Shrimp Tartlets

Shrimp Tartlets

Every once in a while, my husband and I have an appetizer night, where rather than eating a traditional dinner, we just stuff ourselves full of appetizers.   Whenever there are appetizers present, I end up filling up on them anyway, so why not make that the intention?  We’ve had countless dips (a favorite being baked artichoke dip), finger foods, cheeses, and fondue.  Appetizer night is always a treat, as is fast food night, where we make our own knock-off versions of favorite fast food meals (think quesadillas, snack wraps, etc).  It’s almost always enjoyed on the couch while watching a movie!  If you don’t have evenings like this, you should consider starting to – it’s the perfect way to spend a date-night-in!

shrimptartlet2

I love recipes like the one for these amazing shrimp tartlets because they are so versatile.  You could use the filling as a dip, use wonton wrappers or phyllo dough instead of bread, and mix up the ingredients as you choose.   I also love it because it is absolutely delicious!  The subtle shrimp flavor, green onions, cream cheese, and Worchestershire sauce are a perfect combination that will leave your mouth begging for more!   The crisp crust and creamy filling pair so perfectly together!  After I made shrimp tartlets for the first time, I fell in love and they made another appearance in my kitchen just a week later.  Even my nieces who claim to not like shrimp enjoyed these.  They had a lot of fun helping make them too, especially flattening the bread slices! :)

Shrimp Tartlets

Don’t know what to do with the left over bread crusts?  Don’t throw them away!  Toss them in the oven and toast over low heat to turn them into bread crumbs (or croutons), use it for bread pudding or baked french toast, or put them on the lawn for the local fauna.

shrimptartlet

Shrimp Tartlets

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 8 tartlets

Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/3 cup finely diced/shreddd cooked shrimp
  • 8 whole cooked large shrimp for garnish
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp finely diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 8 pieces of white bread
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Cut the crusts off of each bread slice. Use a rolling pin to flatten the bread; you want them as smushed as they can be. They will feel very thin and dense, almost doughy.
  3. Using a pastry brush, gently coat each side of the bread with olive oil. Fit each slice into the well of an ungreased muffin tin.
  4. Place them in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the tops begin to brown.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. When the crusts are ready, remove them from the oven and reduce heat to 300. Let them cool for a couple minutes.
  7. Distribute the filling evenly into the crusts and top each with a whole cooked large shrimp. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Notes

Add whatever you'd like! Other optional mix-ins: mozzarella cheese, crushed bacon, dijon mustard, paprika, hot sauce/red pepper flakes, mayonaisse. You could cut the bread slices into a circle first if you prefer. I left it them as a square because I like how the overhanging corners look.

http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/21/shrimp-tartlets/

 

Leprechaun Bark

Leprechaun BarkHolidays are a great excuse to eat chocolate…not that anyone really needs an excuse to eat chocolate.  I saw this lucky leprechaun bark and knew I had to make some for St Paddy’s Day.  I actually don’t celebrate St Patrick’s Day at all, but I thought it would be cute, not to mention super tasty!Leprechaun Bark

I love mint and chocolate together, so I used Andes baking chips (+ a little dark chocolate) for the bottom layer.  I added a handful of white candy melts to just less than a full bag of green candy melts to lighten up the color for the top layer of my leprechaun bark.  You can use a microwave, double boiler, or whatever method you choose to melt the chocolate and candy melts.  I microwaved them at 60% power for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirred well, and continued microwaving/stirring at 15-25 second intervals until they were completely melted.  You could add mint flavoring to the candy melts if you’d like, but I thought there was a perfect amount of mint flavor from the Andes chips.
Leprechaun Bark

Leprechaun Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 10 oz bag Andes baking chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vegeatble oil
  • 2 cups green candy melts
  • 1/2 cup white candy melts
  • green m&ms, sprinkles, or anything you'd like to decorate with

Instructions

  1. Melt the Andes chips and chocolate chips together with 1 tsp vegetable oil using the method of your choice. Let it cool for a few minutes, until it is just about room temperature.
  2. Spread over layer of wax paper as thick or thin as you'd like and let sit until completely hardened. You may place it in the refrigerator to speed up this process.
  3. Melt the green and white candy melts according to package directions. Again, let it cool for a couple minutes before spreading.
  4. Spread over the hardened chocolate. Use a spatula to spread/smooth it out.
  5. Sprinkle m&ms and sprinkles over the top and let it harden.
  6. Break or cut into bite-sized pieces.

