Monday, February 28, 2011

chocolate hummus

I find it slightly ironic that I'm about to write a This Week's Cravings post on kid-friendly recipes when I don't even have a kid.  I am reminded of a certain scene in a Gilmore Girls episode where Sookie and Lorelai cater a child's birthday party.  Sookie makes lemon-garlic aioli, blanched veggies, and something that sounds like "gravlot" (it looked like fish).  For the cake, she concocted a chocolate cake with a rum raisin tropical fruit ganash.  When Lorelai very nervously asked her where the kid's food was, Sookie pointed to some very green-looking jalapeno-chipotle macaroni and cheese.

I am fully aware that hummus is not generally considered kid's food.  And, since I don't personally have a child, I recognize how absurd it is that I could claim any dish as kid friendly, much less one whose main ingredient is chickpeas.  Even so, I think that kids just might love this (as long as you don't tell them about the chickpeas, that is).  My taste buds aren't that different from a six-year-old's, and I can't get enough of it.  It reminds me of much so, in fact, that I was considering substituting it for pudding in a dirt cup, just to make the "dirt" a bit more healthy.

So...the moral of this story...try this on your kids.  Don't tell them it has fiber...or antioxidants...or heart-healthy fats.  Don't tell them about the chickpeas or the olive oil.  Just tell them that it's chocolate pudding for them to dip their cinnamon-sugar Teddy Grahams in.  I'm sure they'll love it.

I have wanted to try this recipe ever since I saw it on Tasty Kitchen.  It's as easy as it sounds, although I don't recommend using a blender like I did (oh, the woes of not having a food processor).  I never could get it as smooth as a food processor would, but the taste didn't suffer one bit.

First, you make a paste out of cocoa and olive oil.

Then, you blend that paste with chickpeas, sugar, salt, vanilla, and a small amount of warm water.  Blend it until it's smooth (or, if you don't have a food processor, until you get tired of wrestling with your blender).

Serve this up with pita chips, fruit, cinnamon crisps, or whatever else you feel like dipping into chocolate.  Enjoy the heart-healthy goodness!

Chocolate Hummus
from Tasty Kitchen
3 T. olive oil
1/2 cup cocoa
15 oz. chick peas
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1-3 T. warm water

Make a paste with the olive oil and cocoa.  Place all ingredients (including paste) in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Serves 12.

Gluten-free variation: Use gluten-free vanilla and serve with fruit or gluten-free chips.

Nutrition: 113 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 202mg sodium, 18g carbs, 3g fiber, 8g sugars, 2g protein, 0% vit. A, 2% vit. C, 2% calcium, 6% iron.

Linked up with Gooseberry Patch's Recipe Roundup: Kids' Recipes!

Kid Friendly Recipes!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

cookbook winner and recipe revealed!

Thanks so much to all of the comments and entries for Gooseberry Patch's new cookbook, Mom's Very Best Recipes (winner of the cookbook announced below).  As promised, I tallied up all of the results to determine which of my featured recipes got the most votes.

The winner...Lori's Rosemary Focaccia!

It was a tight contest between this focaccia and the sour cream chili bake, but I'm so excited that the focaccia won!  This is such an elegant bread to serve alongside salads or soups (or even in a sandwich), and it's so very easy to make.

A few notes on the recipe:  The recipe calls for optional shredded Cheddar cheese, which I didn't use.  Also, the recipe uses a bread machine, where I simply made up the dough by hand.  I'll be giving you the picture tutorial of what I did, but I'll include the original recipe below.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 packet) instant/active-rise dry yeast, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup of very warm water (120 to 130 degrees).   Knead for several minutes until soft dough forms.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a flattened 10-inch circle...and I use the word "circle" lightly.  Mine looked a bit more like amoebas since I used my fingers to stretch them out instead of a rolling pin.  Focaccia should be lumpy and uneven, right?  Right!

I put these on parchment paper to avoid sticking.  Cover the tops loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.

Brush the tops with remaining tablespoon of oil.  At this point, you can either sprinkle with cheese or with kosher salt (like I did).

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

So there you have it...elegant bread in less than an hour!  I know this is one recipe I'll be making again and again.

