Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ricotta, Spinach, and Mushroom filled Crepe

Before meeting my husband's family, I would never have thought to use crepes for dinner. The crepes my mother made were always topped with maple syrup.  That's the Canadian way.


My mother-in-law, who is Argentinian from Italian descent, had different ideas.  She would fill crepes with cream of corn, top it with pasta sauce and cheese.  My sister-in-law, also Argentinian, would fill them with ricotta like manicotti.

The crepes bring the whole dish to a new level.  The slightly sweet flavor of the crepes taste so much better than pasta and they are much easier to fill than manicotti tubes.

You can make this with just ricotta, spinach and herbs, but I like to add onions and mushrooms.  I saute them in some butter until they are brown before adding them to the ricotta mix.

 

















I also used fresh herbs in this recipe since I have had some success this summer with my little herb garden on my deck.  But feel free to use dry herbs.  Just remember 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 tsp dry herbs.

(the grated parmesan, butter, salt and pepper are missing from the picture. oops.)
 Now this recipe may take a lot of time, but it is worth it.  You can make the crepes ahead of time and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.  I made mine the night before.   You can also skip the cheesy white sauce, but I wouldn't.  I think it compliments it well.

Ricotta, Spinach, and Mushroom Filled Crepe

by The Sweet Chick
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Keywords: bake entree crepes ricotta spinach mushroom
Ingredients (9 filled crepes)
    For the crepes
    • 1 1/4 cups milk
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    For the filling
    • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms ( I used Baby Bella)
    • 1 cup chopped onions
    • 1 teaspoon butter/margarine
    • 3 cups frozen spinach
    • 1 container (8 oz.) ricotta cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, Italian blend, or Swiss)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    For the red sauce
    • 1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce (I used Classico marina sauce)
    For the cheesy white sauce
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons butter/margarine
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozarella, Italian blend, or Swiss)
    Instructions
    For the crepes
    In a blender or with hand mixer, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
    Heat a medium sized nonstick skillet with flared sides over medium-high heat.
    Remove from heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet; lift and tilt the skillet to spread batter evenly across bottom of skillet. Don't worry if it is not a perfect circle. They will taste just the same.
    Return to heat. Cook about 1 minute or until light brown.
    Flip crepe with a spatula and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.
    Cool crepe on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.
    For the filling
    Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high and add butter.
    Once butter is melted, add onions and mushrooms. Saute until onions are a light golden brown and mushrooms are soft. Set aside.
    In a microwaveable container, place the frozen spinach and place in microwave for 2-3 minutes until fully defrosted. Let is cool off.
    Once it is cooled off, using a paper towel or a colander, squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach.
    In a medium sized bowl put in the ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, and shredded cheese. Mix well. Then add the onions, mushroom, and spinach and mix again.
    Next add the basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix until everything is well blended.
    Take a crepe and fill the middle with about 3 tablespoons of the filling. Roll up the crepe like a tube and place in a 9 x 13 glass Pyrex dish. Repeat with the remaining crepes.
    For the red sauce
    Set oven for 350º F.
    Once all filled crepes are in the dish, pour the entire jar of pasta sauce over the crepes. With the back of a large spoon, spread the sauce evenly over all the crepes. Place uncovered dish in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble.
    For the cheesy white sauce
    While the crepes are baking, in a small saucepan, combine milk and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add butter/margarine, salt and pepper.
    Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 1 minute stirring constantly.
    Slowly add shredded cheese and whisk until all cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
    Then remove from heat, cover and set aside.
    Once crepes are done baking, serve on a plate and pour a little (or a lot) white sauce over the crepes.
    You can add some fresh crushed black pepper or grated parmesan on top. Voila, done. Enjoy!
    Note
    If you want to use dried herbs, just remember 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs.
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    Update : This recipe was featured on Yummly

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

    Triple Chocolate Mocha Cappuccino Cookies

    I am in love with the new Jif Mocha Cappuccino flavored Hazelnut spread.  Last week I made these treats.  This weekend I decided to use it to make some cookies.  The triple chocolate comes from the mini chocolate chips, the white chocolate chips, and the cocoa I added.

    They came out perfect, slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  The white chocolate chips added a creamy taste to the mocha like the froth on a cappuccino.

    Now that my jar of Jiff Mocha Cappuccino flavored Hazelnut Spread is empty, I am going to have to go back to Target to buy some more.  There are plenty more treats to make.

    (I forgot to add Quaker Quick Oats to this picture)
    If you can't find the spread at the store you can by it on Amazon.com (Jif Mocha Cappuccino Flavored Hazelnu Spread), but it is a little more expensive.