Notes

If the bottom layer is cool (ie has been refrigerated), the top layer will set fast when you add it, so work quickly to get all your decorations on (or let it come to room temperature before spreading).

http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/18/leprechaun-bark/

Leprechaun Bark

Pistachio Loaf

Pistachio LoafIt all started with a visit to my parents house.  I noticed a green cake on the counter… intriguing.  I had to try it; it was SO good that I continued to try it until I had eaten three pieces in the five minutes I had been there.  My mom offered to write down the recipe for me, but I kindly declined.  I can’t make something like this and keep it at home…I have NO self control.  Well, I  regretted that decision almost immediately and that delicious, pale green, cake-like loaf has been haunting my taste buds ever since!Pistachio Loaf
St Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to make this wonderfully addicting treat and just as you may have guessed I would, I gave in and had my mom copy down the recipe for me last week.

Pistachio Loaf

The recipe is from a local newspaper (my mom couldn’t remember which), so I’m not sure where it came from originally.  It was actually titled pistachio bread, but it is very cake-like so I prefer to call it pistachio loaf.  You could (and maybe should) use chopped pistachios, but I used chopped walnuts because that’s what I had in my pantry.  I dusted these loaves with powdered sugar, but a simple vanilla glaze would be magnificent as well.Pistachio Loaf

I can’t tell you how much I love this, but I can try.  This recipe gets bonus points because my picky eater husband liked it too!  The delicate, moist center of this pistachio loaf is complimented perfectly by a sweet and slightly crisp crust.  It is soft and springy, sweet and has the perfect pistachio flavor.  I added two drops of green food coloring to enhance the green color and make it a bit more festive, but it is still a pale green without it.  It is SO delicious!

Pistachio Loaf

Pistachio Loaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 8x4 loaves, 1 9x5 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. box pistachio pudding
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease/butter and flour two 8x4 loaf pans or one 9x5 loaf pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients until well-blended.
  3. Pour into pans.
  4. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/17/pistachio-loaf/

Pistachio Loaf

 

Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

 Funfetti Cake Batter PancakesWhen it comes to breakfast, I don’t mess around.  No cheap granola bars or sugar-coated cereal here…okay, maybe sometimes, but I try to be both creative and healthy on  the regular!Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

You know what they say: breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  On my days off of work, I even wake up and make my husband breakfast…aren’t I just the sweetest?!  No, I just know how important it is to eat right (especially at breakfast) and if I didn’t give him a push in that direction, he’d happily eat Honeycomb or Cap’n Crunch every morning.Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

I actually had to start slowly and work my way toward being able to eat much in the morning.  I used to get a stomach ache if I had more than a piece of fruit in the first hour that I was awake, but I’m now able to eat breakfast foods full of protein and fiber without feeling sick at all!  These pancakes may not be full of protein or fiber, but they sure are delicious!Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

Can you ever really go wrong with funfetti or cake mix? Nope.  Put them together and what do we get?  Well, look at those sprinkles.Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

Delicious.  And sprinkles don’t lie.Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes

These pancakes are so much fun!  They’d be perfect for a birthday breakfast or brunch!  I encourage you to try them; you could even add cake mix (and sprinkles!) to premade/store-bought pancake mix.  I’ve said before that sprinkles make everything better and these pancakes are here to testify to that!

Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes with Buttercream Icing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8-10 Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cake mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp sprinkles
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cake mix, sugar, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.
  3. In a separate large bowl, lightly beat the egg, then whisk in milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. Adjust consistency by adding flour or milk until you reach your desired thickness. Fold in the sprinkles.
  5. Scoop 1/4 cup sized amounts onto the griddle and cook until bubbles appear throughout the pancake and the edges begin to cook; this will only take a couple minutes. Then flip and cook the opposite side for an additional 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. For the icing: Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until incorporated, add additional powdered sugar to thicken if desired.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/13/funfetti-cake-batter-pancakes/

 

Spinach Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Spinach Pizza Quinoa CasseroleI love quinoa.  Why?  More like why not!  It’s full of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorus and- yeah yeah, we all know it’s super healthy.  But what I really love is the texture it adds to a dish; whether it’s cold, tossed with pesto and veggies, or smothered in cheese and baked into a warm casserole.  It’s so versatile and and can be substituted for pasta or rice in almost anything.  This is especially important to me, being a vegetarian who doesn’t care much for milk or nuts…to have a superfood like quinoa with all those essentials?  Yes, please!   What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?

This quinoa and spinach pizza casserole was fabulous!  It was cheesy and flavorful, and the leftovers held up great in the fridge for reheating as weekday lunch!  It’s even compatible with children and picky eaters because the flavors of the tomato sauce and spices are so powerful.  This dish is a winner!

