Saturday, August 29

MAKE IT: Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is one of the easiest things to make at home, combining a few ingredients with some herbs brings this dressing to life. Once you have the basic recipe down it is easy to modify for a more bold or mild flavor.

Full time 2 hours (hands on time five minutes)
Makes 2 cups

The needs-

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper* optional

The know-

In a blender combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Blend 30 seconds just to combine.

Add in all herbs and spices. Blend 30 seconds just to combine.

Add in buttermilk and blend until even in texture and appearance.

Place in refrigerator for 1 1/2-2 hours to let flavor fully develop. Cheers!

BBQ Burger Patties

(photo prior to cooking)
Looking for a great twist on a family favortie? How about turning a burger into a flavor filled BBQ explosion! 

Full time 30 minutes (does not include cook time)
Makes 6 burger patties

The needs-

1 1/2 lb. 85/15 ground beef
1 egg
2 slices bread (any type)
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp BBQ rub seasoning (store bought or homemade)

The know-

Tear up bread into tiny pieces and mix with BBQ seasoning.

Add in BBQ sauce and milk, work between fingers to absorb the liquid into the bread.

Add in egg.

Add in chop meat and mix only to incorporate, do not over work.

Shape into 6 even size patties and lay out on a plate. Place in refrigerator to set for 20 minutes.

Cook as desired! Cheers.

Thursday, August 27

Peanut Butter Cup Banana Muffins

Anytime I can work the flavor of a peanut butter cup into a meal I become a culinary hero in my house. Here is one of the household morning favorites, all the flavor and heartiness of a banana muffin with a bit of added pizazz!

Full time 1 hour (includes cooling time)
Makes 12 jumbo muffins

The needs-

3-4 bananas, the riper the better
2 eggs
10 oz Reese peanut butter cup minis, refrigerated not frozen.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

The know-

Preheat oven to 350' and line 12 jumbo muffin cups with liner.

In a large mixing bowl mash bananas.

Add in eggs, brown sugar, and oil.

Add in yogurt.

Add in baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt.

Add in all but 2 tbsp of flour.

Pour remaining flour into a zip bag with peanut butter cups or just use the bag they are in. Shake well to fully coat the cold cups. This will prevent them from sinking during baking.

Fold into batter.

Divide evenly into the muffin cups.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until center tests done.

Allow to cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 25

HOW TO: Soda Cupcakes/Cakes

Using soda to make cakes is no new invention. Over the years it has seen a few resurgences. You can use diet soda to make calorie saving recipes, you can use soda to make lighter angel food cakes, you can use soda to make a great sponge. I personally like to use soda to make flavorful combinations not traditionally seen in cupcakes. It is also a great way to make egg free cakes.

Using soda in cupcakes/cakes is really easy. You need two ingredients cake mix and a can of soda (or equivalent if pouring out of a bottle). Here is a great chart of flavor combinations:

Root beer Float (in photos) = Milk Chocolate Cake Mix + Root beer
Orangesicle =White Cake Mix + Orange Soda
Groovy Grape = White Cake Mix + Grape Soda
Chocolate Covered Oranges = Milk Chocolate Cake Mix + Orange Soda
Chocolate Covered Cherries = Milk Chocolate Cake Mix + Cherry Cola Soda
Ginger Spice = Spice Cake Mix + Ginger Ale

As you see the combinations are pretty endless. To make the cupcakes/cake your really going to just do three steps:

Step One- Mix cake mix and soda together, whisking until no lumps are visible.

Step Two-Preheat oven and bake cupcakes or cake according to directions for baking on cake mix box. If you are using homemade cake mix then bake 350' for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. For two 8" or 9" round cakes bake 25-35 minutes.

Step Three- remove from oven once fully baked and let cool on wire rack 20 minutes before frosting.

There you have now officially make a soda based cake. Cheers!

Sunday, August 23

MUG IT: Breakfast Blueberry Muffin

Quick and easy this tasty muffin is a great way to get your morning started.

The needs-

1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp blueberries (roughly 10)
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/16 tsp baking soda

The know-

In a mug mix all ingredients except blueberries.

Spread blueberries across surface.

Microwave 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Test to ensure center is cooked.


Friday, August 21

MAKE IT: BBQ Potato Crisps (chips)

Who does not love potato chips, crispy and salty, potato chips make the perfect side to almost any sandwich. Here is a great seasoned crisp for you to enjoy!

Makes 4 servings chips
Full time 1 1/2 hour

The needs-

4 large white potatoes, sliced extremely thin (use mandolin of possible)
Cooking spray
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar

The know-

In a large bowl place potato slices and cover with cool water. Let sit for 30 minutes to remove excess starch.

Drain and lay out on a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat oven to 400'.

Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess water.

In a small bowl combine all spices and sugar.

Lightly spray potatoes with cooking spray and dust with BBQ seasoning.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleaning later.

Lay out potatoes in a single layer season side down and spray lightly with cooking spray. 

Dust with BBQ seasoning.

Bake in oven for 10 minutes and then remove any slices that have become to brown. Flip remaining potatoes over.

Bake in oven for another 10 minutes and repeat process above.

Bake for 5, Remove any potatoes that appear completely crisped placing on a dry kitchen towel. Return to oven and continue check every 5 minutes, removing chips as they finish. It usually takes three passes to get them all cooked.

Allow to cool on towel and dust lightly with salt again if desired.


Tuesday, August 18

Rosemary Limeade Chicken

This recipe was created one night when dinner went from two people to four and I did not have time to really plan anything. I basically looked in my refrigerator, grabbed everything that went well together and out came a wonderfully flavored chicken I just had to share with you. 

Full time 1 1/2 hours
Serves 3-4

The needs-

5 bone-in chicken thighs (Skin on preferable)
1 large onion
1 large sprig rosemary
1/2 cup limeade
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp mined garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

The know-

Preheat oven to 425'.

In a saute pan heat oil over medium-high heat and add in garlic and onions. Cook 5-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Add in white wine and cook 5 minutes or until it has reduced by half cooking off all the alcohol.

Add in limeade and bring to a boil.

Once boiling remove 2-3 tbsp and place into a large oven proof saute pan. Allow remaining to boil for 10-15 minutes or until reduced by half.

Heat the large saute pan containing the 2-3 tbsp of limeade mixture over high heat and place in chicken.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Saute 4 minutes to brown skin.

Flip and saute and additional 4 minutes.

Add in half the rosemary and flip chicken back over, this will move the rosemary to the bottom.

Add in remaining rosemary and lower heat to medium and cover. Cook covered until sauce is done reducing.

Remove cover and add reduced limeade mixture into the pan.

Move pan into the oven and cook 45 minutes or until chicken has cooked through.


Sunday, August 16

MAKE IT: Red Pepper Hummus

Although not a traditional hummus, as it has no tahini paste. My red pepper hummus tastes just as good as store bought, is made and ready to serve in under 15 minutes, and can be stored for a week.

Makes approximately 2 cups
Full time 15 minutes

The needs-
15 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

For serving:
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

The know-

Start by opening the can of garbanzo beans and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid that comes out. Then drain the remaining fluid, normally you would want to rinse the beans, but we want the starchiness so dump them straight from can into your food processor.

Add in sesame oil and half the salt. Puree until nice and smooth.

Add in all remaining ingredients except olive oil.

Add in the olive oil and puree until smooth, taste for salt and add in additional salt if needed.

Move to serving bowl.

Drizzle surface with olive oil.

Top with crushed red pepper flakes, serve with pita or crackers or vegetables. Cheers!