    Triple Chocolate Mocha Cappuccino Cookies

    by The Sweet Chick
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 8 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert snack mocha cappuccino spread white chocolate chips chocolate chips cookie
    Ingredients (36 cookies)
    • 1 cup Jiff Mocha Cappuccino flavored Hazelnut Spread
    • 1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
    • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup Quaker quick oats
    • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350º F.
    In a large bowl or stand mixer combine the Mocha Cappuccino spread, shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric or stand mixer until well blended. Then add egg and blend again.
    In a separate bowl blend together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix on low speed.
    Slowly add the oats and chocolate chips until all is well blended.
    Using a medium cookie scoop, drop the balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
    Bake for 8 minutes. Then let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing and placing on cooling rack.
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    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Sweet Treat Bouquet


    I had put this basket together for the 4th of July picnic I attended this year.  I wanted something fun and different.  It ended up being very popular and was all eaten by kids as well as adults.  The project was a little time consuming, but I didn't do it all in one day.

     
    The stars are Rice Krispie treats cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with candy coating and sprinkles like I did here.  I made them a few days ahead of time. They keep well in the fridge.


     I also found star shaped marshmallows that worked well with this project.  But I could have just as well used regular or mini marshmallows or colored mini marshmallows.


    The round and cone shaped pops at the bottom are made with Oreo/cream cheese mixture dipped in candy coating and decorated with sprinkles like I made here, here, and here.  They also keep well in the fridge once made.  I used My Little Cupcake molds to get the shapes.


    On the day of the party I put together the bouquet.  I used wooden skewers (like you use for shish kabos) for the Rice Krispie treat stars and added blueberries and star marshmallows to keep it together.  The Oreo pops I had already put on popsicle sticks before I dipped them in candy coating.  My plan had been to put them all on the wooden skewers, but soon learned that the Oreo pops just fall right off the skewers.  Lesson learned. I put a piece of styrofoam at the bottom of my basket to poke all the skewers and lollipop sticks into and just covered it with tissue paper.

    This project is easily adaptable to any party.  With a change of color accents or a change of shape in Rice Krispie treats the possibilities are endless.  Even if you don't want to make the Orea pops, you can replace them with candy coated fruit like strawberries or melon balls on sticks.

    I think I may have to make one for a Halloween party.  Picture this, pumpkin oreo pops with Rice Krispie treats shaped like skulls or monster faces.  I can use the cone shapes to make witches hats.  See what I mean, the possibilities are endless.

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Mocha Cappuccino Bars

    I am so happy my comments box has reappeared on this blog.  It mysteriously left me and I couldn't figure out how to get it back.  It finally found it's way home.  I missed talking to people and making new friends.

     Has everyone seen the new spread by Jiff?  Oooo.Mmmm.Ggggg.  It's a Mocha Cappuccino flavored  hazelnut spread.  It is sinfully good.  For those who love Nutella, this is the next step closer to heaven.  The first thing I did was scoop up a spoonful and eat it.  Then the creative juices started flowing.

    Here is my assistant.  She already had her spatula in hand before I even turned on the stove and got out my pot.  When she is not baking in her Easy Bake Oven, she helps me out in the kitchen.  Perhaps I can inspire her to become a chef, then she came bake and cook for me.  

    Here is what melted marshmallows look like when enveloped by the Mocha Cappuccino spread.

    Then add the Rice Krispies and you get Mocha Cappuccino with a crunch.  But it's not done yet.

    What is a Mochachino without some caramel.  After two attempts at making homemade salted caramel, all I ended up with were two very sticky pots and a blister on my finger from a piece of hot sugar.  So I had to go another route.  I bought some caramel topping, added some salt and candy melt (to harden) and sprinkled it all with mini chocolate chip cookies. Perfection. It's a  Mochachino you can sink your teeth into.

     
    Even my husband who is not a big fan of coffee flavored treats couldn't keep his hands off them.





    Mocha Cappuccino Bars

    by The Sweet Chick
    Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Keywords: no bake dessert rice krispies mocha cappuccino spread salted caramel chocolate chips rice krispie treats bars
    Ingredients (24 square bars)
      For the bars
      • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
      • 1 package (10 oz.) regular marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
      • 1/2 cup Jiff Mocha Cappuccino flavored hazelnut spread
      • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
      For the toppings
      • 1/2 cup caramel topping
      • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
      • 1/4 cup melted vanilla flavored candy coating
      • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
      Instructions
      For the bars
      In a large sauce pan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat. Stir until completely melted.
      Remove from heat. Add the Mocha Cappuccino spread and stir until all incorporated.
      Then add the Rice Krispies cereal and stir until all coated.
      Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan or a cookie sheet and spread it evenly with a piece of waxed paper.
      Place in fridge to cool.
      In the meantime, melt candy coating per directions on package and set aside.
      In a small bowl, pour the caramel and add the salt. Then mix in the candy coating and stir well.
      Pour mixture in a piping bag with tip ( I used a Wilton #4 tip) or Ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. Drizzle the melted chocolate in diagonal pattern across the cooled off bars and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
      Place the treats back in the fridge to set.
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      Wednesday, July 18, 2012

      Mom's Apple Cake


      Growing up, my mom stayed home and raised four kids while my father worked two jobs to support us.  My mom made sure we had a home cooked meal everynight and always made a dessert to eat after dinner.  Sometimes it came from a mix and other times it was made from scratch.



