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Tuesday
Feb142012

Dan's buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing

Have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is? Coincidentally, today is Valentine's Day, so it is the perfect time to proclaim that. He really is. There are so many things I love about Dan and there are so many things he does to ensure I remain a happy mother, wife and human being. I could insert my list here, but I'm afraid I would get a bit wordy. One of his many endearing qualities is his ability to make me (and our boys) laugh. He will howl like a wolf from the kitchen, sending the rest of us into fits of laughter. Or he will hold tickle sessions with Elijah and Sammy that produce deep belly laughs. One thing that always keeps me giggling is his selective perfectionism. Our bedroom can be a disaster and he won't blink an eye, but if our spice cupboard is disorganized? Watch out! I'm thankful for this quality because I do a lot of giggling about it, but also because I know which things I never have to worry about!

Creating a fantastic buffalo wing sauce is one of the things he has been a bit of a perfectionist about for the past 6 months. And thank goodness because WOW! This sauce is delicious, people. Whenever he makes a batch, we let not a single drop go to waste. 

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add:

2 jalapenos, finely diced (optional)

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons honey

1 3/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce

1/2 cup Cholula Hot Sauce

Mix well and increase the heat to medium. Do not allow the sauce to reach boiling temperature. Turn the heat back down to low and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rinse and pat dry 40 defrosted chicken wing drummies. In a large bowl, completely coat the drummies with 1 1/2 cups of flour.

In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the flour-coated drummies to the oil, 6 to 8 at a time, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until crispy.

Pour the prepared hot sauce into a large bowl and add the cooked wings in batches, tossing to coat.

Serve buffalo wings warm, with a side of celery and blue cheese dressing. Use store-bought dressing, or throw together this super easy AND SO INSANELY DELICIOUS recipe, also courtesy of my husband.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

2 1/4 cups mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Mix well. Stir in 8 oz. blue cheese crumbles. Chill until ready to serve. I promise you this is far tastier than anything you will buy in the store. I actually get weak in my knees when I eat this stuff.

Another of Dan's selective subjects? Salsa burgers! Coming soon!

Dan's Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

My husband knows how to make a good buffalo wing. And just so you're prepared, you'll want to eat the dressing with a spoon.

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 14, 2012

Serves: 40 chicken wing drummies and a big bowl o' dressing for dipping

Total time: 45 min

Dan's Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:

  • WINGS
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, finely diced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Cholula Hot Sauce
  • 40 chicken wing drummies, defrosted, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • DRESSING
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 oz. blue cheese crumbles
Instructions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat. Add jalapenos (if using), red pepper flakes (if using), honey and hot sauces. Mix well and increase heat to medium. Do not let the sauce reach boiling point. Turn the heat back down to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Coat the drummies completely with flour and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the flour-coated drummies to the oil, 6 to 8 at a time, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until crispy. Pour the prepared hot sauce into a large bowl and add cooked wings in batches, tossing to coat. Serve warm, with a side of blue cheese dressing.
  3. For the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in blue cheese crumbles and chill until ready to serve.

 

 

Monday
Feb132012

Triple-chocolate banana bread

Have you ever tried to wrestle a couple of really energetic, curious (and cute!) monkeys while attempting to accomplish a task? This is my life. I am constantly trying to get things done while also wrestling two monkeys. Which is great! It has made me an excellent multi-tasker and it certainly keeps me on my toes. Plus I have found that certain tasks aren't hindered much by them. I can clean and cook and wrestle monkeys with ease. But activities that require concentration and thought do not mix well with the monkeys.

So here is my equation from the past 10 days: Lots o' Monkey Time + Cleaning/Organizing + Cooking/Baking = A Really Clean Home + Lots of Food to Eat + Tons of Photos on Camera + Very Limited Time on Computer. In other words, I'M BEHIND! I still have Super Bowl goodies that I haven't gotten off my camera. I'm hoping to get to them all this week!

I made this bread a few weeks ago and shared the cute teeny lil' loaves with my sister and her family. The consensus: KIDS LOVE THIS BREAD! My boys adored it and my niece did, as well. I love the triple-chocolatey-ness involved and also the addition of the bananas. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray four 5 3/4x3-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, mash 3 ripe bananas with a fork. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine:

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

With a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add:

2 eggs

3 mashed bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated.

Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until well-combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 4 loaf pans. Or use 2 pans and do 2 batches.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine:

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Microwave on high for 1 minute, followed by 30-second bursts until melted. 

Add:

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Stir until combined. Drizzle the glaze over the breads.

Back to the monkeys! I hope you enjoy the bread! 

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Feb092012

Heart-shaped eggs and toast

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, people! I've never been a huge V-Day lover, or hater for that matter. Until I met my husband, that is. For the past six years I have loved the holiday because he does everything possible to make it special for me. My favorite thing about V-Day is the food he makes. Every year since we have been together, he has made some sort of scrumptious surf-n-turf dinner that makes us both swoon. I am super excited for V-Day Dinner 2012! 

