Thursday, January 30

Buffalo Potato Wedges

Nothing goes better with burgers then fries. Steak fries, curly fries, waffle fries, doesn't matter regardless they are a match made in heaven. But sometimes you want a little more zip then a basic fry. Here is a great recipe to add a little zip to your fries and add a little something extra to burger night!

Full time 45-50 minutes
Serves 4-6

You will need:

4 medium to large Idaho potatoes, washed & dried
1/2 cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

For serving:
Blue Cheese Dressing

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 425'.

Cut potatoes into 8 wedges each. To do this cut potato in half, cut each half in half, and cut quarters in half (see photos below).

In a large mixing bowl place potatoes. 

Add in olive oil and toss to completely coat.

Line potatoes on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle evenly with salt.

Bake in oven 45-60 minutes or until a light golden color develops. Rotating baking sheet mid baking.
Carefully remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet 1-2 minutes.
Slide potatoes into large mixing bowl and add in buffalo sauce.

Toss to evenly coat potatoes in sauce.

Move to serving platter, place a small bowl of blues cheese dressing for dipping alongside wedges and cheers!

Thursday, January 23

Chipotle BBQ Pork Chops

Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. These pork chops are a great way to spice up a weeknight dinner. The combination of a lightly spiced breading really helps accentuate the tangy chipolte sauce. Serve along side rice for a great meal.

Full time 30 minutes
Serves 4-6

You will need:

6 boneless pork chops, medium cut 1/2"-3/4" thick
1 egg, beaten

For Sauce:

1 can chipolte chilies, chopped fine
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt (or salt)

For breading:

1 cup panko bread crumbs, lightly crushed
1/2 cup butter crackers, lightly crushed (Ritz)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 400'.

In a high sided bowl mix all breading ingredients together. Make sure you work it really well with a fork. You want to create a evenly moist mixture.

Place egg in a high sided bowl and dip pork chop into it. Then place pork chop into breading mixture.

Make sure to flip over at least once to fully coat.

Place chop onto a non-stick baking sheet and continue until all chops are coated.

Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.

While these cook, mix all sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan.

Bring mixture to a gently boil over medium-high heat whisking continuously.

Once mixture comes to a gently boil, lower heat to medium-low and allow to cook while chops finish. Stir occasionally.

Remove chops from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.

Turn heat off from sauce, stir well and pour over chops.

Move to serving plate and cheers!

Tuesday, January 21

Birthday Cake Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Looking for a little something to make on a special someone's big day? Here is a great one. Light and fluffy pancakes that look and taste like birthday cake. Top with maple syrup and you can start any birthday off just right!

Prep time 20 minutes Cooking time 10-20 minutes based on cooking surface.
Makes roughly 10 pancakes

You will need:

2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup golden butter yellow cake mix
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup colored sprinkles
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Let us begin:

In a measuring cup place white vinegar and fill milk to the 1 1/2 cup line and let sit 3-4 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisking well until the mixture is powdery.

Add the vanilla and eggs into the measuring cup and whisk well.

Add milk mixture along with melted butter and remaining milk into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.

Whisk together until well blended and smooth.

Whisk in colored sprinkles.

Let mixture rest for 10-15 minutes before cooking.

Making sure your cooking surface is well heated, pour 1/3" cup mixture onto surface and sprinkle across 1 tbsp chocolate chips.

Allow to cook for 5-8 minutes or until edges begin to golden. Flip over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes or until center is set and even color is reached.

Serve with warm maple syrup and Cheers!

Sunday, January 19

Hot Chocolate Mocha Eggnog

Here is a quick and easy one. Tastes like it is from a fancy coffee house but, costs 1/4 of the price and the best part is you get to make it in your pajamas. If your lucky to have a Mr. Coffee Coco-motion like I do or one of those fancy Nostalgic Hot Coco machines, this happens in almost no time.