Spinach Pizza Quinoa CasseroleSpinach Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Spinach Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Yield: 9 servings / Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • optional: cheese for topping (I used shredded cheddar and slices of mozzarella)
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.  While it is cooking, chop your vegetables and thaw your spinach.  Let the quinoa sit for five minutes while you combine the vegetables and seasoning.
  2. Preheat oven  to 350.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine.  Add quinoa and mix again.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Pour into a 8×8 baking dish and cover with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until cheese is completely melted.Spinach Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo CupcakesWhen I first came across the trend of baking oreos/reese’s peanut butter cups/nilla wafers/you-name-it on the bottom of a cupcake, I couldn’t help but want to hop right on that bandwagon.  How could you not love something so easy and adorable – plus that space taken up at the bottom of the cupcake liner means the batter will make more cupcakes!  Of course, that didn’t happen – at least not right away.  I’m in the bad habit of pinning/bookmarking/dreaming up wonderful recipes and ideas and then fiiiinally getting around to them much later (or never!).  And as per usual, much time has passed since I decided I wanted to do this…but hey, at least I finally did it and made these oreo cupcakes!

Oreo CupcakesOreo Cupcakes

I was very pleased with they way these turned out!  The bottom half of the Oreo stayed crisp and the top half softened; you could put a bit of batter and smoosh the Oreo onto it so it would all be softer, but I liked how it made a pseudo-crust on the bottom.  After a few days the bottom half of the Oreo did soften up as well.  These cupcakes were really soft, moist, and light and springy.  They look sort of dense in the photo above, but I assure you, they were very light.  Not that there is anything wrong with a dense chocolate cake recipe, especially when it’s dark chocolate!  The frosting had a subtle marshmallow and cream cheese flavor, which I think worked very well with the cupcake.  It didn’t hold its shape incredibly well, but I didn’t want to add too much powdered sugar and alter the taste much.  I actually ended up liking the softened look the peaks had as a result.  Overall success – definitely something to do again and experiment with different things (like Thin Mints, maybe in time for St Patrick’s Day!).

Oreo CupcakesOreo Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 6 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 30 cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (~10 1/2 T) Butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 4.2 oz package Oreo Cookies 'n Cream instant pudding mix
  • 1 package oreos
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 container jet puffed marshmallow fluff
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cream

Instructions

    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Line baking sheet with paper liners and place an Oreo in each. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix cake mix and all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth (beat on low until incorporated then about two minutes on medium).
  3. Spoon or pipe batter on top of the Oreo.
  4. Bake according to package directions (at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean).
  5. For the frosting:
  6. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add marshmallow fluff and beat until incorporated.
  7. Add powdered sugar, starting with 3-3 1/2 cups. Add vanilla and mix.
  8. Add additional powdered sugar and cream until you reach desired consistency.
  9. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Notes

This frosting isn't incredibly stiff, so be careful when piping. If you pipe it too high, it might not hold its peaks well or it could sort of collapse! You could add more powdered sugar to make it stiffer if you wish.

http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/02/28/oreo-cupcakes/

 {this post originally appeared on my former blog, elisebakes}

Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

lentilsoupIf you’ve seen my recent posts, you know that the amount of treats coming out of my kitchen over the past few weeks is completely unnecessary.  I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it, but  I have to make up for that unhealthy eating.  There’s no better way than with this great lentil soup, loaded with some of my favorite vegetables and mustard greens for a nutritional boost.  It turned out great, mild in flavor, with just the right ratio of broth to vegetable.  That said, I like a broth-y soup, but you could always reduce the liquid if you wanted it to be heartier.Lentil Soup with Mustard GreensLentil Soup with Mustard GreensLentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens:

Yield: 8-10 servings / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 9 cups water or stock
  • 4 cups mustard greens, stemmed and torn
  1. Heat olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (~5 minuties).
  2. Add water and the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Notes:  You can use stock/broth instead of water, I wanted a milder taste, so I stuck with water.  You can also reduce the water down to 7 cups if you like a heartier soup versus a brothy soup.  This recipe makes a lot of soup, but it freezes well, and can be kept up to two months in the freezer.  You can freeze it in an airtight tupperware, plastic bags, or mason jars.  Make sure that if you use a jar, you let it first cool in the fridge (if you cool glass too rapidly, it can break).Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Country White Bread