      This apple cake is from her batch of recipes - her bits and pieces of yellowed paper with handwritten recipes that have been folded and unfolded many times over the years.  Some papers even have fingerprints of food, others have splatters of oil.  My mom never had a need for a fancy cookbook.  She had recipes passed down to her by family members or passed along to her by friends.

       
      I think she had the right idea.  All her desserts were delicious and were made with ingredients you could find in any pantry.  I am pretty sure I got my sweet tooth from her.  I don't know from whom this recipe originated, but mom has been making it for as long as I can remember.

      The ingredients for this cake were very basic.  I just used the apples I had in the fridge.  They were a mix of two different kinds.  I don't think it really matters what kind of apples you use.


      The original recipe is for one regular bundt pan cake, but my mom had given me this cute mini bundt cake pan, so I made twelve mini cakes. You can find similar pans on Amazon.com.  I have also used this recipe to make cupcakes before (see here).  The cakes are very moist and very heavy in weight , but they just fall apart in your mouth.  You can't eat just one bite.  The glaze is not overpowering.  It's just to add a little decoration.  You don't want to put too much.

      Just look at those chunks of apple..oh and the specks of cinnamon....mouthwatering!  I have to go get myself another piece now after looking at all these pictures.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



      Mom's Apple Cake

      by The Sweet Chick

      Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

      Cook Time: 20 minutes

      Keywords: bake dessert cinnamon apple cake

      Ingredients (12 mini bundt cakes)

        For the cakes
        • 2 cups all purpose flour
        • 2 cups sugar
        • 4 teaspoons baking powder
        • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
        • 1 cup vegetable oil
        • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
        • 4 eggs
        • 4 cups chopped apples (about 3-4 big apples)
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        For the glaze
        • 1 cup powdered sugar
        • 2 tablespoons milk
        • 1 teaspoon Crisco vegetable shortening

        Instructions

        For the cakes

        Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour your pan. I use Baker's Joy spray.

        In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.

        Then add the oil, vanilla, eggs and salt. Mix until smooth, then add apples and stir until all incorporated.

        Bake for 20 minutes. (For cupcakes, bake 15-20 minutes. For one large bundt cake, bake for 1 hour)

        Simply flip over the pan to remove the cakes and place on a rack to cool.

        For the glaze

        In a small bowl mix together powdered sugar, milk and Crisco. Whisk until it becomes a liquid.

        Using a large spoon, slowly pour the glaze around the tops of the cakes and let drizzle down the sides. Use immediately before glaze sets.

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        Monday, July 16, 2012

        Mini Chocolate Oreo Donuts

        In honor of Oreos turning 100 this year, I concocted these beauties as my contribution to the festivities.  Dunkin Donuts may have put crushed Oreos on top of their donuts, but I put crushed Oreos inside as well.

        I made these in my Babycakes donut maker, but you can also make them in the mini donut pans in the oven.
        They came out so moist and flavorful.  I think mine are better than Dunkin Donuts and they are baked, so that means healthier.  Well, wishful thinking anyway.


        Mini Chocolate Oreo Donuts

        by The Sweet Chick
        Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
        Cook Time: 4-5 minutes per batch
        Keywords: bake dessert oreos chocolate donuts
        Ingredients (about 30 mini donuts)
          For the donuts
          • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
          • 1/2 cup cocoa
          • 1/2 cup sugar
          • 1 tablespoon baking powder
          • 1 cup crushed Oreo cookies
          • 1 egg
          • 1 cup buttermilk
          • 1/2 cup milk
          • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
          • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
          For the glaze
          • 1 cup powdered sugar
          • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
          • 4 tablespoons milk
          For the toppings
          • 1/2 cup crushed Oreo cookies
          • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
          Instructions
          For the donuts
          Using a food processor, crush the Oreo cookies until you yield 1 cup of mixture.
          In a medium bowl mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and crushed Oreo cookies.
          Next add the egg, buttermilk, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, blend until mixture is smooth.
          Fill a piping bag or a Ziplock bag (with tip cut off), with the batter and fill each donut reservoir of your donut maker with about 2 tbsp of batter.
          Bake for about 4-5 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of donut comes out clean.
          Place hot donuts on cooling rack with a wax paper underneath and prepare the glaze.
          For the glaze
          In a small bowl mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. You want the consistency to be runny, not thick.
          Dip each donut in the mixture and flip it around by hand or with a fork until the whole donut is covered. Then place back on the cooling rack until the glaze is dry.
          For the toppings
          While glaze is still tacky, sprinkle donuts with crushed Oreos and top with powdered sugar.
          Note:
          If you are using a mini donut pan, bake your donuts in the oven at 425ºF for 4-6 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of donut comes out clean.
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