This year, since I am no longer working full-time and I now have much more time on my hands, I had the idea of making a special V-Day breakfast for my boys. Something cute and yummy. So here is what I came up with. A plate filled with edible hearts!

Generously coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Get the skillet nice and hot over medium heat.

One at a time, separate the yolks from the whites of 4 eggs. Lightly beat each yolk with a fork.

Spray the inside edges of 2 heart-shaped cookie cutters (one small and one large). Place them onto the heated skillet. Pour an egg white into the center of the large heart and a beaten yolk into the center of the small heart. Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Use a spatula to transfer the cookie-cutter-encased eggs to a plate for cooling. Carefully remove the cookie cutters from the eggs (they will be hot!). Repeat this process with the remaining eggs.

Cut hearts into toasted bread with the cookie cutters and top with desired topping, such as some delicious apricot-raspberry jam!

As an alternate option, crack an entire egg into the large cookie cutter and allow it to cook in the same manner. It turns out just as cute, and you can cook the yolk to your liking. Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Feb082012

Snowy lemon balls

Don't miss out on entering to win my giveaway, if you haven't already!

I wish I had found this cookie recipe at Christmas-time because it would have rounded out my holiday cookie tray quite nicely. I saw these in Better Homes & Gardens magazine and knew I wanted to make them, holidays or no holidays. Lemon Drops candies inside of cookies sounded insanely fabulous. I hadn't had Lemon Drops in years! What a perfect excuse to pop a few into my mouth.

In a large bowl, combine:

2 cups finely crushed shortbread cookies (I used Keebler)

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Place 2 large handfuls of Lemon Drops candies in a large Ziploc bag and finely crush the candies using a rolling pin. Add 1/2 cup of the crushed candies to the cookie mixture and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine:

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Add the corn syrup mixture to the cookie mixture and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.

Place 1/3 cup of confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Roll the cookie balls in the sugar until well coated and place them on a large baking sheet.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Roll the balls in confectioners' sugar again before serving. If desired, garnish with finely crushed Lemon Drops candies.

To store, layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container and cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

I loved that the candies were incorporated into the cookies. That little bit of a crunch and lemony flavor were delightful!

Snowy Lemon Balls

The punch of lemon flavor with added hint of crunch makes these cookies SO darn good. (source: Better Homes & Gardens Magazine)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 8, 2012

Serves: 24

Total time: 2 hrs, 30 min

Fruit and Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups finely crushed shortbread cookies (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drop candies
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Finely crushed lemon drop candies
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed cookies, 1 cup of powdered sugar, almonds and crushed candies. In a small bowl, stir together corn syrup, milk and melted butter. Stir the corn syrup mixture into the cookie mixture until well combined.
  2. Shape cookie mixture into 1-inch balls. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll balls in the powdered sugar. Place balls on a large baking sheet.
  3. Cover and chill balls on baking sheet for at least 2 hours. Roll balls again in powdered sugar just before serving. If desired, garnish with finely crushed lemon candies. To store: Layer cookies between sheets of wax paper in airtight container and cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

 

 

Monday
Feb062012

Apricot-raspberry jam and a giveaway!

Giveaway time! It has been far too long since I have thanked you all for reading, so here we go. THANK YOU! I appreciate every eye that peruses my little blog, and one set of eyes will be randomly chosen to receive these cute silicone measuring bowls!

Full and half measurements are included in each bowl and the set includes 5 total bowls: 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 cup, 1 1/2 cups and 2 cups. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, and they make prep-work super easy. Aren't they fun?!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post saying anything at all! Tell me what color socks you are wearing or what song you have in your head today or what your favorite kind of jam is.

For extra entries (please leave separate comments for each entry):

- Friend me on Facebook.

- Post about this giveaway on Facebook.

- Subscribe to my RSS feed.

- Follow me on Twitter.

Giveaway closes February 14th at midnight.

 

I have a recipe to share today, as well! Thanks to the cooking challenge I just completed, I learned that making jam really isn't so scary. In fact, it's as easy as pie! Except, pie isn't easy. 

Since becoming a jam-making fanatic, we have jam all over our fridge. I'm not the only person in this house who loves having jars of jam bumping into the milk container and the butter and the celery and the blueberries. Every one of my family members eats my jam, and that is saying a lot. It is just about the only food that we all love. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do!

In a large saucepan, combine:

8 to 9 apricots, seeded and cut into small pieces

2 cups raspberries

2 cups sugar

Stir, smashing the raspberries with the back of your spoon. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Divide the jam between 3 pint-size jars. Close the jars and allow the jam to cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Thanks again for reading, everyone!

Apricot-Raspberry Jam

Apricots and raspberries are the PERFECT marriage for the most delicious jam!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 6, 2012

Serves: Three pint-size jars

Total time: hr, 30 min (plus cooling)

Apricot-Raspberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 9 apricots, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, combine apricots, raspberries and sugar. Stir, smashing the raspberries with the back of a spoon. Let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Divide the jam between three pint-size jars. Close jars and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.