Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

April 28, 2012

Breakfast is most likely the meal I make the least. Five days a week I am running out the door with a coffee and a granola bar, then on the other two we are generally headed to our local spots for something a bit more substantial like a quiche or some eggs.

So, it is rare that we stay in and I make something more than a bagel. But, when I saw this recipe it looked intriguing and simple enough that I wouldn’t have to spend my Friday night buying the relevant ingredients. The basics we all have (flour, etc.), and hopefully rum falls within that list for most of us as well. The only “special” ingredient was sliced pineapples, which fortunately can be bought in an can at anytime and stored in your pantry for this special occasion.

The result is not only incredibly tasty (and not too sweet as I had feared) but also beautiful. The pineapple soaked in rum, cinnamon and brown sugar has such a comforting quality, and the texture is the perfect contrast to the fluffy pancakes. And, if you have little ones around (like I did the week following this recipe’s debut), you can add some cherries for eyes and cut the pineapple in half for a mouth. My nephews thought they were the coolest pancakes they had ever seen.

So, stock your pantry with a few cans of pineapples and stay in one Saturday and Sunday to make this crowd pleaser. You will look like a star with little effort, and your belly will thank you. Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe!

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES

Makes 8 pancakes
Pineapple:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 large pineapple, peeled, cut into eight 1/2″ rounds, cored
3/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

Pancakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

PREPARATION
Pineapple:

Melt butter with cinnamon stick in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add pineapple slices; cook until light golden brown, 4–5 minutes per side. Remove skillet from heat; add rum and brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until juices are thick and syrupy. Transfer pineapple to a plate; let cool. Reserve syrup.

Pancakes:

Preheat oven to 325°. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and next 3 ingredients; whisk until smooth.
Heat a griddle or large heavy skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat with nonstick spray. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto griddle. Cook each pan- cake until golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 2 minutes. Top each pancake with a pineapple ring. Flip; cook until pancake is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Place pancakes on prepared rack and bake in oven until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Rewarm reserved pineapple syrup. Divide pancakes among plates; drizzle with pineapple syrup.

Chocolate Covered Macaroons

May 19, 2011

What I find in my cooking and baking is that sometimes amazing recipes come from unexpected places. I recently blogged about a recipe a woman got from her mother’s blender box. Sometimes I look at the back of a chocolate wrapper and steal that recipe for my own. And sometimes you are on a airplane traveling for business, catching up on your People magazines (fortunately it is official work reading) and you see a celebrity recipe and think “wow, that does look amazing!”

So, when the torn out macaroon recipe found its way to my dining room table later on that week, my husband innocently asked “oh, is this what you are baking this weekend?” (and for those who know me know that wasn’t a subtle hint, but a realistic question). He inspired me to give it a try.

Having never made macaroons before, I was a bit concerned, but optimistic when I revisited the short ingredient list. Coconut, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, vanilla, cream, baked and dipped in chocolate I figured I could handle the challenge.

Let me start off by saying I am not sure I could have made this recipe without my cookie scoop so if you don’t have one, use this as your excuse to buy one. Also, don’t “save a step” by not dipping them in chocolate. The dish isn’t complete without it. Also, the recipe says it makes 24, well I got 40 (perhaps my scoop is small).

So 40 macaroons later my husband and I tried one and were speechless. So easy to make, yet SO good. They made their way into my office Monday (gone in minutes) as well as my husband’s office (gone in seconds). So, as people continue to ask me for the recipe, I thought I would divulge my unexpected source and share in my secret.

So, thank you to People magazine (and Jill Zarin of The New York Housewives) for this fantastic sweet treat!

CHOCOLATE COVERED MACAROONS
Makes 40 (although recipe says 24, if you use a larger ice cream scoop)

2 (14-ounce) bags shredded coconut
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz of bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli and mixed in a little bit of milk chocolate. I would assume any chocolate combination would do! Maybe next time I will do semi-sweet…)

Preheat the oven to 325.

Mix together in a large bowl the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla. Add the shredded coconut.Mix together. Make sure that all of the coconut is covered with the milk mixture. Use a cookie scoop and place mounds on parchment lined baking sheets or silicone lined baking sheets.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until the coconut is nicely browned. Cool completely on a cooling rack. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the macaroon halfway. Let the chocolate harden in the fridge (on a wax paper lined jelly roll pan) at least 20 minutes before serving.

Cheddar Chicken

April 25, 2011

Sometimes you want to make (and eat) something simple. Something humble. Something ungourmet. Something that uses ingredients you know taste amazing, but might not be best for your diet. Something that makes you feel warm, fuzzy and “oh so bad” for eating it. I found that dish last week, from a somewhat unexpected place.

In my Real Simple, I read an article about a woman’s comfort food that her mother made – a recipe found on the box of her mother’s new blender. The recipe was called Cheddar Chicken and only included 5 ingredients – chicken, Ritz crackers, cheddar cheese, garlic and butter. Now that you have read the list of ingredients, you can surely understand my sentiment at the beginning of this post.

The dish is so drenched in butter (from the pure butter and the crackers) with a hint of garlic and the sharp, gooey cheddar cheese. It tastes nothing short of amazing. Nothing gourmet. No rare ingredients. No need to spend hours in the kitchen.

So anytime you want something that makes you feel satisfied, a bit guilty and takes nothing more than 45 minutes with your pantry staples, put this one in the oven. Serve with rice pilaf and you have a simple, flavorful dinner.

CHEDDAR CHICKEN
Serves 4

16 buttery crackers (such as Ritz), crushed (about 3⁄4 cup)
6 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
wild rice pilaf and steamed green beans (optional)

Heat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken in the butter, then in the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help the crackers adhere. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake until the chicken is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with the pilaf and green beans, if desired.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples

October 14, 2010

What I love about the change in seasons, is the smells that come with it. Pine needles, stewed beef and cinnamon in the winter; fresh citrus, tulips and asparagus in the spring; searing steaks on the grill, fresh cut grass and ice cream in the summer; and last, but not least, pumpkin, musky leaves and warm spices in the fall. The seasons not only give you temperature changes and an excuse to mix up your wardrobe, but they give you an olfactory experience like none other. You can literally close your eyes, inhale, and know the month of the year.

And out of all of the seasons, fall is by far my favorite. The smells make me want to rake leaves (did I really just say that?), drink apple cider, pick apples, cook warm meals and dive into red wine season. And when the weather brings the smells of fall, my cooking shifts along with it.

Alas, my seasonal culinary point of view may have “pumpkined out” my husband, who just had pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin beer and pumpkin pasta all within one week. So, I had to keep with my fall focus, but stray a bit from the obvious.

So upon seeing a recipe with sauteed apples and fall spices, I knew this would keep me “in the fall spirit” without putting my husband on pumpkin overload.

Thanks to Cooking Light for this fantastic recipe. It was quick, easy, and even could be altered to roast the tenderloin whole if you want (might do that next time!). I served it with a spinach salad with pecans, feta and a simple lemon/olive oil/cider vinaigrette.

So, make this recipe, pour a glass of smooth red wine, look at the beautiful mosaic of colored trees and take a deep “sniff” of this perfect fall dinner!

SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH SAUTEED APPLES
4 Servings

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 pieces
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced unpeeled Braeburn or Gala apple
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Combine first 5 ingredients; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.

Melt butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add apple slices, 1/3 cup shallots, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes or until apple starts to brown. Add apple cider to pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves. Serve apple mixture with the pork.


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