Full time 12 minutes (with machine) 20 minutes (in pot)
Serves 4

You will need:

3 cups milk
2 cups eggnog
3 tbsp powdered chocolate milk mix
2 tbsp decaffeinated instant coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Let us begin:

By hand combine all your ingredients in a small sauce pot. In a machine combine all your ingredients in it.

By hand place pot over medium heat and stir continuously to prevent scorching for 8-10 minutes or until small bubbles begin to form on surface.

By Machine, just turn it on and walk away. Letting it work it's magic. 

Once machine has turned off or bubbles begin to form on surface, you are all set.

Serve and cheers!

Wednesday, January 15

Chipotle Restaurant Inspired Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro lime rice is one of the staple ingredients of Chipotle's menu. The savory hint of cilantro and the refreshing citrus of the lime really round out any meal. I like serving this with slightly spicier dishes to help create a nice balance. You can even use this as a filling to your burritos just like Chipotle does.

Full time 10-15 minutes (not including rice cooking time)
Serves 4-6

You will need:

3 cups cooked white rice, drained well
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lime juice or the juice of 1-2 limes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Let us begin:

In a preheat pot place drained white rice. And add in salt and ground black pepper.

Stir well to combine and allow the rice to cook 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring once or twice.

Add in lime juice and cilantro.

Allow half of the lime juice to cook off over the medium heat, approximately 3-4 minutes. Stirring often to prevent sticking.

Serve and cheers!

Saturday, January 11

Japanese Style Chocolate Cornets

Asian bakeries are a place to get some of the best pastries and goodies. One of my favorite bakery treats is the chocolate cornet. It is a rich chocolate custard filled pastry with a flaky and light exterior. The cornet is perfect for any evening dessert, it is a great brunch time sweet, or a little self-indulgent treat. On a quick side note I use puff pastry to make these, if you want 100% authentic Japanese cornets you will need to make Japanese sweet dough for the outside. 

Full time 1 1/2 - 2 hours (based on cooling time for pastry)
Makes 8 cornets

You will need:

1 sheet puff pastry, or homemade puff pastry dough 
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp milk
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/3 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp baking coco powder
2 1/4 tsp butter, at room temp

For baking:
1 tbsp butter, melted

For topping:
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Let us begin:

In a medium to large bowl create an ice bath by placing 8-12 ice cubes and 2 cups of cold water. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pot heat milk to gentle simmer over medium low heat, stirring to prevent scorching. Approximately 5-8 minutes.

Turn off heat and set pot off burner.

In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar.

Add in 1 1/2 tbsp of milk.

Sift together flour, baking coco, and corn starch-adding it to mixture. Whisk vigorously to incorporate.

Add in remaining milk.

Pass mixture through a strainer pouring it into a new pot. (do not use previously heated pot)

Put pot onto burner and turn heat to medium high. Continue to whisk vigorously until the custard is formed, this takes 4-8 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Add in butter and chocolate chips. Whisk until chocolate is melted and fully incorporated.

Move mixture to a small bowl.

Place this bowl into your ice bath bowl.

Cover custard, not bowl, with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming while this cools.

While this cools preheat your to 400' line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Lay out your puff pastry sheet and slice it into 8 1" thick slices, width wise.

Lightly butter the outside of your cornet cones to prevent sticking.

Starting at the point of the cone, wrap pastry around cone gently, making sure to overlap at minimum 1/3 of previous layer.

Gently pinch end of pastry to ensure cone does not unwrap.

Lay onto baking sheet.

Continue until all cones are formed and ready to go.

Brush lovingly with melted butter.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a golden color has developed.

Remove from oven and let cool 1-2 minutes.

Carefully remove cone molds and allow pastry to completely cool on a board.

Once cool, you can now assemble the cornet.

Place custard into a pastry bag (or plastic bag with corner snipped off).

Pipe custard into the center of pastry, being careful not to force to much in and breaking the pastry. But try not to skimp either.

Set cornets onto a serving platter.

Dust over top with powdered sugar, serve and cheers!