Lori's Rosemary Focaccia
from Mom's Very Best Recipes

3 c. bread flour
1 T. dried rosemary
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 1/4 t. (or 1 packet) instant dry yeast
3 to 4 T. olive oil, divided
1 c. very warm water, 120 to 130 degrees
Optional: 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

In the order listed, place all ingredients except one tablespoon oil and Cheddar cheese into a bread machine.  Set machine to dough cycle.  When finished, divide dough in half.  Form each half into a flattened 10-inch circle.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray.  Let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes. Place on greased baking sheets.  Brush tops with remaining oil; sprinkle with cheese, if desired.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.  Makes 2 loaves.

And the winner of Mom's Very Best Recipes...Linda Dubbelman!  Linda said, "Thanks for the pie recipe!! I'd love to win the book. The recipe that I'd like for you to share is the hot sausage dip. :)"  Linda, go up to "contact the cook" and shoot me an e-mail with your mailing address.  I know you'll love your new cookbook!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

pintos and kielbasa

Be sure to enter to win a Gooseberry Patch cookbook - Mom's Very Best Recipes!  Winner announced tomorrow!

I have been on such a bean kick lately!  We went to the store last week and came home with at least 10 cans of beans.  Even more ridiculous is the fact that I plan on using all of them this week!

This recipe was such a brilliant's got an amazing flavor and is delightfully low in fat and calories.

Begin by chopping up a green pepper and an onion.

Saute the pepper and onion in about a tablespoon of oil until they are tender.  Use a big stockpot...this recipe makes a lot!

Now add some kielbasa, pinto beans, great northern beans, stewed tomatoes, Rotel, tomato sauce, garlic powder, and pepper.  Just dump it all in at once!

Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer until it's heated through.

This works well over rice or just served by itself with a salad and fresh bread.  It's delicious!

Pintos and Kielbasa
adapted from Taste of Home Light and Tasty 2002
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 T. oil
1 lb. turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can Rotel
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper

Saute the onion and green pepper in oil until tender.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until heated through.  Serves 8.

Nutrition: 253 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 1100mg sodium, 31g carbs, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 17g protein, 8% vit. A, 41% vit. C, 8% calcium, 15% iron.

Friday, February 18, 2011

baconed spinach

Be sure to enter to win a Gooseberry Patch cookbook - Mom's Very Best Recipes!  Winner announced on Tuesday!

Call me crazy, but I'd rather eat spinach hot than cold.  And, I use "baconed" as an adjective.  Someone really needs to lock me up.

This is my favorite way to eat spinach.  Why?  Two words - bacon. grease.  Yes, bacon makes the world taste better, and this dish is no exception!  Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the best part.  One serving (2 cups fresh spinach and 1 piece bacon) is only 58 calories and 3 grams of fat!

Cut up some bacon into small pieces and cook in a skillet until extra crispy.  You really don't need a lot of bacon to make this dish good...I often just use 1-2 pieces.  (ps...I apologize for the totally unappetizing's the bacon's fault)

Throw in a generous splash of red wine vinegar (up to 1 tablespoon).

Then, toss in some fresh spinach!  Use 2 cups of fresh spinach for each piece of least that's what I do.

Stir the spinach around for about a minute, or until it wilts.  Serve immediately!  For a really crazy touch, try adding some corn.  It's a beautiful thing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

mom's very best recipes: review and giveaway!

Guess what...

Gooseberry Patch is coming out with a new cookbook, and YOU get a sneak peak!

Most of us grew up loving our mother's cooking and are now cooking our mom's best recipes for our own families.  Many of my mom's best have appeared on this site - bierocks, apple smiles, country style green beans, and apple crisp (just to name a few).  There's just something about mom's recipes that make us smile and keep us coming back for more.

That's why I love this new cookbook.  All of the recipes in this new book appeared in some mother's recipe box at some point in time.  I imagine that many of them were made so often that the recipe cards are covered in food stains...all the best are!  Flipping through the pages filled me with nostalgia about my own childhood, especially when I saw my own mom's pizza recipe on page 153!  All of the recipes are easy, comforting, simple, and just the kind of wonderful dishes that you'd find on the tables of the best cooks in the world - our moms!

Just like last time, I wanted to try a recipe from each chapter of the cookbook to showcase, just to give you a taste of what this cookbook has to offer.  With the help of my taste-testing husband, we've given each an "award" to describe what we liked about it.

Most Kid Friendly
Mile-High Biscuits and Southern Chocolate Gravy in the chapter "Breakfast and Brunch"

I don't know what planet I've been living on that I had never heard of chocolate gravy...this stuff is incredible!  It's just the kind of breakfast that make Saturday mornings worth getting up for.  The biscuits are easy to whip up, the gravy is delicious, and I love the excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.  Mom...if you are reading this...why didn't we have this when I was a kid?  Huh?

Most Adaptable
Sensational Hot Sausage Dip in the chapter "Appetizers and Snacks"
My husband really liked this dish.  He ate it with chips, with crackers, and even on leftover biscuits!  I thought it was good, too, but I imagine it's one that I would fix differently each time I made it.  I might add some jalapenos and melted cheddar cheese...I might take out some of the onion and toss in some sour cream...the sky is the limit with this one!

Most Versatile 
Dirty Greek Rice in the chapter "Sides and Salads"
This rice is so easy to whip up and it tastes so great that I instantly loved it.  I have to admit, though, that my favorite thing about this recipe is that it could go with just about anything!  I'm always looking for good side dishes, and this one is a winner.  You could pair it with fish, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or even would work well with all of them.  My hubby liked it but didn't see what I was so excited about...obviously, he's never tried to plan a weekly menu. :-)

Most Elegant
Lori's Rosemary Focaccia in the chapter "Soups, Breads and Sandwiches"
I love the fact that I can now say that I've made focaccia.  I will never, ever, ever tell people how easy it was.  Ever.  (If you are reading this, please forget that I just accidentally told you how easy it was.)  This is one of the most elegant breads I've ever made.  We dipped it in oil when it was hot out of the oven and then made sandwiches out of it the next day.  I love the subtle rosemary flavor and the texture of the crust.  I'll be making this for company, I guarantee it!

Easiest to Whip Up
Sour Cream Chili Bake in the chapter "Main Dishes"
I love dishes that require very little time in the kitchen, and this is one.  After browning the meat, you just mix in a few ingredients and pop in it in the oven!  That gives you plenty of time to clean the kitchen and set the table, if you are into that sort of thing.  I chose to check my e-mail and set up a TV tray...this is why my house is so spotless. :-)  Oh, did I mention this dish is easy to lighten up?  It tasted great, even with ground turkey, baked tortilla chips, and low-fat sour cream.  It's an excellent dinner choice if you plan on eating the next dish.

Most Requested 
Chocolate Chess Pie in the chapter "Desserts
Um, I even need to review this one?  The picture says it all!  This pie tastes like all of the ooey-gooeyness of brownies, and it's positively addicting.  We started eating dinner early just so that we could have a piece of pie sooner.  This pie is the reason my flare jeans now fit like skinny jeans.  And you know what else?  I didn't even have to buy ingredients for it...they are common items I keep in my pantry.  All of those facts make this pie incredibly hard to resist.

I asked my husband to pick his overall favorite recipe to share with you...of course, he picked the pie!

This pie is just so easy.  Combine the baking cocoa, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir until smooth.  Remove from the heat, let cool, and then add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  See what I mean about having all of the ingredients already in the pantry?

Pour the pie filling into a prepared pie crust.  You could go buy one, but it's just as easy to make one.  For this pie, I used my friend Kristen's recipe as featured on her blog, From My Tiny Kitchen.  I didn't take the time to make mine nearly as pretty as hers, but you wouldn't either if you could smell that bit vat of chocolatey goodness that I was pouring into it.  Trust me.

Bake your pie at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Then comes the hard part...letting it cool.  This pie MUST be eaten when cooled (I like it when chilled), so you have to find something to amuse yourself in the meantime. 

I dare you to only eat one slice!  It can't be done!

Chocolate Chess Pie
from Mom's Very Best Recipes
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
9-inch deep-dish pie crust

In a saucepan over low heat, combine cocoa, butter and milk.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Add sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt; beat well.  Pour cocoa mixture into crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until set.  Cool before slicing.  Serves 8. can YOU win a free copy of Mom's Very Best Recipes?  Just leave me a comment answering the following question - which of the other recipes featured above would you like me to share?  I'll tally up the answers and share that recipe when I announce the winner!  (Please also make sure I have access to a valid e-mail so that I can contact you if you win.)  Giveaway ends next Tuesday at midnight (Pacific time).  Winner announced Wednesday, February 23.

PS - Gooseberry Patch gave me a free book to review as well as another to give away, but the views and opinions (and pictures!) presented in this post are entirely my own!   Disclosure...check!

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