Country White BreadIf you follow my blog, you might have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with lots of bread recipes in the past few months.  I found this one at Pennies & Pancakes and thought it looked wonderful.   If you haven’t made homemade bread before, there’s an extensive tutorial for this recipe, complete with detailed instructions and step-by-step photos.  I halved the recipe and baked it in two 8×3 loaf pans the first time I made it, but I’ve also baked it in a 9×5 pan.  The photos are from the 8×3, so they look small, but I used the larger loaf when I made bananas foster french toast.  I was really pleased with this recipe and will definitely continue to use it for a white sandwich bread.  I would like to try substituting half the flour with whole wheat flour and maybe adding honey (I’ll update you as soon as I do!).Country White BreadCountry White Bread

Country White Bread (yield 1 9×5 loaf, 2 8×3 loaves)

  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp oil
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in water and let set for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, then 3 cups of flour, mix it a little, then add the salt.
  3. Mix thoroughly and then knead until dough is smooth, elastic, and a tad sticky (6-10 minutes).  You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with dough hook.
  4. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let rise until doubled.  I placed mine in a warm oven with a bowl of water on the bottom rack and let it rise for about 1 hour.
  5. Punch dough down and knead for another minute or so.  Divide it in half and form each half into a loaf.
  6. Cover with a dishtowel and let it rise until the dough is about 1-2 inches above the top of the pan (about an hour for me).
  7. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.Country White Bread

Vanilla Coffee Syrup and Cold Brewed Coffee

Homemade Vanilla Syrup and Cold Brewed Coffee

My coffee machine is on the fritz.  Sorry, did I say on the fritz?  I meant broken.  It’s so irritating – I’ve only had the thing for 8 months!  I’ve adjusted by using my espresso machine and fixing myself lots of lattes!  …And by steeping a filter with coffee grounds in a cup of hot water like tea.

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

I made a batch of homemade vanilla coffee syrup to liven up the lattes I’ve been drinking.  It was pretty standard as far as vanilla coffee syrup goes, and it’s so much cheaper to make it yourself.  Next time I want to add honey and make honey vanilla syrup.  I think that it would be perfect with hot blackberry tea.  Naturally, I really want to whip up a batch of caramel syrup too – keep your eyes open, it’s bound to happen in the next few weeks!Homemade Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla Coffee Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Heat sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, just to thicken the syrup up a little bit.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla (you can adjust this for different levels of flavor or substitute a different flavored extract).
  3. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.Homemade Vanilla Syrup

My husband and I are fortunate enough to not pay for heat in our apartment building and it’s usually right around 74-76 without even turning the thermostat on (almost too warm – we have crack the window overnight).  With that heat, some days I crave an iced coffee despite the icy temperature outside.  I’ve just discovered the process of cold brewing coffee this year and I am in love with!  In summer, I used to brew a pot and stick it in the fridge for a couple hours to cool –  no more of that!  You can make a whole pitcher at once with this method and it’ll last you all week!  …Or maybe only a couple days if you drink coffee the way I do.

Cold Brewed Coffee

Cold Brewed Coffee

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups coffee grounds
  1. In a pitcher, or any container large enough that can be covered, mix water and coffee grounds.  Mix or shake to ensure that all of the grounds have been submerged.  Let it sit for 8-12 hours – overnight works perfectly.
  2. When ready, place a coffee filter into a funnel and put the funnel over the container you will be storing your cold brewed coffee in.
  3. Pour the coffee, grounds and all, into the funnel and let the filter do its job.  Add more as it empties until all of your coffee is filtered!
  4. Store in the refrigerator, the coffee will be good for up to two weeks.

Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

I love caramel.  I love it so much that I often always put a spoonful of caramel sauce into my coffee, followed by a spoonful of caramel sauce into my mouth.  It’s one of those things I just can’t keep around for fear of my uncontrollable urge to eat it all in one sitting.

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate CookiesCaramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

These cookies were so amazingly delicious that before I knew it had happened, I had eaten three of them and they hadn’t even had time to cool.  Yes, I have a problem…and that’s why I happily gave them away to anyone who was willing to take them [an easy task].  The cookies had a great flavor and texture; they stayed pretty soft kept in an airtight container.  The rolos inside…well, that was the icing on the cake.  While they were still warm, the caramel was gooey, melty and a little messy; once they cooled, it was still soft and caramel-y, without the mess.
Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies: (Adapted from my baking addiction)

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 24 Rolos, unwrapped
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter for a minute, then add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. For each cookie, flatten a 1 Tbsp sized amount of dough and wrap it around a rolo.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 7-10 minutes until set and slightly cracked.  Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies