basically a hard shell taco that’s split, filled, and wrapped in a giant tortilla. In any case, the crunch on the inside and the warm wrapper on the outside makes for a great, filling meal that’s fun to just pick up and eat. What’s also nice is that you can fill it with anything you like – in this week’s version, I made mine with ground turkey meat instead of beef, and added a standard taco seasoning, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I also added a little shredded lettuce, but found that it got too warm and soggy in the grilling process so ended up picking it out as I ate. I think it would be great to experiment with fillings (as you could with any regular taco or burrito situation) – maybe use shredded up rotisserie chicken for a quick version, or ground beef or shredded pork… even just a plain cheese and vegetable one for the non-meat eaters out there. The possibilities are really endless!

My instructions below are simply for the assembly – be creative!

What you need:
– Protein like chicken, ground turkey, ground beef cooked in your favorite taco seasoning
– Shredded cheese
– Toppings like: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, black beans, refried beans, jalapenos, etc.
– Large flour tortillas (like burrito size wrappers)
– Tostadas, I found mine in the Taco section of the supermarket
– Griddle or large fry pan

How To:
1. See the above photo set of the process, but it goes like this…
2. Have all of your filling ingredients ready to go.
3. Don’t make the mistake I made! ++FAIL ALERT CENTER PHOTO++ I thought by assembling on the hot griddle, the wraps would get softer and easier to handle – NOPE! The wraps got crispy very fast and were impossible to fold over since they shrunk a bit as they got hotter, leaving the tostada exposed. Do all of your assembly on a plate, then move to the griddle for the final crisping.
4. Heat up your griddle or pan.
4. Layer in this order: tortilla, tostada in the middle, cheese, meat (or extra cheese), toppings, cheese again, then a final tostada on top.
5. Fold the tortilla up and around the middle until you get it as tightly closed as possible and grill folded side down to seal it all in. Flip when lightly browned and enjoy!

The end result is a warm, slightly chewy/crispy outside and a nice crunch inside – full of your favorite filling. Let me know in the comments what combos you come up with!

Recipes

Easy Semi-Homemade Chicken Soup

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see a recipe for “real” chicken noodle soup that calls for boiling a carcass, I just can’t.

I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I’ve always had an issue with bones. I won’t eat a chicken wing (without a fork!) and never a steak or chop on a bone.

Anyway, this version of Chicken Noodle Soup is really easy to make (especially on a weeknight) – without hours of boiling – thanks to the addition of a rotisserie chicken, and offers the roasty, slow-cooked taste of a hearty soup thanks to a quick sauté of the veggies.

What I did differently this time (that I really loved) was add some fresh lemon slices at the end to give it a little fresh vitamin C boost and more flavor. Follow my how-to below and let me know what you think!

Semi-Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6

Start to finish: about an hour

Ingredients:
• One cooked rotisserie chicken
• 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2 stalks celery, sliced
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 2 cartons (32oz each) chicken stock
• Fine egg noodles (I use about a half a bag)
• 3-4 slices of fresh lemon, seeds removed
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1tsp dried parsley
• Salt & pepper to taste

How To:
1. In a stockpot (or large Dutch oven), add olive oil and get hot. Gently sauté carrots, celery, and onion until onions are soft and translucent. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and stir.

2. Add chicken stock to pot and stir, scraping cooked bits off the bottom. While waiting for the stock to boil, remove chicken meat from bones and chop into bite-sized pieces.

3. Once stock is boiling, add chicken, egg noodles and lemon slices and boil for 8 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy with bread or crackers.

TIP: This soup reheats well for lunches – double the batch and have it ready to go!

Recipes

Brunch, anyone?

Wikipedia says: “Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink served with it. It is usually served anytime before 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch.”

I’ll just say that a weekend brunch is one of my favorite things to do. It’s fun to mix it up a bit and get family and friends together to enjoy a meal during the day, rather than a later dinner.

This recipe is my version of a pretty basic breakfast casserole that my Mom used to make. It’s eggy, bready, cheesy and the best part is, you can pretty much throw as many add-ins as you want and it still turns out delicious!

Breakfast Casserole | Serves 6

Start to finish: about an hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf white bread, chopped
  • 9 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 3 Cups milk (I used 1%)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 package frozen Brown & Serve breakfast sausages
  • Additional add-ins (if desired): frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry), cooked sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, or cooked chopped bacon or ham.
  • Serve with maple syrup or ketchup.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Mix up eggs, milk, salt, pepper and melted butter in a bowl.
  3. Place a layer of chopped bread into your baking dish. Top with meat and cheese, repeat until your ingredients are used up and your casserole is piled high.
  4. Gently pour egg mixture over bread/cheese/meat. Let sit 15 mins to soak in.
  5. Bake for 45-55 mins or until casserole is golden brown and puffed.
  6. Top with maple syrup or ketchup and serve.

Recipes

Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

My original plan for this recipe was to just throw it all in my Crock Pot and let it do its thing while I went to work, but time got away from me that morning and then I thought – “I bet I can do this in the Instant Pot”!

So I started Googling. I found lots of great recipes online, but some featured different cuts of pork, some had a lot of extra ingredients (that I didn’t have on hand), so I settled on creating my own mashup of the parts of a few recipes that I liked and it turned out great! What I like most about the Instant Pot version is the crusty bits that you can only get from searing the meat prior to cooking. I find that when I slow-cook this (even if I sear ahead of time), it ends up being a bit waterlogged and bland. This recipe has a great texture, gets nice and stringy and is full of great barbeque flavor.

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6 on slider buns

• 3lb Pork shoulder roast
• 2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
• 1-1/2 Cups water
• 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning Rub – you can use this, or a packaged version:
• 2 TBS dark brown sugar
• 1tsp red pepper flakes
• 1tsp garlic powder
• 2tsp onion powder

Browse through the slide show to see before, during and after!

How To:
Total time, about an hour.

  1. Turn on Instant Pot to Sauté Mode and allow to get ‘HOT’; add olive oil.
  2. Combine seasoning rub ingredients in a small bowl. Trim excess fat off pork shoulder and cut into 3 large/even chunks. Coat each piece with seasoning rub and place into Instant Pot.
  3. While pork is browning, combine 1 cup of your barbeque sauce with the water. Remove pork from Instant Pot and set aside on a plate when browned on all sides.
  4. Deglaze pot- pour BBQ sauce/water mixture into pot and scrape browned bits from the bottom. Add pork back to pot and cover with lid with vent on ‘sealing’.
  5. Set time to 40 minutes on high pressure (with keep warm off) and when done allow for a 10 minute natural release. Flip vent to remove any additional pressure before opening.
  6. Shred pork with 2 forks and add in remaining barbeque sauce. Serve on buns with pickles and coleslaw. Enjoy!
Recipes

Air Fryer Pork Loin

A quick and easy no-recipe recipe!
I used a little over a 1-pound pork loin that was pre-seasoned with black pepper and garlic. One thing I learned quickly was that pork loins shrink! So if you’re planning on feeding a larger family, I’d suggest putting two in the fryer (and add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time).

Another thing I learned is that this is the first pork loin I’ve made that didn’t dry out! I tend to overcook pork on purpose, and that tends to make it a lot less enjoyable, but this one was cooked through, moist and flavorful!

Before and After – the incredible shrinking pork loin!

Air Fryer Pork Loin
Serves 3-4
Start to finish: 25mins

• 1-1.5lb pork tenderloin (seasoned, or add your own seasonings)
• Cooking spray

1. Pre-heat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
2. Open fryer and spray with cooking spray. Place pork loin into the fryer.
3. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and take temperature (should be between 150-160) let rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Recipes

Easy Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Once your Instant Pot comes to pressure, you are only 3 minutes away from delicious Mac & Cheese!

What I love most about this quick and easy recipe is that you’re only dirtying one pot, and there’s plenty of flexibility to upgrade this Mac & Cheese with things like fancier cheeses (think gruyere), and add-ins at the end like chopped cooked bacon, or veggies (I topped this batch with Tyson’s Buffalo Chicken Strips)!

Ingredients
Serves 4 as a meal; 8 as a side dish
• 1lb uncooked elbow pasta (I used Barilla Pipette)
• 4 cups cold water
• 3 Tbs unsalted butter
• Pinch salt
• Pinch black pepper
• 3 Cups shredded cheese (I used half sharp cheddar and half cheddar monterey jack blend)
• 1/2 cup milk (whole or 1%)

How To:
1. Place water, salt and pasta into Instant Pot (mine is a 6qt). Stir. Close lid and set to high pressure for 3 minutes. Be sure valve is on “sealing”.
2. Once done, do a quick release and remove lid. Add butter and stir until melted. Add cheese, pepper and milk and stir until creamy.
3. Top with your favorite toppings, or nothing at all!

Recipes

Slow Cooker-Turned-Instant Pot Creamy Tortellini with Spinach & Mushrooms

When I stumbled upon this recipe from Betty Crocker, I couldn’t wait to try it. It seemed simple enough – slow cook the broth and veggies all day, then add the tortellini and cream cheese at the end. Well of course I was running late for work, and forgot to get my slow cooker together before I left the house!

I had a nice girls night planned, and really wanted to make something different, so I thought all day about how I could still make this recipe when I got home, and not have it take almost 8 hours. My solution: The Instant Pot!

I think I’m in favor of this version better, since you get a lot of extra flavor from sautéing the vegetables first – give it a try and let me know what you think!

d4040b77-d817-4e04-93f1-ec7e19f9e38ePhoto: Bettycrocker.com

I used the same ingredients in the same proportions as the original recipe, just changed the steps to make an 8-hour meal take just 45 minutes!

Instant Pot Creamy Tortellini with Spinach & Mushrooms
Serves 4-6 • Approx 45 minutes start to finish
Ingredients:
  • 1 package (8 oz) white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 package (20 oz) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

How To:

  • Turn on Instant Pot to SAUTE mode and add butter, allow to melt.
  • When the Instant Pot reads HOT, add mushrooms, onions, soy sauce, salt and pepper in cooker. Saute until vegetables are soft and lightly browned.
  • Pour vegetable broth over vegetable mixture and turn off SAUTE mode. Stir and scrape to pick up brown bits on the bottom of pot.
  • Add tortellini and cream cheese to pot. Stir and cover, and select SLOW COOK for 30 minutes.
  • Open Instant Pot when done and stir in fresh spinach. Let stand 5 minutes (sauce will thicken). Top with Parmesan cheese and basil.
Recipes

Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Looking to mix up your Taco Tuesdays? Try fajitas! My recipe is quick, easy, full of flavor – and best of all – the entire meal cooks on one sheet pan!

So far, I’ve only done this with chicken, but you can definitely use steak, turkey breast or even just stick with a ton of veggies. The key to even cooking is to be sure that your ingredients are cut all around the same size – that way you don’t end up with under-cooked meats with over-cooked vegetables. Another great tip is to use a large Ziplock back to mix up your ingredients – simply knead the bag of ingredients to get them evenly coated with your seasonings. Alternately, you can use a large bowl, but use your hands to mix for the best result!

This recipe easily serves a family of 4, but you can double it up for a crowd and simply use two sheet pans.

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Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Serves 4 • 30 Minute Cook Time

  • 1 to 1-1/2 lbs Chicken Breasts
  • 3 Bell Peppers (I used a combo of 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 orange)
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Steak Seasoning (optional, but delicious – I use McCormick Montreal Steak)
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Corn or Flour Tortillas

B014EA53-3567-406E-87CE-5B55B136D0B0 (Fajitas Before and After Baking)

How To:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F; spray a large sheet pan with nonstick spray.
  • Wash produce and pat dry chicken. Slice peppers and onions into strips and place into a large Ziplock bag (or large bowl).
  • Slice chicken breast into thin strips so that they’re about the same thickness as the peppers and onions and place into Ziplock bag (or large bowl).
  • Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and add to chicken and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and mix all ingredients well, so that they’re all coated with your seasoning.
  • Dump mixture on to your prepared sheet pan and bake about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are soft and starting to brown. At about the 5 minutes left mark, warm your tortillas in the oven on a piece of foil so that your whole meal comes out at once.
  • Topping Ideas (maybe the best part!): Shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos

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